Santa Barbara Weekend (or Family and Friends Time)

This past weekend, I was up in Santa Barbara (which if you aren’t familiar with the California geography is about 2 hours north of Los Angeles). My friend Rayshell was celebrating her 30th birthday and her parents offered to throw her a party. So the party was held at her parents’ place in Santa Barbara.

I’m sure at some point in my life I’ve been to Santa Barbara, but it must have been when I was little because I don’t remember ever going there. I know that I’ve never been there as an adult, so that’s at least 13 years.

I knew about the birthday party a few months in advance (Rayshell wanted everyone to have the chance to make hotel reservations if necessary). My sister-in-law’s parents live in Santa Barbara, so as soon as I knew that I would be up there, I texted them to see if they could meet up while I was there. My sister-in-law’s mom wasn’t sure if they would be in town while I was there, so she asked me to text closer to the date.

When I texted her again, she let me know that my brother and sister-in-law were going to be in Santa Barbara the same weekend. So I made plans with everyone to meet up with them for a little bit on Saturday before I went to the party.

I drove up by myself and got to my sister-in-law’s parents’ house in about 2 hours (traffic wasn’t my friend the entire way). It was so great to see everyone. I hadn’t seen my brother or my sister-in-law’s parents since Christmas and I hadn’t seen my sister-in-law since our NYC trip.

I was only able to stay there for about an hour, but it was a nice visit. My brother and sister-in-law are going on a trip to Africa next month. They are going to be going to Tanzania, which is where my family went when we went to Africa in 1997. So we were chatting about different things to prepare for the trip and memories that my brother and I have when we went there as kids.

After my visit, I got back on the road to head to Rayshell’s parent’s house. It was only about 10 minutes from my sister-in-law’s parent’s house, so that was easy.

The party was in the backyard and they had hired a taco man to cater dinner. Technically, he was more than a taco man because you could also get a salad, a burrito, a quesadilla, or nachos. I opted for the beef nachos because they looked so amazing!

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I totally made the right choice! My nachos were awesome!

I was sitting next to my friend Sarah Levin (who I refer to as the “other Levin” and she does the same to me) and it was so nice to get to catch up with her. She recently got engaged and will be getting married soon. So I got to see the ring and hear all of her incredible wedding plans.

And of course, Sarah and I wanted a picture with the birthday girl.

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Not only is Rayshell in a Levin sandwich, Sarah and I are dressed alike (blue dresses, black sweaters). I thought it was pretty funny.

Also at the party, there was a magician. He reminded me of the magicians who perform the close-up magic show at The Magic Castle. There were some tricks that I’ve seen before, but there were also a bunch that I had never seen and I was amazed how they were done (I might have googled some of the tricks because I just couldn’t understand how he could have done it).

And one of the final tricks of the show was the magician juggling a machete, a bowling ball, and a torch lit on fire while balancing on a board that was on top of a plastic pipe.

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I know you can’t see that he is balancing in the picture, but trust me, he was. And he was very close to the tree in the backyard so everyone was nervous that he would catch the tree on fire. But fortunately, everything was safe and not on fire at the end of the show.

After the magic show, there was some dessert and then people started to head out. Some people had to make the drive back to LA, some were headed to their hotels (or houses if they were locals), and some people headed out to the bars. I was very lucky that Rayshell’s parents said I could spend the night at their house. Hotels were very expensive (especially for a Saturday night in the summer). So while everyone else was leaving, I was helping with some cleanup.

And while putting away the leftover alcohol (which I didn’t have any of), I discovered the biggest tequila bottle I’ve ever seen!

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It’s Costco brand but everyone said that it was great.

After cleaning up, everyone who was staying at Rayshell’s parents’ house just hung out outside for a while talking around one of the fire pits that they have.

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It was a very relaxing way to end the evening. And before we knew it, it was 1am and we were all exhausted. I slept in the living room on the couch, and it was a perfect place to crash after a party (I can’t imagine trying to make the drive home after the party).

The next morning, we all had breakfast together and then I headed back to LA. Sarah needed a ride back so I drove her and that gave us even more time to catch up and just have fun talking.

It was such a perfect little mini-getaway! It felt like a vacation but I didn’t have to go that far.

