First, I feel like I should apologize for my nearly four month absence… I feel like I should, but I am not going to. I will explain it though. I will explain it because the reason behind it is on topic with what I want to say here today. In short, I have been working through some shit; a big stinking pile of it. I am still working through it but I am ready to talk about it and move forward now.
I have a fucking 18-year-old! I love my only child so much that it breaks my heart every single day. Letting him go and make his own mistakes and live his own life breaks my heart. Watching him push away from me after living the last 18+ years of my life for him and knowing that it is normal and healthy and there is nothing I can do about it practically kills me every single day of my life. Also, 18-year-olds, by their very nature, are narcissistic jerks. I am not handling this part of parenting with any sort of measurable grace. This was the biggest theme for me in the year of 2013. But sometimes, in those perfect little moments when the stars are properly aligned, I manage to find joy in watching my son turn into the man that he will become. And when I can’t find the joy in it I can at least find a distraction. And sometimes I just sit and cry. And sometimes… sometimes when he is indignantly informing me that he is 18 and he doesn’t need to [insert general peeve of the day here], I fantasize about the look on my sons face were I to actually allowed myself to double up my fist and knock him on his hurtful little ass… and that makes me laugh like a fucking maniac.
I think what really started my decline into self-loathing and isolation last fall (and other terrible stuff like over eating and inactivity to name just a few) were the ankle issues I have been having. I will write more about that later in a post dedicated to the topic but here is the very short version. I am still having ankle pain. I have been dealing with the pain for almost a year now and it is frustrating. I have been referred to a surgeon and have had a couple of appointments with him to figure out what in the hell is going on and what we can do about it. I have some big decisions to make regarding a possible surgery and this has all slowed me down and made me feel shitty and frustrated and quite frankly, really depressed.
We went on vacation in October and as wonderful as a big family vacation is, there is a lot of stress involved. Stress and food and booze. Stress leading up to vacation and trying to juggle finances, stress during vacation and trying to juggle finances, and stress when you get home and have to play catch-up and you realize you only have a month and a half to get bills taken care of and be ready for Christmas.
Although I do want to be transparent about my struggles with depression and anxiety here because I think it is a huge contributor to my weight issues, and I feel that we should all be talking about this more so the stigma of mental health struggles goes away, there are things that I just can’t discuss here. Not because I am ashamed or embarrassed, but because they are private matters that involve complex relationships with other people who haven’t chosen to spill their life all over the interwebz in this blog. Though I often feel very little respect coming from these relationships, I can’t stop being who I am. And I am just not the sort of asshole who goes around saying shitty things about people in a public forum or spilling the private business of others all over the place (not when it really matters anyway).
By the time I reached the flurry of activity during the holidays I was pretty much balls-deep in the false joy that is overindulgence. It is what we sometimes do to get through (at least I do). Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE the holidays more than any person I know. It is just that spending time with people who don’t have as much love for them as I do, and trying to tiptoe around so as not to set off already volatile situations just adds to the stress/depression/anxiety.
In the midst of the holiday rush Big Orange and I got the flu, which was fucking horrid and I am never skipping out on a flu shot again. I have been wrestling my annual post-holiday depression that hits every year when I box up all my decorations and put them back in the garage and to top it off, the cough that has been sticking around since we were sick two weeks before Christmas turned into bronchitis/pneumonia this week so I have been down and out.
Blah, blah, blah… so that is all the shit that has been “keeping me from” taking care of myself the way I know I should be and it is what has kept me just depressed enough to hide in my own dark little mind rather than facing my truths and posting here.
So here is my old truth. The truth from 2013. I am an over stressed, overly self critical, confused woman who is so paralyzed by the shoulds and coulds and disappointments of life that I am unable to carry the weight of it all at times. Any forward momentum I make is almost immediately sabotaged by that voice in my head that tells me horrible things and won’t let me forget all the shitty things that people intentionally or unintentionally say/do. I am crippled by second guessing. I am afraid to let go of my hurts and my anger. I am tired of being judged. I am sick of feeling like defending myself will start a family war that I will be held solely responsible for.
I have not been very tough in 2013. Although I have made leaps and bounds in some areas of my life and I have achieved some pretty huge goals, I have had much painful struggle and it has been an exercise in learning to let go… this is an exercise I spent the year failing miserably. I haven’t been able to see, celebrate, or enjoy my achievements and accomplishments because I have been drowning in the struggle of the rest of my life.
So in 2014 I will make a new truth. I am not going to weight myself down with specific personal goals right now (if you know me, you know how I feel about making “resolutions”). I am going to first start by admitting some things to myself and facing this dose of reality head on, and following the new path this fork in the road takes me on. I may have to give up some dreams; but I can make new ones and obtain old ones in a different way. This year in 2014 the truth is that I will love myself more. I will love the people I want in my life more and I will continue to step away from toxic situations, even if that means losing people who once meant a great deal to me. I will no longer measure myself against imagined perfection. And most importantly, I will set boundaries by speaking my truth freely and without shame.
I know that a great deal of you, even those who know me well, think that I already do these things. I will be the first to admit that I don’t exactly come off as a dainty, shrinking violet who worries about making others angry. I do often stick up for myself. I don’t shy from conflict. But I also bottle things up and avoid making waves in situations that are complicated. I bottle little shit up until I am so overwhelmed by it, it wouldn’t make any sense to address it because I would sound like a crazy person. I try to ignore shit for the “greater good” but that isn’t always for MY good. I am not doing this anymore. Even if that means pissing people off. I hold myself up to some unfairly high standards that I would never expect another person to live up to and I don’t think this is very kind. In 2014 I will do my best to treat myself with same kindness I try my very best to show others.
