.How to: Intermittent Fasting.

Everybody talks about intermittent fasting these days and it grows rapidly in popularity. What is intermittent fasting and how do you do it? Are there benefits and who should avoid it. Interested? Read on.

What is intermittent fasting?

In a nutshell, you basically eat the same amount of food that you usually do but during a shorter period of time. The term fasting refers to any period of time when you do not eat food. Actually, we fast every night when we sleep. It is important when we eat. Because everything is available 24/7, we can get in this habit to constantly eat all around the clock, especially late in the evening/night. What uncontrolled eating does is, for example, it creates appetite irregularities and up-and-down blood sugar patterns which can also negatively impact sleep.

Three types of fasting methods.

Eat-Stop-Eat (“5:2”). This type of intermittent fasting means you eat in your usual manner for five days of the week and either restrict food intake on 2 non-consecutive days (for example Tuesday and Thursday) or fast altogether on those days (no food for 24 hours). Personally, I find this method quite restrictive and have not tried it myself but heard of some people who love it.

16:8/18:6. These are just different options for lengthier fasts that involve no food intake for 16-18 hours and eating over a span of 6-8 hours.

Time-Restricted Eating (TRE). This type of fasting is based on the science of the circadian (natural) rhythms and means that we eat during the day and stop eating at night. With TRE you want to focus on an eating window of 10-12 hours and fast for 12-14 hours.

Some important Benefits

  1. Intermittent Fasting supports cardiovascular health. It can help to reduce cholesterol, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL aka the “bad one”)
  2. Autophagy. Auto-what? Autophagy is basically a cellular cleansing process that occurs when cells have insufficient sugar. It causes them to start breaking down their own damaged, old or diseased cell fragments to create new energy and also newly regenerated cells. Pretty neat, huh! Usually, this occurs in longer fasts but we also experience it a bit during overnight fasts of 12-13 hours. Of course, we do not want autophagy to occur all the time because that would mean we are starving.
  3. Better gut health & Inflammation. We usually do not feel like eating when we are sick. This is a natural reaction and signal the body sends out asking for a break. Intermittent fasting can lower inflammation which means less disease, better immune function, and a healthier body overall. Since fasting helps reduce inflammation and reboots immune function it can be beneficial for autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s. Of course, always speak to your doctor if you have concerns.
  4. Improved Blood Sugar Balance. Let’s dig out my Biochemistry book: Whenever we eat, the sugars from food signal the pancreas to produce insulin to rush it into the cells. The liver then stores fatty acids in fat cells and converts sugar to glycogen. Do you still follow? Now the body has stored all the sugars and fats from the meal and insulin and blood sugar drop. The pancreas secretes a hormone called glucagon to signal the liver to convert stored glycogen back into sugar to release it into the bloodstream to balance blood sugar. This “storage” and “burning” mode usually happens cyclically all day long and the body uses remaining stores when we sleep at night. Problems may occur when we constantly or irregularly eat all day, especially high sugar and fatty food. Then the body is stuck in “storage mode” and too much insulin is secreted all the time which can lead to insulin resistance or low/high blood sugar. Intermittent fasting is a great way to improve insulin resistance, fatty liver, and conditions associated with blood sugar regularities.
  5. Weight loss. Intermittent fasting can aid weight loss because the body is allowed to exit “storage mode” and burn internal resources instead. It is also great to regulate appetite because it balances satiety hormones (ghrelin and leptin) and hunger.

Who should avoid (intermittent) fasting?

  • Those who try to get pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding moms
  • Anybody dealing with extreme stress (any extended fasts (14+ hours) are stressful for the body because the body will perceive those fasts as periods of famine)
  • Diabetics. They should consult a doctor first.
  • Anybody with a history of eating disorders. Always make sure you consult a doctor before exploring with fasting and diets on your own.
  • Anybody who is new to intermittent fasting should aim for 12-13 hours.

I experiment with intermittent fasting for about one year now and I respond really well to it. I usually follow an 11 am-7 pm eating – 7 pm – 11 am fasting rhythm, usually 3 days a week but of course, there are exceptions because this is life.

There is also a great app that you can download that allows tracking fasting/eating windows.

Have you ever tried intermittent fasting? Please share your experience and leave questions and comments below.

.Usually nice As F***.

