The LBD Project

In April, I decided to join a program at a local gym called The Little Black Dress Project. A couple girls at work had done it a couple of times, and it looked like something I might be interested in. I had already done a month of Whole30 and I was walking with my dog every day and was feeling pretty good and I was looking for a fun way to get more physical activity in. And since I’m single and the perfect casual sex partner has not yet graced my vagina with his presence, I had to find something else. The gym is called Readiness Fitness and it’s very unique. It is not your typical stop by after work and beat up the treadmill for 45 minutes. It is all women (except for the Spartan training), and it is all classes. It is essentially a big warehouse with a padded floor. The floor is my favourite part. No shoes required! The LBD project is a 6 week program with fitness classes, a meal plan, 3D body scan, daily emails/encouragement, weekly check-ins, challenges, and a celebration at the end of it all. I enjoyed most of the classes I took. Surprisingly, my favourite class happened at 530am, and I dragged my ass out of bed more mornings that I would have guessed to go to that class! Within the first couple of weeks, I could feel my workout clothes getting bigger. It became a problem in some classes where you were constantly moving around on your feet. Since my clothes were getting bigger, that meant ALL my clothes were getting bigger. Including my underwear. I don’t consider this and go into a dance based class where I’m on my feet and bouncing around for an hour, and believe me, things did bounce. And not only are my pants falling down, but so is my underwear. I’m already “dancing” like a newborn giraffe that came out head first a little too fast, and now I have to start sticking my hands down my pants, pull up my panties, and hope the wedgie holds for the rest of the class.

I went to a class during a lunch hour once that was changed last minute from a class that I love to a class that I loathe. It’s called I Hate You and I’m Going to Kill You, but for short, they call it Wave. It’s 4 of the worst moves ever and you do them in increasing and decreasing time frames until your soul leaves your body to take you away from the trauma. This particular day it was burpees, squats, pushups, and planks. I’m not very strong yet and can’t physically do all the moves, so I do modifications. Let me tell you though, modifications don’t mean shit in this class. My body still died, one muscle at a time. So what we started with was 30 seconds of burpees. Then rest. Then 45 seconds of burpees and 30 seconds of squats, then rest. Then 60 seconds, 45 seconds, and 30 seconds of pushups. Then 75, 60, 45, and 30 seconds of planks. Then you finally get to start decreasing the first exercises while increasing the latter. Like a wave. I was angry the entire class and it took me 4 days to be able to walk properly. I couldn’t sit down on the toilet without supporting myself. I broke my towel rack. My thighs burned with the fire of a thousand suns and a mere drawing of a staircase could make me cry.

But besides that one, I enjoyed all the classes I tried out. It’s a very comfortable, welcoming vibe in the gym. I didn’t talk to a lot of people, I just went and did my thing, leaving a pool of sweat wherever I went. I have been to other gyms before. Even all female gyms, and this one was just different. I liked that there were only classes. It made me work harder. There’s very much a cheerleader vibe about the place, rah rah, warrior women. If that’s your thing, you can be right in the thick of it. If you’re more like me, you can watch it at arm’s length and take in the amount you need to aide in your success.

Every week with the email checkins, my answers about my struggles were always the same. Even if I didn’t make it to a class, I still went on a walk for at least an hour. Food was not as easy. I did ok, but if I hadn’t already done Whole30, I don’t think I would have been as successful. There were definitely more committed women there than I was, but the great part is that for the entire 6 weeks, you only work against yourself. There are no “stats” or weigh-ins for the entire time. Using the scale is discouraged because your body is changing in so many ways that the scale doesn’t measure.

So at the end, I lost 19 pounds of fat and gained 6 pounds of lean muscle (About 30 lbs total since February). My body composition improved, I lost 16 inches, and my BMI went down a few points. We get all this information from our 3D scan at Neurofitness. You stand on this rotating disc and a laser records your body. Then you can sign into your account and look at this suuuper flattering 3D picture of your mostly naked body 🙄 They really capture the magic of every bump, roll, and divet. Overall, I was pretty happy with the results. I’ve decided to join the next round in the fall to see how much I can improve. Seeing all the women at the end celebration and their victories was encouraging.

