Friday, September 24, 2010

Dancing Queen

I have been working out with Turbofire (think kickboxing meets dance) and have been I loving it. But everyone needs a break. So when my friend asked me to go to Zumba with her, I accepted, excited about the change of pace. I walked in and felt the music pulsing through my body. I love this already. The class starts and we are instantly moving and shaking our moneymakers. With each step I feel lighter, younger, and vibrant. As I move through each combo I imagine myself as Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, complete with the headband and tight buttocks. Sweating with enthusiasm, I am one chain and water bucket away from recreating the "She's a Maniac" video. I am twisting my hips, turning light on my heels, and doing the Rumba like I am auditioning for the lead role in "Dirty Dancing 2- Havana Nights." I am one with the music, lost in my own Awesomeness.

And then I look in the mirror.

HO.LY.SHIT.

Rather than Jennifer Beals staring back at me, I was faced with a Nikki Blonsky (from Hairspray) silhouette complete with wiggles and jiggles, and not the kind that are featured in the latest T-Pain video. When I shimmy-ed my leg, a ripple started at my knee and rolled its way up to my ass causing the lower half of my body to be a half second slower than the top part. And when she ordered us to "wave our hands in the air", mine waved hello back to me in the mirror. Had I seen this in my 20's, I would have ran out of there in humiliation vowing only to eat celery until I looked like Britney Spears in her "Slave" days. But now I have entered my 30's and you know what? I don't give a damn. I just looked at my Tracy Turnblad reflection and laughed. Because as long as these hips can shake, I'm gonna shake'em... cause my hips don't lie.

Me, as I see myself in my head.


Me, in real life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life Lines- September Column in At Home TN Magazine

I loved writing this article about my girlfriends from college. We had a weekend reunion where we brought all of our kids together. I got to see these girls that I spent my youth with as moms and wives- and what a difference a decade makes! That said, I believe that girlfriends are our true Life Lines in this crazy journey we call life. Enjoy.


Life Lines

Being an adult is overrated. And this never became more true than this weekend when I returned to Mississippi for a reunion with my girlfriends of college past. A past when days consisted of classes interchanged with mid-day naps, when the night life started at 11pm, and when the biggest worry of your life was if that cute guy from economics was finally going to ask you out (he didn’t).
Now almost 10 years have come and gone as we greet each other enthusiastically in between peeling 2 year olds off the stairwell (them) while frantically searching for missing pacifiers on the floor (me). There are 5 of us, and this time the baggage that we brought is not the latest Vera Bradley design but 5 boisterous children ranging from 10 months to two and a half years. We are like brave zookeepers, determined to create some order despite the pack of monkeys that surround us. We laugh as we make a meager attempt at conversation over a blaring Elmo’s World, all while trying to catch up on our lives that have scattered across three states.
By the time dinner was served (hotdogs, pasta shells, and carrots), bath time concluded in a watery mess, and bedtime gloriously rolled around, we all came together like weary soldiers covered in smashed carrots, dried shampoo, and god only knows what else to finally have some “me” time. I looked at the faces of my girlfriends as we talked alone for the first time all day , and even as I noticed lines of exhaustion that were displayed on their faces, I also saw the shining light of youth and wonder in their eyes that brought me back to a time when we were just girls. Before we were someone’s wife or mother, we were 5 girls who shared scandalous secrets, cried in each other’s arms over boys that we were sure was “the one”, and had endless conversations about how each one of us would carve out our own space in the world to call our own. We sat with the whole world at our fingertips ready to take on whatever was to be thrown our way.
Over the years we have celebrated weddings and births, climbed corporate ladders, moved across the state or the country, dealt with heartbreak and joy, and have been on more diets than anybody cares to count. And I am not so na├»ve to think that in that time we are the same people or have the same relationships that we did in college. We don’t. In many ways we couldn’t be more different now. Beth is an up and coming photographer making waves in the industry while Shea is perfectly content staying at home with her two children. And while I am trying to become the next Oprah Winfrey; Courtney and Kellie are trying to find balance between being a mom and still going after their dreams. But what we have is a history that bridges the space where common threads used to hold us together. And that is how we are able to sit here now, 10 years later, and rekindle the same connections that we had in college. Though our conversations have changed from term papers, frat parties, and boys to diaper rashes, stretch marks, and well, boys (some things never change); I can still rest assured that Beth will blow her entire budget on the latest Marc Jacobs bag that I will invariably try to mimic, that Kellie and Shea will have no idea who Marc Jacobs is, and Courtney will be the reasonable voice to bridge the gap between us all. Even with all the time that has passed, I know these girls inside and out. And that is something that I will never find with other girlfriends that come along in life because there is something so special about someone knowing you for better or worse and loving you in spite of that.
We talked for hours on end that night after the kids were asleep about the joys and woes of marriage and motherhood, and also reminisced about those blissful days of eating pancakes at 3 in the morning just because we could. At the end of the weekend we each said our goodbyes as we went back to our lives as wives and mothers. And as I was driving home I caught myself smiling at the thought of those 5 innocent girls that grew up to be 5 beautiful women who still share secrets, cry on each other’s shoulders, and are just trying to carve out a place in this world to call their own.

