in equal measure, onward

In all this time, all these posts from Surfeit to now, all these hundreds of thousands of words…years and years, it’s only just this month that I have health professional-based information derived from me being personally examined as part of my observations.

It is enlightening.

Many things, said out loud, to another person, can become enlightening as well.  Your thoughts and beliefs can become cartoonish when you have to share them.   Perfectionism, the beast, makes me think I can’t do things at all when I do them regularly and nobody stops me.  Never once.

so tomorrow, a diet.   a place for something to happen.

And past this place, I have some degree of positivity.  I have some degree of charging ahead, banners in the sky.  What a deranged and marvelous mood.  I bought elf ears.   I can be as ridiculous as I can be severe.

in equal measure, onward.

Notes on Notes

A friend – a good online acquaintance – I used to watch MST3K with passed away last week, though word reached us through social media today.   Nobody knows why…she was only 42.  It just, it seems, happened.

I am thinking of her and the conversations we had, the buoying she did for me and I attempted to do for her.  She was one of those people who if she got the sense that you might be friends…you were.  You didn’t have to awkwardly negotiate it.  You just got pulled in, under the wing.  She wanted no one left out.  Even if I got the sense at times, perhaps because I understand this mind, that she poured out her soul for people who never did the same for her.  She spoke about being weird and strange and that she was entirely at terms with all of her quirks and eccentricities.  It would be up to the man she was looking for to come capable of taking all of it on board, and she would take the path she took and wait for him to get there.

She felt always so strong and brave to me.  To have such boundless energy, but to be able to bind it, now and again, with this clear-eyed sense of self.  Of what she deserved.  If she was sad about being a single person, she was also a thousand other things – to and for other people and to and for herself.

If her death is without meaning, her life overflows with it.  I want to take some of that with me now, Ms. K, as I stand on the daily precipice of my life.

Because like it or not, it is an edge.  It always is – be it the risks we’ve mapped or the ones we haven’t. I found out from the kind PA that my labs and tests are normal, save for elevated thyroid which makes sense given my symptoms.   There are things to do about that which I will surely learn about and which will benefit me.

I just have to finish this post – now several days on and I can begin to say a bit more.

Blood Laughter

I am in bed. It is Monday night.  I have a bandage on my right shoulder from the tetanus shot.  I see only the tiniest red speck on my forearm where they took my blood.

No one would know, truly, the size of this miracle.  I think that is why I have come from feeling proud of my bravery today back around to sad and, ultimately, alone to a degree that I am not prepared for.

I did some meditation this morning, even if it was half-broken when I got the call for my ride.  My father went with me.   It’s funny these days when we have time together, he tells me these slivers of strange stories of his past.  Like I’m being given them to safeguard.  But they are always oddly perfect parables.  They’re always meant to help me if I can just go slow enough to pay attention.  When we went to the ballgame a few weeks ago and I told him how I panicked on the flyover bridge on the highway, he told me about how frightened he was in the St. Louis arch, how it swayed, how he wanted to get the hell out of there. He understood on some level.  There was no judgment.

Today, the story of trying to shoot a bat with a bow and arrow long that had gotten in the house.   Missing, and then, screwing up the courage to kill it with a hockey stick.

Horrible, weird, but somehow.  He understood, on some level, that this was a hard thing that I had to do.  So my father tells me this story and then he sits in the waiting room.  It was our deal to go and out of the corps, he was the only one available.  Once they called for me, the tech very perfunctorily had me march into the room, asked me if I was getting a physical.  I said…maybe? She said well, we have to book it differently if it’s a physical.  So, what is it?  I had a moment of fear that all of my notes trying to mitigate what this appointment might be had been ignored.  I thought there would be peeing and ballpeen hammers, and swabbing my earwax.  I thought it would be invasive in some way – a step too far.  They were lucky, I thought, to get me in the door even if the magic of the meditation was keeping me relatively calm.  Still.  I was there.  I told the tech I was having a physical.

They put me on the scale.  A number arose that was not shocking, but ought to have been had that been my focus. They took my blood pressure.  It was high.  I told the tech I was very nervous and she softened completely.  She said the NP would be a good fit.  She said there was no reason to worry.

