Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Words From The Stall, Vol. 1

I actually had to stop peeing to read this over and over for a few minutes, and a few tears escaped down my cheek.

*smooches...just smooches*
so apparently now it's not safe for me in the bathroom, either. words just won't leave me alone... *smh*

Monday, May 30, 2011

We’re Not All Superstars, Mrs. Gaga.

A couple of weeks ago, N received her middle school placement for next year and was sad to find out it was her fourth choice. Not that her new school is terrible, because we only selected those with impeccable reputations, math and reading scores, and high retention and graduation rates. But obviously- it wasn’t where she really wanted to go.

Poor N was disappointed, and I was disappointed for her, but this is just a part of life, and better that she learn it now rather than later. I didn’t get into my first-choice high school (Stuyvesant) or college (St. John’s), and K didn’t get into her first-choice high school (Millenium), either. We survived it all and didn’t die. We still ended up attending pretty good schools, whether we really wanted to be there or not.

I explained to N that any number of factors could have kept her from being accepted at her first-choice middle school: her lackluster attendance, teacher recommendations, her OLSAT score (699 out of 798) or her interview/application. I also explained that no matter how well you think you’re doing, someone else might be going that extra mile for the absolute perfect grades, sacrificing TV time and recreational periods outdoors. And I can guarantee you- that kid AIN’T N.

She’s not a dummy; she brings home excellent grades because she’s smart and I demand them. But she’s her mother’s daughter; a lazy student, putting in the bare minimum amount of work. Juuuuust enough to say “I did it!” instead of working harder and saying “I did it well!” It’s something we continue to struggle with and that will follow us all the way until she graduates from M.I.T.

What? I can dream, OKAY?!

The point of all this? We can’t all be number one because then number one status would be pointless. Why strive to be the best if there’s no distinction in it anymore? That’s why Communism doesn’t work (YEAH, I SAID IT. COME AT ME, BRO!).

I had to have this conversation with N, as much as it broke my heart to see her upset, because it’s necessary for her to see that hard work yields awesome results, but mediocre efforts gets you your fourth-choice middle school.

*smooches...preparing for a long 2011-2012 school year*
I need this child to be more serious about her work...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Arguments In My Head

I'm not a very violent or confrontational person (no really!), but on occasion I've been known to go off. Like the incident in the ladies' room at work with the paper towel dispenser:

And that time I cursed at the computer because TravelZoo offered me a deal for a "glacier walk" in Iceland and I responded with, "Your MOMMA is going on a glacier walk!" before rolling my eyes and closing the browser.

But the kicker was the argument I had with my neighbor's car.

See, my neighbor was one of those Family Radio people who swore The Rapture was coming last Saturday, and it was nearly six months ago when I first noticed all the bumper stickers on their minivan advertising the end of the world. One sticker in particular set me off, partly because the entire doomsday message was fucking with my head and reminded me of my own mortality, and partly because of the arrogance of it all. It read: Noah knew, why can't we?

To that I burst out with a viciously attitudinal: BECAUSE WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!

Because I mean really- who the fuck did they think they were?

*smooches...ready to start meditating again*
no one likes an AngryJaded. well, except maybe you guys... I know how much you live for my rants...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teetering On The Ledge: A Jaded Rant

I have hit a wall. And I’m just about ready to climb up it and just take a plunge and say "fuck it all."

For about five weeks I worked my butt off exercising and doing my best to eliminate or reduce the amounts of "bad" foods from my diet and replace them with more fresh ingredients and many, many leafy greens. And while I did notice a difference in my endurance, strength and ability to recover from an intense workout, I’ve yet to lose a single goddamn pound.

NOT ONE. Not even water weight.

Obviously I’m doing something wrong. Don’t tell me I’m not. I’m either not working hard enough or my food intake needs to change some more. Or maybe there’s a medical reason that would require yet ANOTHER doctor visit. Whatever it is, it has me feeling so down.

I was truly excited to see a change by this summer and to still see this fat ass looking back at me in the mirror, and not fitting into anything in my closet is just...it’s TOO MUCH. It’s not fair. I was up at the ass-crack of dawn to go work out, and some days went after work when I should have been at home with my kids getting shit in order and now it feels as if it was all for naught; a waste of time and money.

And then, THEN, I started reading up on better nutrition so that I can attack my fat at home, right, and it’s TOO MUCH, too:

>>Don’t buy anything with sugar in it. Ummm, EVERYTHING has sugar in it! Even my beloved 12-Grain Bread! So now, what, I have to bake my own fucking bread? Sure, I'll just cut MORE sleep out of my schedule so that I can be up all night playing Laura Ingalls Wilder in my already-too-hot kitchen.

>>Eliminate table salt and use sea salt. So WTF am I supposed to do with the shit that’s already in my cabinet bought and paid for?

