A Needle in a Giant Mess of a Haystack…(Part I)

I just got back from having lunch with a friend. She’s someone I have known for many years and who I love and who would be considered a “good catch” in terms of her eligibility. She comes from a good family, she has a good circle of friends, she’s a good mum, she knows how to have fun. She loves to have someone to love. She’s good people. And she’s been single awhile. A few short lived relationships. Some a year or so long. And today, she talked about possibly wanting to have another baby. To give her already 5 year old a sibling to count on…no matter what.

She isn’t in a relationship right now, and while there are a lot of viable options for her, including adoption, she wants to have a baby. But not with some anonymous sperm. She wants a baby to co-parent with someone she loves. Not necessarily someone she is in love with, but who she has a relationship with. Someone she cares about. She has 2 men in her life who she has known a long time who she has asked, and they both said that they are in love with her, so would absolutely do it but only if she were willing to be in a relationship with them. They both would love to be parents, but they are choosing no kids over this “opportunity”.

I think this is such a mind blowing idea. Both of those men are willing to forego having a family, because they are committed to something else. I get it. I wouldn’t want to be a parent on my own. I’ve thought about it. Over the past few years especially, as I inch my closer to the no-go zone. Sometimes, I find myself wondering what would’ve happened if I’d just gone ahead and stayed in the arranged marriage. I would’ve maybe had some kids by now so I wouldn’t have to spend my time thinking about who’ll take care of me when I can’t take care of myself.

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Here’s what my lunch time conversation made me realize. There was a time when the statement “These times, they are a’changing” would’ve been accurate. But I realized that they are no longer a’changing. They’ve a’changed. And nothing looks as it should. At the encouragement of a friend, I have now started having conversations with friends who aren’t necessarily in my closest circle, to see if they might know some fabulous single men they might like to introduce me to. I’m calling it Rita’s Referral Program. What didn’t occur to me until just this minute is, isn’t that kinda the same thing as how an arranged marriage gets started? Someone’s parents knows someone who has a boy of marrying age…Okay. So, maybe a little bit.

So my friend and I were joking that she might start a referral program of her own, to see if she can find someone who would like to have a child and co-parent with her. Not someone completely anonymous, someone who is clear he wants to be a father, but not full time and maybe without all the commitment.

Then, there’s the whole online dating phenomenon. I have spent the majority of my adult life dating online, or otherwise. When I first moved here, 20something years ago, the internet wasn’t a thing, so it was newspaper personals. That was fun. Talk about blind dates. Total randoms. But I sure did have fun, and I met some really great men. I remember there was a plethora of men to choose from back then. Men were single, and not jaded or cynical. They hadn’t had their guts punched out by their last marriage, or the ex who cheated on them. So they were still fun and caring and were considering relationship options.

This morning, I received an email from someone on Plenty of Fish, who has a profile claiming to want to meet someone to marry. Yet he sends me an email and says “Gee you sure are pretty but I’m only looking for friends with benefits.” And when I politely said that perhaps he could change his profile so women would know clearly what he was after, and that perhaps he should look elsewhere…” he swore at me in his response. Because I rejected him I suppose. But here’s the thing, men reject me online all the time. By either not responding or by giving me some lame a** excuse. I get it. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. But 20something years ago when I first started dating, the haystack was just that. A haystack, filled with hay. And somewhere in there, there was a needle. NOW that haystack is laced with all kinds of other “my girlfriend cheated on me and I don’t trust women”, “i’m not taking care of you” “you better not be looking for a sugar daddy” “i’m mostly just looking to get laid even though my profile says i want to get married” bullsh*t, that the needle has become virtually impossible to find.

I sure do miss the days when a haystack was just a haystack.

So what are fabulous, single amazing women like myself and my friend supposed to do? I suppose writing about it helps. But mostly, I’ll be honest…I’m a little perplexed. Especially given I know that the majority of the men (and women) who claim to be looking to get laid, actually want nothing more than to have someone to come home to. So why can’t we just admit that to ourselves and then to each other?

I’m not yet sure why I’m writing this yet. I’m not sure what my next move is. I’m not even sure what my next sentence is…but I think there’ll be a part II. Just let me leave this with you for now…

Rita xo

Some Radical F**king Honesty

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I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say something that I probably shouldn’t say. Something that will likely make some people uncomfortable. I’m gonna say something that may trip some people up, or trigger some emotions in others. I promise you though…I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.  This thing is slowly kicking my a**.