Phew! That was a lot of deep shit, wasn’t it?!?!? Man, I feel drained after all of that! Now for a little venting/fun stuff/not really fun stuff but less morose and heavy/borderline passive aggressive/good ol’ cutting loose! All those little things that build up and make me want to explode that I will no longer be stuffing? Well I have been stuffing them so much for so long that I don’t want to alarm anyone when I address the issues with what might seem a little too much vigor (I will try to control myself but it sometimes it takes a while to find tact in situations like this). So in the name of blowing off some steam and maybe a little comedy/lightening things up, here is the top three list of shit I will no longer be tolerating within this new truth of mine for 2014.
1. Leave me out of your political/religious bullshit!
Look, one of my very best friends in the world is my complete opposite in every political and religious aspect you could think of. But you know why she is still one of my best friends after 27 years of friendship? WE DON’T FUCKING TALK ABOUT THOSE SUBJECTS! And… now get this… we RESPECT each other! Yes! We love and respect each other enough to understand that everyone’s experience brings them to a different place in their lives and we all have the right to our own opinions. I am not going to change her mind about the things she feels passionately about and she is not going to change mine. So rather than focusing on our differences, we rejoice in our many similarities. Personally I think the world could use a dose of this, especially in this country.
So here is the deal. I was raised in a home where voting was a sacred event and your ballot and what you put on it was considered a very private thing. I don’t speak about politics and religion. I don’t do it because it makes me uncomfortable and personally, my thoughts and feelings are none of your fucking business. Whatever you THINK that you know about me is probably wrong because it is built on whatever you have pieced together and assumed about me. So all the crass “jokes” and jabs… yeah, y’all can fuck off with that. I don’t think I will be letting that shit go for the sake of keeping the piece anymore. If you are rude and presumptuous enough to make me uncomfortable then you deserve the uncomfortable moment wherein I remind you that I didn’t start such a conversation with you and I will not entertain it. Also, you can shove your insults up your asses. I have plenty of those… but again, I am polite enough to keep them to myself.
2. I don’t fucking care what you eat!
Look, you are free to eat or not eat whatever the hell you want. I don’t care. Honestly! Also, I totally understand that a healthy diet makes you healthier and despite what you believe about me, I eat a very healthy diet for the most part and I don’t really need you to advise me on what I should or shouldn’t be eating. So yeah. Be a gluten-free, all organic, vegan, probiotic ass juice farmer for all I care. Just shut the fuck up about it already! NO ONE BUT YOU GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT YOU EAT! Also, I know and love many gluten-free people and I fully expect all of you to get pissed off about this and take it personally. Go ahead. You all make me tired with your gluten-free shit. Like I need a nap sometimes just from talking to you. Of the 10-15 of you who I speak to on a regular basis I have to tell you that you are the most obnoxious of all the people with special dietary concerns in Portland.
Furthermore, you are giving our cool city a sort of douchey reputation with your weird hipster shit. So please, by all means, eat in whatever way makes you feel the best! Just stop trying to convert me (and everyone else… seriously, this is something that non-gluten-free people talk about in hushed tones ALL THE TIME). You people are like the fucking Jehovah’s Witnesses of the bread isle! “Hello friend, have you heard the news about the evils of gluten? I am here today to lead you to the loving arms of rice flower!” Really, you should listen to yourselves. I love you. But cut it the fuck out.
In all seriousness, I am 41-years-old. I have been preparing my own meals for roughly 25 of those years. I have raised a very healthy child all the way to legal adulthood. He rarely gets ill, he is not overweight or too thin… he is smart… I know how to feed people. I worked in the health care industry doing in home health care. I went to school to learn how to do that. I have taken numerous nutrition classes. I am capable of successfully feeding myself. I take vitamins; I buy organic when I can, I use herbal medicine in conjunction with Western medicine, I see an acupuncturist on the semi-reg, I have seen naturopathic doctors in the past and I would again, I love getting massages and see the health benefits of doing such… I get it. I know how to take good care of myself. I promise.
(I should note that this counts for ALL herbal, dietary, anti-this pro-that speak about health that is being thrown around today. When you post that shit on FB I can at least ignore it (and I do), but don’t get in my face about what you do or what you think I should be doing. Mind your own fucking business unless I ASK. And also, maybe learn the difference between real science and junk science.)
3. If you say unkind/mean things about other people when you speak to me I am going to assume that you speak the same way about me when I am not around.
I may be a lot of things, but I am not cruel or mean for the sake of being mean and I never have been. Maybe it is because I got picked on a lot when I was a kid… or maybe it is just because I know how hurt I would be if someone made fun of/spoke poorly about me and I don’t want to make anyone else feel that way. Regardless of the reason; I don’t like it and I will not listen to it anymore. Ever.
This is not middle school… it is grown up life and if I hang out with you I am assuming you are a grown up. There is a difference between having a legitimate beef with someone and venting about it, and just being a cruel asshole. If you have a problem then grow the fuck up and address it with whom it needs to be address rather than putting others down. And for that matter, if you feel the need to address an issue with me by all means PLEASE do! I am a big girl, I can take it. Just make sure you are addressing the specific issue that you have rather than cutting me down personally with mean bullshit that is only intended to hurt me.
If you are so insecure about your own appearance/intelligence/talent/place in the world that you feel like you need to lift yourself by pulling others down then you are probably not the sort of person I want to spend time with anyway.
Those were kind of bitchy but I do feel much better after venting about them! I had many more to add but this post is almost 3000 words already, my ass is asleep, and I am tired enough that this is in danger of going south rapidly. Also, the wind is coming up now and I want to get this posted before the storm we are supposed to have gets going and we lose power.
Here is to a new year, new truths, and the same old gritty determination I face everything with finding its way back to me. And to you all!