If you have no clue what to do with the rest of your day, start by making your bed. No need for expensive Chanel clothes. Just have style and get red lipstick and red nail polish instead. Smile and stand up straight. Trust your intuition and always listen to your gut. Don’t remake the bed after your partner made it. Except that a man won’t understand if you “feel” a certain way or cry out of the blue. Except that he won’t ask if you are okay all the time.

Leave a party when you feel like it. Be patient, good things take time. Do not worry about the jobs you did not get. Other possibilities and opportunities will appear out of nowhere. Perfection is not the point. Just be brave and strong. Don’t avoid things or opportunities just because they seem too big or too adventurous. Don’t live in fear of the Duolingo Owl. Take good care of yourself. Balance and moderation are key.

Be yourself, no matter what. When you have people over for dinner, don’t try to impress them. Make simple, delicious food and keep in mind that no one is grading you. They are all just happy you cook for them. Leggins are not pants and flip-flops are not shoes. Always keep in mind that if a friend tells you a secret about another friend, she has told another friend a secret about you, too.

If you have an urge to keep telling people you do not have a problem with X, Y and Z you do have a problem with X, Y, and Z. Whenever you order food and there are two or three plastic forks in the bag, you are definitely overeating. Look at yourself (or dance) naked in front of the mirror and blow yourself a kiss before you leave the house.

Watch porn like a lady if you choose to and do it without feeling guilty or being embarrassed. Be polite in extreme situations and chew your food with your mouth closed. There is etiquette for the insane: they wave at you, you wave back. They say hi, say hi back. There is etiquette for phone solicitors: The friendly way to stop them from calling is by saying, “Thank you so much for calling, but I have just murdered my [whatever you feel like] and I am currently digging a hole.” Don’t ever feel bad to say “no” and then find yourself in worse situations just because you were afraid of being rude or you simply wanted to be nice and please the other person. Never ever works in the long-run.

And lastly (is this a blog post on its own?) : Airplane etiquette or am I an air marshal?

It is not okay to eat Buffalo wings, Indian food or any other strong smelling stuff (that you bring from home) on a plane. Consider other people. Air gets filtered and circulates on the plane, but c’mon. You will survive eating food served on the plane for once. Food you can always bring on a plane: A gigantic pizza cookie that you can share with the entire plane.

I am about to congratulate everybody who sits next to me because I am probably the most considerate person on this plane. I keep calm in stressful situations but you better check in your carry-on bag that is way too big. Do not stuff it in the overhead bin for too long while people wait in the aisle and try to get to their seats. I am still calm.

Do you still try to stuff that bag in the overhead bin? Honestly, nobody really wants to help you stuff your bag in that bin. They all think you suck and you should have checked that bag in. What is so bad about waiting ten minutes for your bag to show up on the baggage claim conveyor belt? Don’t bring handbags that look like a laundry sack. You won’t be able to fit it under the seat in front of you so now the stewardess (oh, sorry: flight attendant) has to carry your sack and find a place in the overhead bin somewhere far away from your seat so you now walk around and take things out and put others in immediately. Still calm.

Check-in, security check, sitting in your seat waiting for take-off: Wait patiently and read a book. Maybe be on your phone and check or update your Facebook status and see how many people like it. Don’t do anything else.

On the plane and ready to take-off: Oh, wait. Hear that? The woman in front of me just called someone on speakerphone to say that we all just boarded. Nice! Oh, it is her husband. Now they discuss what he is going to eat tonight. He really misses her already and cannot wait for her to come back home. In the meantime, the baby behind me starts to scream but that is fine. Babies do that. The pilot is making an announcement at the same time: “We are grounded for another hour because of ice and snow. Sorry for the inconvenience!” The woman on the phone screams that she wants to speak to the FLIGHT ATTENDANT OR THE PILOT NOW BECAUSE SHE NEEDS TO BE AT THIS VERY IMPORTANT MEETING.

I strangle her with her seatbelt and throw her out of the emergency door. Before that, I take off her high heels. Who gets on a plane with high heels on? Size 6. Perfect for the baby to play with.

I am indeed the most considerate person.

.Today was a Good Day.

There was no clown (or balloons) in the sewer on this rainy morning walk to school. I did not see the ghost that haunts the house next door. A construction worker did not climb over my balcony peaking through the windows but was actually on his way up to fix a leak on the roof while I practice yoga half-naked in my bedroom next door.

