univacgrl: (Default)
( Nov. 20th, 2016 08:22 pm)
During my last trip down to see my parents (aka check on how my dad is doing) my mom kept mentioning that I should take her credit card and go get my hair cut and colored. My grey roots are about an inch, inch and a half long right now and they're pretty prominent against my dark hair. And letting regular maintenance cuts slip for so long meant my hair was already halfway down my back. Mom saying "take my card and buy yourself X" seems to be her way of showing affection maybe. As if spending her money on myself would make up for the times she's been abusive or all the neglect. It was always so "fun" to go visit for the holidays, with the promises that we'd go do things together.  These things always turned out to be waiting for her to get back from work (always hours late) so we could go run her errands,

Dealing with my mother has always been difficult for me. She's sweet as pie to strangers, but as family we get the full brunt of her concern trolling.  She harped on my hair all three days and wouldn't take no for an answer to me taking her card home with me. Because in her words  "you need to get that hair cut and colored."  D had been down dealing with them for a few days a few weeks before, and seemed to confound her controlling behavior by not arguing with her about anything and just going with the flow.  Remembering this, I took the card back north with me.

So after many false starts and promises to myself I'd go, I actually went in to Fantastic Sam's on Thursday.  As I sat in the chair I said "I have a question to ask you and I really want you to tell me the answer is 'no'." My stylist was cautious but she nodded. My question was  "Will you take a credit card from me with someone else's name on it?" as I shook my head.  She laughed and said "Well it doesn't match your id, does it? So, no"  There was some awkwardness when she expressed annoyance about how "those protesters were just making things hard for everyone else just trying to get to work" and I couldn't let it lie.  The conversation died at that point, but after she was asking me how I wanted my hair cut, things got interesting.

I was just going to get my usual long layered bob, but the subject of pixie cuts came up and I mentioned I'd always wanted one.  The stylist, Danielle, said "Or you could have a half a pixie like mine" and showed off her cut. The top was very long, but the sides and back were shaved very close, with a v in the back.  With the top down it looked like any other "normal" cut.  When I saw it I could feel my eyes go bigger, and the first thing out of my mouth was "Can I do that?" My inner voice was saying Of course you can do that; it's your own fucking hair!  The stylist asked me if I was sure, because she was down to give me that cut. And I was.  All the while when so much of my hair was coming off I kept thinking "fuck the patriarchy" and "it's like wearing fancy underwear under regular work clothes" and "this hairstyle is just for me, not to please anyone else's expectations."  I kept thinking of Charlize Theron in Mad Max and Eleven from Stranger Things. (There's video of her getting her head shaved for the role and it's great seeing her embrace it.)  

The other stylist was obviously looking after her two young daughters, who were helping out by sweeping and doing a few other tasks.  They both came over and watched as all that hair came off my head.  There was so much hair on the floor afterward, the girls swept it up and Danielle made an enormous heart out of it on the floor.  

So now I have some extremely short hair with a curtain of "normal" hair that can fall over it if I feel like being blending in.  The blendability is important, because I had a sudden flash of feeling that women who don't conform to a certain standard of femininity would be one of the first groups to be interned in Trump's America, like in The Handmaid's Tale.

I'm not worrying so much about the possibility of me killing myself right now as I am worrying about civil unrest turning the entire country into a radioactive wasteland because a petulant man-baby was elected to the highest office of this land.  I thought this year sucked really hard, but I don't feel like there's going to be a next year.
 So crampy today.  I stayed home and in pajamas all day, despite my cow-orker's text at 7:30 this morning.  I didn't get it until noon when I finally remembered to look at the phone.  And I promptly spent the rest of the day feeling afraid and imagining the possible consequences of me not going in to work today (me getting fired; my cow-orker getting fired; my cow-orker rage quitting).  What good is having a day off if I couldn't enjoy it at all.  I feel like my boss is going to yell at me no matter what, but I'm really not the manager. I don't have the title. I certainly don't have the salary. But I feel like I have all the responsibility anyway.  

D and I snuggled in bed this morning, which we haven't done a lot of lately. My arm still doesn't let me lie on either side, and when I'm flat on my back it hurts if there's anything (or more to the point, D's arm) touching it.  So instead of spooning we tangled up our legs and kept our torsos far apart.  And we talked.  D said he feels like he's drifting, like he doesn't know his place in the world, which with being unemployed is totally understandable. I'm glad he's actually telling me how he feels.  He supports me so much, it makes me feel useful that I can support him.

Day 28: 

The other days when I just wasn't feelin' it and I only pulled one thing or so were by choice. Today's single item is all my body is allowing.  This is not a relatively-ok-period month.  Flow is heavy. Cramps are so very bad.  I've been trying to distract myself all day with internet and watching D play Fallout. And then it was half past five and I hadn't pulled my item.  So, into the office I went and looked around. Old coupon organizer, complete with three long-expired coupons still in it.  I'm so glad e-coupons exist.
I have today off, one of the few holidays I can count on my boss closing the office.  I had every intention of not leaving the house today, but I heard the beep of a delivery and then something hit my front door screen.  USPS delivers for Amazon, even on federal holidays, and even the day before the book is officially released..  It was the Neil Gaiman book I'd preordered several months back. LIke any fangirl I took a picture and posted it to twitter with the title hashtagged and tagging the author --- who retweeted me with a response!   Which is really cool, but kind of scary.  At least I could put some thought into my tweet, unlike when I met him in November, when I was too starstruck to say anything. But he was super nice. Though in the pictures I look terrified (which I was), to my everlasting shame.  

Day  25:

Since I have the day off, I'm taking most of today off from the decluttering in favor of binge-watching stuff I have on the TiVo. (It's been perpetually at 98-99% full since we got the good cable installed).  Only one item today: a black (now faded to brown) knit night-dress. It's been washed so many times it's grown super sheer. It was never anything I 'd wear out of the house, but comfortable to wear inside, especially when it was hot out (i.e. frequently, because I live in sunny California).  It's even got a few holes.  It's been kicking around the bedroom for the last couple of days and it's been nagging at me every damned time I came across it.  It's like I have to stop not seeing how bad something is before I can let it go, and that takes tremendous effort.  All the energy I spend putting up a front that I'm ok seems to bleed over into making me think things around me are ok too.  Here's to mental illness, it blinds both ways.  
 I was social again today.  I went to an annual bbq/birthday party, usually featuring a lot of booze and food.  There were both, today, and I indulged in some of each. In the past I've drunk a lot, but that was much easier when home was still within staggering distance.  Keeping in mind that I did have to drive myself home, I'm pretty proud of myself that I had only one alcohol unit today.  Anxiety was kicking me about this event, but not as hard (since hey, I've done this before, so it's not so new-scary-new).  I had been thinking about bringing Mexican lasagna (MexiLas, as it's known in some circles) but decided that I was going to be selfish and make it to share it with D.  I brought my fallback items instead: carrot chips, goat cheese, hummus, and brie, aka the Ecstatic Cult of Hummus and Brie.  I had a plan this time.  I decided not to show up at the stated start time because I knew I'd be prone to drinking more (since I'd gotten there so early) and feel like I needed to keep drinking to keep being social.  So I spent most of my morning distracting myself from thinking about going to an event yet again.  

