November 23, 2016

The Whole New Me




This whole new me has already started from the moment I found out that I'm pregnant. Well, I still indulge sometimes while missing those times when I just ate whatever I wanted and whatever pleased me but then it left me thinking about just how miserable I feel. So now I'm gonna be the healthiest I ever be. You're hearing it now. This is my declaration. I'm going to not "do better," but actually cut real things out of my diet. I'm going to be better.

So here's what's going out the door:
Soda
Coffee (I cried about this one, no more caramel macchiato)
Sushi
Tea
Coke
Durian
Soft cheese
Most fishes
Too much sugary food/drinks

What that means for my choices: 
Vegetables (more and more greens, more and more fresh choices)
Fruits (more and more fresh, seasonal fruit. Less canned/packaged stuff) 
More high protein that is lean - chicken and beef
More non fat and low fat dairy
More and more and more water 
More nuts and dried fruits as snacks
Light popcorn with movies 
More grains and cereals and juices

It's really happening. I don't know what part of me flipped a switch the second half of this year but I've really been on a roll. Despite everything that's been going on around me, I feel together and I've been actually setting my mind to real goals again. Go me! 

I tried to do something similar to this diet change before, but I didn't have the motivation of feeling this awful behind the decision, in all honesty, a lot of these kinds of choices we make are made purely on the vanity of the choice or ourselves. But this time it's because I'm pregnant and I'm doing this for my baby. Also I really need to get back on my yoga routine. I can't wait to start tonight with more fruits, no late-night indulgences and then wake up at the right time and actually do yoga. 


November 22, 2016

Celebrity




I wonder about celebrity. That feeling of popularity, sinking into loneliness. Where you're always surrounded, but loved for shallow reasons. All the voices of admiration and affirmation drown out into white noise and you rarely hear them anymore, they can't comfort you the way the voices think they might. Every word you say is scrutinized and pulled out of context in a way that rarely happens in ordinary life. And then it's publicized.

Recently, I've seen some celebrities getting upset at their level of celebrity and wanting to just desperately take a break and do something real, something that matters. I can't say that I blame them. There is so much work that can be done when you have a loud enough voice, that spending it on the fragility of celebrity, a lush lifestyle, when you could help others seems silly. But it's not so easy to pull away when it isn't always your choice, either. You sign contracts, you have management, you'are a brand. I don't know... I feel like that lifestyle is much harder than people outside of it give it credit for. Audiences expect these celebrities to serve them, rather than to create, and they aren't too keen on the service ending before they're ready.

Imagine being in that position? Maybe I'm the only one who feels that way, but at any rate, it's worth giving celebrities a break from that life. Not that anyone will listen to me. 


November 18, 2016

Little Bundle of Joy




The day I found out I was pregnant, I never realized how much my life would change. I knew it would change in the future when baby arrives, obviously, but I didn't expect so much to change right now while pregnant. I sit here typing this feeling my little baby squirming in my belly. When I felt my baby move for the first time this week, it brought me more joy than I could ever imagine. Although it was nothing like it said it would be in any of the pregnancy books or on the websites. There were no poetic darting fish or fluttering butterfly wings for me, it was more of a strange kind of tiny tummy rumble. 

The first time I felt it I was in the bed, just about to take a nap, and I lay there with my hand on my bump and my mouth open in shock. But then it happened again, and I knew it wasn't just indigestion, it had to be the baby wriggling and wiggling about inside me. I kept feeling the same thing on and off during the week, and it's such a brilliant sensation. I had to stop myself from prodding my bump, just so I could feel it again. I love it, it's just like a little secret between me and my baby, and it's so reassuring not to have to wait to hear the heartbeat at my appointments to know everything's okay. 

It's amazing. My love for life, my husband and this new little being is beyond measurable. Pregnancy has been a learning experience. One filled with unique challenges and new discoveries. I've learned that every mother has their own experience and wealth of knowledge to share about being pregnant. I've also learned not to take too literally everything I read or what everyone says to me. I've created my own path and discovered what works for me. 


November 15, 2016

Flaws and Charms





I've been thinking a lot about how when you love someone, their flaws can become their charms. The strange, quirky, and even the most irritating things that they feel most self-conscious about, and what others, too, may find off-putting, can become exactly what you adore most.

I tend to talk too much and think too much and write too much. I hog the covers. I'm compulsively, unnecessarily early to any and every event. I have a fear of sleeping alone. I'm allergic to dust, I can't help but comment on every preview in movie theaters, and I'm so afraid of cockroach, I won't even watch Oggy and The Cockroaches.

I'm picky about certain vegetables, selfish about sharing my favorite foods, and stubborn when it comes to ordering anything but my go-to meal from familiar restaurants. I'm scared of driving and in theory, I love gardening, but in practice, I'd rather just lay out in the sun with a good book and a orange juice.

Ifo forgets to close wardrobe and put down the toilet seat. He trims his beard on my mirror desk and he lets his dirty clothes make a mountain on the floor. He gets lost in YouTube black holes, watching trailers or learning about weird addictions or the latest conspiracy theories. He can be easily distracted and also easily charmed, for better or for worse.

