Saturday, May 30, 2015

The struggle is real

Today I've learned that I'm way too stubborn to return to the working class of corporate America. You know, the kind of work that demands I show up early, leave late, work through lunch hour (which is really only 30 minutes to begin with), smile through bullshit as to not hurt anyone's precious feelings... yea- I'm most definitely not cut out for that kind of job anymore.

After a long internal debate and for reasons beyond my control, I've decided to take the month of June and use it as an experimental period in my life. What this means is that I've accepted a position as a medical administrator for a private practice office in my neighborhood.

Yea, I used to do a very similar job just under 5 years ago when I lived in Phoenix. And the funny thing is that I promised myself I would never look back once I quit that job. I did really well and lived up to my promise. Shit, I moved to Italy, travelled, did all kinds of things in all kinds of places. I got into college for culinary arts, started my own small business, and landed the sweetest contract of all time with Eat Seattle Tours. Life has been grand!

So, why the bullshit occupational experiment? Well, I'm doing it because initially I was bored. Initially, I sent out over 50 applications to all kinds of places around Seattle just to see if anything would stick. The reason why this position is the one I settled on (and trust me, settle is the absolute most appropriate word to use in this instance, I just know it) is because I really am smitten with the negotiating I was able to pull off.

Did I ever tell you that I was being primed to be an awesome international criminal defense attorney? Yea, I was going to do that... Turns out speech and debate was a piece of cake, and 10 years after high school, I still have my sweet negotiating skills on point. Boooooyah!

Anyway, I accepted this position because I love to wear fancy shoes and eat all the food. I know that it's just a temporary gig and the bigger picture is to ease myself back into the "being and employee" mindset without committing to a job that'll hold me down for another x amount of years (ahem Luke... circa 2006) If you don't get that reference, don't worry about it.

Because I know myself very well, I'm giving myself one month to get on board with this experiment. If I happen to like this job I'm going to run with it simultaneously while knocking out classes for my degree. If I happen to hate it, well, I'll just have to log into my bank account- that'll be a real quick reminder to suck it up.

My goal with this blog post is to document the detour and see if I'll learn anything new about myself, my tolerance to bullshit, and whether or not I even possess the ability to change. So wish me luck, and here we go!

Monday, May 4, 2015

I did this for me.

I spent all day going back and forth debating with myself whether or not to post this. As you can see, it's live and out there...

What I think my struggle was about is the fact that this is a very intimate photo. It's a side of me that is reserved for someone I'm in love with, someone who has earned the right to this primal image of my body. But that's just the initial perception of what this faceless self portrait represents.

It has been a really challenging battle to have any confidence about my body. I still fluctuate between content, mild shame, and pure disgust. I was very unhealthy, overweight, and utterly unhappy with how my body was. Four years ago, I wouldn't undress in front of my husband because I didn't want him to fall out of love with me for having a body covered in stretch marks. Let alone even think about buying undergarments like this. Trust me, I tried but being told that I should go shop at a specialty store for larger women kind of knocks the wind out of you and makes it very hard to try again.

My thighs rubbed together when I walked, my bat wings were stuffed into shirts with sleeves, my tummy rolled over my stretchy pants... It was the lowest point of my life. I felt like garbage because I ate garbage and instead of making changes to fix the problem, I drowned my sorrows in gravy and covered it with rainbow sprinkles.

After my workout this morning, I showered and started to get dressed. I was walking around my place with a cup of java pro coffee protein.  I caught a glimpse of myself in my full length mirror and I literally stopped dead in my tracks. I didn't recognize that body... THIS body... the thigh gap, the bubble butt, abs, mild horseshoe definition in my triceps... my jaw literally dropped and then my eyes welled up.

I EARNED this body. I have spent hours in the gym, pushing myself to lift heavy, to only count the reps with proper form, forcing myself to do the worst thing on the planet- cardio... I earned THIS body. I'm still pushing and fighting to get as lean as I physically can. I'm still turning to grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies instead of indulging in pizza and rib eye steaks.

