THE SADDEST ART CLASS I EVER TOOK

“What we often call art or see as magic usually hides a debilitating amount of work.”

I’ll never forget the day I attended my first drawing class. I know it sounds like I am about to relate a death scene but I can’t help it. I’ve always wanted to learn how to draw but somehow never got around to it. In retrospect considering how long it took me to actually set foot in an actual art class I am forced to recognize that maybe I just wanted to indefinitely entertain the idea of drawing. Nevertheless the day of the class I was so excited  I could hardly wait to leave work. In fact I spent so many hours daydreaming about it I actually forgot to buy art supply and had to borrow a sheet of paper from a couple of lovely classmates. I could already picture my drawings leisurely hanging on every wall of our little home with friends and family deeply impressed and throwing around sentences like “Oh my God, you did that? You are so talented” with me trying really hard to fake that deep layer of intelligent detachment usually required from famous show dogs. Sadly those happy dreams were to be savagely crushed.  I was the first one to arrive and found a stern-looking little lady arranging class materials. I prayed to God she was just a very helpful student and not the actual art teacher I’ve fantasized about about the entire time.

“The art teacher looked more like a retired math teacher from the 50’s.”

You see I was either expecting this:

Idris-Elba
“What an art teacher should look like…”

OR this:

Why can’t my art teacher look like this…

Prayer unanswered. The art teacher looked more like a retired math teacher from the 50’s.

“…She asked us to draw a second shoe…. I ended up drawing something that couldn’t possibly come out of a healthy human mind…”

Moving on to the actual setting. The classroom was located at the very end of an extremely long and impersonal corridor. This corridor was so bleak it could easily qualify as a star feature in a big-budget horror movie. I was clearly not expecting pictures of grand masters hanging down the walls but a couple of students artwork could have added some much-needed appeal. The classroom itself was a very large and cold-looking room with class materials heavily piled up in a remote corner. There were big windows but a tall and dull building was blocking the view.  A large and square table sat in the middle of the room like a sacrificial stone in a dark dungeon.  

More details on the teacher. There was no whimsy, no magic at all in the way she dressed. I mean you’re an artist for God sake! Do something out of the ordinary even if it is just wearing your clothes inside out! Her look and matter-of-fact behavior was a giant slap to my tortured artist spirit. If you’re short of ideas at the very least throw a can of paint on your shirt, forget to wash it and wear it the next day. I was open to the possibilities of meeting a free spirit but what I had in front of me did not in any shape or form represent my idea of what an art teacher should look like.

“I blame those movies featuring stylishly starving artists lugging around big portfolios that look like they’re smuggling giant pita breads.”

She took the magic out of the entire thing. I felt slightly rushed. I mean I thought we were going to do some theory first like talking about the grand masters and possibly crack the mystery behind Mona Lisa smile but sadly that was not to be. She reviewed the class material and put us to work right away. Isn’t art supposed to be magic or something? Or maybe the magic only happens after years of practice. But then again isn’t it always like this in real life? What we often call art or see as magic usually hides a debilitating amount of work.

As practice, she asked us to pick a shoe from a giant shoe pile and try to draw it. I somehow ended up with a drawing of the magic school bus. She asked us to draw a second shoe. This time around, setting all dignity of manners aside I rushed to the shoe pile and literally jumped on what to me looked like the simplest shoe style of all time. A classic pair of kitten heel pump. I still ended up drawing something that couldn’t possibly come out of a healthy human mind. And yet, each time, she would take a long look and say the same words “keep going, you’re close”. I must admit a couple of family member did try to warn me but I didn’t listen. I hyped myself up by thinking I was naturally talented. I was looking for shortcuts and found none. The advice people offered seemed so simplistic that I chose to ignore it.

