Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh you noticed that, huh?

I snuck a post in yesterday and was all "la dee dah I posted NEVER MIND ABOUT THE LAST 7 MONTHS IT'S FINE".

As I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat about what I've been up to, let me tell it to you.  There have been some big changes on the Funkytown front.  My life is the Funkytown.

Basically, I think I stopped posting at about the time I joined this Wellness Center place.  That sounds a little bit like a cult.  It's not.  I don't think.  Although apparently we are now hugging each other.  And they all "support my progress".  So.  Huh... how about that?

Let's start again.

So I joined a cult back in January/February.

You all know that I was on this Let's Lose Weight kick last year.  And I wasn't doing too bad.  I was going to the gym... ok, I was hanging out on the elliptical... four times a week.  I was watching what I was eating.  And I lost maybe like 9 or 10 pounds on my own.  And then it stopped somewhere during the summer last year.  It just... I dunno... ended.  And I kept up with it, and I was tracking it, and blah blah blah.  But there was no improvement.  That awful, horrible, not much improved number just kept staring at me.  So after the holidays (which was a shining example of gluttony and indulgence) I decided to take a month and not drink any alcohol at all.

Let me explain this thinking.

I'm not saying I'm an alcoholic.  I can function perfectly fine without drinking every day.

Not that I would actually know because I was having a drink or five, four nights a week (at least) for a while.

So you figure you go from maybe 20 drinks a week to none?  And keep eating the same way?  I mean... minus the late night bar munchies... I should drop SEVERAL HUNDRED POUNDS, amirite?


The answer to that question is "No, Connie, you are not right."

It made not one ounce of difference.  In an entire month it changed NOTHING.  And I had to deal with this disappointment SOBER.

Ugh.  I felt like a total failure.

So then my friend Da'vine Joy Randolph (who you might recognize because she was a TONY NOMINATED ACTRESS FOR HER ROLE AS ODA MAY BROWN IN GHOST ON BROADWAY!!)... wait... here... this chick:

... well she suggested that I try out this place called Complete Wellness in Midtown.  I was skeptical but she said that my insurance might cover it all and that jazz.  So I was all "Potentially free massive weight loss and a team of hot professionals?!  Where do I sign up?!"

Oh yeah.  Everybody at this place?  Pretty darn good looking.  It's (not so) shockingly motivating.

So I went in, met with Dr. Scott who recommended that I meet with a nutritionist, work out with a personal trainer (in house) three days a week and get checked out by a chiropractor.  The chiropractor found that my spine was all jacked up, which probably contributed to how I walked which contributed to my shin splints which contributed to my lack of real beneficial exercise.

And so I did all of this.  From February through April.  And I lost...

2 pounds.

Maybe 3.




So Dr. Scott recommended the HCG diet to me.  This is a CRAZY diet, and not for the faint of heart.  Let me explain.  HCG is the human growth hormone found in pregnant women.  In order to get this hormone, they have to harvest it from pregnant lady's urine.  Gross, right?  But I mean... apparently they pee a lot so I would imagine it's pretty easy to get a lot of it.  Anyway.  This hormone is what ensures babies grow nice and healthy, even if the mother isn't eating enough.  It directs the body to use stored body fat to make up for the calories being burned... ya know... while making a human.  So scientists were like "So.  It just burns up all your fat?  I feel like we can market this somehow.... is there a market for this kind of thing?"  And lucky for them, there totally IS a market for that kind of thing!  So they put people on incredibly strict, low calorie diets (500 calories-ish.  Yeah.that approximately covers the number of calories it takes to like, breathe and be awake.) along with daily injections of the hormone (it's little, like next to nothing.  And the needle is tiny like an insulin shot)... for 40 days.  And you can't work out (oh.  So sad.) So I gave it a whirl.



26 pounds GONE in 40 days!

My clothes don't fit me!

Pants are falling off of me!

I lost nearly triple in 40 days that I had in the ENTIRE YEAR before!

So I'm doing it again.  Today's the first day of 500 calories.  I just had hot tomato water with chunks of chicken... a recipe they call Chicken and Tomato Soup.  Whatever.  There are better recipes like really yummy meat loaf, italian wedding soup (without the barley), chili, chicken fingers, "onion rings"... so this was a bit of a misstep.  But knowing that in the next few days I will start to see pounds just melt away from me is SO so exciting!  I'll keep you updated as usual.

What's that?

I DON'T keep you updated ever?


Moving on.

I have decided that, although the idea of owning my own company sounds really quite fabulous, I just don't think it's for me.  Events By Connie will still exist as my own personal tax haven... I mean... side business...