We are taught to be self sufficient and independent and take life by the balls and live BIG and all that stuff. These days, everyone’s writing books and blog posts about how great life is and I swear to God, if I see another “Top 101 Reasons Why Being Single is Awesome”, I’m gonna throw my water bottle at my computer screen.

I get it. I SO get it. Being single IS awesome. You can walk around and belch and fart and not wash your dishes or shave your legs if you don’t want to, you can skip a waxing appointment every now and again, or not get your nails done, or even wait until the last possible moment to do laundry. If that’s your thing. You can do all of those things. You can also go out anytime you want, you can do anything you want, with anyone you want. You can sleep around, you can get on a plane without having to tell anyone where you’re going. You can take a road trip solo, and feel empowered by it. And you can binge-watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix for as long as you want, wearing whatever you want.

All of those things are absolutely 100% true.

Let’s just have a look behind the curtain for a minute…

And then…you have your 40something birthday…and you buy yourself a slice of birthday cake, and light your own candle, and see no one else all day. You wake up alone, you go to bed alone, your phone doesn’t ring all day, your family doesn’t send you a birthday card, actually come to think of it…no one does, cause birthday cards are SO yesterday, and you realize…you’ve never been more alone on your birthday, EVER. And then you realize how much you don’t like it.

That was me. Last Wednesday. I turned 40something, and while I am a big fan of Facebook birthdays (thank you Facebook for making birthdays fun!), I’m also a big fan of phone calls and birthday cards and presents and balloons and a little fuss. I’m past the point of ever having a baby shower. I’m also not likely going to be having an engagement party, and there’s about a 50% chance I may not get married, and if I do, I’ve already got everything I could ever need in terms of what I would need as a gift, so I have one day. One day a year. Just one day. A year.

So the past few days I’ve been wandering around pondering all these things. Catching glimpses of what my life might be when I’m old and grey…and I don’t like it. Not one bit. So I vent to a friend. I get it all out of my head. Swirling around in my head all by myself, is only making things worse.

And then…I get it. The past 45 minutes I’ve been ranting and raving about all of these things, and the things I’m mad about, or not mad about, or at who, or why, and it dawns on me. I’m not mad. Or sad. I’m done. I’m done with all of this aloneness. I’m sick of it. I am SICK OF BEING ALONE! I have been playing a game. I don’t know what it’s called, or what the rules are…but I have definitely been playing it. And I’ve been winning. I love winning games, but this particular one…the one where I am constantly winning at being single…sucks! Don’t play it. And if you’re in the middle of playing it right now, put down the dice and walk away from the board. THIS GAME SUCKS.

I am done. I am DONE playing this game. And I am ESPECIALLY done winning this game.

I am also, very very very done with being alone. My life is so much bigger, and my heart is so much fuller that it seems a waste for me not to have someone to love. AND what a disservice I’m doing to the person who doesn’t get a chance to love the pants off’of me. Seriously. If you met me. You would agree. I am so f**king awesome, even I blow myself away sometimes.

Now. What am I supposed to do about it, now that I’m done? Now that I’m so sick of playing this game, I never want to see it ever EVER again? What do I do? I don’t have a f**king clue. But I will tell you this. I’m walking away from the table. And it feels pretty f**king awesome. And I’m telling you. I don’t know what changed today that I feel like I can tell you. I’m independent, and awesome and have my sh*t together, and my life is awesome, and you should hear about the raddest summer of my life that I just had. AND I’m not gonna lie. All that stuff…it’s not enough anymore.

And that is the sweetest taboo. I’m not supposed to say that out loud. Shhhh…someone might hear you. Someone might tell you you’re not being grateful. Shut your mouth. I’m as grateful as they come. I’m not ungrateful. I’m just being honest. I have never been more in love with who I am as I am right now.

And now, I’d like for someone else to feel that way about me too.

Sue me. It’s true. It’s honest. And yes. It’s a little radical. So? I know I’m not alone in it. So there’s that.

Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Tell me how much it sucks. Get it out of your head. I know you likely go to bed thinking about it. Or maybe you wake up thinking about it. Tell me. It helps. I promise.

