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Rebel without a Band-Aid

Apr 16, 2010

Today, exactly two weeks into my last year as a 20-something, I suddenly realized the time to do something rebellious is running out.

I've had similar feelings throughout my adult(ish) life. At 18 I feared I hadn't gotten in enough trouble in my high school years, so I snuck out with my friend Jacob and went to Dunkin Donuts at 2 a.m. When I turned 21 I went to Little Five Points in Atlanta and let a pale, dreadlocked, tattooed lady pierce my bellybutton. At 25 I felt really old and was depressed I wasn't married yet (part of my life plan -- married by 25, first kid by 30), so I pouted. At 27 I bought a really expensive pair of shoes that I wore twice. Last year I dyed my hair bright red (Garnier Pomegranate). So this year, my last year in my 20s...what do I do?

While getting ready for work this morning I contemplated my options. Staying out all night isn't fun anymore because I waste the whole next day sleeping and then my weekend is kaput. I could pierce something again, I guess, but that is voluntary pain without removing hair from a sensitive area or dirt from my pores, plus I'll just have to spend more money on more jewelry, and that's really unnecessary. I could get pregnant, a true shocker, but that would be straight up inconvenient. I don't want to go spend a lot of money on something I don't need, especially after paying DC taxes (OUCH...I am officially POed about taxation without representation!!!). I re-dyed my hair the same red a few days ago, but it's just not doing the trick. What's a girl to do?

I wandered into my bathroom, forlorn. I keep my jewelry in there, and it was time to accessorize. I was wearing a taupe skirt with a peach top and a bronze belt and brand new bronze sandals with little gray jewels on the straps. I bought the sandals because they go all the way around your heel, so they're just like flip flops, except the strap holds your foot in place so you don't get that cramp in the arch of your foot when you have to walk 10 minutes from the Metro to get to your new office. (Oh, do I sound bitter? Yes, yes I am.)

So what jewelry goes with bronze? I have a bronze necklace somewhere but I don't know where it is. Pearls? No, I always wear pearls. And then I spotted a necklace I haven't worn since last spring, and I haven't worn it because A) it's cheap and broken and B) it's yellow gold, and I don't wear yellow gold because I have too much yellow in my skin and the gold and my skin tone do not complement each other. I paid $6 for it at Forever 21, so I didn't feel like it was a totally irresponsible investment, and I was trying to be adventurous at the time, but it broke before I got a chance to wear it. I grabbed a pair of tweezers (I have them stashed all over my apartment and elsewhere) and got to work on the links that had broken. In a couple of minutes it was fixed. I wondered, could I mix metallics?

I draped the yellow gold, blue, pink, and amber jeweled necklace over my neck and admired it against the peach shirt. I've always matched my outfits and accessories. It felt wrong to wear bronze with yellow gold. Actually, it felt wrong to wear yellow gold at all. But this could be the rebellious act I'd been looking for!

So I did it! I mixed metallics! All day I wondered if anyone would notice. Unfortunately, I work in an office of men in uniforms. And the necklace broke again. But I had tweezers at work so I fixed it.

More unfortunately and sort of off the topic were the sandals. No cramp in my arch, but I got a raging blister in between my toes on my left foot. That's one of the only real problems with spring -- you've been wearing stockings all winter and your feet are baby soft, so the season between winter and summer you must build up the calluses on your feet so you can wear spring/summer shoes against your bare skin. And with new shoes, there's no memory callus from last year, so you have to start from scratch.

And worse than foot calluses are thigh calluses. Oh yes, after the donut-induced fatness occurred I have never gotten back my skinny thighs, and now when I wear a skirt they rub together and chafe. But I've been letting them chafe a lot in the past couple of weeks, so hopefully I'll form calluses soon and that won't bother me anymore.

Aaaaaand I think I just threw any hope out the window of having a kid by 30.

Shoes! (and cupcakes)

Apr 11, 2010

I haven't updated in a while because the job got crazy busy, and also that one, 10-minute jog just about ruined my right shin muscle. (Is that what you refer to it as?  Real runners feel free to correct me.)  My lovely chiropractor gave me a Runner's Stick to massage my shin.  Watching the video on how it works kind of makes me want to throw up, but it's not as painful as it looks. 