In the end, I was forced to realize there were great discrepancies between my idea of what an art class should be versus the real thing.  By the end of the class she said something that profoundly resonated with me. In essence she told us that ‘As in any creative process, when drawing an object there is always a choice even if purely unconscious made by the artist on how to best render the said object based on what the artist is trying to say”. I guess that’s what makes art so subjective. It is always a reflection of oneself. Even when we choose to render our deepest emotions, we still feel the need to put some kind of order into the chaos. The very fact of picking up pen and paper automatically forces one to streamline the process. Although you won’t see me exposing my chef-d’oeuvre in any gallery any time soon I am happy to report I did manage to learn something…after all….:)

Don’t be shy dear readers and do share your budding or tortured artist experience:)

WHY I HATE GOING TO THE DENTIST

I never feared going to  the dentist. Well, I must also say that I keep my visits to the bare minimum which is why I was in for major tuneups the last time I went.  I went in with the innocence and abandon of a sleeping baby considering my husband had been going there for a while now and he assured me she was very efficient. So I told myself if my husband can take it so can I. Wrong. The thing is dear husband has a high pain threshold. I don’t.

“…I had more traffic in my open mouth than a merging lane during rush hour.”

Mulder soft palate is drilled
“What going to the dentist feels like…”

Picture: Courtesy of: http://x-files.wikia.com/wiki/Fox_Mulder%27s_abduction

So I booked an appointment and was greeted upon arrival by an extremely sweet desk clerk. Everything was going well until I stepped into the actual dentistry room. The dental assistant welcomed me in with what I thought was at first a thoughtful and considerate smile but in the aftermath I came to the realization that people on death rows must receive the exact same smile from powerless family members. Some tests were performed firsthand to determine the state of my teeth and judging by the resulting pursed lips from the dentist they were not satisfactory. The tests themselves made feel like a victim of aliens abduction, X-files style.

Now regarding the procedure itself, I always considered myself to be a delicate flower that must be treated with the utmost care but apparently in that office they did not get the memo. To put it nicely, it was fast and furious. My mouth was kept open unceremoniously with fingers and objects coming in and out of it at lightning speed. I had more traffic in my open mouth than a merging lane during rush hour. It was the longest 45 minutes of my life and the copious amounts of pain medication injected did absolutely nothing to relieve the constant drilling and pulling and scrubbing that felt like mini earthquakes. Months later, traumatized and still shocked I sometimes wonder if this dear dentist wasn’t a mechanic in a past life…which would have explained a lot of things and restored my faith in dentists all over the world (Insert Greek tragedy goddess emoji here).

“The tests themselves made me feel like a victim of aliens abduction, X-files style.”

In retrospect, I should have known because when I came in there was a little girl coming out of the dentistry room crying her heart out and to calm her down the receptionist gave her a toy. I sincerely wish they would give toys to adults too when they come out of there. Or at the very lest a hug. I know I would have appreciated one after that traumatizing experience. 

Needless to say after much deliberation I decided not to go back. I gathered a couple of suggestions from friends and family and most of them come highly recommended but I am so traumatized I can’t even bring myself to place a call for that first appointment. But I know  I have to… (Insert why me emoji here)

Are you afraid of the dentist too? Apparently it is a very common fear that I quite frankly didn’t expect to feel. Do you know of any tricks to help manage it? Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Until then talk to you soon! My next post will be on December 17th. Bisoux!

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER MY HOLIER THAN THOU POST ON EXERCISE…

“…Next time you have an unplanned cheat day or week or whatever just do one thing: Pick yourself up and move on. It is as simple as this. Don’t starve yourself or sign up for a boot camp the next day. Just forget about it and move on…”

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I swear the pizza was gluten free with light cheese …

It was around 8:00 pm and I had been home for about an hour. I was hungry and tired after a long day at work. After rummaging through the fridge looking for something ready to eat and finding nothing I went and sit at the kitchen table to check out my favorite Instagram accounts. Unfortunately for me there was a jar of peanut butter sitting right  in the middle of the table staring right at me. Crunchy peanut butter is my nemesis. One of these days I am gonna have to go to therapy for it. The minute my eyes fell on it I knew I was lost.

let’s just say I went hog wild. When I came back to self dear husband was standing across from me. Naturally he was making fun of me as usual.