The nurse practitioner looked like a slender Marie Osmond.  A youthful, energetic, ex-beauty queen sort of face, but, somehow…perhaps because I decided to pull no punches in my appointment notes about how I felt going into this…she was precisely the right person for me to see.  She said she was very proud of me for coming in.

She asked me if I scheduled worry time every day.  To be able to save anxiety for this predetermined block of time and when things arose, I would know I could worry to my heart’s delight tomorrow, but the day’s worries had been accounted for.  I thought it was a nice idea if I could begin to siphon even a drop of this madness, get one drop of control.

I said I wanted to lose weight – she didn’t bring it up.  She thought I should do keto.  I thought.  Okay.  Okay.  I could do that.  I understand that.   I could get clear and do it and see a difference, just like what I wanted, just how I wanted this to go. I became as truthful as I dared.  I trusted her.  I didn’t feel like she put out any of the information callously or to frighten me.  She had me breathe, and in the end said, I seemed much calmer.  She took my blood pressure again and said it was way down.  Normal.  She said I should have a mammogram and for the first time, I didn’t feel like the word had a bullet in it.  It wasn’t wreathed in flame.  She’s scheduled one and there will be a gynecological exam.  She said she could do it next time or the doctor she worked with was excellent, too.  It isn’t a shock that she was 100% professional, but it was a shock that I didn’t feel some secret judgment, I couldn’t even invent the secret judgment I wanted her to have to make me feel defensive.  I didn’t see her curl up her lip at me, see some dark stain, some obvious sign of physical…lessness.  She just saw me as a very nervous patient, someone she wanted to help.

Finally, she asked if I needed a tetanus shot, if it had been more than five years.  I considered – I was here.  I could be brave within the bravery and get it now or try and find more bravery later.  This seemed less likely so I went ahead and got it.  The NP said her farewells and that I had to go downstairs to get my blood drawn for the lab work, but first the tetanus booster.

Another tech arrived, and I, now feeling comfortable telling the whole world that I was terrified of doctors and needles and the whole health care racket, told her I would look away to keep myself calm.  She shrugged, unbothered, and rolled up my sleeve.  I turned my head waiting for something.  Finally, I looked back and she was applying the bandaid.

And I broke out laughing.  I felt absolutely nothing.  The whole thing was hilarious to me, so much anguish and terror in a teapot and even if I didn’t want to be amused by decades of pent-up anxiety unraveled in a single hour…I was.

Of course now, I ache to beat all holy hell on my arm, and now, there’s a lab report in my email and I hope I will make myself read it soon.  Still.  Even if there’s no one in the world who truly sees what this took, the mountain that got moved, the thoughts that are erupting and I will save words for tomorrow…it happened.

Suddenly there was something to say…

We begin with our gratitude.  I am grateful for the opportunities my job has afforded me financially.  I can follow whims.  I can chase down dreams of my youth.  I can ramble into a convention, see what I want to see, and ramble home.   It is very lucky and it is the framework, currently, for a life that might have otherwise been wholly unsatisfying.

I got to shake the hand of someone else I believe is doing true good.  Who is a piece of something that matters so much to me.

Tomorrow, I would have noted once, is the day I am going to the doctor.

I just don’t want to open it up and agitate the world.  It’s enough that it is happening and it is a thing I swore in private conversations with the self, the sort that never show up here because they demand that I am small and fearful and beholden to all the terrors one can invent, that would never happen.  Ever.  That it was too much.  That I would pass out by coming within a thousand feet of the idea.  That I am broken in such a way that there was no such thing as pre-emptive care.   It would happen and it would be so significant and terrible and painful and devastating that health care would happen to me, not by any will of my own.  It would be traumatic and expensive and I would regret not being able to marshall enough bravery just to find out that the road I was walking would eventually lead to a field of upturned nails and glass.  But to do otherwise, the inner talk insisted, was impossible.  I could more easily sprout wings.

And life continues, and I believe myself over fact.

Except, somehow, some way, past me did not inform the fear and made an appointment.  And it will be a morning of terror, but I’ll end up knowing how, if possible to right the path.  I’ll be able to ask the question I want to ask which is less a question than a request…tell me, with your authority, your review of my chart, as I might ask a shaman, a palm reader…tell me what to do with what’s before you.  This addled person who is alone so often that food is friend, is solace, is a bridge between moments well before it’s sustenance.  Tell me who is so exhausted, with stringy, fine hair, and weak eyes and sore boobs and this blubbery gut, tell me if it’s a cup of broccoli M,T,W, and a cup of squash the other days.  Hand me the calendar and say, do this.  Try this for a week and see if you don’t improve.  Do this and don’t do this and you likely will settle down.   Drink water.

