Anything new? No, not really; my life is chugging on as always. The changes are small and hardly remarkable on their own, although when one puts it all together, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not at a standstill.
I’m nearly a third of the way through graduate school; after the summer 2 session, it’ll be half-over. As usual, I approach that with mixed trepidation and excitement; in truth, I am worried about my next challenge. I have three options, once my time at Boston is over;
Continue on for a Ph.D.
Return to undergrad level for a second degree
Cease my formal education altogether (which I don’t really want to do)
As usual, the issue of funding is a concern. I’m already in the hole for over triple digits for the combination of two degrees; at this point, I’m not making a whole hell of a lot (certainly not at a comfort level that I can live with). I know that once I receive the Master’s, lucrative opportunities will open up (at least, they’d better), but for now it’s something that niggles at the back of my mind. I shouldn’t really concern myself with it right now, but I’m a worrier, which my husband knows very well.
I’m also nervous about continuing on for the doctorate because the requirements are stringent. I mean, scarily so. But… I’ve been complaining for years about never being challenged by anything, so maybe this is a sign. I’ve been looking – I won’t lie. The great news is that I actually have the grades to get into the doctorate program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City – the BIG one, the ultimate.
Maybe…. I will. What the hell? I don’t have anything better to do with my life! :)
As for school itself, I’m enjoying it immensely. The ridiculous prerequisites are out of the way, and I’m beginning to get down to the “grit” of the subject; my last course involved speaking with an ex-member of the Irish Republican Army, as well as the investigation of typically-named “terrorist” groups. Pretty heady stuff. This course, I’m dealing with profiling murderers and sex offenders; more or less, what I do when I sit down and read a true-crime book. I blame Vincent Bugliosi for getting me into this mess!
My current course average is 95.33 (at the midpoint). I don’t think I have anything else to worry about.
On the weight loss front, I recently did a “before and after” shot that shocked the living fuck out of me. It was actually only six months ago, when I walked my first 5K.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
This is the first time that I’ll come out and admit it – in that shot to the left, I was 265 pounds. And believe me when I tell you that this was NOT my top weight ever – I’d already lost maybe 98 pounds by then! When I was diagnosed with type-II diabetes, I weighed 343 pounds. At 5’3″. With a BMI of nearly SIXTY. (That’s right – 60.)
There. I said it. Am I ashamed? Of course I am, I always will be. But, in a way, it all makes sense in that I was, have been, suicidal for most of my life. I was trying, unconsciously, to kill myself, and I almost succeeded. Because if a diabetes diagnosis isn’t a slow death sentence, then what is?
The shot on the right was taken on my birthday (about two weeks ago), when I went to the hairdresser and got my hair cut (and dyed blonde, ack!). I am now (or was then) 227 pounds. Still obese, still on the wrong side of the BMI (it’s now an even 40 and heading for 39), but… quite obviously healthier. And happier. The difference is profound, even with only a 40 pound loss. I now wear a size fourteen (14) pants. At my top weight, I was tilting toward a twenty-six (26). I have piles and piles and piles of clothes that I can’t wear anymore.
I wore a DRESS for the first time at work this past Tuesday. And everyone was shocked. Delighted. Hell, amazed. Me, too.
I am being reborn, slowly. I haven’t been at this low of a weight since high school. I’m heading for a twelve (12) at full speed.
If you think that photo above is shocking…. wait for this one.
The shot on the left is me in August of 2008, just after I returned from my ill-fated trip to Sydney. It’s well documented in the old blog. That… was… me. I can’t deny it. I look sick. I WAS sick, mentally, physically, falling apart. I don’t even know how much I weighed then, but it was considerable. It was at LEAST my top weight, and maybe even more. The only reason why this photo even exists is because it is my Federal identification picture on my key card. They finally agreed to retake the picture next Tuesday (April 15th), because if Security looks at it, they won’t let me in the building. It no longer looks a thing like me.
The shot on the right was taken, again, two weeks ago… on my 42nd birthday.
You tell me who looks healthier, happy to be alive. If you say the girl on the right, you win the new car.
So, I guess that’s my quarterly update. I did finally see my father after 22 years of estrangement, but that’s…. another story for another time. It was emotional. It did go well, I’ll go that far, but I need to be a little mentally stronger to recount that one.
So, what’s been happening in my life lately? I’m finally beginning to lose weight again after a hellishly long plateau (nearly two months!) and a bit of “too much goal relaxation” (basically, the holidays caught up with me). I’m back on track, though, and creeping downward once again; I’m well on my way to where I want to be. However, the changes are beginning to come at a rapid (and quite, frankly, alarming) rate – physically I’m seeing loose skin now almost everywhere, and I’m ALWAYS freezing to death. The recent cold weather from the polar vortex has nearly KILLED me; I can’t seem to wear enough clothes anymore, and I’m always shivering or at least complaining that I can’t get warm. This is the first night in nearly a month that I’ve actually been comfortable. It’s sad when you think that 28 degrees feels heavenly!
As for emotional changes… oh, boy. I have no idea of how to handle things anymore. I no longer get dirty looks. I no longer am the target of snide comments (either in person or online) – I’m far, far, far from my ultimate goal, but I’ve apparently lost enough weight to be considered on the American side of “normal”. I can shop at regular stores, buy regular sizes. (I never knew that the “petite” section in a clothing store would fit me so much better than ‘regular’. Who knew? You don’t have that option in plus sizes.)
It’s tough sometimes. There are days where I’m just so tired of counting and logging and conversing about things that go in my mouth. There are days when I just want to run back to what I was, to hide behind a wall of skin and fat and not come out again. It’s too personal, too intimate. People want to KNOW me, now – well, what about before? Was I not worthy of attention before? See, it’s shit like this that both amuses and infuriates me. What makes these asshats think I WANT to know them now?
I’m making progress with the degree; I’m in the middle of my third grad school class now, with only seven more to go. By this time next year, I’ll be well on my way toward walking the stage at Boston. And I am now a confirmed member of Alpha Phi Sigma; I just got my certificate in the mail last week. That may not mean much to anyone but me, but… it’s an honor society. I mean, shit. Someone must think I matter, somewhere, even though I don’t feel that I’ve actually done enough to earn that title. I keep complaining that graduate school isn’t that hard – and for me, it hasn’t been. I told my husband the other night that either higher education has totally relaxed its standards, or I’m just that freaking good, and I don’t think it’s the latter. In any case, it’s the same as it was – I’m pushing my way through.
Work is… well, it’s work. I’m itching for a better challenge, or at least a position where I’m not totally freaking bored with my life. Because, let’s face it – I’m not getting anywhere, where I am. I don’t have the Master’s, yet, though, and it’s holding me back. I’m hoping that once next year comes around, I’ll be able to move on to better employment, because once I get the degree, it’s almost a given. (At least, I hope so, that’s what I’m doing it for!) I never thought that I’d ever say this, but – sometimes I actually miss the drug lab. I got a lot of exercise there, I was mentally stimulated (I had to be in order to deal with the clientele), and I didn’t spend my days pushing papers. Seems I can’t be happy with anything, huh? Heh.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately feeling kind of sad, actually. It’s not because anything is inherently wrong with my life – it’s not. My marriage is doing very well, thank you – as a matter of fact, as I approach my one-year anniversary, I’m happier than I was this time last year, and a complete 180 from what I used to be six, seven, eight years ago.
I think that, for me, it’s just reflecting on my past. I try not to do that, because I know what and where it gets me. But sometimes I’ll go back in time to show my husband something that meant a lot to me as a child… and then the inevitable trip down memory lane begins. Sometimes it ends in depression, sometimes just a sense of wistful sadness – but it never, ever ends well. Ever. If there were a magic pill that I could take that would wipe away all of the hurt and regret of the past, I’d take six of them.
