Of sharp knives and defenseless vegetables

Happy Halloween, readers!

Today is a banner day in my world. Not only is it my favorite holiday, it’s my best (and oldest) friend’s anniversary. We’ve known each other for 23 years (I know marriages that haven’t lasted that long). We’ve lived in different states since we were 12. I can call or text her anytime and it’s as if we talked yesterday. When I got the DUI, I frequently called her crying. A few weeks later, I get a card from her showing her support. Then I cried all over again.

It’s also the end of the month and tomorrow we start all over again. I’m a firm believer in the possibilities that come along with a new month. I’d like to end 2013 with a (positive, glorious, and fabulous) bang. Next month will be my final payment for the DUI. Can’t wait to get that off my plate. I’m back in ballet and happier than I’ve been in a while. I get 2 days off for Thanksgiving which is great when one is out of time off and gives me a 4 day weekend. By the end of the month, I’d like to able to do a handstand away from a wall. I’ll have my ballet technique better than it was before. I’ll be that much closer to driving again. The holidays will be in full force and despite working retail for years during the holiday season, I still love it. I’ll take any excuse to be festive. Or just wear reindeer antlers and call it good.

Things that have made me smile recently:

*Boy making a decision that benefits both our sleep quality.

*Being back in the studio and reminded of how much I love it.

*Deviled eggs

*Taking small steps to release the ties between my self worth and my weight

*Realizing I don’t need someone to coach me on how to live my life. I have plenty of people to bounce ideas off of if I need to.

*The shit that comes out of my boss’ mouth

*Experimenting with new nail polish colors

*The sheer amount of trick or treaters we’ll have tonight

*Realizing not everyone is as open as I am and I will likely never have the whole picture

*Yoga during lunch

*A boyfriend who doesn’t care if I don’t shave, do my hair, or dress to the nines all the time. The more natural I am, the happier he is.

*Knowing I have people all over the world who care about me and wish the best for me.

XOXO!

Of finding your place in the world and muscles you forgot you had

Y’all, it’s really great to realize where you belong in the world.

I went back to ballet tonight for the first time in months. I was literally almost crying in class I was so happy. I always knew it. I just had to listen a little more closely and then act on it. It was great to see all the familiar faces. I got to take class from my favorite teacher who I absolutely adore. I’ll be going to her ballet based fitness class tomorrow. There are about 4 different ballet teachers and I want to try classes from all of them. I’ve taken Lauren’s classes a handful of times. Her ballet fitness class is an ass kicker. I’ve never tried the other 2 teachers, though. They both teach technique based classes rather than classes with a more fitness intent. Obviously after at least 6 months of being out of the groove, I could stand a technique class or two. After all the crap I’ve gone through this year, it felt amazing to be back in the studio. My hip flexors (as proper turnout comes from the hips, not the knees) will probably be calling me nasty names tomorrow, but I don’t care. I’m happy, I feel a million times lighter, and I left all the bullshit from earlier today at the door.

I’ve been watching Breaking Pointe on Hulu. God help me if I ever get that skinny. Please let someone tell me to eat a cheeseburger (and no, I’m not skinny shaming or what have you. That just ain’t healthy).

XOXO!

Of emotional exhaustion and cleansing in all forms

Y’all, emotional exhaustion doesn’t get the credit it’s due. It kicks your ass just as much as running a marathon.

I woke up this morning at the usual time for work and my body was like “Yeah right, bitch. This ain’t happening”. I felt bad calling out of work at the last minute, but there was no way I was going to be functional. I went back to sleep for 4 hours, then took another 90 minute nap. There’s the distinct possibility I’ll pass out on the couch later. The unholy combination of therapy, throwing up, the Facebook purge of photos, having a go at the insurance company and my doctor’s office for not getting their shit together over my pills, and then feeling like a total dickweed for yelling at the phone reps when I know it’s not their fault left me with next to nothing. I also took myself off a ton of mailing lists (Anthro, Free People, Bauble Bar, Julep) to cut down on my temptation to spend. Online shopping is both one of the best and worst inventions ever. I need to drag myself into the shower or another hot bath and clean myself up a bit since personal hygiene hasn’t exactly been my top priority (it’s gross, but totally true). I find that always perks me up.

