Big Pimpin’. March 30, 2003.

March 30, 2003
9:39 PM

Dear Journal,

man, I’m a little pimp this week! lol I’m going out with Zach J. now. Took us long enough, huh? He asked me out on Friday, and I decided I’d do it in Math. Haven’t had a real boyfriend in like 2 years and in the past week I’ve had 2. Don’t know what it is, I’m not used to all this attention. It was pretty random, too (that he’d ask me out) because we like haven’t even talked in a week or 2. A week maybe. I like Zach and everything, but I think I said yes because I’m on the rebound from Josh. It’s OK though, I’ll just go with it. He’ll just get really jealous and hate himself for dumping me. haha. OMG I got 2 new outfits yesterday and the skirt I got is a size 6! I’ve never worn a 6 in my life, I’m so happy! I still have a ways to go though: my goal’s`120 by June and I’m about 139. I can do it, just gotta cut down a little. Its all good :) !

—–

Growing up is hard. Growing up fluctuating between a high healthy weight and obesity is a fucking nightmare, and here is a classic example of how much it messed with me as an adolescent. Like, did you really not know why you were getting new attention, Little Allison? It’s because you were a fatass until that pallet expander forced you to stop binge eating during basketball season. Don’t worry, Little A. That surge of attention will pass soon after you return from the annual Maine vacation in August, where you will gain fifteen pounds in a week thanks to a healthy diet of hard ice cream, Poptarts and endless amounts of penny candy. You’ll be rocking 10s again in no time.

I thought I’d talk about trivial young relationships here, but the parallels between my relationship with myself 12 years ago and now are too strong to ignore. Well, maybe it’s not the relationship I have with myself, but the statistics are eerily similar. For the third time since 2003, but what feels like the first time, I am actually, exactly, 139 pounds and a size 6/8. This makes me really, really happy, but not like it did in 8th grade. Today, it makes me happy that I’ve finally reached the healthy weight range for my height in a healthy way. After some drawn-out-followed-by-rapid weight gain that peaked just under a year ago, I’ve lost roughly 50 pounds; trust, Ben & Jerry’s is a hell of a drug. But back in 2003, my weight loss triggered unbridled excitement. Buying a size 6 skirt was a serious step towards skinny, sexy, desireable–and it was starting to show. I was on fire. Now, thanks to a little more maturity and understanding of what weight really reflects, I’m just happy. I’m content. And I feel focused every time I reach a new step towards my goal; graduating to a size 6 means I’m one size closer to the 4 or 2 my frame really should be handling, although this thought alone would have made Little A’s head explode with amazement.

There have been endless chats about childhood habits overflowing to adulthood in this apartment, particularly in the case of food, fitness and how those factors are perceived. If you can imagine the polar opposite setting of what Little Allison grew up in in terms of food, you are picturing where my boyfriend comes from–no salt, no fat, absolutely no sweets, all the time. Of course kids are going to do their own thing when they can, so we both developed our own eating habits independently of what our parents allowed, but our home food rules or lack thereof made huge impacts. We’ve also talked a lot about parental influence. My dad has said that once kids are 12 or so, there’s not a lot you can do to change the way they are. I have no idea what it’s like to be a parent, but I have a hard time agreeing with him there. I was influenced heavily in a lot of ways by both of my parents, in good ways and bad, as well as my grandparents, my babysitters and my closest friends’ parents. I don’t think anyone involved in bringing me up to be a chubby, food-obsessed little girl meant for this to happen, but it did. I wonder all the time how things could have been different.

It's okay, Celery. God made you healthy, not delicious.

It’s okay, Celery. God made you healthy, not delicious.

One of my favorite anecdotes I use to explain my relationship with food and healthy eating habits is this: in 11th grade, when I was 16-years-old, I went over to my friend Sarah’s house after school on a Friday. We ran cross-country together and had become close through the sport. Sarah was, and probably still is, in fantastic shape. She was solid, not just thin, and put in regular work to stay fit. So I go over her house after school and we are hankering for a snack. To me, that meant crackers, chips, maybe even ice cream. But she pulled out carrots… and celery. I was shocked. “Where’s the dip?” I thought. “People eat this shit as a regular old snack? Who… what? Why?” Even at 16, I could not comprehend how carrots and celery could count as an after-school snack. Carrots and celery were reserved for vegetable and dip plates at parties. They were to be the canvas for my beloved sour cream vegetable dip only, or chopped up and thrown in beef stew, or pot roast at least! “These people are freaks,” I thought. “Poor Sarah.” I left later that night feeling Sarah and her family were truly a different breed, and this was reinforced by the ritzy town they lived in, the clothes they wore, the recessed lighting in their perfectly designed kitchen and the ballin’ finished basement we’d hang out in. We’ll get to much more of this class division-type thoughts I developed as we enter high school, but at the time of this entry–the end of 8th grade–I didn’t know a single person who’d whip out carrots and celery to snack on after school. This was not a known practice to me.