I just don't think that having to look out for my own benefits, 401k, as well as marketing myself AND running my business and financial well being is for me.  I'll keep it around so that when people ask for me to plan something for them I can.  But I think I will keep doing what I am doing, building my experience doing corporate and client events.  I have been lucky enough to plan some client events at my current job.  I'm hoping between this experience, my DC experience and my own personal experience, getting a job doing events for a large corporation won't be impossible.  Time will tell!

I've been considering this for a while, but my friend Ana sort of convinced me to actually go for it on Monday.  I'm going to seek out therapy because dudes... I am MESSED. UP.  So while the idea of paying someone to make me talk about stuff I don't want to talk about sounds just LOVELY (seriously.  PLEASE someone come up with a sarcasm font.) I think it may be a necessary evil for me to move forward and find happiness.  I think I harbor a lot of insecurities and defense mechanisms that keep me somewhat removed from people and relationships.  And being someone that has realized she'd like to get married and have kids... that probably won't work well in my favor, I'm thinking.

Speaking of kids... guess who has a new nephew?!  ME!  (there's a pattern here.  It's all about me.  You should just go ahead and get on board with that now.)  His name is Jaylen Lawrence.  He was born March 31, 2012 and he is an Aries just like his favorite auntie! (That would be me.  Again.)  He is the happiest, cutest, sweetest little bundle of joy I have ever seen in my life and I couldn't be more excited that he's here!  And my sister is doing GREAT with him!  She has gone back to school AND work, and got rid of his dead-beat dad which is all nothing short of several miracles!

So there it is.  A pretty good re-cap of my life.  I'm trying to make this become a regular thing again.  You know how that goes.  But this is day 2 in a row!

...So don't be surprised if you don't hear from me again until at least next week.

Don't be greedy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm Afraid of the Republican Party.

For anyone that knows me, it's clear that while I have opinions on hot button issues for this year's election, I try to avoid politics in general conversation.  Living in DC for 2 years did that to me.  I got tired of being asked if I was a D or an R, and so when I registered in NYC I registered "Independent".  I didn't realize the freedom this would give me.  I didn't have to agree with one party or the other if I really didn't agree with them, simply because I was labeled one thing or another.  I actively read and watch and listen and develop my own opinion without the pressure of being party affiliated.  It's wonderful!

In doing all of this, I really assumed that I would find that I was torn between the two parties and would have to really do some soul searching before election day to decide upon which side of the aisle I was standing.  I never thought this would be such an easy decision.

I haven't liked Mitt Romney much from the beginning.  He seems like a bit of a prick, but I was willing to listen to his ideas and ideologies despite that.




Romney Taxes
Do people really think this way?  Are presidential candidates really this backwards and uneducated and corrupt?  What exactly did he do to prepare for this campaign?

My mom and step-dad are voting for Mitt in the election.  They have a sign in their front yard.  I spent the weekend at their house last weekend avoiding looking at it because... it scares me.  My mom says that the most important thing to her is the economy, and she believes that Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are excellent businessmen who understand how it works and that they will be able to fix everything in a way Obama cannot.

I will not disagree that both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have certainly boosted their own wealth through business.  I will disagree that they will be able to help the American public accomplish the same or even similar success.  My mom says that all of the information about Mitt's money being stashed in tax havens, and his making money by putting American workers out of business and sending jobs over seas are false and that I am brain washed by the media.  Unfortunately, when I sent her a list of about 5 or 6 videos of things that are undeniable truths because they are videos of both the President and Mitt Romney speaking, she refused to watch them because they overwhelmed her.

And I got even more scared.

I started noticing patterns in things Romney was saying.  He was constantly back-pedaling and changing his story, and outright lying to people.  And if the people who support him are anything like my mom, it appears that they aren't fact checking, or looking at the other side at all.

And I know I know... these are very pro-democrat videos.  I get that.  That doesn't make what Romney is saying any less true... or... false as the case may be.

So.  Ok.  Was Obama perfect?  Did he deliver 100% on everything he promised?  No maybe not.  Is he inexperienced?  Sure.  Has he improved things?  Absolutely.  And you really can't deny that, unless you solely listen to Romney and his campaign.

But let's ignore his lying and back-pedaling because really, that's just politicing, right?  That's what EVERYBODY does, right?

You know what else everybody does?  They disclose their financial records.  And not just the bare minimum.  They disclose several years of financial records.  And here's the thing, I don't really care how many billions of dollars this man has.  What I want to know is... is he a criminal?  Is he ethical?  I have to give about 30% of my hard earned income in taxes.  Does Mitt?  Or... does he look out for number 1 (in my opinion, the biggest issue this country currently faces - selfishness) and stash his cash in accounts  so that he doesn't have to be taxed as we all are?  Is that the kind of person I want running my country?  Obama said it best, we just want to make sure we're all playing by the same rules (watch the video at the bottom).  And someone that is hiding things from the American people, especially questionable financial practices at a time when the economy is weighing so heavily on our shoulders, does not a good leader make.  I understand that Romney did what he was legally obligated to do.  But when we're talking about gaining the trust of the American people on such a touchy subject, wouldn't going above and beyond be worth it?  Especially if there really isn't anything to hide?  And don't even get me started on his wife's reaction to this.