Since it ended, I have been slacking. I haven’t been using the gym at my apartment, I’ve been walking less frequently, and my food choices have been poor. My food prep has been non-existent for the last couple of weeks. I eat bad, then I feel bad. I get so tired and all the energy is sucked out of me. Which makes it hard to prepare healthy meals when all I want to do is sleep and eat whatever is fast and makes me feel good in that moment. It’s a shitty cycle to get trapped in. I’m going to start another round of Whole30 right away and get back on track. When I think I can relax, I get too relaxed. If I cheat once, I’ll cheat twice. Fuuuuuck.

My Adoption Part 2

I had half forgotten about my request for information on my birth record. The non-identifying information is sent out fairly quickly with a letter saying the birth record is handled by Post Adoption Services. And that took longer to arrive.

You know, I always get a little kick out of people’s reactions when they find out I’m adopted. It’s almost always the same. Either “me too!” or “I didn’t know you were adopted.” Well duh. How could you have possibly known? You mean you didn’t notice the ‘adopted’ look about me? (It’s not like I just revealed that I’m missing my left arm and you’re surprised you didn’t know that.) Are you sure I didn’t casually slip it into conversation somewhere along the lines? “Hey Amy, how was your weekend at the farm?” “Oh, it was really good! I drove my adopted ass out there after work and then spent the whole time with my adopted family who adopted me when I was a baby. I’m adopted.” I suppose that although it’s normal to me, it’s interesting/awkward for other people because they don’t know how to react to that information. And just like any other situation in life, it’s ok to ask questions. If a person reveals something about themselves, they probably don’t mind talking about it. But if they do seem uncomfortable, then stop asking questions.

So, I get this letter. I wasn’t sure what it was when I opened it. It had been several months since my initial request, so I wasn’t really considering what it could have been when I opened it. It was my record of birth. With my birth mother’s name, her date of birth, and where she was born. I couldn’t believe I had this information now. I was a little shaky and sat down to consider this information. I’d always been interested in learning more about her and meeting her “someday”, and now I have the piece I need to find her. But, it also means that now I have the piece of information I need to find her and someday could be now. I knew from previous records that at the time of my birth, she did not have any desire to have contact with me in the future. But I feel like she already got to make enough decisions about our lives and this one is mine to make.

I did some quick online searches. Social media was a bust, but google did lead me to an obituary of the woman I believe to be my birth mother’s mother. The family members listed match my birth mother’s name, and the number of and genders of siblings I know her to have. Side note: I’d love to shorten birth mother, but I can’t start calling her my bm, right? No. How about bmo? That’s what I’ll use. Anyways, so I know her mother and father have both passed. And I know the names of her brother and sisters and their spouses and children. My bmo did not have any children listed. I searched her siblings names as well and not much came up. A couple of leads I could follow. But, I want to be very respectful here. Her family may still have no idea, and I don’t want to be the one to “out” her secret. So at this point, I won’t be using her name, I won’t be contacting her family and revealing who I am, and you won’t see me holding up a sign on a FB post asking for help. I told my mom everything I found out so far and I know she is dying to know everything and to meet this woman and thank her and cry about it because I’m so damn awesome and made all her baby dreams come true. She has a very sweet story about her and my dad driving to Saskatoon the night before picking me up. Just before the city, there is a phone tower or something and there is a flashing red light at the top. And when my mom saw it that night, she knew her baby was close. She somehow keeps it together and lets me go on this journey in my own time.

I know people who have found their birth parents. And I know birth parents who have found the children they gave up for adoption. Every journey is different, and there are challenges. There was no information listed about my birth father on the record of birth, but post adoption does give you an option to indicate if you are interested in performing a search for him as well. I don’t know how they plan on doing that. I assume they’ll have to try to make contact with my bmo and go from there. I’m not sure what will come of that. I think I have a plan of how I am going to contact my bmo, but I’m not quite ready to execute said plan yet. I am gathering my courage. I mean, I’m not looking for another family, I don’t need another mother all up in my business, I just want to know her story. I’m not putting a lot of expectations on it. That being said, I’m not sure how I’m going to react if she just flat out rejects any meaningful contact at all. Even typing this out makes me a little emotional. It’s hard to explain how I feel about this. If I never go any further than I have right now, I will be fine. I will wonder every now and again, but it will not affect my life in any way. But if I keep going, whatever the outcome, it will leave a mark on my heart forever.

