Monday, July 29, 2013

The Last 1.5 Years, Part III

It was December 30, 2011 when we pulled into my mom's driveway. The timing of this move was only semi-coincidental. I knew my life was about to change in some pretty drastic ways (I had already moved across the country back into my mom's house) and I relished that the new year would mean so many new beginnings.

The actual countdown to midnight was spent at the Warner's house, where all good parties take place. We ate pizza and sang karaoke (two of my very most favorite things) into 2012. Another part of the evening was spent writing down new years resolutions and posting them on a cabinet so they wouldn't be forgotten. Some were health related and some were career related. Some of the Warner children had goals related to farts or something. Either way, it was clear that 2012 would be full of new experiences and fulfilling dreams! Self Discovery 2012!

[Cue dramatic montage music.]

One of the first things I wanted to do in 2012 was lose weight. I didn't want to dabble in different diets and exercise programs, I wanted RESULTS. So I went into a weight loss clinic about a mile from my house and got a consultation. By the end of our meeting, I had a bag full of vitamins, a list of foods I was allowed to eat and about $800 less in my bank account.

The point of the diet was to eat absolutely no fat and take pills with a pregnancy hormone in them to help get rid of body fat. Perhaps sketchy science, but I was monitored every week by a nurse so don't judge me por favor.

The first time I went to Walmart with my mom to buy groceries off my new "approved foods" list, I think I cried. It was really hitting me that I was going to have to make some pretty tough changes. Some of my very best friends were missing from the list. Cheese? Nope. Peanut butter? Fat chance. Mini powdered donuts? Nowhere to be found as part of my new diet. I wasn't even allowed to eat bananas or carrots. My mom had to console me as we filled the cart with spinach, green beans, chicken breast and... yea, that's about it. The list had other things on it, but it just made me cry more to think about eating things like tofu and cauliflour. "You can do this, honey," my mom said as I tearfully handed the very confused Walmart cashier my debit card. "You like chicken." She said.

So basically for 3 months straight, here's what I ate every single day:

Breakfast: apple
Lunch: Soy beans and weird soup
Dinner: Chicken breast and green beans

Literally... every. single. day.

I was eating 750 calories per day and was told not to exercise (because I wasn't consuming enough calories). Slowly, however, I started sneaking other, more delicious foods into my diet. Fat free cheese? Yes, please! Mint chocoloate chip ice cream? Just a spoonful at midnight when everyone is asleep. After three months, I had lost 25 pounds, which was shy of my 35 pound goal, but I went from a size 10-12 to a 6 and everyone I saw basically told me I looked like a super model. Plus I really missed food.

My next stop of the journey of Self Discovery 2012 was employment. Remember all those amazing phone interviews with the PGA Tour?

Yeah, well...

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Last 1.5 Years Part II

In September 2011, I went to Zimbabwe for about 10 days. My cousins took me around the country to different landmarks. We went on Safari and saw tons of wild elephants, giraffes, hippos and monkeys. We went to Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world, and marveled at the lack of safety railings. You could (and many people have) be looking over the edge a little too close and straight up fall to your death. It was terrifying and invigorating. But Zimbabwe was also insanely expensive. Like, if you want to buy an Igloo cooler, it'll cost you $200 (actual example!). So being recently unemployed made the Africa trip a more anxious experience than perhaps I was ready for. But it was still a welcomed distraction from making life decisions.

Once I was back on the mainland, I started making preparations to move to home to Jacksonville. That meant getting rid of a lot of stuff and looking for work. Through a generous contact at church, I was able to have multiple phone interviews with the media department at the PGA Tour. I felt pretty legit! Even in Jacksonville, Florida I would be able to use my degree. With BENEFITS and everything. Didn't think those still existed? Me either. I've never had them before. But this was my chance!

So maybe there was a light at the end of my mysterious, anxiety ridden tunnel.

