Spare Change

dirty-old-truck-1475644-639x503Okay.  So.  The thing in the way of my happiness is me.  If I am to gauge that I would experience a noticeably larger amount of happiness were I to follow up with my plans and attempt to struggle towards my dreams.

So, weight loss.  Right now.

I hesitate to write this because I certainly wouldn’t want anyone writing about my status when I’m working on myself, but my sister is doing great with her low-carb.  I don’t know how much or how little she’s lost, but she’s feeling good, she’s doing it and I can see a difference and I hardly pay any attention to anything.   There is, not an insignificant amount of jealousy, in that I feel bloated and starving and exhausted all the time and she seems, from the outside, alright.

And I am making no money at all, (so it seems) and running out and buying fast food and eating out at places that aren’t really in my poor person budget, acting in old habits, airporting as I defined yesterday.  Just thinking about the

I think, okay, vegetables.  And my whole body gets pissed off.  I get pissed off about everything that’s out of my control or seemingly so…my job situation, the fact that you can have one of these lingering powerful romantic interactions with someone and be strung along for weeks, my mom being sick and having to suffer to do what we can to destroy the sickness and getting messages from my vacationing sister about how I need to be reacting and behaving right now.  And in that space, being able to have a sandwich or a piece of pizza or four or five peanut butter cups to quash hunger and everything else attached to hunger, is magic.

It feels like sidestepping the effects of time.

Yesterday’s truth: There is no day outside of the chain of days, time does not stop and restart, we don’t escape life to some other place.  We just live in or out of fear.

This is the story of the fat people of the world.  Sometimes.  Some of them.  Of me. The Brene Brown bonafide truth that you feel freaked out and vulnerable and you do whatever you feel is necessary to excise those feelings.  Eating, when you’re scared of your own power, is this magical shield that is also a sword.  It just shuts off the thoughts for a while.  I feel like if I am vulnerable to my thoughts, I’ll lose ground, not gain it. Start panicking about driving which I’ve mostly avoided for the past three or four months.  I’ll look around and see what I’m currently half-blind to – real unhappiness with the treatment I accept, real fear, real sense of time slipping out of my hands.  It’s all the mental surgery I don’t get anesthesia for.

I’ve put forth this diatribe before.  I’ve danced the dance, lit the candles, stood very still and waited for signs to emerge.

Yet. At the bottom line, it’s will I do it or won’t I do it?  Right now, I don’t have the strength of will to curb things slightly.  Right now, I want a big act or nothing.

Hmm.

Chicken Trenta

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Oh, blog, oh, blog, oh, blog.   I am grateful for you tonight.  First, we speak of the world, which is scary and awful when we try to swallow the whole of its suffering in one choked-down gasp.  What am I supposed to do? is the phrase that comes to mind and the only answer I have is…just don’t make it worse.

And then, I speak of the storms inside the teapot.

While I was quietly telling old ladies their tiny, bony bodies are not too fat for the top they want to buy, my own world was flipping and flopping around.

The good news…god, that is a fucked-up way of saying it, but the good enough news is my mom has to start chemo on Friday providing insurance covers it.  It’s only good in that they were lucky to find the cancer at all, lucky to find it before she even felt symptoms, and its of a sort (I need to get the exact name, though I don’t exactly want it as if I know its name, I am allowing it a place or a voice here) that has a high survival rate, even if the fact that it’s a second time, apparently makes it harder.  Harder, easier, it’s all just words.  It’s all just shit no matter which hand it’s piling up in.

So I’ve grasped that by a pinky, by a fingernail, by a hair’s breadth and that’s rattling around in my head and in this head is also the fact that I have advanced at least to the next stage in this job application.  I have to offer up basic details about how I know how to use Word, Excel, and how to be in an office.  I think I can do that.  It makes you think for an instant that you’re in the running, but I think there’s probably at least 50 or 100 other people who bothered to apply.  There’s no reason to even worry about driving there, there’s no reason to even think about the trauma of quitting.

