Archive | February, 2015

I’m Not The Banana Trifle Lady

11 Feb


My friend is having a 90s karaoke birthday party and one of my favorite topics of discussion is what everyone will sing.

I will sing Spice Girls, but only with a group who knows which girl they are.

I will sing Jewel, but only on a stool with a spotlight on me.

I will sing You Oughta Know, but only with every bit of feeling I have in my soul.

When I announce this to people, I then begin to sing, in a harsh, staccato voice to demonstrate what a treat they are in for:









People start to get scared eyes, especially at the part where I scream, “Does she know that you told me you’d hold me until you died? Til you died? But you’re still alive!”

When my audience starts to look for escape routes I know I’ve really channeled the spirit of Alanis.

I’m going to say it and get it over with:

You Oughta Know is the best song of all time.

It’s not my favorite song of all time, but it’s the best song of all time.

Just like 4 Weddings is not my favorite Hugh Grant movie but is my favorite Hugh Grant.

Are you following?

These things always make sense in my head.

Two weeks ago I decided I was going to become a banana trifle person.  I had an “easy” recipe, the right ingredients, and the internet assurances of dozens of others that I could, indeed, accomplish this task.

“This is so exciting now that I’m the banana trifle lady,” I told Rob.

“The banana trifle lady?” he said.

“The woman that everyone knows makes the best banana trifle.  Invite Jill over!  She’ll bring that majesty of a banana trifle! That Nobel Peace Prize of a dish!” I said.

“Oh,” he said.

“The woman whose trifle is mentioned in her obituary, who passes her secrets on to her grandchildren, who whips up a trifle just for the fun of it on a Tuesday afternoon because the sun is bright and the bananas are ripe,” I said.

“Oh,” he said.

“Oh oh!” I said.

One week later and with a bowl of as-yet-unable-to-be-whipped heavy whipping cream, I sent a defeated text to several friends, “I’m not going to be the banana trifle lady.”

Exactly what type of lady I am is yet to be determined.

I think I’m a hostess.  I think I like hosting?  Is this real?

I’m trying to gauge myself to see if it’s true.

I think I like hosting under certain conditions.  I like hosting when it’s people I know very well.

I like hosting with Rob.

That’s what it comes down to, I think.

Rob told me several years ago that he was waiting for the time when his peers stopped going to bars and started going to dinner patties.  That would be his time.

And so it is.

Rob is such an excellent cook.  It’s the Italian in him, I think.  He loves being in the kitchen.  He loves feeding me.  He can list everything I’ve eaten of his,when I ate it, how much I liked it.

For instance, the first thing he cooked me is bacon.

Caitlin claims she knew we were MFEO that day, The Bacon Day, but I think that’s a dramatic revision of history.  And I think just typing that makes me all sad for the days when Caitlin was my roommate and Rob was making me bacon and my life was changing and I didn’t even know it.

Rob and I have been in charge of some events lately.  Getting our feet wet in the hosting scene, if you will.

We threw Hilary a birthday party last week.  Rob made an elaborate breakfast spread.  I sat on the couch and created a playlist based on the year of her birth and wrapped her carefully chosen present and make sure the Diet Coke drawer was full.

“So you did nothing,” my brother said when he heard about our night.

So I did nothing.

Except no!  I’m sorry.  On behalf of all people everywhere whose skills aren’t tangible I want to say our contributions are real.  90s playlists are real.  So are conversational skills.

After Rob cooks he sits down, tired.  I take the conversation from there.  “You’re good at it,” he says.  And I do like it.  I love a good conversation.  I love asking people odd questions, finding out their Elevator People or their 90s karaoke songs.  I love staying up all night laughing and debating and answering questions that never need to be answered in the first place.

So I did nothing for the dinner party.

But then I did everything.

OK, maybe not everything.

Rob did a lot.  But I did things, too.

And we both think we got the better end of the deal.

Body Image Part 1

9 Feb


I want to be the girl who doesn’t obsess over her weight, and most of the time I am.

I’ve made it through my rocky teenage years and early 20s somewhat intact.  I’ve done the stupid diets.  I never will again.  I’ve given up fat talk.  I am a huge proponent of body acceptance and loving who you are.

And then, when it comes to myself–

Why is it hardest to love ourselves?  I can look my friends in the eye and tell them they are beautiful inside and out.  Tell them they should show off those boobs and wear that bikini and love themselves and life and I mean every single word.

And then, when it comes to myself–

I stepped on the scale this morning.  That is the root of the problem.  That is the root of all evil.

I generally stay away from my scale.  I’ve gone through dark periods before where I’ve checked the scale multiple times a day and it never worked, you know.  Weighing myself has never yet led to any sort of action.

In fact, since weighing myself this morning I have felt self pity, considered crying, and sent a dramatic text where I suggested I was staying in bed indefinitely.

How is it that the scale has all this power over my mood?