I’ve thought about purging my social media lists again – not because anyone has actually done anything wrong, but because there are a lot of associations and ties to a past that I just honestly want to forget exists. It’s why I turned my back on the BBS community – because there is too much pain there, associated with too many people, and it’s a part of my life that was less than stellar due to my physical health and my mental health, both of which were diseased (to put it politely). It’s why I turned my back on a lot of people, situations, etc. I tried to love, the best and only way I knew how, and I pretty much got stomped on. That’s okay, now – I’ve made my peace with it, but in doing so, I’ve cut a lot of ties.
That’s what’s making me sad right now. I’ve cut so many people out of my life, so many. Hundreds. Maybe even thousands. Whether by direct association, or by proxy – the only way they’re in my life now is in memories. I know that, in some cases, it was the only thing I could have done to preserve my own health, fragile as it might have been (and in some ways, still is). But it doesn’t make me feel any better. To this day, I will never really know what those people truly thought of me – if they saw the hurt, abused little girl I was inside vs. the fake confidence I tried to project. It doesn’t matter, I know this internally. But it’s always something that I’ll wonder about, deep down.
I still feel so hurt when I’m not validated. But I’m trying so, so hard to rebirth myself as a person who’s worthy of living, who doesn’t need external validation to survive and to enjoy life. I’ve changed so much in the last year, two years, five years. The person who started this blog in 2008 is dead now – she’s buried and nothing more than ashes. But, every now and then, she comes back to visit me. She hasn’t moved in, though, and she won’t – I’m too determined to make a future for myself, even if I’m inevitably the only one in it. But I hate it when she tries to come back. I do. It leaves me in tears.
Meh. I guess that’s really all I had to say tonight. As usual, it’s whining and bitching, but at least it’s getting less and less frequent. Maybe someday I’ll actually turn this blog into something productive, but then I always say that, don’t I?
Here it comes, kids, the now-traditional end of year post on the blog, and what a year it’s been. If I had only one word to describe the last twelve months, it would simply be tumultuous. And I don’t mean that necessarily in a bad way, though there’s been plenty of bad to go around. I think the best thing to do, this time, is to cover the highlights month by month, as there have been a lot:
My now-husband, then-boyfriend, was arrested on January 28 on a domestic violence charge in Florida that turned out to be because of his vengeful, stalker ex-girlfriend – there was absolutely no merit to the charge, as we all know. The legal situation was such that it didn’t resolve until April, but resolved it was. Still, it undoubtedly was not a good start to the year, as it happened during what was supposed to be our honeymoon (on a cruise, yet). As a result, neither of us can stomach the thought of another cruise – ever. And it’s really just as well, as I don’t think it’s really our type of “vacation”, anyway.
My uncle Bud died at 68 years old on March 29 – on my 41st birthday, no less. This was the first death in my immediate family since 2002, when my grandmother passed, and it was difficult for me to handle. In addition, my husband’s family also suffered a death on March 21, so that was doubly unpleasant, to say the least. However, in the midst of all of this sadness, Greg and I were married on March 20 at 10:01am at the Baltimore County Courthouse in Towson, Maryland, and I still consider it one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made – and one of the very best days of my life. I have never regretted one moment of my life with him, ever.
As mentioned earlier, the legal situation involving Greg’s domestic violence case was resolved in our favor on April 18, when “the plaintiff” (otherwise known as the abusive turkey-neck bitch – sorry, but she cost me seven Gs, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m allowed this vent) refused to answer our subpoena and “dropped” the case. Uh-huh. Okay. Anyway.
On May 11, 2013, I graduated from University of Maryland University College with a B.S. in criminal justice – I ended with a 3.31 GPA. We made our second pilgrimage to Ocean City, Maryland during Memorial Day weekend to celebrate our 2 year anniversary of the date we met (May 25, 2011). This time around I was a lot healthier and was able to enjoy it much more fully.
On June 24, I rediscovered the Sparkpeople website, which has been a huge contribution toward getting me (and Greg!) motivated and on the pathway to better fitness. Since I joined Sparkpeople, I have now lost 42 pounds, and plan to keep going.
We received news (much later) that the above-named abusive turkey-neck bitch actually died on July 8 of this year of what was termed “a brief illness”. We all know that means drug overdose. Of much more concern is the fact that my sister-in-law Penny died on July 15 in the Virgin Islands of a combination of things, but she had honestly been sick for many years. My brother spent most of his time taking care of her. He was devastated by her death – he is still not coping very well, to be honest, but he’s better than he has been. Also, on July 16, I was selected to attend Boston University Metropolitan College for a Masters degree in criminal justice; it was the school of my choice and I was absolutely thrilled to make it in.
I was selected for a very prestigious program through work called the Aspiring Leader Program, which was sponsored by the Graduate School in Washington D.C. (a VERY expensive training center!!!). I have made new friends, who support me in my current goals of attempting to become healthier and fit, who support me in my pursuit of a better life. I am blessed to have met them and hope that time and distance will not diminish their presence in my life.
The Federal government shutdown made a very large impact; it was not enough to place me into financial ruin, but there were many aspects that made me realize that I need to begin taking charge of my money, how we’re living, where we can cut expenses and save, how to be more frugal. I’m still working on that – unfortunately I do have a rather nasty shopping bug, and we still need basic things such as furniture and clothes (especially clothes, now that we’ve both dropped all of this weight!). Still, I have a plan that will put us back on track to clear out some debt before we get hit with the school loans (which I’m seriously scared of – but, it is what it is). Also, my endocrinologist stated that my blood sugar has decreased so much that I may be able to stop all diabetes medication by the next visit (I already have, but shhh, don’t tell anyone), and that I may no longer be required to even see her.
Other things have happened, but these are pretty much the highlights (and low, heh) of 2013 for me. I’ll be honest and say that I’m eagerly anticipating the end of this time period – not because it was necessarily “bad” (it wasn’t), but because it was marked by a lot of life-changing events. My family and I have escaped things like death for a long time previously, but when your relatives are rocked by not one but TWO deaths in the space of four months, that’s pretty stressful. And one wouldn’t think that a wedding would be stressful – it is. But it’s a happy stress, I think. I nearly lost my husband (before he became my husband!) to a possible life sentence in prison, which was SCARY – this is probably one of the scariest situations that I have EVER been through (and trust me, I’ve been through plenty in my life).
No one can say that 2013 hasn’t had its share of stress for me.
However, six years ago, I would have … well, I can’t even say that I would have crumbled, because it was absolutely beyond that. I think I would have killed myself for sure. These days… the depression that I suffered seems like a bad nightmare. It is so long ago and far away that I barely recognize the person that I used to be. I have come out of this whole, intact, aware. And yet… whispers persist. I actually had a crying jag on the train on the way home a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t explain why. It’s always there, hovering in the background. It has turned into an invisible cross on my back, always reminding me that it CAN return. I am as vigilant as I can be. I find that exercise usually banishes those thoughts. A good, hard workout at least makes me feel better, if not perfect. That night, I had almost changed my mind about going to the gym – I just wanted to go home, curl up under the covers, and sob. But I thought about it, and decided – “Hey, NO. I’m going to the gym as I planned. Even if I can’t work out as hard as I wanted to, it’s better than going home and doing nothing.”
That night, I walked out of the gym, and yes – I felt better. So I was right. I didn’t let the thoughts win.
The one constant throughout all of this has been my husband. He has been there through the best, the worst, the times where it’s just so-so and ho-hum and life as usual. He suffers through pain with me as my body begins to fall apart, as I’m healing from excess weight issues, as I’m trying and trying and trying to make myself better. He works his ass off at a job that quite frankly doesn’t pay enough. He has been going to therapy himself to try and confront HIS demons (and I know he has them, even if he doesn’t tell me about them).