That said, now, two out of our office of six have quit/resigned.  One of which I learned about tonight via Facebook.  So that’s another stressful goddamned piece of news.  While I have been slowly trying to get my act together to leave, everyone else is whooshing out the door.  It can’t be good for anyone and not for my martyr complex that feels like someone’s just looking for the hammer to nail me to the office door.

And I am only 99% sure I locked the inner door at the shop.  I did.  I must have.

A headache, an sense of tiredness that I’m only beginning to register, and a wave of just wanting to be looked after is rolling over me.  I just want yesterday’s Okay, false as it is, to play one more song.  I just want to close the door and hear silence.  That’s dramatic.  I just want the earth to stop shaking so I can stand up straight.

C’est impossible!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First, this.

Thing one.  I refuse to be a prisoner of my thoughts, which is to say I refuse to categorize thoughts which are okay to think, and fretful, frightening thoughts as elsewise.  It creates such a cell.  If a stray news story about bone marrow comes, I flip the channel, I can’t allow it in.  I can’t let it touch me.  And that is not a way to live.

I still have not heard news on my mother and I am recalcifying around the desire to know.  I will have to know.  I will have to be involved.  I want to support and be there.  But I have such a thing in my head related to health and bad health news for the people I care about that I feel as though I am waiting for someone to shoot me with a gun.  That there is no middle ground option and there absolutely, most likely, will be.  There are a whole range of options and possibilities and I am just the person standing around hearing the news.  Not, at this moment, the person going through it.  I think I feel as though my empathy means I could get close enough to experience it as if it were happening to me, and then, somehow, it will be happening to me.

We have the family history.  We have it in spades and I don’t want to think even jot one about it. Not even in terms of sane life precautions.

That…is a mental project.

I did not quit my job today though I was closer than I have been yet this morning driving in.  Pressed up against the wall with things I can do nothing about, the prospect of being able to shift into something stable and away from everything making me crazy felt like the only out available to me.

There was a lot of talk with the boss.  I explained about this other issue, this poker in my side, even though I wasn’t totally sure I should.  She’s my boss, not the poker.  So, I feel like I have to respect my empathy.  Even if it sometimes puts me as last priority as I experience the suffering of others, it still is a deep and amazing gift.  Just to know that you’re not wholly closed off.  That the palette still has all of its colors.

I am still going to apply to the job I found yesterday.  I do still want it, a night’s sleep has not changed that, but I think it’s a lot more sane to casually look and apply than to leap off the tall building and hope that the law of averages would catch me.  We’ve experienced that enough in our family and I know that’s not the safe way to go.  I just felt so…gah, I need to get paid.  And I got paid, today.  We all got paid.  It’s a bandaid on a gusher, but I could at least get one piece of what I am due to pay out to the world out and that was something.  My austerity plans will have to continue apace.  It’s not all that far that we can keep this up.

Staying Fed

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Enough with the Civilization V.  Enough with the Sims and the Dragon Age.  There’s other things on the docket.

I don’t think I lost any weight this week and there is a portion of this country of mine that has lost its mind over it.  However, I know, in that heart of hearts place where I keep all my best knowings the reasons.  I’ve tracked the reasons on MFP.  I just wanted reality to not win out when I stepped on the scale about a thousand times in a thousand different places this morning.

I need to buy a food scale and actually control the portions.  There was a lot of eating out and best guestimating and weak-ass exercising and body equilibrium out of whack due to hormones.  That’s, you know, what happened.  It isn’t some celestial, glowing hand descending from the heavens and thwacking me on the top of the head and saying “No.  You will go no further!”  It is Mildred, bloated, gummy, disconsolate.  She sees me striving and her only response is to slowly back away from the basement door, muttering and moaning, and calculating the heuristics of how best to coerce me back inside.