I also took myself out of an online personal coaching group. While I like the coach and her philosophy, I joined on impulse when I was still wading through the DUI and epilepsy diagnosis. When it occurred to me the next quarterly payment was due soon, I canceled it. I don’t really need coaching. I have a therapist. I have my own intuition. I have plenty of people to bounce ideas off of if I need it. While it’s nice to have an impartial third party put in their 2 cents, I can get that for free off her blog. There are a million blogs out there with suggestions I can take or leave and cobble together to help me see things a bit differently. I certainly don’t need to be dropping $400 a year on something I can find for free (or already knew as the case may be). Given my new budgeting and saving goals, that doesn’t really fit into the grand scheme of things, especially when one has an expensive chronic condition. 

I did treat myself to this because it is adorable and awesome. Who doesn’t love cats in costumes? Now time for a shower, more water, and clothes I could wear in public.

XOXO!

Of coming full circle and Halloween movies we missed as children

And so we come full circle.

Boy took me to lunch at a restaurant I haven’t been to in forever. Almost as soon as I finished eating, I threw up. That’s the first time I’ve thrown up when I wasn’t already sick or recovering from a hangover in a very long time. After some fizzy water and a 2 hour nap, I felt more like myself. Later, I went on Facebook and deleted all the albums that had Will in them. It didn’t turn out to be as liberating as I thought it would. It felt like ripping off a huge scab. I hurt for the girl I was. The girl who had a hard time cutting him out of her life the first time. She was just doing the best she could with what she had. It was then I realized how I’d well and truly come full circle. The restaurant we were at this afternoon was the same one Will & I went to for our first date. Earlier that day, I’d thrown up because of a migraine (something that almost never happened) and I was too sick to really eat. That was a memory I’d buried pretty well. Though that seems to be a recurring theme for me. A lot of old memories have been popping up recently. Crawling out of the cave, as my therapist aptly put it. Sometimes you have to break a bone again for it to heal properly. The healing will take time, as is always the case, but this time it will heal correctly. This closes the circle for good. 

I’m not that girl any more. But the woman I am can look at her with compassion rather than judgment. It took me a long time to see it that way. I’ve erased him from my online life just like I did in my real life. There are no connections left, physical or digital, between us. I’m starting to see just how fucked up his thinking really was. I’m seeing how what I thought was normal at the time is way off in left field. I certainly wouldn’t put up with behaviour like his today. I could cite a dozen examples just off the top of my head that pointed to how abnormal he was (and likely still is). I had the chance to tell my boss about the whole situation yesterday and decided against it. It’s not like the epilepsy where it can directly effect my ability to work. We have a good relationship both professionally and personally, but it’s not something he needs to carry around. I have an amazing support network already. I’m learning where the lines are and when to cross them. Maybe someday the time will be right. Maybe not. Those days are behind me and each day I move forward, the load is a little lighter.

The drinking is over. The self injury is over. The shopping is close to being over. I’m steadily replacing all of those with healthy habits like dance, aerial work, and writing. I’m relearning how to trust my gut (when it’s not coming back up in the bathroom of a restaurant). So the next chapter in the story begins. Watch what happens

Also I’m watching Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time ever. Crazy, right? Then it’s time for Boy to experience Hocus Pocus for the first time.

XOXO!

Of social media purges and true friendship

There’s something freeing about my semi annual social media purge. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter terribly regularly unless I’m killing time in a doctor’s office or some such thing. As I scroll through, I see a lot of posts from people I don’t remember or rarely talk to these days. Simple solution-delete them. The last year has been an exercise in “deleting” people from my real life. Most of my friends were totally awesome and stood by me through all the crap that’s been thrown at me. A few, not so much. So I stopped talking to them. It was surprisingly easy to just move on. Interestingly enough, all of them stopped talking to me when I stopped initiating conversation. Guess that says a lot about the state of the relationship beforehand. I’m not sure how many people I ultimately deleted off of various sites, but I feel a lot lighter. I’m not sifting through a bunch of posts from people I don’t care about. I can see what’s going on in the lives of people I may not live near and / or don’t have regular in person interaction.

I would much rather have a group of carefully curated close friends (how’s that for some alliteration?) than a large group of people I rarely see or talk to. The same goes for my online life. I get very few hits on this blog. If I posted something I think might be helpful or is relevant to a group I’m part of, I’ll link it. Otherwise, I’m happy just writing my thoughts down and letting it get around organically. To me, that’s where the true value comes in. I don’t shamelessly plug my writing on Facebook or Twitter. If someone likes my stuff and wants to share it, great. I’m not the kind of person who goes around posting every other day “OMG, read my blog! It’s like totally awesome!” as I have seen in the past. I would be far less inclined to read someone’s blog if they were constantly trying to get me to read it. I’ll never be the person who will have ad space or make money off this blog (though stranger things have happened). I certainly appreciate the people who read this regularly and who have forwarded my posts to other people who may not have come across it yet. I stumbled across all of the blogs I read regularly or found them through links from other sites I enjoy. I can market myself successfully if the occasion calls for it. Otherwise, I’m content to let it run its course in its own time (a vast change from how I view the rest of my life). This is a place for me to put out my thoughts, experiences, and maybe even a few laughs. If other people enjoy it or derive some kind of benefit from it, even better.

