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.
Since hurting my neck and arm, I've been in a lot of pain most of the time.  It is getting better, but so slowly.  Sleeping has been kind of tough since I normally toss and turn all night long.  Can't sleep on either side like I normally do, because I can't lie on my left side and compress the nerve running down my shoulder and through the arm.  I can't lie on the right because even with the injured side on top and not having any weight pressing down on it for the top, the weight of the arm itself compresses that nerve.  But I seemed to have learned a new trick. I've been wearing my (too-long) hair in low pigtails because it's easy and keeps my hair out of my face better than a single pony would.  And I've left them in at night several nights running, because too tired to deal with more than getting the paint off my face at bedtime.  That stuff smears on the linens, so no.  Anyway, the ponytails snugged down at the base of my skull frame my head keeping it upright through the night, so no tossing and turning, therefore less pain.  And I seemed to have learned the lesson incredibly well, because I've been falling asleep while reading, putting down my iThing on my chest, and waking up with it in the exact same position.  No fishing for it in the bedclothes, just right there where I'd let go of it the night before.  Ta-da! New trick, old dog.

I'm still getting more sore as the day goes on.  No Break Wednesday today means I'm also pretty brain fried.  My me hurts and I'm reduced to watching Animaniacs on Netflix.  Again, it's so different when I'm choosing to skip a break when I need to take a little time off (like for Physical Therapy appointments).  It's that terrible conundrum: I need to make sure I take a break, but I also have to be responsible for making sure someone is here to answer the phones during business hours.  

Day 13

So tonight's adventures in decluttering were strictly of the get-it-over-with variety.   I knew if I sat down I would not be able to do the thing, so I'd mentally started before I'd left work today.  I'd taken a light stretchy hoodie with me this morning.  It's cold and foggy here when I leave for work even if it's going to be warm later, so I need a little protection from the weather.  The hoodie had been acquired in a clothing exchange, another of those I'm so surprised that my fat ass fits in this I must bring it home with me things. The former owner is one of the most slender people I know, and when I went to her baby shower, her mother mentioned that she'd worn a pair of child's trousers from the time she was ridiculously young all the way through high school.  And this hoodie was a 3X and I was able to squeeze myself in it. Ok, baggy clothes are a thing, but WTF? Today I wore it and felt everything that was wrong with it except for it being mostly black.  It'd been shrunk. It has small holes.  It's got these tiny sliver studs all over big chunks of it. It's got "FREEDOM" screened in big pink letters down one arm and "One World" on the back with color. It's really everything I shouldn't like in a hoodie except that it fit me.  It'll find someone else who digs it.

D tackled one of the boxes of bathroom stuff that I declined to the other day, and he'd winnowed the contents down to a few bottles he wasn't sure what to do with and some -- stuff.  Two sponges from the shower in the old house, one melamine foam and nylon sponge, half worn down, and one nylon  fancy-schmancy body sponge that had been in a spa gift basket.  Trash and Go-Away Box, respectively.

And now all I want to do is eat No Sugar Added ice cream. 
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.
univacgrl: (Default)
( May. 11th, 2016 06:50 pm)
 So. Tired.  #NoBreakWednesday again.  Did not want to think about getting rid of stuff when I got home because I'm so damned tired.  Work is  a constant state of moving from one task to another, while being interrupted by answering the phone and checking patients in and out.  And my neck hurts. A lot.  Arm is still going numb and tingly on the regular.  (My brain is so fried I'm watching animated Avengers Assemble right now.)  So I got home and felt a moment of panic when I walked in the door.

Day 6

D had done some more laundry and there was another small stack of unmatched socks, among which was a single pink shoe-liner sock, and I knew exactly where its match was (having completely reorganized my socks last weekend). They're way too small for my giant feet and every time I tried to wear them they'd come off either my heels or my toes, usually opposite ones on both feet.  After I found the first thing, the rest came more easily.  I pulled a basket of clothes off my closet shelf and started rummaging through it.  There was another LB long sleeved shirt that was too big. Well, it was too wide.  Then there was the pair of too-small leggings with the blown out crotch. All I could think was "What? Why?".  And then I decided to stop for today. I know how tired I am and I didn't want to get in that "must finish everything NOW " mode that sets me up for so much agita. Not gonna do it.

