When I have lapses in motivation to stay on track with this life overhaul, I channel the immortal words of one Michael Jackson (Man In the Mirror video) : I'm gonna make a change...for once in my life.... I know MJ was talking about making a change with the world, but I am going to start with the woman in the mirror - and go from there.
At this point you all know I am trying to loose some lbs (el-beez), trying to eat better and move my ass. Trying to get healthy. Trying to figure out what is going to make me happy in this life. Trying to figure out a lot of things. One other area that I am trying to work on is my social interaction. Being more patient and kind with people. It is a work in process, to say the least! I don't particularly care for small talk - unless you have something interesting to talk about (shout out to Norm for his railroad info, and Andy for his concrete canoes - to name a couple), or unless I have had a LOT of drinks. (maybe if I could have shown up drunk to work, everything would have gone better? Just an idea I'm throwing out there.) It usually helped when both were taking place. I tend to just sit back, and watch. People fascinate me - people watching is one of my favorite past-times - I enjoy watching events unfold in front of me. Now that I am, for the most part, off booze - and in a city where I know no one - I have decided to make a conscious effort to be more outgoing. I may even initiate eye contact, and possibly conversations (audible gasp!).
I haven't always been this closed off. I used to be obnoxiously outgoing. In high school, I would walk up to complete strangers (just realized how silly it is to use the word "complete" there - - like there are degrees of stranger-hood) and talk to them about anything. I was unphased. I never made a conscious decision to stop being that sociable - in fact I can't even remember when I started to shut down. Now, sitting here, and forcing myself to think about it - I am fairly certain this about-face coincided with the period where I really started packing on the pounds. I don't remember making a conscious decision to not speak to people - I don't recall the thought process of "they won't want to talk to me - I am too fat", but I am guessing that was just my brain keeping me protected. No wonder I couldn't study in college! My brain was too busy protecting my ever-expanding rear (and everything else)!!
So I decided to start my new extrovert lifestyle right when I got to town. With Marilyn as my safety net, I initiated conversation with a lone gent at the bar. We discussed the Brewers, the Packers (gross) and how his favorite bands are from Minneapolis. He asked if we minded if he smoked (you are still able to smoke in WI bars - and I am not a huge fan) to which we replied "absolutely not... go for it" - and then I promptly borderline insulted him by telling him how much I was grossed out by the cig smell after we had gone out a couple of weeks ago. Really Natalie? I know it has been a while, but pull it together!! Geesh. This is going to be harder than I thought.
I have gone walking in a park near my new home this week. I had a couple of very different experiences - depending on the day. On one of the days, I was greeted with eye contact and hello's from a few passers by. One man even wanted to talk to me about how sad he was the geese were gone, but he didn't miss their crap on the trails. Valid point - I could not agree more. Then this morning, it was a bit different. I passed by 4 different people today. One was a lady with her 5-7 year old daughter trailing behind her. I smiled at both. No response, short of a stare. I even said hi to the daughter and she just looked me up and down (through her sunglasses), with no facial expression change. The next was a man walking his 2 dogs. He veered about 5 feet off the other side of the path while giving me a look that made me believe he thought I might try and kick his canines. Granted - I am dead inside. I do not have, nor do I want pets. But I wouldn't harm them! Then there was one old guy who actually smiled and said good morning. The 4th guy just stared at me until I said good morning, to which he mumbled something and kept walking. Seriously! Do I look that different? Did my smile appear to be less than authentic? Was I giving off a less than friendly vibe? Then I got back home and realized it could have been my t-shirt.
Maybe Milwaukee just isn't ready for a girl to be wearing a shirt talking about "family fun" with 2 hands cupping her boobs? Maybe...
Well...tomorrow is another day. I am going to bury my family fun t-shirt in the back of my closet, put on one of my many shirts promoting heavy drinking, and see if this town is ready for that. Wish me luck!