When I met him in May of 2011, I was fresh out of a stupid six-year obsession with someone that never gave a damn about me. I was done with other people, and totally prepared to live my life alone – at least I’d never get hurt again. He came at a time when I had truthfully given up on the human race. And he lifted me up, turned me around, made me slowly believe that I was worthy of love. He achieved the impossible. And what’s more – he has been consistent. His love is the same today, at the end of 2013, as it was on May 25, 2011.
The pivotal decision to marry him came after he was arrested in Florida in January. Until that time, I had been mentally holding back, and I knew it – it was flat-out distrust, comparing him to everyone else that had hurt me. But, well, when there was a real possibility of losing him – and I do mean FOREVER….
….it made me think. And it made me think HARD. You see, I was at that fabled crossroads that everyone likes to talk about.
I could have left him there. I could have continued on that cruise without him – as a matter of fact, one of the arresting officers even told me that “that’s what she’d do”. I could have boarded a plane back to Maryland alone and left him to his fate.
The thought NEVER crossed my mind. Not once.
I did a lot of hard thinking that night, along with a lot of sobbing. And I realized that I couldn’t, WOULDN’T, go on without him. That was my awakening. That was the moment that I knew that I had to take a chance that he wouldn’t hurt me, that I would give him a shot to prove that he wouldn’t destroy me.
He has lived up to that promise, and more.
At this point, I’m pretty much rambling on, so I’m going to close it out. I am looking forward to 2014 – the continuation of my Master’s degree classes, the continuation of my self-improvement (physically and mentally), advancing in my career (hopefully), continued healing. I have no doubt that I’m on the right track toward growing strong in every respect.
And here I am, on the last day of 2013. I don’t know that I look “better”, or worse, or what. But I’m trying – so I automatically get cred for that. :p
I know that this sounds like a really awful thing to say, especially having lost my uncle in March and my sister-in-law only 5 months ago. And I even considered the fact it sounded terrible, so I decided to sit down and think about why I’d had such a feeling of gratitude about it. I think I’ve figured it out.
It all comes back to not feeling like I have a family. I mean, of course I have one – everyone does. What I mean by that is that, well, my family isn’t considered “close” by any means. For example, we went to my cousin’s house for Christmas dinner, okay – well, she was cooking and baking and preparing food, and her mother (my aunt) was helping out, joking around, etc. There was just this closeness that I could see between the two of them, it was palpable. I could feel this sense of familial love among my two cousins, my aunt, my cousins’ kids, husbands, etc. The only thing I felt was this profound sense of emptiness; I mean, I have my husband, and he’s wonderful. He’s one of the few people that I do have close ties with, and it’s not an exaggeration that we stuck close together during the entire evening (it’s also not a surprise). It was a buffer between me and my mother, whom I feel has been abusive toward me for a good portion of my life.
Recently, I’ve done some reading about narcissistic personality disorder, and unfortunately, I think the criteria fit my mother almost perfectly. She can be very self-centered, and gets upset (almost to the point of hysterics) when things don’t go her way or when she has to admit that she’s wrong about something (which, honestly, she never does). I’ve finally figured out the phone conversations, too – I just say “uh-huh” and “oh?” and “really?” to anything she says, because it’s easier than trying to disagree with her. As long as everything is peach-perfect in her world, she’s happy. If I try to make my opinion known, the best I get is dismissal; at worst, I get a huge blow-up of an argument that ends up upsetting me for days on end. It’s not worth it.
In narcissistic personality disorder (or NPD for short), there seems to be this sibling dynamic called “the scapegoat vs. the golden child”, and it fits our family to a T. My brother played/plays the role of “the golden child”; everything has been and continues to be done for his benefit. Remember how many times I’ve complained about how my brother is the favorite, etc.? Well, with NPD, that’s exactly how the dynamic is. The NPD parent sets their children up just in that manner. I’ve played the role of “the scapegoat”; not good enough, not worth attention, etc. Now, undoubtedly, my mother would say that I was being selfish, blah-blah – but that’s exactly what an NPD parent does. They gaslight. They try to make you believe you’re crazy and that you DON’T remember what you remember. I’ve been called melodramatic as a child, a term that still to this DAY triggers me, even 36 years later; that term was used whenever I was feeling angry or upset about something. I cannot hear that word without triggering horribly.
I read a checklist about the NPD parent that scared the living shit out of me. Some of the phrases that were listed were things that I remember my mother saying to me when I was a child; this blog (http://www.lightshouse.org/things-narcissists-say.html#axzz2obqYwArN) lists a lot of the things I remember hearing, some of them almost lifted right from my mother’s mouth. Now, I don’t put a lot of other stock into this particular blog (apparently, the site owner reportedly attempts to make money off of others’ pain, which is pretty disgusting), but this list of phrases is TOO ACCURATE.
“You have a very vivid imagination.” (I still get this as an adult.)
“I never said that.” (I still get this, too. When I KNOW that she did.)
“Can’t you take a joke?” Her version is, “I’m just joking, stop being so sensitive.” It comes down to the same thing.
“He’s just like his father.” (She says this A LOT about my brother. If he knew that, he’d be crushed.)
“You were an accident.” Yep. I’ve been told that before.
“Sarah Bernhardt!” That’s how it’s listed on the blog, but my mother’s version was “Okay, Sarah Bernhardt” in the most condescending tone of voice I have EVER heard. This is the one that scared the living crap out of me, because I have NEVER HEARD ANYONE ELSE SAY THAT. Ever. (If you don’t know who Sarah Bernhardt was, click here – it’ll give you a good idea of what she meant. And it’s mean.)
Some of the blog also detailed about the things that NPDs do. And what I read literally shocked me, because… well, it’s what she does. There was a part about how NPD people “look down” on others – whatever the qualities that they don’t possess for themselves, they put down in others, and that’s exactly what my mother does. She is always putting down people who have money, calling them “yuppies” in that nasty condescending voice, and it grates on my nerves. She’s jealous of those who have it, that’s exactly what it is, and since she can’t get it herself, she puts them down – but in true coward fashion, she doesn’t do it to their faces. Oh, no. She does it in my earshot, or my husband’s earshot. See, that’s the thing – Greg’s witnessed her behavior as well, toward me and around me, and he flat out told me that he doesn’t appreciate how she treats me. Well… maybe we’ve figured out why.
This is only a smidgen of the things that I’ve read and learned about NPD. But it’s enough to make me think that this is exactly what I’m dealing with.
This has sent me into a tailspin of grief; grief because I never HAD a chance at a real family. Not the kind of family that my cousins have, a loving supportive network of people who care. I never had that to begin with. I had an absent father and what I suspect is an NPD mother. And NPD mothers are very, VERY cruel. So cruel, in fact, that a lot of times a child feels like they’re at best disconnected and at worst losing their mind.
Haven’t I always spoken of disconnection?
I am still processing this possibility. I think I may need to go back to Lieberman, or at least see another counselor to deal with this issue – because if it’s true, I have a great deal of damage that needs to be healed. There’s still so much more to face, and process – but if I’m right, what a relief it is to know that I have dealt with an untenable situation in the best way that I knew how. And what’s better is, now I can find ways to cope and to deal with it.
The best coping method, they say, is no contact whatsoever. I am not in a position to be able to do that right now; hopefully if (and when) “the golden child” comes home (which is now how I shall refer to my brother, since he plays the part so damned well), he can deal with her directly, and I will be able to establish what they call “LC” (little contact). Not that I don’t do that now, but reducing the contact would be extremely beneficial to me.