Over the weekend my mom jokingly said "oh, is it even ok to be a millionaire anymore?"  and my response was "Of course, as long as you pay the taxes you owe on that money, it's absolutely ok to be a millionaire!"  and my step-dad said "So as long as you share it."  I mean... I don't really look at taxes as sharing.  It's a legal obligation.  And if I didn't pay these taxes, I'd be arrested.  Ever heard of Al Capone?  He did a lot worse things than not paying his taxes, but guess what put him in prison?

Ok, so let's ignore the lying and back-pedaling.  Let's ignore the possibility of killing American companies to outsource jobs and making millions in the process by potentially untaxed funds being housed in foreign tax havens.  That could all be part of the game of running for president, and it doesn't appear that what Romney was doing there was necessary illegal, although perhaps a little unethical.  Maybe a bit questionable on the moral scale.  But when was the last time we met a truly moral politician, right?

What about women's rights?  I'm a woman.  I like my rights.  Obama very clearly supports those rights.  Mitt very clearly doesn't.  His comment about "Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that." is, again, scary. When I got out of college, I was making next to nothing.  I couldn't afford insurance, and my job had a 1 year probation period before benefits kicked in.  But my health matters to me.  Planned Parenthood was the only way I got tested that year.  And when my results came back abnormal, it was Planned Parenthood doctors who performed the biopsy to make sure I didn't have cervical cancer at 22.  If not for them, I literally could have died.  When I moved to NYC and was basically jobless and completely broke, Planned Parenthood helped me with screenings, having tests and check-ups done and, yes, free birth control.  I used it for just under a year, until I was employed.  I didn't have an abortion.  Planned Parenthood provides more than that.  The idea that Romney would take away something that is so beneficial to so many, simply because they do something that he doesn't like, without any regard for the right to choose that women have earned (and deserve), shows the type of dictatorship he's looking to run.  He wants to repeal Obamacare.  Sorry, but this I don't understand.  No denial for kids with pre-existing conditions?  Free birth control?  By the way... easier access to birth control MIGHT cut down on the number of abortions that you hate so much, Mr. Romney.

Hold the phone.  Fewer Pell Grants?  Higher interest rates on student loans?  I guess things like expensive schooling don't matter as much when you have so much untaxed money lying around.  Who needs kids in this country going and getting educated?  Especially the lower class kids, right Romney?  They get educated and suddenly your attempts to keep them down are in jeopardy!  No wonder you are in favor of Paul Ryan!

And then this happened.

*Connie throws her hands up in the air and exits stage left.*

Here's the thing.  My decision for the election is not being made on one hot button issue.  It's being made on several issues that are extremely important to me and my life, as well as my moral and ethical code.  Can I stand here and say that Obama is perfect?  No, definitely not.  Do I think there might be someone out there that can do better?  I surely do.  But it sure as hell isn't Mitt Romney.  Or anyone that seems to be representing the Republican party right now.

I'm not scared anymore, I'm angry.  There is a very real chance that Americans will vote to have my rights stripped away from me.  My right to choose (that's right, choose.  Either CHOOSE to have an abortion or CHOOSE not to have an abortion.  CHOOSE.).  My right to make medical decisions.  My right to have a baby on my own if that's what I decide.  My ability to educate myself and still be able to stand on my own two feet, rather than being buried in debt.  And it will be because they voted for two men who seem to believe that women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  Or if the women are liberals who decided to join the work force, they certainly shouldn't expect to make the same amount of money as their male counterparts.  And just never-you-mind about how he became one of the financial elite.  I'm sure it wasn't one of YOUR family members that Bain Capital put out of business.  I'm sure it wasn't your father's job that was sent to China, only to leave your family without a way to put food on the table, or keep a decent roof over your head, or pay for health insurance.  And by all means, ignore the fact that the man currently in office has made all of that possible for the struggling middle and working class who are bearing the brunt of this Great Recession.  The ones who don't get foreign tax credits, or have millions of dollars in tax havens to cushion this "uncomfortable" time.

So I vote for the slow and steady guy we have in office.  That's where my vote's going.  The guy who has made improvements, although perhaps not in the leaps and bounds he had hoped.  The guy that supports me, and women like me.  The guy who supports students.  The one who believes it isn't right for hard working families to struggle to put food on the table while their neighbors own 7 homes (or too many homes to remember, right Mr. Cheney?).  He believes in something better.  He believes in playing by the same rules.  Although perhaps unattainable.  I'm voting for the guy who believes in a more humble, helpful America.  Someone who wants us to be better, even if it takes a while, rather than to regress.