Thank you so much to Rayshell’s parents for letting me stay at your house! You are both so generous and were amazing hosts! And Rayshell, even though I’ve wished you a happy birthday a couple of times by now. Happy Birthday again! I hope you had a great time at your party! I know I did!

Week 3 Of Orangetheory (or Pushing Myself Even In Extreme Pain)

I’ve successfully completed week 3 of my Orangetheory challenge. And this week was definitely a challenge for me. My body is starting to realize how tough it is to work out really hard 3 days a week. Hopefully my body will adjust to that soon (I think it was in shock for the first 2 weeks).

This week, I had the same trainer every class, Ashley. I think Ashley is pretty awesome. She does push me hard, but she understands that there are times that my body is just not able to do it. And she’s more than happy to give me modifications for all the strength workouts (sometimes without me having to even ask for them).

Monday’s class went really well. I had a great calorie burn that day and I didn’t hurt too much during the workout or after (which is a victory for me). I post photos on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook after every class and I want all my pictures to be different, but I’m starting to run low on ideas. After Monday’s class, Ashley suggested that we show off how crazy my calorie burn really was in those 60 minutes.

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It’s a little hard to tell from the picture, but I burned almost 500 calories in that class!

Wednesday’s class had a really tough cardio segment. It was another run/row day. In my case, it was a walk/row, but that really didn’t make it much easier. I have a tough time with the transitions between the treadmill and the rower. I have to take a minute to step down from the treadmill (I feel like I’m going to fall off) and when I stand up from the rower my legs are a little shaky. I’m hoping that there will be some more run/row days soon so I can work on feeling more comfortable with that.

But I am feeling much better on the rower now. In the beginning, that was a challenge for me. It was uncomfortable and I had weird leg pains while on it. But with Ashley’s help, my form is getting much better and I’m really starting to enjoy rowing now.

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My Friday class was a big challenge for me. Typically in class, we split into 2 groups and one group does 30 minutes of cardio (typically treadmill) while the other group does strength work (plus rowing) and then half way through we switch. I always do the cardio part first because when I’m tired and walking, I’m much more likely to have hip issues. So that plan has been helping.

But on Friday, things were switched up. I started in the cardio group. We did 15 minutes of treadmill time and then we switched with the strength group. Then after 15 more minutes, we went back to the treadmill. And after 15 minutes on the treadmill, my group finished with 15 more minutes of strength.

I was fine for the first 30 minutes. But as soon as I stepped back onto the treadmill for my second treadmill time, my hip popped out. And what that means is my femur bone is not where it’s supposed to be. So instead of things feeling okay in my hip joint, my bones were grinding against each other (it feels similar to when you grind your teeth but much stronger). I tried to walk the best I could, but it hurt so bad. Every few minutes I stood on the side rails of the treadmill and attempted to pop my hip back (I can do it on my own, but I need to have a good wall to brace myself against). I wasn’t able to pop it back during class, but I was able to finish the workout. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t my best day, but I did it.

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Fortunately, as soon as I got home on Friday, I was able to pop my hip back in and took some painkillers right away. It helped, but I was still pretty sore all weekend (which is typical for when this happens to me).

I’m excited to see what the next week brings, Ashley will be my trainer on Monday and Friday and JZ will be my trainer on Wednesday. And after next week is done, I’ll be half way through my challenge! Time really has flown by!

Not Letting A Slip Up Be A Set Back (or I Splurged Again)

While I thought I had learned my lesson about splurge meals, I guess I didn’t. I did another splurge meal, but it was more of an afternoon than a meal.

A little back story.

Over the years, certain grocery stores feel “unsafe” to me. I know where the things are that I like to eat, and with muscle memory it seems like I just walk to those foods and put them in my basket. So I’ve avoided certain grocery stores over the past few years.

Now I go to 2 different stores near my house, an Albertsons and a Trader Joes. I used to go to Albertsons a lot more, but there are more “bad” foods for me there. So I only go for certain items that I know I can get at Trader Joes (which used to include a specific sparkling flavored water but I haven’t had one of those in over a month).

But even though I go to this particular Trader Joes, it’s starting to feel unsafe for me.

