The Glimmering Porse

I could knock this out easily.  Nobody in this massive office is here.  Well, a few folks, sure.  But nobody, REALLY.  Nobody in the cubes around me.  I can type away, giddily, to my heart’s content.  Maybe it’s the caffeine, maybe it’s the Friday, maybe it’s the half-day broken up by a dentist appointment…it’s definitely the caffeine.  Damn.

Notes on One Me:
I wrote something mildly clever on the old FB yesterday.  Just an update, because, like here, when I feel like I need to focus on something, I drop out of 90% of all contact.  I’ve been thinking about the hypothyroidism, I’ve been thinking about the keto, I’ve been thinking about my mother looking cheerful, but more bony than I’m comfortable with.  I’ve been mentally tracking the minutiae of change and trying not to rock the boat with these sorts of coy games.  That said, I’d updated a picture recently.  One where, if pressed, I would assert I looked “cute.”  Along with a vintage cabbage woman because we are nothing if not our brand.  And Old High School Half-Forgotten Friend Who Never Said Boo liked it.   In some idle scrolling moment, felt moved enough to move a thumb an inch and apply a slight pressure.  Which signifies precisely zero and I am capable of recognizing that even if I am putting my hat down on every street corner in the city these days, but it was a nice Friday daydream as I was driving in to think about it.  A charming sort of deranged set of thoughts is already resurfacing about him being burdened by some unexplored old crush and slowly, my little words will remind him, cajole him, spur him to actually talk to me and confess.
This has some precedent, to be fair.  After college, some other guy from high school who swam in similar circles as I but was never a full-blown “friend”, followed me on FB and so liked my impressively wordy, self-aggrandizing posts (imagine just very compressed doses of the bs I share here) asked me out for coffee.  And then, a proper dinner date. I was SO painfully awkward, though, so violently, oppressively, awkward and gave off every wrong signal and said every wrong thing. I couldn’t eat.  And then, a shitty 3rd date that I made impossible because there was just too much anxiety and frankly, it was the sort of stumbling that is completely legitimate when you’re 12 or 13, but not at that age.  At any rate, I’ve tried to block it out, I realize, and now trying to remember the circumstances of it all, I just remember a fake smile and a deep well of terror boiling inside me.  Like psychic cramps – nothing helps, really – you just have to wait for it to pass.  Obviously, if it was meant to be, I kicked that prophecy in the shins, let the faeries steal that fate.  He’s married with at least one kid now.  Probably a whole brood.  They almost ALL are.  But nevertheless, at least, it COULD happen.
My spinner’s mind already has this beautiful tapestry going wherein he shows up out of the blue, travelling hours and hours from his snowy ski lodge high in the mountains (never mind that it’s the middle of a blazing summer), shakes his tow-headed mane, and says I can’t stop thinking about you.  I get weak in the knees.  We go get food and drinks.  Talk about teachers and old friends. Old people who also never really talked to me.  It’s beautiful. My life is completely ready to accommodate this impossible Lifetime movie quality script of a romance.  I can’t say the wrong thing because he adores me so on account of my glimmering prose. He’s utterly convinced to give up all his questionable political positions and move back to the suburbs to commence the rest of our lives. I am entirely void of ambivalence.  The only hiccups that exist are amusing, and short-lived.  We are very happy and no one regrets anything.