>>Get rid of all the processed food in your pantry. Again, so I should just wipe my ass with all the money I spent on this stuff? See, the problem with all these nutrition book authors & trainers is that THEY HAVE THE MONEY to do all this shit. I don't. I DON'T! So please excuse me if I don't throw out a whole, unopened box of Triscuits. Fuck you!

>>Buy organic meats, fruits & vegetables. Right. Because I’m rolling in the fucking dough. We've already covered this. I'M OVER IT.

And that’s just a sampling of the three trillion rules for "proper nutrition" out there. WHO. THEEEE. FUCK. has that kind of time to scrutinize over every god-damned morsel of food that goes in their mouth? Measuring out ingredients to the nearest half-an-ounce and whatnot? IS THIS LIFE?

And I know- if I truly want to BE healthy and LIVE a long, healthy life then this is what I need to do, blah, blah, blah. But I’m over-fucking-whelmed. There aren’t enough hours in the day to keep track of all these fucking rules, and I’m pulled in so many different directions already without becoming a fitness and nutrition Nazi... I just want a moment (or a month) where I don’t have to think so fucking much about everything I eat and do (or not), because clearly I’ve been doing so and still NO RESULTS.

*deep breaths*

But, I’ve spent all this money and I can’t get it back now. I’ve no choice but to continue going to these fitness classes and eating this crappy food.

My sanity, though? Well, that will just have to get in line and wait with the other things left untended.

*smooches...wallowing on my couch with my boyfriend, Lord Netflix*
yes, I'm dating royalty. And?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dear Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R-Kansas),

I'm sure this isn't the first letter of its kind you've received since making the comment that, and I'm paraphrasing, "women should prepare for rape-pregnancy with abortion-only insurance same as one would prepare for accidental death with life insurance or for a flat tire by keeping a spare in the trunk." Did I get that right? I'm sure I did because I read the article quoting your insensitive remarks about four times to make sure I'd read it correctly.

Much to my dismay, yes, you did equate being violated and assaulted to getting a flat tire. And I'm trying to figure out if it's that you hate women or the power we have to create life (or not)? Is that what propels you to have the audacity to think YOU and others of your ilk should be in charge of MY reproductive organs?

But I'm getting off point. I'm not here to debate whether it's right or wrong for women to have abortions because that will get us nowhere. You're clearly against them and I'm clearly pro-choice. I would just like to know who hurt you in your life so badly that you could be so flippant about the traumatic after-effects of a rape?

What will it take for you and your cohorts to see that, in your mad rush to shove your patriarchal, archaic and chauvinistic agendas down the throats of American women, you are doing them a great disservice? You're all so focused on how to circumvent Roe vs. Wade that you'd spit on a rape victim's feelings to get your way? You'd deny a poor woman medical attention just to get your way?

This stopped being about abortion a long time ago. Admit it. Now it's about control and how to get most of it in your corner. The thing is, Rep. DeGraaf, while you're all playing politics with our collective uterus, we're suffering, we're dying and we're losing faith in our government. If that was your goal all along then let me be the first to applaud you. You're well on your way to victory.

Raquel I. Penzo
American Citizen
Supporter of Women's Rights
Registered Voter

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Support The Theater N Shit

A couple of weeks ago, I took my aunt to see Ghetto Klown for Mother's Day and we had a good time. I mean, who DOESN'T love a John Leguizamo one man show? He's pretty freakin' awesome.

In this show he talked about his rise to (and fall from?) fame and all that, including the nasty behind-the-scenes business of it all that only a few of us are privy to. Like the fact that even though he'd had all these Tony-nominated shows in the past, he'd made very little money off of them. OUCH. I don't understand why the creative talent keeps getting the shaft in situations like this but that's not the point of the post.

What I'm getting at is this (and listen up NYers because this mostly applies to you): there are so many wonderful cultural programs out there waiting to be seen. All it needs is your support! Check out something at El Repertorio Español or the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Step off of Broadway and experience something new for a change.

Like these two new plays of interest:

Trouble, A New Pop/Rock Musical (which really needs you to purchase tickets in advance so that it can participate in the Midtown Festival). I know very little about this production but I know that someone reached out to me and asked for support for a creative endeavor. How could I say no? I know allllll about being a starving artist HOPING WISHING PRAYING for a chance to showcase my art; if my little site can make a difference then so be it!

La Luz De Un Cigarillo: Una Historia de Dominican-York It looks pretty interesting and I'm thinking Nina and I might check it out this weekend. After the success of The Heights it's important that we show The Great WHITE Way that YES, stage productions about and by Brown people can be successful, interesting, etc.

But whatever you choose to do, please, at least once a month or even once a year, support some sort of independent cultural event. You don't even know how much it means to the talent behind the projects to see smiling, appreciative faces applauding for their baby.