And it’s a beautiful day.  It’s 70 degrees and we’ve not reached the Ides of March.  I have no interest, real or imagined, in hanging out with Mildred today.  It is hard to picture, darling, hanging out with you again at all.  So start thinking! Start plotting it out, little Caesar Augustus of the Spineless, how do we turn this little frustrating moment of plateau into a cascade of self-loathing and self-doubt?  How do we say that there is no more potential or possibility or days for improvement?  How do we beggar her belief?

…..

Later, still…

I am happiest of all, after an insane drop-off in mood, a Mildred pile-on, not going to take me alive, copper type angst situation, that I am starting to find an even keel again.  I hadn’t eaten, I ate my meal late but fast and whammo.  Listless staring, feeling exhausted, depressed, lonely, disconnected, quintessentially Mildred.

But…not forever.  I listened to the whole beautiful Tori Amos album Little Earthquakes, I got on the bike for a whole half an hour which felt like nothing with good music on.  Even, most remarkably, I cracked open the copy of S. I ordered perhaps a month ago.  I haven’t read it because if you know anything about S., you know it’s not just a book to read and I had got it in my head that it would creep me out or that I’d not be able to give myself the full absorption that I’d want to experience it.  That’d I’d be scattered and nervous and struggle, like I sometimes do when you load the idea of reading with the need to do it perfectly.

It doesn’t need me to be perfect, it just need me to read it.  And in doing that, I’ve briefly felt the most intense surge of love for the written word that I’ve felt in a long time.

Optimal vs. perfection.  One lets you read books that instantly transport you to another world, another lets you buy books and dread reading.

I will tell you how that goes.

Ah, my friends, it will be okay.  Today, for some reason, has been all over every map, but I’ll find a new tether soon enough and in the meantime, I’m not so afraid to fly.

 

Papancha

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I don’t know how I feel about this stock photo site.  Have I mentioned this before?  Everything is a little too evocative.  A little too composed and processed.  The old site would just have a slightly out of focus picture of a pencil and I’d think, YES, that’s my life.  My life is that pencil in this moment – it is the single most compelling, yet absurd, yet complete metaphor for who and what I am at this very moment and if it’s not, it’s a perfect tool for which to create dissonance and surreality.

A really nice shot of a beautiful rural scene sort of makes me paler in comparison.  Maybe it’s better this way.  If I don’t say anything of note or value or tickle your narrative bones in my posts, at least they’ll have some aesthetic value.  Even if it’s sort of regurgitated, culturally-approved aesthetics, processed through photoshop and cropped to within an inch of its life, it’ll have that.

It is Sunday night and the syndrome threatens.  Anxiety about the new work week, anxiety even about happy things like going out to eat on Tuesday (in a nano-second, I have considered: wearing that dress that draws attention to my legs, doing my hair and makeup which always turns out poorly when I actually try and not just half-ass it, do we have time to go to the movie and eat?,  what theatre would we go to, she won’t want to go to the movie, will I eat the right things?, that place has really delicious items with unknowable calorie counts, will I totally blow my diet?, when will I exercise, I will blow off exercising that day and I can’t and don’t want to do that).  It all feels like a treadmill floating above of pit of fire.

So.  I am aware I do this.  Today has been nice in that even though it’s been a quiet day, the Broncos are going to a Super Bowl – a fact I care about just enough to mention it here and very little more than that – but it will make people generally more pleasant to deal with this week. I have also read.  I have also read an interesting On Being article about thought proliferation which you see in action here all the time if you’re the one lucky person on this earth who doesn’t experience it themselves.   Essentially, the way one negative thought or an physical action or experience that leads to a single negative thought can suddenly sour your mindset for hours, or even days and beyond.  The Buddhist concept of papancha. How we torment ourselves for the thoughts we do have and our reactions to them.  I dunno, I’d recommend it.  I also read more of Big Magic, nearly finished with that one.  It’s not Bird by Bird, but then, what is?

I am really wanting and hoping to kick that wanting into deciding I will get up tomorrow and get on the bike before work.  It does make me feel good and I have earbuds so I could blast music and not upset anyone.  I did it today and felt outrageously good – the soreness is fine, present, but fine.

