More PT today. Instead of my usual therapist, Ty, Julie worked with me this time. Ty is very gentle, almost annoyingly so. Julie is, um, not. We started with cervical traction as usual, and wham-bam started it up with only minimal adjustment to the machine's fingers around my neck. I could certainly feel my neck stretching from the way it was pulling. I was doing my darnedest to relax the muscles in question this time. And I think I was more successful, because almost at the end I felt the numbness go away in two of my fingertips on my left hand! I could feel the texture of the vinyl cover on the table, the roughness of the wall, and I could even feel the weave of my denim jeans. It made me very happy for the few minutes it lasted. I was touching every different surface to see how it felt. Then it went away again and I realized that both of my hands have been numb for months (only the tingling is new). And I've put up with it, because I always think I have to, because I think nothing will ever get better. And being able to touch things, to really perceive them as they are, even with just those two fingertips, makes me realize how much I've been missing.

Day 14:

I went out with friends and had several drinks and then read on my Kindle app for an hour before I went home, because driving while impaired is dangerous and stupid. Weirdly enough, I'm getting more comfortable around the person I used to hate being near because I always felt as if she sucked all the air out of a room. It was mostly jealousy. She seems to have everything I wanted, ever so effortlessly. She's beautiful and smart, and comfortable in her body, and uses them all to her great advantage. Even after she dumped that guy I was dating (who would never admit that we were dating, and really only wanted someone, anyone, to pay him attention, and he'd stoop to take it from me), I couldn't bear to be around her because I always had to be on high alert. What alarming thing was she going to do next to become the center of attention? The "you've got something on your shirt. Nope! I'm going to tweak your nose" thing she did (does?) all the time got so annoying, because a) she did it so often, and b)it looks like a dominance display and not "play" to me. And the frequent sexual play/one-upmanship in public was another dominance display. And my favorite (by which I mean my least favorite) was when she'd walk up to someone I was talking to and say "Hi" and it would be like I'd stopped existing because they'd walk away, frequently without another word to me.

It has occurred to me fairly recently that I shouldn't try to put all the blame on that last one on her shoulders. I mean, maybe she's a little at fault, but it's not her that's the one being rude to me, it's the person I was having (or trying to have) that conversation with. It just makes me feel even more keenly that I have nothing to offer anyone, that I should be alone.

Maybe I'm more comfortable around her because the most interaction I've had with her lately is while we aren't in mixed company. I'm not physically cringing when she walks into a room. I'm not tensing up when I hear her voice. Maybe it's the booze allowing me to relax. Maybe I'm learning that the people who are so rude aren't really that good of friends (no matter how much I may want them to be), that they're better kept at arm's length.

I'm terrible at social interactions, like abysmally awful at it. And I know this. Conversations are hard. I never know how to keep the ball going back and forth, and I drop it by saying something stupid or out of place, or going way, way-the-fuck off topic. Too much, not enough, too forceful, too quiet. Unless I'm drunk and am able to forget that I'm short, fat, ugly, dark, and quiet. And even then I'm still me, still terrible at conversation. I just don't care as much. For a while. Until I sober up and remember every stupid thing I said and did. [I'm counting my lucky stars that I remember very little of what happened that one time I got faded at an after-party, but at least I was told I'm a politely puking drunk.] And I really need to stop talking to one particular person when I've had even a few drinks because I say horrible stupid things around him (things that I've heard the above person say, and at least now I vaguely understand why she does, but I don't think it's ok for either of us to do so). I mean to apologize every time I see him, but by then I've had more than enough and know I should just avoid him.

So it's late and I needed to find one thing and I found it in my bathroom: a bottle of half-used sunscreen that came from work (a pharmaceutical company trinket) that I'm sure I've had since before I got married. Sunscreen doesn't keep for more than a year, so into the trash it goes.
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Cyrano de Univac

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