i ate a burrito and my stomach turned into an extraterrestrial.

This is a story about peer pressure. Plain and simple.

Last night, I pulled up to a stoplight and commenced with my usual voyeuristic observing of the cars and drivers around me. To my right was a guy in an SUV. The first thing I noticed was what appeared to be tears cascading down his face. Second thing: he was doing major, major damage to a burrito. We’ll get to probable tears later. What grabbed my attention was that burrito. It was soft, it looked delicious, and for the first time in my entire life, I wanted one. I’ve never, ever craved a burrito, or any other Mexican food. That’s just me. But the way he held it in his hands…like a beloved friend saying goodbye to his beloved friend before utterly consuming it…

I stared at him and that burrito until the stoplight turned green. Some minutes later, I reached for my trusty smartphone GPS, searched for a Taco Bell img_4527 (there was no time to locate authentic Mexican fare, reader, not when my belly was officially running things), found it, drove there, and ordered my version of what I saw Burrito Man eating. It was delicious. Or was it? I don’t know. I ate it so quickly that I tasted nothing but air, really.

My hunger and burrito longing had been satiated. All was right in the world. Until late in the evening, when my belly felt guilty for what happened and decided to punish me with echoes of weird alien noises, groans, sighs, and other related things. This lasted into this morning, when I became convinced that maybe something was now living inside of me?

It’s better now. Much better. Maybe we’re OK. Maybe we’re out of the woods. Maybe nothing is indeed inhabiting my body. Maybe.

But let’s go back to that moment, shall we? This wouldn’t be your Square Peg if we didn’t analyze every single iota of what happened yesterday.

  1. Yes, I wondered why Burrito Man was crying. Or was he crying? Tears of food-related joy? Was it sweat? But his car windows were closed, so the air conditioning was likely on. And he seemed thoroughly unconcerned. The world, for him, was that burrito.
  2. Honestly, yesterday was a testament to the oodles of junk I’ve been eating since I arrived in this state. I don’t doubt that it has everything to do with the hills and valleys of my fluctuating emotions. Hopefully things will get back to normal and the thought of resuming my four-day workouts won’t drive me right to comfort of my armchair. Le sigh.
  3. Did he see me staring? Did he even care?
  4. The drive-through Taco Bell guy has a story to tell for ages now: when I ordered my burrito, I asked if it was soft. “Of course it is,” he replied, chuckling. “It’s a burrito.” I informed him that it had been a long day.
  5. Living in TX now affords me the change to venture and try Mexican food, no? I’ll try it. As long as there are sweet fried plantains and beans involved. If you’re Ghanaian or West African, you feel me on this.

The end. The moral of the story: the eyes may want something, but the belly will only be temporarily appeased until it turns against you. Make wise decisions. img_4528

Have you ever eaten something that turned your digestive system into a vengeful alien? In other words, tell me all about your suffering in the comments. Please and thank you. Misery loves company.

Honesty.

You’ve read about my goal to improve my lifestyle. (Herehere, and here.) This afternoon, while the snow falls down yet again in Somewheres, VA, I’m sitting on the couch and reflecting about said goals. Quite simply, I can honestly say that this lifestyle change process has been the most honest I’ve been with myself. What do I mean?

First of all, like most women, I’ve struggled with weight since I was a pre-teen. It’s life. You either struggle with it or you don’t. And I have. I’ve tried everything in combating this struggle. Diet pills, diet shakes, medication prescribed by my doctor, Weight Watchers, the list goes on. It came to a point, I think, when I decided to simply stop trying. I would eat well when I could, and I would exercise when I could. Needless to say, no one saying “when I can” when it comes to eating right and exercising means to find any kind of success. Fatty foods taste great. They are easy to obtain. So, sure, I would go to an aerobics class here and there and find some vegetables, but largely, everything I was doing was still pretty toxic.

But a decision had to be made. My health was spiraling. In the end, I was allowing a quick, fatty bite of food to take over my quality of life. It came to a point when I woke up one day and decided to stop giving these objects rein over my life. I didn’t want to conform to my whims. And I’m the oldest child, so you know the lack of control in these things was kind of killing me, right? (We firsts like control.) Serious changes had to be made. I began the journey.

