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Trying out new things: Going to the movies alone

The experience: Going to the movies alone

The location: Nu Metro, Canal Walk

The situation: The husband was working until 20:00, and we currently only have one car. Not because we rode on a slow puncture for 6 months or anything, which caused the tyre to go kaput, which then resulted in the biscuit tyre being put on, and after a few days of that the car is a bit unstable. Nope, it’s for unrelated reasons.

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I had some time to kill until he was done, so I thought that I’d go to a movie alone for the first time.

The test: Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle, 17:15 showing.

The analysis: I loved the first one, and heard a bunch of shit about the 2nd, but decided to see it anyway. After struggling with redeeming my movie and refreshment codes (the usual), I moseyed on into the cinema. Turns out I was the only person who bought a ticket for that showing, so I sat right in the centre and went into super chill mode.

The verdict: The movie was good. I get why people were hating on it, because people are always wanting something new and innovative, but people also be cray, so we shouldn’t listen to people. Kingsman 2 basically carried on the story from the first one, and continued using the camera techniques and fighting style from there. If this one had come out first, people would have been as blown away by it as they were by the first one. The movie gets a sin for only having like ten minutes of Channing Tatum.

I would definitely go to the movies by myself again. The ticket dude was all, aw are you here by yourself? I was like, yup, looking forward to it!

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Power to the people!

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Finding the balance: Soul

What a glorious day it is today. Actually, this whole month has been quite glorious. I view October as a month of rebirth, transformation and renewal. After many months of reflection, I made a decision a few weeks ago and I’ve chosen today to as my coming out day: I am no longer a Christian.

To be honest, I was moving towards the agnostic path already over the last few years. After the big events of last year, I started questioning everything about myself. I’ve made great progress in many areas, but this part still bothered me. It’s only when I took a step back and saw how Christianity was twisted and used as a weapon against me that I realised that I needed to remove myself from it.

I have nothing against religion. As history has shown us, religion has been used for good and evil, depending on whose hands it is in. I need time to process what was done to me, so I can no longer participate in fundamentalist Christianity, nor do I want to.

I have been on a long, hard journey over the past year. My husband has been an incredible source of strength and comfort, giving me the space to find myself and rolling with the changes I’ve made. He mostly benefits anyway – I’ve become much more relaxed, no longer bound by ridiculous rules (self-imposed as well as external) and I’m much more spontaneous now. Case in point – a few weeks ago, I drove us 2 hours to have lunch, and then we drove back. Why? Just because we can, and I wanted to show him how good the food was at that place. I would never have done something like that on a whim a year ago.

The point is, I have undergone significant changes over the past year. My husband says it’s because I’m finally discovering who I really am, that my true personality is finally comfortable with emerging. He also likes to say now that he knew who I was all along, even when I didn’t, which makes me want to pinch him, but then I remember that he told me he would marry me a month after we started dating and I laughed in his face. Is the moral here that I should always listen to my husband? The feminist in me want to say no…

Anyway. The basic tenets of Buddhism have been appealing to me lately, because it echoes how we have been living our lives lately. Basically, question everything (always be learning and don’t just accept things because of “tradition”), be kind to everyone, don’t worry about useless crap like material gain, and strive to live a good fulfilling life. I’ve probably summarised it horribly, but that’s what I’ve gathered from my research. I am very hesitant to put a label on things anymore (yay for letting go of being judgemental!) so for right now I’m content with being “spiritual”.

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Or I could become Pastafarian. Who knows what lies ahead! 

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Finding the balance: Body

I have always had an unhealthy relationship with food, the result of not having correct food relationships modelled to me in childhood, coupled with introversion and no encouragement to play sports which led me to detest any forms of exercise. Food was used to celebrate anything and everything, to excess.

I also used food as a mechanism to cope with the culture shock of going to Stellenbosch to study. I continued to do that once I was forced to leave Stellenbosch and Rahul behind (I’m not quite bold enough to share that whole shit show here yet). I was also body-shamed my whole life, though I did not realise at the time what was happening.

Without going into all the gory details, I have had a hard time finding the balance when it comes to food. I lost 25kg in 9 months through optimising my nutrition and exercise routine so that I would be happy about the way I looked in my wedding dress. I was. I was not, however, prepared for the shitstorm that would follow, so a year and a half later I am back to where I started. The old me would have been upset about this, but I’m not. I know what happened, and what caused me to give up on the path I was on. I prioritised my mental and emotional health, and I’m much better now.

