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.

The Thing With Feathers

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Ah, all my lovely friends and blog readers.   It is Friday, Good Friday for some, Great Friday for others, and just today for some of the rest of us.

I wanted to talk about the fact that while I am not losing my job…I am being given the all-clear to look for another job.   This is a complicated thing that I’ve been talking about with the people involved – some of them and wrestling with for a while now.  A thing that’s causing a certain amount of stress in my brain.  It’s made me feel a bit like I am floating, it’s made me want to be told point blank what is to be done, it’s made me want to not do anything – read, write, exercise – that even yesterday made me feel good.  Like a flash flood of depression.

But.

What the hell.

The impulse to whine about having to deal with this doesn’t get me anywhere.  I have a weekend.  I have plans and things to do.  I have a story to work on.  And I have a story to let go.

I so often use this blog for the reiteration, the focus, the underlining of things I tell myself I can’t do.  I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.   It is walking water torture.  It is a little beastling that runs ahead down every hallway and locks doors and windows.  It pulls down shades, turns out lights.  And for the longest time, I have just wandered along as though I turn corner after corner in these darkened rooms and just have to turn back out again.  Telling the story of my life and casting myself as the Little Match Girl is a profound addiction for me.

So, we climb out of that shell.  I am a thousand different women, a different one every day, but there’s a ribbon that runs through us all and knots us together.  This soul that exists without a name, a fire that burns for no witness, this river that feeds itself.  It is metaphysical, but it matters.  I matter in my own life.  Imagine that.

What does all of this mean?  It means I have to do some shit I don’t want to do.  Own up to things I don’t want to own up to in terms of food and negativity and my own flatout destructive laziness.  The damage I do by behaving like I don’t matter.  Because there is a very real cost to stress hiding, to living with an aim to stay invisible.  I pay it in health, I pay it in peace, I pay it financially, of course, when things get left undone because there’s emotional pain tagged to it – oftentimes, deeply irrational levels of emotional pain bound up in stories nobody knows but me.

Totally had go back and edit out the 2nd person there – POV matters, too.  I live in this floaty, 2nd person stance here.  As if the shit that hurts is just happening, not necessarily happening to me.  The woman who does this in writing group (she uses this rather aggressive form of 1st person that somehow requires her to refuse to use articles) kills me.

I am alive and in this body.  I have real desires.  I am not just my words written to meet a quota.  I have to deal with paper.  I have to deal with phone calls.  I have to goddamn grow up about this because laying back and wishing has not served me well.

So, more truth, less chatter.  Throw open windows, light candles, bust through doors.  Level up.

It is never so terribly impossible once we I begin.

 

Where the Veil is Thin

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Couldn’t possibly find five hundred words.  Could only watch more videos and lay still, chained and rattled by the idea that this day should be a certain way – meaning the way all days have always been when we are in the midst of a much more complicated discussion.

I told my mother the thing I meant yesterday to tell you, blog.  That the therapist essentially said that the therapeutic model the insurance is based on is one of obvious improvement.  Of issues being resolved, cases being corrected, things being handled and bettered.  It is not based on patients finding comfort in spending an hour venting and re-situated their brains on the challenges in their life.   There needs, in all cases, but particularly in mine where the issue is one regarding pushing forward, to be progress.

Or I could lie and press the buttons on the diagnostic box and say that no, never in the past two weeks have I felt overwhelmed and found social situations difficult to deal with.  Not once.   And that would mean that, at least in terms of the box and the data attached to my name in the records, that I am improving which would lead to ending therapy because well people don’t need to be coached back to wellness. Or we can set up a short series of four or five sessions and try and knock some of these problems out and end the therapy.   This seems intense and not something I know how to do.  I immediately doubt this is possible when she says it.  Or I can still go, once a month, and do this thing of pressing the buttons on the box that say that I still struggle, which will be utterly true.  Because it’s either sometimes or not at all in the registry of the box, and just a little bit or less and less is a therapeutic addendum.  A note that matters in the specific, not in the aggregate – it matters in my relationship with my therapist but not  at all to the materials her bosses see when they are considering how well she is doing at fixing people.  So I get that she sees my holding pattern as an all around liability to all of us.

