me? oh, i’m in italy.

After such amazing proliferation over the last few weeks (impressive, i know), I’ve taken a break to come to Italy. Don’t worry though, I feel certain that Europe is going to prove to be some sort of breeding ground for humiliation and self identification. You know, like today when I tripped over the threshold while walking onto the veranda for breakfast. I did that run low and almost fall bit. Classic.

Or yesterday when I was overserved at an enoteca and missed yoga.

I’ll think of something…

and then i word vomitted

As I continue to pretend to be an important person at “the company” (I work in advertising), it becomes increasingly obvious that in addition to arriving at the office before noon, resisting the urge to binge drink until after 5, and not walking around squashing people’s self esteem, I’m going to have to learn to schmooze.

Easy enough, right? Stand in a room, smile, nod, talk, memorize the names of people’s kids…

Except that I have–for some time now– been a word vomiter. Given, vomiting has been a kind of theme in my life, but word vomit is not like real vomit. With real vomit you can avoid certain foods, take a TUMS, carry around a little baggy and then hide it before anyone notices you tossed your amaretto sour. Word vomit is like having tourettes, only worse, because people don’t feel sorry for you. Or invite you to be on Oprah.

To rewind, I should mention that I have no idea how I arrived to this place in my life. I can’t figure out what I keep accidentally doing that proves to people I’m capable, but I’ve accidentally done it all the way to now and sometimes I look around and– like a pie face who scores a date with a pantyless cheerleader — cant help but think “this is going to end poorly. ”

Sometimes I’ll give myself a pep talk. “What the fuck, Caroline? You are the smartest girl in the whole world. You should totally be here. You should be taking over the world. You’re number one.”

And then I think “did Sarah Palin give herself this talk?”

Uh oh.

But here I am. And what else is here? Schmoozing. And what else? My penchant for saying things that are not only inappropriate, but could probably get me fired or something.

I recently had a business dinner with an old employer. For whatever reason, she has taken an interest in helping to refine my “personal brand” into something a little bit more professional. Gone are the days of “fuck the man! i’m doing it my way or no way at all!” and now I’m left to admit that the man has very little to do with anything. Beneath the war cries of Gen X (I think that’s what I am) is a delicate facade veiling truths about our common personalties: we’re all lazy, none of us has an attention span, and when it comes to conflict, just send me an email.

But I believe, as do a few others, that I can overcome this. If I really focus, perhaps I can overcome my glaring incompetencies to become the last of a dying breed– one the of great creative minds of our time.

Except for the word vomit.

I can focus on waking up early; I can refine my tender teaching skills; I can try not to think everyone around me is a fucking moron, but in the still of the night, alone in my heart, I’m a word vomiter… and it gets me every time.

Take a particularly important work function a few weeks back. Standing in front of me, by chance, were three men of CEO level, all previous employers of mine. As I ventured to make a cute comment about the my employment history littered before me, I realized I should have kept my mouth shut. What started as the aforementioned was capped classically by “and I never slept with a one of you.”

Who says that?

Oh, right. Me. The word vomiter.

it really happened. just like this.

I’m going to try to keep this short, mostly because I didn’t start this blog to write about my fat-kid adventures. Plus, I’m not sure that my loyal readership (mwhahaha) really cares to hear a bunch of stories about how I failed at the gym.

No! You don’t say!

Either way, it’s important to make a few points. First of all, my gym chronicles come from a really honest place. While people may tire of the “guess who couldn’t jump rope for thirty seconds straight?” stories, the truth is that I’m not some anorexic girl bitching about not being able to resist my daily saltine. I’m a real girl who is genuinely trying to rectify the problem (or at least throwing money at it). I get my ass up and go torture myself because deep down I want to see results. (Truthfully I want to see results ala cocaine habit, but as I learned from my recent pot foray, this girl doesn’t do drugs. Or rather, this girl does drugs and then passes out mid sentence in her party dress… Whatever.)

So, Monday morning.