Kirk out.
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. 7th, 2016 04:25 pm)
 After a bad night's sleep (once again featuring nightmares!), I woke up and got started on the rest of the plastic bin drawers.  And here be dragons.  A goddamned shirt, combined with that nightmare touched off a crying jag this morning. But the less said about it, the better, so into the Go-Away Bag it went.

There was lingerie: tights, stockings, corsets a few bras and nightgowns, some other shirts, leggings and socks. So many socks. For someone who wears plain white athletic socks almost exclusively, I sure have a lot of socks that aren't plain or white.  I matched up the socks, rolled all of the tights and stockings, and made some decisions about the shirts.  Several items still have the tags on them, because I tend to not take the tags off clothes until I'm actually going to wear them. Perhaps it's my way of attempting not to take ownership of the [too many] things that I buy during random bouts of retail therapy, especially clearance items or things bought because they were on sale and there was a super deal.

There was the shirt I bought because, velvet.  Every damn time I put that shirt on I'd stroke the velvet, walk past the mirror and realize that my bra straps would be showing through the sheer lace yoke. Strapless bras made my shape look weird in it.  And so I'd take it off again and put it back in the drawer, never to be worn. A similar one had a completely sheer back that would not only show my bra but also my fat rolls.   There was the fancy Lane Bryant lace shirt that I bought on a trip I won in a sweepstakes. Then there was the bra with sugar skulls on them.  Right cup size, wrong band size (way too big), bought with the idea "what if I get fatter again?". Which is probably why I keep half of the clothes I do. My size has changed from 24W to 14 and it's now back to 16 or 18. There's always that niggling thought in the back of my mind, "what if I get fatter again?", and it makes getting rid of clothes so, so difficult.

Day 2

Any stockings, socks, tights, or leggings with holes or runs went straight into the trash.

The things mentioned above.
Buh-bye to the vinyl-topped thigh-high fishnets I would never wear (Hot Topic sale with a coupon).
A really tatty corset that I picked up at a clothing exchange. (It could have been the basis for a costume or something.)
Yet another PolyCon shirt.
A cute top that is just a tad too small.
A pair of striped trousers (of which I have a duplicate) with a small tear I will never ever mend.
A t-shirt from a tech company I have no connection to.
A pair of ivory chiffon scarves with beaded velvet panels that I thought I would make something out of (all I did was get them dirty).
A sheer lace nightgown (too big, too sheer)
A couple of tank tops (one men's and one women's)
More wrong sized bras, including some sports bras (which are both too large AND too small at the same time, because my body is talented like that)
A shirt my best friend gave me. It's a beautiful Lane Bryant maroon long-sleeved stretchy top that feels wonderful, but is, alas, much too big, and I can't justify keeping it when I'm sure it'll make someone else very happy. (Which is the only way I can convince my brain to LET THE FUCK GO of some things.)
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.
univacgrl: (Default)
( Oct. 17th, 2015 01:07 pm)
I saw Crimson Peak yesterday. I'm not a fan of horror at all, so it takes a lot for me to actually watch any horror film. I've only seen Sean of the Dead a few times because, despite the fact that it's a superbly funny critique of modern society and its fascination with the zombie genre, and that I really really like it, it's still a zombie horror flick. (I'm perfectly ok with watching limited doses of The Walking Dead" as long as I have appropriate unicorn chasers, because TWD feeds my existential angst about the futility of everything.) The lure of a new Guillermo Del Toro film with Tom Hiddleston in it was sufficient to get me out of the house, but only for a daytime matinee with a friend after being fortified with a sushi lunch.

It was an astoundingly beautiful film. There was so much texture on the screen that I could almost feel it. The fabrics of the costumes, the sets, the sound design, the color, all of it drew me in to the story so much I've been thinking about it all since leaving the theater. That's art's job. All that beauty isn't just window dressing. It's the bait that relaxes our guard and opens us up to feeling what the artist wants us to experience, especially in films. Emotions haven't been something I've been comfortable allowing myself to feel for the past four years, so caution is warranted. Which is why I choose very carefully what I watch, and frequently how I watch movies. Netflix from my sofa, with all of the distractions I keep round my seat, doesn't have nearly the power of a film seen from fifth row center in a theater.

So a day later after seeing Crimson Peak, and after a good night's sleep, I'm even more horrified.