Clearly, Little Allison’s goal of 120 was not met in June of that year. It’s never been met, mostly because it’s never been seriously pursued in an educated way before now. My old friend Sarah was incredibly lucky to grow up in an environment where healthy snacking was a natural, preferred way of life, but there are many things in life that have to be figured out as adults, and I’m sure where my support system failed it succeeded in ways that others, like Sarah’s, did not.

What bad childhood habits did you continue as an adult, and how did you overcome them? I’d love to hear success stories from readers–this blog tends to be a solo bitchfest, so let’s make it less about me and more about us. Have a wonderful weekend, APJers!

Get Dumped, Conquer the World. March 25, 2003.

March 25, 2003
10:03 PM

Dear Journal,

over the corse of only 4 days I have gotten asked out, gotten my first kiss, and gotten DUMPED. Yup that’s right, Me and Josh broke up about an hour ago. He thinks we should just be friends, doesn’t want to fuck up our great friendship. And if that’s not enough for ya, there’s some things that got said in our little convo that pissed me off. I told him I didn’t understand how he was breaking up w/ me just a couple hours after he’d said some things that would make a girl really believe someone is totally into you. I should’ve known he was in it for action when he told me he loved me the night we got together. What a fag! Even though I’m almost hating him right now, I think he’s was right. We do make really good friends. Maybe we’ll even get back together after we get to know each other better. Maybe not. He’s gonna want me so bad one day and guess what; he ain’t gonna get none! lol

—–

Yesterday, I received news that gave me the closest reaction to getting dumped as I’ve had in many years: I was rejected from a volunteer opportunity. Yes, you read that correctly–I was turned down from a volunteer position. I was deemed unfit to contribute to a certain cause that had peaked my interest in ways no cause has before. Now, I’ve managed volunteers for a nonprofit, and I realize not all applying candidates are fit to serve at every organization, but I attended an information session, spent more than four hours over three days perfecting my application, and attended the most personal interview of my life to join this organization’s efforts, all to receive a letter last night informing me that I was, in the end, not a viable candidate for the position. This was a lot of work and a lot of steps forward to be rejected, and goddammit, I put on a suit for these people.

I had gotten so excited about this chance to give back and explore an area of work I have professional interest in; if chosen to move forward, I would have been able to both volunteer in a meaningful way and figure out, with an inside perspective, if I should pursue my masters degree and a career in this line of work. This opportunity meant a lot to me–it meant perspective, which, for anyone grappling in their 20s with the question of “What the fuck should I do with my life??”, means what seems to be your entire existence and purpose on this planet. It had been a long time since I’d come across an opportunity that had such weight to it, so losing it, especially after what felt like the (unpaid!) job application of the decade, was tough. I was hurt. I was pissed. And after I initially raised my eyebrows and uttered a polite “What the fuck?”, I cried, a lot.

Remember how much getting dumped by a 13-year-old boy meant? This shit was the most important stuff happening in 8th grade. Now, at a point in life where I’m living contently-as-ever with someone who teaches 8th grade, these equally important losses are a lot different, but, damn, they still hurt like hell.

Get over yourself, Little Allison.

Get over yourself, Little Allison.

I can’t help reacting to this rejection just as I might the above 8th grade dumping. At first, it’s anger. “You’re dumping me? Do you know who the fuck I am???” Yes, in your head you can’t fathom it. It’s only when you step back a bit later–maybe 24 hours later, or five years–and you realize “well, shit, I guess the rationale for that decision was confirmed in my reaction.” I have no idea why this organization deemed me unfit to volunteer with them, so I can only speculate. It’s the same when you’re dumped as an 8th grader, or a 23-year-old, although there are always more reasonable reasons than others, and they’re usually not pretty. Still, once the anger passes to sadness and you cry a bit, and ask aloud, “Why, oh, why didn’t they love me?”, the optimist/blissfully ignorant person’s resolve is to know within themselves, and perhaps announce to the world via social media, that the rejector is missing out and they’re going to regret it.

