A singular truism I have long now accepted is that I have a phenomenal group of best friends. So phenomenal is this somewhat diverse but unified group that I actually sat back for a minute this week and contemplated them running England. (The country, not the landscape).They genuinely could. It wouldn’t fall apart.
This is by no means simple, this articulation of what I have for so long known to be true. But it has been decided, I am in awe, filled with admiration and overwhelming gratitude. Truly humbled. Let me lay it out for you: To my mind, I see each of them as a mini representative of great women in history. A Margaret Thatcher here, a Jackie Kennedy there, a Florence Nightingale, so on and so forth, (and even my very own Oprah Winfrey!-we’ll get to it).
And it must go without saying, ladies and gentlemen, that such company has the profound capacity to crease.me.up. Indeed, there is never an occasion, however troublesome or wretched I have insisted it is, that won’t end in belly-aching laughter. Somebody WILL have me doubled over, laughing harder than the day before. How is anything truly problematic with these women around?
And so many lessons! So much I’ve learnt. 6 of the smartest, headstrong women I know equates to 6000 things to learn. Incongruous, unrelated but utterly brilliant. One of the wisest and most valuable things I’ve ever been given came from my very own Oprah, approximately a year and a half ago, “it’s okay to be uncomfortable” she told me. And with that, I began to understand that acceptance of a situation, good or bad, frees you up a little. That if you would only make peace with an uncomfortable time then it passes. And the growing pains subside. We’re not always here to smile. Comfort isn’t everything. Comfort isn’t growth.
Margaret Thatcher has theee most tenacious, head-screwed-on-the-right-way, marvelous advice I have ever heard. Pretty much always. And the most patient, non-judgemental pair of ears I’ve ever come across…I still maintain that her and Oprah are very alike. They believe otherwise.
Whilst Florence Nightingale is secretly Mother Theresa and Martha Stewart all rolled into one. In short, I’m frightened to entertain guests if she isn’t around. Genuine anxiety prevails. The girl can cook, clean, and has more useful general knowledge than google. What’s more she’s faster and funnier. And she can measure a bra size more efficiently than the women employed in the M&S fitting deparment (I’ve seen her do it, better, faster and funnier) with the added bonus of no awkward fumbling or cold hands. (Think they wanted to employ her after that episode).
So when Jackie Kennedy sends me a one-word text that reads ‘Starbucks?’ (she has an uncanny ability to know when caffeine and sugar are most necessary) and we sit covering as many topics as we can humanly manage until they kick us out, I remember things are awesome. And so is Jackie – my fashion icon, both literally and metaphorically. Nobody does it better. And whatever she has- she’ll share with you. That’s a tall order when you think about it. Pun totally intended.
That leaves 2…wonderful, creative, exceptional beings who’ve moulded and shaped so much of the person I am. Don’t you doubt for a second that I’ve run out of flattering comparisons, it’s just not the case.
Once I passed out from laughing too hard. True story. One moment my cheeks were aching and I couldn’t sit up straight and the next I was out cold. Just for a few seconds. But it felt like an eternity. I could hear the sound of my own laughter resounding inside my own head, until I came to, completely bemused. I believe that sometimes we go through phases that due to their intensity, seem to last a lot longer than in actual fact. Without the resounding laughter, they might go on forever. The fact is, I wouldn’t know. Because I have the Protein Queen, as she shall be known. Strong, lean and not at all mean. She’ll tell you how it is, she’ll tell you how it needs to be. If I had to, I’d say a cross betwixt Golda Meir and Kim Kardashian. But you might imagine why I’m hesitant in that regard.
Many times I’ve woken up next to a curly dark mass of hair on my pillow belonging to my 6th flag. Ironically, she’s probably the oldest flag, the one that’s been there the longest. And we’ve seen a lot together, a lot of places and faces, a lot of trips, a lot of memories. Just like the others, but more. By default. Or genetics.In any event I genuinely don’t have a comparison but at this point I’ve started to believe her heart is actually golden. It pumps gold the way most hearts pump platelets. And I’m cool with that.
It is my wish for these girls to remain as anonymous as they appear, although they’ll undoubtedly recognise themselves. It would be hard not to.I only wanted to share with you, with them, a plethora of ideas that now and again come crusading by and subtly remind me of how entirely and utterly blessed I am. For my 6 Flags. And all the tenacity and vibrancy they encompass. For the perpetual speckles of laughter.