*smooches...with an extra dash of culture*
in fact, I typed this entire post with my pink stinking out *sips tea*

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Jaded Birth(day)

When I was a little girl, Mami would always hound me about my lethargy and general propensity to choose inactivity over everything else. I never understood why my body refused to listen to my brain and DO SOMETHING and the constant battle to figure it all out got to be pretty annoying.

While shooting the shit in Nina’s kitchen last weekend, I finally got my answer when Mami divulged the story of my birth.

I already knew that Mami was not at home while pregnant with me, but rather at a home for young women in Bay Ridge (thank you, Catholic Charities!) after having been kicked out of her home for being pregnant in the first place. According to Mami.

And I already knew I was born about two weeks past my due date; Mami had to be induced (OUCH! Sorry Mamita!!) because her 8lb, long-ass, fully-formed baby was not in the mood to make an appearance on time.

What I didn’t know was that during my birth there were complications that required the doctors to react hurriedly- examining my mom, taking X-rays and hooking Baby Jaded up to some oxygen in vitro...

...because for some reason, my lazy-assed fetus self decided to take a nap in the birth canal.

YUP. You read that correctly.

After the fact, doctors showed my mom the X-rays and there I was, curled up, chillin’ like a villain. According to Mami.

I don’t know about you but that opened my eyes and really, my whole life makes so much more sense now!

Sleep... is my destiny...

*smooches...in the middle of a tasty birthday nap*
I'll still be accepting gifts well into June so don't fret if you forgot to get me something :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

36 Soon Come: Only For 'ATL Housewives' Fans

Smarty Jones: OK, I know I should shut my phone off [in church], but an elderly White lady just came in with her Black caregiver. And the caregiver sat in the row behind her. I know she's the help and all, but I got a lil' heated just now.

ME: Is her name "Sweetie"??

Smarty Jones: *dead*

*smooches...perhaps for the last time ever*
*cue ominous music*

so...where are all the hot Rapture parties, and more importantly- will there be Buffalo wings?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

36 Soon Come: Diary Of A Jaded Eating Disorder (An Exerpt)

I grew up in a house with a woman who’d survived war and civil unrest in the Dominican Republic and by the time she established her new life in Brooklyn she became what we can now safely assume was a food hoarder.

Part of her relationship with food, and the rationing of it, was to make everyone clean their plate. She didn’t care if you didn’t like it, felt ill, was full, whatever. If it was on your plate GOD HELP YOU if you tried to throw it away.

My story isn’t unique, I’m sure. Most people who were raised in a poor, ethnic household had a mom or grandmother who knew what it was like to almost starve and have nothing, and they compensated by making you eat and have everything.

So began my journey with food.

I’m sure that as an infant, cereal was added to my formula wayyyyy ahead of schedule. And I’m sure I was allowed to sleep with the bottle in my mouth. I know this because this happened when Mari was a baby, and with every other baby Grandma cared for.

As a little girl, carbohydrates were 90% of our daily diet. Grandma would pile the rice high on our plates, and it wasn’t unusual to eat that rice with spaghetti and fried plantains. Imagine the euphoric itis that followed such a meal; it soon became an addiction. If there wasn’t rice on my plate- and lots of it- I felt as if I’d never eaten at all.

As a teen I still ate at an alarming rate for my size, which, if you didn’t know me you’d think I was anorexic. Because we were never allowed to play outside we just sat around and ate and watched TV all afternoon. I’m truly thankful for the fast metabolism that I clearly possessed, which saved me from being an obese child.

When I left home, I was only armed w/a tiny bit of ammunition in the battle for my dietary health, and gained my Freshman 20 right away. And then I got pregnant and then married and so on and then, horror of horrors, Grandma died.

Since then I’ve used food to self-medicate because that’s what she’d do if she were alive. Feeling blue? Have some cake. Bad day? Rice is done! And I just wanted to keep living as if she were in my kitchen making all those goodies for me until I fell asleep from a full belly.

So food became my most cherished friend and my most hated enemy. When I felt (feel) anxious it swoops in and soothes me until everything else melts away (temporarily). When I'm depressed it left (leaves) me alone to bask in my depression without having the added responsibility of eating. I played (have been playing) this cat & mouse game with food my entire adult life: starving myself as punishment for being sad and gorging myself to appease the panic attacks.

It's no wonder I currently struggle with my weight.

*reads back at what I just wrote*

If this whole post doesn't scream out #FirstWorldProblems... smh...

*smooches...battling old demons one at a time*
eventually, food and I will just be casual acquaintances.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

36 Soon Come: Branches*

I am made up of three parts: Acosta, Ortiz and Penzo. It might be difficult for some of y'all who come from a long line of two-parent homes to understand, but that's what makes me special.

Acosta is my Mami's father's (Abuelo's) family name. Ortiz is my beloved Grandma's family name and Penzo...well, we all know about those ne'er-do-wells (but for the newbies, that's my biological father's family name, illegitimate as it may be. But that's a tale for another day.).