Now a relatively stable adult in a fantastically stable relationship, I am thankfully over the shitstorm of dating. What I never thought possible is that the emotional turmoil of excitement in love, followed by rejection, betrayal, heartbreak and all the other fun accessories of life before the calm waters of Stable Relationshipland, does not end with dating. While in retrospect this seems obvious–emotional pain is a human condition not solely associated with romantic relationships–I was taken by surprise at my reaction to being rejected. It just seemed such a perfect fit, and a volunteer position? No brainer–it’s not like I was applying to a salaried job, for God’s sake. But it wasn’t, and I won’t be joining this organization in any capacity, and so I’m left to find another outlet, or outlets, to make my mark, to soothe my soul, to do whatever it is I need to do to feel whole.

After talking/crying it out last night, it became clear to me that, as in dating, finding happiness in work and service and whatever else you do to fill your time (and pay the bills) calls for balance. I had to know myself and be truly secure before I could enter a relationship with staying power; I think the same is required of finding a career, or service opportunity, or hobby or whatever you need in life that requires commitment. So while it stings that I won’t be able to volunteer in a capacity I’d hoped to, I’m happy to move on with a fresh perspective. Sometimes getting dumped is the best motivation to really, truly, open up a can of whoop-ass on life.

P.S. My apologies for Little Allison’s use of the word “fag”. Little A was an ignorant hick and did not intend to offend anyone except Josh the Dumper with this sort of language.

What’s Your Fantasy? March 24, 2003.

March 24, 2003
11:08PM

Dear Journal,

everyone knows that we’re going out. lol at least I don’t have to go around telling all my select friends. In directed study Mike comes over to me and he’s like “hey ms. josh lover!” OMG you just had to be there it was so funny. Wow, I love Mike, he makes me laugh so much. It was funny be-cause everyone was like “Oh really?” Josh told me Mr T said we were a good couple, and we both agree. I just have to let him know that I’m not someone he’s going to take advantage of. Just have to speak up. k going to bed now.

—–

This is seriously all I had to talk about this day. Just my classmate’s reactions to learning Josh and I were now “going out”. Fucking pathetic, Little Allison. THe only redeeming note is that I was ready to take a stand and let my new boyfriend know this is my hot body and I do what want! In my last post, Little A got her first kiss and we touched on the blurry lines of sexual assault. While it was an exciting time, “dating” this boy was the beginning of my sex life which I argue, like many others’ have been, acquired a shaky foundation to grow on thanks to ill-informed, hormone-dominated teenage brains and skewed messages about priorities.

Here’s yet another problem with adolescent relationships: at least back in Burbsville, Massachusetts, in 2003, it was all about the status, the talk, the meaning that had little to do with the actual connection I felt with this boy. Well, it did have enough to do with the connection in this case (certainly NOT with the next boyfriend, who you will read about far too shortly). We were good friends and clearly were attracted to each other, although this guy was attracted to nearly everyone with tits in a 50-mile radius. But to be frank, becoming this guy’s girlfriend was more of a settling/thank-God-ANYONE-wants-me! move than an I-genuinely-love-and-respect-this-person-and-would-like-to-explore-life-together thing. That second option frankly wasn’t an option in my book, which is weird because my grandparents who I absolutely adore and practically raised me were together from 7th grade on and lived the most real, amazing relationship-centric life I’ve ever heard of.

Reality check: you will have these moments with your significant other, but they will be in your apartment on a Tuesday night, waiting in line to buy tickets to the game, or, if you're lucky, every morning when you wake up. NOT on the beach, or in the rain.

Reality check: these moments are best served in your apartment on a Tuesday night, waiting in line for the game, or right when you wake up on a lazy Saturday morning–NOT on the beach, in the rain, or in some exotic locale you can’t afford to travel to at sunset.

I definitely idolized my parents courting story at the time, and for years after that; inversely, a huge mistake realizing in their divorce five years later that much of their time together, while paired with plenty of good times, was marred by hate, hurt and serious sadness between the two. Regardless, their getting-together story was beautiful to me. Long story short, mom married her best friend’s older brother. And as a story, it is beautiful. In reality, and retrospect, it just kind of makes you want to cry.

