6:31 PM

I did it.

Posted by Manda |

I made a change, and my life will never be the same again.

I wrote towards the beginning of last year (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long) that I had fallen out of love with myself. I made a promise then that whether better or worse, things would be different - from that point forward they certainly were. Turns out I actually followed through with that first interview with the Navy recruiter.

My recruiter was skeptical about me. He told me I had to successfully complete 15 credit hours in college,  lose 30 pounds, and transform myself from couch potato to lean, muscled athlete and even then there was no guarantee the Navy would overlook some of the mistakes I made in my past and allow me to enlist. The big challenge would be to push myself to complete tasks that seemed monumental at the time. My track record of taking on mountains was… is… riddled with incompletion, and my sights were set high – the nuclear program. I wanted to test myself. I needed to qualify, not for anyone else, or for the money, but for me. To prove to myself that I could. Unfortunately, my recruiter (although polite) was not the helpful, motivational resource I hoped he would be.  There were a group of future recruits that came to work out with the recruiters while I was in their office on several occasions, but I wasn’t invited to join. One recruiter (who happened to be a nuke and clearly didn’t think I was smart enough to qualify for the same program) actually went out of his way to discourage me – my first interview he told me that I was wasting my time, and that he didn’t think I was “Navy material”.

His obvious doubt in my ability to follow through should’ve discouraged the uneducated, overweight, out-of-shape hopeful in me… but it didn’t. It rekindled a tenacity in me that had long been extinguished… simply put, it lit a fire under my butt.

Things started small.  It was February when I started speaking to the recruiters and still bitterly cold, but I began an exercise regime that I could handle- walking. My first attempts were a far cry from the 11 minute 1 1/2 mile I needed to make snuff, but I determinedly plodded on. The first time I went out I walked briskly for about a quarter mile before I felt like I was going to die. My lungs were burning, my legs were aching, and my ego was battered by the younger, much fitter girls running past me  in droves wearing color coordinated, skin-tight workout clothes with pony tails bouncing happily behind them. In stark contrast to the organized clans of fashionable jogging beauties, I wore my husbands sweats, an old ball cap and an oversized tee shirt. As they lapped me, I felt the differences  between us distinctly. I ate a lot of dust before I got to make some of my own. The weight loss was slow and grueling at first. A half mile walking slowly turned into a whole mile, one mile turned into two, two into three, and eventually three turned into seven. Every few pounds I sent a text message with an update to my recruiter.

After months of hard work, I found myself 35 pounds lighter, 6 pant sizes smaller, and able to run three miles without stopping immediately followed by an additional four miles speed walking.

During this period, I also enrolled in online courses through a university and although juggling school and two full time jobs stretched me to my limits, I somehow managed to keep a 4.0 GPA past the 15 credits my recruiter required. I studied my butt off in college level algebra, geometry, basic physics, and read textbooks to boost my electrical and mechanical knowledge in preparation for the placement test. Finally, the day came to give my recruiter the final update and try to get a date to be medically evaluated and retake the ASVAB.

I know what you’re thinking… “CP, you’re clearly capable of tooting your own horn, but were you capable of finally finishing something you started? Were you able to qualify for the nuclear program? And if so, are you a Navy jerk now?”

I’ll give you the short answer.

To all of the above, no.

If things had gone according to plan, I’d be updating this blog from nuke school. But, as such is often the case, things did not go according to plan.

You see, along with the two major things I never thought I’d be able to accomplish at one point (weight loss and successful completion of college courses), I inadvertently managed to check one more off of my list.

I got pregnant.

After over a year of failed medically assisted attempts at conception, my husband and I decided to stop trying so that I could focus on getting ready for the military. That’s right, astonished reader – we were actively not trying at the time we conceived. God has a sense of humor, and infertile Myrtle got knocked up on accident. I wish I’d known the year I spent all that money on fertility aids and medical treatments that I could’ve just invested in a box of condoms.

I failed to meet my goal, and -

I couldn’t be more thrilled. 

7:46 PM

Nothing A Glass of Wine Can't Fix.

Posted by Manda |

The wait is over.

I don't even have the energy to relate what happened tonight. Let's just say the meeting did not go as planned. I have every intention on filling you, my invisible audience in (ha ha.. I'm tired), but not right now. Right now, I'm just going to relax with a bottle (I mean glass.. *hic*) of something some lady recommended in the wine aisle at the grocery store, and pretend like I got everything I wanted today. The problems of the day can wait until the morning.