So as I took this in, I felt a bit threatened.   Like I was boring her.  Like it was either get well, or…not get out…but languish.  This was exactly my rationale for ending therapy the last time.  I was just going there to vent my spleen, to be mothered, to be supported and get the sour patches repaired in my brain.  It was a short-term solution because I wasn’t working on the problems.  We just mopped up the milk.   So, the threatened feeling passed, and I saw the opportunity she was presenting.  The Faithful Light nodded through me and said, no, we need to accomplish something here.  I said, how do we do this?  She said SMART goals.  I refuse to second-guess, to roll my eyes, to do anything but just follow through.

I told my mother this over dinner.  There was no comment.   I wanted to let this cause me doubt and upset and to feel ever more alone in this process towards a life unchained from fear, but I realized how much I am her daughter.  How she, despite having never phrased it as I would, is off in her head, thinking her thoughts as arbitrarily and autonomously as any sonderous soul in the universe.  That my demanding her meet my wavelength and see my troubles in the first instant I declaim them is as likely as pigs flying over the mountaintops and dancing down 36.

I only want to show myself.

 

Unleash the Hounds!

I am, right now, in the space for the thoughts to get out.  The fan is blowing cool air, I am full of dinner and dessert.  I have muted the advertisements on Spotify.

I did my best today to not block love.  It gave me a headache and backfired a bit, but I kept at it.  As the song goes, I radiated love like Three Mile Island.  They told me I looked ill and pained and should go home.  But I kept at it just enough to refuse to let myself blow up over aforementioned person getting a label stuck in the postage machine that required a single touch to resolve and should not remotely be …enough.

I accept them for who they are and eventually, it will not be my problem anymore.

Ca suffit.

The program asks me to write in my journal a list of those I resent.

Probably most everyone I interact with on a regular basis to some degree.  Some of whom might read this.  Not in a big, seething ball of resentment sort of way, just, a casual, Well, aren’t you just King/Queen Shit today?

If I resent my parents, it would only be because they have expectations for me that they don’t have for themselves and they never modeled for me.  But, it’s not like that matters anymore to me.   I value my shyness and introversion, but I don’t have this expectation that I can go through life like that and be happy 100% of the time.  I’ve had to go through a gauntlet and I’m still not brave and I still feel socially anxious and shitty most of the time…but they aren’t responsible for that.  I choose.

If I resent my sister, it’s only because we’re so similar and yet so different.  We want things for one another, imagine that, that we are unwilling to give ourselves or demand from ourselves.  We haven’t really been in tandem for a long time and part of what therapy is about – for me – is releasing that expectation that we need to be in lockstep for me to feel safe.  Like status quo is the best to hope for without knocking the apple cart over.   I had a lot of really ingrown and shitty beliefs that are just based in the seemingly accurate idea that I can’t get outside love so the love and support of my family has to suffice.  And it’s permanent and risk-free, so it’s so easy to abuse.   And I think I resent that I keep waiting for her to make leaps so that I can follow behind, having the way double checked, and for that way to be the way I’ve already decided I want to go. I guess I resent the feeling of having to own my own future – not having a trailblazer giving me emotional hand-me-downs.  But part of therapy is that as much getting through the fear and being a trailblazer in my own life, for my own self, is important to me.  So that resentment – at whatever level it remains active at this moment –  is actually a good thing because it’s putting me into gear for me.

And I’ve spent decades being resentful and envious and jealous and cruel and more to my younger sister, but time has helped that.  And my own need for her to meet my expectations and to maintain this 5-person family unit and for life to feel like the storybooks my life has never matched up with.  She’s softened, by taking her life her way, and I think I’ve pulled away enough to get some perspective that I didn’t have when all the drama went down.  She was always able to have things I didn’t want but didn’t want to be inaccessible and they were.  Boys flocked to her, she didn’t have – in my mind – any struggles with her weight.  Fear was completely out of her dictionary.   I was resentful that we took all of that as natural.  She was the flirt, and I…inert.

I was really resentful that nobody ever interjected themselves into the situation and redefined the roles and said I could be the flirt.

But…I…was there.  I had choices.  And I feel bad that I chose, more often than not to make her feel bad about herself when I felt so helpless about how bad I felt about myself.  Again, the sense of unity, of nobody running off to not need this mechanism of care I felt I was a cog within.  I wasn’t a cog.  I was a girl, burying her head in the sand and the clouds and anything to escape the dissonance of my body and mind and the outside world.

And I did fight back, in my way, becoming a fabulous and intriguing person with a rich inner life.   And a genius sense of humor drenched in a custardy sarcasm. Hah.  I did develop empathies and strengths that benefit me to this day.