I'm no where near where what I envision my body to look like but I sure as hell am proud of what I see today. This post is not about attention or validation, it's about stopping for just a second to revel in how far I've come. To take pride and credit for the hard work I've already put in. This photo captures the woman who said "No more!" and got off her flabby ass to change what she could about the physical appearance of HER body.

I did this for me. And I am so proud of myself.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My identity as a culinary artist

My name is CrisM and I'm a culinary artist.

I am also a young professional, a best friend, a sister, a daughter, a pet parent, a confidant, a music lover, a fast driver, a shooter, a part time boozer, and a rock star snoozer.

What does any of that actually mean? Probably nothing- as they are just titles describing pieces of who I am as a whole. Parts of myself that, together in various ratios depending on my moods, project how I- Crystal Miller, am seen by the world.

I always tend to downplay my role in "the bigger picture" because although I am passionate beyond belief about what it is I do for a living, I understand my place in this world. I understand that yes, with any job, big or small, high speed or low stress, there are always going to be those ups and downs... the good days and bad.

My identity as a culinary artist is constantly challenged because of the kind of work I do versus the kind of life I choose to live. Unfortunately, at this juncture in my life, I'm unable to find a way to harmoniously combine the two.

About 4 years ago I decided that I didn't want to live an unhealthy lifestyle anymore. That meant more to me in the kitchen than it did regarding the physical aspects of daily life. Truly active people tend to say that "abs are made in the kitchen" which I've learned is an undeniably true statement. Yes, you still have to put in hard work at the gym but it wasn't until after I started eating properly when I discovered how true that statement is.

I'm a chef by trade and many of my clients choose to use me in a way that brings quality, lavish, high end dining to the comfort of their own homes. So, I'm constantly playing with cream, and cheese, and fatty proteins. All awesome in their own right, but I personally, have such a hard time when it comes to tasting the products I produce.

I can't quite remember which celebrity chef said "Never trust a skinny chef..." (please don't be a Julia Child quote) but I think that is complete garbage! I can (and do) cook really insanely delicious food, that are decadent and really can be the guiltiest of all the pleasures. But, I CAN'T eat any of it... More importantly, I don't WANT to eat any of it.

The struggle for me to find my voice as a culinary artist is constant and I am more comfortable in the kitchen when there are amazing fresh produce and lean proteins scattered all over the place. I enjoy the process of taking these raw items and making something come together in a delicious AND nutritious way. As I continue on my journey, I hope to find the balance I've been seeking. I hope to find like minded thinkers, believers, go-getters, and down right culinary savages to join me so that I can learn and explore all the wonders of this world through the incredible food we have at our fingertips.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chemistry, my truths revealed

It's scary to get back out there and start dating after a divorce. Especially since I've purposely avoided the inevitable for longer than I choose to admit. For one, I like being selfish right now. I like the freedom, the random dinner times, and sleeping with all the pillows in the world. 

But, I guess being in my late 20s and really knowing who I am as an individual has its perks in the dating scene. I know I don't want anything remotely close to being serious, but I'm not in the mood to just kill time with someone I don't thoroughly enjoy being around. 

I figure, if I'm going to do this, I want to do it whole heartedly. 

But dating is so exhausting. It's awkward and somewhat embarrassing. 

Exhibit A: The perfect Conversationalist 
A and I talk. Like all the time. Our conversations range from easy breeze stuff like work and school and cool no name bands to deep, dark shit like past lives and our greatest relationship memories. We laugh and veg out to Drunk History. He's tall, handsome, and put together. Job he loves, awesome house, and is a fellow Audi lover. Strangers comment on how well we look together (which I still find interesting because we are total opposites. I'm a super square prudie tudie to his rockabilly greaser look). Sure, we're attracted to each other but with A it's more like a flirtationship. All we ever do is flirt. The spark, however, is non-existent. I realized this about 45 mins into our first official date. But it was way more awkward when he realized it for himself at the end of the night... We're still friends in spite of the wonky first date (which was about 2 months after we started hanging out). He's like the hot best friend who safely puts you to bed after a gnarly night out with the girls... And then wakes you up with an egg white omelet, peanut butter toast, and a mean cup of coffee. Close, but no cigar.