“Okay you’ve downed 5 Tbs of peanut butter so far…you’re doing good!”

“You’re counting?”

“Let’s see…just yesterday you talked about 5 ways to stick to an exercise program, tonight you’ve downed 5 Tbs of peanut butter in just under 5 minutes…the number  five is clearly your lucky number”

I was caught red-handed. I was still hugging the peanut butter jar like a drowning a man would a lifeboat. I had two choices I could stand my ground and down two more Tbs or I  could lift my chin offended-sausage-dog style and stomp out of the room. Unclear on the path to take I decided to be bitchy instead:

“Okaaaay…are you like the WordPress food police or something? ”

“No, of course not, just merely reminding you that you’re human…after all”.

“The minute you declare yourself a fitness warrior, new demons arises to make you eat your words…or the fridge.”

He was right and I was ashamed. As a true Libra nothing angers me more than coming face to face with my own demons. You see I sincerely believe I was sent on earth as a guide for all who are lost.  Unfortunately for me I married a guy who believes in telling it like it is even if it means weeks of nagging and retaliation.

Can you imagine my guilt? Barely one day after my perfect post on  exercise. Well, I guess I needed a break from being good. So instead of retaliating some more I decided to do the only sensible thing winners (insert shameless emoji here) do under such dire circumstances: I picked myself up and move on. So next time you have an unplanned cheat day or week or whatever just do one thing: Pick yourself up and move on. It is as simple as this. Don’t starve yourself or sign up for a boot camp the next day. Just forget about it and move on.

Naturally considering the circumstances surrounding this betrayal, I’ll wait a few days before writing another saintly post:) After all I am only a budding hypocrite, not a full-blown one!

Please soothe my conscience and help me think I am not the only who’s ever done such thing by either commenting, liking or simply sharing this article to your heart’s content. I will be back with another post on December 10th! In the meantime Gros Bisoux!

 

5 things to help you stick to an exercise program

Know your exercise personality

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Trying to rest my resting bitch face

Do you like it fast and furious or slow and steady and no I am not talking about sex. I used to think I like it fast and furious until a certain kickboxing class, well… kicked my ass. Now I’d say I like a slow build with some fast-paced intervals thrown in for good measure. The only way to know your exercise personality is to try lots of different exercise and see which ones you like most and why. Also, listen to your body at all times. 

Consider the best time for you to exercise.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? If you’re a night owl, schedule your workouts around that particular moment maybe at the end of your day when your energy is at its most. You might also want to consider your current home and work situation. Are you at your busiest now at work? How about your personal life? Then the last thing you want is the added guilt of not exercising as regularly as you would have wanted to because you overextended yourself. For me I am at my peak in the morning so I know if it doesn’t get done in the morning it probably won’t get done at all.

Start small but don’t underestimate the power of small wins over time

IMG_20171126_144756Start at the smallest unit you can perform even if all hell break lose and then build up from there.

The goal is to incorporate exercise slowly into your routine. Take for example the simple habit of drinking a green tea in the morning instead of coffee. Seems pretty simple and easy, right?  But practiced over time this small and rather insignificant action can have a ripple effect in the long run. I know for myself that when I start my morning with a nice cup of green tea it prompts me to make a better breakfast choice. A better breakfast choice in turn gives me more energy for the rest of the day and I am less likely to be tired and heavy comes lunch time. Since I am less heavy and tired at lunchtime I’ll most likely go for a quick walk. The effect continues on and on and pretty soon I am going to lunch hour walks and lifting weights in the mornings. Nothing makes me feel more accomplished and able to tackle the world than a green tea and some weightlifting afterwards.

It takes a period of 6 to 8 weeks to notice any significant change

IMG_20171126_144810

Most people want quick results. They want to go from living in the fridge to living at the gym. They don’t understand that if it took say a year to put on 30 pounds it’ll most likely take just as much if not more to lose the same amount of weight. So during this period of time instead of constantly hopping on the scale, monitor your energy level, your sleep, your mood, etc… And remember feeling better usually precedes looking better. Use this period of time as a frame of reference when monitoring results. Only check results every 6 to 8 weeks and use your clothing as a measuring stick.