Enough thingnesses happened that I didn’t get too het up about the demands of the Universe that I dreamed up somewhere between yesterday and today of myself.  Wherein dudes write back or dudes are polite or dudes are in any way under my control.  They’re not.  But other thingnesses are like thighs

What do you think, sirs?

L’Ananas

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I don’t know.  If I’m honest about it, it feels weird.  But one of those weirds that is based in curiosity and interest and the unsettled feeling running through me is foreign, but not unwelcome.  This is the second day – it’s not even enough of a trend to feel like it might take root into a habit.

I used to think I would exercise more if it made me feel something other than discomfort.   I don’t know why today, as I was traipsing around my bedroom to an oddball playlist and a muted Leslie Sansone 2-mile walk, I thought..this feels good.  And then, out of the surprise of that, I thought back through the general sense of exercise experiences in my life.  Most of them have been fraught with the same kind of fear that informs my driving/life anxiety and panic.  I recall some gym class where we asked to do situps and other physical activities and needed to do a particular number in a stipulated amount of time.  Running a mile in fifteen.  I would come face to face with these tests and find my muscles shivering.  I thought there was something really fucked up with me.  Everyone else could do it and my stomach shook and got stiff and refused to pull me up.  I remember this as scary, as shaming, as embarrassing.  Just don’t do it and the feeling stops.  The fluttering, elevated heart rate needed to be slowed – nobody can live at that speed! The idea that you just needed to strengthen the muscle didn’t occur to me and no one mentioned that I was fine, I just needed work a bit more and strengthen up.  My body was, and is, this traitorous pedestal for my thoughts.  Pushing it to do more risked it turning off all together.  Not unlike Amelie’s incorrect and uninformed diagnosis from her father that she had an irregular heartbeat and that exertion was a potentially fatal risk, I decided for myself that I didn’t have a body meant for full bore living.

I don’t imagine this is a unique experience – being shaped by the first sensation that your body is different and doesn’t necessarily behave the way everyone else’s does.  I do think that my reaction might be a bit off the bell curve.  Over the years, I’d pick up exercise programs and throw myself into them with no premeditation.  When I got lightheaded doing something gentle like yoga, I thought, stupidly, viscerally, out of the powerful, out of whack pituitary that it reinforced the truth.   Then, my self-identified Emily Dickinson-inspired writerhood has no room in its mythos for sweaty armpits and

Exercise can’t be fun if you’re doing it on a knife’s edge.  If it’s an all or nothing proposition of skinny, rock-hard muscles training for marathons that would explode your heart with its intensity or laying very still and waiting for death…I thought for a long time that, by necessity, by logical standards, I had to pick the latter every time. Nobody was putting that choice in front of me, but that’s how I saw it.

Today…did not feel that way.    Today’s half an hour felt bouncy and buoyant and let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!  That 30 minutes felt the same as ten.  I felt like I could keep going.  It felt like a brief, natural high where all my worries and griefs could be shifted to one side.

And we have another walk planned in an hour or two for the dogs and I feel fine about that.   More walking means, I think, more ice cream and dried apples and more of whatever I eat for dinner after this morning’s lengthy attempt to make huevos rancheros needlessly complicated.

And writing! There’s time and energy to write now.  I feel several percentage points clearer in my skull.

This is good! Remember this when tomorrow I’m made of custard and hate everything.  Remember this when I can’t remember my ability to crawl out of bed.

I am always trying to measure and control and reduce excessive excitement.  If I start believing in something, especially related to my own dreams and influence over them, it’ll boil over and come to nothing.  I miss the bubbling.  The OH SHIT, this is possible.  I keep doing this, I give myself more security over my health, not less.  My little year-end secret knickers project for myself becomes more viable.

Come here with me, into my little teapot.  Here there is a roaring tempest and the storm cries: It’s good! It’s good! It’s good!