Yesterday, I had to go to Trader Joes to pick up a few items (mainly household things). I decided that since I wasn’t doing my usual shopping, I wouldn’t walk through the aisles the way I typically do. I thought that would shock my muscle memory and I would be able to walk out with just the few things I needed.

I got my items but ended up right next to one of my “bad” foods, which happens to be the fresh mozzarella. I wasn’t planning on buying it (I didn’t need it), but somehow it ended up in my basket along with a few other things that I used to eat all the time but have tried to avoid lately.

And like I was on auto-pilot I bought those items, brought them home, and ate them (in a particular order which I’ve always done).

And as soon as I did it I felt sick. There was no need for me to eat these things. Looking back, I had forgotten to eat at all before going to the grocery store (the graveyard shifts throw off my meal times) and that was a huge mistake. I try to never go to the store hungry. Not only does that make me feel like I need a certain food, my willpower is lowered and I just don’t think about it.

But I’m trying to tell myself that just because I had a bad few hours yesterday doesn’t mean I can’t have good hours after that. In the past, I would always tell myself that I could start a diet on “Monday” (Monday is really any arbitrary day in the future). I would tell myself that I would get what I wanted until then and then once “Monday” comes I’ll be good.

I’m not doing that this time. Today is a workout day at Orangetheory Fitness and I have all my meals for the day planned out (and I’ll be under my calorie goal so that will help with the excess of calories from yesterday).

This is progress for me. It might not seem like it, but I know that it is. I just have to accept that slip ups will happen from time to time and that I have to be ok with that. And that I can get back on track immediately and don’t need to go crazy.

I’m going to try to eliminate those “bad” foods from my diet, but I’m slowly removing “bad” foods. I haven’t gotten any fast food in a month (unless you count one In-N-Out burger on the way to Lake Tahoe). And there some delivery food that I used to get way too often and I haven’t ordered it for 3 weeks (which is really good for me). And there are other foods from Trader Joes that are “bad” and I have been able to avoid getting them for over a week.

It’s baby steps, but there is progress. I’m just trying to be patient with myself and more accepting of my flaws and slip ups. And just because I’m accepting doesn’t mean I’m ok with them. I just know that I can’t be too harsh on myself because if I do, I’ll just go back to how things used to be.

Underemployment Is Frustrating (or Trying To Find The Balance Of Flexibility And Work Hours)

I know that I can’t be too frustrated about my employment situation yet. I was just laid off from my one regular part-time job on Monday afternoon. But still, I’m getting really tired of what the trend is like now for jobs.

First of all, let me say that if I could find a “normal” full-time job that was open to letting me take some time off here and there for auditions (which means only having about one days notice about the time I’d need to take off), I’d be more than happy to take that job. I probably wouldn’t love working a job that much, but I would totally do it. But most full time jobs either need someone with a master’s degree or the ads are very specific and say “no actors”. I’m not going to lie about being an actor (and pretend that my auditions are doctor and dentist appointments like I know some people do). I’d rather be up front and honest, and most past employers have appreciated that.

But the situation I’m in now is having so many different jobs but none of them have guaranteed work from week to week. The box office job is the most stable, but even that one might only be 8 hours a week (if I’m lucky). When I emailed the box office about my open availability, they didn’t know if they could even get me on the schedule before September (which is what we agreed upon before).

The survey coder job is also not reliable in terms of hours. Right now it’s pretty decent because I’m in training, but once that’s done, there will only be work to do when they need the help. I have no idea what that means in terms of hours per week, but I’m sure that there will be some weeks with a lot of hours and possibly some weeks with no hours at all.

And that’s kind of what all my jobs are like right now. I guess there could be a long-term substitute teaching job at some point, but in all the years I’ve worked for my school district, the longest sub job I’ve ever seen was 3 days long. While that would be awesome, I need more than that.

And I just got hired with another job, but it’s kind of like an on-call position. There is hourly pay (although it’s pretty low) but it’s independent contractor work. So pretty much 30% of what I make has to be saved and paid during tax time (I’ve been told 30% is as high as I could owe so I’d rather save more money than not have enough).

I’m trying not to be a little crazy about all this. It took me a while to find the assistant headhunter job so I need to give myself time to find another day job that has some stable hours. And I did re-open my unemployment claim so I will hopefully have a little extra money (although with the hours I’m working graveyard right now, I might only get about $20/week from my unemployment claim).