Exhibit B: The whirlwind Love Affair that will destroy everything
B and I hit it off in a way I never saw coming. He is sarcastic, adorable, and totally wrong for me. B and I have already come to terms that we just should not exclusively date. Here's why: It started off with innocent intentions on both our parts. Isn't it funny- they always do. He's tall, handsome, and a musician. Job he loves, adorable house, and is a musician. Did I mention I'm a total sucker for musicians? We can spend hours upon hours together without realizing it. Next thing I know, is 4am- three days later... and when Monday morning comes around it mutually sucks to part ways for the week. The passion between the two of us is undeniable. But, with all that spark... shit hits the fan in the most dramatic way. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the fact that we are not really in a relationship and started to expect things of each other as though we were. I'm not one for dramatic outbursts of emotional chaos. Which is all we are when we are together. It's either mad passionate puppy love or total psychotic screaming matches. No middle ground. Ever. The heated arguments over absolutely nothing outweighs the sweet moments we have. 

Exhibit C: The (other) One. 
Where to even start with C? He's THE ONE I could totally see myself with. He's a little broken, likes his booze and handles it with class, and is what I consider the epitome of a man's man. He's unbelievably gorgeous- it hurts to look at him. He takes his health very seriously which I find super attractive. Cooking for him makes my heart sing. He's chill and is the perfect amount of available to me that I need in my life right now.  Not remotely clingy, but attentive and eager to please (gosh that sounds disgusting...) We should NOT be this comfortable with each other so soon. It almost feels like we knew each other in a past life. I think about C all the time and I know that even though I don't talk to him for weeks on end, when I do make contact- he picks up right where we left off. No questions or guilt trips. Which I appreciate so very much. As far as what we have in common, well- not much to be honest. He possess a hell of a lot of qualities that I recognize in my closest friends, which I actually love. But he is also different enough to not bore me. I enjoy talking to him about his history and life goals. 

So here's the kicker:
I'm still hung up on the idea of the "perfect" relationship... I think there should be a good amount of push and pull. I need a strong person to run with. I want someone who can recognize when I just need a damn hug and is the kind of person who knows that I'm ok with not needing to be fixed, despite how broken I may actually be. These cracks, boy do they run deep and I'm proud of how it has molded me into the kind of person I am today. I appreciate all the hardships that I've had to endure, big and small, silly and trivial as many of them can be. But it makes all the sweet moments so much sweeter because I know that sometimes the sweet stuff doesn't last as long as we all want them to. 

I've decided that in order for me to be the best version of myself, I must first be comfortable with not being everyone's cup of tea. I'm sure we all have some kind of experience that has forced us to cope with that very idea- when we try to please everyone, we end up hurting ourselves. It's tough to be everyone's cup of tea without losing your own identity. We all have to compromise a little piece of ourselves to accommodate our partner and that is garbage in my eyes. 

Red flag numero uno! CrisM should not be in a relationship if I can't accept the fact that compromises can be a good thing. 

The way I love is vastly different than the way he loves. Perhaps none of us know how to love at all and that's red flag numero dos. Who is to say that there is a right and wrong way to love? There should be a mutual ground that both parties appreciate unique ways of loving one another. But if one person thinks that doing dishes is equal to saying "thank you" and the other person believes holding hands in the grocery store is equal to making the bed in the morning, well shit- we're just comparing apples to oranges. 

And I think the biggest issue for me regarding exclusivity is the fact that it is so damn unnatural. I can favor one person over the other on any given day. Because I am human, I am fluid, and I move with the moods, the tides, the fucken moon for crying out loud. Red flag numero tres! People say when you find "the one" all the things you desire, admire, and appreciate are wrapped up in one body. The things that used to irritate you are now cute little peculiarities that you don't find yourself upset over. The "compromise" is simple and therefor a non-issue. So for me, the bullshit pros and cons list is like a relationship death sentence. Love should be simple, love should be kind. It should be natural as you and I breathe. My heart should flutter and my anxiety should be quelled. I should be able to enhance my partner's life, big and small. I should be able to understand when he needs his own space, I shouldn't have the incessant desire to "fix" him either. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The adventures of NOW

Moving to Seattle to go to college was a huge deal. I primarily moved here to earn my bachelor's degree in Culinary Arts Management in hopes to secure jobs around the world while I lived out my passion for travel. The idea was not to open my own restaurant, ever, but to be able to run a kitchen no matter where I moved to.