The Fruit of our Loins...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Feignin'

I am an addict, America. No, I am not hooked on phonics or drugs for that matter. It is something darker, more devious. I am addicted to the sweet, syrupy liquid poison known as Diet Coke. I thought it was an innocent relationship. I thought I could quit on my terms and tell it who was Boss. But two weeks ago I tried to divorce my toxic love and got a rude awakening. You might be wondering why I would cut myself off from such a delicious treat. My first red flag came to me at lunch one day while I was about to dine at (surprise) Subway. Just as I am making my way in line to build my sandwich I happen to glance over at the soda fountain and see my worst nightmare played out before my very eyes. The Diet Coke was "out of order." For any reasonable person this would have been a non-issue. But for an addict like me about to get my fix, this was reason enough to turn around and walk right out of the restaurant. And that is how my journey to sobriety began...and ended.

Step 1: Admittance. After realizing this was not normal I decided that maybe Diet Coke and I needed a break.

Step 2: Belief. I dug down deep to find the part of me that didn't need Diet Coke to get through the day.

Step 3: Discovery. What I found was there is no part of me that wants to go without Diet Coke throughout the day.

Step 4: Rage. After 3 days without my beloved bubbly, I turned into one of the cast members from "Bad Girls Club" with mood swings to match.

Step 5: Repentance. After apologizing to the innocent bystander at the red light on 8th and Wedgewood, I drove to the nearest Sonic.

Step 6-12: Who the hell knows. I arrived at Sonic and practically ripped the Route 44 Diet Coke out of the carhop's hand like Kanye West at the VMA Awards. And as I felt that familiar burn run down my throat like it had so many times before, things suddenly came into focus. And that's when I realized, if loving Diet Coke is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Sigh. (Burp)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Carnies

I love the fair. The humid night, the bright lights, the smell of fried twinkies and turkey legs drifting in the air. I say this now because there was a time when I forgot how much I loved the fair. I got a little high-falutin' as they say and thought I was too sophisticated to walk amongst the Carnies. But then out of the blue my sister called to see if we wanted to join them in the land of sugar and sweat. Glee was coming on, which usually halts all plans in my world, but I thought it would be a nice change.


And so I packed up Rinks in his neat plaid shorts and loafers (I know, hindsight is 20/20) and we were off to the fair. I will admit, I walked in with somewhat of an attitude. Things were dirty, it was hot, and if that lady asked to guess my weight one more time I was going to punch her in the throat. But then I saw the tilt-a-whirl and like the waves cascading onto the shore, all the memories of my youth came flooding back and I threw Rinks at Ashley and literally bolted for the line. Losing all dignity I pushed two 8 year olds out of the way that were trying to take my buggie and then jumped in right in time to start spinning. After one taste it was on like donkey kong (oh yes I did) as I ran from ride to ride, handing my tickets to the nice gentleman with three teeth in his whole head and smelled oddly of cigarettes and ranch dressing. When I saw the Alpine coaster (who, by the way still has "Daisy Dukes" on replay from 1995) I had the urge to make Ashley ride it with me so we could make out with the teenagers. He denied me. By the end of the night Rinks was stripped down to his diaper with lemonade running down his belly and dirt up to his ankles (he fit right in) as Ashley pulled me off the Round Up. I wasn't ready to leave, and so I pouted the whole way home... but only with the left side of my body because the right side was still numb from The Sizzler.