And despite, or perhaps because of all this, he loves me, and I love him, and our relationship feels stronger. Neither of us is perfect, to be sure, and every once in a while, we'll feel the need to point that out. If you asked us, though, we'd both admit to loving it all. To loving all of each other, even the worst parts, because we know those pieces and understand them and we're proud that we've learned to navigate those darker patches because that effort marks the difference between love and marriage.


November 3, 2016

The Middle Ground




There are 84 blog posts sitting in my drafts folder. There's one about a difficult day 4 years ago, another about having, for the 1st time ever, just one New Year's resolution instead of a laundry list. There's a post about a strange, sunny day on the bay, a post about an adventure with my friends, a post about something Ifo said that stopped me in my tracks, surprising me in a way, a good way, that words haven't surprised me in years.

Sometimes this happens. I have so many things to say that I don't know where to start, and I end up saying nothing at all. Do you ever have that dream? The one where you're trying to talk to someone, and although you hear the words in your mind, muffled, as if you're underwater, you can't speak?

Hard to imagine that? Forget it then. So this is a few pieces of the drafts I've been saving for a long time. 

**********


It's been a good month. A really, really good month. The kind that's so good, you have to force yourself not to grow suspicious that something difficult must be around the corner. That feeling has been nagging at me, though, and there's nothing worse than that train of thought, the when-will-the-other-shoe-drop kind. It comes from a place of such fear and guilt, as if you have to pay for your happiness, as if joy will always be followed with some kind of inevitable sadness.

That's a defense mechanism, of course. When things feel like they're moving in the right direction, you can't help but brace yourself for whatever challenge will come up first.


**********


I hear my dad's voice in my head a lot. On a revision night after getting bad grades in mathematics and he bought me a lot of practice books to improve my maths, he'd say, "Do it correctly!" He sometimes sounds like yelling, the kind that intimidated coach but motivated me, pushed me to work harder and work smarter. He's the best teacher.

I hear my mom's voice in my head, too, a much softer one. With 6 kids, she's the kind of mom who always carries not just a first-aid kit for medical emergencies, but a first-aid kit for, well, life. From her purse, I've seen my mother pull out everything from Vicks to biscuits, just in case. She's a big just-in-case type, and before I ever did anything (go to school, take a test, leave for a night out), she'd repeat, "Be prepared."

Do it correctly. 
Be prepared.

 So much of parenting boils down to readying your kids for what's next, and helping them learn how to ready themselves. My parents instilled in me a borderline-ridiculous affinity for planning, and it's one of the passed-down habits I'm most grateful I adopted. There's something to be said for training yourself to anticipate what's coming, and to be prepared for your next move. 

But here's where I've sometimes mixed up their message: You're not always anticipating a blow, sometimes you're preparing for something great. You can't know that, of course, but you can learn to understand that good can follow good. There are ups and then there are downs, but sometimes there are ups, and then more ups, and then the down isn't so far to fall, after all.


**********


The words come quickly when things are really hard, and when things are really good. Maybe it's because the emotions feel more extreme, the thoughts more defined. It's the middle ground that's tough to sort through, I think. Even easy joy can be hard to navigate sometimes.


November 1, 2016

Playing the Part




Several years ago I sought the advice of a woman who was so very together. Quick-witted, sharp, successful, and gorgeous, she was hard-working and well-respected. Somehow, she was the sort of person who managed to work late, cook elaborate dinners, start book clubs, organize happy hours, try all the coolest workout classes, and, I don't know, probably save lives in her spare time. In any case, she was damn impressive. Meanwhile, I was 23, regularly eating cereal for dinner, and feeling not at all like an adult. I was an adult-in-training, and I wanted step-by-step, detailed instructions.

"How do you do it?" I asked her. "Seriously. What do your days look like?"

When she replied, I expected her to be overly humble or dismissive, but she wasn't. Instead, she laughed and shared her tricks. And that was part of it, I realized: She was awesome, she knew she was awesome, and even better, she knew it was okay to know she was awesome.

"I pretend to be the person I wish she was," she said. "I act like a better version of me."

I was confused. "But isn't that still just you being you?"

She nodded. "The lines blur." 

It basically starts as an act, she told me, like you're playing the part of your fantasy self. You dress the part, act the part, and before you know it, the habits are yours, and you're you, only better. 

That all sounded great, in an abstract sort of way, but I demanded specifics. What did she do?

Well, to start, she asked herself the same question, day after day, again and again: "Do I want to be the kind of person who [blank]?" And then came the second part, the harder part. She promised herself that 90% of the time, she'd let her answer to that question guide her. Almost every time, if the answer was yes, then she'd do it. And, of course, if it was no, then she wouldn't.

In other words, it was really, really simple, and also really, really hard.

I'd like to say that I quickly took her words to heart and shifted gears, but I didn't. Not completely, anyway. I did ask the question, though, and I learned a lot from my answers. I figured out, moment by moment, in a series of situations, what sort of person I wanted to be. And sometimes, on good days, I'd mostly be that person. Or, at least, more like that person. And that feels like enough.

Since then, I've watched her climb higher and higher, personally and professionally, toward her best self. And she's made me a believer in the fake-it-'til-you-make-it philosophy. I think it's okay, every once in a while, to let things change from the outside in. Sometimes, it's your best bet.



 

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