This weekend was spent with many of the New England Acosta clan and let me tell you if EVER I had to send up the bat signal and get these folks aligned against a common enemy? Sheeeiiiitttt, that poor adversary wouldn't last two seconds. We are simply too many and too mighty and too mother-fuckin' gangsta!

For example, and this will let you in on why I REFUSE to date Dominican men EVER, and why I firmly believe that entire island is related to me somehow: My Acosta great-grandfather had about 42 KNOWN children in La Descubierta. I say KNOWN because those were the kids he copped to, from three different women. And this is CRAZY because from what I'm told, La Descubierta is all of two blocks long. TWO BLOCKS. Do the math.

Got that? Okay, then lets move on.

So I was in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which, if you didn't know, is Dominican Central of the northeast, for my Tia Aura's surprise 70th birthday party. She's Mami's aunt on the Acosta side, which makes her my great-aunt, but in my family you just call people by whatever title they are, and she's Tia.

Looking around the room at the many faces of the few Acosta Clan members that could be there on Sunday was just...I mean it was cool but it was also overwhelming. The thought of all these people related to me that I only just met and I'm damn near 40! And all I could think was, "Damn I wish K & N could be here to feel what it's really like to be a part of a big family." Because I don't think they know.

I grew up with a slew of aunts and uncles and cousins and play cousins all over the place all of the time, but they never had that. I want them to know this feeling because as overwhelming as it was it is fucking AWESOME to know what strong stock you come from. What rainbow of faces call you kin. The sense of history staring back at you in one room. And if I ever felt like, "I don't belong here. I don't look like any of these people," well Sunday solved that for sure.

One great-aunt, Tia Elsa, the elder Acosta (born to great-grandmother Cleotilde AKA Tilla) came right up to me and said (and I translate) "You're Mercedes' daughter, right? You look just like her! I'm your Aunt Elsa."

Shit, I won't lie. That felt good as all hell!

the photo is a lovely painting by Katie Gunther Novella; it's already sold but she has soooo many I'm lusting after; check her out online!

*this is part of a memoir I'm kinda sorta maybe writing about my family, due out in 2014. be ready!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

36 Soon Come: How Long?

When I turned 30, I was happily separated from my husband waiting for my divorce to be final and looking forward to all of the debauchery I was going to participate in now that I was no longer tied to THAT MAN. I didn’t want a relationship, just big fun. Who knew my mind would change so drastically a mere six years later?

I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, y'all- marriage, babies, all of it. BUT I’ll be 36 on Monday. How long ‘til husband? How long ‘til baby? My girly parts are on their last legs, too, so can I even trust them to give me healthy babies? Because honestly, I’m not selfless enough to raise a sick child. I’m just not.

With every new gray hair I find I lament that my prime baby-making years were wasted on THAT MAN. I mean, I got some good babies from him BUT I’d have a lot more had he not been, well, HIM. A better marriage would have found me pregnant (and keeping the babies) lots more than just twice. I regret all that time I wasted with him.

Back to the matter at hand, I’m not over my baby fever. I’m not so in your face with it because no one wants to be around the grown-ass woman with baby fever, but it’s there. And it’s probably why I turn down the suitors who approach me. None of them are the husbands or fathers I see in my dreams.

Who is he? Child, your guess is as good as mine. Will he want babies, and can I still have them? *le sigh* I suppose that's a bridge I'll cross if and when I get there. Hopefully sooner than later.

Nothing would please me more than to write a blog post titled, "I Said YES!" and then another titled "Jaded Part THREE Is On Its Way!" So those of y'all with a direct line to the powers the be put in an order for a husband + babies (yes, plural) for me. Thanks!

*smooches...writing this of sound mind and body*
I swear I wasn't delirious when I wrote this LOL

Monday, May 16, 2011

36 Soon Come: How Jaded Got Her Health Back, Pt.3 - Fixing Everything

You can read pt. 1 here and pt. 2 here.

So already we established that I was a lazy whale who was eating everything in sight and gaining weight at about a pound per minute. That all lead to me going to the doctor to get all manner of physicals and enrolling in boot camp fitness sessions. Great. That was going to handle part of the problem.

What I still had to deal with was the reason I allowed myself to get here in the first place: I was trying to solve all my problems by self-medicating with food (a topic I will delve into later. Be patient.).

Basically, I need to address the emotional triggers that cause me to overeat and remain inactive. Like being overwhelmed with chores (the girls need to chip in more) and worrying about money (gotta get back on my budget) and over extending myself in general.

And I have to align myself with like-minded people, those who will understand when I choose not to drink or partake of deep fried stuff or staying out late because I have to workout in the early morning.

And of course, I need to finish my thesis, finish my book and light a fire under my writing career. This feeling of failure I hold on to is probably one of the biggest poisons in my life. And the anecdote is just to get in there and write my fingers to the bone.