The Soft Launch

As you know, I am a part of the online dating world. I haven’t been too active with it over the last 6 months or so, but I recently created a new POF profile, as well as started swiping on Tinder again. (If you don’t already, you can check out my screenshot adventures on my Instagram @soupsworld) I decided I should be having more sex because only having sex with one guy since September that I’m not even dating wasn’t doing it for me. This lead to me swiping right on The Soft Launch. TSL had a shirtless torso picture as his main picture. And his secondary picture. Not normally someone I would consider, but I was looking to get laid. He messaged me after we matched and I found out he didn’t have a face picture because he was trying to be discrete. Because of his girlfriend, who would not be involved in knowing about his extracurricular activities. I asked him why he was looking for something more on the side and he said he has a much higher sex drive and that he only gets to see her about 3 times a week because she lives out of town. Slight eyeroll, but whatever. I reserve my judgement on this one, especially since I’m about to be a willing participant.
We texted for about a week and a half or so and he seemed like a nice enough guy. The sexting was decent, he was really excited to meet. Our schedules finally lined up and I invited him over. I was initially going to meet him for coffee first, but meh. By this point, I felt good enough inviting him over.
So he shows up, and I’m immediately a little turned off by his energy. He’s sort of nervous and I don’t really like his voice and he’s just not someone I would spend real time with. But quality time wasn’t really what I was meeting him for, so let’s get naked. I was already in lingerie, so I was mostly there anyways. He kissed me. Not bad. We made out for a bit before laying down on the bed. Once we got there, he went to work with him mouth and hands all over my body. The handwork was great! The mouth work, well let’s just say I’m still waiting for my own personal tongue of ecstasy J When I was ready to return the favour, he wasn’t even hard yet. No problem, I can help with that. And help I did. My mouth work is usually pretty on point. When he couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to fuck, he put on the condom and we got to it. He didn’t last too long before he went soft. It happens. We took a little break and then I went down on him some more and we tried sex again. Except now, my original turn off at meeting him had snowballed and I was quickly becoming less of a rainforest and more of desert. Especially when he once again couldn’t stay hard. He made some excuses about going to the gym before he got there, blah blah. Now, to be clear, I don’t fault him for not staying hard. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the gym. Maybe it was his conscience. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was just biology and it just fucking happens sometimes. I don’t know. But what I do know is that he talked himself up the whole week and made it clear how high his sex drive was, and considering he was only 34, I was expecting a little bit more.

After he realized we weren’t going to be able to have sex, he asked if I would consider sucking him off. That’s a hard no. hahahahaha So he got dressed and talked the whole time and commented how I didn’t have air conditioning and he was soo hot and sweaty. I do, but I didn’t have it on because it wasn’t that hot out, and frankly, if I’m not hot, no one else should be. My temperature runs high. Plus, the guy who came over two nights before didn’t complain 😉 He did not kiss me goodbye. And he did not text me again and I did not message him. 

I was fine with it ending that way. But a few days later, I got a Snapchat notification that he had added me. I added him back and he immediately sent me a message asking if I had randomly added him. Uh, no. He said a few more things and I realized he didn’t even know who he added. He even asked me how old I was and when I told him and asked why, he said he wanted to make sure I wasn’t 14 or something because that would be weird, “especially what he uses the app for”. Ok, creep. I still didn’t tell him who I was. Even after he said my name showed up as Amy Campbell and he doesn’t know anyone by that name. Granted, he doesn’t know my last name, but his dick was JUST inside of me a couple of days before. Surely he could put that together. Unless he erased the embarrassment from his memory with some sort of men in black device. That’s probably it. I felt like maybe he figured it soon after because then he was no longer my friend. But then he re-added me. So I don’t know if he remembered or if he was still really curious about who I was. I didn’t care, I blocked him. And that was The Soft Launch.

 

My Adoption

I’ve known for as long as I can remember that I’m adopted. I was 2 months old when my mom and dad adopted me. My younger brother is adopted too. When I was growing up, I remember telling people that I’m adopted like it was an interesting, but completely normal fact about me. And that’s how I was raised to think about it. One of my cousins is also adopted, some close family friends are all adopted, and I went through most of my elementary and high school with a couple of kids in my class that were also adopted. As far as I can remember, I never felt like my parents weren’t my parents. I wasn’t even one to get mad and say things like, “You’re not my real mom/dad”. My brother used to do that. I felt the opposite. Like they were (and are) my real mom and dad, but these other people out there brought me into being.

