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fat.

Fat.

I don’t remember the first time the word was said to me. I don’t know if I overheard someone saying it, using it to describe me, or if it was a self-directed jab.

I wish I knew.
I wish I knew where that feeling came from.
I wish I knew so that I could make it stop.

With the exception of when I was born and the few months after, I was never a small person. I was taller, I was bigger, I was faster, I was stronger. When I was younger, and sometimes still, I just wanted to fit in, to swim with the rest of the fish and not stick out. I wanted to wear the same clothes, to not feel like a fish out of water constantly.. and to not be in the middle of every class or team picture because I was the tallest. I just wanted to be in the front row and play shortstop, not in the middle of the back row and stuck out in the outfield because no one could hit that far, you know?

I was made fun of a lot growing up, but I never considered myself bullied, and I think that’s partly because people were just talk, they never put their words into actions because I was a head taller. There were some mean kids, and they said mean things, and I’m extremely lucky that I don’t remember a lot of it. I don’t know if I just pushed it from accessible memory, or if it was more self-imposed than anything.

In our culture, the word “fat” carries so many things. It carries strife and anxiety. It carries fear and self-hatred. It carries a feeling of inadequacy and self-loathing. I really don’t like it. In Spanish, when you’re called “Gordit@” as a kid, it’s more of a factual statement. Sometimes its even a term of endearment from your grandma, but in English… nope, not so much.

Being called fat did a lot of subtle damage, I’m finding. I’m still trying to get over and through my own struggles with my body and how it does, or doesn’t, work, and it’s hard. Very hard, actually. The one thing I have learned is that no matter how hard it is, taking even a tiny step forward and out of the shadow of a word is breathtaking in all the right ways.

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OMG We’re back again….

Yes, I really did just name this post after a Backstreet Boys song. Hate all you want.

Thanks to a lucky new friend who’s also a budding writer, I’m back in the writing groove. I’ve decided to start a bit of writing challenge, so you’ll see some clumps of posts go up over the next couple days, and then hopefully just daily after that.

This writing challenge is mostly about the body and body image and I couldn’t be more grateful that it came around now. Here’s the link if you want to join.. Brittany, herself: August Write Your Face Off

First few posts are going up tomorrow.. And they’ll most definitely be out of the order they’re listed in, so enjoy :)

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27.

There is less than three weeks until I turn 28.

I won’t lie and say that 27 was easy, it was anything but that. To put it lightly, 27 was:
– scary.
– an adventure.
– hilarious.
– terrifying.
– sleep deprived.
– the worst.
– not so bad.
– a learning experience.
– stupid.
– funny.
– stressful.
– enlightening.
– annoying.
– eye opening.
– frustrating.
Most of all, it was a year for me to grow. It has been my year to figure some shit out, to explore, to experience, to learn, to get rid of the things (and in some cases, people) that made me feel awful, and it’s been the year where I’ve really learned what I like about life, myself and those that I choose to spend time with.

It hasn’t been my favorite, but it’s been a hell of a roller coaster. My birthday is May 1, but the real roller coaster started in January of 2013. Here’s a quick run down of the last 15 months:

January 2013: got fired on my Tia’s birthday from the place I worked at for almost 3 years for reasons that baffle me still.
February/March (it all blends together): went to a lot of basketball games, had fun at the LBSU men’s basketball end of season banquet, and was removed from a bridal party for reasons that still don’t make sense.
April: finalized all my plans and bought all other necessary things for my NYC/Euro-adventure. Panicked about the trip. Went to Jewels of the Night and had an interesting time, but it was fun nonetheless. Switched from android to iPhone.
May: turned 27, had a nice dinner with family, prepped for the trip. Got scared about the trip, wondered if it was even a good idea anymore, worried about money, stressed so much I caused spasms in back that we’re so debilitating it hurt to breathe, and then I flew to New York City on the red eye out of Long Beach on my Mom’s birthday. Spent four amazing days with The City. Went to The Great Googa Mooga festival in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Saw my friend Kristin and my old teammate Roy. Explored with my German housemates. Got blisters. Lots of them. Flew to Venice, Italy and arrived to a happy Jen and Scott who housed me for a week and showed me parts of the world that I continually long for. Saw and tasted Parma, Bassano del Grappa, Marostica, Vicenza, Verona and Venice before flying into Alicante, Spain on May 30. Surprised my friend Elissa for her hen night. Made amazing international friends, saw people I hadn’t seen in 15+ years, laughed, had awkward conversations, used more Spanish in two days than I had in 15+ years of bilingual-ness, ate, and drank amazing things.
June: saw Elissa marry the most excellent man, danced, ate, laughed, drank (a lot – hey, it was a wedding), fell in love with rosé, went shopping, hugged and loved the family I felt like I lost for what felt like forever. Panicked over inaccessible internet and train tickets, stopped sleeping well. Took a train up the coast of Spain from Alicante to Barcelona. Freaked out due to exhaustion, being alone in a new city, and a fiasco involving my phone not working, the keys to the place I was staying and communication that wasn’t working. Met my new hosts, talked about Vampire Weekend over dinner. Explored nearly all of Barcelona on foot, took a bunch of pictures, realized I was okay on my own, fell in love with speaking Spanish and in turn lost my thought that “I wasn’t good enough to use the language.” Bought a second suitcase, packed and flew back to NYC after 4 days in Barcelona. Ate/drank the most delicious burger and beer in T5 of JFK while waiting for my flight. Got home to Long Beach late and was hungry (I know, right?)… Went to IHOP and devoured an omelette. I missed American breakfast. Slept off my jet lag, came down with a serious case of wanderlust and discovered Bikram yoga and the amazing benefits of it.
July: relay for life. Andy and Tori got married!
August: went to Invisible Children’s Fourth Estate Summit, met amazing people, realized that I needed to work somewhere or do something I loved. Figured out what I’m scared of overnight. Reconnected with the best gal pal a girl could ask for in Andrea, net Thomas, (Andrea and my 18 year old boyfriend at 4E), met someone I looked up to and established a great friendship and semi-mentor. Got a job supporting video games via social media. Loved the social media side, hated the hours (graveyard), the dead-end-ness of the job and the content and attitude of the games and the customers.
September: renewed my season tickets for LBSU men’s basketball, worked, understood how offensive some people are in the gaming industry, started job hunting again, became better friends with an old coworker from the bookstore.
October: slept 10 hours over the course of week, had a migraine the majority of the month, went to Artisinal LA and had a blast, met The Fancy Boyz and made fast friends with them and other bakers. Realized that the money I had put away to help me start my baking project was still there and it was there for me to use to build my dream. Slept, worked. Realized that just because you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, you’re not exactly obligated to stay friends with them when your life goes different directions or your belief sets don’t really match up.
November: basketball season!, homecoming, spent more time with friends, went to San Diego and realized how awesome Meg and Jake are, slept, worked,
December: slept, worked, looked for jobs, did yoga in my backyard, went to basketball games, Christmas, realized that missed enjoyable holiday celebrations, my friend Scott passed away.
January 2014: worked, slept, went to basketball games, went to San Francisco for Scott’s funeral and was lackey enough to have one of my best friends go with me, had incredible amounts of fun on the first roadtrip I have taken since the car accident in 2004, sent a really dumb text message to the wrong person and inadvertently found out where I stood with them, was let go from work, job hunted full time.
February: more basketball, met one of the dad’s of a player when he was trying to upgrade his ticket and I had extra, had fun, did yoga, looked for jobs, didn’t get a job because they thought the reason I was fired a year ago was weird, was reaaaalllllyyy mad/pissed/frustrated/annoyed that place was still haunting me.
March: basketball! Went to the Veronica Mars PaleyFest panel and then went to opening day of the VM movie the next day with Latoya, laughed a lot, watched more basketball, left for two weeks in San Diego house sitting and hanging out with Sabrina, Meg’s daughter.
April: reconnected with basketball teammates from high school over great food in San Diego, came home from SD, saw my cousin, his wife and their daughter while they were in town for a Disneyland trip, had a promising interview and hung out with Latoya, all in a matter of a week.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to a graduation party, a bridal shower, Artisinal LA, applying for my DBA for my baking project and getting the ball rolling for the job I WANT while searching for one that I need to pay my bills. Then I turn 28 and open myself up for even more adventure, travel excursions, fun and whatever else might come my way. I’m looking forward to this year a whole bunch. I hope it’s as good to me as this last one has been.

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In the corner..

I spent a good portion of my night in a corner with these two hooligans:

After the men’s basketball won their last home game, Loren, Shefali and I headed to The Beach Club for dinner. I haven’t been out to dinner or drinks with many people lately. Working graveyard (and now not working) has kept me home to sleep or to save money, so tonight it was nice to have good girlfriends, good basketball, decent food and incredible jokes surround me. I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard as I did tonight. 
Long Beach, the CSULB campus and the Walter Pyramid are my homes away from home. It’s where I feel comfortable, where a lot of things make sense, and where I really grew up. It’s where I’ve laughed, cried and stayed up learning life’s secrets with my friends til the sun comes up. I truly love this city and all it has to offer. I can’t wait for the day that I move back. 
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?