To help with all this, I enlisted the help of a professional- holistic health counselor Marian Isel Barragán. Initially I just wanted help with my eating, but it turns out she works to ensure your overall health. Just what I was looking for!

To date, she's had me articulate and write down my ideal life, what I'd like to change and why and all that good stuff, and bit-by-bit we're tackling the huge mess my life has become. The bonus is she's Latina and not as scary as a shrink, so I feel confident working with her to straighten myself out.

I'm still scared of all the changes I'm undertaking, but excited, too. For the first time in a long time I feel like the things I want are really for real accessible to me. I can feel the changes happening. It feels great.

Just...too bad I waited this long to go on this journey, seeing as The Rapture is this Saturday... *sad face*

*smooches...quietly marching on*
failure isn't an option this time. for real.

Friday, May 13, 2011

36 Soon Come: Things Only A True NYer Knows

Let's overlook the fact that I don't consider you a REAL NYer unless you were born and/or raised here. I'm gonna sweep that under the rug on this beautiful Friday the 13th and give you a pass if you, like us REAL CITIZENS OF GOTHAM, know 95% of the following:

1- Where to get the best street meat. And no, I don't mean prostitutes! I mean, if you can tell me on which corner I can find a delicious food cart for whatever craving I'm having that day, you're a REAL NYer.

2- When the train is approaching the station. Us REAL NYers don't need all this fancy-schmancy electronic signs all over the place to tell us when a train is coming. We KNOW.

3- Which train car to be in. Each station let's you out in at least four different places. REAL NYers know which exit best suits their needs.

4- How to get a cab/regardless of race, date and time. There are tricks to getting home in a yellow cab. REAL NYers know them all.

5- Where NY celebs live. It's no secret, especially in today's digital media age. The thing is, us REAL NYers don't care. So what if TV Star X shops at the same Zabar's we do? And? We ain't got time...

*smooches...giving you more reasons why WE'RE so cool*
...and you're not! lol

Thursday, May 12, 2011

36 Soon Come: "A Thousand Butterflies..."

Wednesday was a weird day for me: Work was crazy, I had to make thesis edits (yes, I'm actively working on it!), I hadn't worked on my piece for the reading at the Cornelia St. Cafe, and I was still struggling with this one simple interview writeup that was over a month late. My brain was everywhere!

As showtime neared I was a ball of nerves. I wasn't confident in the story I had written and more than anything I knew there wouldn't be a friendly face in the audience to cheer me on (except Will; he showed up. Thanks, boo!). Then I got there and realized that my bio had been left off of the program *sigh*

And don't even get me started on the waitress who stole my change!

But then I got up to the stage and read the first line...and people laughed. Mind you, I didn't think the piece was comedic, but maybe something in the way I read it made them laugh. Whatever it was, they loved it! As I made the long walk back to my seat all these strange White people stopped me to say, "Wonderful!" or "That was a great story!" and the only other Latina in the audience said, "That was beautiful, Mama!" and I began to relax.

One woman (who I had met before) asked how long I'd been writing and did I go to school or was I self-taught. She was all, "You should be published! That story was so compelling and you read it beautifully." (I must add here that her forthcoming book, "Lost Cat Chronicles" sounds like it will be a great one. I heard her read from it twice and even though I'm not a cat lover I'll be sure to buy it when it comes out.)

I was in ego heaven. Correction: AM. I AM in ego heaven. You know us writers are vainer than a motherfucker, so this was definitely the boost I needed. I'm getting my body right and the first few pages of my novel kick ass. Inside my head I'm all like this:

Of course, outside I'm not because I'm always sore from working out but still... kiss of life indeed!

*smooches...all amped up to read again*
if you know of any events, let me know!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

36 Soon Come: Coping

As a person who has ALWAYS loathed exercise, I'm surprised at how I've stuck with my current workout plan and healthier diet and lifestyle. Granted, it's only been a little over month, but in these five short weeks I've found myself making better food choices more often than not and rarely missing a workout.

This is not to say that I enjoy getting up at 5AM so that Bryan can torture me with Russian push-ups and uphill lunges during bootcamp, or having Simone stand in front of me demanding I get LOWER during the "wine & tone" portion of Socacize. Because I hate every painful minute of it and would much rather be home laying about like a lazy lay-about!

But I've been sticking to it and making a conscious effort not to undo my hard work with the bad, bad, evil foods that put me here in the first place.

My problem, however, is that while this has been a positive change in my life, there are still day-to-day things that upset me and depress me and bring on a case of the Bluesy-Blues, but I no longer know how to cope with them.

See, up until April when I started this lifestyle change, I handled my feelings using food: potato chips, small pots of white rice, Buffalo wings, pints of Haagen Dazs and so much more crap that if I listed it you'd gain 20lbs just from reading it. Sometimes I'd add alcohol to the mix (if the babies weren't around). And on the rare occasion when there's a man in my life, I'd just screw his brains out to forget my troubles.