Monday mornings are actually a pretty great time to go to the gym. In truth, the day really can’t get much worse so why not start it off on a complete low point? To compliment this Monday, the man and I haven’t done laundry. And, because I’ve been exercising, I’ve had to bathe regularly. I had no idea how many articles of clothing I could go through in two weeks. I don’t think the hubs could either. I’ve been through like 79 pairs of pannies. How? I don’t know. Anyway. Out of workout clothes, sock, and down to the pannies with prints on them. You know, like bunnies and stuff. No? Oh. My mother sent them to me.

In addition to being figure challenged, I should also mention that I’m not exactly tan. Some may say I’m not exactly pigmented, but I think that’s cruel. I’m just not exposed to the sun that often. On the other hand, I don’t plan on looking like a purse in a few years. I’ve always been fine with being “light skinned”, except that I recently noticed that my stems looked much better in, say, black leggings. Which is exactly what I wear to workout in. Unless I havent done laundry. Then I have to wear shorts.

So there I was in shorts. Mesh ones, no less. And an old tank top the EXACT same color as urine. I don’t even know why I bought it, but I’m sure it cost me $40 or something. I can be a total idiot about the simplest things.

Lindsay (should I have given her a pseudonym?) was giving me the usual torture routine: lunges, squats, lunges, squats (like I’m some sort of child star who can’t figure out that they are the SAME exercise), and then throwing in some lunges and squats with kettle bells. It was miserable, but I’m used to the routine. Occasionally she’ll throw in a hop or something, but other than that, it’s a lot of lunging and squatting. I’m like the Tanya Harding of Equinox.

What happened after the lunging and squatting I could not have prepared for. There was cardio. Now, there’s been cardio before, but it’s been 30 seconds on one of those Jazzercise steps. (Does anyone know why they have never thought to change the color of those things? Black perhaps? A nice grey? Why are they still purple and turquoise?) But Lindsay wanted me to be “stacking”– a gym term referring to stressing out a single muscle group successively. . . or something. I got a little nervous when she described the cardio bit because I realized I couldnt do it. Not only was I not wearing appropriate breast compression, but I just couldnt do it. Like paraplegics don’t do hurdles. They are talented mother fuckers, but they dont hurdle. Just doesn’t happen.

I went along though because part of Operation Barbie is pushing myself to go the extra step. I stair stepped, hopped, jumping jacked, and then jumped rope. I actually felt pretty good when I finished the second circuit. Clearly I was getting stronger.

And then my nose started bleeding.

Nature, dry air, whatever. I don’t fucking care. Of all the people in the gym with a bloody nose, why not the stick in the lululemon getup? Why me? Why the white girl in the piss top and meshies?

Because this is my life.

I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was that I was at Equinox and not some poor people gym. Lindsay could help me stop this and we would be back on our way.

As twelve different trainers ran around trying to find some gauze, one stayed with me. She haphazardly pressed ice to my face, which caused bloody water to stain my face, something no one thought to tell me before I paraded through the gym after the saga was over.

Apparently gauze isn’t a gym necessity, and there wasn’t any to be found. There was talk of making me put a tampon up there, unfortunately they only stock regulars and there was a consensus that only a light days would fit in my delicate nostril. Eventually they did find gauze, though… sort of.

And I sat there while the sticks in lululemon scanned their fingers, met with their trainers, while the clock ticked away five minutes–protocol for a nose bleed.

With an eye patch shoved up my nose.

I’m not positive, but I don’t think Barbie allows Midge to put an eye patch in her nose. Just a guess.

knee’d we do this?

Since Operation Barbie kicked off six weeks ago I have not lost any weight. At first I was really down on myself and then I realized that my life is richer, more full of meaning since I began OB, and I should take this opportunity to embrace the apparent challenge of looking like a frail, starving child by next week. Or I should imagine that in lieu of flub is the clearly identifiable shape of a muscle. A part of the human body that I’ve heard burns calories– even while you sleep. (Though clearly mine are broken.)

