Friday, August 24, 2012

Self-Confident or Narcissist?

I LIKE ME! Actually, I LOVE ME! No, really. I do. I can honestly look at myself in the mirror and say, "Hey, you good-lookin' specimen. If I could have an out-of-body-experience, I'd totally do you....TWICE!" And then I accidentally drop the towel and think about how long it's been since I've done crunches. But you know, that doesn't take away from my love affair with me.

It took me an extremely long time to like me. I grew up in a military family, where my dad had issues with weight vs. height standards according to the Army charts in the orderly room. I don't think he realized that the standards are different for women than they are for men. My mom was always concerned about her weight and size. I think she's always had an unhealthy view of herself...even when she only wore a size 5 jeans at 5'5". I haven't seen a size 5 jeans since I was in the 8th grade. And my mom had had 4 kids by then.
I think at her heaviest she was 135 lbs......without being pregnant. And probably only 155 lbs while 9 mos pregnant with my baby brother...who was 10 lbs 11ozs at birth. My mom always had a rock star figure. Even the guys in my high school thought so. But she continued to diet and jog and workout all the time. And never for the thrill of the workout or because it made her feel better. Seemingly, it was to lose weight so that she could make my dad like her better. What she never knew was that he liked her fine as she was.

I remember once when I was a senior in high school and a member of the track team and dance squad and running between 2 and 5 miles on the weekends because I liked how it made me feel, my dad asked me how much I weighed. I told him the truth. I weighed 120 lbs. He said that at 5'3" I shouldn't be more than 105. I told him that I'd inherited his mom's body type and short of lopping off a boob, there was little chance of me losing weight. I wore a size 9 which is incredibly thin for my fairly muscular frame. (And when I say muscular frame, I'm talking about back when I was 17. I still have that same muscular frame now at thirty-thirteen but it's very well insulated.) I always blew off the height/weight standards to how I felt in my clothes. I don't think my sisters or my mom felt the way that I did, though.

I managed to get out of my parents home with more self-confidence than my siblings, I think. (I may be wrong about that. They can correct me in the comments section if they like.) And although I thought that since I moved out at 17 years old, that I didn't get any of the low self-esteem issues or lack of self-confidence problems that I had seen in my mom, I was so wrong. I dated guys who were losers. I treated myself very badly. I carried myself in a manner that I WANTED to be but underneath, really wasn't. I wanted to be a mover and a shaker. I was instead, a shover and a faker. It's true. But about the time that I finally decided that I deserved better than the shitty relationship that I was in, I decided to take my faking to a whole new level.

I applied for a temporary assignment overseas....via backdoor means....and then pulled the, "REALLY? I didn't know that was how I was supposed to do it" excuse when I got lectured by my boss about protocol and blah blah blah......Boy, was he PISSED when they called me and offered me the assignment. I took it. And I swore it was all this self-confidence that I had that led me to doing it. But in retrospect, I think it was just a way for me to get away from my ex without having to actually deal with him. And little bits of self-confidence were beginning to grow roots within me. But I don't think they had actually taken root to me yet.

I think it took me about four years or more from that point to feel those roots of confidence start to wrap themselves around my core and then an opportunity to move overseas for a long term assignment. I took that assignment and ran like the wind. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Three months after I got there, I got my final documents giving me back my freedom and partied hard for another three months. I dialed back the partying after that but still had a great time with wonderful friends that I still keep in touch with today. And then I met my husband.

I continued to fake a lot of my self-confidence. I don't think he knew it even....until we talked about it one night last year. It was so weird. I was so certain that I loved him 100% and that he probably loved me 50% or maybe up to about 60% but just wanted a wife because his younger brother married before he did and he felt obligated to marry and I was handy....and kind of cute. But I still felt this way, six or seven years into the marriage. I have no idea why. I had already left my job and we'd moved overseas to Egypt when it finally dawned on me, "Hey, this guy REALLY does love me and REALLY would give me the moon if he thought it would make me happy."

I started to work on making me happy after that. I continued to read more and learn how to do things that I never thought I could. And you know what? It worked. I really, really, really started to like me. I also improved my Arabic skills, learned to sew, learned to make homemade ketchup and brown sugar, homemade pizza dough and to cook awesome Egyptian foods. I taught myself how to make a perfect pie crust, make my own fitted sheets, how to haggle with vendors in the open markets and souvenir shops. I learned how to rewire a lamp, change a valve in a faucet and to snake a floor drain in the bathroom. I discovered that I really suck at making my own clothes but I'm really good at making curtains, valances, sheets, pillows, and mending. I'm also one lesson ahead of my son in learning how to speak French.

I managed to lose 28 kilos through hard work and diet and kept it off for two years. Then it slowly crept back on and I haven't been able to finally decide that I want to focus the attention I need to lose it again. But I will. Soon. And even though I'm way overweight again and unhappy with how I look, I STILL like me. I still love me. And I can see myself through my husband's eyes. I am an incredible, sexy, intelligent, confident woman who does whatever she sets her mind to do. And I no longer need to fake the self-confidence. In the words of Abed from Community, "I've got self-esteem falling out of my butt."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Alphabet Soup

I've mentioned before that I'm a military BRAT. Growing up around the Army, acronyms were just the norm for us. While most kids on a playground can tell you about ABC-gum and understand what "You'd better XYZPDQ" means, BRATs are familiar with so much more, usually even before the third grade. Also, our  parents when saying things like 'As Soon As Possible' did not spell out A.S.A.P. but usually pronounced it ay-sap. By the time we were in high school, we knew that a letter from DODDS addressed to our fathers was probably CC'd to him and actually addressed to his C.O. and that we must be nailed for ditching school and life as we knew it was now FUBAR (that's Foo-Bar.)