But now? I work too damn hard on those push-ups to just go home and fuck it up by gorging on a tasty, greasy Jerk Chicken pattie from Chrystie's or some French fries with hot sauce and ketchup from the ghetto Chinese take-out. And I already have trouble waking up in the morning; drinking the night before a bootcamp session would just be the most epic of epic mistakes on my part. The sex...well that whole change is a discussion for another post, but suffice it to say IT AIN'T HAPPENING.

That leaves me at a loss for what to do when confronted with attacks to my mental well-being. Sure, I could still veg out in front of my computer watching movies (and try not to pass out from exhaustion) but it's not the same without my comfort snacky foods. One would think I'd pick up a book or a pen and do what I supposedly do best, but when my mind is racing with troubles it's hard to focus on literature.

I just... I'm basically still trying to find a comfy place to land when I fall and unfortunately it's not something for which I thought to prepare.

*smooches...looking for my happy place*
in the meantime, I'll be playing Ani on repeat in heavy rotation

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

36 Soon Come: Published By 2011 Update

I've been a bad, bad girl writer.

When I stopped blogging in January it was with the intention of diving into my personal writing projects and taking the literary world by storm already. Instead, I ate. A lot. I read some, which any writer worth his salt will tell you is essential to continue improving your craft, but mostly I ate.

This is why right now, on May 10, 2011 I've YET to have anything published. June will be here before we know it and I will only have SIX MONTHS to get a story published.

To that end, I have made a small list of publications that will soon be getting an email or manila envelope full of magically delicious Jaded Words. The only way to get stuff out there is to send it around, right? Well I have to start doing that again.

Also, if you're in NYC, you really, truly, madly should come hear me read on Wednesday, May 11 at the Cornelia St. Cafe (showtime is at 6PM sharp - NOT CP time - and it only costs $7). I'll be debuting the first five pages of my novel-in-progress, "Precociously" (shout out to Will Dawson for the title LOL).

*smooches...trying to meet my destiny half-way*
now if it would just hurry up and get here...

Monday, May 09, 2011

36 Soon Come: How Jaded Got Her Health Back, Pt.2 - Working Out

You can read Pt.1 HERE.

In January I signed up for Groupon, a service that emails you daily deals in your area for everything and anything: food, clothes, etc. One deal that came up- 10 Boot Camp classes in Brooklyn for $39- could not be beat. Those classes are usually about $20 to $25 a piece! So ballsy me went for it. Now mind you, I didn’t start the classes until April but whatever, I’m doing it.

My first class took a lot of guts on my part, which lucky for me I HAD. Because I was 197lbs! I was nervous about getting injured. Or everyone in the class being better, faster, stronger than me. Mostly, I was afraid I'd quit after the first class (that's my track record, you know.). But although that first class kicked my ass from here to next Christmas, I completed it and seven others after it (I have 2 more classes to go as of this post... before I purchase another month!)

Still... Ummm, it’s hard work, yo! I leave each class feeling as if someone ran me over (and over) with a big ol’ truck, and by 3pm I just want to go home and sleep until the 5th of forever. And on Saturday, Jesus be a Jacuzzi, I had to run across the Manhattan Bridge and back. I mean, I mostly fast-walked it but still!

I also began these Thursday night Socacize classes, you know, because I'm so freakin' obsessed with soca music and all and let me tell you: in case I didn't know it before I know it now- I'm out of shape. So out of shape, in fact that I can barely wine my waist. A simple dance move and I can't do it. Why? Because there's too much "waist" in my waist.

But here's the thing I've noticed that's made this attempt at getting healthy different from every other half-assed attempt I've made in my adult life. I dread getting up for boot camp but once I'm up and out of the house I just decide to do what I have to do. It has become a competition for me- see what I can get my body to do today! And that failed attempt across the Manhattan Bridge? Oh, you'd best believe that shit didn't sit well with me. I must conquer it. I AM BADDER THAN THAT FUCKING BRIDGE! I don't have any intention or desire to become a runner, but I will do just enough to get across that bridge and back!

And because I'm already seeing some results in just ONE month (a- I can do more [modified push-ups than I ever thought possible AND b- I can get half of the way down in soca class!) I don't want to stop. I want another month of boot camp. I want to add in some Zumba classes. I want to go swimming once it warms up. And I have 10 Pilates classes bought and ready for me to use. Because I started out with this:

and I'm already at this:

Shit just got real, folks. There's no going back. I want to be able to party without taking a breather. I want to eat Buffalo wings without the guilt. I don't EVER want to walk into another Lane Bryant store again!!

And I guess it just clicked in my head one day that the only way I'm going to get those things is to put in real work, and not by starving myself like some Becky from a really bad after school special.