Quiet weekend coming up. That’s just as well as Halloween is next Thursday and we’ll be all hands on deck for that. It’s also supposed to be unseasonably cold all weekend, so I don’t forsee many ventures outside. Hope everyone has a fab weekend.

XOXO!

Of not understanding and getting it

A friend of mine posted on Facebook about an ignorant comment her coworker made to her. As I had this happen recently, I sent her a private message offering my thoughts on the matter. As I was writing it, it occurred to me that stomping your foot and declaring “no one understands me!” is totally counterproductive. The fact is, no one can truly understand another person. People are going to say stupid shit in an attempt to be helpful or comforting. That’s a fact of life. When they don’t get the reaction they’re expecting, they usually bungle it even more. I know I’ve done it. All you can do in those situations is tell the person it was hurtful, why it was hurtful, and let it go. It’s not my responsibility to change someone’s mind. I can plant the seed, but the rest is up to them. If they’re doing the best they can, I can appreciate that, even if they say the wrong thing. As the cliche goes, it’s the thought that counts.

One of the things that’s been more difficult for me is accepting compliments, especially from men on how I look. A very large part of my abuse was being paraded around as arm candy in various states of undress. I still carry around a lot of shame relating to that. After the relationship ended, I gained 40 pounds (about a 30% increase from when our relationship started), cut off my chest length hair (something I swore I would never do), and developed an eating disorder (something I had avoided throughout my years in the dance world). I did everything I could to make myself unattractive. Being fat, inked, and having a boyish haircut kept most men at bay.  In my mind, if a man said I was pretty, that meant I was going to be abused again. Now I know that’s not true. I wasn’t abused because I was pretty. My looks had nothing to do with it. His actions and his screwed up ideas had everything to do with it. Now that I’ve lost 15% of my body weight since March and settled at a weight more in line with my bone structure, the compliments have been rolling in. It’s been a challenge to smile, say “thank you”, and appreciate the fact someone took the time to pay me a compliment. The dysmorphia that trots happily along with disordered eating is still there. On bad days, I’ll tear myself a part inch by inch. Most days, I’m neutral. On good days, I’ll look at myself while I’m getting dressed and think “Hey, not bad!”. Men who comment on my appearance aren’t going to hurt me. People like Will are few and far between. They’re not discounting my intelligence because I’m attractive and well dressed. They aren’t implying I’m just a body. It’s nothing to be afraid of. Smile, thank them, and move on with my day knowing someone took the time to notice and speak up.

XOXO!

Of thank you notes and standing by those you love

Last night, I took the time to write thank you notes to the people who have been my ever stalwart companions the past year. I never truly appreciated the value of a hand written thank you note until recently. All through school, my mom would sit me down and make me write thank you notes for various occasions (Christmas, birthday, graduation, and other Catholic rites of passage gifts). I hated it. I thought it was stupid. I’d already said thank you, what did they need a card for?

Now that I’ve walked through hell and back in the past 7 months, I understand the value of saying thank you. Especially in writing. I wrote at least half a dozen last night and have a few more yet to write. I actually started crying while writing them realizing how much love and support I’ve gotten. These are the people who have helped me up when I fell, let me cry into their shirts, put up with epic meltdowns, sent me a text or a link to make me smile, sat with me in the hospital, drove me all over creation, and chose to stick around when I gave them the option to walk away. And I would do the same for them. In terms of mental fatigue, I think 2013 has edged out 2010. There was something very freeing about putting into words, albeit a bit clunky in some cases, how I feel and how grateful I am. There’s no such thing as saying “thank you” or “I love you” too much. In this day and age of electronic communication, there’s a lot to be said for getting real mail.

I’ve been a lot more mellow about my situation the past few days. I’ll take it. I’ll always take feeling better, but who wouldn’t? Yoga starts at work today and it’ll be nice to take an actual lunch break twice a week. I’ve gotten bored with walking and the weather has been a bit iffy lately. Mostly I just eat at my desk and get up and move around periodically. After contortion class last night, I could use a few kinks worked out.

XOXO!