Just recently, an opportunity has arisen which will change the course of my life as I know it. The scary thing is that I don't know whether this will be a good change or a not so good one. I'm terrified of feeling "trapped" because this new adventure puts me in the spot light as far as the success of the business. I'm afraid that because it has the potential to do very well within a short period of time, I will be blinded by the success and feel the need to stay put here in Seattle.

On the flip side, truly the side I'm most attracted to, is that this is a wonderful learning opportunity for me. To gain the kind of experience associated with running my very own kitchen so early on in my culinary career is something I must take advantage of. I'm afraid that I might be in over my head as far as running this operation practically solo. I'm put under a lot of pressure to make sure this business sails smoothly and without many hiccups.

I know that I can tackle obstacles with grace and I'm not worried about the extensive work load. I'm just concerned that this might be too good to be true. I mean, who gets her very own cafe just handed to her on a silver platter? I know my skills are above average as far as cooking and managing, but I'm just shaken to my core. Both with excitement and also the tiny little tinge of fear that I might not do so well.

I'll be meeting with the owner in two day's time. Hopefully he'll be able to answer all my questions and help ease the nerves. My investor is putting all his eggs in this basket and is willing to give me free reign over the operation because he believes in me. That's an amazing feeling- to have that kind of support. But by golly... it's also a lot of pressure. If I do this on my own, and fail- I can live with that. But to have my investor lose because of me, well- that's a real gut wrenching, stomach twisting, high stress, type of feeling that I've already lost tons of sleep over. I don't want to be a disappointment.

As a perfectionist, I know I will throw myself into this adventure with nothing less than 110% but I'm still so very scared. I hope this turns out to be something amazing and I hope you all send me tons of positive love vibes that this becomes real sooner rather than later.

Until next time,
Much Love.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Some people...

Let me just begin by saying that I've officially started dating. *Gasp* I know right?!?! It's been hell. Last year, I was in total denial. I met a few guys that I actually enjoyed spending time with but truly the lack of down time took away any and all opportunity for me to actually date them.

Anyway, this past month I threw myself into it with a vengeance to make up for lost time. And it's been absolutely terrible. Haha... go figure.

Did you know that no matter how cool he is in his own right, you will still compare him to your ex? I didn't think that was a real thing, but apparently it is. And I do it- all the fucken time. It's so unfair to these guys and it's completely devastating to me and my fantasy at another solid relationship.

The thing is, my marriage was fucken awesome. And my (ex) husband is still a huge part of my life. He's my best friend and that's the problem. Sure, I've learned how to handle the emotional up roars by myself, something that I always turned to him for. But now my mind can't seem to stop tallying up all the things these new guys lack, in comparison to Him.

I have realized that although I have (perhaps more accurately now, "had") a preference in terms of the type of man I am most attracted to- I have yet to find one that gives me butterflies. Have I become so damaged and delusional that I just can't see these new guys' potential? Ugh... dating sucks.

Here's my problem: For one, I like tall, blond haired, blue eyed men. The guys on the roster right now? 5'9- 5'11, dark hair, dark eyes... Like wtf? Wearing heels (my greatest obsession since I was in the 2nd grade) has become so tricky because I am practically eye to eye with these guys and that freaks me out for some inexplicable reason. Some drink, some don't. Some go to church on the reg, some refuse to acknowledge the possibility of there being a higher power. Some go to the gym as though it were church (amen and hallelujah), others eat complete garbage which drives me infuckensane. Some have adorable relationships with their family, but others have so much dysfunction that it makes my brow furrow to the point where I'm terrified of permanent wrinkle damage.

