Complete and Total Meltdown: Day 42

I think, briefly, I capitulated to the great despair.   I am not sure if I am still on my knees before it, but I think, perhaps, I will not be long down.

I gave myself an inch and that inch became a hundred miles.  I feel tired and bad and like a devil just has been awoken from the tranquilizer dart I thought would see me through to safety.

I was thinking about Valentine’s Day and how nicely nebulous the dark space is where my heart is seated in my chest.  I was thinking about my mother and how I don’t like how the chemo seems to be using her in the way you would imagine the cancer would if it had its way.  Exhausting, wizening, enervating.  She’s upbeat, she knows what’s up, but I have to overwrite the story in my head.  I am not seeing her enough so every time feels a bit surprising.  I’m not seeing her because I want to hold everything at status quo in my mind.   I want everything to push forward for me without doing a dang thing, and I want everything to stay steady for her without doing a dang thing.

Meanwhile, at work, we learn about a little boy who has benefited from the things we make.  A bajillion heart defects and issues and surgeries and problems and finally – we do a thing and he is free to be a little boy.    I mean, I don’t do it, but I answer phones for people who make ads for people who do it.   Or something inexactly, but legitimately related.

So I haven’t lost any weight, despite a non-zero effort.  The kitchen’s a nightmare, I don’t want to cook in it.  My car suddenly turned on a low tire pressure sign halfway through the drive this morning, causing an inadvertent panic.  They’re asking me to do things I don’t know how to do.  It’s fine, but I’m unsure.  Tired.  The activation energy over the past few days – I know what I need to do. I just do not do it.

So I ordered a pizza and have sickened myself on it and it’s here next to me and I’m contemplating which is the greater evil – to eat it and swallow the shame of having bought it and blown yet more money on one-off food fixes, or to toss it and blow that money and risk constantly daydreaming about wasted pizza and use that to justify another wave of carb-tasia.

It’s not good.  It’s just not.  I am thinking about how I didn’t even think or care about my goals.  How I didn’t feel qualms about breaking the plan.  How I know how this feels and I know how it feels to string yourself out on guilt aftershocks after the initial binge.  I know and I know that I don’t know if anything is going to be different even though there’s a thousand and one reasons to make this time the time.

Why can’t we make this time the time?

Snowblind: Day 37

I am feeling positive this morning.  Not entirely sure why given the fact that right behind me is a veritable whiteout situation.  I don’t have to immediately leave work, which is the only way that I think I’m not flipping out.  I will, I suppose, have to eventually leave work.  I’m deciding on the bus, but it’s a matter of whether or not I’m driving myself to the bus station or no.  I’ve got boots in the car, at least.  There is an element of peace working here where I know, on these days like this, crap flying from the heavens upon us, I don’t have to necessarily find the huge well of resources within to sort out how I’m going to sleep at my house tonight.  How, in this 1-3 inches, I will endure?

Maybe it’s the activation energy! Which I announced with an exclamation point as I got myself upright relatively quickly this morning for an early meeting.  Up I rose, careening into the heavy, extensive fog.  It didn’t feel impossible.  Days with an hour later start and I am on the constant edge of death.

For now, at my desk, with a charger possibly in my car, possibly not, typing away as I eat my salad.  I do not violently hate the fact that I have to eat this salad on Day 6 of episode 900000 and 1 of my weight loss “journey.”   It could definitely be a worse salad than it is.  It’s mostly fresh and the dressing only had 3 carbs, and sure, this is the sort of content that brings all the kids and their milkshakes and their music to my lawn.
Spent the evening working on some writing. Not happy with it, but it’ll do for what it needs to be.
Counting that towards my total.  Happy I saw Dimash on my CBS TV.  Feeling decent save for the snow.  Shoulda grabbed those boots yesterday!

Habitland: Day 36

Start early. Get the window rocking in its pane, just ever so slightly, so you can pop through it when you must.

I would like to write on what I would like to write on. Just mark it down under the long, long, interminable list of things that are out of my hands.