I’ve always been curious, but acted like I wasn’t really that interested. Especially as I got older. I didn’t want my parents to feel threatened (I needn’t have worried about that), but I was also worried about rejection if I did start looking into it some more. I felt like I needed to know myself better and be really comfortable with who I am before I started anything. And so I held off.

When I was in my mid-20’s, maybe 23-24, my mom gave me a box and told me it was made for me and that whatever I chose to do with the information, she would support it. The box was covered in wallpaper and it contained a framed drawing of a cat, a baby blanket, a doll, and an old, yellowed letter from social services. The box and it’s contents (minus the letter) were made for me by my birth mother. The letter contained information from the social worker regarding general information about my birth mother and her family, and the circumstances around my birth. It also included the name given to me at birth, which included my birth mother’s last name.

She was 18 at the time. She had moved to Saskatoon from her small town to go to school and she met a young man who was about 24 at the time. They dated casually for a few months and had split up by the time she found out she was pregnant. She kept her pregnancy from everyone, including my birth father and her own family. Her parents found out when she went into labour. It was 1981, she was young and single, the hospital called them. She had already made her decision to give me up for adoption and so they decided they would keep the whole thing a secret from the rest of the family. She had 2 younger sisters and a younger brother. There were not many details about my birth father except that he was tall, had a moustache, and was of metis descent. And to this day, likely doesn’t know about my existence. There was also some basic family healthy history, physical descriptions, and personality traits described. Her background is Russian and Ukrainian. 

A few years after I received this information, I sent a request to social services to get any additional information they had and to see about a search for my birth mother. They sent me all the documents surrounding my adoption. Most of it was after the adoption and detailing the home visits from the social worker. In the documents leading up to my adoption, my birth mother expressed several times how she did not wish to seek future contact with me. That wasn’t easy to read, but I let it play out however it would play out. I didn’t hear anything back and I left it at that.

Recently, the rules about adoption documents in Saskatchewan have changed and you can now request your birth record, which has information about birth parents on it. So I sent my request in December. And received a letter back last month.

 

35 is Old

Well hello there! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? You’re probably hoping for some dirty sex story, but I’m going to switch gears over to my health. In November of last year, I started having this weird pain. And thinking back, I’d actually been having this pain for a long time, especially in my hands and feet, but just ignored it and chalked it up to sleeping weird or wearing bad shoes. And right before the pain got worse, I remember commenting to my coworkers that it felt like I’d been punching walls all night while I was sleeping. I asked my mom what arthritis felt like and her description sounded similar to what I had in my hands. I thought, Oh great, I’m getting so old! About a week later, I woke up and my ankle hurt. It was swollen and there were red spots on my foot. It had gotten better by the next day, but the morning after that, one of my knees was all red and swollen up like a balloon and it hurt to bend it. I tried going for a walk that day to loosen it up, but my knee just kept locking up on me. And it just got worse from there. Every one or two days, I woke up with a new pain location, just one joint at a time. Ankles, knees, hips, wrists, fingers, shoulders…They all hurt at some point. By the second week, the pain was becoming unbearable. I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I’d broken a bone and then lit it on fire. I could.not.get.comfortable. I would have to get up and move around and take some Tylenol or whatever I had just to try to obtain enough relief to go back to bed. And then in the morning, if it was anywhere in my upper body, I would have trouble getting dressed. My parents happened to be visiting in the middle of this and my mom had to put my socks on for me one day. Every woman has a different way she likes to put on a bra. Some do the hook and twist, some hook and pull over their heads, I prefer the bend and hook. If you don’t understand this, you’re probably a man. I slip my arms through the straps, bend slightly to fill the cups with my tits, then straighten up, reach back, and hook it up. That was impossible for me to do on the days that either my wrists, fingers, or shoulders were inflamed.Clearly I knew this was not normal, but I kept putting off going to the doctor until the day I couldn’t wait anymore. I was at work and we had a staff meeting for the first part of the day. My hands hurt, but I could handle it since I was just sitting there. When I had to go back to work and start using a computer and answering the phone, the pain almost made me cry. I dropped the phone receiver because it hurt just to have my right hand touching anything. I left and went straight to a medi clinic. Which was as helpful as you can imagine. The doctor asked me some questions and said it was probably a virus that would go away in a week or two. Ohhhhkaaaaay. But, just in case, he sent me for bloodwork too. I had to ask him about painkillers. He looked at me and said, oh, well how bad is it? Taking a breath because I’d already told him how it felt, I said It’s bad. It’s an 11 on a scale of one to ten. I left work to come here because I can’t do my job. So he gave me a high dose of naproxen and sent me on my way. The naproxen didn’t do much. I would still wake up in the night and have to take Tylenol with it to get some relief. The next week, the doctor’s office called me to come in and gave me the results of my blood test and referred me to a rheumatologist. The problem with that was the waiting list for the referral I was given was close to 3 years. 3 years! So I put it on facebook and I got a couple responses from friends who either worked in, or knew someone in the medical field who could help. One referred me to a family doctor who would hopefully take me on as a patient and be able to move the referral along quicker, and the other actually has a rheumatologist for a sister-in-law. It’s good to know people who know people. I had an appointment within a week of the rheumatologist seeing my bloodwork results. And, even though it took a couple months to get an appointment with him, I also now have a family doctor.

