Skin Cancer’s A Bitch

So here’s where I am today — I?  Am Pissed.  Pissed at myself for frying in the sun for years like a piece of freaking bacon.  Pissed at myself for thinking it was ok to burn my face cause it would turn to tan the next day.  Pissed at myself for being a hypocrite and lathering up my kids with the strongest kind of sunscreen while forgetting to put it all over my own body.  And as a result?  I just found out that I have basal cell skin cancer.

Since it’s basal cell, it luckily won’t spread and can be cut out.  However, the location of this God-awful “C” word could not be in a more inconvenient place.  The damn thing is just above my left frickin’ eyebrow, making it next to impossible for them to avoid taking at least part of my brow when they go to remove it later this month.  Awesome, eh?  And wanna know what’s even worse about the timing of this whole flipping ordeal?  Guess whose 20 year high school reunion is this summer?  That’s right, people — mine.  It’ll be such a blast catching up with people with my one eyebrow.  I might as well just write “Unibrow” on my name tag.

It sucks that it takes something like cancer to scare you into being diligent about sunscreen application.  It’s a very difficult lesson to learn, but I urge each and every one of you to take your own health seriously.  It’s definitely NOT better to be a tan corpse.  Break out your Banana Boat everyone, cause the sun, it is a shinin’.

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Sweatin’ To The Yogies

     

     Last week a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join her at a hot yoga class.  I’ve been doing yoga for a couple of years now and have always been curious to try the hot classes, so I said sure, what the hay.  (If you’re not familiar with the concept of hot yoga, it’s done in a room that’s heated to 95+ degrees.)  I had no idea what the hell (pardon the pun) I was getting myself into, but three classes later, I am totally and completely hooked.

     When I attended my first class, I felt like I’d stepped into a sauna as soon as I walked into the studio.  The windows were literally dripping wet with humidity, and I immediately began to sweat.  As we moved through all the different poses in the class, I quickly realized that this was no freaking joke — I was absolutely drenched from head to toe, as was everyone else in the room.  I’ve never wanted to get naked so badly in my whole entire life.  (Sorry, honey.)  That Nelly song kept running through my head — you know the one, “It’s gettin’ hot in here, so take off all your clothes.”  I restrained myself, though, and kept my clothes on.  I didn’t want to make a bad first impression.  Nevertheless, when I left there, I felt strong, I felt powerful, and I wanted more.

     So, two days later, I went back for my second class.  This time, the tiny room was even more crammed-pack with yogies, and everyone’s mats were right on top of each other.  We’re talking not much more than a measly inch in between each one.  Lucky for me (or not so lucky, depending on how you look at it), some nice woman scooched over just a tiny smidge so I could squeeze in next to her.  Little did I know, however, that this good samaritan decided to go au naturale and forego deodorant.  Do you have any idea how awful it is to do a wide-angle forward fold into an ass that reeks to high heaven of B.O.?  It’s not pleasant, let me be the first to tell ya.  I was choking on my own vomit throughout most of that hour and a half, and I’m pretty sure my nose had just shut down altogether by the time class was over.  But even despite the stank that was embedded in my nostrils for the remainder of that day, I still had a deep-rooted craving to do it all again.  

     People say you either love the hot yoga or you hate it.  I just so happen to love it.  In fact, I even ended up buying a pass to sweat my ass off even more regularly there. And my husband seems to be particularly pleased to hear that I’m ready and willing to try new things.  I’m sure that’s what prompted him to email me a coupon for an introductory pole dancing class yesterday.  I’m thinking he might just have some ulterior motives though….

Gym Freaks

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     When I go to the gym, I am there for one reason and one reason only — to work out.  I’m not there to socialize or pick up dudes or strut my stuff. My mind is generally pretty focused on the task at hand (especially since I’m always on a tight schedule), but there are times when I can’t help but do a double take at some of the sights I see there.  Good Lord, some of the characters that parade through that place are truly in a class all their own.

     First, there’s a woman that I refer to as “Bacon Lady.”  This woman must spend hours upon hours roasting herself in a tanning bed, because her skin is so leathery and brown that she should be sitting next to a big plate of scrambled eggs.  And it’s hard to tell how old she might be because all those UV rays have made her look like she’s a hundred.  For the life of me, I can’t understand how she could possibly think that looks good.  All it does is make me have a sudden craving for breakfast food.

     Then, there’s the man I refer to as “Circus Dude.”  This guy has created the most insane-looking workout, where he combines acrobatic moves with synchronized dancing and yoga poses.  Talk about bizarre.  He’s jumping, he’s leaping, he’s spinning, he’s making a complete ass out of himself. When he’s in the middle of his performance, every head turns in his direction to try and figure out just what in the hell he’s doing.  I keep waiting for the ringmaster to come out and turn our attention to the center ring.