The next order of business was to get the shoes.  I found a store much closer than Georgetown in Adams Morgan called Fleet Feet.  Since it was a nice day, I threw on my new DKNY satchel bag and rode my bike over there.  It was only a mile away, but most of the ride was up a hill and by the time I got to the store I was seriously out of breath, and also painfully reminded of how out of shape I am.  This is especially depressing because I have been going to the gym regularly in the past three months.  Is 20 minutes on the elliptical not enough?  I even drip sweat sometimes, gross!  Well anyway, Phillip at Fleet Feet was very helpful and fitted me with several pairs of shoes.  I eventually settled on a pair of Nikes (not neon orange, thank goodness -- although most girls prefer pink to red, just a little tip, Nike people who aren't reading my blog so I don't know why I'm bothering pointing this out).  Phillip also gave me a runner's journal to get started (well, he didn't give it to me, he's not quite as generous as my chiropractor.  But when the lady rang it up I was too embarrassed to say, "Twenty dollars!  No thank you!" for fear that everyone in there had already noticed how out of shape I was and would snicker and think, She should really invest in the book.) 

Sooooo that was, um, two weeks ago I think?  And I haven't begun training yet.  And worse, my birthday was the week after that and I ate a lot of cupcakes.  And the week after I was traveling for work and I ate junk every day (including carrot cake, which could be my new demise since giving up donuts).  At any moment I am going to put on five pounds, get depressed, and gorge myself with more cupcakes to drown the fat sorrows.

Yesterday was the last day of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so Margaret and I rode our bikes down to the Tidal Basin to see what was left of the blossoms (we could only find one tree still in bloom).  She was supposed to be taking it easy because today she ran a 10-mile race that she got pulled into at the last minute (some friends were running together and one dropped out).  The day was perfect and on the way home we passed Justin Guarini on the street! 

I yelled after Margaret when we passed him, "Margaret!  Stop!  That was Justin Guarini!"

Margaret turned her bike around, and as she passed me on her way back to him she said, "Who's that?"  But before I could give her a decent explanation she called out, "Justin!" 

Sure enough, it was him, big curly hair and all!  I focused on keeping my breathing steady and tried to talk to him in a conversational, normal way, but I was fumbling with my bike and it fell over, and then I got nervous that we were making a scene and he would get annoyed. 

"It's okay, it's part of the job," he said when I began apologizing.  And then I realized, there were tons of people out, and we -- okay just me -- were the only ones excited to see him. 

"Now who was that?" Margaret asked me again after we got our pictures with him. 

"American Idol runner up with Kelly Clarkson!" 

"Oh yeah!  I knew he looked familiar."

And, wow, I am way too into reality TV.  Although Margaret watches a lot more "Real Housewives" than I do.  (Dirty Little Secret: I plan to Netflix "From Justin to Kelly" next week.) 

When we got back Margaret announced she needed to eats lots of carbs in preparation for the race, and I gladly supported her.  The next morning I biked down 14th St to the finish line by the Monument.  But biking seemed quite difficult.

Is the air low in my tires? I wondered.  Yes, that must be it.

With every turn of the pedal, my quads locked up more.  I began to slow and realized I was pedaling up a hill, and I use the term "hill" extremely loosely.  By the time I reached the race, my legs were all Jello-ey.  I scowled at the runners who had finished the race and were silently judging my inability to ride a bike on a flat surface.  (Okay they were probably just annoyed that I was attempting to ride a bike through a crowd of people who had just run 10 miles and were in no mood to dodge a moving vehicle.)

I made my way to the finish line and waited for Margaret.  I found a spot near the medical station, which seemed unnecessary as everyone was a rock star and no one needed medical attention.  After about 20 minutes, however, one pale girl hobbled over, and the medical staff grabbed a wheelchair and a bottle of Gatorade and got her settled.  Her cheeks flushed when she sat down, and she stayed there for a while.  I watched her in horror, realizing that would be me.  Or worse, I would keel over on mile four and they'd have to wheel me across the finish line.  Or worse, I'd have to get on the dreaded bus.  I began having flashbacks to 10th grade soccer tryouts and those horrid sprints we had to do, and I was always the one who had to "take a breather" and then I'd make up excuses, like I was anemic or hypoglycemic.  I tried out for just about every sport in high school and never made one team.  And I had no medical conditions.  I was just a wimp. 

When Margaret crossed the finish line I felt a surge of inspiration.  Why can't I do this?  I've spent my whole life making excuses, and I'm not getting any younger.  When the rest of our friends showed up, we all took a picture together, and they told me next time I won't be on the sidelines, I'll be running with them.

So I'm thinking this is the week when I begin training for reals.  This is the race Margaret has proposed, and I have all the tools I need -- shoes, journal, The Stick, and lots of encouragement.  Plus I'm really looking forward to eating all those guilt-free carbs the night before.  And a week of cupcakes afterwards!