The one thing that is going my way right now is my friends. I’ve been very open about how I need a new job and people are keeping their eyes out for anything that they see that I might be right for. While I’m not applying to everything they send to me (I know some of them either don’t pay enough or won’t be flexible at all), I’m so appreciative every time I get an email/text/tweet/FB message about a job that might be right for me.

There are so many people pulling for me right now, and that’s something that I’ve never felt before. It’s awesome and I know that I can’t let everyone down. So I have to keep searching and applying for tons of jobs and hopefully the next perfect day job will come my way soon.

Happy Birthday To FMIB! (or 2 Years And Finally Taking Myself Seriously As A Writer)

Today marks 2 years since I started blogging on here! I still can’t believe that I’ve been able to keep this up for so long. Even though there are plenty of days where I struggle thinking of what to post on here, I still have posted now every weekday for 2 entire years!

I really should stop being shocked at myself for being so consistent. And I’m also really working on taking myself seriously as a writer.

And that’s important to do now because I lost my one day job with steady hours.

So I’m down to 6 day jobs, but none of those have guaranteed hours. And some of them won’t have hours available to me until the end of August or beginning of September.

Since I haven’t been able to save any money lately (and I’m only able to make the minimum payments on my credit card), I’m desperately looking for new days jobs now.

I started applying for the usual types of jobs like receptionist/assistant/data entry type of work. But then some people encouraged me to pursue writing jobs. They said that I am a writer (I’m working on believing that myself). I have over 500 posts on here to prove that as well as over a year of monthly posts on two other blogs.

So I spent some time creating a new resume highlighting my writing experience (there really isn’t much yet) and started to apply for various blogging and copy writing jobs. I probably applied for about 50 or 60 jobs, but I have heard back from one already. They wanted to know my blogging background and I had to answer a dozen questions about how I would handle different job situations.

I’m so glad that when I responded, I could say proudly that I had been writing on here for about 2 years (I applied for the jobs earlier this week so my 2 year mark hadn’t hit yet and I wanted to be totally honest). I also was able to provide multiple writing samples about various subjects.

While the job hunt is getting me down a bit, I’m going to spend today in a celebratory mood. 2 years is a huge milestone! I should allow myself to be happy and proud!

And I know that there are a bunch of you who have been supporting and following me through the entire 2 year life of this blog so far and I have to say thank you! Every day I’m still amazed that there are people reading this and responding about things that are going on in my life! And if you are new to following me, thanks for all the support you’ve already given to me and I hope that my next 2 years on here will bring more fun posts to share with you all!

Cheating With Pie (or Trying To Splurge The Right Way)

In the past, I’ve been an all or nothing dieter. Either I’m on track or I’m going crazy. I’ve never been able to find a good middle (or what most people would call “normal eating”).

I’m really working hard at changing that right now. I am trying to stay under my calories every day as well as not trying to eat my exercise calories. So far, that’s going pretty well for me. Although I am eating almost the exact same thing every day. But I do get into food ruts occasionally and I think that that’s ok.

My big thing right now is each day for lunch I’m eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s not too bad in calories and it’s easy for me to portion control it (one piece of bread and the peanut butter is a single serving packet). And having that as my lunch every day has helped with the afternoon snacking. So I’m not planning on changing my lunches anytime soon (it’s also pretty cheap so that’s another plus).

There are so many diet books that say that you can splurge every once in a while. Lots of sources talk about having a cheat day, but I know that if I let myself have a day, that’s going to end up really badly. So I want to allow myself a cheat meal every once in a while.

I had my first official cheat meal this past weekend on Saturday. I went out for lunch and pie with my friend Emily. Even though this was only a cheat meal, it ended up in a way becoming a cheat day (I didn’t eat breakfast that morning and I had my leftovers from lunch for dinner).

One thing I learned about my cheat meal: I probably went a little overboard. Not in calories (somehow I was 1 calorie under my calorie goal for the day), but in richness or something else. Not to be too gross, but my body was very unhappy for about half a day after that meal. It’s a few days later and I still don’t feel as good as I had been feeling before.