I’ve been thinking about needing/wanting a date for my sister’s wedding – a whole other post might be devoted to that – stage 2 of this already ridiculous fantasy has this name + face + memory construct entirely converted and made suitable for that purpose.  All those childhood recollections, my positive regard for him, general sense of his Austen-esque amiability is all confirmed and I get to swan into the place with my blow your socks off wedding speech and the loveliest bridesmaid dress and charm everyone.  Get everyone’s heads spinning and feel the most glorious and best version of myself.  Get dizzy on champagne and at the end of the night cause myself all sorts of deep emotional damage.
We’re not really compatible.  He’s not coming.  I don’t really care today.  It just would be a real pleasant change of pace to have somebody just click.  Just work.  Just not require endless negotiation and capitulation and compromise.  Which, shush, I know we all get there.  Everyone gets to the gray murky center of solid relationships if they make it that far.  I mean, just wouldn’t it be so grand just to have a Start of it that encourages your soul that you’re worth something good?  That isn’t the tiniest sip of cordial by which you’re meant to approximate what actually being loved would feel like?  Even just a 2 week bubble of hazy, thrilling, yay us before crashing into the sea.  I am quite overdue for stark, emotional clarity.
This is all from 1 like + 1 iota of self-esteem.  This, THIS, is why I am so dangerous.  I need nothing at all to make a brand new universe and my ego will dance the tarantella.   Give it 30 minutes though and the whole meringue will collapse from over-beating.
It is working, though, you know.
It’s just about 15 pounds now.  14.4.  I’ve determined that I can get on the scale a little bit more frequently if I note that I’m only going to track those days where it drops.  This meant for 7-8 days, no entries, and now, suddenly, 2 in 3 days.  If it goes up from here as my body likely tries to equalize and hormones shift and shimmy about, that’s okay. It will go back down.  If I track and drink water, mind the macros, be patient.  Don’t guzzle down shakes.  I’m now about – within 5 pounds – of where in past years, I’ve tried to Start dieting.  Mostly, this 15 pounds have been around for the past 3 years, lost a bit and then returned.  I think it’s been aeons since I had the brief dip down to what was then just 20 lbs below that and that seemed so surreal and I’d been so exhausted by the struggle to get there that suddenly, woosh, the weight loss never happened.
So, I’m both petrified and in acceptance of what the trip to Indianapolis is going to do to me.  Some of this weight is going to have to be re-lost.  I wanted to lose 15 pounds before I went.  Now, so close, it feels like I’d have be crazy to mess it up willfully, but I am sort of thinking that not doing it will only make it all much worse when I return and feel cheated out of a magically contained and ordained cheat space.  Where I can capsule it all up in the going and being and returning that there’s limits.  And now I know how to do this.  And I imagine I’m not going to be able to eat as much as my mind is suggesting at the moment.  Then, I’ll be let loose back in my neighborhood, disgruntled and well aware that it’s “EASY” to lose weight so I can give myself another week, two weeks, a month to mess about, transition, come to terms with giving it all up again.  The way that leads always to madness and many, many delays that are needless.
Because I am, at the root of it all, an addict.  So, I have some small ideas about how to change this up and think differently and jump back into keto. For now, let’s just have today be today and enjoy it for the boiling kettle of human souls that it is.