In the meantime, I have a strategy to try and deal with her:
I didn’t cause her to display narcissistic behavior.
If she IS NPD or has traits of it, I cannot change her behavior. It is ingrained and permanent.
I cannot cure her behavior; it is not my responsibility to “fix” her. Only myself.
The shorthand version is “no cause, no change, no cure”. And it’s a way for me to remind myself (or for Greg to gently remind me) to calm down while dealing with her – because she pushes my anger buttons to the point where I explode, and that’s EXACTLY what an NPD wants. She installed the buttons, so God knows that she can get me to the point where I’m beyond upset. If I remain calm and pretty much agree with everything she says, I stay focused, she does NOT get the reaction she wants, and life goes on. The trick of it is – I agree with whatever she says, but then I’m going to simply live my life as I choose to. So, let’s say that she makes a cutting comment about the sweater I’m wearing – I’ll simply agree calmly, and say, “yes, you’re right, it should be thrown into the garbage”. When I get home, I wash it and hang it back up in my closet again, ready for the next wearing. It’s as simple as that. The trick is to remember that I can never, ever, ever try to convince her that she’s wrong, or that she should see a different point of view – because she never will. In her mind, she is always right, everyone else is always wrong.
And that, my friends, is NPD in a nutshell.
Greg had to say the “no C’s” phrase just last night at the dinner table. I instantly calmed down, and reminded myself to relax, agree with everything, and just do what I wanted to do when I got home.
It worked. The evening was calm, if not pleasant, and I ended Christmas on a positive note – snuggled with my husband in a warm bed and sleeping like a baby.
It is sad that I must employ subterfuge to deal with the woman who gave birth to me. But, again, it’s what I suspect – and too many things fit perfectly with how she has acted, in the past and the present.
It also makes me question what kind of life my father had with her, and why their relationship truly went wrong. Living with an NPD is a special kind of hell in itself. I’m starting to wonder if my father may not have had a good reason to exit the scene.
She has not been officially diagnosed with a personality disorder, but even if she were, she wouldn’t believe it – and it cannot be cured (PD’s are permanent), so there’s no point in telling her anyway. But I know what I know. And that’s what I highly suspect. I think Lieberman might have suspected, too, though he never outright said so. I think I might need to see him again, though.
In the meantime, I grieve the loss of the family that I never had, that I have never had a chance to have. But at least I can accept that now. I can begin to build a new family with my husband, who has truthfully been more like “family” to me than anyone I have ever known.
Now I know why I was jealous of my cousins all those years. It wasn’t because they had the better house (they did), or the better education (they did), or more money, toys, games, whatever (they did). It was because they knew and know what it’s like to be part of a real “family”.
And I never knew that. The deck was stacked against me before I was even born.
But at least I have a good shot in dealing with it now. I have a fighting chance to become the person that I was truly meant to be, after all.
And that is the greatest Christmas gift I could have received.
I apologize in advance for this post being somewhat on the negative side; in truth, that wasn’t my intention when I logged into the dashboard to write. However, it’s the mood that I’m in right now, and I’m a firm believer (these days) of getting the poison out, as much as I can, so that it doesn’t impact the rest of my life. So, if you decide to read on, bear with me. I’ll probably feel better afterwards, as usual.
It boils down to the fact that I’ve felt depressed recently, and the holidays are (as usual) beginning to bring me down.
There is so much societal pressure that revolves around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so much that I begin feeling dread starting around Veteran’s Day – because I know that it’s all going to start again. The grief over loss is sharp; the lost time, the lost friends, the lost opportunities. So, so much loss. I know that I’ve gained much in the last couple of years – but at what price? How much did that cost me?
The holidays have temporarily taken my husband away – this is the “busy time” in his industry, and I hardly ever see him. You would think that we’d be thoroughly sick of one another by now, as we’ve been married almost nine months – but, instead, I find that I miss him so much. I’m away so much at my own workplace, and now that the holidays are here, we barely see one another anymore. I treasure the few hours that I do get with him, and of course I know that all of this stupidity will be over by January. The weeks, in the meantime, drag on.
In the meantime, I am alone at home most of the night, and I have too much time. I ruminate over the memories of holidays past, and the losses. All of the years that I was too mentally ill to function, the people that I’ve lost along the way, the people that I thought I knew but never did. All of the things that I’ve said, that I wish I’d said, that I never said. And, of course, all of my spectacular failures, of which I still feel that there are many.
I admit that the amount of tears I have cried in the past couple of weeks has increased in frequency. I try not to let it get that far – but sometimes I can’t control it. And, honestly, I shouldn’t – the poison needs to come out. No one knows better than I do what happens when I stuff my feelings down. Still, I feel like a baby. :(
I know that this is just a rough patch, and that it’ll be over in due course. But my heart hurts. Perhaps it’s not dead in there after all.
I also know that people are sick of hearing how much I love my husband. I can’t help but express it, though – he came along when I believed that I would never love anyone again, when I believed that I would be alone forever and had resigned myself to it. I was seriously okay with that and had even started to plan my future around that possibility. As Greg says, he “came along and ruined that”, heh. I can’t deny that I’m glad of it. So, yeah – if you’re one of the many that I know are sick of hearing me say it, it’s best you keep it moving, because I’m not going to stop saying it. Ever.
Despite my melancholy right now, my life continues on. My circumstances haven’t changed – work, school, the weight loss – it’s all the same. My life no longer contains the wild ups-and-downs of my depressive days. I feel no desire to go back in time anymore – will it matter if I do? Will anything change?
If anything, I’m feeling urges to finally cut ties with almost everything from my past. None of it matters anymore. It’s all ashes in the wind, bitter remains of a time when I lived for everyone else… but myself.
And, still…. my heart hurts. I wish I could be absolutely sure that none of it matters anymore. The truth, however, is that it matters only in that it made me what I am today – and today, right now, I am a sobbing, stupid mess.
I will be all right. Because I’ve come so far, too far not to be all right.
Chocolate will make it all better. So they tell me. :)
Thanks for listening to my emo shit tonight, if you’ve gotten this far.
P.S. I usually can’t stand “the latest” music, or popular shit, or whatever. It’s manufactured and talentless. However, I saw this performed live on the Jimmy Kimmel show a couple of weeks ago and I fell in love with it. Greg, I know, you can’t stand this band, heh, but you don’t like anything I listen to anyway, so it’s okay. <3 I have a nasty feeling that this band has, uh, religious overtones a la Creed, but this song is good enough so that I can totally ignore that.
If you watch Jimmy Kimmel, it’s the show with Elizabeth Banks (who will always be Miriam Linky to me, heh) and Larry King. Check it out.
I was ruminating, as usual, in the shower this morning, and I started thinking about all of the things that’s been involved in this weight loss of mine; how it all started (and honestly, I couldn’t even tell you just when it started to get serious for me), how much further I have to go, and how much changes are involved – not only physical, but mental as well. I’ve talked with my husband about it, and he understands – but he also knows that he’ll never really “get it” from my perspective, because he’s not of the mindset to lose an extreme amount of pounds. But he does get it as much as anyone who is not in that position ever will. So that’s more than appreciated.
Little things tend to throw my perspective these days. For example, I literally could not find anything to wear this weekend while running errands. I had no jeans that fit me, except for one pair – all of my T-shirts were huge, loose, falling off of my frame. I finally settled on the only thing that actually fits me well these days – exercise clothes. Hey, it made sense, I was going to the gym anyway.
So, later, I decided to get all of my clothes together, the old ones that didn’t fit me, the size 24s and 26s…. and when I was done going through everything – three-quarters of my clothes were bagged up and ready for the donation bins.