*smooches...dreaming of my stronger body every night*
I can already feel it happening :)

Friday, May 06, 2011

36 Soon Come: My Subconscious Mind Is A Filthy-Mouthed Sailor

ME: New Jaded Expression for when trying to encourage someone to take chances in life...

Smarty Jones: Uh oh

ME: "You just have to throw all your dicks in the air and pray it lands in some real good pussy." *drops mic*

Smarty Jones: :O WTH?

ME: That came to me while meditating just now. Ain't that some shit?

Smarty Jones: *dead*

*smooches...taking a break from meditating*
it's just a liiiiiittle too deep & crazy for me right now. I'll try again next month!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

36 Soon Come: The Fat, Ugly Friend

Confession: My vanity knows no bounds. I’m extremely conceited and need to be assured, regularly, that I’m pretty, sexy, etc. Maybe it’s the writer in me or maybe it’s latent daddy-abandonment issues or maybe I fear my own mortality, and I've always denied wanting to be known as "pretty" or "attractive" but there you have it- Jaded survives on Buffalo wings and compliments.

This vanity extends to the company I keep. Call it mean or whatever, but 99.9% of the people I allow myself to be seen with are attractive (and right about now you're wondering if you're in the .1% of Fuglies, aren't you? Well, if you're thinking it then you probably are! LOL). That sounds mean, right? But it’s true. Chances are if I keep making excuses for hanging out with you, well, let me not even finish that sentence.

Given all this, I’ve been really down on myself lately for the weight I gained while unemployed, because not only was I nearly 200lbs but my skin was looking BLECH and my hair was BLECH and my wardrobe was even more BLECH than usual because nothing fit (and big girl clothes are either ridiculously expensive or tent-like). And it manifested itself in feeling like the girl in the group that no dudes approach. You know her: she holds everyone’s purse, stands by the bar sipping a drink trying to look busy and has a look of steel so as not to emit the stench of defeat and disappointment in her life.

I felt like that girl so many times that initially, at the end of the night, all I wanted to do was go to sleep and never get up. See, others might take all that and get this determination to change their life. ME? No no no...I take all that and retreat into my own imaginative dream world where I have the body, skin and hair that I desire. In that world I’m an effortless dancer and social butterfly. I don’t sweat like Patrick Ewing. And my lipstick is always the perfect shade of red.

We’re our own worst critics; I know this. But it’s what I feel. And come to think of it, it’s how I’ve always felt. Even when I wasn’t the fat friend, I was the too-tall friend, or the awkward friend or just plain ol’ unapproachable. I’ve honestly never felt like the baddest bitch in the room. I only seem to attract old, homeless dudes; broken, damaged souls; and fuggos. But that’s my fault because I wear my low self-esteem like a big ass neon sign everywhere I go. Sad, right?

Reason #54,299 I’m single.

I write all this to say that besides the desire to get healthy and avoid the diseases that plague my family and race, I mostly decided to finally embark on a mission to lose weight so that I will look good. A lot of us won't admit it to ourselves or to others but there it is: I want to be desired. Not at stalker levels where dudes are camped outside my apartment waiting to slash my throat because they can't have me, but at that almost-caused-a-traffic-infraction level. Plain and simple.

I want women to be afraid to leave their men around me. I want a full dance card (did I just date myself with that sentence? ahhh fuck!). I want all the extra special privileges afforded to the beautiful people of the world always, whatever they may be. And I know that Step 1 is to be at fitness model level. So that's what I'm aiming for. Fuck all you hos...

Vanity, thy name is Raquel.

*smooches...promising you a light at the end of this pity party*
there will be a happy ending. for real. trust the process! lol

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

36 Soon Come: How Jaded Got Her Health Back, Pt.1 - Clean Slate!

During my blogging break, it came to my attention that I was a Fat-Ass Fatty McFatterton-Heifer. How? Oh, because I have a mirror and Voices that are unforgiving real-talkers.

But not only was I fat, I was unable to dance at my usual pace and oh, yeah, two of my favorite jeans fell prey to Inner Thigh Friction Syndrome. It was a sad, sad day in the Penzo household.

It got drastic. I didn't want to be the fat friend holding everyone's purse at the club (more on that later...), standing by myself while everyone else is chosen. It's a miserable place to be, especially if you're accustomed to being the Belle of the Ball(s).

Nothing has frightened me more in life than the thought of EVER weighing 200lbs again. Nothing! So I decided, at 197lbs and an almost size 16 (VOMIT!), to do something about it before I got too big to be cute.

My first step had to be a physical exam and blood draw, in order to determine what real damage I had done in just one crazy year. Much to my surprise everything came back normal. I was basically given a fresh start with regular/healthy cholesterol, iron, glucose and blood pressure levels. It was like a dream come true!