Three months later, I’m continuing to gain health, not merely lose weight or inches. And I’m doing it my way. That’s where the honesty comes in. There is no conduit to this gaining health. No pills, no shakes, no counting points. It’s all just me. Do I believe that my fellow weight strugglers are somehow not being honest with themselves and their processes if they take pills or shakes or count points? Absolutely not. My point is that those things didn’t work for me. I would never condemn things that work for other people. But for me, I used those things as crutches to continue my toxic behavior. I ate Whoppers whenever I wanted because I knew I would take a pill the next day. You get my drift. Now, I’m simply working hard on my own. Dreaming of big mounds of bread and choosing spinach instead. Watching my portions. Waking up and exercising when every fiber of my being wants to stay in bed. Suffering when I make a bad choice (because this is by no means a perfect process, but it’s very real, very hard, and quite realistically, subject to failure here and there). With the ups and downs, the good and bad, I just feel honest and real with myself.

I told my bestie one evening that I didn’t want this to be a flash in the pan, an impulsive and quixotic quest for health that would be abandoned in a few months or so. Because it’s happened before. I know myself. I get into a groove and then I abandon it. Her advice? Baby steps. And that’s it. I won’t do anything perfectly. But I’ll take these tiny steps as best as I can and one day at a time. Falling down will stink when it happens, but it’s OK, because I will do my very best to get up and move forward. In other words I accept wholeheartedly that I’m a baby again. (My mother will tell you that I never stopped being one.)

So to all of you who are enduring and going through this process day by day: good job, baby.

This Square Peg…Loves to Travel.

So, yours truly is a travel bug. I love everything about traveling, from airport eating (i.e., all diets are quickly hurled to the ground and abandoned once your feet touch the terminal floor), to the tons of people-watching I participate in, both at the terminal and wherever I travel. Having just returned from a relaxing trip to visit my cuzzo and her hubby in Puerto Rico (I’m actually sitting here at JFK airport, waiting to board the plane back home), I thought I’d delight you with This Square Peg’s personal do’s and don’ts for traveling. (I remain a square peg even while traveling, in case you were wondering.)

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This Square Peg’s Travel Do’s

1. Do find a Cinnabon at the terminal. Just do it.
2. Do pay attention to your surroundings. Not merely to ensure that you’re not in the vicinity of possible weirdos, but because people-watching grows exponentially at the airport and on the plane. As a writer, I can’t emphasize the creative boon that comes from all these walks of life converging in this one place.
3. Do bring your patience. I just saw a pigeon walking around the terminal. Screaming babies, people randomly staring at you, flight delays–bring your patience and hold on to it for dear life.
4. Do abandon your high-brow reading choices and take advantage of the glossy, fluffy magazines around you. Come on, do it. Replace the New Yorker with Us Weekly. At least for now.
5. Do expect to pay $1,000 for bottled water and snacks/food. Your budget is out the window, friend.
6. Do remember that you’re traveling! It’s fun, even if a TSA agent pulls you aside to do a random security check on your palms, ostensibly to double-check that you haven’t been handling incendiary devices. True story. See #3.

This Square Peg’s Travel Don’ts

1. Don’t walk on the moving terminal thing. Oh. Just me? Cool. I don’t walk on the moving terminal thing. I just mastered escalators. I’ll walk to my gate, thank you very much. And I find that I’m moving at the same pace as the elitists on the moving thing who cast uppity looks in my I’d-rather-walk direction.
2. Don’t use your headphones in the terminal. I mean, unless you’re blasting Streisand on a low volume (impossible, if you ask me), you need to listen out for gate changes, flight delays, opportunities to upgrade to first class. And you want first class. You do.
3. Don’t forget to marvel at these airport employees. They answer the same question 100 times in a row. Some are crabby, yes, but most seem calm and collected in dealing with all these people.
4. Don’t forget your phone charger!
5. Don’t diss long layovers. In fact, seek them out. I’d rather wait two hours for a connecting flight than nearly fall to my death running on that slippery terminal ground to get to my flight in minutes before it leaves. (True story. Sigh. See #3 in the Do’s.)
6. Don’t forget to travel as much as you can, as much as you can afford, as much, as much, as much.