I am still here!

31 Oct

Man, sorry it has been so long since I last posted and update on this “new life” of mine! I have been so busy with school and tracing the root of this yet to be explained health issue I have going right now (and beating myself up for having said health issue… more on this in a few) that by the time I remember I should write something I am in bed trying to force myself to sleep. A friend posted on my FB wall the other day asking how I was doing on my “new non-smoking life” and it made me realize how long it has been since I posted here! Time flies I guess.

I know you are all waiting to hear if I am still a non-smoker so I will get that out of the way right now. YES! In fact, the 4th will be two months of non-smoking! I am a little surprised that I still get hit with the urge to light up now and then and sometimes this urge is quite overwhelming.  When these urges hit me I just remind myself that has badly as I think I want a cigarette at that moment in time, my desire to be a non-smoker is much greater. I suppose that these urges will happen less and less over time. One of the really nice things about all of this is that I have already saved my household roughly $300!

I am really proud of myself for sticking with the non-smoking but I am feeling a bit frustrated and ashamed for my lack of progress on my other health goals. I have not weighted myself in about a month, mostly because I know I have put on a little weight but also because I am still struggling with this random edema and water retention and I know that I will not get an accurate weight until that goes away. Despite the throng of tests I have had done my doctor has still come up short for answers on why in the hell this is happening to me or how to make it stop.

I am going to get all serious and sad sounding for a minute here…  Not because I am necessarily serious and/or sad, but because I want to make a point. I have been overweight for 17 years. I have wrestled with my self-esteem a lot over the last decade and a half but eventually I came to a place where I was comfortable in my own skin. Here is the thing, though I am overweight and self-conscious about that I have never felt unattractive. Yes, I think I am pretty. I also think that I am fairly intelligent and interesting to talk to (I think I am fucking hilarious too but I am usually the only one laughing at my jokes so that aspect of my personality might me up for debate). But here is the thing… when I got sick with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome it left me with permanent facial paralysis and in need of a cane. That makes me feel not so pretty.

So six years ago I started really struggling with not only my looks for the first time in my life, but with myself as a person because I lost my ability to work and I stopped leaving my house. I was once a very socially active person. I went out and did things by myself all the time and my husband and I went out at least every other weekend and always for Halloween! Turning into a shut-in didn’t happen overnight.  Well it kind of did but not really. I mean I was really, really sick for almost a year and I wasn’t well enough to go out and do much other than doctor appointments or visiting family. It has been six years. RHS took a lot of my independence away. It left me unable to do a lot of the things that I use to do. But I can go out and do things. I can leave my house and enjoy a meal and a couple of drinks with my husband. I can go see a movie, or go see live music. I can even dress up in costume. I can, but I don’t. Granted, some days I really don’t feel well enough, but most days I am just afraid people are going to think I am ugly when they see my crooked smile and squinty eye or notice that I am using a cane so I choose not to leave the house.

I am rather hard on myself and I always have been. When I look in the mirror the first thing that I see is my facial paralysis. I know that most people really don’t notice it and if they do it isn’t on a shocking or horrified level.  I also know that most people don’t pay any attention to my cane unless I am jabbing/hitting them with it or threatening to do so. I know that people don’t pay attention to my cane because I am routinely bumped into or my cane is kicked/tripped over by people in a hurry to get around me. I know my facial paralysis isn’t as obvious as it use to be because I haven’t had a random douche bag say something like “so did you have a stroke or what” in about four years. Regardless of knowing both of these things I still feel like the only thing that anyone sees when they look at me is an ugly face propped up by a stupid cane.

Now I am not telling you all this in hopes of pity or complements. Keeping this blog going is about honesty. Being honest with myself and with the rest of the world holds me accountable. And accountability is the only thing that is going to allow me to move forward in the way that I want to. I just went through all of that bullshit back there to preface talking about another new goal. I am going to start leaving my house. Even if it is just to go to the art supply or fabric store, I will make a date of it. Rather than begging my husband to drive me to a store that he doesn’t want to go to and help me shop for things that he couldn’t care less about, I will make a date night of it. I will get dolled up. We will go run my errand but we will also go out to eat, maybe take a walk, or have a couple of drinks, whatever. The point is that I really can’t keep hiding in my house if I want to move forward. And even if it means baby steps like this, I have to gain confidence in myself again.

As you will probably recall, on a rare public outing I had my husband take me out to dinner for my one month non-smoking anniversary at the beginning of the month, I have to confess that was the first time I had left my house other than an overnight visit to my mom’s for the entire month (Sept 4th – October 4th). There have actually been times over the last couple of years that I have not left in close to two months (once I even went almost three months without leaving my house). In the name of avoiding a real case of agoraphobia I am trying to make sure that I go out and do something at least once an week, even if it is just going to the grocery store. But for all of the reason listed above and more I am trying to make sure that the Mister and I get a date night out of the house every other week.