I only have a laundry basket and a little left over. That’s it. Nothing else. I have two dresser drawers full of underwear that I now must throw out – because it’s too big. I can’t even pretend to wear it, because it’s just bagging off of me.
I recently discovered that my prized leather Ravens jacket, size 2XL and 350 dollars retail, no longer fits. I can’t pretend that THAT does, either.
This past Saturday, we went to the thrift store in the attempt to buy some work clothes for me that actually fit. I came home with three pairs of pants, one of which I’m wearing this moment. And… they’re bagging out on me. Already. What the fuck?
It’s things like this that are blowing my stupid mind. How the hell is this happening to me, why did it take so long for me to wake up, and how much more am I going to end up losing?
I’m scared, to be honest. Because people are already treating me differently – I haven’t had a dirty look from anyone (stranger or not) in ages, and my husband tells me that people are actually checking me out when I’m not looking (not that I give a shit). What’s more, I’m starting to see the rest of the world differently – I cringe when I see a really heavy person heading for the seat next to me, because I can’t breathe or move very well, and I also cringe when I think of myself, at those weights, and how I must have been absolutely “lovely” to sit next to on the way home. Ugh. I am so embarrassed.
At the same time, I don’t ever want to forget “where I came from”, if that makes sense at all. Because I have been there. I’m still somewhat there, although the effects are rapidly disappearing. I don’t ever want to be one of those people that put down the overweight or obese, because I have no room to talk – literally. But… I’m starting to see that the complaints from the fit, the thin, the skinny, whatever, are valid. I’m between a rock and a hard place right now.
I also don’t know how to dress myself – isn’t that stupid, to admit that I don’t know how to do what a five year old can? I don’t mean dress as in putting on clothes, but developing any sense of style. I’ve gotten so used to looking like crap that I don’t know how to be any other way. I tried to make a start this past weekend by picking out things to try on that I may have never bothered with before – like a dress, or a sparkly sweater, things that I never thought I could wear before. Mixed results – some things I actually surprised myself with, while others… well, not so much. But it’s an example of one of the things that I’m having trouble wrapping my head around.
When I go down a size, too – that’s another thing. If I’m a 16 and I go down to a 14, I’ll cry. If I used to wear an XL and now I wear an L, I’ll cry. I had one spectacular moment at a thrift store where I tried on a pair of Izod exercise shorts, size medium, and they FIT ME – and I started bawling like a baby. For at least 10 minutes. It’s little things like that, that are fucking with my head.
My entire life was a “fat” identity. I’m the fat girl. I’ve always been the fat girl – what do you mean, I’ve lost X amount of pounds? What do you mean, I need to eat? I don’t need to eat, I’m fat, look at me, are you blind? I can’t wear that, I can’t do this, I can’t find anyone who’ll love me. You know, because I’m a fat slob. Right?
The above couple of sentences is why I am what I am right now. Because, at first, I cry remembering the things that people said to me, and did to me. Now? That’s my fuel. That’s anger, keeping me on that elliptical, running on that treadmill, getting up at the asscrack of dawn and walking two miles to the train station(s) for work. I hear people saying those things to me, or watch people saying those things to me…. and I want to cry, I WANT to. But I get mad. I curse them, with every step I make. I say to them in my cracked head, “Fuck you, fuck all of you, I’ve done it, I’ve lost X amount of pounds, I walk in 5ks, I’m just like you now, how do you like it? Kiss my fat fucking ass.” Every. Step. I. Make.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – anger is one powerful motivator. And I’m full of anger, at many, many, MANY people. But now, instead of turning it inward and hurting myself – I’ve turned it outward, and the results are clear.
I’m going to keep going. I don’t care what others may think, or say, and many have already expressed anger, disbelief, skepticism. “Oh, you’ll put it all back on in a month.” Yeah? You think so? Think again. When I want to do something – I DO IT. And this is for me – nobody else, but me. My husband doesn’t care what weight I am – he loves me if I’m 125 or 325. This isn’t for approval, or external validation.
THIS IS MINE. Because, damn it – I’ve finally gotten healthy enough to care about myself.
I have these odd times where I feel like I have a ton of things to talk about… but then, when I log in and start typing, it all somehow turns to mush. The truth is that there really isn’t anything going on that’s remarkable; I continue to thrive, and I’m achieving what I’ve set out to do, at least so far.
My first graduate class ended on the 21st – so far, I have a 4.0 GPA with Boston, though my next class (Research Methods) will probably bring that down in a hurry. After complaining about how “easy” the first course was, I’ve finally met my match, I believe. It requires a lot more thinking, certainly, but then I’m sort of excited about that. How many people require one to actually…. think these days? Hell, I’m grateful if I meet anyone that even has common sense, never mind actually thinking out problems!
I have, however, decided to take a different tack as far as my career is concerned. I still have a couple of applications in elsewhere (there’s a job in Louisville, Kentucky, that looks REALLY good), but I’ve decided – for now – to stop applying and concentrate on my studies. I really do, right now, have the perfect position to do that – it’s not overly demanding and I can get what I need to get done, done. Sure, I want the big promotion, who doesn’t? But once I have my Master’s in hand, I’ll really have doors opening up a lot more, so… I think for right now it’s the right thing to do. The truth is that I wouldn’t mind leaving Maryland and going elsewhere (well, anywhere but Georgia, haha). I’d love the job in Louisville – it’s a place I’ve never been and the cost of living doesn’t look too outrageous. It would be a chance to live my life on my own terms, in my own way, in a place that I can make my own. Does that make sense?
As of this date, I’ve lost 105 pounds total. I’m starting not to recognize myself. Hell, other people are starting not to recognize me, either. I’m unfortunately beginning to experience the effects of massive weight loss – loose skin, being cold ALL the time (hey, when you lose 105 pounds of insulation you’re going to shiver your ass off too, pal), clothes as usual not fitting because I’m in between sizes. But I wouldn’t trade any of this. I’ve truly changed in this regard – I can’t tolerate a lot of food anymore, or certain types of food. I’m actually craving salad as I write this – a huge bowl of lettuce and raw mushrooms and onions, maybe a little cheese, a little dressing. (And I do mean little – 2 tablespoons of dressing is all I need!) It’s crazy, how everything has really changed for me.
On November 17, I do the Color Run. I can’t say that I’ll actually RUN it – I’m not that far ahead with progress yet – but I WILL walk it, because I know I can. I can’t wait for it.
I am beginning to run, though. Slowly. A minute here, a minute there. But I AM doing it.
I’ll be honest – on some days, I wake up and I think to myself, “how the fuck did I get here?” Really – I have done a near 180 from the days when I was sick and sorrowful, and glad I am of it. I’m enjoying life so much now.
Reconciliation with my past is coming at a frightening speed. I have not faced down everything just yet – but it’s beginning to resolve itself. While on the train to work this morning, I briefly reflected on my life in Georgia with Matt (after my first husband but before I moved back home) – this was the one that was pretty much a hoarder, couldn’t take care of his animals, etc. I thought about it for a while, and I did feel just a little sad – but it was quickly gone, and I put it back on the shelf, where it belongs. That is the past. I am reconciled to it – yes, there are things that I wish I could have done (not necessarily to save the relationship, because I know now that we weren’t good for one another, but changes in living circumstances – I could have tried harder to save those animals, maybe, or I could have called Animal Control on him earlier than I did), but that’s nearly ten years past now. There is no more I can do, and so I won’t beat myself up over it.
My priority is the here and now, with my husband and the three kittehs, the job and my degree. That is my life. That is what I’ve signed up for. Some days I get more than I bargained for, but, hey. :p
At this point, my life is waiting. Waiting to hear back from Louisville about the job. Waiting for my grades, for class to be done, for my Master’s to be finished. Waiting for more weight to come off, and it will.