There were no technical issues while I worked on my new website all day. It will be epic and I will share updates soon! I was able to help someone who suffered from low stomach acid, eczema, and under-active adrenals with nutrition and supplements and she feels significantly better. No one said, “You cannot do this or this won’t work!” No one said, “Keep still, this will be over before you know it.” No one said, “Oh my god, it never looked like this before. Usually, Botox does not have this effect on the skin!” No one asked me, “You are not from Canada, are you?” No one said, “Gesundheit!” when I sneezed and was alone in my home. No one slapped me hard across my face and told me to chill and relax. I saw a woman with oxygen tubes in her nose today. I don’t need oxygen tubes in my nose.

I did not need to crawl through an air duct to be free. I did not need to cut my hair very short and bleach it in a gas station restroom to change my personality. I did not need to burn off my own fingerprints or make a tiny escape tool out of a needle, pencil, and sharpener.

I did not have to hitchhike through the country. I did not have to find a place to sleep under a bridge or park bench. I did not have to beg for food. I did not raise my hands up to the sky and screamed, “Whyyyyy?”

I didn’t ask, “You did not cheat?” or “Was none of it true?” I did not answer, “What in the world were you thinking” or “Why did you do this?”

I did not experience road rage even though a BMW driver cut me off while on my bicycle and I almost rolled over the hood of his car. I did not throw my purse over the head of someone talking and texting forever on his phone in a movie theater (again). I did not need to figure out how to secretly smoke in prison while sitting on a toilet and use the suction of the air so nobody would smell it. I did not cut out newspaper articles and taped them to the wall to then connect words with a red string and send my findings to the Russians or French Intelligence.

I did not say: “Why did you do this”?, “You don’t know me at all”! “There is a ghost in the basement for sure”!, “What is the worst that can happen”?, “Good things take time”!, “If anybody is looking for me, I am at Wicked Wanda’s Adult Store to just look around!”

I did not choke on my buckwheat blueberry muffin this morning even though it tasted very dry and sad. Neither did my son. The red color under my son’s nose was not nosebleed but red sharpie. Glad, it was not black. I did not purchase the iRobot vacuum cleaner after we tested it for one day. So useless. My son does not want a pet that needs to be kept in a cage.

I realized that no fairy tales ever begin with: “Once upon a time, he blindfolded me in the back of the car.” No other woman’s hair clogged my sink. I learned that: a) it is awkward to call a woman: “Bud”, b) that a closet full of fancy clothes does not make you a princess or give you style, neither does a fancy car, c) anyone who seems like they never have a bad day occasionally have very, very, bad days, d) if a man won’t tell you where you are going on a date, you are going camping, e) if your only problem is where to go when your cleaning lady comes over to clean your house for three hours or how to how to remove the “servants bell” in your 18th century house, you really do not have problems.

Pretty successful day indeed.

.To my Mother.

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 12th. Today, my son’s school invited to a Mother’s Day Tea Party which turned out to be such a lovely event. I may have wiped away a tear or two when the kids sang songs and told us moms why they love us. My son is the sunshine in my life. Even though he is a pain in the butt sometimes, I love him unconditionally. With his birth and like a slap in the face, I became a mom. I can honestly say that I did not enjoy every minute of it but overall, it is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I am a mom. Mothers are good forces of nature. Mothers have to be very strong at times.

My mom is wonderful. She amazes me daily with her steely refusal to give in to daily life’s struggles and sorrows that affect her. She holds her head high and helps my siblings and I even when her own heart hurts and when she questions things we do. She battles on and on, a soldier through and through. Seemingly without getting tired – unless one really asks.

My Mother wiped away my tears when kids threw rocks at me, threw me off my bicycle or beat me at the Junebug bushes while my friends and I collected insects to put them in a jar. My Mother was there and protected me and told me that they do not know any better. That nothing really matters. To be strong. That this is all forgotten tomorrow.

Who was there when I struggled through High School? When my grades were bad? When someone had to explain mathematics and (bio)chemistry to me? When I hung out with kids who were not the “right influence”? My Mother.

Who was always there for me in times of need? Heartbreak? Whenever I cried and did not want to leave home to study at Police Academy at a young age? When I rather wanted to stay in my bed, bed sheets pulled up to my nose? When sometimes pressure was so bad I could not breathe? Who kissed and touched my head when I was sad? Who always gave me unconditional love? You did, mom.