What's that? OH...right. Translation:

DODDS:   Department of Defense Dependent Schools
CC:           Courtesy Copy (you should know this from email headers, come on!)
C.O.:         Commanding Officer
FUBAR:    F*#!ed Up Beyond All Recognition

So, when I got caught, along with 65 of my closest friends, drinking apple schnapps on the school bus and the driver, Frank (not really his name but since Frank and Stoeckl own the bus company we called ALL of our bus drivers Frank) drove us to the MP station and the DSCC held all of us there for over 4 hours without allowing us to contact our parents. I finally was the ballsiest and picked up a phone and called my dad, who came immediately with my friends parents in tow and OMG did the S.H.T.F!  My dad calmly went in and told the DSCC, "Colonel, I would like to press charges." The colonel was shocked thinking that my dad wanted to press charges against me for under-age drinking. He contended this was a matter best left for the  parents to handle since I was not military and they could not hold me in a military cell or discipline me in anyway. Dad clarified. "I want to press charges for kidnapping." That got the Colonel's attention.

DSCC:   "Against whom?"
D.A.D:   "You, Sir."
DSCC:   "Come again?"
D.A.D:   "Sir, you have held my daughter against her will, without her parents knowledge and refused to
               her any contact with her parents. According to any dictionary, that is the definition of kidnapping,
               Sir, and I'd like to press charges."
DSCC:   "But she and her friends were drinking on the bus!"
D.A.D:    "True, Sir. But as you've indicated, that would be a matter best left to her parents to handle since
                she is a dependent and not a military member and thus outside your jurisdiction. Isn't that correct,
DSCC:    "Uh, well......uhm, see that she never does this again, Chief!"
D.A.D:     "I can guaran-damn-tee it, Sir."
DSCC:    "Then I'll just release her into your custody and we'll pretend this never happened?"
D.A.D:    "That's affirmative, Sir."

I thought my dad was the coolest thing ever. The DSCC released the rest of the students with a stern warning and only my two best friends got suspended from the bus and had to take the train for two weeks. (That's because they'd bought the booze in the first place.) And I was just the big hero. MY dad had pretty much gotten everyone off the hook and put the DSCC in his place, etc. Until we got in the car. And I was placed on restriction for the next 2 weeks and only allowed to leave my room for KP, laundry, meals and school. SNAFU. I was also warned that if I were to EVER embarrass my father via his chain of command again, that I would see the 4 walls of my room until we PCS'd. I was scared. That meant no more DYA sports, no more AFN, no more kissing boys behind the BOQ, no more watching movies at the AAFES theater and no more hanging out at the snack bar in the PX. So, I followed my father's advice and got my "head out of my ass" and walked the straight and narrow until he came home one day and said, 'FIGMO'.

For those of you, not familiar with military life overseas, more translation:

MP:        Military Police
DSCC:   Deputy Sub-Community Commander (the MFWIC of the smaller of two American military
              communities that are closely situated.)
MFWIC: Mother F*#!er What's In Charge
OMG:     Really? You have to ask this in the age of Twitter?
S.H.T.F:  Sh** Hit the Fan
KP:         Kitchen Police
SNAFU:  Situation Normal-All F*#!ed Up
PCS'd:    Permanent Change of Station (to move)
DYA:      Dependent Youth Association
AFN:      Armed Forces Network (tv and radio station; aka AFRTS or Ay-Farts which is Armed Forces
                Radio and Television Service)
BOQ:     Billeting of Quarters (a military sort of hotel where members and families sometimes stay
               temporarily, after they've cleared quarters prior to PCSing and/or while on TDY - Temporary
AAFES:  Army Air Force Exchange Services (they ARE the dept store/fast food/bowling alley/theater/ on
               any Army or Air Force military compound.)
PX:         Post Exchange (you'll sometimes hear someone say BX and that is the same thing only they're
               usually Navy or Air Force because they have BASES instead of  POSTS so it would be Base
               Exchange....which I find really weird because Marines are assigned to CAMPS but they don't say
               CX for Camp Exchange....I think they also have BXes. Of course, no one credits the Marines for
               being big readers anyway so if you just say "the exchange" to them they'll know what you're talking
               about and reply in the affirmative, "Oo-rah."
FIGMO:  F*#! It. Got My Orders (means I don't care....I'm PCSing soon and already have orders to leave)


Monday, August 6, 2012

Yukon on My Mind

       sultry...but not in a sexy, New Orleans late September kind of way....

      damp...that's the dirty laundry piled up on the floor in front of my washer...

      dry....that's the  inside of my roll-on deodorant bottle

this is the summer from Hell.  I have showered more times per day than an automatic car wash runs when giving away free washes with every tank of gas purchased.  my permanent hair dye washed out after two weeks due to frequent washing. i look at pictures of Alaska, polar bears, popsicles, ice cubes and toboggans just to cool off. the kids broke one of the fans. i offered to exchange the guilty party for a new fan but the guy thought i was joking and held out his hand for the 110 pounds that a new fan will cost me. my hilarious youngest son cut out the picture of the fan from the box and gave it to me. he said this fan will still provide air even in a power outage. who knew that a finger poke to the forehead could make someone cry?

i look at the 10-day forecast and it's as though the guy just made photo copies of the same forecast back in late May and then took a 3-month vacation. 0% chance of rain, 0% chance of rain,  0% chance of rain.

maybe we should move out of Africa and into Alaska.