Q&A

Here goes! Thanks for all the questions, everyone.

Q.When you are at a point where you are thinking about c/s, what is it that you do or tell yourself to escape falling into the trap?
A. I am really happy to say that I haven’t thought about doing it in so long, that I haven’t needed to think much about it. When I finally decided to go cold-turkey, I made the commitment to myself to choose pride over guilt. Somehow that reframing of things really clicked with me. I wish I could say I use it in all aspects of my life (like when I emotionally or mindlessly eat, or when I exercise even when I don’t feel like doing it) but I know I have the potential now to carry it through to other areas of my life, and that makes me feel good. I am going to try to remember “pride over guilt” as my mantra going forward, because I think it epitomizes/highlights my Type-A nature in a good way. If I want to stay in the lines, so to speak, I need to choose pride over guilt.

Q. If you could be known for having done ONE thing well in your life (although there will be many!), what would it be?
A.
Wow, good question. I haven’t had children yet, but I imagine that’s the one thing I’d want to be known for: being a good mom. Since that judgment is a long way off, I like to  think blogging has been my biggest success/contribution to society, my form of “volunteering” (since I do it for no income and with no paid advertising). Blogging is something of which I’m very proud and think I’ve done well at it, given the feedback I hear here on my blog, the guest posts I’ve been asked to write, and the new blog I’m participating at (WeAreTheRealDeal). 

Volunteering can be many things to many people. Some people volunteer at soup kitchens, some people are Big Sisters or Big Brothers, some run charity races … I feel like through my words and experiences, I’m volunteering in my own way, touching people’s lives. No, I’m not touching the lives of the homeless or the needy … but I’m taking issues that usually go under the radar screen, to light, raising awareness … all the while being transparent about my journey. I like to think that I’m making a difference.

Q. What are your favorite books?
I love, love, love all of Jodi Picoult’s books (particularly My Sister’s Keeper and Plain Truth) because they make you think. Her characters are so complex and beautifully crafted. Plus, her endings are usually pretty cataclysmic and leave me in tears. Beach Music by Pat Conroy is another personal favorite. I also love The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and anything by Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree being my favorite. It’s what got me fascinated by globalization.

Q. How did you get into your profession?
A.
I fell into it, really. Though I was an international relations major (American University in D.C.), most of my internships in college were in the marketing or PR field (at US News & World Report, the National Geographic Society, and the National Education Association). I’ve always loved to write and have always loved the art of communication. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with an IR degree and a lot of my classes had been in the international communications realm. So I decided to do my master’s in public communication right after undergrad (also at American), and ended up working in the non-profit, government and (now) private sectors. Today, I’m the PR manager at a large, independent digital advertising agency where I’m primarily responsible for agency promotion. I love what I do, and love working in such a creative environment.

Q. Do you have brothers and sisters?
A.
Yes, I’m blessed to have one of each, though when we were kids I might not have felt that way 😉 I have a 25-yr old sister who is a social worker and lives in NYC, and a 27-yr old brother who lives in California, but is currently teaching English in South Korea for a year. We’re very close, and I miss them both a ton. Skype and cell phones help keep us connected, and both have been absolutely instrumental in my recovery.

Q. With weight stuff, are you looking forward to or dreading pregnancy?
A.
It’s funny, a year ago, I feared it to no end because of the weight gain associated with pregnancy and my disordered mind. But now, I am actually looking forward to it — I don’t mean the weight gain itself; that will be a challenge for me, I’m sure, though I hope to embrace my body at every step of the way — including after I give birth someday. I don’t foresee myself as someone who goes hogwild when she’s pregnant, using it as an excuse. Likewise, I refuse to be restrictive when there’s life depending on me. I think being forced to change my behaviors, outlook … will be rewarding in the end. Because ultimately, at that point, it’s no longer just about me, but about something else, someone else.

Q: How do you learn how to rest?
A: Honestly, this is a tough one for me. I can’t sit still! I always feel like I should be doing “something else” and it’s a real struggle for me. I think that’s why over-exercising came so naturally to me. I knew it made me feel good and helped me lost weight, so there was no reason (in my mind back then) not to do an extra workout if I had free time. Now I am trying to look at my free time a little more holistically — with mental health in mind, too. Reading helps me rest. I really think it’s one of those “practice makes perfect” things, where I will just need to keep trying to relax/rest and eventually it’ll become second nature to me.