 

 

Secret Ravings of a Homeless Witch

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This is the post I wanted to write – the post I am writing despite still needing to do my romantical paean or whatever the heck rutting behind the chiffarobe sort of scene I’m aiming for.

I need to track exactly what I eat.  Or as exactly as the software allows.  I need to document my choices without curling up into myself.  Without yellowing and peeling as soon as I realize that I fucked up and then, trying to alter the record so that it isn’t written down, in digital stone, that I am a failure.

I have been really good and today, that fuck-up happened.  But if there is nothing to fuck up, and that is fucking with my head!  There was the Timely Garnet Extravaganza playing all day long in my undercarriage, with the glorious attendant rumblings of pain, sharp and bright like sheet lighting.  There was the financial dealings that have bled their way into my financial dealings which meant, at least for today, there was soup for leftovers and a crap outlook for grocery shopping. Then, there was me sealing that aforementioned soup shut in the microwave, and me in my new but already shaggy-dog looking poncho which is a look jokingly referred to as “homeless witch” by a sharp-tongued co-worker.  Whose sharp-tongue I usually appreciate and am amused by, but today, instead, felt rather a bit exhausted and irritated with.  I had put on makeup today.  I had pulled my hair into a cute ponytail.  Everyone was a little surprised at me getting the brunt of it, even him. Even though we all know that he just says whatever he thinks for better or worse. That’s the bit that bothers me, because nobody gives me feedback, really, and then, suddenly, out of the blue, this wry negative I have to laugh off.  I mean, I am totally down with witchery and wildness, but that wasn’t what he meant or what I had been gunning for.  I feel sort of messy and melted, but nobody’s allowed to pick up on that.  It sort of pisses on this idea that I thought maybe I was getting somewhere, yesterday.  It was feeling easier.  And today, I’m feeling like I can’t move two inches but for falling into another black hole of unsolvable problems.  Like my self-esteem got kicked in its imaginary junk.

So, the pizza I said yesterday, oh no, it’s crap, I would never eat it.   It is crap, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t eat it today because it Or the doughnut holes I am eating before dinner and probably in a minute going to have again.  I really wish I could have not.  But I did.  I have to own that I did it and not do it again tomorrow when things are going to be equally haywire.

Life is always going to jam me up.

I think the shame exists because I wish I could have some backbone in me that would feel obliged to say, hey, you are trying to lose weight and that means that you can’t do do what you did before.  This is what you want to escape.  You have to dig your heels in and pivot.  And when you don’t listen to your better voices, and you know you’re giving up time just to feel…not good or bad, but simply nothing, it’s embarrassing.  It’s embarrassing to say I ate maniacally and privately and in an attempt to keep myself from feeling regret about my job, regret about my body, from perceiving the failure I so often register myself as being.  Not resulting from my choices, but in-born, genetic, terminal failure.  I can hear the tsk-tsk, and the berating tone, and nobody’s said anything.  I make myself feel terrible so that I can keep eating poorly and have this same exhausting conversation over and over again.

But it doesn’t have to be.  Because before, I would do this binge-eating (which, I think in my personal history of bingeing and the collective one I believe exists, is not so bad) and nobody would know about it.   Food was medicine. Food was private.   Food was the panacea and where I didn’t have be nice and polite and silent.   I didn’t have to think about  I had the power to make sure I could get all I needed.   If I happened to eat publically, that was a social requirement, not nutrition.  Lately, though, all I needed is a hell of a lot.

So we have to say what is.   I didn’t want there to be rules I could fail, but there is still the desire that I want to meet. So we have to track what I actually ate.  Even if it’s “bad.” Even if it says that I took a flying leap.  Because we can’t work from nebulous generalities.  We do choose better when we know better, so pretending we can’t know – that it’s all incalculable intangible ATE GOOD or fluid, approximate ATE BAD, how do we replicate it or avoid it?  We end up pulling the same experiments over and over again, every time coming up REPLY HAZY, ASK AGAIN LATER.

Time for the bike and the floor.