So, yeah, just a quick update. As usual, I didn’t really have anything earth-shattering to discuss; it’s just little old me, rambling away on some inconsequential blog.
But, hey, it’s mine, and you’re here reading it, so – nyah. :p
I had the privilege of meeting my new mother-in-law today; she and her husband Ed were in town visiting all the way from Arizona, and we all went out for a late lunch at Bo Brooks in Canton. (I feel that it went very well, by the way.) At the end of the visit, she told me, “You’ve really lost weight since the last picture we saw of you. You look great!”
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. It just shocks me that I’m not noticing it as much as everyone else is.
The picture on the right of this text was taken in October of 2010, three years ago. It is me at the height of my depression, and at what was probably one of the loneliest periods of my life, when I was struggling with suicide and hoping that I would die in my sleep. At the time I took it, I convinced myself that it was the happiest picture I had. And it was – at the time. However, I see it for what it is now – it is a photograph of that sick, lonely, struggling woman that was hanging by a thread to simple existence. It is a picture of a very sad person. It is the face of desperation, of abuse, of accepting the facts of my life. I was in therapy at the time. As a matter of fact, I was on my WAY to a session when it was taken. I look unhappy. I look like I’m falling apart. I was 103 pounds heavier than I am right now, and it shows in my face, in my stance, in my clothes.
I have not looked at this photograph in a very long time, but what I see shocks me. I cannot believe that I ever allowed myself to be pictured in this state. I have another photo on my computer from that time period that I will never show anyone. It is a picture of me after I just finished crying from a depressive episode. I will never understand why I took it, and the only reason that I keep it now is because I never want to forget what I once was.
I was, at the time, on four antidepressants; Paxil, Wellbutrin, Abilify and Luvox. There is no reason on this planet that someone needs to be on four antidepressant medications. Absolutely NO reason whatsoever.
Three years later, I am happy married, and established in a career with the Federal government (though it’s anyone’s guess as to when they’ll decide to reopen for business; if you’ve followed the news, you know all about the shutdown, so therefore I won’t get into it). I have lost 103 pounds total so far, 35 since June of this year. I have controlled my diabetes to the point where I test, at most, twice a week. I no longer take nor need insulin. I exercise three, maybe four, times a week now, and I walk an average of two miles per day, five days a week. I have accomplished my first 5K race on September 28th with a time of 54:25, and I hope to improve. I am in graduate school and am having a ball, so far accomplishing a 4.0 GPA. I’ve been invited to join Alpha Phi Sigma, which is an honorary criminal justice organization, and I’m going ahead with it, as it’ll give me a nice boost on the resume.
The picture to the right was taken yesterday afternoon, on October 13, 2013. This is me, today. This is who I am, and who I always was beneath the layers of fat, beneath the depression, lies, abuse.
I definitely have a long way to go still on exercise and weight loss, there’s no question about it. But I’m working it the best that I can, and I have the best support network possible; my husband, friends and family (well, once they got the message that I was totally serious about it – I still get snide comments from my mother from time to time, but I let it roll off of my back because I know she’ll never truly understand).
I am finally strong enough to write to my father. I don’t really know what I’m going to say as of yet, but I started a letter today, so I will hopefully have time to think about it. This may be my only chance to communicate with him as to why I’m angry. And yet, I’m really not that angry anymore; maybe time has softened me, or maybe it’s that I know it’s too late for him to make true amends for what he’s done, that I don’t need his approval anymore, etc. It’s unknown right now – but I do know that I need and want to do this.
I am beginning to let a lot of things go; they’re just not important any longer. And I think that’s truly a sign of growth.
Anyhow, this is just sort of an update post because I haven’t written for a while. It’s beginning to be that way; I only write when I can remember to do so, or if there’s some kind of a burning social issue that I feel strongly about, which honestly doesn’t happen often. That’s one thing that hasn’t much changed about me; I’m terribly apathetic about a lot of social concerns.
I will say that all is fine at casa Osman. I’m happier right now that I have ever been, and I think that the photograph above shows it.
Some more juicy, hot tidbits from my iPod while I’m at the gym for you to enjoy:
1.) Todd Terry: “I Wanna Go Bang”
This is actually by a band named Limelife, which I don’t know much about; all of my investigation points to some obscure indie rock band, which doesn’t match what’s above (that’s for sure). Todd Terry just took their track and twisted it into this hot, burning house mix that goes absolutely perfect with the cycle at the club, heh. As with other songs of this ilk – there’s no meaningful lyrics. Just “I wanna go BANG”, over and over. That’s okay with me when I’m working out, as I’m not looking for any deeper thought than that at the time.
2.) Armand van Helden: “You Don’t Even Know Me”
(You will have to watch this actually ON YouTube because there’s some kind of stupid restriction on it being viewed from an outside source. No one ever said that the powers that be at YouTube were exactly smarter than the average bear. But, hey – no worries. Click on the link to start it, then come back and read my words of wisdom. You don’t want to see Armand van Helden playing cards with a bunch of thugs, anyway.)
Wow, how did I miss this one before? Released in ’99 (that long ago??!!??), this is a great thumper on the elliptical. Not only that, but I sort of relate to the lyrics, too. “You don’t even know me / You say that I’m not livin’ right / You don’t understand me / So why do you judge my life?” God knows there’s a few people I could say that to.
3.) The Bucketheads – “The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)”
I shouldn’t theoretically like this song. This is a direct ripoff from Chicago’s 1979 song “Street Player”, with the words all messed up (the original lyric was “street sounds swirling through my mind”, hardly the bastardized version here). I normally dislike remixes, sampling, all of that – I think it’s unoriginal. This track, however, makes good use of what was admittedly a failed release (at the time) by a once-powerful 70′s band.
4.) Fragma – “Toca’s Miracle (2008 Remixed Late Night Version)”
Fragma is some obscure German band that took another song, “I Need A Miracle” (made by someone else, exactly who I forget now), along with “Toca Me” (made by them) and basically did what’s called a “mash-up” of the two. It’s ended up being a hell of a workout song; it’s funny, but I actually didn’t like this at first, and I kept skipping it on the iPod for a while. Then I was in the middle of a hard run on the stationary bike and didn’t feel like stopping. I’m glad I didn’t.
Warning: this thing is a little, uh, racy. May not be safe for work, so take heed.
5.) Captain Hollywood Project – “More and More”
I can’t believe that this was released in 1992. I mean, I can believe it because it’s got that signature 90′s Euro sound. But I can’t believe I even missed this, because it was certainly during the period of time that I used to go to the clubs. Perhaps it wasn’t popular here; they were more into the New Jack/swing sound in my area. But this is incredibly hot, even if it sounds a bit dated.
It’s cut off a bit in the front due to the idiocy of the original uploader. You didn’t miss much, though, just the little intro, which sounds the same as the rest of it, more or less.
So I’ve ended my first week of graduate school, and I can only say with intense relief that I don’t think it’s going to be as difficult as I had anticipated. I’m especially nervous about the quantitative aspects of this program, though; i.e., math, math and more math. Hell, I barely passed basic algebra at UMUC, never mind this graduate level shit. What’s odd, though, is that I’d actually gotten an A in statistics. Who knew?
I took part in a “live” classroom discussion last night that was, in a word, awesome. The professor was engaged and there were a lot of questions and answers; the “batting around” of ideas, if you will. I’m not sure that I actually learned much more than what the assigned readings had told me, but it did drive home points that I may have missed. I did enjoy learning about Jeremy Bentham’s “panopticon” style of prison building, however – it’s funny how you latch on to little things of that nature.