Of taking 10 seconds to think and where your heart is

In the spirit of being authentic-

I don’t know about y’all, but my brain has only 2 speeds. Fast and hamsters on cocaine. I get an idea and it’s off to the races. I’ll change my plans a million times before I decide on something or I’ll make a snap decision and realize that’s not what I really wanted. This makes life especially difficult for those who are stuck hauling me around until March. It also forces me to slow down and consider what I’m trying and / or wanting to do. It’s one thing when you’re only accountable to yourself and can go anywhere on a whim or change your mind at the last minute. It’s entirely another when I’ve told someone I want to go to a certain place at a certain time, then change my mind. It never hurts to take things into consideration a little longer. That’s a huge challenge for me. I know it’s not fair to the people around me to put them out of their way at the last minute. It doesn’t have to be done rightthissecond. I have the ability to slow down, think about it, and mull over what I really want out of a situation / plan of action. I’m just not used to doing it that way. As the mantra for the last year has been, trust the process and have patience.

For example, it’s no secret I’m a spender. I’ll decide I want something and I buy it. If I don’t have the cash on hand, I’ll put it on my credit card. That got me into a lot of financial trouble very quickly. I finally worked up the guts to ask someone their opinion on my finances and suggestions to improve it. I rarely give something a serious amount of thought before buying it. Even then, it only took me a week to pick out, scope out, and purchase my car when I needed a new one. My new budget doesn’t allow for that sort of thing and nor should it. Of course it allows for “fun” money and non-essential spending, but not the kind of extravagant purchases I was making. I don’t even have custody of my credit card or access to my savings account any more to prevent falling back on old (unhealthy) habits. I know what my goals are now. I know my endgame. I have the proper motivation to actually stick to the plan. By sticking to the plan, I’ll have almost all my major debt paid off in 18 months. I know when to ask for advice or help if I’m hit with unexpected expenses. Fortunately, we’re about to renew our benefits for next year. I fully intend on picking the brains of the reps for the health plans. Knowing what kind of regular care I’ll need for (likely) the rest of my life, I can make a much more informed decision. It might cost me more on the front end, but I won’t be stuck paying over $3000 in medical bills later on. It’s remembering the give and take to stay on track. It’s reminding myself of my larger goals and resisting the instant gratification. Even if I do get whacked with an unexpected expense, I’ll have the savings to cover most or all of it (though at least I know I’ll never get another DUI again. Those suckers are pricey).

This also holds true for activities. When I sit down and really think, my heart is in dance. It’s been that way for 16 years. I define myself first and foremost as a dancer (more specifically a ballet dancer). Aerial work is a nice balance to dance because it works the other half of my body. If I take the time to really listen to what that little voice is telling me, it’s to go back to my roots. The odd pole class here and there may be fun, but I know from my past experiences trying pole and other exotic dance that it won’t feed my spirit the same way traditional dance does. It’ll cost me double what it did to sign up to get out of the pole contract. If I’d tried out a few classes first and thought about it, I wouldn’t have signed a contract. The dance studio, bless them, offered to waive the reactivation fee if I wanted to sign up for the membership there again. I’m not sure quite yet how I’ll get to and from class there, but again, that will take some consideration. And consistency. My friends, family, and boss are doing me a huge favor. I at least owe it to them to be considerate of their time, schedules, and limitations. I can’t ask someone to drive 2 hours every morning in traffic just so I can go to an hour long class the night before. It’s not going to be a snap decision. It’s going to take some thinking, consulting, and possibly bribes to work things out in a way which works for everyone. Then in 133 more days, I can do what I want and go where I please. And you can bet I’ll never take that kind of freedom for granted again.

To those of my friends and family who read this, let it be known how much it means to me for all you’ve done. From sending me a card or a text just to brighten my day to hauling my ass all over creation on a regular basis, I love you all for it. I owe you a debt of gratitude that will take a long time to be repaid. This has been one of the most challenging years of my life and you’ve all been there to hold my hand, let me cry into your shirts, and make me laugh. From halfway across the world to just down the stairs, I have a support network the envy of all. Y’all fucking rock and I love you each and every one of you more than I’ll ever be able to express in words. And now it’s on the Internet, so it will be out there forever.

XOXO!

Of daily lovefests and free lunches

Let’s perk things up a bit in here, shall we? A Sunday morning lovefest to kick off the new week.

*Riding with my boss on Friday. It was absolutely hysterical. That made me love him even more.