I feel better already.

xo Rita

What’s On Your List…?

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*I took this photo at WDS2015 while Jeremy Cowart was speaking. 

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” ~ Diane Ackerman

A million years ago, I used to work in a discount clothing store downtown. One quiet Sunday, I was in the store, and it was close to closing time, and this woman came into the store. After awhile, when she came up to the till, she said “I don’t know you, and I’m sorry if I’ve been staring, but something in me is compelling me to tell you to go buy the books “Feel the Fear And Do it Anyway” and “The Aladdin Factor” asap. She didn’t say much more than that, and I have always been a believer of being given signs, so as soon as I got off work, I went to the used bookstore next door, and bought copies of both books with the last $32 in my wallet.

I went home that afternoon and devoured those books. Especially “The Aladdin Factor” by Mark Victor Hansen.  That book CHANGED MY LIFE. Back in 1995 when I read this book, long before bucket lists were a thing, he talks about making lists. Lists filled with outrageous items that we’d never dream of telling anyone about. I never forgot that exercise. He says do not stop making that list until you have at least 100 items on it. Back in 1995, I couldn’t even think of 100 items. It took me WEEKS to come up with that many items. And outrageous? Gosh, y’know, looking at that list now, I hadn’t yet even learned to think big. I remember putting things like “Get a VISA”, since I didn’t have a credit card, or “buy a pool table”, which was weird cause I didn’t have a house to put it in and i didn’t play pool, and i didn’t even include “buy a house” on the list. That will give you a sense of it though. That first list was tough.

He also says “get as outrageous as you can. the more outrageous the better.” So, back in 1995, the most outrageous thing I could think of for my #1 item was “Meet Bruce Springsteen (backstage pass or otherwise).” I remember writing it down and I had butterflies. It seemed SO ridiculous. Meet Bruce Springsteen? Are you kidding? How on earth? BUT he did say, “be outrageous”. And that to me seemed pretty flippin’ outrageous.

I have since become a huge fan of lists. I even bought a journal that i use specifically for my list. And over the years, it has become fluid, so I’m constantly adding to it, as I cross things off. I get a lot of enjoyment out of highlighting the items I’ve accomplished. I’ve transferred items over to new lists, all the while, #1 always remaining the same. “Meet Bruce Springsteen.” Never occurred to me to take it off the list, but it also never really occurred to me that it was something that I’d ever cross off. What’s funny, is that it has always remained the most outrageous thing I can think of. Even with all the other big, outrageous things I’ve done.

A few months before I left for a road trip this summer (also a list item), I purchased tickets for Springsteen in NJ and shared with my FB world that i’d be going, how excited I was to be crossing this off the list. I shared it because I was excited about the concert tickets. AND in sharing it, it set some things in motion…

Remember when we were kids? 5, 6 7, 8 years old. “I’m gonna be a fireman!” “I wanna be a doctor!” My own nephew when he was 4 started telling us he wanted to be a paleontologist. What did we do? We bought him dinosaur books, and backpacks, and pajamas, and I took him to see a big dinosaur show that was here a few summers ago. He knows everything there is to know about each of the dinosaurs, and he made us love them again too. And because he was so excited about dream, we were excited too. So we did what we knew to do to help him along. To make it real for him. Whether or not he grows up to be a paleontologist no longer matters. What matters is helping him make any of his dream come true. And now, at 8 years old, he still loves dinosaurs.  So why, when we’re so eager to make children’s wishes and dreams come true, why wouldn’t we be doing that for ourselves? Or for each other?

Why am i even telling you this story?

Well. Because. After 20+ years of keeping my #1 item on my list as my #1 item on my list, I’m meeting Bruce Springsteen on October 4th.  I shared my outrageous dream with others, others got involved in helping to make it happen. Which put energy under it and into the Universe. Sometimes you can run into him on the streets of New Jersey, but you’d have to know where he hangs out for that to happen, and of course, a girl from the west coast of Canada doesn’t really have a good shot of that happening in her every day life. Despite the fact that I’ve seen him in concert 5x, it just never dawned on me how I would meet him. But, it stayed on the list.