They are all over the place and the only thing that they all have in common, is me. Which leads me to believe that I'm a crazy person. How can one person attract such a wide range of personalities? One is super athletic, he plays sports, climbs, and goes for runs on the beach for fun (like, um, really?!) One shoots guns, is into cars, but has the craziest ex wife on the planet. Some are musicians, both actual studio artists and starving artist types. A bartender, a real estate agent, a barber, an analyst, a car salesman, and a private contractor. Again... HOW can one person attract so many different personalities?

I've been 100% upfront with every single one of them. Meaning, they all know that I'm not exclusive. It bothers only a couple of them but so far, they both have held their tongues well. One of them went as far as to tell me that he's not seeing anyone other than me and that totally freaked me out. Like why would you tell me that? It's not going to alter my behavior. It just makes me feel like an asshole. This other guy, likes to talk mad shit about all the "other" chicks in his life... like I'm supposed to be jealous??? I'm not. I'm actually glad that he has other people to occupy his time- he's a fucken handful, haha. But, majority of them are what I consider seasoned daters. They've been single for a while and they know how to play the game. They keep their extracurricular activities to themselves and have the common courtesy to never question mine.

Which leads me to my next issue. Omission and just flat out lying. I'm super guilty of leaving out details to practically everything about anything serious in my life. Only 37% of the guys I'm dating know that I was married. Which was 100% an accident, on all accounts. I don't have a problem omitting details, especially since they're all practically new to me and trust should be earned. But, the lying part... I just don't get it. And lying about insignificant things nonetheless. Like, I'm not your gd mother- I won't scold you for anything. Honesty and trust go hand in hand, in my book. Being honest with me, even if it's simply stating the fact that you choose to not disclose something right now, earns my trust in you as a person.

I don't ask loaded questions, I don't require explanations. I simply appreciate honesty through and through. When I'm asked "What are you doing tonight?" and I have plans to see someone, the response is "I'm going out with a friend." None of this "oh, I'm staying home... or I feel sick" bullshit. I'm going out with a motherfucken friend. It's ok for YOU to respond with honesty. Don't tell me you've got to stay home with your kid and then fabricate this ginormous story when I run into you at the bar... with another girl. IDGAF- that's what dating is about. We are not in an actual relationship- you are allowed to go out with other people during the same time frame that we are seeing each other.  There is absolutely no reason to lie about it. Like, does nobody get that?

But my biggest headache has to have been this one which we will call Auggie. He's a solid 9.8 on just about everything you can put a score on. He's fit, eats well, has a great career, put together, charming, handsome, tall, great relationship with his family, drinks like a fish and is so functional in spite of it... But he's so hot and cold with me and it drives me totally ape shit bananas. I didn't realize it at first but then shit between us got really intense really quickly, which surprised me given his distaste for exclusive relationships. We talked every day, spent weekends together, did things that couples do and then he just bounced. Like *poof* disappeared. I wasn't too butt hurt about it- I just kind of went with it. But since then he's done that same move about half a dozen times. The more time we spent together, the more my curiosity about his disappearance grows. Because, if we were having such a good time, what the hell spooks him?

Last week was the final straw for him though. I had to cut that crazy man loose. Trying to decipher his behavior is like trying to smell the color 9. Hahahaha, seriously though. It's impossible to understand what he's doing. So, to keep myself from sustaining any further whiplash- I've just pressed the eject button. Which is kind of a shame, because he was in fact my favorite. But oh well, you live and learn. And I've learned that I can't stand highly emotional and erratic behavior from men.

As far as how dating other men has changed me: I'm a really hard person to please, as it turns out. This dating thing is not just a thing to pass the time. I think it started off that way but understanding how valuable timing is- I've started to actually assess whether any of these men will enhance who I am as an individual. I like how I have developed little connections with certain ones, but I also like how I can be so general with others. They all make me laugh, they all make me feel wanted, they all still are chivalrous with the opening of doors, bringing me coffee at home, sending sweet "just because" flowers and "thinking of you" texts. It's nice... But like I said, I have yet to come across the one that gives me butterflies... And we all know, it's those damn butterflies that make all the difference.

Going to bed. Goodnight.

Daily nugget: I like oriental lilies because they smell wonderful and are absolutely beautiful. I don't enjoy tulips, daisies, or carnations. Also, I dislike chocolate. Bring hummus and pita chips instead. And no, you can't stay the night. Don't even ask.