I finished prepping the chicken I'd baked last night.  I am so glad I have a bunch of non-latex gloves. The sensation of greasiness on my hands when I debone cooked chicken gives me the shudders.  I hate thinking I'm transferring a bunch of schmaltz from my hands onto everything I touch until I can scrub it all off.  Since they're still mostly numb, I wouldn't know if they were completely clean without practically parboiling them and drenching them with dish soap. Gloves are such a convenience.

Day 24:

I was going to walk out of the house in the first shirt I put on today, a black ladies XL one that fits me pretty well. But as I was putting on my makeup I kept looking at the the design on the front and frowning at it.  It's got a silver pentagram with the words "earth, air, fire, water, wiccan spirit" wrapping around it twice.  And I can get down with earth, air, fire, and water, but not so much with the wiccan spirit, because I'm not religious at all.  I envy other people their faiths, but I do not believe (and haven't since I was about seven years old; yes, I experienced depression long before I got to be that age).  I think it's a side effect of the depression, which makes me ultra-rational (and ultra-pessimistic) about certain things (faith is doomed to go unrewarded, hope will always be disappointed).  I felt it would be wrong for me to wear this shirt, because I know that certain people at the party would start to ask me about wicca, and I'd have to tell them that I don't know anything about it and that I'm just wearing the shirt because I'm an appropriative boor.  It's why I don't wear stuff with crosses on them, either.  And I might wear a shirt with "namaste" written on it because I do enjoy yoga sometimes, but I made a conscious decision during my college years that I wouldn't be a walking billboard for anything I didn't personally support.  Part of that came from a decided distaste for designer label clothing/status symbols that my family couldn't afford to buy me as a teenager, growing up in status-conscious OC.  The fact that I didn't fit into designer clothing was a contributing factor.   But it was also impressed upon me that I wasn't worth spending that kind of money on (but my mother spent that kind of money on herself and on my sister).  The wiccan spirit shirt is now in the Go-Away Bag.  I settled on a paisley one to go in.

I put on lipstick to write this entry (lip-crayon, to be exact).  And prior to that I sprayed on my Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist face spray, a small bunny-shaped bottle of super cuteness (+5 to pampering). I wonder if using the "you're going to blog so you need this" was me giving myself permission to perform some self-care or if I actually needed warpaint to mentally gird my loins for exposing myself.  Porque no los dos?

More physical therapy today.  I asked my boss about home cervical traction because it's going to be two weeks until my next appointment (their schedule is full before the holiday and they're taking some extra time off, so two weeks until I get my neck stretched again).  He told me to find out how many pounds they've been using on me at PT (it's fifteen).  Home units are twenty dollars for an over-the-door unit, fifty for an inflatable one, or four hundred for a lying-down one on Amazon.  Pro models are in the thousands..  I don't care about uncomfortable, I want it to do what it's supposed to do.  I can take uncomfortable for a long-ass while, as my history demonstrates.   I also did more strengthening exercises, and they ramped up the weight a little bit.  I am totally ok with pulling things down or lifting up, that was easy at twenty pounds, but side to side (adductions?) and forward-back (rowing motion) are still so freaking hard at ten pounds, that I had to do them shakily in batches of two or three. Even my supposedly-strong side is only a tiny bit stronger than my injured one: that arm does four before needing to rest.  This time I was better prepared, though.  I took ibuprofen immediately after leaving (purse of holding for the win), and when I got home I iced both arms immediately.  Hopefully I won't be in nearly as much pain as I was in last time, but time will tell.  

One odd side effect of moving away from town is that now I'm on time (or early) far more often.  I know that it takes longer for me to get to work, so I spend a lot fewer mornings hiding in bed because I don't wanna go.  I mean, I still don't want to go, but I can't just get there ten minutes after rolling out of bed anymore   But now, I'm there alone for a while, usually for a good half hour, before anyone else gets there. So I get to crank some tunes.  A couple of years ago D wanted to get rid of his old desktop's computer speakers, and I'd been wanting some for my work computer, so they're now hooked up under my desk, subwoofer and all.  The volume knob is almost all the way down and I keep the sound levels low on my computer most of the time, but for alone time, there is some volume.  So I'll search for whatever is going through my head on YouTube and crank it up for a few minutes while I'm doing prep for the day.  

A lot of days it's my pump-it-up song "Battleflag" by Lo-Fidelity Allstars.  Some days it's a hunt for whatever interstitial music NPR was playing that morning.  Last week there was a bit more variety.  Wednesday was soul music, starting with "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays and clicking around in the suggestions.  Thursday, was a departure for me. I had a deep need for some punk rock, starting with The Clash's "Brand New Cadillac" and eventually rolling around to my favorite version of "You Oughta Know" by 1000 Mona Lisas, a band I've never heard of outside of a sampler one of my college roommates had.  This one is sung by a guy and I imagine the you who oughta know is a bi guy who left the singer for a potential babymama, and boy is he pissed.  I still like the original, but it just isn't angry enough for me.

I bop along to the music, not dancing (because a: I suck at it and b: neck problems [aka "No More Headbanging, Ever"]), but bobbing along. And maybe I'll mouth the lyrics, but I don't sing them out loud.  I seem to have lost my singing voice.  "Too depressed to go to karaoke anymore" means no weekly practice and now I sound like shit. (This is not the first time depression robbed someone of their voice.  Not the last, either.)  Now that I have a commute, I should be able to practice some in the car, but I'm usually listening to NPR, so I forget. And my car stereo is lacking in any input interface (it's the stock am/fm radio), so no singing along to my own stuff that I know and could practice with. The Bobs acapella stuff is really good for tuning up, but there's no way to play it in the car. Perhaps I should invest in a new radio transmitter; the older one died a horrible heat death, and its nifty-but-super-cheap replacement has an annoying buzz from a short somewhere on the circuit board.

Day 18:

Still having trouble getting motivated and taking the easy way out by not delving too deeply into the many bags of clothing still piled in the bedroom.  I did a shallow pass over a few things and pulled out three items, though.

First was some temporary hair color, a maroon red hue that really hasn't been stylish since the 90's.  I know I bought the box in this decade though. Go-Away box.