     Then, there’s the ultimate cheeseball guy who I refer to simply as “Meathead.” This dude is constantly checking himself out in the mirror in between weight sets. He slicks his hair back and arranges his eyebrows, and I often see him doing boxing jabs so he can check out his biceps in the glass.  And he’s not at all nonchalant about it either.  He actually looks around to make sure that someone’s watching the “gun show.”  Hate to break it to ya, Meathead, but you should really think about giving people their money back cause the “show” is not at all impressive. 

     Then, there’s “The Flirt” who tries WAY too hard to be funny and to impress all the ladies.  This guy will literally jump on a machine next to you to try to carry on a conversation.  He pays no attention whatsoever to the fact that your Ipod is blaring, and you can’t hear a single word he says.  He continues to crack his stupid jokes and tell his stupid stories, all while you’re slaving away on the elliptical, trying to get your sweat on.  Perhaps his name should be changed to “Clueless.”  

     And finally, there’s “The Package,” the guy who wears ridiculously tight leggings that advertise that he has a ridiculously large package.  And he’s not just walking around in the gym in this get-up either.  Oh no, no, he’s jogging on a freaking treadmill, while things are wiggling and jiggling and flipping and flopping all over the damn place. And trust me, it is not a pretty sight to see, and as much as you want to look away, you just can’t. It’s kind of like a train wreck.  You just can’t help but stop and stare.  Somebody needs to get that boy a jock strap STAT!

     I never know which one of these odd balls I’m gonna run into on any given day at the gym, but I always come face to face with at least one of them.  I guess it does make for interesting scenery, since the gym can be pretty dull during the winter months.  Wow, can you imagine if they all showed up on the same day?  Bacon Lady, Circus Dude, Meathead, The Flirt, and The Package — now that’s one hell of a freak show!

Disturbance At The Beach

     I saw one of the most horrific-looking things I have ever seen at the beach this weekend.  I was certainly not alone in my horror, because heads were turning and mouths were dropping all around me.  Sadly, it was a woman who was so disturbingly anorexic that she looked like she had crawled out of a coffin to sunbathe at the beach.  

     I’ve seen many talk shows on the topic, but I have never seen a person so skinny in all my life.  This woman honestly looked like a walking skeleton with bones protruding throughout her entire body. She literally had not one ounce of muscle anywhere on her.  Her skin was so tanned that it looked like leather stuck to her scrawny bones, and her face was so sunken in that she looked like she was dead.  I am not exaggerating when I say that she was lucky to have weighed 50-55 pounds.  

     She had placed her towel right at the end of the main walkway that leads down to the lake, so everyone who came to the beach was pretty much forced to make eye contact with her.  You could see the looks of utter shock on each person’s face who passed her by.  At one point, she somehow managed to walk to the water to cool off.  She was so frail, though, that it took her a while to muster up the strength to even move her stick legs.  It was painful just to watch her.  The sight of this obviously very sick woman caused quite a stir, particularly among kids.  I was talking to another dad whose pre-teen daughter had asked what was wrong with the lady. He simply told her that she wasn’t feeding herself enough food, which can make you very sick. He told me he was kind of glad his daughter could see the detrimental effects of eating disorders up close and personal, since girls are pressured at such a young age about their body images now days. Surprisingly, my kids didn’t ask any questions, but they did take a good, long look at her.

     I had another conversation with a mom who said she was considering contacting the park district to complain about the lady. She said she was disturbing the community and that she should be asked to leave. She was concerned that the woman was showing young girls that this image is acceptable.  Now, I personally don’t agree with that line of thinking at all. No matter how upsetting someone’s appearance might be, it is a free country, and you can’t ban people from a public place.  Do I want to stare at a skeleton of a woman who is clearly on the pathway to her own death? Of course not!  Do I want my kids to have to see such a disturbing sight with their innocent little eyes?  No, I most certainly do not!  However, I can make the choice to look away, and I can tell my kids to do the same. I can also use it as an opportunity to talk to my kids and educate them if they ask questions.   

     Even a day later, I still can’t get the image of this poor woman out of my head.  I honestly don’t know how she is even alive, and I wonder if she has friends or family who have tried to help her.  It also has me wondering just how soon my own daughter is going to start becoming more self-conscious about her body. This is a real concern of mine, because I really think our society has gotten totally out of control with weight issues. Undoubtedly, the woman at the beach was a victim of this herself.  I know I have to catch myself sometimes when I say things like, “Ugh, I feel so fat today” in front of my kids.  I don’t want to initiate any of these unhealthy thoughts in their heads. Building their self-esteem is one of THE most important parental responsibilities I have.

     So, how do you talk to your kids about body image?  Have you found it difficult to protect them from societal and peer pressures to be “skinny”? How do you teach them to appreciate what they’ve got when they look in the mirror?

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