These pictures were actually taken two weeks ago so we are due for another night out this weekend but here are some photos from our last date. I had to go to Blick’s to get some art supplies so we went out for dinner and then stopped for a drink at one of our old haunts. Please excuse the photo quality on some of these. I didn’t bring my camera so Big Orange had to take pics with his cell phone and he isn’t great at taking photos.

This first photo was taken at Blick’s and it freaks the shit right out of me. When we walked in the door and saw this life sized wooden drawing mannequin dude and I seriously let out a little scream! I screamed and then made Big Orange take a picture of it so I could show everyone how creepy it is. This just touches on way to many phobias for me. There was another one in an apron in the back part of the store too. I think they were part of a promotion because my friend was there just the other day and didn’t see them… I don’t know how anyone could miss them so my hope is that they are gone.

We walked across the street to the Pizza Schmizza for a couple slices and found that they had totally remodeled the place. Personally I like the old, quirky décor much better. It was trivia night and the handful of people playing were obviously people who play every week. For future reference, no one likes it when interlopers excitedly blurt out answers and they like it even less when said interlopers go full “Arnold Horshack” every time they know an answer… oh well, we had fun pissing off the regulars and we did find an original decoration on the way out (I tried to convince Big Orange to rip it off the wall for me but he reminded me that I can’t really outrun the police anymore and convinced me it wasn’t a good idea).

On the way home we stopped at Voodoo Doughnuts because it is “Cocktoberfest” and the famous “cock-n-ball” doughnuts are $1 off. I really didn’t want a doughnut but seriously, how can you say no to a big doughnut shaped like a penis? While we were waiting in line there we found a little friend on the counter (shhh don’t tell). I saw it first and pointed at it and Big Orange confirmed my suspicions. Really though, it is not an unclean place, it is just a really old building and I think cockroaches kind of come with the territory. Orrrrr… maybe he heard it was “cocktoberfest” and got confused!

The line was a bit shorter than it usually is so we got through pretty quickly. I have never actually ordered the cock-n-balls doughnut before so I didn’t know that when you order this the person at the counter rings a bell and yells “Happy Cocktoberfest!!!!” normally I am up for such shenanigans but only when I have warning! I about died of embarrassment! And to make matters worse, Big Orange saw the rare blushing occur and told the girl at the counter he would put another fiver in the tip jar if she rang the bell and yelled “cock-n-balls!!!” over and over as we walked out the door. She totally did and I was totally embarrassed.

As we walked back to the car we saw that Captain Ankeny’s Well was opened. When Big Orange and I were first dating and he lived downtown a block away from this bar we spent a lot of time there. In fact, we went on our first date there! We were feeling goofy after the whole cock-n-balls thing so we decided to stop for a drink. It was horrible! They have ruined Captain Ankeny’s!!!! So it is still the same little shit-hole with cruddy pizza and crappy lighting but they have turned it into some sort of “sky bar” after 8pm on the weekend. Literally no one other then the two of us, the guy working, and two of his friends were in there. They have replaced the cool old wooden counter with some douchey looking white surface with lights in it. They have somehow made the lighting even worse and in the corner where there use to be tables, there is now a stage with weird sheets and ropes hanging and crazy colored lights pointing down on everything.

Apparently sky bar means that they have acrobats, well, chick acrobats to be precise, doing acrobatic stuff in the corner for six hours a night on the weekends. By the looks of the bar I am betting that the acrobatics carry over to that area too. And to make matter worse, no one takes their clothes off! I am sorry but if I am going to pay good money to drink in an establishment where women dangle from ropes and walk on counters they had better be naked while they are doing it!

We asked the guy working if the bar was under new ownership and he said no, it was the same owner but he didn’t know anything about the way the bar use to be other than that people seemed to like it better the other way. My guess is that the owner is banging some sort of acrobat. Who knows… it is just weird there now though. Mind you I haven’t actually been there on a Friday or Saturday night to see all of this change in action… I might think about going once but the Captain Ankeny’s magic is gone.

So yeah, that was our date night. We will be having another soon and I am going to force myself to go even though I desperately need to color my roots and wax my upper lip. Maybe by this time next year I will be feeling sassy enough to dress in a slutty costume and go out on the town for Halloween like I use to! I will check in again very soon! On a serious note, thank you all for your support and kindness. It really helps to know that I have people in my corner who love and care about me.

Happy fucking Halloween!!!! And thanks a lot trick-or-treaters for not coming to our house again and forcing us to eat all this candy by ourselves!

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in So this happened today...


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Riding the waves of dual-diagnosis as a parent.

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