Lunch today was bacon-wrapped meatloaf and a salad which I definitely need to make some time next week for myself. That could make a good number of meals. Alexa, I would say, if my electronic overlord had access to me here, remember the meatloaf. I’d also have more control over the random wheat carbs that were in it because it’s institutional meatloaf and institutional mushroom gravy and everything needs a little sawdust to puff it up for another 100 mouths. It’s a good idea.
There’s something nice, settling, relaxing, protective about the realization that it doesn’t really matter in the end if I do low-carb, or low-cal, or keto, or some pickle soup diet. It is never about the exact restrictions or the exact ideology or scientific benefit. What matters is that I feel it working and I stoke that feeling and that belief and that discipline long enough to see a difference. Then, I’m standing with enough elevation to decide something. From down here, from the place of the same 5-20 lbs, nothing really changes or hooks. The habit is simply a habit. But you can’t get to the whole “lifestyle change” garbage/personal heaven without passing through habitland. You have to walk in the direction of your dream, regardless of how you’re thinking about it, so the muscle memory.
So I don’t want to frighten anyone, but my goal, I think is to change enough to frighten people. Not in terms of being unhealthy looking, not in terms of having so much control over this that I lose control and become mostly skin and bones.  A walking sack.  No, that’s not the vision at all.  The goal is to make people realize how much I can do when I settle in and dig down and put my mind to it.  To make the discipline that dances in and out of my life so permanent, so powerful, that I can’t be seen as I was before.  That I get all the power and praise that comes from effectuating that level of change.
That I get that moment where everyone understands an inside the same as an outside.
Fuck, it feels very trite, save for the fact that when you haven’t had a moment like this, ever…and you’ve lived through eons of cycles pretending you don’t mind, you don’t care, you can be ignored and forgotten and made to be secret and unnamed…maybe I need to accept what my trigger actually is. What actually motivates me rather than what is supposed to.  Good health, body security, ability to not get fluttery over hills.  Yes, to all of that.
But maybe part of good health is a good body image. And maybe a good body image can happen when you accept that you have a body – one you want to carry your skull around and show off your genius.  Maybe having someone tell you something good might interrupt the sonic shell of bad news.  Maybe it’s alright to feel like you could get a compliment and it wouldn’t be about anything more than that.
Maybe!

For Best Results: Day 27

So yesterday was a longer post, I don’t know what tonight will bring when I really want to work on at least two other things and the thing I most want to work on is delayed until Tuesday at the earliest.

I have tasks I have to complete.  I’ve been arguing in some ways with J all day as our motivations and interests collide and diverge.  I need the time to think about and address my own stuff.  This morning we did not do breakfast.  No fancy final eggs benedict to swallow me up, however, the absence of breakfast lead to me holding firm on the idea of needing lunch.  So my birthday lunch ended up being my younger sister and I eating tacos quickly and splitting the bill so we could hurry and get my mother the pho she wanted.  This was important because she’s changing the chemo formula next week and things are continuing into a positive, but nebulous place.  A nebulous, but positive place?  One spot going away to reveal another spot.  The cancer in the bone holding steady.  Things not progressing, but the medicine not attacking like it should.  Somehow the new medicine will be less harsh.  Maybe her hair will grow back.  If she wants pho, or she wants the moon, we do what is required for her to have it.

You stop thinking about needing some grand party in moments like these.  You stop thinking that the day needs to hit some watermark of ego-stroking to matter.  They gave me a big gift card for Amazon.  They let me watch Critical Role for over an hour with nobody making too many comments.   That’s lovely.  If I can’t have them sitting there, engaged with something I care about, I’ll take being able to just enjoy it around them.  It’s nice to feel as though I could give myself 5 seconds of not being beholden to an idea I have and how much air is in the room when I do that.

I don’t have to be made to be a princess.  I have to make myself happy.

I’m doing that by writing, and slowly, painstakingly, taking care of one thing I need to take care of at a time.  I’m doing that by letting myself think about the plans I made and set out in the future, how day by day they’re moving toward me…but also, I can move towards them.  I can find the mechanized walkway they have in the airport and walk fast as I can on it and zoom by rather than lean on the side.  A labored metaphor, but yes.   I can think about what I want.  And another day of Starbucks and pizza and refusing to track and pay attention to your choices is not going to make for better posts.  Must lay your head down in new places to have better dreams.

Tonight before bed: find your bus pass, please.  Pick out some clothes that you can wear to survive the snow.  Buy the book. Charge your fitbit.  Check your email.  Take your hand off the stove.

Phone calls.  Other things to note.  I apparently leveled up in our game.  I’m excited about that, given that it’s never happened before.  I’m excited to be able to do more, to use the information I have.

That’s enough for you for today.

An Exclamation Point Too Far: Day 26

A long time ago,  I had a friend with a celestial last name.  It’s her birthday today.  Just thinking about that as I pour out a toast and contemplate a week of birthday, D&D, body image, surfeit, and surely other things.

So, last night, was another fun night of D&D.  Me and a bunch of nerdy boys.  Boys and men.  Boy-shaped men.  Man-shaped boys.  I really only get comfortable and remember what’s going on once it’s about done.  But there’s always that one moment where you go OH THIS IS GENIUS, I AM GENIUS, EVERYTHING IS FUCKING GREAT!  And then it rolls into you being unable to tie your metaphorical D&D shoes.  The highs and the lows – as anyone with any experience will surely tell you.