Spoilers ahead

Minor and slightly obscured ones, but still, they're spoilers.

And also triggery.

triggery minor spoilers here )
univacgrl: (Default)
( Oct. 14th, 2015 06:15 pm)
 Last night's dreams were weird. 

I dreamed I successfully negotiated a drug deal in the parking lot of the hospital, just outside of my old office.  The dealer kept asking me if I wanted cocaine, heroin, or speed, and I kept telling him I only wanted LSD or MDMA, whichever he had, but with a strong preference for the LSD.  He comes back with "blotter paper", 8.5 x 11 inch orange cardstock (in several different shades).  One dose was a third of the page, and he tore one up to demonstrate.  I threw a dose in my mouth and chewed it as I walked home, cardboard flavor in my mouth. Mycroft Holmes from Sherlock was there, and I tripped while we sorted recyclables together. 



Still better than zombie apocalypse dreams, hands down.

"The strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors, and fights [sic] battles that no one knows about" 

I understand the sentiment is supposed to be "Strong Women, Fuck Yeah!", but I just need to unpack it for myself a little bit, because this is exactly the kind of thing that depression says to me.  And though I know it lies, I listen to it far more often than I should.
The strongest women who do these things are also the most brittle, the most vulnerable.  They will be broken, again and again.  Strong women know they should leave a situation that is draining them dry.  They express their entire range of emotions appropriately as they happen, so they don't become overwhelming in unrelated situations.  They can ask for help in their struggles, too.  It all still comes from strength, but it's a more resilient kind. 
Things like these statements strike me as reinforcing rigid gender roles, that strength is to be expressed strictly in traditionally masculine form.  The first clause opens with a traditionally female role: to accept whatever is dished out, and to respond with only love, giving of themselves until there's nothing left to use for their own ends.  The second directs us to bottle up emotions because it's considered shameful to express them at all.  It's a trap that rots from the inside,  And don't get me started on self-isolation.  Thinking that you always have to do everything alone every time is doom.  We need each other, in so many ways.
univacgrl: (Default)
( Aug. 2nd, 2015 10:34 pm)
I'm not doom-and-gloom all the time. Not every single minute at least. I do sleep sometimes.

I crocheted a baby blanket recently. It was much faster than knitting one. And I barely finished it in time for the baby shower. I was putting a border on it, and it just wasn't looking quite right (not enough color on the edge for the size of the blanket meant it's visually not heavy enough to support the blanket). I had to ask D to tell me it was ok to stop and just call it finished. I had a deep sense of shame about bringing it to the shower, since all I could see were the flaws. At least I'd caught and ripped back to fix any stitch errors I'd made. There were a couple of late nights where I crocheted the same two rows about four times because I'd made an error early in one and didn't find it until the end of the next one. The edging was just too plain compared to the simple one-color shell pattern. Even though I'd followed a pattern, the number of rows made it come out as to rectangle and not a square, which seriously freaked me out. I didn't even notice the shape because I was so focused on finishing the required row-count by the deadline. By the morning of the party I seriously wanted to throw it in a trash bag and run out and buy something really quickly on the way there, but I gritted my teeth, sprayed it with lavender spray, put it in a gift bag and took it with me, with the goal of keeping my mouth shut. (Ok, I did brag a little when the mom-to-be mentioned that the blanket was the only gift in her favorite colors. I'd asked her months ago what colors she might like, in case knitting happened.)

It was kind of torture, watching a nearly endless parade of beautiful, thoughtful (mostly) store-bought gifts: toys, tiny delicate clothes, a variety of diaper creams, and one beautiful hand-made quilt that looked like it should be hanging up in a gallery. And my blanket was one of the few items that was handed around because people wanted to touch it and see it up close. And I gritted my teeth and said as little as possible. Because the voice in my head couldn't shut up about tiny things that no-one else was going to be rude enough to point out, even if they did notice. "It's machine-washable," I said, with what I think must have been one of those pained half smile, half fear expressions on my face.