For the most part, people seemed to have intelligent thought patterns, which is definitely something I’m not used to at UMUC. (Well, except for one wiseass in the class. But he struck me as a total idiot in the first place, so, eh. There’s always one dumbass somewhere.)
I still have the first writing assignment to accomplish – there’s one for each week. Ugh. I hate writing papers, though I always seem to do well on them.
So, that’s the school update. The employment update? Meh. It’s the same thing, unfortunately; the one U.S. Courts position fell through (I may have mentioned this), the four DEA jobs are still unresolved (and probably will be for some time due to their insanely time-consuming hiring process), the other U.S. Courts position is “pending” (it closed on August 14, so I don’t anticipate anything for a while on that one), and the CIS position is “completed” with an NOR of “eligible” – which means nothing in the long-term.
I applied for two more U.S. Courts positions – one with the Supreme Court in D.C. and the other in San Francisco. Not much else is happening. I did apply for another DEA position in Iowa, though. (Why? Who the hell wants to live in Iowa? Ugh.) But, hey – it’s the DEA. What are you going to do?
Oh, and there’s no word on whether there’ll be another officer class with the place I’m in now. That’s the only way I’m going to move up in the Agency I’m with.
So, yeah. No progress on the employment front.
Otherwise, all is the same. I’m gaining ground on a financial level, though it’s slow going. And of course, my physical appearance continues to improve.
I’m registered for a 5K walk on September 28 (I may have mentioned this as well). I think I’m ready for it, but time will tell. I’ve started walking as much as I can, everywhere. I continue to grow out of my clothes. I’m down to some of my smallest sizes that I own, and even they’re bagging out.
I’ve reconnected with a cell phone, unfortunately; the time without one during the summer has proven to be too difficult for me to navigate, which sucks. I hate the fact that we’re all technological slaves now. So, anyway, I signed up with a place called Solavei; you can bring your own phone (I brought mine from my old AT&T contract) and it’s only 40 a month or so. They’re sending me a SIM card in the mail and I can port my number over. It’s all great, but they have some kind of a suspicious MLM scheme going where they offer to pay your cell bill for referring people to the service – I’m not there for that and I could care less. I’ll pay 40 a month – it’s a fuck of a lot better than paying the 180+ a month I WAS paying, you know?
Other than that, the service seems to be on the up and up. I’ll report back later with the results; I got a break for 39 bucks for the first month of service, so what’s to lose?
So, yeah. Boring update. What can I say? I lead such an exciting existence. :p
I’ve been dealing with a lot of irritation this past week due to different sources; first, I lost out on a really good opportunity with another Federal agency that I had thought I had a shot with. The only source of comfort I have here is that they apparently hired “from within”, which means that someone already working there received a promotion; I’d say that’s only fair, so I’m not bitter about that in particular. It just comes as a bit of a disappointment, that’s all.
I’ve lost two “friends” on Facebook this week; one because of a stupid argument that I’d apologized for (and she didn’t care to accept it – that’s on her), and one because of some fucked-up thing in her head that made her decide that she was totally unhappy with her life and that she “had to get rid of a few people”, me being one of them. The twist here is that she’s apparently left her husband for – yes, that’s right, you got it, Mr. Murderer that I had discussed in this blog a few (okay, a lot of) posts back. All that I can say to that is – good luck, honey, you’re going to need it. I feel sorry for your kids.
I’m not dwelling on the above situations because I don’t need the drama and the bullshit that goes along with it. You don’t want to be friends with me? That’s perfectly okay by me; buh-byes. The same goes for anyone that I might have requested, but they didn’t add me (and that’s been a couple of people this week, as well) – I don’t need negativity in my life. I’ve worked too hard for the success that I have achieved, and if people think they’re going to stand in my way, they have another thing coming.
I’ve also lost my main debit card (I threw it out on the MARC the Friday before Labor Day – complete accident) and have to wait two weeks for a new one in the mail – we all know what an irritation that is. And my MARC ticket for September was accidentally thrown out with the recycling – which means a two hundred dollar slam on my bank account.
This has not been a good week by any means.
Still, I’m trying to remain positive. I’ve started my first graduate level class at Boston, and it’s proving not to be as difficult as I had thought. Talk to me next week about that, though.
I’ve also lost more weight, making it a grand total of 100 pounds even since the dark days of my depression. 31 of those pounds have been only since June 24th.
My marriage continues to thrive. I can’t believe we’ll be married six months in only a couple of weeks. I’m just as happy as I was on March 20th. Hell, I’m as happy as I was the day that we met.
Oh, and I’ve cleared out some bills, so my financial picture is looking a LOT better. (Though that two-H MARC ticket didn’t help things, meh.)
I’m still satisfied with where I’m working now, though I wish that I could foresee some advancement here. But, eh, it’s the Federal government, what are you going to do, you know?
I’ve obviously had some good and some bad, but I can feel that despair trying to creep up on me.
I’m trying to convince myself that all of the bad happened for a reason, especially the loss of people that I thought were friends, thought liked me, blah blah. That in particular stings because I have so few friends or social contacts now, it always hurts when I lose one. I know one thing, though – I can thank Facebook for that shit, because you can find out really fast who likes you and wants you in their lives. There were some people from my past that I discovered wanted nothing to do with me – and you know what, that’s okay too. Whatever they have to do to sleep at night – life goes on.
I really am blessed in a lot of ways. I just need to embrace that, and appreciate it more, I think.
This is really a ramble, I guess, but I felt like crying for a while because of all of the negativity I’ve been around this past week. I don’t have anything to cry about, which I realize; it just helps, getting the poison out when I need to.
Hey, I didn’t say this place was going to be a bastion of intelligence. :p
We’re both in the bedroom, half-watching television. My husband has a bowl of soup in his hands; I’m just sort of dicking around on the intarwebz and not really paying attention. We’ve been watching what we eat recently, so anytime someone has food, we discuss it.
Me: (absent-mindedly): Whatcha eating?
Sweet Husband Mine: I don’t know.
Me: (looking up): You have something in your hands and you don’t know what you’re eating? You could be eating shit for all you know.
SMH: Well, as long as it has the proper amount of calories, carbs, protein….
Me: (staring incredulously… then bursting out into laughter)
Now that I’ve been getting heavily (hah, hah) into the workout thing, I’ve noticed that several tracks have insidiously “moved up” onto the iPod playlist. As always, I’m not one to listen to ordinary Top 40 crapola that’s out on the radio today; I prefer the heavy funk-tinged disco beats of the late 1970′s. Most people wouldn’t consider these ideal workout songs, but if you try them, I’ll bet you’ll be dancing on the elliptical like I have been recently.
Peter Brown – “Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me” (1977)
Damned hard to believe that this guy wrote the massive hit “Material Girl” for Madonna only 8 years later.
This track has one infectious beat. It’s slow, slinky, and great bed music if you want it to be, heh.
Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis Bextor – “Groovejet” (2000)
I’ve posted this one before, but it remains a top favorite on the workout list. This is only the short version; the long version runs about fourteen minutes, which is ideal for a hard session. The lyrics are repetitive, honestly, but I’m not listening to this for the words.
I will say that if I were still single, Spiller would absolutely be my ideal. He’s like seven feet tall and has the cutest face. Meltdown, mate! (No offense, Sweet Husband Mine.)
Fedde Le Grand – “Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit” (2006)
Total repetition here. That’s what makes it a good workout track; I just do my motions, I don’t think, and that’s exactly how I like it. Before I know it, ten or fifteen minutes have passed and I’m that much closer to being done. This song is especially good when I’m “not feeling the groove”, and I do have days like that on occasion.