How is it possible that I’m meeting Bruce Springsteen? Because one friend took it upon herself to make it happen, by being my fairy godmother and making it happen. The tickets sold out in under a minute for a special event in Portland. But she managed to get one for me. And it is safe to say that when I do meet him on October 4th, I won’t be the only one excited about it. When we get personally involved in someone else’s dream…it starts to matter to us too. It starts to make dreams possible for us as well. It lights a fire under us.

If you know me, or you’ve read any other my other blogs, you’ll know, I’m a huge fan of list making. I have challenged friends to make lists. I love lists! Lists are fun! Lists have us live our lives in ways that we may not otherwise. Lists force us to go beyond our comfort zones. Lists force us to be true to what we want. Especially when we share them.

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20 something years ago, I put that #1 item on my list. A bunch of words on a piece of paper. And the day I cross that sucker off the list..you can bet I’ll be sharing it with the world.

So. I ask you. What’s on your list? What dream are you willing to look foolish for?

There are people in our lives just waiting for an opportunity to contribute something to someone they love. What if that someone is you?

Share with me some of what’s on your list and if I can help, I will! And you never know who might be reading this post who might be able to do something to help you achieve the #1 item on your list…

Rita xo

 

Well Sh*t

boys-quote-fuck-girl-hate-i-want-love-sad-deserve-i-donx27t-i-wish-i-would-Favim.com-798658 “I don’t deserve to be loved.”

Yikes. Don’t you want to just hug the person who said it? Guess where it came from?

The dark, scary recesses of the back of my mind. Truly.

If you know me, you already know that I am a huge sucker for love. Love is where it’s at. Love is my religion. I want EVERYONE to have love that blows their minds, that grows their hearts a few sizes. I want everyone to experience love. In all it’s forms. In all it’s glory. Because what is life without love? A part of me wants to burst into song. And yet…another part of me…the part of me that believes that sentence above, is staring at the florescent light above her desk to keep from crying, because for me to believe that I don’t deserve to be loved is the saddest thing I ever could’ve discovered.

Don’t worry. I’m not wallowing in it. I’m sad. Oh boy. Am I ever. I’m sad that I believe that to be true. That at 45 years old, I’m living my life on my own, and watching the world go by…holding hands, making out in corners, sharing lives together. Because everyone deserves to have that. Well.

Everyone except me.

Somewhere, a long time ago, someone said something to me. And I believed them.

I have had an issue with my weight since I was about 8. Well. Actually let me rephrase that. My parents. Society. Etc. had an issue with my weight since I was little. For me, it wasn’t an issue. Until I was reminded of how big an issue it was. That no one would love me if I didn’t lose x..y…z. That no one would want to marry me until…And somewhere along the way…I started to believe it. I didn’t know I believed it. I mean…I live my life like love is all there is. I make sure people know that. If someone came to me and told me that they didn’t believe they deserved to be loved, i would be heartbroken for them. It’s simply not true. Everyone deserves to be loved. Everyone.

Except me.

Until yesterday afternoon, I didn’t know. I wasn’t aware. I had no idea that I thought/believed/felt that. It was just something that was back there, in the dark recesses of my mind, where no one looked, and I just lived my life. Like nothing was wrong. Every now and again, pondering, wondering, questioning, why I might not be in a relationship after all this time. But never turning the lights on back there. In the dark corners.

And then yesterday…I had a conversation with a friend, and suddenly, it came to me. It just flashed through my mind like an electronic billboard quickly switching to the next ad. I waited for the ad cycle to go through again. And then BAM. There it was again. “Rita you don’t deserve to be loved.” I was surprised. I think I may have gasped out loud. I quickly shared with my friend. Who immediately wanted to tell me how crazy that was. But I asked her to listen. Just to listen to what was there. Because if I didn’t get it out of my head, it would get spooked and go back to where it came from. So I just kept sharing. And a part of me was almost excited. Finally. Some movement. Something. I shared with a few people. The more I shared, the more real it became.

Until this morning. When I woke up and realized that this thought. This belief. This banner that I quietly fly over my head…was no longer in the dark corners of my subconscious. It’s right there. Sitting on my face, like an alien hand reaching out to suck out my brain. And no manner of etch-a-sketching my head is making it go back to where it came from. I’m sad to know that for most of my life, I have lived it silently believing that I don’t deserve to be loved. It’s f**ked up. And if you knew me, you’d know how ludicrous this is. And yet…There you have it.

