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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.