And for everything in between.
Finally! After a week of sweating, toiling, and ultimately doing whatever it took to stave off my insatiable cravings (and incessant drawings) to whatever processed crap was laying around my Miami apartment, I am back in New York City getting fit on my own turf!
And if this past week’s progress wasn’t great enough, these past ten hours coming back to New York City has been doing me wonders!
I have officially given up my love for white, enriched flour-filled carbohydrates! A ton of progress when such carbs were popped in my mouth more than wine corks at a Gala.
The following new rules have also been established in my food shopping criteria: 1. whatever packaged food I now buy could only have up to 3g of fat maximum (of course I use my discretion based on the item) and 2. I now have to KNOW what I am eating. Memorizing the chemical names and pronunciations by heart is a habit that has now been nixed!
But, most importantly, I have also entered a 90 day diet contest that I am visibly rockin’! Winner receives one hundred dollars and way too many things, all at once, have been calling my name…
Overall, the past week filled with lifestyle changes has been beyond marvelous.
I went for a run in Central Park earlier today, and even though it made me miss my 1950’s gym back at home, it has also helped me fully embrace the new lifestyle I am embarking on. And even though the runners in Central Park will most probably intimidate you at first, and run you over faster than they will notice you, nothing can compare to the exhilaration it brings… Even if the only way to confidently face the aggressive NYC runners is to constantly recite the verses of Woodie Gunthrie’s This Land is Your Land…it’s worth it.
It seems throughout a lifespan, us humans are constantly reaching toward a new milestone. Walking, talking, getting food in our mouth and not around it etc, are the ones we could barely remember. The first real milestone I could remember, clear as day, is when at six years old I swapped my back seat booster for a new “feet out the window, cigarette in hand” passenger seat kind of look. Skipping a few years to when you are in your mid-teens and you kiss the days your parents pulled up to the movie theater in their soccer car or broken down Volkswagen goodbye because you just got your driver’s license. Of course this example doesn’t apply to me because I was a grandma and waited till my early 20’s to receive that thing. But you get the gist. Then of course there is graduating college and getting married. Y’know the minor ones. One major milestone that occurs throughout a lifetime, I realized, usually always has something to do with weight. Losing ten pounds, gaining 5, always ends up being a major (catastrophic or not) event. After spending my last few weeks of summer on the beach, I grew accustomed to watching the stick figured teeny-boppers run around as if this were a perpetual Baywatch episode on repeat. After watching them strut their stuff for all of Miami-Dade to see, I had caught myself becoming a little envious. And then it hit me; the wave had knocked me down. I can’t even remember the last time my weight range was in the 120’s through the 150’s. Was I in Middle School? Junior High? High School? Definitely not my year studying abroad when there were fresh baked goods for the equivalent of a U.S. nickle steaming outside my apartment. I returned home to my size-two sister cooking in the kitchen. The following conversation with my sister is what preempted this blog in the first place.
Me:”Jackie, am I fat?”
Jackie: “No way am I answering this question. Every time I do I get in some sort of trouble.”
Even though I knew she was right, I continued to badger her until she finally caved.
Jackie: “You’re not fat but… you do have ‘poulkes.'” She said with a grin and a shrug.
Me: “I have…what?” I asked rather confused. Was that some kind of meat entree?
Jackie: “You know…’poulkes'”
Pronounced: Pull-kehs. Pointing down to the area just above and around my knee cap. Poulkes? I thought to myself. Does anyone else coin it that? If they don’t, then there is no way anyone else could have noticed. Right? Wrong.
As I solemnly said “alright” and began to walk away, Jackie snuck in another source of access adipose tissue on my body. The girl was having a field day.
Jackie: “…and thunder thighs.”
“Oh, come on!” I said turning around rather annoyed. Even though I did sign up for it. “Where else, Jack? Anything on my arms you would like to comment about?”
Jackie: “Well, we all have a little flab there.” She said lifting up her own and jiggling it with her dainty fingers. “But your stomach is pretty flat!”
Thanks Jack. The imagery that went on in my mind was gruesome. But I managed to turn my humiliation into determination. And thus begins my journey on going from 156 and down to my goal weight of 128…Welcome Aboard. (And for the record, Jack was right, I didn’t speak to her till the following morning…)