I need to be able to make cheat meals a part of my life. I need to be able to enjoy food every once in a while. But I need to balance those cheats meals better with my normal meals. And I’m still learning how to do that.

Sometimes I wonder how skinny people do it. It seems like an impossible task to lose weight (or maintain weight loss) and eat more than just lettuce all day. I know that part of my problem is that I do have a slightly slower metabolism than most people (I had that tested in the past), but that can’t account for all my trouble.

But I feel like for the first time, I really learned my lesson with eating the wrong things. In the past, I might have felt a little sick from overeating or indulging, but never as sick as I felt this time. My body must have started to get used to the good foods I’m putting in my system and is finally recognizing the bad foods as bad foods. I know that there will be another overindulgence or slip up in the future, but for the first time, I feel optimistic that my cheat meal will be just that and not a slide back down toward constant binge eating.

Second Week Of My Orangetheory Challenge (or I Guess I’m Tougher Than I Thought I Was)

Last week was week 2 of my Orangetheory challenge and I feel like I rocked the week!

I went to my usual Monday, Wednesday, and Friday class. Which if any of you want to join me for a workout, I’d love to have some blog readers there with me! Anyone who comes with me to a workout gets to go for free! Let me know in the comments if you want to come!

Anyway, back to my week. Monday was interesting. I was a little tired from the week before. My body is getting adjusted to working out so much in a week (but I know that this is good for me to go through). I’m still not loving the treadmill, but that’s why I know I need to do it.

I was able to increase my incline on the push and all out sections of the treadmill time this week. So during those times, I was at 10% or 15% incline instead of 6% and 10%. I consider that a major improvement. I’m also getting more comfortable with the TRX straps, which as I mentioned before, I had never done before going to Orangetheory. And of course, I had to take an awesome photo after my Monday workout.

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Wednesday was a crazy tough workout, but I loved it! The class was small so instead of having us workout in 2 different groups, we all worked out together. I actually liked that a bit more, but I know that that won’t be the norm.

The cardio section of the workout that day was so tough. We went from treadmill to rower and back again several times. My heart rate was so high and I was dripping sweat the entire time. But I did it and even though I felt that I might pass out from trying so hard, I didn’t.

I wish I could remember the strength section that day, but the cardio section wore me out so much that I don’t remember too much after that. I also got a picture with the cardio workout of the day so that helped me remember a little too.

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What that board means is we ran (I technically walked) .1 miles and then did a 100 meter row. Then we went .15 miles on the treadmill and rowed 100 meters and so on. Then after that we did a 200 meter row and 30 seconds on the treadmill (with me walking at 15% incline). Rowing is so hard, but I’m really starting to like it. I remember at my first class how difficult rowing was for me and how my body just didn’t want to go the right way. Now, while I’m still not perfect (my weight does affect that a little), my form on the rower has gotten so much better!

Friday was a big incline day on the treadmill. We did so many hills that I thought I would pass out. I would say a majority of my 30 minutes on the treadmill were spent at at least 6% incline. I was only down to 3% for brief breaks from the crazy incline. I’m working on getting my speed up as well, but that’s going a little slower than I’d like. I’m able to do a lot of the workout at 3mph and occasionally I kick it up to 3.1 or 3.2, but toward the end of the 30 minute treadmill section, I have to go down to 2.7 or 2.8. My goal is to do the entire 30 minutes at 3.0 or faster. Ultimately, I’d like to get it to 4.0, but I know that that is going to take a long time.

For my workout picture on Friday, I decided to put it out on social media to see what shirt people think I should get when I lose enough weight.

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Everyone except one person voted for the orange shirt. Anyone else want to vote on it? I don’t know when I’ll be able to fit into one of their shirts, but I hope it’s before my 8 week challenge is over!

Overall, I think I had a pretty amazing week at Orangetheory. The best part about it for me is I’m starting to realize how tough and strong I really am. At SoulCycle, while there is a weights portion of the workout, I never felt like I was really strong. Now when I’m lifting 16 pounds while doing squats or when I’m doing pull-ups on the TRX straps, I can really see what my body is capable of. And I know that with time I’ll continue to get stronger and stronger.