The dangerous thing I’m coming to realize is I have a crush.  A crush on tin whistlin’, very tall, charismatic and unbothered guy at D&D. Guy with a girlfriend who also plays D&D. Guy who is pleasant, sociable, but I refer you to the aforementioned exceedingly unbothered about me.  Times being what they were, this once would have been the sort of mental drink I thrill to just nurse for ages.   I would spend a great deal of time despairing over the reality of the situation (and probably still will, though I think it will of much shorter duration and intensity), but I would, as an ultimately rational being, accept the facts as they are.

However, I have been told I am single recently.  Even if this information has been followed by an inverse desire to speak with me and pat my head and flirt and behave as before – as someone might cling to a life preserver.  Sure, life preserver, if you’d be happier floating adrift at sea, I’m fine with that.  But if you’re not doing anything, keeping me from drowning seems like a noble way to spend your time.   Sigh.

So I’m letting myself scan the world around me for a boyfriend who wants to be my boyfriend.  I mean, I guess.  That’s awful forward of me, but death dances close and brushes my hems with her own.  No harm in looking, single girl that I am.  And I go to D&D and suddenly I’m surrounded by wry, clever boys making dick jokes.  It’s that one silly slice of high school life that I deserved more of and never really got.  And suddenly, I think of that girl that I hated so who had all of the goths and nerds and offbeat guys in as much love with her as I knew existed at the time – because she played Magic: The Gathering.  How they would swirl around her and her piercings and go out to the Pit and probably had a lot of other pain and issues going on in her life that I was mentally incapable of seeing because I was this sensitive ball of hot wires that was constantly rolling away from anyone to keep them from getting electrocuted and me from losing the one thing I had – that useless circulating power.  I was outside of all of that, but I always believed that’s where I belonged.

Now, somehow, at the table, I’m the only feminine force.  Now I’m the one that makes them at least cognizant of the dick jokes…after the 3rd or 4th time.  I’m the unattached single girl who is both trying and not trying to be the cliche I cast my high school nemesis.  I want the tall D&D guy to see me and approve somehow.  I want validation and to rewrite those years.  Damn, it’s ridiculous and bizarre and The Onion headline-worthy and far too much pressure to put on myself, but it feels like if I just stay in the awkwardness long enough, something’s got to happen, somehow. Maybe.   As of last night, there was already wry, sardonic, clever boy #2 who may or may not be dating anyone but does have a “last girlfriend” who lived in New York with him and may or may not now be in a freezer.   This is America. Never assume.

So, given the fact that I am this explosion of bad ideas lately, I am trying very hard to use my dead-end crush to a good end.  I am trying to convert it, rather than into whinging posts and mournful emotional exfoliation, into motivating myself into becoming the sort of woman who would have the option, were she immoral enough to take it, of breaking his heart.  I wouldn’t, of course.  I have boxes of evidence to prove I wouldn’t.  But I want my self-esteem and regard to be at the level where I would be pretty sure that were I to press the issue, there would be an issue to press.  I want that sort of slow-boil ego.  Not spilling out on the stove narcissism, just steady, constant faith that your shit is together enough that he should want a bit of it.  It’s a much nicer idea than rolling up in your rumpled sweater and sitting there stiffly in worry and fear and wondering how terrible you’re doing and how shitty you’re RP’ing and being shaped in the shape of garbage in the world. In both worlds.

It’s funny how you begin even to think about how much you need to act in a bit of self-regard, how you let one dream, one person, one thing that is no longer…sparking joy, ahem…go and the energy shifts around you.  Marie Kondo is on to something.  Suddenly, J wants to do some writing with me which feels like a far more productive thing to do together than where we are right now.  Suddenly, a couple other writing opportunities are opening up – personal things I that I want to do – suddenly, rather than clinging to the life preserver in J – I feel like, maybe, metaphorically, I know how to swim.

And painted in the background is the siren song of eating shit.  Sugar and salt and shit.  Tomorrow, after heading to a restaurant to visit with m cousin and ordering the wrong thing today, a nice tasting but overich croque madame heavy with bechamel sauce, I’ve been invited to invent a quasi-birthday meal out.  Everyone’s sick.  After just wave upon wave of dining out in a, damn, if I don’t want to stop and just have a piece of celery and walk calmly for 1-2 miles.  But my brain won’t allow it.  There will be tiramisu and maybe waffles and I’ll submit to the unknown calories and draw a line. So I’m hopeful that we eat early, I get home, and I can just begin the hard work of getting out of my own way here.

I have not, as of this writing, been to Chipotle this year…which is the hill of guacamole I’ve chosen to die on, I guess.

