This pretty much sums up how I felt this week. (Also, if you’re curious, this is what used Mardi Gras float components look like in storage.)
It’s almost 1am, and since I need to wake up in seven hours, I’ll try to keep this brief. However, I didn’t want to go to sleep without jotting down a few thoughts about this past week. So here goes…
Iron Tribe Transformation Challenge: We’re almost done. It’s hard to believe that 40 days has gone by this quickly. I’m not really sure how I’m doing just now, mostly because I screwed up last weekend and it took me most of the week to recover. One of my best friends was in town with her husband for the weekend, and we went out for a drink on Saturday night. Since I haven’t been drinking at all during the challenge, I was planning to just have one cocktail and then stick to water. But somehow I ended up having four or five. My body couldn’t handle it, and I was incredibly hungover (read: at death’s doorstep) on Sunday. The only food I could manage to get down was my “comfort food” – Chinese takeout, followed by pizza a few hours later. I made similar dietary mistakes (thankfully in lesser quantities) for the next couple of days.
To make it worse, my period started this week (sorry for the TMI, dudes), and from Tuesday through Thursday I was feeling terrible. Everyone’s experience is different, and honestly, every month’s experience is different for me. Some months I won’t even have a cramp. Others I’ll be doubled over in pain. This month I was ridiculously emotional, and physically weak. I’m not sure if I’m weaker every month, since this is the first time I noticed it. And boy, did I notice it.
On Monday at the gym, one of the coaches remarked that I should be using a little more weight, and I nearly broke down and cried over nothing. I couldn’t drag myself to the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday, but during Thursday’s workout the simplest movements were grueling. I had the lightest amount of weight on the bar that I could use and still look alive (35 lbs bar + two 10 lbs plates = 55 lbs) and every move was a struggle. To give you some perspective, I’m not terribly strong, but I’d typically be at at least 65 lbs for something where I needed to put the bar over my head (strict press, for example).
Today was pretty rough, too, but at least my emotions were in check. I’ve gotten so used to being happy and excited to go to the gym that facing this week’s emotional depletion was really scary for me. There are a lot of things that rock about being a woman, but the monthly emotional rollercoaster is not one of them.
Work: It’s going pretty well. Nothing to write home about, but we’re getting some new contracts at one of my jobs, so that’s great, and the other job is running smoothly. For now, all is well.
Fortune favors the brave, you know.
Relationship: I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of my first date with my boyfriend. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. We didn’t start dating for real until April, but we’ve been counting the first time we went to a concert together as our official anniversary since it was such an important moment, and it stood out like a touch of magic in both of our lives. It’s a little weird, since it wasn’t supposed to be a date, and I was dating someone else, but we connected, and that connection grew, and now we’re here. Life is messy. But I love him, and he loves me, and all is good. I have never felt so emotionally supported as I do right now. He gets me. He gets stuff about me that I don’t even get. He sees things that I see, but never know how to explain, and we laugh so much. We’re synced in so many ways that sometimes it’s a little unnerving. We’re not perfect, but we make each other better people. We’ve been going to yoga together each week, and tonight we went to a ska concert (Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, and Authority Zero). He’s teaching me so much about my strengths and my limitations, and I’m really grateful to get to not only get to know him, but to know myself through him. I’m excited to see what the next year of our relationship looks like.
Drinking: I mentioned it above, but I don’t really talk about it that much on the blog in general. However, I should probably note that I’ve been unhappy with my drinking habits for awhile now. Joining Iron Tribe and starting this Transformation Challenge were a good kick in the butt to reevaluate my relationship with alcohol, and see if there was a way to make a positive change for myself in that arena. Without going into it too much (I’ll save it for another post), I’m really proud of how I’ve changed my alcohol intake since January 5th.
Before the challenge, a typical week for me would be going out two or three times a week, with 3 – 5 drinks each night, and a couple of glasses of wine at home on the other nights. As crazy as that might sound to those of you living anywhere other than New Orleans, that’s actually quite a reduction in my habits from a year ago, when I was drinking a bottle of wine most nights. At no time did I feel addicted or like I even had a problem, but I was always lethargic and achey. It’s obvious now that whether or not a chemical dependency was in play, the amount that I was drinking was poisoning my body.
Mostly I was doing it to self-medicate, which is dangerous in and of itself. I don’t like hanging out in crowds, or meeting new people, so if alcohol was an option, I’d gladly take it. Drinking at home before a year ago was to deal with an unhappy relationship and growing depression. Drinking at home during the course of this year was sometimes just because it’s damn pleasant to have a glass of wine and watch a movie with your boo, but sometimes because I hated my work schedule and was drinking to escape life for awhile.
Since the challenge started, I’ve had two nights where I drank 2 glasses of wine while watching a movie with my beloved, and one night where I drank way too much whiskey while hanging out with my bestie, her husband, my boyfriend, and one of his friends at a crowded bar. What have I learned? Avoid crowded bars, treat wine as a special treat, and most of all, enjoy sobriety. It feels a hell of a lot better in the morning when you haven’t actively poisoned yourself the night before. Also, when you’re in your 30s, your friends won’t treat you like a pariah if you say you’d rather just drink club soda. Or at least my friends won’t. I suppose if mine did, I’d just have to find new friends. We’ll see what happens when Mardi Gras weekend comes along, but as of right now I feel pretty good about my decision to keep it light on the booze and heavy on the working out.
French Quarter home, all dressed up for Mardi Gras. Follow me on Instagram for more photos of New Orleans life and architecture.
Santiago de Compostela: I’ve been shopping for gear, but haven’t made any decisions yet about pretty much anything. The flight is taken care of, and I know I’ve got some time before I have to really start pulling together the bits and pieces I’ll need for my pilgrimage. Right now, my main mental battle is on whether to wear pants or leggings (I’m thinking leggings, b/c of thigh chafing) and whether I can get away with wearing trail trainers instead of boots (experienced peregrinos say yes). We’ll see.