Why is it that if I had weighed 10 lbs less I would be skipping around, so pleased with myself?

I am a smart, trying-to-be kind girl with a lot of things going for me and a lot of things I want out of life, none of which are connected to those numbers.

And yet.

I’ve been reading Hillary Clinton’s book, Living History, lately.  In fact, last night I chose to continue reading it rather than watching two new episodes of my favorite television shows, so you know I’m invested.

There’s so much for me to say about Hillary, so much that makes me admire her as this incredibly gifted and complex human being, but I think her perplexion over people’s obsession with her looks is one of my favorite parts about her.  Hillary doesn’t have time to worry about that nonsense!  She’s thinking and doing and moving and shaking and changing.

I don’t have time to wallow over what the scale told me this morning!

I know this.  I’ve known this for years.

My happiness and self worth do not lie on that scale.

And yet.

This year I made a list of all the topics I wanted to write about.  Topics that scared me and scare me.  Topics that would make me a better writer.

One of those topics was body image.

I imagined a triumphant post where I chronicled everything from the freshman 15 to negative body talk to the terrible, faint-inducing detox in London.

I imagined talking about how the trick to me being healthy is just the trick to me being happy.  I’ve got to look after myself emotionally in order for my physical health to be OK.  How diets don’t work and vegetables do.

I also imagined writing this post 20 lbs less than I am now, so it would come from this place of “I’ve been there, I’m over it.”

That’s the thing, though, isn’t it?  We’re never over our bodies.  They are always here.  And we just do what we can.

This morning after weighing myself I had two conflicting and intense emotions:

1. I am laying in bed from now until eternity because nothing in my life will ever go right and would you look at this problem and would you look at that problem–

2. I am never eating again.

And I’ve been there.

Both places, really.  But the second one especially.

There’s this need, I think, when I see the scale isn’t what I’d like it to be to fix it RIGHT NOW.  I don’t have time for things like exercise and adding fruit and vegetables into my life.  I only have time to do something drastic and make it all OK, probably by the end of the month.

It will probably be OK by then.

If I just stop eating now.

And I know that that’s not the way forward.  That’s not the way to a happy life.  That’s not the way anywhere but a spiral of down.

I know this.  And it’s been so very long since I’ve felt the way I did today.  Years, maybe.

I thought I was over it.

But we’re never really over our bodies I suppose.

This morning I had a big bowl of oatmeal with bananas, raspberries, dates and pistachios.  I will get a green smoothie later today while I run errands.  I will go to a yoga class this week.  I will walk around my neighborhood a few times.

I will make healthy changes that I need to make.

I will finish that Hillary Clinton book.

I will hug my boyfriend.

I will continue to eat nachos.

And I will write that other blog post, that good blog post, another day.

For today, this is what I have to give.

I Should Have Known Then

5 Feb


“Do you read my blog?” I asked him.  He rolled his eyes and sighed, as though I had posed a difficult question just for the sake of it.  As though this would start something.

“I’ve read parts,” he said.

“What does that mean?” I pushed.

He sighed again, “Jill, asking me to read your blog is like me asking you to read a car manual.  It’s just not that interesting for either of us.”

I recoiled.  This was the man I loved telling me that my thoughts, my words, my life weren’t that interesting.

I should have known then.

I showed up on Cape Cod broken and bruised.  My heart felt like it no longer existed, that after so many repeated beatings and shatterings it had just turned to dust, scattered across the rest of my body.  The pain was always with me.

I had kind of, sort of invited myself to Rob’s house for his annual Cape trip.  Granted, he seemed eager about the idea, but I suggested it.  I needed it.  I wanted it.

He said yes.

I took a bus from Boston to the outer Cape.  I felt conspicious, like the people around me could look at me and see my flaws.  “That girl.  There’s something seriously wrong with her.”

“That girl.  Stay away.”

I stared out the window, letting my thoughts twist and turn. I didn’t know how my life could be right again, not in a dramatic way, but in a “if I fix this thing, then my life will no longer be my life.  I will be starting completely over” way.

It didn’t scare me.  It didn’t anything.

It just was.

I got off the bus at my stop, found my bag and looked around.  There he was.

Rob smiled at me.  He was wearing a swimsuit and t-shirt, a Nantucket baseball cap on his head, Ray-Bans on his face.  He came up to me, awkwardly.  He’s always awkward.

“Give me a hug,” I said.  I knew he would never touch me without being asked.

He did.

We got in his car and turned on the music, the trees whizzing past.

“I’m so sad,” I told him.

He knew this, of course. He talked to me every day.  He knew just how sad I was.

“Well, we’re in the business of cheering people up here,” he said.

He made me laugh.

I should have known then.

Rob asks me every day when I’m going to blog.  “More blog,” he says.  “Always more blog.”

He once admitted to me that he fell in love with me because of my blog.  That my thoughts and words and life made me irresistible to him.

He fell in love with my writing, he said.

I should have known then.

I do know now.