Second was a black women's xl t-shirt, with a small Triforce logo over the boobs.  I can stuff myself into it, but wearing it always makes me feel like I'm pretending to be something I'm not (cooler, maybe).  I've never played a Zelda game.  I think I've only handled a non-Wii Nintendo device twice in my life (and Wii stuff a few more times than that), but no Zelda ever. Go-Away Box.

Last was a black plastic container that used to have honey butter in it.  I think it was from Bon Temps, when they were in their old location, and it's been years.  After being emptied, it floated around on top of the toaster oven (that we gave to Goodwill at the time of moving).  Sometimes I would put small amounts of ingredients in it while making recipes (even though I have many much better containers made specifically for this purpose).  Recycle bin.
 Massive food-fail again this afternoon.  I didn't eat much for breakfast because we made soft plans to go out for lunch, but when D got sucked into playing Fallout, it got later and later until I felt like the world really was ending.  It's an understatement to say that low blood sugar makes me unhappy.  I'd had a food fail earlier in the week and after D got my blood sugar stabilized with food we talked.  (More like I apologized for letting myself get that bad, but talking.) I told him that when I get into that state (and it's all too easy for me to get there) the best thing he could do would be to make me scrambled eggs, cheese optional.  So here I was today curled up in a ball of sadness and crying my eyes out, but D twigged to the fact that it was food-fail and immediately made me some eggs.  I am super grateful that he's willing to put up with my many fails, and very lucky that he recognizes when I need help and is willing and patient enough to help me.

Day 16:

I think I have the answer to what happens if I get fatter again.  I went through another bag of clothing and pulled out two pairs of shorts and a pair of capris that I don't wear, both because shaving my legs is tedious and they no longer fit me because I've gotten fatter again.  I was only sad to see one of the shorts go, because it has uncommon sailor buttons instead of a fly closure.  Dammit.  I'm nowhere near where I was at my largest, just larger than I was at my smallest.  I'll never have what I think of as a Good Fatty body, not without significantly more restrictive dieting combined with surgery.  The Good Fatty is the plus sized woman seen in most advertisements for plus sized clothes. Big, rather than Fat.  The Good Fatty body doesn't have fat rolls or a protruding stomach, it's just larger, all around, with boobs that don't actually need much of the support of a bra.  Not my very short very round body  And the answer to the question is that I just don't wear those too-small things anymore.  I have as much trouble deciding whether or not to keep the things that are too small as I do the ones that are too large.  Because what if? 

I also got rid of yet another Polycon shirt (that I've never worn) and a red skirt thing that I made out of the long sleeves from several t-shirts (crafting fail) and never actually finished.
Fridays are my "recovery day" of the week. It's also the day I run as many errands as I can before I lose steam from the week and melt into a puddle of goo on my sofa. Today was supposed to be "self-care day". I went to my scheduled appointment to get my eyebrows waxed at Ulta. I justify it to myself (and I do have to justify it to myself) that if I get my brows waxed on a regular basis, I am both happier with the way they look, and I don't spend an inordinate amount of time every morning and night trying to do it myself with tweezers.  I call it worth it for the time savings alone.

I was also supposed to go get my hair cut, like I've been trying to muster the energy for for more than a month, but I had a fail on that.  Since I'm cheap, I like to go to one of the chain haircutting places in town, but it's on the other side of town (or more correctly, on the very tip of one of the four lobes of the little splat of a town I used to live in) and I just don't like going to the other chain (which is slightly more expensive for the same service).  Last night I realized needed to go to the pharmacy to check if my other meds were ready for pickup.  This morning I checked the dates on the bottles and it's been about 40 days since I last filled them.  Oops? I wasn't out of them. I've built up quite a cushion over time since I do occasionally forget to take the two night-time ones.  By the time I'd gotten in and out of the pharmacy I lost all motivation to continue.  It's not even ten miles by car and I just couldn't make myself go.  

Day 15:

When I got home I went immediately into "find the thing" mode, because I could feel myself rapidly approaching the state of goo.  A quick rummage through a bag yielded a scarf made of sequined ruffle yarn.  Clothing exchange item that I've never worn.  Go Away Bag.

As I was turning I saw something I had passed over the day before, a silver gift box that had a small organza drawstring bag in it, empty.  A conversation I'd had last night about giving the earrings to a friend to make necklaces out of came to mind, and I thought the gray box would be the perfect thing to put the pair of intricately beaded earrings I'd put in the Go Away Box a few days ago.  So I put them together and placed them back in the Go Away Box.  
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.
I seem to be having a bit (a lot) of food fail, yesterday and today.  I have food, plenty of it, but I don't have much around that I want to eat.  And if I get distracted I'll rapidly shift from "slightly hungry" in to "I'm not hungry and I don't know what I want to eat (and I don't deserve food)." Today I managed to blow past both of those and raced into "I may be hungry because I feel like I'm going to fall over because I can't get off the floor now" before I asked D to help me.  Needed food, something fast (hummus and brie and unsalted cashews, please), and something I could easily eat.  D handed me a tray with the whole wheel of brie on it and a knife and I had to beg him to slice it up for me. I was that far gone. I haven't been that bad in a long time, which is a good thing, I guess.  I'm trying to back off being so rigid about what I can and won't eat, because I have concerns that my original compulsive overeating ("Feel empty inside? Eat everything!") turned into orthorexia ("Only these few things or nothing!") with this latest bout of weight loss.  So now some days I eat the pizza.  Some days I eat the biscuit. The rest of the time I have my low-carb tortillas (Mission brand whole wheat, that tastes and feels like a real goddamned [flour] tortilla instead of grainy flat sadness). 

Yesterday's physical therapy is today's muscle soreness. ("Hello DOMS!")  My left arm is the weak injured one, but they have me doing exercises with both arms because it helps my brain re-learn how to do things better with the weak side if I'm doing the same thing with my uninjured side. So my right arm is complaining the loudest about the lateral extensions I did yesterday and the rest of my body feels achy and sore.  Brain is foggy too, probably because I also didn't eat enough last night for dinner after falling partway into that weird fractal "can't stop, won't stop" mindset yesterday and I had fuck-all for lunch today.  I got to take my full break at 1:20 but I had to eat my meal-in-a-bar about an hour before that when I was starting to spin from really hungry back into not-hungry while there were still patients in the office.

Day  12:

Today I came home and D suggested I might be able to find something to get rid of in the kitchen plastics box he'd already half-emptied.  I managed to pull out three items before I needed to sit down.  If I'd tried to keep going I think I probably would have spun up into full Everything's Filthy And I Am Too mode but luckily I was actually too damn tired to go there.   So I only pulled four things today.