Who gave me life and life again? When I was sad and did not see a way out of a situation? Who gave herself away so many times trying to make me feel better. Trying to make sense and explaining it all. Who never gave up the fight for my struggles in life and who I am when I thought it is all so pointless and useless?

You, mom.

Who kept on giving even though she was tired at points? Who took care of my son when I was so tired but she had to go to work? Who spoke to me for hours on the phone when I went through a very hard breakup?

You, mom.

Who, to this day, knows when I am hurt? When I am saddened? Face down in the dirt? When I feel like a failure?

My beautiful, precious and dear heart mom.

When my mom is worn out and her heart is torn, she keeps on helping. When she is sad and her mind half mad of anger, she keeps on fighting for me and supporting.

Mom,

all this to say, this is a love letter to you. I am making a toast to the incredible mother you are, in essence, one of the most crucial elements in the lives of me and my siblings. Here is to you! And thank you. Unconditional love to you. Because of you and your love for me I know what the word “unconditional” actually means and feel it for my son.

Happy Mother’s Day.

.Shame Wizard.

“True action, good and radiant action, my friends, does not spring from activity, from busy bustling, it does not spring from industrious hammering. It grows in the solitude of the mountains, it grows on the summits where silence and danger dwell.” – Hermann Hesse 

I have two daily routines. One that is ideal, perfect and everything goes as planned. And then there is the second routine which is messy, real, and just simple daily reality. In my ideal routine, I sleep super well, come straight home after school drop-off and start to write right away. Productivity is optimized while distractions are minimized (meaning phone and notifications are off). I am in this state of flow, full of energy and to- do lists are checked and hammered off. I have a pretty clear picture of my ideal routine and how I work best, however, many times this perfect routine does not work.

I used to tell myself that if I really want to be a dedicated writer, I have to get up at 5 am every morning and start working. Getting up early is hard for me. Also, I know I would not stick with this routine for a very long time. Procrastinating or my love to sleep in are one thing, but some days just inevitably go off track. Distractions happen, plans need to be changed or other responsibilities pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes my body and mind just do not want to cooperate with my great plans for the day. And this is okay, too. To expect nothing or not too much and to banish the feeling of guilt makes the day run much smoother. Life happens and there are many moments in a day when my best intentions are not met. I may plan my morning a certain way but receive an email that changes my life completely. You just never know.

I stopped beating myself up over things. What I cannot change, I don’t worry about. I have been through a pretty rough year so far and it is time to showcase softness and to be kind to myself. Instead of beating myself up over things or feeling guilty I rather measure when I treat myself well while putting rest and space on a pedestal.

There are times when hard work and discipline are essential. But by creating a little headspace and trusting myself, I quickly recognize that sometimes the work will get done when it gets done. It is important to take some time off and use it for spiritual growth, inspiration, and restoration and also essential to treat the body kindly and with respect. Often, things do not work out as expected but this does not mean I am a disappointment. I embrace the moments when I am able to find flow and manage to juggle disparate priorities. I enjoy the times I go off track but make sure I find myself back wherever I need to be.

.Fear Itself.

There was a woman in my class at school who is afraid of everything. Especially germs, deadly viruses, all viruses actually and dirt. She covers her seat with plastic bags before sitting down. Or this: The other day I overheard a story a woman told the cashier at the supermarket register. It was a story of a little boy she knew, some friend of a friend’s kid, who suffered from severe headaches. No one knew why. His parents took him to several doctors and they all said that there was nothing wrong with the boy. They were super afraid and went home. A few days later he woke up at night in agony and screamed in pain. The parents took him to the emergency room and doctors discovered that the little boy actually had maggots eating his eyeballs from the inside out.

I squeezed my eyes shut and moaned (a little too loud). The woman turned toward me and said, “Yes, it is true. Apparently, the little boy had been petting a dog or maybe the dog licked him on the eye, and maybe the dog had some maggot eggs on the tongue, who knows!” I took the organic Haribo Gummi-worms out of my shopping cart and put them back on the shelf. Also, I don’t let doggies give me kisses anymore. Or pet them. Or look at them. (kidding)

What are we afraid of? What gives us the chills? Do you take showers always with your eyes open just because you think about the original Ghostbuster movie and that slime thing that scared Sigourney Weaver? How terrifying is this?