I am not discouraged. If anything, the events of the day have only stiffened my resolve.

Small victory of the day: despite a disappointing talk with one of the recruiters (that I very much suspect simply does not like me for reasons unbeknownst to me... I may have put my foot in my mouth 5 minutes into my time in the office, though. MAY HAVE. Not sure though. But a distinct possibility -- and for those that know me, a distinct probability), I didn't cry. Not once.

Gotta take 'em where you can get 'em, I say. So I didn't cure cancer -- not crying will do for today.

I made the call.

I have an appointment with a Navy recruiter tomorrow afternoon. I told him about my background and he said it wasn't a big deal, and reassured me that everyone does stupid things when they're young... I think some (e.g., Young CP) are just a little dumber than others. I feel like I've been holding my breath since I talked to him, and I'll hold it still until the verdict is in. Will I have a chance at a do-over? The answer is yes. With or without a military career. My inactivity ends now.

If the total force on an object is zero, its center of mass continues in the same state of motion.

I'm hoping the Navy just might be the kick in the mass I'm looking for.

6:39 PM

Anchors Aweigh, My Boys, Anchors Aweigh...

Posted by Manda |

I've been following a blog recently about someone who discovered that his spouse no longer reciprocated his love; as I read through his entries, I found myself going through this myriad of emotions. A feeling of loss on his behalf, sorrow over his loneliness and the years spent with someone who starved him of affection, and something else that I couldn't quite identify until now. A feeling of familiarity. I left him a comment on his profile page, trying to convey to him how his story resonated with me, I mentioned that I'd never been in a relationship like that and it struck me right after I submitted my comment for approval that I have. And I am. I am in a relationship of sorts with someone that doesn't love me, someone that takes my time and my potential for granted, someone that takes every available opportunity to undermine, sabotage, and belittle me. I'm not sure when I fell out of love with myself, but it has been this way for a long, long time.

Was it when I dropped out of high school?

When I gained that extra 30 pounds?

When I decided my dreams weren't worth pursuing?

I used to pride myself for my fearlessness. I had a daredevil streak a mile wide growing up. This meant that growing up, I was able to handle horses that other people would avoid; I was the first one to jump off of the dam, shimmy to the swaying tops of the tallest trees, rock climb without harness or second thought, the list goes on. I was confident, unafraid, unflappable, invincible, drunk with the delirium of a life enjoyed. Until the Offender showed up and robbed me of my immortality.

I was fearless in a different way after that. Or maybe, careless. I think that's when I fell out of love with myself. And somehow, even after all this time, I still haven't found a way to punish myself enough for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Shifting my bravery from ways to push the limits of my athleticism became ways to push the limits of authority but didn't seem to help (oddly, enough.. insert dry laugh here). What it DID help with was screwing up the remainder of my childhood that the Offender couldn't reach far enough to touch (no pun intended). I guess he did, though. Although he was far enough away from me to not realize it or care, in all probability. It's not that I wasn't afraid that something worse would happen to me... it didn't matter anymore. Ever since then, I have had the ingrained notion that I am past salvaging. And along with it the fear of failure in just about every task I undertake.
My husband, J, and I have been talking about our 'next step' for the last several days. We are at an impasse -- not with each other, just with our circumstances. I will be 24 this year, and I have no college education, no real marketable skillset outside of very general customer service, and in the small mountain town we moved to, no opportunity past entry level for people like me. J, remembering me mentioning that I tried to enlist in the Army a few years back but was DQ'd because of the recent knee surgery I'd undergone, suggested that I look into going into the military. I tested in the top 5% on my ASVAB, and the recruiter that was trying to put me in was pushing hard for me to go into intelligence. The more I sit on the idea, the more I like it. The idea that I will have a chance to make something of myself appeals to me... but then there are the fears... When I think about calling the recruiter tomorrow, I'm gripped with this sense of dread -- what if the stupid crap I did as a teenager disqualifies me? What if I'm not good enough? What if they laugh in my face and send me on my way? What if I get in and I can't hack it?
Worse than the fear of failure, however, is the fear of success.
I am petrified that they will tell me that they'll take me. I have waffled between optimism and terror for the last two years, and to be honest, I don't want to call. The part of myself that believes I can't do it and shouldn't even try has had its way for as long as I can remember.
Which is the real reason I haven't gone to college yet.
Or lost those 30 pounds.
Or started running with reckless abandon towards the dreams I shelved.
There is a part of me that wants to try, fail or succeed... the part that battled for me to trust my husband with my heart and won.
Even if the military doesn't want me, I have to do this. I have to try. I have to take the first step towards freedom.
Towards the girl I used to be.
Towards loving myself again.

Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned. It has been far, far too long since my last blog. If the old adage "all work and no play makes Ciervo a dull girl" has any truth", I am a slice of white bread in a manila folder glued to a beige wall.

Wooooooooow... It's been almost a YEAR since I blogged... yeeeeeeeesh.... soooooooo.... how've you been?? I've just been reaaaaallly busy working.... yeah.... and I think you changed your number... or something. This is awkward. When I said I would blog you 'forever', I meant 'until something else came along'. I assumed you knew the alternate meaning of the word 'forever'. GUESS I was wrong.

Well, something else came along... infertility to be specific. I was going to tell you... I didn't think you could handle it.... thought you'd go all weepy on me, or WORSE, refuse to allow me to wallow in self pity for the last year of my life. And I was NOT having that. Nothing like a brand new blog to whine to the world about how much it sucks that I may never be able to give my husband kids with our genes. The thing about whining to the world is that the world gets tired of hearing it.. and for good reason. And, I'm not going to do that here. I'm finished wallowing, and have subsequently pulled my hippo-butt out of the mudhole, hosed myself off, and am ready to jump back into the fray!

The best thing about not being pregnant -- amaretto sours!! Hello, nurse...

So, you may be asking yourself (if you've sticking around in the hope that CP will reappear armed with wit and a healthy dose of bitterness) where the HELL have you been, CP, you cheeky rascal?

I don't really know how to answer that -- At the risk of sounding repetitive, I've kinda been dealing with the whole infertility thing. Months of hormone therapy, poking, prodding... and that's just in the privacy of my own home! I've changed jobs, been laid off, been rehired, am about to be laid off again... it's been a real razzmatazz.

But at any rate, I'm back. Or at least making an effort to be back. There is much to discuss, but not at the moment, as I am verklempt, and also catching up on Season 1 of Fringe.

A girl's got to have priorities!

Ahhhhh.... this ol' blog still fits. Good to be back.

10:06 AM

Zoo trip.

Posted by Manda |

I am very excite!!

J and I are taking a day off from normal life, and heading to Asheboro for some much needed R&R. We're planning on visiting the zoo tomorrow.
Note to self - Do NOT climb into the polar bear exhibit. From what I hear, they're not as cuddly in person, and it could only end badly.
Also, while passing the primates, try to avoid taking baths and sharing champagne with the chimps. They will go ape-sh*t when you try to give them a stuffed animal showing your love. (pun INTENDED... Waa waa wee wa!)
In the event that this happens, after the chimp has been effectively 'disabled', make sure to act completely surprised and yell things like,
"OMG, they shot Travis!!!"
Also, Grizzly bears do not make good bedfellows. They hog the covers and are awful cuddlers. Just ask Mr. Treadwell..
I'm gonna burn for this.
Update in a couple days with pictures! (Assuming I've been able to resist the overwhelming temptation to let myself into the enclosures)

6:25 PM

Tea'd off!

Posted by Manda |

Part of what I love so much about this country is that people with differing political beliefs are permitted to express their view without fear of government retaliation, and America showed up in full force today. Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians alike took a stand together to protest excessive taxation, and I couldn't be more proud of my country. Partisanship gave way to 6 million united voices crying out against big government. I for one, am unwilling to sell the future of my children and my grandchildren for special interest groups and pork-ulus packages.

The money that is being so frivolously spent belongs to WE the people, not corrupt bankers and Wall Street executives.

It's not about being Left or Right, Conservative or Liberal, it's about our right to preserve our wealth. It's about investing your blood, sweat and tears to build your family's future and knowing at the end of the day that the fruits of your labor are not going to be 'redistributed' to someone who didn't pay their dues. 50% of Americans don't pay into taxes??? Equality is sharing the burden, not just the benefits.

Congress and President Obama -

New plan, we pay OUR debt, and you pay yours!

America has spoken - and we want FREEEEEDOOOOM!!!!

P.S. I realize that I might catch some flak for posting something political ... *shrugs* meh...