First was a basic green plastic ice cream scoop.  I have quite a few scoops because I'm still searching for the platonic ideal of ice cream scoops. (They make low-carb ice cream, so I do need one occasionally.)  The closest one I've come across is from Ikea, and I have one that's a pretty close second.  This plastic one has been randomly in our stuff for a long ass time and something is telling me a drug rep brought it with ice cream to our office years ago.  It came home with me when we moved the office in 2014, I think because I was hoping D's gaming club could use it when they do their ice cream social night at the main con. Of course it never made it there. Go-Away Box.

Second was a plastic jar lid, clean. If I looked at it harder I could probably tell what food item it had capped a jar of, but right now thinking is hard. Recycling bin.

Third was a Mrs. Claus dish brush that was a stocking stuffer four(?) years ago.  It has a face on it and the white bristles are supposed to be the hair.  Its packaging made it seem like it was wearing a dress, and I didn't want to deprive Mrs. Claus of her dress.  Therefore it stayed on the brush until last August.  And I still didn't use it because I knew the face would get scraped up and it would be like I was beating someone up.  No more dishware with screened on faces. Go-Away Box.

Fourth was a clear plastic serving bowl that came from a catered lunch at work, cracked halfway through.  I like keeping stuff like that around because "what if I got invited to a party and was told to bring some food item and I didn't want to use a nice serving thing because what if it got broken?  I'd be sad." First, invites are few. Second, I bring hummus and brie, which mostly have their own containers.  Third, what good is a thing if it never gets used for its intended purpose?  My house should not be a museum of unused items like my grandmother's house was.  I shouldn't save things for a special occasion that never happens because I don't deserve to use nice things myself.  I shouldn't worry that they might get broken. Recycling bin.

I was more successful in the traction machine today.  I still can't relax entirely but I was better at it today.  Good news from the physical therapist, though. When I mentioned that my arm and hand were starting to itch he said that that was one of the modalities they expect as treatment progresses. (In English, it's a sign that there's less pressure on the nerve, the therapy is working, and I'm getting better.)  Now that I'm in the strength-building part of the therapy I'm feeling wimpy as fuck.  I used to carry twenty bridal gowns on each arm up and down the length of a retail store, and now a two pound weight is kicking my ass.  After doing ten reps of raising my arms to vertical from each of four different starting points with a weight in each hand, my left arm was complaining that two pounds was so hard.  The pulling down and rowing motion sets were pretty easy (I should probably be doing more weight for those), but lateral extensions kicked my ass.  I was supposed to do four sets of seven for each arm.  The weight was a little more than I'd done the previous week, but after doing the first three extensions with my left arm, it started shaking.  After that I had to strain to finish the rest of them, slowly, resting between each one.  I made it midway through the second set when the PT assistant  took pity on me and set the weight to the lowest one on the machine.  Of course I thought "weaksauce".  Because feeling so weak is alarming.

As a fat girl and a fat woman, one of the only good things about being fat was feeling like I'm strong, like I have substance, like I can do stuff.  I wasn't a petite little thing that was going to blow away in a stiff breeze (something my grandmother often told me, verbatim, that she was teased about a lot when she was a girl).  I could do brute force physical activity until someone told me it was ok to stop.  Of course I'd pay for it a few days later when delayed onset muscle soreness would leave me unable to move without severe pain, but I was not weak.  And the DOMS would make me hate (and I do still kind of hate) doing physical activity.  Nobody ever told me I should start slowly (and being fat and out of shape I should start even more slowly than most).  It was just "do all these sets of exercises" and I'd power through (because, remember, not weak), only to be knocked on my ass a few days later by the muscle soreness.  Nowadays I think the starting slowly and appropriately for one's fitness level is called conditioning.    But what I was doing, every time I tried to get not-fat with exercise like i was supposed to, I was conditioning myself to hate every minute and failed over and over again.  Now this stupid injury has made me weak again and I hate it.

Day 11

Yesterday I decided that my hoarder brain is called Charlotte.  It popped into my head and just feels right.   Charlotte looks (and sounds) like Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.  I read some tumblr meme that said the poster started calling the voice in their head that says terrible things "Donald Drumpf" and it made it easier to ignore.  Maybe if I name the hoarder in my head I can stop listening to it so much.

I really, truly only wanted to find my one thing and then slack on the couch, but I do this thing when I'm hungry that I get focused on doing some task and will keep doing it, unable to stop.  I blame low blood sugar hangriness.  It does come in handy when I need to clean.  It's like a fractal mental state where I keep looking at what I'm doing and I keep seeing more and more things around me that need to be cleaned, often to the point at which I'm shaking from hunger and crying because I think I'm surrounded by filth. (Hi there, Shame!) Again, these episodes conditioned me to really hate housework.  So one thing turned into another which led to me digging through my jewelry armoire (it's not my nightstand anymore so I have little enough on the top that I can even open the lid without major fuss), and within a half hour I was going from room to room to room with my hands full of stuff.  I'm getting better at breaking out of those mental fractals.  Sometimes by myself, having to say "I need to stop" out loud.  Sometimes I have to ask D to help me stop, and sometimes he'll see where I'm heading and physically stop me (and make me eat something).

So into the office, where there was a leopard print camisole top with a busted strap.  Said strap is held onto the garment with a safety pin, as it has been since I got it several years ago in a clothing exchange.  Every time I'd see it I'd say "I'm going to fix that", and just before we got evicted I even went so far as to put it on my sewing table for the next time I had the wee beastie out for a spin.  But today I'm admitting it.  I am never going to actually do it.  

I realized that if I kept digging into a clothing bag I'd need to try stuff on, something I don't want to do fresh from therapy. (Yeah, I am sweaty and stinky, ew.) Then I reached into a box of bathroom stuff. shudder It's random AND grotty. Most of the important stuff has already been pulled out, but there were things that I knew needed to go (and some I'm not ready to get rid of):

A hollow plastic heart that used to hold M&M's (a Valentine's gift from several years before I stopped eating sugar).

THREE tubes of some protective goop you're supposed to put on your hair's delicate ends when you dye it so the ends won't get damaged further (it really just keeps the dye from fully penetrating my hair, and my ends aren't damaged anyway). I should buy the dye that doesn't have these but I can never remember which one it is.

A slap bracelet that was shedding its fabric cover.

A safety pin in the box made me go into the bedroom where I keep a carefully hand-labelled bottle of safety pins, when I spied one of my infamous Bags of Random Crap (usually crap pulled out of a tote bag or pockets) that had been floating around the bedroom for a few years. Perfect!

I got the trash and the recyclables out of it (Disposable wooden chopsticks? Really? ["Yes", says my hoarder brain, "Chopsticks are always useful in so many crafts. What if you need them?"] 