I loved all the romantic scenarios. So when it got down to it, I would either end up marrying my male BFFL, Mike, after years of crushing but mostly just genuine friendship and adoration (the closest I could get to my grandparents’ story); one of my best friends’ brothers, which initially could only be imagined as an older brother but that fact was challenged when I experienced a brief crush/fantasy about a younger bro even AFTER COLLEGE (the sickness is real); or my father’s roommate’s son Dana, who is seven years older than me, but who I had loved deeply for as long as I had known and who I just knew had the hots for me too but couldn’t do shit about it because he is an angel and I was only fourteen… then eighteen… then 21… now 25 and no, he has never asked me out (but you don’t know me if you think I’ve never asked him!). If none of these panned out, in Little Allison’s mind there were a thousand other romantic scenarios that would, including marrying my high school sweetheart. Unfortunately for my young romantical self, I was corrupted and frankly put my hands in too many baskets (mostly theoretically until October of 2009), so while I technically only had one high school sweetheart, in my mind I had two: my actual high school boyfriend and my best friend, Aaron, my platonic friend of choice, who I slowly became convinced was the real deal, The One. In reality, he was just one of several Ones, all of which never, and will never, be The One.

So what am I rambling about today? I guess the theme of this all is the trouble with reality, and the choices young women make based on a combination of fantasy and manipulation. Yuck. Honestly, why was Little A so desperate for attention from these guys? I can definitely recall a sense of increased social worth once this “dating” period began. It raised my stock that these boys wanted me to be their girlfriend. It’s also making me sick to think about it this way, which is fun right after my fruit binge this morning. But this stock isn’t real, and thankfully its importance faded after some time. I’d love to hear from readers–did you experience similar social pressures to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend? Please share in the comments! And thanks, as always, for reading. I’ll try to keep this up a bit better than I have for the last three years.

Practice on the Shower Walls Pays Off: Little Allison Finally Macks It. March 23, 2003.

March 23, 2003
around 6:45PM

Dear Journal,

guess what–I got my 1st kiss today! Well ya I’m special right, I’ve been to first.

Unfortunately it wasn’t that great. I thought my first kiss would be really special and romantic, but, basically, it wasn’t. It was in my garage for God sakes lol. And um, Josh is a pretty bad kisser. Not that I would know from experience or anything, but I could tell. He kisses kinda fast, like his tongue was just in and out (sev repeatedly), It’s just not good. And he was using way too much of it. ugh.

It’s kinda weird how he does stuff. like he has set plays. He followed me into the garage when I went to get a ball so he could kiss me (which I would’ve liked more if he knew how to kiss) (oh ya I bit his tongue a little like it said to do in a magazine if they’re using too much tongue lol) and like I was reading a letter Charlene brought for mom and dad about Chuck’s surprise party and he was right next to me w/ his hand on my butt. Come on man, Charlene was just driving out of the driveway!

He wanted to go walk towards the river, prob so we could make out, but I’m like we’ll do that some other day. lol denied! I know he likes me, but he could be a little more subtle, ya know? And like I went to sit w/ him on the rock steps and he had his arm around me, which I don’t really mind, but then he was like rubbing my leg and stuff. hello! parents prob. looking out the window duh! w/e well gotta take my shower so I’ll write later.

—–

Talk about anticlimactic! Isn’t this what we’ve been waiting for for, what, fourteen years? Be careful what you wish for, Little Allison. Be careful what you motherfucking wish for.

Thankfully, despite the lack of fireworks and rainbow-shitting unicorns that appeared when my lips first touched those of a young, spry male, I was prepared. I had been consuming CosmoGirl for years at this point, along with Seventeen Magazine and any other publication that might give me the knowledge I need to make a man fall in love. Even Girls’ Life, the Girl Scouts magazine, offered romantic advice for tweens occasionally. I’m not ashamed to admit I practiced like a motherfucker on the shower walls. So even though Josh sucked at kissing and he was a little rape-y in manner, I was willing to work with him. Trust, this is not the last time you will hear of Little Allison getting her gams rubbed forcefully in public and liking it (in a confusing, I-don’t-think-I-should-like-this way).