All these things I am entirely capable of doing, but won’t unless I’m prescribed.  Right now, I can’t seem to lift a pinky to take care of myself and this…is a novelty.  This is a curiosity. What horrors will we uncover?  What grand sins?  But if I can begin with the rule of law, a place that can’t be bent, I can carry that perhaps with me back to therapy.  I can work on the road behind me that is guiding the road ahead.

I exist as a person who existed as a child who dealt with being shy and afraid and alone and less than the daydreams that flooded her brain by flooding it at regular intervals with secret, and aggressive treatments of sugar.  Who would steal cake mixes, stir them up like E-Z Bake Oven recipes with water and a quick nuke in the microwave, and hide them away in her room. Feasting there, I remember one thing about it and one thing alone, the high of the sucrose.  Of accomplishing this secret thing that was wrong, that none of the other girls did.

I never cut.  I never did a thing to draw a single eye to blink.  But I did do this.

I remember being punished for this upon discovery.  Spanked, or given time outs or just yelled at.  But I had so much time alone to tiptoe to the kitchen, draw a fingertip across the dessert undoubtedly on the countertop, and pinch a taste of five or ten.  I do not recall being asked why in any serious fashion I was doing it.  Why one serving did not satisfy me.  I don’t know what I would have answered if I had.  There was no real meditation, then.  I don’t think I knew how gasping and desperate my soul was.  Is.  It was all inner voice, no, sense of self evolved that had the idea that I was not striving garbage.  Endlessly clawing through waves and veils of fantasy towards someone, something rooted in reality, held back by a perfectionism that kept dropping me on my head.   No matter how I started towards my goal, I was going the wrong way.

My mother was ill.  My father at a job that didn’t pay enough.  We were loved, but let loose.  My body did not turn athletic like my parents’ at puberty.   Whatever faerie qualities I might have claimed as a girl dissipated and I got soft and round and my short height accentuated these features – made them unforgivable flaws.  It felt like being abandoned by a part of myself I thought eternal, I thought was real magic.  It was a devastation.  Truly.   While the girls around me shot up and started running track, and drawing romantic attention, I wanted only to go back to Tolkein and Elfquest and not feel completely at odds with my vision of beauty.

But there was no going anywhere but where I could get in my head, and when I got back from that place, I sat alone at tables, I walked alone in hallways, sat alone in busses, smiling like an imbecile at people who knew me as a Stranger so they didn’t imagine me as a threatening girl with opinions.

Cake was balm.  Cake was cocaine.  Even if the understanding was that Cake was a treat that rational people could control their desire over.   I would eventually stop, I believed.  I would eventually grow up.  I would eventually be able to go to the doctor and tell them who I was and let them see me, help me, keep me on track.   That is how everyone did it and that was the general understanding.

But why would you go somewhere and pay to show them the worst parts of yourself, to see their features tweak and turn down, to lay out the overdue library book of your body and beg for forgiveness when nobody had to know?  Nobody had to reject me romantically, nobody had to reject my body for a failed construction, nobody had to confirm the break and if I could just hold out for a hundred years, I can escape this world with nobody saying the words loud enough for me to hear.

I am beginning to feel – to know – that I can’t hold out that long.  I have to go to the doctor and hear bad news and I have to update my prescription for my glasses.  I have to know my weight.  I have to do situps and not look for baked goods to save me from myself.  I have to drive my car in the rain and over bridges and places I haven’t been before.  I have to tell you I don’t love you and I can’t sit here, not loving you, pretending I am just on the edge of being someone you could love.

I can’t go backwards.  I can dream and make beauty and health and fantasy out of where I am if I can get the fear out of it.  Flush my heart of the stories and the saccharine.  I can go to the doctor tomorrow, and take the little prick.

Meanwhile my mother moves from week to week, from CT scan to CT scan.   Good to good to good to…some point which is either better or worse.  Until, as she says, they come up with the miracle cure.

Plus, I’ll save $300 on my insurance.  Which I’d forgotten about as well, until just this moment.  Money that will justify something frivolous or motivational or just…not cake.