Seriously, though. I’ve been at it at 8:00AM twice a week for an honest 5 or 6 weeks, and the absurdity of it–while not lost on me–has become somewhat comforting. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who wake up and go to the gym first thing in the morning. Ironically, most of them are chunkers. (I have a theory about working out in the morning… you have this feeling of calorie invincibility. Donuts? Of course! I worked out this morning. Cake! Of course! I worked out this morning. So it remains that if you work out in the morning, you’re probably not doing yourself any favors.) I have a strict policy about making friends at the gym, so I don’t acknowledge any of these regulars, but their presence makes me feel good. We’re a team. I think making friends at the gym is a lot like making friends at the checkout counter of the grocery store. Just because you both happen to be there at the same time doesn’t mean you need to be friends. Given, I’ve word vomited a dinner invite or party tease, and I’ll be honest that I’ve lived to regret nearly every time. As a matter of fact, I spent almost two years trying to get rid of a friend that I accidentally made. She sat next to me in Lit class. I dont know what I was thinking. I’ve since extended this rule (for the most part) to include: work, adult education classes, and yoga. Basically I’ve stopped taking on new friends.

Anyway. The nice thing about the 8-9 personal training slot is that I get to play the skinny kid. You know how when you watch True Life: Kids at Fat Camp (or some similar show) there is always a girl who is 346 lbs, as opposed to everyone else’s 352 so she is automatically the “thin friend”– and therefore gets to be the ring leader, wearing a tankini and swimskirt instead of the huskie tee and gym shorts? I’m the girl in the tankini. While I try to maintain some perspective, I can’t help but wanting to do a little “how are those weight-free arm lifts treating you, sucka?” dance… but only sometimes.

I generally wake up for my 8AM appointment around 7:52. It gives me just enough time to walk swiftly to the gym (I pack my bag at night) and get started a pleasant 5-7 minutes late. Lindsay used to say something, and then I think she noticed the sheet prints on my cheek and realized I was clearly doing the best I could.

Waking up so late means there is no time for food. I simply hope that there is enough reserved flesh hanging out that it will start to eat itself for energy. It’s a flawed theory, mostly physiologically, but it’s served me pretty well so far… until this morning.

This morning I walked willingly into Lindsay’s Theatre of Workout Cruelty. Even the hot trainers couldn’t motivate me to complete the exercises without whimpering and puffing. At one point there was a kettle bell that almost ended up embedded in the back of Lindsay’s unsuspecting head. It was just too heavy and I couldn’t get any swing momentum.

By the end of the workout, I was using hand signals to imply that I wasn’t going to make it. I tried dramatically dropping to the floor, lying there motionless, but nothing was effective. She insisted I finish every lunge. (Please keep in mind that I spend the equivalent of most people’s mortgage to ALLOW her to do this to me. It’s VOLUNTARY.)

I started to get so hungry during my last set of medicine ball across the room lunges that I thought maybe I was going to start a scene. Usually I work out, shower, then head down to the cafe (oh yes, there is a cafe) and grab a banana and a power bar. I eat the banana on the train, and because it’s the orange line, a bunch of skeevy men watch me eat the banana with that “get it girl” look in their eyes. (Gag.)

This morning, however, I couldn’t even figure out how to walk. I knew I needed to get some food before I showered, but the cafe is all the way downstairs. It might as well have been at the airport on the receiving end of a flight to Australia. There was no way I was getting down there. There was no way I was getting to work. Actually, I was going to die at the gym. And not even on that cool squishy floor.

Eventually I made my way to the cafe (via stairs crafted by Satan), and bought my banana. I started to unpeel it, and then just held it there. (I’ve heard this happens in time of famine. The sheer shock of having food can be overwhelming, causing the brain to trip and not understand what to do with it.) I didn’t want to let it go. So I took it to the shower with me.

There I was. Naked, sitting on the in-shower bench with a banana propped against my shoulder, straining to crane my neck to bite it. I couldnt lift it to my lips. I didn’t no how I was going to shampoo. So I just sat there. Gnawing. After about 20 minutes I decided it was time to wash, so I scooted my bench under the soap dispenser and then reached up and pushed it. Letting the soap land wherever. I think there is still some in my unmentionables.

And next week, I’ll do it all again.

Caroline Beaulieu. By Mattel.