What this does mean going forward is that it won’t be as hard as it was the first time around to lose the excess and become fit. It was so weird to me to actually want to work out, and to get the body moving. I’ve been meal prepping again for the last month, the food journal is back up, I’ve scheduled the carb cycles and have my exercise playlists configured for the different days. I’m going back in, and this time I have my husband joining me.

 

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I’ve started the Curly Girl Method

Last year, I attempted to wean myself off of applying heat to my hair. I lasted about 6 months with 1 or 2 blowouts a month before I started relapsing into my old habits (blowdrying and flat-ironing once every 2 days). Trigger Warning: In this post, I get real about some medical issues and other personal shit.

About 6 weeks ago I discovered the curlyhair subreddit and realised that I had found my people. Two weeks ago I reflected on how my hair got to this state, which included reflecting on how my hair was treated during my childhood, when I had no bodily autonomy:

  • Having my hair treated by my parents as if it was not radically different to the wavy and straight hair of my sisters
  • Always having my hair blowdried roughly throughout my childhood (I don’t recall a single photo of me as a child with natural hair)
  • Not having the right products for my hair and scalp type
  • My hair was relaxed multiple times between the ages of 7 – 13 to “make it straight” (WTF)
  • My hair was overdosed with oil products to combat the dryness, which just made my hair look dirty all the time
  • I was not allowed to cut my hair, and maybe got a home trim of <1cm to “take the split ends off” like once a year

The hair dysfunction that started in my childhood carried over to my adult years:

  • I had to quickly learn how to blowdry my own hair once I moved into res in first year i.e. basically tortured my hair with the amount of heat I was applying
  • Still didn’t know the right products to use
  • Left my hair “natural” on occasion and was never pleased with how it looked because the curls could not come out
  • Started colouring my hair and cutting it now that I was “allowed to”

To add to this shitshow, last year I was diagnosed with mild scalp psoriasis, which spreads to my elbows and neck in times of stress, and is related to the dermatitis I always had on my scalp. It was never dandruff, and my parents never bothered to take me to a proper dermatologist when I was younger, despite eczema running in the family. I wasted time and money making my dermatitis worse by using rough anti-dandruff shampoos which never worked, because I never had it.

Once I knew what it was, it pretty much cleared up. I have some flare-ups now and then, but it’s far more under control than it ever has been. Probably because the biggest stress factors in my life are gone!

Anyway, I started the method 2 weeks ago. I chucked out all my hair crap and bought products containing no sulfates or silicons. I’m currently in the transition phase (read: my hair looks like shit), but just like with losing weight, I just have to power through and within a few weeks I’ll hopefully have my curls back (I’m a 2C/3A combo). The method I’m following for now is as follows:

  • Sunday: Shampoo + Condition
  • Monday: Rinse
  • Tuesday: Co-wash (i.e. wash with conditioner) + Condition
  • Wednesday: Co-wash + Condition
  • Thursday: Rinse
  • Friday: Co-wash + Condition
  • Saturday: No wash

The rinse days are only to get the sweat out of my scalp after a workout, otherwise those would be no-wash days as well. After each wash, I’ve been alternating between using Aunt Jackie’s Curl Custard and The Curl Company’s Creme Gel as my leave-in. I’m also going to start plopping this weekend to combat the frizz and crunch.

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Exactly

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Finding the balance: Mind

When I started my epic revamp 2 years ago, I was working on finding my balance between work, health, studies and mind. By the end of it, my health was excellent, I got a new job which was a big promotion, and I started doing my Hons after having to wait 5 years.

I did not realise the state that my mind was in though. Some events happened late last year, which took its toll on my body as well, which is why the husband and I have had to embark on a new Regimen. 

This time around, I’m focusing on balancing mind, body, and soul. One’s mental health has a much bigger impact than people tend to realise on  body and soul. For me, getting my mental health in order has taken priority over the last while.

Which is why I’ve decided that I am quitting my studies. I’m only 6 months away from finishing, on track for cum laude, but I’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided it’s no longer worth it. 