I made something this evening as well. I've been kind of feeling like my feet are ashy and need some sort of care to make them more presentable (I don't know to whom because I seldom leave the house in anything but sneakers). A few weeks ago a Listerine foot soak was all the rage, so I looked that up to see if I had the ingredients. One page had a Listerine and sugar foot scrub instead, which kind of blew my mind. I'm never ever going to take the time to set up a foot soak for myself, because of the sheer amount of crap I would have to move around, scrub, and then get all messy with the soaking just to have to clean it all again and then put away ... it makes me tired just imagining it. I don't feel like I'm worth that kind of effort. But using a scrub, that can be done in the shower, and I take showers.

The page I looked at had a bunch of sugar scrubs, but I feel guilty about using food in a way that it wouldn't be eaten. But there was a quickie coconut oil and salt recipe which caught my eye. One, salt is a mineral, and super cheap at that, and two, I have coconut oil already purchased specifically for skin purposes (plus some essential oil we keep for soap-making purposes). D had cued me to go make myself some dinner (I'd been watching him play Dragon Age for much of the late afternoon). I got up and pulled nibbles that resemble dinner out of the fridge, and then kept right on going with pulling the scrub ingredients out of the cupboards too.

A half a cup of salt,
some baking soda (because it's a finer grit and people use it for soaking their feet in too, so why not),
three tablespoons of coconut oil,
four drops of peppermint oil.

Stir until thoroughly combined. Place in container. Rub all over your wet feet then rinse thoroughly with water.

After mixing it up I tried it on my hands and it was pretty nice, so I put the lid on and took it upstairs to the shower after showing it to D so he'd know what it was (and more importantly, that he'd know not to throw it out). Then I finished fixing my dinner of carrot chips, roasted unsalted cashews, and the tub of pine nut hummus. There was supposed to be some of the prepared chicken pieces I'd gotten at the weird F&E market, but I'd gotten thoroughly distracted by the scrub making.

So, sometimes I make things, when circumstances align just right. Mostly for other people but sometimes for myself too.
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."
univacgrl: (Default)
( May. 22nd, 2015 03:59 pm)
Arlene, Far Far Away

Dean, Arlene, and Holly

This is my aunt, Arlene. She passed away in hospice care on Monday after being diagnosed with cancer a little over a month ago. She was happy and healthy, until suddenly she wasn't. Arlene survived scarlet fever at age four that left her physically and mentally challenged. She was a wonderful, complicated person, at times acting like a mischievous seven-year-old, and then being so insightful as to take my breath away.
She was kind and she was funny. She loved holidays and animals, and watching anything Dick Van Dyke was in on television. She remembered everyone she met. She was an unrepentant flirt. She was stubborn and sometimes cranky. She loved to be included in any task, even if it was just to "supervise." She also loved to bicker with her mother and stepfather, and sometimes with Dean and me when we lived with my grandparents for a time. She lived for people to come visit her. She loved coloring and stringing beads. Birthdays weren't just one day to celebrate for her, she lived for them, counting down the months and days until the next one (because presents showed up all month long). Arlene would always give me little things she'd made or things she had. I would send her cards with sheets of stickers for the albums of photos she loved to keep.
She lived a good long life. She wasn't in pain, even near the end. I visited her just after she was diagnosed, and Dean and I visited a couple of weeks ago. We got to talk about her life, things she liked, events she remembered, and people she loved who were gone. My father, her conservator, didn't want anyone to tell her directly what was going on, and specifically asked me not to do so myself, but I begged him to at least ask the hospice people to make sure she understood as well as she could what was happening to her, so that she wouldn't be afraid. I'm not sure if anyone did, but I think she figured out a lot of what was going on by herself. During our last visit, Arlene told us, unprompted, that she was going to have a new home soon, "in a month or so," and that she was happy to be going, which nearly made the both of us cry. And when I asked her where her new home was, she raised her arms in an expansive gesture, and said "Far, far away."
It's extremely difficult for me to talk about this. I want to forget. I want to be distracted. I want to shut down and compartmentalize because it's easier than dealing with the pain. Talking about it makes it more real and means breaking down in tears all the damned time, but if I don't, then it builds up until the tears come anyway. I don't know how to ask for help. I
know even less how to accept it without fighting it, without feeling weak and like a failure. I've been feeling like this since my grandmother died, a year before Greg did, and now, Arlene is gone too.
She loved me very much, and I loved her. Now she's gone, and I miss her terribly.

Arlene and Holly at the last


univacgrl: (Default)
Cyrano de Univac


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