As a child, I was afraid of all kinds of things. I was afraid of wolves in the woods and I never ever sucked my thumbs because of Struwwelpeter whose parents cut them off (thank you brutal German fairytales), ankle-grabbing monsters under my bed, clowns (Pennywise the Clown still make me uncomfortable) and death. There was a time when I was afraid of the Kombucha mushroom in my mom’s fridge. I opened it and saw that there are these organisms in a big glass doing laps while seemingly waving at me. Gross!

For entertainment purposes, I am taking this a step further by adding things that I find disgusting or weird, rather than irrational fears.

People who wear full camouflage in an urban environment. Well, this is kinda scary.

Flossing teeth together in the bathroom. Weird, not scary.

Spiders that crawl down my neck and then disappear in my sweater but I can feel them on my back.

Public bathrooms with poo in the toilet and a line of people outside waiting. Terrifying and scary. And disgusting.

Black flies at the cottage. They have little fangs and rip your skin out until you bleed to death.

Trying to drive up one particular steep hill on the way to the cottage when the roads are super icy. Usually, it takes three attempts while we sadly slide down again. My blood freezes.

Going to sleep knowing that there is a huge spider in the room. Actually, anything involving spiders is scary. Especially big ones.

Hugging or kissing someone who is covered in sweat.

Climate change scares me. Even more so since I studied biochem and know a bit more on how things “work”.

Cracking floor noise in my apartment when I am in bed. And Joel is in bed. WHAT COULD THIS BE? The house is old, but …. clearly either a ghost or murderer.

Whatever swims beneath me in a river, lake or ocean. Giant colossal squid? You just never know. Also, diving super deep scares me.

Opening the cork on a champaign bottle.

I train an army of creepy squirrels and raccoons on my balcony but they both freak me out. I think it is their little hands.

(Flying) Cockroaches. Can they fly straight into my mouth while I scream?

Looking in the rearview mirror of a car when it is dark outside and imagine to see a stranger who sits in the backseat.

When it comes to fear, sometimes there is no escape. Sometimes there is no easy exit. But at the same time, there is beauty in any nightmare. And I deal with it. Everytime – no matter what.

.Disaster Preparedness: Bring a Book.

“I always read a lot. I read the same amount, no matter what season it is. I read every night. When I’m on book tour, I’m on airplanes all the time, so I’m always reading. People say, ‘How do you have time to read?’ Oh, come on, it’s simple! You’re single and you don’t watch television.”— John Waters

I love to read because it makes me happy. Whenever someone asks me how I can find time to read I most likely always answer, “Because I make time for it.” I wrote about how to read more here already but I have some more stuff to add. For example:

Carry a book with you at all times.

“Because I was carrying the book around all the time, I pulled it out all the time: On the subway, walking down the block to get groceries…” – Clive Thompson https://br5.bookriot.com/quarterly/bkr07/amp/

I carry a book with me wherever I go. Pick up at my son’s school? Book is in my purse. I call it my emergency book. You never know where you end up, what will happen or if you do not want to talk to people. Grocery store lines, waiting in offices, at traffic lights, killing some time, lunch breaks; to carry a book with me is my version of disaster preparedness. Like doomsday preppers. I know someone who watches it with a passion.

Read and date several books at the same time. Then decide which one you want to go with. Have a book next to your bed. Go to bed early and read in bed. Wake up early and read two pages before you get out of bed.

Stop reading books you do not like.

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag – and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty – and vice-versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.” – Doris Lessing

If you don’t “feel” a book and get nothing out of it, just put it down and pick up another one. (For me: Infinite Jest!) There are so many great books out there. Find the ones that make you happy. I give a book usually fifty pages to catch my interest. Stop reading what society decides you should have read by now. Like 100 books you should have read by now. Do not take Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in your beach bag to Cancun. You are not going to read it. Sometimes a book is just not for you. Don’t read a book to just impress others. “Look at me, I am reading Kierkegaard on the bus. I am very smart.” Read what you love. I know you will love this one.

Visit your local independent bookstores and libraries.

“You must go to the library and fall in love.” – Ray Bradbury

My son and I love to go to the local library. Or to Ottawa’s best and most well-curated selection or used books and independent bookstore, The Black Squirrel. It is glorious to spend time browsing and shopping at this place. My son cannot read yet but he loves to explore and discover. These days he is into Star Wars. However, he is afraid of The Hobbit because of Gollum and National Geographic books in French are used to cut out animal pictures for art projects. I know the most amazing librarian who knows exactly what 5-year-old boys love to “read” because she shows interest and asks my son what he is into these days. Browsing through indie bookstores is an adventure because it is the serendipity of the stacks combined with the magical discoveries of book-treasures that often happens when I least expect it.