And I’m finding myself too irritating to stand, and publish…

Killer of Sorts

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I am such a medical marvel.  I feel much, much better overall, just of course, beyond a few instances when I thought my scalp was on fire, I was allergic to strawberries, my face was as red as Violet Beauregarde’s was blue, or that I was having some form of conniption.  Or the subtle ache in my legs. Beyond that, the neck and teeth felt 10 times better than I expected them to.  I feel a little bit closer to what I ought to be, typically.   Just…odd, like something’s radiating out of me and acting weird as it runs through my body.  Still.  Here we are.

Can’t get too hung up on that for now for reasons asserted earlier.

Tomorrow, I am a shop girl and we talk about the future.  My mentor has found another person for me to send my resume to – someone who is not a stranger to me, per se.  It used to be, many moons ago – perhaps I wrote about it here, I should check, that a very elderly man came by the center where I worked.  He was gregarious, chatty, self-amused.  One of those flirtatious old men who could be mildly flirtatious and it wouldn’t bother you because he was both so old and so kindly with it.  And he decided I had a nickname – he called me Happy.  Mostly, I imagine, because I put on the good show and welcomed him and chatted with him and didn’t ignore him as people might be wont to do with someone so willing to hang about and comment on life as it passed by.   Apparently I made enough of an impact that I got invited to his 95th birthday party.  I didn’t know anyone, but that’s never been the sort of restriction to stop me if I’m curious and willing otherwise to respond to an invitation.  There, I realized that his daughter and granddaughters knew who I was, too, and as they were likable and warm-hearted people, I didn’t mind this either.

He was a very nice man, who, sadly, if naturally, passed away a few years ago.  His daughter is the one who will be taking a look at my resume.  I will have to learn tomorrow what she even does.

I had a long conversation with a co-worker.  Her frustration is the same as ours and I can only say at this point what I feel.  I can’t continue this way.  So, I’m looking.  She, being another kind, good spirit (I am surrounded by them constantly), says good for you and I believe she means it.  We’re all worn down by this, caring, understanding the reasons, wishing it were otherwise…none of that shifts the reality that I want stability so that I can start pulling together the story of my writing life.

Also, I killed a spider in my shower.  I did it because of Mary Oliver, Nietzsche, and my earnest desire for cleanliness.  I didn’t want to do it, I tried to sic the cat after it, but in the end, it was me.

 

 

 

Presence

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A post on MFP:

I honestly don’t know how I found myself back here tonight.  I think it has to do with the power of Sundays over me to try and reset, improve, recalibrate and start anew.

I have been away for at least three months, probably, away mentally for five or six.

This has been, I believe, the hardest year of my life thus far.  My last post here on MFP referenced my grandfather’s passing which still leaves a wake of pain and this was directly followed with the loss of a family pet, very recently the loss of another, and my mother’s cancer diagnosis after 21 years of being in remission.  This has been on top of a strangling and depressing job and financial situation which has ended up with me taking on a second job, working six days a week, and having my anxiety flare up just as I had begun to get an arm around it.  I’ve had somebody fly into my life, a hummingbird in terms of weight and speed, only to fly right out of it doubly fast.  Most recently, I’ve been grinding my teeth to the point of severe pain.

I’ve been lonely, distracted, angry, put-upon and for the most part floating about five feet above my body.

I think, actually, I ought to have gained a hundred pounds.  I ought to be unable to sit in this chair.  I ought to have tumbled headlong into food and at the very least, I can say that I haven’t broken new records in terms of catastrophic consumption.  Perhaps this can only be attributed to the fact that I’ve been too broke to assuage my problems with all the french fries that the local fast food establishments can find deep fat to fry.

This is not to say that I haven’t gained weight, that I haven’t been mindless and destructive in my eating habits, that I haven’t scared myself with my outright refusals to take care of myself in a way that counts…in a way that is more important than buying a girly lotion or making sure I put a little rum in my Diet Coke to settle me down.

But I have thought about how good a walk might feel (once I got past the sense that I might have some sort of panic attack), I have thought about how good a plate of green apples and cold water and something nutrient rich and steadying like spinach and hardboiled eggs might be.  I have thought from time to time about if I could have some energy again, I might find myself in a different position.

I don’t want to say that tomorrow I will track anything because I don’t know what I’m having for breakfast.  Starbucks is the first thought I’m having and I don’t want to say what isn’t the right answer, but I honestly don’t know the way from here to the shining city of not needing food for emotional succor.

What I know is that getting there…getting anywhere…it will be a fight.  I have a lot of briars to machete, a lot of walls where the mortar has set brick upon brick between me and the simple idea of giving a damn again.

But my mom is doing okay – great, at least in terms of what is visible and knowable to us here on the outside.  Even going back to work tomorrow for a few hours.  I have a whole two day streak of not drinking soda.  I have people in my corner.  I have all these ideas about maybe, and if we, and shall we, and oh, lets that are piquing my interest.

I just thought…I could do something for this body that scares me so much.  I could do something more than nothing.