Empty tiny Nivea lotion tin (that emptied itself out inside my purse, ew). But crafts or holding tiny things?  Shut up, Charlotte.

Our old bathroom cup (crackled acrylic, a lost cause).

A champagne cork (or more likely from sweet sparkling wine, because I think it tastes better) that was probably from a bottle I took to a party and had a great time at with other people (which I don't even remember now).

There was a pair of clip-on earrings that needed to go back to the jewelry armoire, which provided more fodder.  The drawers were too full so of course I had to start sorting them out.  Hair stuff went to the box of hair things, bra accessories went into the FUNderwear drawer (which emptied out a drawer and a half in the armoire).  A bunch of inelastic hair elastics went straight into the trash. (Do not pass go; do not take a picture.)

There were these ponytail/bun things I'd bought (from Claire's) to do something vaguely more interesting with my hair (when I kept it much longer).  My hair is too thick for these things to work, so I never used them after getting them untangled from my hair.

A very grotty silver -toned metal costume jewelry necklace that has so far resisted being cleaned (which I'm not going to waste any more time on doing, since my taste is so consistent that I've bought multiple similar items that I still have).  Round circles hanging from a chain.  Not quite dazzling enough to be a statement necklace, kind of lost on "my huge tracts of land".  When one has "huge tracts of land" like I do, anything that isn't super flashy really isn't worth wearing (unless it's a TARDIS key, which is always worth wearing and qualifies as me being subtle [aka "not shouting]).

A necklace that I've always hated owning: a braided leather-ish cord with a small dull silver-tone medallion on it that I found while walking along the railroad tracks many years ago.  The medallion has some Hebrew letters on one side, which made me pick it up, but the other side shows that it's clearly a "souvenir" from the brutal movie" The Passion" that Mel Gibson directed.  On the one hand, I didn't want to keep it, because I survived Catholic school, but on the other hand I didn't want anyone else to have to own merchandise from such a horrible movie.  I have decided to make it someone else's problem and put it in the go-away box.  I am no longer taking responsibility for something I think is terrible.

And then there were the earrings.  I don't have pierced ears, so I buy clip-ons.  Let me say it again for the folks in the back. I DO NOT HAVE PIERCED EARS.  But people I love give me earrings.  And they're beautiful.  I (Charlotte) keep(s) telling myself I'm going to put them in the earring converters I bought from (again) Claire's (several) years ago, but I haven't (because they're French hooks and not posts and I'm afraid they'll break).  And I won't try to rework them.  But I kept them, because someone I love gave them to me.  (They'll eventually leave you all alone and this is all you'll have to remember them by.)  [Shut UP, Charlotte.]   So two lovely pairs of handmade earrings (the intricately beaded ones hurt to give away, because look at how well they're made.)

The armoire also yielded up a red sequined wristband (Future crafts? Hush Charlotte.) and a plastic toy spinny top that at one point had been in a piñata that appeals to my magpie nature because laser stickers. OOH IT"S A SHINY! 

This took way longer than it should because I accidentally backspaced out of this page without saving the text ("Autosave" doesn't like I think it should on DW.)  Hitting the preview button activates the autosave feature.  Lesson learned (again).


univacgrl: (Default)
( May. 15th, 2016 02:17 pm)
CW: Female body stuff (and blood)

Got my period today, which better explains yesterday's mood crash than just being late on taking the meds.  Actually it's more like I got my second period, after a week of "spotting" that was heavy enough to require tampons.  I thought it was my real period, but no. I don't get to have happy moon goddess periods (easy with light flow).  Periods suck and they've been so traumatic (as in super painful and spectacularly heavy) for me over the years that I literally block out the memory of having them almost every time.  Then they come again and it's all like "Surprise!" (Worst surprise ever, by the way.)  I literally can't tell you when I had my last one but I think I'm pretty regular.  Now that I'm taking progesterone to help keep me from having ovarian cysts (which are also spectacularly painful in a whole different way) as often, my periods are ... somewhat better.  Ok, a lot better with a week of light to medium spotting and then a week of medium heavy bleeding and cramps that are still pretty painful but not as bad.  And being able to use the regular and super size of tampon a few times a day, instead of the super and extra-super-disco-plus sizes and having to change them every hour or two.

It used to be I'd have twelve to fourteen days of heavy bleeding, overwhelming back pain, and all the Emo feelings. It would start very suddenly (because, "Surprise!"), like turning on a faucet, and then it would get heavier.  About six to seven days in it would slow to nothing for a several hours or a day and I'd breathe a sigh of relief. But it was just my body saying "Psych!", because the faucet would turn on again, full blast, and I'd have another week of dealing with cramps and So. Much. Blood.  And if I took any anti-inflammatory medicine for pain relief, the blood flowed faster than the old-school feminine hygiene products could keep up with.  It often felt like the prom scene in the original Carrie (a character with whom I felt I had uncomfortably much in common), blood everywhere. So many clothes ruined, and shame for having fewer clothes that fit me to wear. A strong aversion to buying or wearing any kind of light-colored bottoms, and shame when the inevitable bleed-through happened. A feeling of everything being out of control and being shamed for having mood swings throughout. There was the one time my parents sat me down and said I needed to stop being so angry all the time (and with no guidance on how [or even a question about why], just "stop doing that"). But when something that is so hard to deal with takes up a third to half of your life from the summer before I entered fifth grade, it's kind of hard to learn to regulate that kind of emotional thunderstorm.

Day 10

Didn't want to get started, but again once I did it got easier.  First thing I spotted was a fuzzy coin purse, a holiday gift that had been accompanied by a matching beret (that was too small).  At least the beret had already gone in some of the purging before the move.  I thought I was done but my brain said no. ("But it was a GIFT" my hoarder brain says, "you need to treasure it... forever.  No one will ever give you gifts again because you're so horrible"  My hoarder brain is really creepy like that.)

I went around and picked out all the recyclable stuff I could see in the living room (and a quick pass through the bedroom, too).  It started with a ticket stub from Frozen 2D and became a pile of many many old and not-so-old receipts, some junk mail, and a few empty shopping bags.

There were the two Eeyore patches I'd picked off of a pair of overalls from a clothing exchange.  I like Eeyore.  Maybe now that should be past tense. I liked to wear things with Eeyore on them because it was a signal that I had depression, like the quietest call for help ever.  Eeyore gets put on stuff as an ironic commentary that a character couldn't be that sad, (but people are).  So it was like using a lie to be honest.  Nobody believes it but it is true.  Over time it started to feel like a red flag (or a scarlet letter), something else to be stigmatized for.  Because the world isn't a safe space to be vulnerable in, even if it's just a t-shirt, or an applique.