Talk about books.

“Read the books you love, tell people about authors you like, and don’t worry about it.” – Neil Gaiman

Talking about books will give you more ideas about new books to read and interesting conversations. Just ask what others are reading. Maybe keep track of what you are reading. For example, I signed up at the website Goodreads. When a book really inspired me, I wrote about it on my blog. Share the books you love in whatever way you can.

.A Conversation About Sex.

I got into a heated debate with someone the other day about whether a desire to change your partner makes you a shitty person. My argument is that it does not. My friend however implied, in so many words, that it did. I clarified that I did not want to change A LOT, only some things. Just a few! For some reason, I felt that my admission was uncouth, but I still believed I am speaking the truth many people in a relationship felt. My friend stood her ground. “You are not supposed to want to change the person you love. If you ever feel the desire to change them it means that you don’t love them.” 

Me: “Okay, point taken for now. You do not want to change a person. So, let’s shift the conversation to sex in a relationship!” I started slowly. I asked my friend how she feels about movie sex. She responded, “Usually, it is pretty squishy and unreal. Whenever the sex scenes last more than five minutes it seems weird and I hit forward on the remote. Nobody has sex like this, right?!” 

This time, I agree with her. Nothing gets me yelling at the TV faster than weird sex scenes. Honestly, most movie sex scenes are an insult to real sex everywhere I think. I don’t take personal offense but c’mon. Hollywood sex is mostly unrealistic and just horribly clichéd. Porn usually makes no sense and is good for just one reason but this is clear from the beginning. 

This made me think about the most outrageous movie sex myths that seem to have prevailed. Maybe a screenwriter reads this blog post and realizes that it makes sense to excommunicate dumb movie sex scenes immediately so people stop thinking that good sex is supposed to be anything like this. My words may cut surprisingly deep. Be aware. A chilly air may pass between the reader and me but this is normal because confrontation and talk about sex makes people jittery.

[Please apply the above logic to the following scenarios]

From Zero to 100 in 2 seconds. Meaning that there is this idea that there are literally no steps between wanting to have sex and being in the middle of it. This should not need any explanation really but no man can unzip his pants out of a sudden and start having sex. Usually, there are steps involved in this f****** process. I mean this literally. 

The woman- asking- to- use- the-toilet-bursting-through-the-door sex. This myth usually requires no foreplay in movies and nothing gets my eyes rolling more than a couple bursting through the entrance of a house, knocking things over while making out and of course furiously taking off the clothes still worn. WHO IS DOING THIS? Or better, who decides that this is sexy? 

The romantic mutual backward bed crash flip. A happy couple, so in love, falls, naked backward onto a bed (of course white sheets) in tandem. Doesn’t this seem so difficult? Second, what if someone left a knife on the bed? But more importantly and third, WHO DOES THIS? 

The extremely romantic removal of clothing. In movies, removing each other’s clothing seems awkward. The pants get tangled around the ankles or they almost suffocate each other removing a shirt or t-shirt. Unless you are Christian Grey (50 Shades of Grey). Enough of these unrealistic undressing standards. 

Sex is not just “jamming it in”. This is probably the worst and most egregious faux-pas because whenever I watch a movie and see a man jamming himself into a woman quickly and for the entire length of a sexual encounter is the worst. In my opinion, this just grossly underestimates what sex should entail. I do not know how else to say this more poetically but 1) sex is just not putting a thing into a hole and 2) other things need to be touched for the woman to experience an orgasm, duh! Which brings me to my next point: 

The female orgasm. Here is a question: How come 100% of movies depict women experiencing orgasms from p-in-v sex when only 25 percent of women even can? I am trying to avoid the word penetration here because my parents are reading this, but I must point out that women in movies are coming WAY TO MUCH from p-in-v sex and many times even at the same time as their partners. To be honest, this is not happening that often (or ever) either. Oh, and I hate the word intercourse. 

All or nothing. Communication is an important part of life and especially when having sex. I think a couple should talk to each other and share their desires and wishes. So what do sex movie scenes usually show us?  Awkward soundtracked silence or repetitive grunts and “yes oh’s yeeeeees’s”. There is an in-between, you know?! Let me remind you in case you forgot: it is an exchange of thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Wild, huh! 

