succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What a difference a year makes

Noticing on my calendar that VT’s birthday is next week, I started reminiscing back to her last birthday, celebrated at Andrés Carne de Res in Bogotá. Back then I thought I was going to come back to the states to discuss using the b- and g-words with Elliot, who I was dating at the time. Instead, I came back to discover we had had a fight that I didn’t know about while I was gone. (it would take another two weeks to officially end things)

That trip was the beginning of Megan’s ridiculous travel in ’10. Slightly more than two weeks spent in Bog and DC, then the entire month of April at home before it all really began – NYC, Guatemala City, Atlanta, Charleston, back to Bogotá, Vancouver, back to DC, Boston, New Haven, Pittsburgh, Dublin, Belfast, DC (again), back to Pittsburgh, back to Charleston, Bogotá (again), Vegas, back to NYC, DC (again). The boss really wasn’t kidding when in January of last year he looked at me and said, “I see you on airplanes this year.”

I’m not complaining. I mean, damn. I may have fallen short of my goal of doubling my countries visited within 12 months of starting this job (for those keeping track at home, I graduated from Emory with 7 countries under my belt (Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Vatican City (it counts!), Ireland) and have since added another five (Guatemala, Colombia, South Korea, Nepal, Northern Ireland (also counts!)). But that list of cities is ridiculous. As is my premier executive frequent flier status.

With the exception of weekend trips taken by car, I’ve mostly stayed put in ’11, and I’m certainly not complaining about that either. I love the travel, and it’s definitely a perk of the job, but a bit of moderation would be deeply appreciated.

Not to mention, as A told me years ago, when one finds oneself so pleasantly partnered up, one suddenly becomes much more interested in staying put.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Ok, not really (for those who followed the link). Maybe this instead

Body Image (Part II)

As I've said before, I work pretty hard at liking this body of mine. And most of the time, I think of myself as generally succeeding. But today was something of a wake up call regarding how I see myself. This wake up call was, perhaps, percolating for a while.

Example A - I have a regular disagreement with my mother every time she tries to get me to shop in the petite section of any store. Mom, I say, I'm not petite. I am short, but I am not petite. I have an athlete's shoulders and thighs and I am not diminutive or small or any other word related to petite.

Example B - the boy bought me a t-shirt for xmas (this one, to be precise, because he's awesome), size medium. Aw, I thought, that's sweet, but there's no way this is going to fit. And yet, it does.

I think that I like my body shape and size pretty ok, and yet I loathe the sensation of pulling on clothes in the dressing room and getting caught somewhere because something (a bicep, my ass, the breadth of my shoulders or ribcage) is too large. So, apparently, I consistently err on the side of a larger size.

This realization slowly dawned on me today as I spent three hours going through my closet with the help of the StyleKouncil (who are awesome and kind). Apparently, virtually everything I own is between one and four sizes too big. Kelly kept grabbing fistfulls of material to demonstrate just how much larger all my clothing is than my actual body. There were some therapy-like moments when I confronted my discomfort with showing off a silouette.

Is this a backlash against all those years spent in lycra? Is this classic body image stuff? I'm not sure. What I am, now, sure of is that the size I picture in my head, and that I apparently see in the mirror, is rather shockingly inaccurate.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mean Girls

(I may have told this story before. I'm too lazy to do an exhaustive search of the archives)

In the process of thanking a friend (hi VT!) for indulging my impulses to tell sappy stories about my boyfriend, I reminisced about the mean girls on my gymnastics team. It may be unfair to blame them for all of my intimacy/vulnerability baggage, but they were certainly a key contributing factor. The pertinent stories revolve around Jared, an out-of-town boy who joined the team when we were all 14 or 15 years old. Everyone had a crush on him, in that way that I can recognize now as hormonal and adolescent and inevitable. But at the time. Damn. At the time, it was the most intense thing I had ever experienced. I didn't know what to do with myself.

Which, equally inevitably, led to humiliation. Two of the girls on my gymnastics team also happened to go to my high school. We weren't really friends at school, traveled mostly in different circles. But one day at lunch one of these girls overheard me gushing about my new crush to my actual friends. Evidently, I said his name 34 times. Yes, I remember this detail. Because later that week, at the gym, they told him. And he took the cassette case for my floor music and carefully wrote his name on it, 34 times.

The other story happened at one of our numerous team slumber parties. These same two girls took me aside to confide that they had heard that Jared thought I was hot. More specifically, that he thought I had "the hottest body on the team, but the least attractive face." I remember awkwardly trying to laugh it off, pretend I couldn't possibly care less what he thought of me (at the time it never would have occurred to me that these two girls were making things up to be mean to me).

I recognize both these stories now for the cruelty that they were. But then all I saw was how weak and wrong and foolish I had been. Never again (ok, not for another 15 years or so) would I be so careless as to feel so much.

Which is heartbreaking, right? I mean, sure, adolescence sucks. But one of the few bright spots is that sort of reckless emotional abandon. We should be so lucky to feel so much.

I'm not writing this for sympathy or to fish for compliments. These things happened a long time ago. But it's a therapy thing - telling these stories, owning the pain they caused. Until today I only told them to one or two other people, but keeping them secret means letting them continue to be embarrassing. Fourteen year old me doesn't need to be embarrassed for liking a boy with reckless abandon. Thirty year old me should tell these stories. Those girls were mean.