I’m a quarter of the way done with my challenge and to be honest, time is flying by! I can’t wait to see how I’m able to push myself this week!

 

Birthday Countdown (or Taking Suggestions On How To Celebrate)

My birthday is less than a month away! I know I want to do something fun again for my birthday, but I’m stuck on what I should plan.

Last year’s outing to Bodega was pretty awesome, but there is a minimum you have to spend there in order to reserve an area (they dropped the minimum for me last year and I don’t know if they’d do it for me again). And I’m usually not the sort of person who organizes gatherings like that.

It can be stressful to plan a party for yourself! I love helping plan parties for other people, but when it comes to be I tend to lay low. I’ve had some instances where I tried to plan a party (like a house-warming party when I moved into my house) and pretty much nobody showed up. Actually, to my house-warming party I believe 2 people showed up eventually.

So I’d rather have a party where the lack of people (if there is one) isn’t too noticeable. Which is why I enjoyed having my party at a bar last year.

I put it out on various social networks that I’m taking suggestions on where to have my party this year. So far, I haven’t gotten a ton of ideas. And I know that planning a month out is pretty far out, but I’d rather have an idea of what I’m going to do early than try to scramble and put something together at the last minute.

While I’ve always been a big birthday person, I haven’t always been much for celebrating my birthday in a big way. Growing up, we always had a party, but I remember that since my birthday was in the summer there was no guarantee that people wouldn’t be out of town. And then for 2 or 3 summers I was at summer camp on my birthday (which was actually pretty fun). In college, it was weird celebrating my birthday because most of my friends would go home for the summer and I was still in LA. I remember my 21st birthday party only had 3 co-workers from the summer camp I worked at then. Not a huge party.

And after my “breakup” with my best friend, I lost a lot of LA area friends. But I’ve been lucky that creating and finding new friendships came easily to me after a while and now I have an amazing group of friends. But those friends, just like me, live crazy busy lives and aren’t always available to come and celebrate whatever there is to celebrate at that time.

Basically what I’m saying is while I do want to have an awesome birthday celebration, I’m always scared that nobody will show up. And I’m not asking for a pity party. I’m sure a bunch of people feel the same way that I do. And I’m sure that there are people who have experienced parties where nobody (or almost nobody) has shown up. I just need to get that fear out of my head, plan something awesome for my birthday, and know that I’ll have fun no matter how many people come to my party.

Working The Graveyard (or Starting Work When I’m Normally In Bed)

I’ve had my first 2 graveyard shifts this week (my third might be tonight but I won’t know until a little later today). The graveyard shifts are for training for a survey coder job. Once I’m trained, I’ll be working from home and during daytime hours. But since all the good coders work the graveyard, that’s when the training is.

I’m pretty lucky that I live close to the office. It’s only about a 10 minute drive and there is metered parking in front. But since the meters only charge you from 8am-8pm, I get to park there for free!

I was pretty nervous going into my first shift on Monday evening. The shifts start at 11pm, which is my normal bedtime. And they could go as late at 6am, but we were guaranteed at least 4 hours of pay even if we were there less time. I tried to sleep in a little on Monday and take a nap to prepare for being up so late, but my body just didn’t want to. So after working 4 hours of my virtual assistant legal recruiter job and getting in a workout with Orangetheory, I waited it out in my house until about 10:45pm to go to work.

On the first day, we pretty much jumped right into the job. There are 5 new people being trained right now and we all worked with one experienced recruiter. My recruiter went over the basics of the job. It involves reading surveys that were filled out after people see a movie. You look at the responses to the questions and try to create categories for those responses. The first few questions I worked on were pretty easy. The answers were either one thing or another. There were no variables really. Then we moved on to some more subjective responses. Those were harder to create categories out of, but I learned how to do it.

That first night, I was done at about 2:30am and was in my bed by 3:00am. It was pretty uneventful getting home and I got to sleep pretty easily (I was exhausted).