I was resentful of boys who wanted me to be their word girl.  Who wanted me to be their Cyrano de Bergerac.  Who seemed kind to me and befriended me and then over and over again wanted me to use my gifts to help them seduce other girls, sometimes my friends.  When they couldn’t think of the words, they came to me, and I, shamefully, awkwardly, helped them. I think nothing in my life ever wounded me like this did because in language I feel at home, I feel free, a bird gliding on the currents.  It is where I think if I have any beauty, that beauty emerges.

And they saw the words, not me.  Like a shadow. I was never more than “a good writer” to anyone, and the powerful sway of my inner worlds drug me under, so that I wouldn’t be taken advantage of.  I felt so unseen, so ungrounded, so shelved.

But I was there.  I never raised an eyebrow or moved a hemline or said let me interject myself into this scenario and change the roles you think we have to play.  I chose the result because I was petrified of what would happen if I let the boy choose.   I gave up on people who might have just been good friends because I was focused on them falling in love with me (without having to engage with them whatsoever) and I regret that.  A lot.  Especially in certain cases.  This is not Mr. Rochester’s story (and we’re not technically writing about him) but he told me to be bold and I see the benefits of that now.  I’ll need that.

Work.  If I harbor resentments now, right now, it’s not really about any of the above people, it’s here.  Here where I feel like they infantilize me, judge me, care zealously about me unless I have a different opinion and that happens more often than I acknowledge.   I feel like they are happy for me to be sitting there with rapt attention for the next twenty years, just service with a smile.  I feel their fear that I would pull the rug out from under them by leaving and it makes me feel trapped even if I don’t know where else I’d go.

And I think about how much emotional investment I have there.  How much work I’ve put in and respect I’ve garnered and how many tears and how much lost sleep.

And this is what needs to be released.  The anger which is going to end up screwing me in the end.  The resentment when I have shown them that this is the way I am to be treated.

I am on the right path.  I care about them as work colleagues and friends but, you know, I want room for more.  So some of the anguish, it has to evaporate and rain on someone else’s parade.  I want to fill that space with love.

Fwoooooooh.

Evidence of a Rich Inner Life

And you know it’s been far too long doing this for me if I’m considering and grousing that I’m wasting all those words on the damn title.  But, as I hear frequently, it is what it is and sometimes the title for a piece becomes immediately obvious even before the ideas start churning.  Not that these are pieces, Jesus, no, but you get what I mean.  Maybe.  I hope.

Speaking of titles, up until this instance, I had decided via the swirling jets of my brainpan that today’s post would be called Manichean Monday for puns and lols, but the day is never all that black and white.  It was the usual frustrating sort of day, though, where I told myself one thing and then life conspired to disallow all my plans and instead run me through a maze of its own devising where struggled through the switchbacks and turns until the whole proceedings were eventually called for time because the maze staff was tired and wanted to go home.   Saw the Farmers Market totals which were good, though less explosively amazing as everyone typically always expects.  Tried to get the books done.  Couldn’t quite amidst everything else, so I have to go in early tomorrow and buckle down (knuckle down?) and get that done.  There was much talk of my boss’ vacation which will mostly be to see family, not all of whom are well, and I feel more than a little guilty about how nice it will be to have those days to try and organize and get things done instead of chasing my tail, chasing my clerical dragons.   He hasn’t been gone for that long, possibly ever, at least for good year or two and I could just use it.

Sigh.  Well, I am, as always, a shadow of the graceful creature I will ever fail to be.

Exhibit A of that is that when I arrived home, it was shocking to discover that both my sister and I were in a decent enough mood to clean up a bit and I offered to drive us the very short distance to the recycling site.  I said I feel resistant about it, so surely, that means I need to do it.  And I did and no one died!  And as a reward for this great victory against the marauding bastards in my mind, we walked to the park and futzed around on the playground equipment until we felt dizzy and silly and the cool breeze and dark clouds ordered us home.

Run-on sentence!

I am hoping to get on the bike for ten minutes here, another nothing thing that has to be done if only to prove that it’s nothing.    Hoping to snag a little time on the ukulele since I think the guitar is too noisy right now.  Hoping to answer that email I keep putting off because I can’t figure out how to do it perfectly.    Can’t hope.  Gotta do it.    Can’t wait for Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Body to scoop you and awkwardly force you to do it.

