And then there were Jelly Bellies.
This week you get to see my sugar-filled nemesis, Jelly Bellies, move me to action. It was move or die from a diabetic coma.
The hidden, internal fears.
How is the fear facing going for you? During the past weeks as I face my fear of ‘just writing my story‘ I have noticed that facing the internal fear is much harder than external fears. I mean, you can kill a spider but the internal fear lives and breathes as you live and breathe. To make it move from inside of you to outside of you makes it something you can conquer, something you can overcome. Darkness creates unlimited space for fear to grow. Bring it into the light and beat it down like you would a spider that crossed your path.
After all, your life may just depend on it.
And now let the Bookloree continue…
~ ~ ~
I escaped to Starbucks.
An extra hot, non-fat, sugar free vanilla, bold coffee misto with a whole wheat raspberry scone on the side was my usual morning fare. It is not a good sign when they know your name, order, and have it ready before you get to the till.
Starbucks calls it customer service, I call it a bad habit.
Large snowflakes were falling. The trees hadn’t even started to change color and the death of winter crouched at their doorstep. The picture of death before it was time resonated so deeply with me that I sighed loudly enough for three people in line to turn at stare at me.
Sighing does a soul good.
After the morning ritual of forking over nearly six dollars for aonce-upon-a-time-freshly-baked pastry and caffeine, I sat in my car and called my mom.
“Hi mom. Call me back.”
“You bet sweetie.”
My mom lives in America, which seems like a lifetime away. In fact it is more than a lifetime away, it is where my heart dreamed freely and there seemed to be no way back. Dreaming creates hope and hope hurts more than living ‘the dream’.
“Morning. How is my mams today? It is snowing here. Seriously. I am sitting in my car and the mondo flakes are making a ‘clunk’ noise as they hit my windshield. What a way to kick off the week.” I craned my neck over the steering wheel to glare at the innocent white flakes as they poured down on my windshield as my mom filled me in on her day.
My preview of the day was the usual distain towards my life of meetings.
“Yup, meetings all day long. Are you surprised by this news? I am totally stressed about the 2:30 meeting. I have a feeling the client is going to yell again and I hate being yelled at, especially when it happened way before I started working here. Best line of defense – head nodding and smiling. No talking. I want to fire the client, but that option isn’t on the table so I have to find a way to make it work and keep the staff from hating me for what I give to the client.”
“Honey, you are amazing at making it work. All of it.” Mom encouraged.
“Well I want to stop being amazing at it. It is a lot of work to make it work.” I grumped.
“I’m going to go teach 18 kids piano today and you are going to win that client over and cream your bazillion meetings.”
“If you say so.” A small smile found its way to my mouth. “Thanks for listening to my complaining…again.”
“Any time. You are going to do great. Talk to you tomorrow!”
“Bye. Have fun with the kiddos.”
The windshield was completely overtaken by giant snowflakes. The car was eerily quiet and instead of putting the key in and driving back to meeting central, I laid my head on the steering wheel with my hands in the 10 and 2 position. It felt a truck was sitting on my chest; heavy and unyielding.
The only sounds were the crunching of new snow under people’s shoes as they walked by to get their morning caffeine fix and my eyelids blinking, that is until my hand slipped and pushed down on the horn.
My head nearly hit the ceiling of the car as I screamed and jumped out of my skin.
Oh Donloree! You are such a disaster. You probably scared some little old lady. Get to work and stop wishing your life away. The longer you sit here, the less time you have to toast and butter the whole wheat raspberry scone. Butter will make you fat, but it will make you happy for at least a few minutes. You went to the gym and ran around, why not make up those burned calories in butter?
The windshield wipers brushed away the thoughts of running away and before I knew it I was consuming my scone in the office kitchen and chatting with one of the men who had given up on trying to make the internet submit.
As per usual, the urgent yet possibly not important things consumed the rest of my day. Emails, meetings, clients, and office emergencies swirled never ceased to keep coming. I was a character in a snow globe, which was being shaken by an exuberant toddler.
One by one everyone left until I found myself locked into the office and all alone. Seeing myself in the reflection of the stark picture windows used to scare me, but after spending countless late nights in the office I finally got used to the tall, well dressed woman staring back at me. As soon as the sun went down, I became a goldfish trapped in the office fishbowl, open to have any strange person come watch what I was up to. Watching me work would be like watching the most boring reality TV show ever invented – ‘Woman Types and Types.’
6:30 was the Jelly Belly hour. Instead of going home and to create a culinary masterpiece and enjoy a quiet evening at home with my husband, I moved the candy dish of Jelly Bellies from the client waiting area to my desk. On this particular day I also found a Tim Horton’s double chocolate muffin – a leftover peace offering from one of our clients. Cake dressed up as a muffin and pure sugar was the boost of energy I needed to rev me into high gear to finish off the day.
While trying to discern if the red bean in my hand was cinnamon, cherry, or strawberry, I had an out of body experience. I found myself on the other side of the huge picture window, standing in the snow and peering in at myself. “What is that woman doing in there with the jelly bellies? Why in the world is dressed in a suit, not wearing her boots, and eating day old cake? So sad. She’s pathetic.”