Which brings up a topical topic–that magical, grey-area land of sexual assault. Yup, we’re going there. As someone who grew up vying for the attention of young men as if it were equivalent to water and nutrients, the kind of attention I got from Josh on this oh-so-special day was thrilling. It was what I’d wanted all along, right? What I was asking for, perhaps? And being outwardly, physically pursued gave me a rush. I can still feel the butterflies I got, a combination of fear and hormonal raging I’d only experienced in my wildest dreams at that point. It was dangerously hot. This was my introduction to the physical side of relationships, and, as happens often in writing this blog, I’ve never deeply analyzed before how my first kiss might have impacted my experience with the rest of the kisses down the road. I don’t think in retrospect I should have felt the way I did.

How I wish I’d felt was repulsed that someone, even my “official” boyfriend, would lock me into kissing them by bear-hugging me (Josh was a good foot taller than me and a big, athletic dude). There wasn’t anything romantic about it. We didn’t lock eyes and smile at one another, like I’d read would happen in my magazines. We didn’t both lean in slowly. He certainly did not ask if he could kiss me. What actually transpired was he followed me into the dark garage, opened up for a hug, wrapped me up in a big, feely hug, and smooshed his mouth on mine when I moved my head to look up at him with Disney princess eyes, waiting for *that moment*. He stuck his tongue right in my mouth, in and out several times; it felt like a small, slimey banana that tasted a bit on the garlicky side (typically, my first thought when this event crosses my mind is “what the fuck did he eat that day?”). All the while, I’m pretty positive my father was inside the house. Both of my parents might have been, but any traditionally-raised lady from Middleboro, Massachusetts, has much more fear in her heart that her father will catch her making out than her mother. Especially when your mother has already told you that when she was in eighth grade, a boy she was making out with at a party put her hand down his pants. Thankfully, this did not turn out to be a family curse and I escaped eighth grade with only mouth-to-mouth and aggressive thigh-rubbing experiences.

It was disgusting.

It was disgusting.

I don’t mean to lament on my first kiss as an unromantic event. I do mean to point out that my state of mind about physical relationships, and this guy’s tactics, were wrong. Entering the era of sexual exploration on this blog is fucking terrifying to me–I repeat, FUCKING TERRIFYING. I am sharing real life stories here that affect me profoundly to this day. While it’s not my favorite part of myself, I am someone who tends to live in the past and the future simultaneously (some call it struggling with depression and anxiety) unless I make a conscious effort to stay in the present, which today, right now, means writing this blog. In terms of reliving the past, I constantly see how events I otherwise would have forgotten have made me who I am today–and that ain’t always pretty. A lot of the time, it’s totally fucking upsetting. Like right now, realizing that my favorite pastime at a particularly dark stage in my life–“going out” (binge drinking) and “meeting guys” (engaging in a range of sexual activities with young men I knew or didn’t know to a variety of degrees)–was even a thing because my foundation was broken. My perception of physical love was, for a very long time, totally fucked up and wrong.

Part of my goal in spreading the APJ story and expanding this project is to help you guys look back in similar ways and better yourselves through reflection, but another part of this all is that I want to make sure my generation protects our girls. I want my daughter or daughters, or sons, or my friend’s kids or a million kids watching some Youtube-of-2030 channel to be brought up with better foundations than I was when it comes to sex and self-perception and really knowing what’s good in life. It’s not how hot of a guy you can snag as a freshman in high school. It’s certainly not how well you keep up with the trend-setting crowd in rounding the bases. What’s good in life is so much more, which, thankfully, I did have a grasp on, but putting physical milestones at the forefront of the teenage mind, rather letting sex be an organic process that comes about when you’ve met only the special fellows or ladies (which, I must note, should really be part of the self-discovery process and not the other way around–discovering yourself in a relationship will get you in an exceptionally sticky predicament from which you may never escape–TRUST!), is dangerous physically and emotionally. Being consumed by the race to losing your v-card is just, ugh, just RELAX.

As a teenager, all I wanted was love. I actually did an okay job of pursuing that without fucking around (no pun intended) before I met the first One. Things got a little confused down the road, but I’m thankful to say I made it through the fire. Still, as my ex-boss says with a you-are-such-a-25-year-old headshake, “There’s always fire.” And so we’ve got to remind ourselves always where we came from, where we need to be, and, so importantly, how far we’ve come.

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