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!

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…

The Body Demotic: Day 7

So yesterday, though nobody would know it to look at me, nobody would know it without going after me with a needle and a fine-toothed comb, was a hard, heartbreaking sort of day.  I’m not dating anyone, though, naturally, I kinda sorta thought I was.  And I kinda sorta am.  Still.  But not really.  I can’t claim the title.  Wouldn’t hold up in court. And that’s as much clarity as anyone can give me on the situation.  Wait it out until you don’t feel like waiting anymore.  Like, what, what does that actually mean?  Care about me until it becomes a problem for you.  What’s it actually require of me?  A woman with broader shoulders and some sense would say, okay, halfway is not enough, we’re just going to hurt ourselves on the sharp edges of this. But I’ve pecked at crumbs and ash my whole life when it comes to affairs of the heart, so this understanding that the porch light is going to be left on for me, always a dish of food and water at the door doesn’t trigger the negative reaction that it should.  Even if it’s clear I’m never getting in the house. I think, well, there’s food here. That’s not nothing.  And nothing ties me down.  I can keep my own devices as it pleases me.  It’s what I wanted, right? It’s everything I’ve ever believed, that’s all.  The best relationships are those conducted entirely by post?

And I thought I took it in stride, accepting the ambiguity of it all, the inevitability of my hope being broken down into a sticky sort of powder, until I realized, about halfway through the evening that I was acting like a teenage maniac.  A stupid, stupid maniac who is going to regret her choices when they spin around and smack her in the face.  Emailing the RP’er like some kind of ridiculous swanning princess who thinks she can set a world down for two years and pick it back up and find it entirely as it was.  That was never going to happen and I knew that.  But still, I was free! I was uncommitted.  I was not on a path towards anything or anyone.  I was officially and am officially single.  Sort of.  Only nothing’s changed.  And it was only ever going to be about me.

I don’t really feel comfortable writing it out, this thing in medias res which might well be speculated upon and swiftly deciphered if anyone were of a mind. I suspect they’re not, but nevertheless, I feel bad enough about it that I want the shame shield to hang up like a Great Wall of China (and not some evil, orange-hued paltry attempt at nothing) between us.  Sit down with me and a cup of coffee, glass of wine, and I’ll tell the rest.  Suffice it to say that it all had to be entirely as it was, but my own good intentions done effed me again.  The world has changed much since all these trains hit the station at the same time, and I am certainly not the soul to demand anything of anyone, certainly not punctuality.

It’s just going to be disappointing is all.  Not evil.  It’s not evil.  Not yet.

Given these truish facts, I am endeavoring to continue on something I know is benefiting me – my small, paltry attempt at getting this body on the same page as my mind.

A Coterie of Whirlygigs: Day 3

So many things going on.  Task upon task upon task.  I used to fear and crave this sort of life.  That my creative self would be broken upon its rocky shores, that my life could be pulled up out of its primordial ooze and spun into an elegant vase by the forces of just being busy.  Being full of purpose and absent of time to worry and suffer and build up anxiety within. Being a vessel void of anxiety seemed always like a good way to be.  Daydreaming of adult life as a girl, I always imagined silver cars up steep hills, making the hairpin turns out of a harried, glittering city, into the mountains, the highest mountain to some massive estate.  Sweeping into a room that overlooked the city skyline, a glass of wine in hand, silver stilettos tossed aside to clatter on the marble floor, I would collapse onto some white chaise longue, or even some simple kitchen table and I’d watch the sun set.  I would, I always imagined, feel safe and secure, fully funded, free, and yet, I always imagined myself entirely alone in those moments.

Here I am, grown-uppish, striving for something better for myself than an unhealthy future or capitulating to the belief that I can’t have anything just because that person driving those switchbacks to that hideaway mansion feels so far away from my hopes and dreams as they are today.  I’m actually counting the old calories.  I’m actually drinking water and not eating late into the evening.  I’m actually doing the things I’m asking of myself.  Weird. Who knows what this means?  Who knows what 365 days of this will bring? But it would be something.  It would be something.

So I am trying on the third day to continue.  Not perfect.  Teeth still irritated as hell and they’re begging for help and the best I can mentally say to them is that there is an appointment and it’s 12 days away and unless there’s blood or things falling outta my head, that’s what it is.  I wish they’d call and let me know, I’d love to not have this impede my fun this weekend and next, but I can only do what I can do.  I am just human.  Sorry, gums.  Sorry, I lived a life of dental fear and immoral and indecent dental behaviors, but I can’t undo it now except by being brave and calling…which I did.

So J.  So that talk that seems ongoing and strained and strange.  I mean, suddenly, there’s a slew of compliments…good ones, meaningful ones that only come from someone who’s actually paid genuine attention to you.  But I’ve haven’t been able to say the parts of this that are the hard parts.  The…thank you, but you need to know that if we don’t move on from the nebulous nature of this…that the pull to figure out how to be with someone here, someone local, is going to just get stronger.  It’s going to just be harder to bear and I don’t want us to suffer through that, suffer worse if it comes as a surprise to either of us when we don’t want to suffer anymore.  Not being able to properly call a thing a thing is its own sort of pain.

When I say “Oh, I don’t know” what I mean is, I know exactly, but it would hurt you so I won’t say it.  That’s a deeply disappointing thought.

No disappointment.  We’re on target. We’re on track.