Today: 162.8

And some music:

The City of Apples

Sometimes the simpler title is more to the point.  I am a little bit aflame today, a little bit burdened with glorious purpose and the kids say these days.   I am at the old line, diving without net or watermark, letting whatever is below catch me.  I find more and more that that distance between falling off the wagon, between throwing myself into the torpor of what I claim is my natural state is smaller and smaller.  I can’t wait for months anymore for a sign.  Because every few weeks is a reminder of why I’d prefer to have an organized house, a tighter stomach, a braver brain.

I made decent use of the day.

A.  I drove somewhere other than work with someone in the car and nobody died.  It was incredibly nothing, but that is how this shit works.  You find the incredibly nothing things and do them and then you find the places where you have discomfort and you press there until you can’t bear it and if you’re invested and smart and on track, when you rollback to defend yourself from the exposures, you don’t go back to square one.  You go back to the knowledge that you can do the incredibly nothing things.  That’s the mindset I’m trying to create.  The other day, Saturday, I guess, when it was so dead on the roads at 4:30am, I drove the other way, the danger danger way and it was a really good exposure exercise for me.   I thought it would be faster, so I just chose that way, instead of mentally sighing and saying that today is sort of a weird, off-schedule sort of day so I should really go the usual way.   So encapsulate that by saying that I want to keep practicing random driving and start working harder on killing this fear at the root.  Because it’s all part of it.  This has to be a holistic work based on finding resistances and easing my way through them.

I read the rest of my chapter in A Plague of Doves and was unnerved and delighted by the way my mind gripped the pages even in rather a disturbing section.  I want my book to attempt that, rip off that aspect of Ms. Erdrich’s genius, and at least paste up a wallpaper version of the art she’s dappled on my memory.   And how do we do this?  We do this by consistent failure.  The practice of toeing up and teeing up and getting it wrong over and over again.

Same with the diet.   Bravery builds with the doing.  Eating sugar and Chipotle and shaking my fists in the air is not going to cut it, aerobically.   So, I did what I needed to do today and cut the carbs and ate small portions and drank water and rode my bike and that’s what I’m going to do tomorrow.  This is how it works.

The future will not slow down for stragglers.  All you can do is race ahead, Miss Dickinson, and meet it before it catches you at your ankles and mows you down.

Also, let’s not rub buffalo wing sauce into our eyes.  There’s a protip.

Pavlova Heart

Learning.  I am learning.

This weekend is going to be absolutely lovely.  I am going to get a huge chunk of the things I want done.  Actually, I’m going to get everything done that I find important this weekend.

It’s a big list, but I can do it.

-I am going to scrub the bathtub.   Get the water marks off the fixtures.
-Play guitar until it is too painful to continue.   Then, once my fingers rest and the calluses start to build, I’m going to play again.
– I am going to read.  No specific page amount.  No specific book.  I’ve got a ton of choices and whatever sounds good, I’m going to read it until I care to stop.  I love reading.  I love skilled and deft use of language, I love the escapism, I love feeling myself unfold the story and engaging with the author and picking up tips for my own writing.
– I am going to drive one place out of my usual driving zone or path.  I am going to feel free and safe in my car while I’m doing that.
– I am going to re-read this first thing in the morning so I remember my intentions and re-commit to them.
-I am going to do five sit-ups.  Each day.
– I am going to track every meal I eat this weekend so that I’m aware of how many carbs are in my food and make sure I’m building positive habits that are helping me move forward with my weight loss and not just generally in the area of eating low-carb.

-I am going to eat things that are good for me and I am going to eat throughout the day so I keep myself steady and focused and satiated.

– I will get under the covers when it’s time for bed.   I’ll enjoy the feeling of movement and accomplishing things and also, the pleasure of lounging elsewhere.

-I will finish writing the fellow back.  I will be funny, fearless and curious.  I will be true to myself.  I will remember The Wrote and the Writ.

-I will work on some of my own writing that calls most for my effort.

-I am going to be thoughtful and introspective about this weight loss process, about the concept of deep change, about

-I am going to have a dance session.  Replete with candles.   I will stretch every phalange, every aching muscle, every taut and knotted inch.   We will use the music and a hot bath and we will make ceremony.    We will give up the old that is without use and take on the new and make it useful.   I will consider we.  I will consider my mother’s words.  I will consider how my mind works and encourage it to work towards my goals, to work on solutions, and keep myself climbing.  I will stay positive about it all.

– I will let my friends make me laugh and give them time – make them laugh, too.

Music: Loreena McKennitt, Mummers’ Dance (Live)