Today's Emo Grenade was a trio of tiny Sephora nail polishes I'd gotten for aunt Arlene for Christmas in 2014.  My father forbid me from giving them to her "because she'd just make a mess with them", but wearing nail polish made her so happy. She never got them and they stayed in a Sephora gift bag until today, and she died a year ago this month.  Hi there, guilt bomb.

Ok, stop me before I italicise anything else.
 In the rush of getting out of the house yesterday morning, I forgot to take my meds until after we got home from the movie (late in the afternoon).  Today I feel extra down, extra fragile, extra volatile. I took D on a short adventure to try and do one of the food challenges only to be slightly disappointed that Seven Eleven didn't have any sugar-free Slurpee flavors today.  A friend stopped to visit and told us he was doing better than he had been, and then shared some big life-news, the type that even though it doesn't affect me personally still feels like an avalanche.  And he's happy, so it's not like I'm going to try and tell him that I think it's a bad idea. I want to be happy for him but I feel like it's all going to be a trainwreck.  He's also asked us not to tell anyone else and mentioned that he didn't think he'd be able to hide it from his young daughter for much longer.  Not that I'm a parent or anything, but I felt compelled to give him some advice about helping his daughter not let the cat out of the bag.  It was from an article I'd read, saying that keeping secrets can be damaging for children, so he should tell her it was a surprise and not a secret. Surprises have more positive connotations, and imply that there will be an appropriate time to share information. Secrets never have an expiration date.

In the wake of hearing this news and pretending to be happy by saying all the things one says on hearing that particular type of thing, I got snippy with D who repeated something I'd literally just said as if he'd come up with the idea himself. As a very quiet woman who deals with this a lot I kind of exploded at him. How does one say "I just said that!" politely?  And I felt he was dismissive of how irksome it is to me, and then he said something that made me realize just how much of a white male privilege bubble he lives in (because again, he was verbally somewhat dismissive of hardships people who are not white nor men experience).  And it's not like he's a douchey bro, he's just completely, blissfully unaware.

Day 9:

In packing up our old place, I had winnowed out many things and items of clothing to get rid of.  For clothes I was keeping, I put into clear plastic bags with pieces of paper with KEEP written in black Sharpie showing in the bottom.  There are many bags, all over the bedroom and office and the thought of unpacking them makes me quail at the sheer amount of them to go through.  It's a lot easier when I open one up because it's a certain time of day and I've realized I still have to go find something to get rid of.  That way it's not unpacking, unpacking just happens while I'm looking for at least one thing to let go of.  

Red lace surplice LB top, too big.  Far too much cleavage exposure, to the point where my bra was showing when I tried it on.

Next was the olive green military-styled vest, too big. I really wanted it to still fit, because it's really cute (and what if I get fat again dragged itself through my mind while I looked at it.  Cute things are hard to find in larger sizes.  

The electric green slip was easy to let go of. It's a full coverage long slip/nightie from a clothing exchange.  Bright neon green is one of my colors. It'll always attract my eye But if the purpose of a slip is to make sheer fabrics more opaque or to provide a non-clingy base for clothes to lay on the body, a bright green slip isn't going to do it quietly.  

Last was another emo grenade, something from the Great Greg Stuff Giveaway: a lime green women's shirt that had to have been stock from when he ran a retail store called Vibe Alive.  The art screened on it is very obviously by John K (the Ren and Stimpy guy). I barely fit into it at my lowest weight. Ok, it didn't really "barely fit", I just squashed myself into it and looked like an overfilled sausage.  But I got a lot of "hey, cool shirt" comments from both friends and strangers, so Greg-memory plus social affirmation (by which I mean not feeling invisible) has made it hard to get rid of.  But it doesn't fit. It never fit. I'm never going to be the person who wears that shirt without mentally feeling self-conscious and physically feeling constricted.  
Big plans this morning. D & I had heard that one of our favorite restaurants, Bon Temps Creole Cafe, finally opened in its new location last Tuesday, so we made plans for breakfast on my weekday off, today.  Since I hate crowds, I was afraid if we waited until Saturday it'd be packed and, well, crowds suck.  I love Bon Temps, irrationally so.  It's where I've had wonderful times with so many of my friends. There's just something special about eating a good hearty breakfast with people I love.  So this morning we went. It was delicious, and I felt that the lovely  new location made everything taste a little bit brighter.  And I ate the biscuit and it was heavenly.

Their new location is an older building in Railroad Square. And it was bittersweet. Our former apartment is a block away and I still feel such a sense of shame that we were asked to leave it, and I don't like to go near places that make me feel that way.  I'm good at avoiding places. There are streets in SLO I haven't driven down in over a decade. 

Day 8:

Big grey and black men's sweater, oversized and heavy, but not very warm.  Depression clothes.  Something I wear when I'm depressed. It's not like getting rid of them will make me magically not depressed anymore.  I just feel like I shouldn't keep them because they are literally weighing me down.  

A pair of pink shorts that fit me at my largest. I'd wear them around the house when it got hot, but not out. More depression clothes.

A mauve tank top with Eeyore on it. Because Eeyore is the spirit animal for the depressed.  Too big, and the Eeyore screened on it is so thick it sticks to itself.  And it's not exactly like I need to advertise that I'm depressed. And sometimes I'm Piglet.

 A red and black double-knit scarf with heart motives.  I like the idea of it more. Never wore it and it rarely got cold enough in SLO, even in the winter.  

I also pulled out a wad of receipts and coupons from my purse. Recycle bin.
It was No-Break Thursday today, but it's a whole different ballgame when I get to choose to work through lunch instead of being forced to.  Today I had more physical therapy, and got to leave work early. More neck stretching today, and this time I was really trying hard to relax. It worked a little better this time, but along the way I got caught up in a hell of a thought. (This is what happens when I get stuck lying on my back staring at an acoustic tile ceiling for ten minutes or so, ruminating.)  I was wondering what my husband gets out of our relationship with all the taking care of me and my neuroses, and all I could come up with is "not much".  I almost started crying on the table.  Oh hey there, feelings of worthlessness, it's only been a few hours.

Day 7

Just a couple of things today.  The first items are four ribbon roses on wire stems that were favors from a wedding.  I helped make some of these rose favors, too, which was pretty fun.  Maybe if there were three or just one, I could keep it, but four is a weird number to have a group of things of.  

I'm pretty sentimental about weddings so I tend to keep crap like that. The bride went through all the trouble to give me a memento of their wedding and so I feel obligated to keep that shit.  But it's worthless. And sometimes tacky.  And then when the couple divorces you have this thing reminding you about that failed marriage and it becomes even more burdensome.  During my last round of decluttering I was soundly (and rightly) mocked for having a pair of painted wooden candlesticks from a wedding whose participants had been divorced for over a decade. The couple whose wedding the roses came from are still married (and look to stay that way, thank goodness).  I guess it's that change-hating part of me that's always getting stuck in the past.