All night sex and/or let’s do it again sex. The couple in the movie, all sweaty, moments after finishing and between heaving breaths say, “Let’s do it again!” and they roll over and get back at it. NOT HAPPENING. And it sounds very bad and tiring. I am not saying that no one does this but…. actually, I am saying that. No one does this. At least some time to recoup, ideally several hours…. and then, ideally you are cuddled up together and asleep. 

And can or should I change someone? I believe that maybe full, unbridled acceptance (flaws and all) is ideal to a fault. But I also think it is possible to accept someone while at the same time supporting their betterment, and the betterment of the relationship for a period of time. You don’t want these issues to linger on for years. There is a difference between supportive encouragement and critical punishment. 

 

.Pandemonium and Enlightenment.

I care a lot about many things. I worry a lot, too. Especially as a woman, I think I am more prone to care and worry. But to what extent is it healthy? Honestly, I know people who truly don’t care about many, to me, important things at all. Their life must be so much easier. Or isn’t it? Some care about celebrities, what they wear and how they look. Some people at my yoga class care about their expensive outfits, about those extra pounds they want to get rid of by starving themselves or they worry about their unwashed hair. One woman made sure to mention several times that she ran 30k yesterday, that she is so sore and hates running. “Why are you running then,” the Yoga instructor asked. “Because I don’t want to gain weight and I need to prove to my husband that I can do this,” she responded. The Yoga instructor shook her head and said, “Well, then Downward Facing Dog everyone” while the blonde woman in her hot pink spandex tank took sighed.

Others care about their bitchy friends, asshole boyfriends/ husbands or idiot coworkers. We care about being late, being too early, eating that bagel with cream cheese or eating two Cannolis for breakfast. All those things we care and worry about ruin us in the long run. We get miserable and depressed by pushing ourselves to limits we don’t even want to reach.

Taking a closer look at Instagram or Facebook, for example, people strive for validation, views and “likes”. Everybody is supposed to care. When looking at those perfectly staged photoshopped and edited family pictures, yoga poses and some things others do, we start to worry again. Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I run a successful business or move to Bali? Why isn’t my house all white and why do other women seem to have it all? ALL THE DAMN TIME?

Now we have to shift our thought patterns and stop filling our days with this fluff. Nothing is perfect, ever. Nobody lives in a spotless, white house with babies or toddlers who make no mess. Take a closer look at those who tell you that their life is perfect and soon you will realize that they try the hardest and it is still all just a big show. Scratch a bit on the surface and capture for yourself what is real and how insecurities reveal themselves. See people without their masks. Look beyond. Shift your focus away from appearances and care about what makes you happy. Is it really that 30k run that you force yourself to run? Take a look inside and see what is going on. Focus on true happiness, and by that, I mean true contentment within yourself. Living in a beautiful big house, driving that Porsche, not having to work or having your kids signed up in private school might not be what you need and what makes you truly happy.

There was a time in my life when I thought everything has to be perfect or at least good enough. Things had to be a certain way. But usually, whenever I thought that this is it or this is perfect, life threw another curveball at me and I had to adjust and move on but sometimes in a completely different direction than I planned. I realized the hard way that worrying and over-analyzing does not help but rather slows me down. Many things are simply out of my control and I have to accept that.

So after an experience that I will not describe here since it is too private, I learned an important lesson: Nothing matters as much as I think it does; not even the most difficult situation, bad events or messages. What matters are people who love and need me, like my son. To me, his happiness matters. My parents matter. My friend and his family matters. But their approval does not. Perfection in a relationship does not since it does not exist. Things we think matter the most, do not matter because, in the end, everything will work out but maybe in the most unexpected way. Whatever makes us truly happy on this journey matters but this means not to lose sight of ourselves by caring and stressing about what we cannot change, is out of our control and what others do/wear/say/have/think or post online.

How about stop caring and worrying so much and start living? Time goes by so fast. I am still here and standing, despite those challenges I face(d). I am not afraid of falling short. No one can tell me what I can and cannot do, what I should and should not expect. And I am most certainly not losing any sleep over the white modern furniture I do not own. I have more important things to do such as feeding my army of squirrels on the balcony with leftover nuts. To soak in this mundane, simple moment is the purest luxury of all.