I decided I would officially make the move at the end of the year. It would give me a clean break. I had been in Utah for 6 years and wanted a bit of time to let go and prepare for life changes. I savored those last few months in Utah. I spent time with friends, my aunt Jackie (who lived in Lehi), and the beautiful mountains.

The plan was that my mom and brother were going to fly out to Utah for Christmas then drive back with me in my car. Oh yeah! And to be economical, I just stuffed everything I owned in there too. My mom, Zac, me and MASSIVE amounts of stuff driving cross-country. Was there enough room? Not really... But we were renegades, dang it!

Before we left, I went to go-cart boy's house. It was a freezing post-Christmas evening. His whole family was there and they were doing something precious like baking or playing a board game. I gave them all hugs and said my farewells. I didn't cry, which was pretty BA of me because this was a big deal. I had spent a lot of time (perhaps too much time, I see now) waiting for our awesome friendship to turn into something else. And I'm not exaggerating about the awesome friendship. We were really close. I was going to miss him, but only because I had no idea what (or who...) was waiting for me in Florida. I gave him a hug, handed him a letter and got in my car (more accurately, I shoved my body in between my guitar and a box of shoes, struggling to close the door behind me).

Then we drove away.

About 4-5 days later, we all had knee and back and rib and foot problems, but evenutally my family and I made it back to sunny Florida.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Blog Post! "The Last 1.5 Years" Part I

My friend Erica recently told me to post on my blog "even if it's just photos of your new married life, but especially if it's funny stories about skinny dipping or something like that."

The truth is, I've been trying to write some new posts for a while. The last year and a half of my life has been full of excellent blogging material. First of all... I got married. I found a boy who liked me enough to hang out with me forever. So that was cool. Also, for most of 2012 I worked as a singer in a bar. This was so very out-of-character for me I don't even know how to start explaining it.

So maybe I should just start at the beginning. Or rather... at the end of my time in Utah. That was really where my life took some unexpected detours.

It was September 2011. I was living in Provo. The important things about my life at this time are as follows:
- I was working television which, considering that I majored in media production, was essentially my dream employment situation.
- I was in love with someone who was not in love with me (and I had a daily emotional roller coaster about it).
- I weighed 168 pounds, which isn't huge, but in the land of Provo Barbie dolls, I felt enormous.

It was a very strange time in my life and I couldn't help but feel like I wasn't really progressing. I felt like I was on a launching pad, waiting for lift off. Waiting...

...and waiting....

Then one day... I got laid off.  I suddenly didn't have a job anymore. My contract with the TV company I was working for was not renewed. I called my mom from a gas station, probably cyring. She told me I could move home, if I wanted to.

I thought about it. I could probably get another TV job in Utah if I stayed. The industry out there is surprisingly happenin' and I was fairly well connected. And what would happen if I moved back in with my mom? That was probably pretty lame... But I kept thinking about that "launching pad" feeling...

Then I went home to my apartment and sat on the stairs, thinking about life. Something about losing my job felt right. Something about moving away felt freeing. Utah had been good to me, but had I drained the well? As I was sitting on my stairs, the boy I was pining after came by to borrow zip ties. He was building a go cart. Noticing my pensive, slightly depressed demeanor, he invited me to come test drive it with him. I, of course, accepted.

It was probably the most bittersweet go cart ride in history. As I sat, snuggled next to the boy I would never have, thinking about where I would end up, who I would be in a year, feeling the wind against my face, I said a quiet goodbye to Utah. Goodbye to my unhealthy relationship (or lack thereof...) with "go cart boy". Goodbye to job security and cold winters.

Then I went to Africa.

[Sidebar: I've been to many cool countries, mostly by inviting myself on other people's trips. A few months prior to my lack of employment, my grandpa told me he was going to Africa to visit some of my cousins. I promptly invited myself to go with him. He was a little suprised, but accepted my offer. We bought our tickets and made the arrangements. Then, a week before the trip, my grandpa called to tell me that grandma was too frail for the trip so they weren't going anymore. I now had a ticket to Africa and was going alone.]

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