Next up is a pair of  plaid cotton Joe Boxer pajama trousers that came from a clothing exchange.  I was so excited that I could fit my fat ass into them I didn't care so much that they had a big tear along the fly in front.  "I could repair them!"  But I won't.   Ever. 

Tonight I drank my dinner. Butternut squash soup from a box (thank Target for an easy meal) and terrible sweet wine with diet ginger ale.  It works better and faster than ibuprofen for my post PT muscle soreness.
Tuesdays are hard. After full days of work on Mondays,  leaving for work the next morning is the hardest thing.  There's still most of the week to get through, and most days I don't get to take breaks (and some days I don't get to take a lunch), and I just know my demanding job will take it out of me.  Getting out the door usually involves a brief crying jag, then a stop to fix my makeup, just like this morning did.

Day 5:

There's a white shirt with a drape front I've had for several years. I've been holding on to it because "someday" I was going to make a pattern out of it but not take it apart. It's probably been a literal decade since I put it on my body.  It's white, and of course it has stains in the front, along with a few holes here and there from overzealous application of bleach. It's so never going to happen, because I seem to have a thing about taking things apart that are still reasonably functional, especially clothes.  When I was a kid, I went to parochial school, and we had uniforms to wear every day.  I didn't have much in the way of other clothes to wear, because I was too fat to fit into age-appropriate clothes.  And I outgrew them quickly.  It's why I only ever had one pair of cutoff jean shorts.  Jeans that fit me were such a rare find (especially at thrift stores) that they were so much more valuable as long pants than taking off large pieces of fabric to make a (less useful) pair of ratty unhemmed shorts.  So no taking functional things apart for me.

A couple of old sonicare brush heads made it into the recycling bin. They'd been hanging out waiting for me to figure out how to pull those very powerful magnets off of them.  Not  gonna happen either.  There was also a jar of Clinique eye cream that had been the reparation from a class-action suit (and I have bought Clinique stuff, so yes, I was getting some of that). It was almost empty, and the dregs were all dried up.  But at least I can say I used up most of it.  Rinsed out and then into the recycling bin.
univacgrl: (Default)
( May. 9th, 2016 06:40 pm)
 Since I hurt my neck (with consequent left arm pain, numbness, and tingling) a few weeks ago, I've been going to physical therapy on the regular. It makes things feel better for a bit, then worse, then slowly better.  I have to admit of being afraid of the traction machine, literally afraid of it, because it's pulling my  head away from my shoulders by the neck.  I've been lying on the table stiff as a board and having a silent freak-out because I've seen way too many sci-fi shows where machines go wrong and there are things like decapitation or two vertebrae going 180 degrees in opposite directions.  I just had the courage to ask today how I'm supposed to be, and what the traction is actually pulling on, and of course, I was doing it wrong.  Muscles are supposed to be relaxed during traction, the more, the better, so there's that.  Leave it to me to think that something that's supposed to be healing is to be experienced as a punishment.

Day Four:

Today there were two items making the long goodbye.  First was a black lace-trimmed LB camisole top that I wore to work today under a light silk shirt.  I've been in denial that it's too big for a while, because the fabric has a great hand and drape, and the faux surplice style makes it much nicer than the rest of the camisoles and undershirts I own. Plus, it's black.  I'd had to shorten the straps almost all the way down when I put it on this morning and it wasn't until I'd gotten home from a full day of work that I could really see that it just didn't fit me anymore. I just can't see my body's actual size for what it is in relationship to my own clothes. It's maddening enough that sizing between companies is so wildly different (and companies sometimes vary their sizing from season to season) but the fact that I literally cannot tell what fits me and what doesn't unless I have time to let it sink in how it fits on my frame. I can't see myself right.

Second was a scarf I'd gotten in a clothing exchange. Interesting fabric, pretty pattern, but a huge square of fabric that perpetually needed ironing.  And since this homeslice don't iron no mo (unless i absolutely have to, it goes away.
 For two nights running I've had nightmares of dark water sweeping away a house containing someone I care about.. The first was a creek flooding and undermining the foundation of my grandmother's old house while she was inside.  The rising water had already taken the garage and was threatening to tip the house into the creekbed, destroying it. And I couldn't go back in for my grandmother, because it wasn't safe. (Why do you have to be so fucking literal, brain?  I haven't been back to my grandmother's house since before my father sold it, because different people own it and there are more houses built on the fields she fought to keep from being built on.  She's gone and it doesn't feel safe for me to go back, even to look. I get it.)

The second was Benedict Cumberbatch being filmed for a Japanese game show in a nearby artificial town being deliberately flooded for television.  It turned out the water they used was untreated sewage and I spent a good portion of the dream trying to get to him to warn him that he was going to get pink-eye if he didn't get out of the water and cleaned off before he rubbed his eyes.  He asked if I wanted a picture with him when I ran up to him, and I had to refuse because he needed know why he had to get cleaned up right away (plus ew, raw sewage).  So, possible moral of the story from my literal brain: even my heroes are human beings, meatbags full of shit and piss and other disgusting bits, and also, most of the time the things one sees on television aren't real. Do I get it? Maybe.

Day 3

Today there was only one item.  I know I'm not going to be super aggro about picking stuff out to get rid of every day, because some (most) days I'm pretty tired from generally being depressed all the time and holding down a job and being the kindest fucking dogsbody in that office.  And today I had to psyche myself up to make the Mother's Day call (which I at least got through rather early).  I got Nice Mom this time, which was lots better than Passive Aggressive Mom, Bitchy Mom, Belittling Mom, Resentful Mom, or any of the others it's possible to get dealt out of the deck. Today's item going out of my life was a nice Mary Kay hand care kit to make one's hands super soft and smooth, hand scrub, overnight moisturizer cream (there used to be some gloves to keep the overnight stuff off your bed sheets in it too) and everyday hand cream, given to me by my girlfriend. I used it twice like five or six years ago, both times when I was knitting with really soft yarn because I didn't want the fibers to get caught on my rough hands.  And it was weird. But I use my hands too much for them to ever be that soft, or "nice".  I guess it's one of those self-care things that I can't bring myself to do because I don't see the value in doing it for myself, even if it just made my hands moderately nicer, just for me, and just for a little while.  So into the trash the stuff went, and I scrubbed off the zippered pouch to put it into the Go-Away Box.  