Agreement resonated with me in such a profound way that I threw down the jelly belly and exclaimed, “Yes! I am pathetic. What in the world am I doing here? I am tired of this. I hate my life.”
It was a good thing everyone else had left for the day. The coffee pot and servers knew how to keep secrets.
My tirade continued. “Happy? What is happy? Happy is a lie. No one is happy. How can anyone be happy if this is what is supposed to make us happy? I hate everything. I hate that Jon is right. I hate that he knows I am not happy and I suck at lying. Maybe if I lied better I would be happier. Fine, you know what? If I am going to be unhappy, I might as well be thin, hot, and unhappy. I will show him. How about I hire myself a personal trainer? Yup, that will show him. I hate my muffin top too. Seriously, how much can one woman handle in life? God, you really had to give me the gift of the muffin top too? After the cello, glasses, Jeremy picking my sister over me, and the bowl haircut we really had to add this into the life mix? How much character does a woman require before she finally just shrivels up and dies? No. More. Character!!”
My declaration about hating God was shoved back down before it had a chance to escape my mouth. Although getting struck down and killed by lightening would make for a great story while standing in line at the pearly gates.
The myriad of emails, proposals, and performance reviews could wait another 14 hours, suddenly hiring a personal trainer could not.
Heat spread across my chest and down my arms as I typed in ‘Muffin Top Slayer, Edmonton’ into Google. Apparently a man invented the Internet. Can you believe no results for ‘Muffin Top Slayer, Edmonton’ were returned?
After completing more reasonable Internet searches, I found a few personal trainers close to the office. It made sense to hire someone close to work since nearly every free waking hour was spent there.
Why not have one thing in life be easy?
The personal training studio of choice was owned by a trainer who was regularly featured on a reality TV show giving people the gears about how out of shape they were, shaming them into submission, and then kicking their butts. Oddly enough, the approach really appealed to me. Before I knew what was happening, I was listening to their phone ring. When it came time to leave my reason for calling, I had no idea what to say. I slammed the phone down and stared at it.
Being a woman of action, I gathered up my things and grabbed the address. It was time to make a personal visit. A fire began to burn in my belly. Whether it was courage or the pound of Jelly Bellies, I will never know. Something that started out as a lark to ‘stick it to the man’ suddenly became something I must do. Now.
During the three minutes it took to drive to the personal training studio, I practiced my opening line. I finally settled on, ‘I would like to know more about working with a personal trainer.’
Seemed straightforward and reasonable to me.
The personal training studio was tucked away into an odd corner of downtown across from a cemetery. Well if I die, I won’t have far to go. They sure know how to get things done around here.
Sounds of metal clanking filled my ears as I stomped my boots free of the snow in the foyer. A wrap around desk was to my left and a hallway that opened into a large room of people sweating while being yelled at was straight ahead. Not sure what to do next, I just stood there with my shoulders back and head held high.
A woman running by nearly jumped out of her skin when she noticed the well dressed woman turned mannequin frozen in the entrance.
“Hello. Can I help you?”
My practiced response fell out of my head. “I don’t know.”
“Ok. Are you here for a massage?” She asked.
“No. Uh oh. Am I in the right place? I was looking for a personal training studio. I think it is right through that hallway. Do they have a different entrance?”
The woman laughed. “Nope. We share the space. There is a massage studio in the front of the building and we run the reception. Let me go get someone to talk to you. I will be right back.”
My palms started to sweat. To distract myself, I read through all the business cards at the front and looked at the pictures of the staff on the walls. Magazines were flipped through and brochures were read. My back was turned when the woman who I surprised five minutes earlier came back with a man that only came up to my shoulder.
I felt like an Amazon woman. An Amazon woman with a muffin top.
I let him shake my sweaty hand.
“Hi. I am Jeff.”
“Hi. I am Donloree.”
“Donloree. Dawn-lah-ree. It’s a weird name.”
“I’ve never heard that one before.”
“Nope. No one has. It is a weird name.”
The conversation stalled and I just stared at him blankly. Thoughts of running away flitted through my head. What the world was I doing talking to a short, muscled man about personal training? I had officially lost my mind.
The Jelly Bellies threatened to come up.
Luckily he was in a hurry.
“I have a client starting in two minutes, but I take it you’re interested in working with someone?” He asked.
“Sure. Sounds good.” The sound of a huge metal plate crashing to the floor caused a small yelp to escape out of my mouth.
The short man named Jeff just grinned. “It gets intense around here. So what kind of trainer do you want to work with? What are your goals?
“Someone hardcore who won’t let me get away with anything. I want my butt kicked on a regular basis. I want to get rid of my muffin top and I am willing to work hard. I want to train with a man, not a woman. I know this may sound odd, but I have a feeling I will be able to get away with more if I train with a woman. I want no grace.” I crossed my arms to punctuation my point.
“I have to get to my client, but I will have someone call you this evening. Write your name and phone number down on this card for me.” He instructed.
Then the short, muscled man named Jeff ran off and left me standing in the foyer with a business card and confusion. Apparently I was to go home and wait for a call.
I sighed, turned around, and headed back out into the snow.