During my first appointment with the rheumatologist, she diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. I started taking medication for it and had almost immediate relief from my symptoms. And limited side effects. I now give myself an injection of the medication every week, as well as taking folic acid to counteract some of the possible side effects of the drug. I’m on an aggressive plan right now to get the RA into remission as soon as we can. It’s important to treat it as quickly as possible to prevent permanent damage to the joints, but even with remission, the rheumatologist told me I’ll be on medication the rest of my life. Cool. One of the side effects means I should not get pregnant while on the drug because it causes miscarriages. So if I do want to have a family the “natural” way, I will have to talk to my rheumatologist and switch to a possibly less effective drug that I can safely take while pregnant. And then if I do go back to the original medication, there is no guarantee that it will work as well for me as it does right now. There’s also a chance it could stop working for me altogether without going off of it and I’ll have to switch anyways.

In February I decided to try Whole30. You can google it to find out all the details, but basically it’s an elimination diet. You take out things like dairy, sugar, alcohol, grains, etc for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce them to gauge the affects they have on your body. At first, it sounds terrible. All the fun, good stuff is gone haha But it’s not the bad! Admittedly, I didn’t follow it 100%. And if you don’t follow to the letter, you’re supposed to start over. Fuck that. I made it work for me and did a 90-10 split. I followed it exactly 90% of the time and the other 10, I gave myself some leeway. That doesn’t mean that I went crazy, but if I couldn’t find whole30 compliant something, or if I was at the farm and mom used an ingredient that wasn’t compliant, I didn’t freak out over it and start over. I just kept living my goddman life! About 2 weeks in, I noticed that I had more energy. Maybe about 6 months before my diagnosis, I started losing all energy. Now, I know some of that was just due to my weight and poor diet, but it dropped to zero. All I wanted to do all the time was sleep. Fatigue is a symptom of both RA and the medication, but it’s better than losing my hair! BUT! Two weeks into Whole30, suddenly I had energy again. I mean, I wasn’t jumping up to go for a run or anything (gross), but I also wasn’t falling asleep as soon as I got home from work or needing a nap every day. My skin improved, my stomach didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have any joint pain. Now, the pain had already mostly gone away because of the medication I’d already been on for a month and a half, but it stayed away for that month. Oh, and I lost about 12 pounds.

As I started reintroducing foods, I began to really pay attention to how certain foods made me feel. White rice and sugar, especially white sugar, causes me pain. If I have just a little bit of it, I can feel it almost immediately. The first knuckle on my right hand has become my inflammation indicator. The first time I felt it was when I had a twizzler and 3 pieces of candy. The pain radiated around that knuckle within a half hour. If I have more than just a little bit of sugar, it starts in my knuckle and then will move around. I had sugar yesterday in some pancake syrup, ketchup, and a few pieces of candy. Yesterday my knuckle hurt. Today, I can feel it in my feet.

Dairy. Now that I’m paying attention, I am figuring out how dairy affects me. It doesn’t cause any arthritis pain, but it sure fucks up my stomach. I’m sure all you lactose intolerants out there can identify with this. Milk does not do this body good. I recently had a London Fog and didn’t even think to ask for almond milk and it killed my stomach. Some cheeses are good, some are not so good. Sometimes I don’t care and it’s completely worth it.

So that’s that. Stay tuned for my participation in the Little Black Dress Project at a local gym, a search I have started, and, of course, some sex stories!