I’ve been learning to let things go. I’ve realised that I’m actually not the uptight person I was led to believe I was. I no longer allow the sunk-cost fallacy to keep me trapped in a situation that is not good for me. 

My husband and I spent many years of our relationship as a long-distance couple, because of the small-mindedness, hypocrisy and intolerance of people who are no longer in our lives. Our mental health suffered greatly because of it, and we missed out on many great experiences because of it. 

As a result, I cannot tolerate the wasting of time. For too long my time was dictated by others (whether directly or indirectly). Now that my mind is aware of the damage done and the time wasted, I am done.

I refuse to waste more time on a degree that will not let me upgrade my professional registration, and that will have no impact on my career. I am well established in my field, and no longer require a piece of paper to prove what I know. 

The old Cindy would never have done this. I always saw things through, no matter what. However, life is short. I could be learning things I actually want to through moocs, I could be drafting the designs for our bathroom makeover, I could be working on our smart home, I could be lying on the floor with a glass of wine and playing with my cattens. All of these things would be a better use of my time.

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On all this Rick and Morty bullshit

When Rick and Morty was first announced, I added it to my watchlist. This was back when I was actively watching series (i.e. before I got married). I added it because it’s co-created by Dan Harmon, who I will forever love because of Community #SixSeasonsAndAMovie

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And it introduced me to John Oliver #Feminism #NotMyChristian

I didn’t actually end up watching it, because of my “It has to last at least 2 seasons before committing” rule, and also because I lost the spreadsheet I made the list in. When hubs and I went away on holiday in August, we decided to binge two series we both hadn’t seen: Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Rick and Morty.

I could write a whole post about Curb, but all I will say for now is that I love it, and we’re trying to finish it before the new season comes out. Also we have started watching Seinfeld because of Larry.

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My other soulmate (with the approval of the hubs)

 

There have been several articles lately about how terrible Rick and Morty fans are. I came across this phenomenon on Reddit a couple of months ago, before I started watching the show. I’d be browsing some random subreddit, when a comment would pop up about how much Rick and Morty rules, and how it now sucks because Dan and Justin hired (gasp!) female writers. In particular, an episode of Season 3 called “Pickle Rick” was being blasted continuously.

At the time, I had no idea what any of that nonsense meant. Now that I’ve watched the show, I still don’t know what those people are on about. The show is funny, it’s smart, it delivers commentary on the pointlessness of existence. That’s all great. I didn’t notice any change in tone of the show after the female writers were hired.

Also, these “fans” seem to think that one needs to be of a higher intellectual level to enjoy the show, because of all the callbacks and Easter eggs. Uh, if that’s what’s required to watch Rick and Morty, then I think one needs to be evil genius status to watch Arrested Development.

Filming right now in Long Beach! (Source: Reddit)

Just because you need to rewatch each episode 3 times in order to get aaaaall the references does not make you smart (ignore the poor sentence structure). As usual, we can’t have anything nice.

Except for this Pickle Rick Future Bass Remix below!

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It begins…

…or rather, it began on Sunday, when we kicked off The Regimen. Hopefully this is the last time I have to come up with a name for something like this, because seriously, I don’t want to go through this again. I’ve designated three phase types:

  • Losing
  • Toning
  • Gaining

The carb cycles differ depending on which phase we’re in. Each cycle consists of 3 weeks in a phase, with the 4th week being Maintenance to avoid plateauing. This time around we’ve got money, so I won’t be overdosing on soy protein again. We’re also reducing the dependency on red meat (I’m all for it, my husband acquiesced), so the majority of the protein will now come from fish, chicken and venison.

My exercise routine is pretty much the same as last time, although I’ve replaced Shaun T with The Fitness Marshall. I’ve also allocated the pure cardio session only once per week now, as the other LCD sessions will be strength-cardio instead. The boxing sessions remain unchanged on HCD days. Since we’re starting in a Losing phase, I’ve put a toning/flex session once a week as well. There’s no point now in trying to tone fat. Once we head into the Gaining and Toning phases I’ll replace the pure cardio session with an additional toning session.

I haven’t ironed out all the kinks yet, but it’s been 3 days and we’re on track. It’s fitting to me that we’ve finally gotten started in October, which I view as a month of rebirth and transformation.