The remainder of the day was watching the accumulated stuff on the TiVo, and after D came home from his meeting we watched The Avengers that it had caught (Yes, I do have a Hiddleston "tape everything" wishlist on it, which is why I still have the episode of the Late Late Show where he's holding a baby cloud leopard.  Strictly as a unicorn chaser [and it's a rainbow colored unicorn farting glitter across the night sky], I might need to watch it again someday.)  I almost got to take a nap on the living room floor while D was playing Fallout 4 (with headphones on because all the shooting noise makes me twitchy after a very short while [Thanks PTSD!]) but he woke me up thinking I was sleeping on my bad arm (I wasn't, but he couldn't see from his spot on the sofa).  

So it's been a somewhat unproductive Sunday, but I nearly got to nap.  Perhaps it's better that I didn't, given my propensity for nightmares lately.
univacgrl: (Default)
( May. 6th, 2016 12:44 pm)
We've just moved, to a new apartment, in a new city (not really that far from the old one, but it feels like it's far far away), and I'm drowning in my own things. I have unmatched socks that are years old that I've kept in the hopes that their mates will just magically show up "someday".  I have underwear that I know I bought back when I was in college (and it's in fine shape, because I never wore those pairs much anyway). I have enough makeup to do myself up with a face full o' slap for years. I have enough halloween makeup to outfit an entire burlesque troupe. I have way too much yarn, as well as a hell of a lot of needles, hooks, glitter, glue/paint, wire, floss, ribbon, beads, fabric, and paper sewing patterns. Apparently I collect sewing patterns, because I've made like six things from them (and only two for myself), even though the whole point is to make myself wonderful things to wear, but I don't have room to do anything because, you guessed it, I have too much stuff to work around. I have too many paper books, though some are special like the signed Gaimans.   I have some belongings remaining from three different dead people, even though I know keeping it won't bring any of them back. Some of which I got to choose (and those items give me life), but most of which I took because it didn't have anywhere else to go besides the trash, and I feel sadness, grief, and terrible loss whenever I catch sight of them. But I can't bear the thought of getting rid of them either, so glimpsing a pair of pink-toed socks or the antique toaster can reduce me to tears at times.  

It's become beyond obvious, even to me, that I don't own my stuff. My stuff owns me.  With the move, there have been some easy decisions to get rid of a few things, like obvious trash or recyclables. I've been making some conscious decisions lately, mostly about clothes that don't fit. I'll put them on because they're close at hand, and if they just don't feel right (or if after a day of wearing them start to not feel right, something I call 'giving them the farewell tour'), I'll take a good hard look at them and then probably consign them to the Go-Away Bag (which lives right next to the Go-Away Box that holds the things-that-aren't-clothes to get rid of).   D's been helping me by getting rid of a few things when I'm not around, because if I don't see them, I probably won't miss them.  Sometimes I do see them, and then I nod and leave them in the trash, sometimes I am compelled to pick out one or two things.  Mostly, I have the desire to pull all of my stuff around me in a protective shell. Yes, like that character in Labyrinth, which for me was the most frightening thing in that film.

To that end I'm going to try to get rid of at least one thing each day, to donate/sell or recycle/trash, for thirty days.  I know it's not the first of the month; I know it's not a Sunday (or a Monday). Starting on those beginning-type days just doesn't work for me because it feels like too much pressure (and I don't do transitions well). I know I've been doing it in fits and starts already.  So I'm just going to close my eyes and -- keep going.

Day 1 (Officially Counting): 

I got off to a roaring start, since D put together the second dresser we bought from Ikea (just before we had to move). My clothes are in bags all over the bedroom and though the dresser's been together for a week or so, I hadn't put anything in it.  I have this (irrational?) fear that we're going to have to move again, on a moment's notice.  Last night he told me he'd taken my bras out of their box and put them in a drawer, which kind of sparked today's adventure.  I've been keeping socks and underthings (and other foldable clothes) in plastic bin drawers, which were filled to overflowing as soon as I got them.  I started with the top and made it through the second by laying everything out on the bed. So in transferring two of the plastic bins' content into the new dresser I was able to put into the Go-Away Bag: two bunches of (matched) socks that don't fit, a bunch of bras that don't fit (all the sizes around the one I'm currently at but especially the ones that are way too small), and three tank top undershirts that are pretty ratty.  I sorted out the things that weren't either socks or underthings and stuck them back one of the two plastic drawer bins I'd emptied. The other drawer bin is an intermediary holder for things I'm not sure about keeping (I wasn't up to trying on 12 bras right now). I put all the unmatched socks on the top of the bin dresser and, once I'd gotten the bed cleared off again, called it good.

There was one thing that I was determined to get rid of that I didn't.: a black, wide-ribbed, cropped tank top that I bought in my first year of college.  It's a basic item.  I was still able to stuff myself into it (at home and in private) even at my largest size. It went to at least two Burning Mans (probably more), and it's still soft and comfortable.  I tried it on this morning and it just doesn't fit me right.  The straps are too narrow, the scoop is too low, and it's a crop top, on this body.  But I couldn't put it in the bag.  Maybe some other time but not right now.  

For anyone who thinks this is the KonMari method, well, yeah, it is, kind of.  I read a little bit of the book's first chapter on a stop during a (highly emotional) emergency trip to see my parents. I thought "Ok, this sounds totally doable, but right now I've got to see my sick dad, so laters."  A few weeks later I picked up my own copy of the book on a Target mosey, brought it home and started reading it again, thinking to myself "Reasonable, reasonable, reasonable, OK HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE RIGHT THERE NOPE."  I can't remember exactly what it was that set me off (maybe the "doing it all at once" and being happy with only a minor fraction of what you originally had), but I closed the book, put it on the arm of the sofa (to let it fall underneath, where it lived until we moved out) and got up and got away from that thing.  There are now four books that I've had that kind of reaction to, and the other three involved a particular form of harm to children that I experienced myself.   So something about getting rid of stuff lights up the DANGER sign in my hindbrain, because, hoarder from a family of barely-controlled hoarders.  So, kinder, gentler, (yes, slow as fuck) KonMari-like, but not KonMari.
I got a kind of validation from an avenue I didn't expect. I got into a conversation about hormones (and how the ones that I'm currently on for ovarian cyst treatment purposes manage to have me crying on the floor on at least a monthly basis) with someone who has always been very Take Care of Business. She has always been supportive in-deed, stepping up when someone needed help with finances, a place to stay, and stuff like that. But if it involved mental health problems the help was accompanied by some eye-rolling and some behind-the-back "can you believe this shit" kind of talk. This conversation the other day, discussing medically prescribed hormones interacting with our cycles, she said "Until it hit me, I didn't understand. Some little thing would happen and it would be a total tragedy and I had to force myself to get out of bed in the morning." My out loud voice said "I'm so sorry you had to go through that!" while my inside voice was thinking "Oh, now you understand ... maybe a little bit."
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