Oh, goodbye January.

Hello my lovely readers (i.e. Mom and Clarissa, haha)!

I apologize for once again dropping off the face of the planet in regards to this blog. I think about writing all the time, it just always seems impractical to stop doing all the nine hundred billion other things going on in day to day life to sit down and do this.

But, right now it's almost 2am on SUPER BOWL SUNDAY and although, I was in bed... I just could not fall asleep. So, I went to Safeway to procure the necessary supplies for my contribution to the game day shenanigans this afternoon.

What's been new with me? Well, a lot actually.

First and foremost Happy 2015! Yay! We made it through the first year of flying solo in Seattle. What a trip! From exploring my new city, finally (somewhat) settling into my flat, making new friends, the trials of dating, school, random ass odd jobs, the lack of my dear sweet puppy (she's still in Italy with her Dadz), to making the decision to take a quarter off from college... Life has been INSANE!

The last quarter of school completely wrecked my mojo. It was just so intense and demanding that by the time it came to finals week, I basically checked out. Since this is the career path I've chosen for myself, I definitely did not like feeling so blasé about all things culinary.

After much consideration and a rock solid game plan to not get so wound up in the future, taking a quarter off to recharge was the only logical solution. After my last class, I jumped on a plane and flew across the country to Virginia.

My brother and sister in law live there now and so it was wonderful getting to hang out with them for three and a half weeks. My (ex) husband also happened to be in town during my vacation so we hung out as well. It was the first time we've seen each other in over a year, minus the FaceTime dates.

While I was on the east coast, I also visited with a good friend of mine, Espi. He's working out there now... well not now since he is definitely moving to San Fran as I type.

Three and a half weeks of sleeping in, gymming, shopping, and being merry was the perfect way to finish out 2014.

When the new year came around, I felt recharged and super excited for what these next 12 months will be about.

The most important resolution I've set for myself this year is to be more aware of how I interact with people in my life now. I mean, my friends and family- they know me and so it's not necessarily geared towards those people. I'm talking about the people I've met here. As it turns out, I've been very closed off and stand offish to practically everyone I've met. My peers made it known that for the past year that they've been around me, working and studying with me- they actually don't know anything about me other than my name and the fact that I moved here from Italy.

I'm working on opening up to people. At least the ones I find myself spending the most time with outside of school. And not only opening up about myself, but opening up to learning about who they are. I don't ask questions... It's not in my nature to want to "get to know" people. I just observe and experiment and if you're not a total douchetard (technical term) I listen if you want to tell me things. But rarely do I ever ask about family, friends, relationships, or what they do outside of school. I think because I just don't really care- and that is what I'm working on. Caring for others who are in my life now.

What else is going on... um I finally painted my flat. The main theme is black and white throughout the space but there are bold pops of girly ass colors. My bathroom is pink and princess inspired with tassels and jewels. The bedroom is royal purple, gold accessories, and luxurious fabrics (as it should be). The kitchen is a warm golden yellow and the living room is tiffany blue with tons of sparkle! None of my actual furniture from Italy has made it here yet. The husband totally dropped the ball on that one. I'm trying to be as patient as I can but holy hell, it's been over a year... ugh.

I have deep red hair now. It's growing out nicely. Since I'm not in school right now I've been going to the gym twice a day and my eating has become very strict minus the one cheat meal a week I've allowed myself for gymming twice a day. I've only taken advantage of that twice so far, and mildly at that. Something about pushing really hard makes it ten times more difficult to mentally derail my diet for some kind of "reward" type psychology. I think the reason why I haven't really gone bananas with the whole cheat meal situation is because the one thing I crave with the passion of the christ, is this pizza I get from back home. It's got hot Italian sausage, salami, grilled eggplant, onions, and a medley of mushrooms. OH MY YUM! I just haven't found any legit pizzeria that can emulate that pizza. So, why bother?

Anywho... I'm done for this post. Something totally random just popped into my brain and so I'm going to write about that now.

Have a great day! Byeeeee!