Buy yourself a few outfits for your current size 

Try to find a way to love yourself the size you are now instead of constantly trying to fit  back into your skinny clothes. How? First thing is to buy yourself a few outfits for the size you are now. Change your make up, change your hairstyle and your hair color if need be and change your wardrobe too. People morphology tend to change when they put on a lot of weight so keep that in mind and make changes where it matters.

IMG_20171126_141522 (1)
When the cat thinks she’s prettier

Constantly trying to fit into your skinny clothes will only serve to remind you of how fat you’ve become. So whatever you do, don’t do that. I beg of you. As you start to lose the weight these new clothes will start to get loose which will highlight your progress and not your failure.

What about you? what are your favorite tips when it comes to sticking to an exercise program? Don’t forget to comment like or share this article! Check back December 3rd for a new post. Talk soon!

Are you afraid of being happy?

Are you afraid of being happy? I am. But it wasn’t always the case. It started about 7 years ago. I remember it as vividly as the day it happened…

It is April fool’s day, year 2010 and I am at work. I am just finishing up a call and the other line is ringing. It is close to lunchtime but I figured one last call won’t kill me. Plus it could be my sister calling with some last minute details.  Nancy is travelling with some friends to some exotic place and is sending my niece to stay with me a couple of weeks. So I pick up, very excited. It is certainly not the voices I am expecting to hear. It is a person with a very formal and cold tone of voice.

  • “Hello May I speak with Mrs Duplessy?”
  • “This is she”
  • “Well , we have your niece here with us and she would like to speak to you.”

I relax. It is my niece. She probably missed her plane and is running late. Typical. Asking my niece to catch a plane on time is like asking a mouse to catch fish. It’s against nature. I wait readying myself with a long list of “I told you so”.  The minute I hear her voice I start:

  • “Well, well, well, let me guess you missed your plane again?”

No answer at first then I hear sobbing. I am a bit shocked and embarrassed.

  • “Don’t tell me you’re crying because you missed the plane?”

More sobbing. This time louder. She is becoming a tad bit hysterical. It is only then that it hit me. She is not at the airport and something is very wrong. Impatient, I ask her: “What’s wrong?”

  • “She is dead, she answered. Nancy’s dead!”

My brain went dark. Shutting down to process the piece of information I’ve just received.

“She is dead”, she keeps repeating as if she is trying to process the information too. I hear the voice with the cold and formal tone again. Someone who’s probably hospital staff took back the phone and is trying to explain the situation……

This was April 2010. Fast forward to 2017. I finally have enough distance to realize I was preventing myself from being happy. I was afraid as soon as I’d allow myself to be happy something wrong would happen. I simply had lost faith in life.

But now I know better. I have regained my faith in life. At least a good amount of it. After all, isn’t it what being happy’s all about? Being happy is choosing to have faith in life even though we know fully well things may take a turn for the worst in the blink of an eye. It’s to accept life’s ebb and flow and realize we can’t control everything no matter how hard we try. I should know. I am a control freak masquerading as a free spirit.

Here are some of the things I tell myself when I notice myself slipping back into “I am afraid of being happy” territory:

  • You’re 40 now. Technically you could be halfway through your entire lifespan so don’t waste it by thinking about what could go wrong.
  • Life is short. This could be your last happy moment so enjoy it.
  • We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • Preventing yourself from enjoying this moment won’t spare you the hardship that may come.
  • You’re making memories to get you through the tough times when and if they come so embrace the moment.
  • Happiness is a matter of perspective so find a new perspective.

What about you? Are you afraid of being happy too sometimes? Do you know someone who’s afraid of being happy? How do you cope with those feelings? I think we all know at least one person.

Once again don’t forget to comment like or share this article! I’ll be back on the 25th with another article. Maybe out of sheer desperation of what to write I’ll share my food journal for the week 🙂