On the second night of training, we started doing some of the same as the night before. We worked on slightly harder questions so I had some trouble, but it’s not a super hard job (the supervisor keeps telling us that). After coding the questions, we learned how to imput all the information into an Excel sheet. That part was pretty easy for me since I’m a fast typist and they had a keypad for us to type with (when I start working from home, I totally want to invest in a keypad to use). There were some minor errors when I finished, but the coder I worked with said that those were to be expected for someone’s first time trying the job.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty comfortable already with the job. I’m not comfortable with the hours, but I keep reminding myself that that is a temporary situation and hopefully this job will be long-term. While this job won’t have enough hours for me to have it be my only job, there’s nothing wrong with creating a collection of jobs if that’s what it takes for me to pay my bills.

If I don’t have to go back in tonight, I’ll be working again next week. And hopefully I’ll be fully trained within or before 2 months (which is how long they told me training might last).

My First OA Meeting (or Celebrating A Friend’s Milestone)

About a month or so ago a friend of mine invited me to check out Overeaters Anonymous with her. Since the group is anonymous and my friend has asked me not to share her name, I’m going to refer to her as E. (that’s not one of her initials so don’t start going through my old posts trying to figure out who E. is).

I wasn’t able to go with E. for a while, but then she asked me again recently. This time, she asked me to attend a particular meeting because she would be celebrating her 1 year mark with OA and wanted me to be a part of it. I was honored to go, so even though I’ve had my reservations about going to OA in the past, I wasn’t going to miss this meeting.

This meeting was held in the valley right after rush hour. So if I was going to attend meetings in the future, it probably wouldn’t be this one (it took me over an hour to get there). But I got to the meeting early enough to get to hang out with E. and catch up a bit before we went inside.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve done group therapy before. It was a major component of the RFO diet that I did in the past. So I’m used to sharing with a group and getting feedback from fellow members. But OA was very different from any other group therapy I’ve done before.

In all the past group therapy I’ve done, the entire time was spent letting people talk about their problems/victories/concerns and letting other people respond and give advice or encouragement. In this particular OA meeting, the meeting was an hour-long but over 30 minutes of that was doing going over rules and other administrative items such as reading the 12 steps and traditions of OA as well as a member sharing her story (she has been in OA for decades). Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what I expected. E. told me that there are several meetings that are over an hour just so there is more time for talking.

After all the administrative talk at the meeting, it was time to celebrate people’s anniversaries with OA. E. got a candle to celebrate her 1 year mark and there were some other women celebrating 3 years. I was so proud of E. for many reasons. She’s stuck with something for a year, and that’s so tough to do. And she was open to sharing this with me, which is also incredibly tough to do. I remember when I wrote about my eating disorder on here for the first time I cried for about 3 hours and almost didn’t publish that post.

Next, people had a chance to talk. But they are only given a certain amount of time (I’m not exactly sure of the time limit, but I think it was about 4 minutes). There is someone at the meeting with a timer and they let people know when their time is up. Again, this is not something I’m used to. In other group therapy, we could easily spend 30 minutes on one topic with multiple people chiming in. But perhaps with the time restrictions on the OA meeting, they’ve discovered that they need to keep people on time so they can do everything that needs to be done.

One of my biggest concerns and reasons I hadn’t checked out OA in the past was the issue of God. I don’t believe in God (and I don’t want to start a debate on here about that). But when I looked over a lot of the information about OA, it talks about letting a higher power guide you and things to that nature. While I do believe in putting things out into the universe, that’s not to have the universe guide me. I guide myself.

This particular meeting was very “God-ish” as E. and I put it. But she told me that most meetings weren’t this way and this particular meeting was one of the most “God-ish” that she’s been to.

Overall, the meeting was some of what I expected and a lot of what I didn’t expect. After the meeting, E. and I talked in my car for a while about it and she listened to my concerns and addressed all of them (including telling me about meetings that are longer than an hour and how this meeting seemed very “God-ish”). I’m not 100% sure that I’m going to check out another OA meeting soon, but I’m so glad I went. I got to see what it was all about and I did meet some really great people there (I wish I could tell you about them but that would defeat the “anonymous” part).

Sorry if this post seems scattered (it feels that way to me when I’m reading it and I’ve edited this several times now). The OA meeting wasn’t super recent. I waited to share this for me to gather my thoughts a bit more about it. If any of you attend OA and are ok with sharing your thoughts, I’d love to hear them. But I also understand if you don’t want to “out” yourself. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m so glad that E. “outed” herself to me and I was able to share in one of her victories.