I don’t quite know what’s on the other side. I’m delving into this blind. I don’t know. All I know is that in this moment, it’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. It’s sad. My heart breaks for the me that has lived life with this belief.

And…I asked for it. I said, I wanted to get a look at whatever it is that stands between me and being in love. Well there you go. I just wasn’t expecting it to be such a big mother f**king big thing.

It’s why I make sure that people experience Love. It’s why I’m such a relationship cheerleader. It’s why love is so important to me. It’s why I fight for it. Because I don’t deserve it. But God forbid anyone else ever feel that. Even for a minute.

Tell me. Is there something you believe to be true about you that if you were to say it out loud, would sound ludicrous. And yet…you are 100% sold on it? Share it here. Let’s make this the dumping ground for all the bullsh*t that keeps us from having the lives I showed you mine.

I’d be honoured if you’d show me yours.

xo
Rita

#100Days Like A Boss

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When Cindy and I started the #100Days workout challenge, neither of us really had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. It sounded cool to say 100 day work out challenge. But other than that, we didn’t really think it through. We had no idea we’d be tired for much of the 3 months. And when Cindy took on a 30 day yoga challenge at the same time, that sometimes, she wouldn’t have time to do anything else. The days when we thought doing a double was a good idea, or the days when just getting out of bed to go about the day was tough. Who knew that buying groceries, or keeping up on the housework or having some social time with friends would become less and less doable. My house wasn’t clean for the first 2 months. At least not as clean as I would’ve liked. I never seemed to get enough rest. God forbid I should want to spend time with friends. There was no time for that.

As time went on though, as we got into the 40s and the 50s, we start to find our groove. I could see myself racing from work to an earlier class if I had something going on that night. I could race home and shower and go out again if I had to. I was less sore. While my body still hurt all the time, I wasn’t incapacitated with how sore I was. The more I worked out, the less sore I was. Weird hey? I think it was because I was constantly doing something different. Cindy and I do the same bootcamp together 4x a week (as often as possible) so we were always mixing things up. No class is ever the same. So we never got bored. Well, I suppose it’s wrong to say never…because I remember around Day 75 saying to Cindy…”I kinda feel like we got this one already and I”m a little bored with it.”

Funny how that happens. You take on something you’ve never done before, and never thought you’d be able to do and then bam..you’ve done it. You’ve shown yourself it’s possible. And then one day…it’s Day 100 and you’re out celebrating with a hearty breakfast of pancakes and omelets and the like. We reflected over breakfast, what we wanted to get and whether we achieved those goals. For me, my number one was to see if I could do it. For Cindy also. I am not what I would call an athlete or even an active personality. I do a lot, sure. But that’s never been my life. I played team sports when I was younger, but preferred walking and aquafit/swimming to team sports. I never learned to play baseball nor did I have a desire to learn. I was more of the sit in a corner and read kind of person growing up. Plus I was always forced to do exercise as a kid, (that’s too long of a story to share here) in some pretty humiliating ways, so for me, as a grown up, i didn’t have to do that. But there came a time when it became important to me. It did wonders for my self esteem. I felt stronger. I felt hotter. It was starting to transform me mentally. I Liked it.

That’s how I felt with this challenge. My second goal was to alter my point of view about myself. That I actually could be someone who works out all the time. I could become one of those people that other people knew went to the gym a lot. There was a time in my life when people would be looking for me and they’d find me at the club every night. And now…if people are looking for me, they know they can likely find me at either of my 2 gyms. I wanted that. I wanted to alter my own point of view, but also impact my environment. I also wanted to inspire someone. Anyone. Even one person to take on something like this. To want to push themselves out of their comfort zone.

Cindy and I talked about how people work out all the time. Especially those who are training for races. They work out hard core, all the time. But neither Cindy nor I are those people. We aren’t training for anything. We aren’t entered in a race. We just wanted to do something to show ourselves we could. And we did. We are not the same height, the same build, the same body type, or even have the same lifestyle. And we both did it. I like to think that we proved to the “every man” that it’s possible.

Exercise is one of those things that you either love or hate. And let’s face it, it does kind of suck. BUT if you find something you love, it makes a huge difference. While I don’t love bootcamp, there are elements of it that I do love. Especially the support of the rest of the group when something is particularly hard. Like last night’s Day 101 class. It was the worst class EVER. I’m surprised I could get out of bed today. But we all did it together. And we survived. No one puked or passed out.