Then I had to visit the Girly Parts doctor, who assured me that my fibroids had not gotten any bigger so nothing needed to be done about them. And I’m hoping she’s right because if I have to Google this shit it won’t be pretty. She did, however, seem surprised that the schiesty doctor that performed my operation for the ectopic pregnancy I had in 1998 decided to leave my Fallopian tube in place. “They usually remove it.” *sigh* I can’t even count the ways I hate the whole experience attached to that operation.

Next I had to see a podiatrist because remember THIS post when I was complaining about my feet? Right. Well, it wasn't gangrene from Diabetes as I originally thought. I have plantar faciitis. So now, like a dork, I have to do these stretches, ice my feet regularly, and wear Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts. Blerg.

During all of this I signed up for a three-month-trial with Weight Watchers online, figuring that if Jennifer Hudson got her lollipop figure with them, so could I. The only thing left to do was the dreaded exercise. Double Blerg!

I knew I was on the verge of a huge lifestyle makeover. One that didn't include staying up until 4 AM eating Third Dinner while watching Cosby Show reruns on Netflix. And it scared me more than the anticipation of bad test results from the doctor.

I was in for a long, hard road. (That's what she said!)

*smooches...dragging you on this journey because I can*
besides, it's boring here all by myself!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

36 Soon Come: 10-Year Plans

A bit ago, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine that featured 21 high school seniors’ plans for the next 10 years of their lives and many of the answers made me sad. It also made me rush home and ask my 15-year-old what her 10-year plan was, to make sure she has a realistic hold on this world. Hey, she’s my kid so you never know.

When I was 18 all I wanted was to get out of Brooklyn, out from under my mother’s over-protective hold and just away from everyone and everything that was familiar. Oh, and I wanted to be a groupie for Guns N Roses- following them from show to show. That was, of course, in 1993 when the band was still together (shakes angry fists at Axl’s ego). Once I stepped onto Alfred’s campus and began classes, all I wanted to do was drink as much cheap and/or free liquor as I could get my hands on and maybe attend a class here and there. By my sophomore year, after having to convince the school to not kick me out, I was determined to really buckle down on my studies- Environmental Science- so that I could intern at the US Environmental Protection Agency and save the world. No more groupie dreams, just straight-up geology and statistics and socio-political classes. Then I got pregnant.

In my senior year I really, truly could give nan one fuck about the environment, but it was too late to change majors. My new 10-year plan involved living in sin with my child’s father someplace nice and making ends meet as best I could. Sexy, right? Sometime in 1998 I was already back in the NYC area, working a desk job at a SoHo publisher (fancy!), degree-less and severely unhappy with my marriage and life. Five years out of high school and nothing to show for it except some Fiestaware dishes I bought from eBay, a daughter and a fake marriage.

The next five years found me changing jobs at least three more times, having another daughter, adding vintage cameras to the items I was hoarding off of eBay and finally getting my BA in 2003. Ten years out of high school and I hadn’t saved the world, followed Guns N Roses anywhere and was STILL in a bad, fake marriage with a going-nowhere job.

I tell you all this because many of you probably have a similar story to tell- you were hyped up by your parents and teachers and told you could do anything and be anything and have it all…by 30. It’s so unrealistic and unfair to put that on a child. I beg of you not to perpetuate this myth with any of the children in your life.

You can have many things by the age of 30: two degrees; the beginnings of a kick-ass career; maybe a budding family; maybe a starter home or a nice apartment; and if you work really hard, some money stashed away for a rainy day. But you will not have this mysterious “all” by 30. You may not even get it by 40. If you look at most of the people with real financial wealth or successful careers, or any semblance of an “all” they’re old as fuck. Like, knocking on 60s door old. And they’ve put in eons of hard work.

In that New York Times Magazine article, one high school senior said that in 10 years, he’d be a pediatric surgeon with a house and enough bank to get his parents out of debt.

May the Lord be with him and his pipe dreams…

*smooches...teaching my kids better*
I wish someone had been more honest with me back then... it would have saved me so much heartache and bad feelings.

Monday, May 02, 2011

36 Soon Come: Things That Are Never Not Awesome

I am back, after a very extended break, with the things that brought me joy while living my life semi-blogless:

1- Television Without Pity. Their snark gives me life!

2- Pandora. I hate the listening limits but the stations I've created are nothing short of amazing.

3- www.izatrini.com. I've become sort of obsessed with soca music. Fuck getting published! All I want for Christmas is a round trip ticket to T&T Carnival 2012!

4- Adele. Yo- why ain't nobody told me about this heffa before?! I've so needed to fill the void that Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse left in my music collection!

5- Books. I've been trying to read more. I've been semi-successful but it's been heavenly!

*smooches...glad to be back but gladder to have been away*
y'all are draining; we needed this time apart.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Jaded Photographs 2011: May Edition

"36 Soon Come"

*smooches...ready for my journey to 40*
you do realize that after 35 you blink and next thing you know you're 40, right? *sigh*