Like most people LOVE the idea of a beach/resort vacation. Not me … that makes me anxious thinking about all that time with nowhere I “have” to go. That’s why I prefer trips — jam-packed, sight-seeing, immersion vacations where I enjoy being in a new place, but am on-the-go. Fortunately, my husband (though he grew up in El Salvador and went to the beach a ton) is also more of a sight-seer when it comes to trips, so we’ve been able to explore Europe and Central America together that way. Neither of us are good at just sitting still, unless we make a conscious effort to do it. Sometimes I think he struggles with it even more than me — with our house, he always thinks there’s something else needing to be done (and there is … ) whereas I can more easily now say, “I know we need to do X but let’s do Y instead.” 🙂

Q: In honor of SpecialK’s “Allow Yourself” challenge, what do you need to give yourself permission for?
A:
This is another good question, and it dovetails the previous question. I need to give myself permission to rest, to just “be” — and it’s a stretch for me to do that. “Rest” to me has always been (wrongly) equated with “laziness” even though I KNOW rationally that isn’t true. So I need to give myself/allow myself permission to rest. This means taking rest days from exercise, but it also means just not feeling guilty if I spend a Saturday afternoon in front of the TV mindlessly channel-surfing. I think the problem is I’ve always thought I should be doing something more productive … when in truth, sometimes just “being'” IS productive — it’s a respite for the mind, body and soul.

Q. What was your favorite episode of Friends, Saved by the Bell, and/or Full House!?
A:
OMG now that is a loaded question!! Seinfeld and Sex & the City are my two fave shows, but Friends comes in a close third. My favorite episode is probably the one where Joey proposes to Rachel using the ring Ross had bought for her. It’s such a great episode! I never got into SBTB. As for Full House … that defined Friday nights for me in middle school — my whole family would watch FH and then Family Matters. Fave episode is tough though — it’s been so long since I’ve seen any episodes that none are coming to mind!

Q: Where was your all-time fave country to live?
A:
I loved living in Argentina because it was my first living-abroad experience and Buenos Aires is seriously one of the most fascinating cities in the world — it rivals New York in terms of energy to me, and I LOVE NY. But living in El Salvador was special because it was the first time I got to experience living there with my husband in his native country. It was a lot different living and working there, making $3 an hour teaching English … than the times I’d visit and we’d go to the beach, the mountains, etc. Life’s hard there, there’s no nice way to say it.

Q: Where was your all-time fave vacation spot?
A:
I think my favorite all-time va-k spot would have to be Italy. I have only been once, and we hope to go again. We got engaged there (in Florence) so that has special meaning, but Italy, to me, is history, art, love, food, romance, beauty … the most incredible trip! Here in the U.S., I always loved visiting my grandma (when she was alive) in Florida, or trips to the Jersey shore with my friends.

Q: Where is your future dream travel destination?
A:
Last February (2008) we went to Madrid for a long weekend on a whim–found an awesome package on Expedia and went. We’d like to go back and see more of Spain, and maybe go back to Italy, too. With the dollar-to-euro ratio right now, though, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon! I’d love to go to France — never been, just for a layover — and I’d also like to go back to Greece. One thing we both want to do is go to Israel together. Again, that will need to wait, given how things are right now.

Thanks for all the questions, everyone. If you have any more, let me know. Have a safe, happy and healthy weekend.

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8 thoughts on “Q&A

  1. This was so fun to read! I love Q&A’s because you find out such interesting things.

    My old boss asked me the question what I wanted to be remembered for, and I said the same….being a good mom. 🙂

  2. Fun to get to know more about you 🙂 I love Italy too (we honeymooned in Capri – which I would have appreciated it more …)

    I third the thought of wanting to be remembered for being a good mom (and daughter, friend and wife!) but mom would definitely be first on the list.

    Have a great weekend, Melissa.

  3. It’s fun to read more about and “get to know you” more. I love your answers and how honest they are.

    If you do get the chance to go back to Spain you should definitely check out Sevilla and Cadiz. They are beautiful and like a second home to me since I studied there in college. But Cordoba and Toledo are wonderful too. Just take some time and enjoy it. I want to go back to spend more time in Madrid and Barcelona. Some day, some day.

  4. Do you remember the episode of Full House where DJ kept exercising, but didn’t eat anything and then passed out at the gym? They went home and ate pasta. I remember that episode and remember thinking “what a weirdo.” hahaha.

  5. Oh Heather I DO remember that episode! And Candice Cameron has spoken about the pressures she experienced at that age — her body was changing before TV’s eyes. Of course, when I saw that episode I didn’t know anything about restriction or over-exercising but now that you mention that episode, it’s wierd to think how long ago that was — but how it was seared in our shared conscious (though I’d forgotten til now!)

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