There are always reasons not to go. Too busy, too tired. Gotta go buy groceries. Have to get the kids to their x, y, z. Need to make dinner. Have to something or other. But Cindy and I…we kind of debunked every single excuse in the book. We started off the challenge, both of us with tooth infections and root canals. We both put our right hips out. We both suffered from exhaustion. And yet…we just kept showing up. I had a fever for a few days, and I kept doing something. Because I said.

So often I have let my reasons get in the way of what I said I was committed to. If I had said at the beginning that I was going to do some form of physical activity every single day for 100 days, but I could double up if I knew I was going to miss a day..then great. I could’ve done that. But I didn’t. I said every single day for 100 days and if we miss a day, we start over. Trust me..when you get to day 55 the last thing you want to do is start over.

It’s been an amazing journey. I am taking tonight off. And I”m pretty excited about that. Monday starts a new journey…I hope you’ll join me.

Thanks for being here.
Rita
xo
PS a big giant thank you to my dear friend J who doodled this amazing photo for me in celebration! xo

Day 97 #100Days Tough It Out

You know what?

I am not one one of those people that other people look at and think ‘Wow..I bet she works out every day.”

I hate that. My guess is that most people think “Wow she could really benefit from working out.”

Even my mum, who knows how much I work out, thinks I’m not doing enough. Bless her. She’s a little bit one track minded. Unless the exercise is doing any “good” which would mean that I’m actually “losing copious amounts of weight” she thinks I shouldn’t bother. I get it. Sometimes, I wonder the same thing. why bother? What the heck am I doing?

My intention in starting the #100Days workout challenge was to gain some momentum and workout regularly. I wanted to get back to the gym and I wasn’t reliable to go for the past many months. So, i came up with the challenge. And it’s been good. I have great upper arm strength, I can feel the muscles in my quads. My cardio still needs work but that’ll come. I lost 1lb in the past 5 weeks and I actually don’t even care. It’s about so much more than that now.

But I have to say…it really bugs me that when people look at me, they automatically assume I’m lazy, or don’t care about myself, or don’t take care of myself. Never mind that my heart is healthy, my hair has never looked healthier, my skin glows, and let’s face it..I look about 10 years younger than I am. My blood work always comes back fine, aside from the fact that as a life long vegetarian, my iron and b12 levels are always low. But no one cares when they look at me. To them I represent the “minority” of people who don’t take care of themselves.

Stop doing that. Stop assuming that I don’t take care of myself. Stop telling me about the latest diet pill or the latest in miracle juice cleanses or this awesome exercise class guaranteed to shed 10lbs in one class. Stop it. I have worked my butt off this past 97 days. I’m proud of my accomplishment, and for some reason, I still feel like I “should’ve” done more. I “should’ve” accomplished more. I should be the poster child for #100Day challenges.

But, I’m not. I’m just me. In this body. In this moment. Still trying to figure out how to get through the next 3 days…

And if it’s okay for me to say…I wish when they looked at me, people just saw me.

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All The Stuff I Don’t Want You To Know #100Days

I just spent the last hour or so, sporadically looking for the perfect photo for this post. And just now, I realized…this is one of those posts that doesn’t need a photo. This isn’t about the bells and whistles. This post is about me keeping my promise to share all the stuff that comes up emotionally, physically, mentally and even spiritually while on this journey to find my healthiest self.

Today is Day 69 and the week started out with me asking myself the question “What is the point in all this?” And that hasn’t gone away. I’m still asking the question. Only now, I’m asking it in a different way. “What the fcuk is the point!?” WHAT THE FCUK IS THE POINT!?

I had a meltdown at bootcamp on Monday. I fought with one of our trainers. Cried. Hated every single moment of it. Hated it. Spent much of the class talking myself out of quitting. Gratefully, I’m not much of a quitter, but I wanted to. Believe me. When I was leaving, I had a conversation with the trainer that I fought with. By the time that conversation was over, I realized she’s just really committed to every single person in that program doing awesome and that’s it. Everything she says comes from THAT place. So the fight wasn’t about her. My being upset..it wasn’t about her. But I was visibly upset by it all. I was shaken. Thrown off. Mad. Sad. Vulnerable. And I wasn’t sure why. Because in the grand scheme, it wasn’t that big a deal. But it felt like a REALLY B I G D E A L.

