Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Mom, The Myth, The Legend

You know what I hate? Exercise.
I know it’s not nice to hate, and I can practically hear my mom’s gentle scolding at me even using the “h” word. But I’m just gonna put it out there, y’all.
I hate exercise. It hurts my chest with all the extra effort needed to simultaneously move around and breathe. It also makes me feel twice as hungry throughout the day, and – perhaps the biggest problem – it absolutely wrecks my hair (Can I get an “Amen,” sistas?).
Yet, I’m not getting any younger. And these donuts aren’t getting any lighter. Something’s gotta give.
I’ve been walking a bit here and there. Taken group classes here and there. Dieted for a few straight hours here and there. But after taking a minute to build up to it, I ran for 1 nonstop mile.
Guys, this is huge. I’m a girl that doesn’t run. Not even if I’m being chased. But I did it. ME!
Now, when I say “run,” I don’t mean sprint. Maybe to some people it wasn’t even a speed-walk. But I don’t care. If I can move, lifting both feet off the ground between steps, then damn it, I ran. Helena Carlo, the Mom, the myth, the legend.
I’m posting the photo of my Olympic moment for proof and posterity purposes. Take a good look, loveys.

Sure, I’m being lured on by the promise of a cake just in front of my face, but no matter.
I will also acknowledge that the photo is a bit blurred. Poorly lit. A tad grainy. Similar to a snapshot of an apparition. Or Bigfoot. Or Nessie. But this is my proof.
I came.
I ran.
I ate a massive slice of that cake. (What? I told you, exercise makes me hungry.)

Monday, September 17, 2012


I have a confession to make.
I'm a Stage-5 Clinger. No, wait - this is a confession. No need to dilute the truth. I'm a Stage 500 Clinger. I get easily attached, not only to people I cherish, but with the strays I meet, and the car I've driven the wheels off of, and the jeans I've clung to for 6 years, swearing I'll whittle my hips back down into a size 26 someday.
This weekend I had an empty house, and some time on my hands to think of the way I get so attached so easily. I came to the realization that I have but one choice to solve my reluctance to change: I have to simply let go.
Letting go isn't something I can just say I'm gonna do, then do it. No way, Jose. For me, the collection of Crap-I'll-Never-Use and the relationships I've nurtured were all cultivated. I've turned resistance to change into an artform.
Letting go wasn't gonna be so easy.
Please see Exhibit A: My daughter's 1st day of school last year:

It all started slowly.
First, admitting my problem. "Hi, my name is Helena, and I hate change."
Second, I bagged my pre-babies clothes and gave them to a girl I know appreciates them very much. (She can also get them over her thighs, natch.)
With my newfound closet space came a bit more bravery.
Next, I went to the salon, and took several inches off my hair. "Why, hello, Change. Haven't seen you in forever!"
Feeling a bit more free and courageous, I was ready to admit to myself that a certain manuscript was going nowhere, despite my best efforts and months of writing. "See ya, WIP!"
Finally, and this for me was the doozy, I cut myself off from a handful of people who I absolutely love, but I who I ultimately realize don't love me back. I had friends who borrow money and never pay it back. Or who are so full of negativity, it is physically draining for me. "Friends" who flake and bail every time we have plans, leaving me all dressed up and waiting around like a fool.
What can I say? I can't be friends for both of us. It hurt like crazy. It hurts right now. I imagine it will hurt for some time. But when I realized these relationships are as toxic as the mold growing on the grade school report cards I've clung to for decades, I made the long-overdue decision to let it all go.
Hopefully as time goes on, I'll get much better at this newfound artform of letting go. Until then, I'll just be out in the garage, saying goodbye to the stacks of YM magazine I've inexplicably kept since junior high.