*Buying groceries to save money and hone my cooking skills. I stuck to fairly basic options like heat and serve or various pasta options for most of the week (I’ll be at Boy’s for 4.5 days this week). We also decided to limit ourselves to one meal out a week. Takeout gets really pricey really quickly.

*Green smoothies.

*Trying something new today. Boy & I are going to climb Stone Mountain later this afternoon.

*Working on my budget. I have a fairly simple, doable plan. I just need to stick to it now.

*Redoing my nails.

*Practicing my Italian and French consistently for over a week.

*Handstand class.

*Trader Joe’s. Inexpensive high quality food. Yum.

*Play testing one of our friends’ games last night.

*All the laughs that come with good friends and good times.

*A free lunch

*Fall weather. Time to bust out the boots and scarves.

Off to say hi to my aunt and cousins, then lunch, then a hike. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

XOXO!

 

Of the burden of pain and letting it go

It’s amazing how much pain I’m carrying around until I finally let it go.

At the last minute yesterday, Boy’s boss told him he would have to come in early and stay late today. That would mean dropping me off at 7a and waiting until God knows when to be picked up. After some scrambling, my boss agreed to pick me up and drop me off today (bless him) so I wouldn’t be stuck here for 12+ hours not being paid for at least 4 of them. All that scrambling was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I cried on the ride down and then let it go when we got back. Everything, literally and figuratively, came pouring out. I’m exhausted and I didn’t even realize it. I’m tired of being at the mercy of other people and their schedules. I’m tired of getting back up just to be knocked down again by life. I live in fear of having another seizure and having to start all over again. That I’ll get this close to being able to drive again and the clock restarts. I feel like I’m balancing plates and one misstep will set me back to the beginning. Whatever I did wrong, I’m sorry. Just stop punishing me. I’m afraid that I won’t get back up one day. That I’ll make a decision I can’t reverse. Some days, putting on clothes or brushing my teeth feels like climbing Mt. Everest in shorts during a blizzard. I put on a good face and say I’m okay because it’s not socially acceptable to say otherwise. Even if I did, no one would know how to react. It’s not a flaw on their part, just a fact of life. No one understands. I didn’t even hurt any more. I just felt a numb hole. I’ve been down that hole before. That’s a darkness I wouldn’t wish on anyone ever. It takes everything I have sometimes to fight it off. Letting all of that out finally brought the pain. As bizarre as it sounds, that’s a step. Hurting is a step up from numbness. I’m still 10 seconds away from bursting into tears if someone says a cross word to me, but I’m here. I’m doing the best I can with what I have. I haven’t really felt like working the past few days, but I’m trying. What needs to get done will be done and ready for inspection. Everything else, it’s a bit of a crapshoot.

Obviously, I didn’t go to pole class last night. It took everything I had just to get up and walk. I confirmed with the studio that it wasn’t a big deal. They’ll review everything at the beginning of class next week. I’m going to the drop in class tonight just to see what it’s all about. This will be the third pole class I’ve taken in my life, but I can follow along. If nothing else, a decade of dance classes can help with that. I can take an hour and forget about my life. I can just move my body and worry about the rest of it later. I also called the dance studio and asked about renewing my membership there. If all goes well with the new job, I’ll be able to make classes a few days a week there. They also agreed to waive the activation fee since I had to quit for a medical reason. I appreciated the gesture. Tomorrow is circus training and Sunday is canoeing. I’ve never been canoeing, so this will be interesting. If nothing else, I’ll get an arm workout out of it.

I got up. I did my hair. I put on a tiny bit of make up including red lipstick. I’m happy with my outfit. I brought my lunch in a (failed) attempt to save money. I didn’t burst into tears when I accidentally dropped my lunch in the trash. Riding in with my boss was hysterical. He’s a lot more candid outside of work. I have my heating pad to keep me warm. I’ve gotten to spend the night with Boy the past 2 nights. I have someone who is able to pick up lunch for me. Boy attempted to cook dinner for me last night. I had a candlelit bubble bath. I have a weekend full of activity, family, and quality time. I’m feeling positive about the job situation. Yoga classes start at work next week. In the last 7 days, I’ve gone to class or done some kind of exercise 4 days. I’m trying my hardest given where I am and I can be at peace with that.

My “get back up no matter how much it sucks” playlist:

Pink “Fucking Perfect”

Katy Perry “Part of Me”

Kelly Clarkson “People Like Us”

Marvelous 3 “Cigarette Lighter Love Song”

Goo Goo Dolls “Slide”

Ludo “Topeka”

Fun “Carry On”

Glee version “We Found Love”

XOXO!