Then yesterday, while I had lunch with a friend, she heard something in what I said as I was sharing with her about Monday night. So she asked the question that I was afraid she’d ask…without knowing she’d ask it. “I heard you say to the trainer – You don’t know what it’s like. What did you mean? What is it like?”

Fcuk.

I spent 3 months living in Beijing, China when I was working during the 2008 Summer Olympics. It was definitely my dream job, and I worked with amazing people who are great friends of mine now. We had a lot of fun. We experienced a lot of new things. We climbed the Great Wall of China. We saw the Terracotta warriors. If you ask anyone, they loved it and can’t wait to go back. Some of my friends have since, gone back. But me?

You couldn’t pay me enough to go back.

I don’t talk about why. I don’t tell people what happened, or what my experience was like. I just tell people “Yeah, I worked in Beijing during the Olympics and yes, it was very cool.”

I don’t talk about what it was like to have to spend an extra hour or two psyching myself up in the living room, pacing back and forth to put myself in the right frame of mine so I could leave the house. I have never told anyone that the people, so unused to seeing someone overweight walking the streets, used to point at me, and grab each other and make sure I didn’t walk by unnoticed. I can’t even talk about all those people who pulled out their cameras to take my photo when I stood at the stop light. Or those who simply shout the words “ooooOO FAT” at me as I’d walk by them. Never mind telling anyone about those people who would take out their video cameras and film themselves standing behind me or beside me and doing some commentary, so they could show the folks back home about the “circus freak” wandering the streets of Beijing.

No one can know that I would wear my sunglasses even on rainy days because I didn’t want anyone on the street to see the pain in my eyes when they’d stare at me like I was some kind of monster. Or that time that toddler looked up at me and screamed and cried because clearly…I’m a scary monster.

The people I was in Beijing with, the friends I made while I was there, don’t know that I used to walk out of the lobby of the hotel, and get straight into a taxi because less people could see me, and get out of the taxi right in front of the building where I worked, so the least amount of eyes would be directed at me. They had no idea that the times I went to get deep tissue massage done at a clinic for my knee, that the people in the clinic would try and up-sell weight loss acupuncture for a half hour before they’d treat my knee.

Every. Single. Time.

I can’t tell people that this me, this person who loves and who lives and breathes and is ever grateful for the kindness of others, and the love that people have for each other, that I’m the same person who actually fears what people think when she walks down the street. That I literally cringe when I see a tourist with a video camera. That I couldn’t keep my shit together long enough to enjoy my experience in Beijing. Because I have never in my whole life felt more humiliated or embarrassed. That I would go out shopping, come home, have a cry, and then go on with my day. I can’t tell people that if I could put on an invisibility cloak and walk down the street to be saved from people’s stares and jeers and pointing…I would. I don’t want people to know I was weak enough to have had that experience, and that it forced me to find new ways to protect myself and my heart.

People can’t know that THIS is the reason I get so riled up when people are unkind to eachother. My level of passion and/or disdain for the stories about bullying…there isn’t an explanation for it. When I hear of another teenager killing themselves because of all the bullying..it makes me want to slit the throat of the world we live in. Because how in the world can we be so fucking ignorant to one another? Don’t you know the damage that can be done to another human being? We all have feelings. Doesn’t matter how old we are or how old we get. Shit like that stays with you.

I was 38 years old in Beijing in 2008. And, 6 years later, on Monday night, I cried like a 10 year old at bootcamp because we had to go outdoors and walk through downtown to get to where we were going to run some hills and I was mortified. I was humiliated all over again. I didn’t know it at the time. Because what happened in Beijing…was supposed to stay in Beijing. No one needs to know that I was bullied by an entire culture. No one needs to know that.

And honestly..the last thing I wanted to do was tell you about this. To put out into the world the humiliating experience that has impacted me for the past 6 years…There’s a reason why I don’t talk about my experience in China other than to say “I’d never go back” and “yeah, it was cool” even though it wasn’t.

Because my experience in China, broke my heart.

And the only way I know to protect it is to eat all the mini eggs. And pretend like it never happened. But, that hasn’t exactly worked for me…so I thought I’d try something else.

~ Rita