.Not your typical Mom.

“Look, mommy, I drew a man with very long and skinny legs!”#dirtymindsthinkalike 

The other day, I waited patiently with the other moms to pick up our children after school when my son ran toward me to proudly present his latest painting of a man with very skinny legs. “You just have to laugh about it all and enjoy every minute. Time flies. Soon he will move out”, one mom said. 

Nothing makes me feel quite as overwhelmed as the words “enjoy every minute”. Like what do you mean? Enjoy every minute, while my kid walks through that huge puddle on the playground and cries because he is soaking wet? Right now, when he flushed his underwear down the toilet to see what happens? Right now, when he tells me he played with his poo in the toilet, smelled it and cleaned his hands on his pants?  Do you mean when I made supper and he cried because the food smelled or looked weird? Do you mean when I cleaned the toilet and I wondered (again) how pee can be under the bathtub? I mean, I do it all because I have to, I mostly love it and it is worth it to me. I made that decision to have a child so I take responsibility. But to enjoy every minute is a different type of pressure. To be honest, there are many minutes I feel very annoyed or tired. 

I think all moms can relate: raising a child is hard work but that is okay. It is okay to admit it. It is also okay to cry and vent about it from time to time. That does not make me a bad mom and it also does not mean that I love my child any less. He is everything to me. But I have limits, too which makes me human. I do not try, I DO the best I can with the situation given right now. 

I did not enjoy all the sleepless nights that lasted for about 9 months after my son was born. I could fall asleep sitting or standing up anywhere because I was so exhausted. I gained a bunch of weight, was anxious, a bit depressed, and overwhelmed but sometimes I wish I could turn back time. 

The other day when I went for a run, I saw a friend of mine with her newborn baby in a stroller. I stopped to say hi and asked how she was doing and she started to cry. Completely exhausted. I most certainly did not tell her to enjoy every minute. We did not get to have a real chat because her son started to cry and she needed to go home. But I will tell her and would tell any mom with a newborn child to just breathe and that it is all going to turn out fine. I would tell her that it is okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes because all mothers feel this and that she is a fantastic mom. I would tell her that she does not need to question every single move and that it is okay to cry and scream sometimes. I would tell her that motherhood is insane on so many levels and that we are constantly reminded that we are becoming someone we did not use to be. That transition was very hard for me to fathom. 

I would tell her to never lose herself. To take your child everywhere. Go out. Socialize. Meet friends, especially those without kids. Talk about anything but kids with them. I would tell her that she is enough. That it is okay to microwave your baby’s food. That you do not need to feed your child organic food only and that it is not necessary to sign them up for baby yoga or baby-anything. It is okay for the laundry to pile up for some time and that it is more than okay to not enjoy every minute being a mother. I would tell her to always speak how she really feels about being a mother to other moms. I met some awesome friends that way. 

I consider my son “an easy child”. Usually, I don’t have issues with him. He is a good, smart, polite kid but I still don’t enjoy every minute. Not even close. Sometimes I struggle really hard to be present. There was never a time when I pick him up from school and he is tired and annoyed by everything and I thought “this is so enjoyable”. What I thought was, PLEASE, UNIVERSE, SEND ME MORE ENERGY TO GET ALL THIS DONE SO I WILL NOT LOSE MY MIND. Of course, what all mothers usually remember are the highlights and we conveniently forget all the sweat and tears that come with parenting. The pain of childbirth or C-section recovery? Totally forgotten, right? When I remember how my newborn son snuggled in my arms after I fed him, my heart breaks. It was the best and most wonderful time. 

Hey… don’t get all squishy now. Remember with me just for one second your sore nipples. The sleepless nights and the tears of exhaustion. Remember all the messy parts of raising a child, especially if you are a single parent. Remember the constant-constant of being a mother and that you will be a mother forever. 

Sometimes, and I said this already, I wish I could slow time down a bit. Especially when my son asks me to measure again how much taller he has gotten in the last couple of months. In my opinion, he is worth every tear, every struggle and every glass of wine. He is worth it all. When all these sweet childhood moments are gone, I know I will wish for them all back. But I keep in mind that it is hard, too and that is okay. 

While I put his snowsuit up to dry because it was soaking wet he asked me to kiss him goodnight again. This was the time when I saw his latest Sharpie-drawing on his pillow and bedframe which actually looks pretty epic.