The Bar-Kays – “Freak Show on the Dance Floor” (1984)
Just when you thought disco had died, the legendary Bar-Kays (better known for their absolute classic “Soul Finger” in the Sixties) smack back with this lovely tune. No, it’s not the “Soul Finger” band that you remember – this is more like a sober Rick James. But it works for my purpose – a great beat, mindless lyrics and plenty of length.
The Blackbyrds – “Rock Creek Park” (1975)
This track is probably the LEAST likely to be on anyone’s playlist at all, much less an exercise playlist. I love this, though; it’s got that funky sound that would later become so characteristic of most late Seventies disco tracks and, later, house tracks in the Eighties as well.
That’s it for this week. Look out for more rarities and oddball things from the bottom of the barrel.
Lately, a lot of my words have been talk of revenge. I have been in a lot of situations where I would feel perfectly justified in seeking revenge, some recent and some in the distant past. However, there is an old cliche that goes, “Be careful what you wish for, as you just might receive it.”
This, indeed, has happened.
If you will recall, I posted a few months ago about Greg’s ex-girlfriend having him arrested for false domestic violence charges on what was supposed to be our honeymoon back in January (see this link for the sad-assed details). I didn’t post about what had actually occurred until April under attorney advice, though. Obviously, the charges were dropped, since Greg is happily here and all is right in my world. At the time that I had posted the full story, though, I mentioned something about wanting to “give the bitch a piece of my mind”, or something to that effect. It sounds like something I’d say, especially when I’m pissed off.
I will never get to do that, however.
Greg’s ex-girlfriend, the one that beat the shit out of him, has indeed met her Maker; she died on July 8th. According to the obituary, she died “suddenly in her home”, which honestly makes me speculate that she died of an O.D. (if what I’ve been told about her history is true). Greg has known about this for about a week – he found out through some dumb add-on stupidity through Facebook, you know, those admaker things they like to plaster on the sides of the thing you’re actually trying to do. He sat on the news for a while because, well, he didn’t know what he was supposed to feel, I guess. Can you really blame him?
This is a mindfuck, to be honest. I wanted to sue her in court for my money back – seven G’s is not exactly chump change in my world – and I wanted to expose her lies for the world to see. But I wouldn’t have wished this on her – or on anyone. There are a LOT of people I dislike – maybe even hate – but I would never wish anyone dead.
I keep going back to her obituary, reading it over and over – trying to convince myself that it’s true, maybe? I don’t know. I now know that I can relax, at last. She’s not going to come up to my house with a gun (and we had feared that at the time he left – crazy people are unstable, don’t you know). She’s not going to file false charges against my husband ever again. She is off the face of the earth. Gone. Finite. Over.
The memories of what she has done to me, and to my husband, however, remain. I will never forget the humiliation of seeing my husband arrested in front of four thousand people on charges that weren’t true. I will never forget the harrowing 48 hours afterward where I was calling lawyers, family members, more lawyers, to try and get my husband released from the Broward County Jail. I will never forget how hard I cried when I saw him come out of the sallyport; I truly feared that I had lost him forever. (The charges that she’d attempted to file were felonies in the state of Florida, so there was a real chance that he may not have ever been released.)
Am I glad that she’s dead? No, not at all. I would never take pleasure in the death of someone else – pain, maybe, but not death. However, am I particularly sorry that she’s dead? I have to be honest and say, well, no, I’m not sorry. Her choices led her to the path that she ended up on, just like all of our choices eventually do the same to us. She attempted to ruin my husband’s life with lies, and in so doing, she attempted to ruin mine. That’s not something that I can ever forgive. While I cannot forgive her actions, I can perhaps forgive her for the kind of person that she was. But that might take time.
Processing this entire thing may take time. My mind is still reeling from the news.
But that sad chapter of my life, and my husband’s life, is closed with a resounding finality. We move on from here.
Many people would think I’m absolutely nuts to be thankful that I have type-2 diabetes.
“Who in the hell would be thankful for that?” I can even hear people saying that right now. And to be sure, it’s a scary thing. When I was first diagnosed in September, I seriously thought that my life had ended then and there. All that I could see in my mind’s eye was being on the operating table having my foot amputated. That’s what happened to my father, after all; he has it, but they caught it too late and, wham! – they chopped off his toes. Nice.
A bit of backstory here, before I get to the crux of my point:
I remember laying in the hospital bed at St. Joe’s. I was, at turns, incredulous because I “felt fine” and didn’t feel that I needed to be in bed; but, then, I’d feel horribly weak and I would stare up at the ceiling, or out the window (not that I could see much, I had a lovely view of the boilers across the highway) and think to myself, “That’s it. I’ve done myself in. I’ve committed suicide, just as I always wanted, but I didn’t want it to be a slow death.” Because that’s what diabetes is.
September 11, 2012. I’ll never forget that day as long as I do live.
My husband and I had just come back from a Labor Day weekend trip to New York. I’d not been feeling well the entire time; my legs were horribly swollen and red, and I couldn’t even touch them. It hurt to walk, it hurt to breathe. I still did it, though; after all, what’s a trip to New York City if you can’t walk around there? It’s the only time I can recall my husband and I growing snappish with one another, to the point of an argument. It still hurts to think of it.
We came home, and I went back to work on Monday, September 10. My left leg was really bad by this point, but I figured that if I propped it up, it might get better (though, I should have figured it out when a week didn’t do anything). A couple of hours later, I looked down and saw that my leg was turning blue.
That was enough to get me to the hospital, where I registered a blood sugar level of 370. I was “lucky”, according to the ER admissions team. Now that I know more about it… I was. The morning of September 11, they told me the news.
And my life, as I once knew it, was done.
Now, 15 days away from the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis, I can honestly say that I’m thankful to have it. This past year has been a whirlwind of lifestyle changes, learning and finally realizing that I need to take care of myself – body, mind, emotions, spirit. I have dropped 55 pounds in the last year – 25 of them in the last 2 months. I am exercising, faithfully, three times a week. I have taken up bowling (okay, again, but this time I’m going every week). I have eschewed my former diet; I now consume mainly veggies, fruit, some grains, very little meat. No more processed sugars or unhealthy fats. I have quit drinking diet Coke; indeed, I now drink at minimum 8 cups of water a day.
I have never felt better in my life. That is the truth. I feel better right now, at 41, than I ever did at 31. Or 21, for that matter. My blood sugar average is 87 – a far, far cry from the 370 I was diagnosed with.
Left: December, 2012, 3 months after diagnosis.
Right: August, 2013, 11 months after diagnosis and 55 pounds lighter. Notice how the shirt just… hangs on me. I will need to retire it before long.
My husband has been my rock, my absolute support, in this. He has joined me in creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and has, himself, dropped from 210 to a trim 185. He’s also registered to run in his first 5K on October 12, something that he’s excited about. We’ve both dropped in clothes sizes and are currently desperately searching thrift shops for new things to wear. We walk home from the gym – a good 3/4 of a mile – and talk about our days, how we’re feeling, our progress; it’s a fabulous way to connect together.
While this is definitely a positive, I’ve started to deal with the inevitable changes that have come with extreme weight loss; some have to do with the physical, while others are strictly emotional or mental. These are changes that I’m excited about, and yet afraid of at the same time;
Attention. Despite what many have said about me, I do not crave attention in any manner, and especially from males. I think that this may have a lot to do with the fact that I was sexually abused when I was a child (not by family, thank Christ for that, but it’s bad enough); at the time, I didn’t feel anything about it, but I suspect that those feelings of anger and rage are repressed, at least consciously, and that’s something I need to work on.
Jealousy. Unbelievably, even though I’m nowhere near my ultimate goal weight, some people have been displaying anger at my recent success, and the fact that I’d like to discuss it and talk about it. Yes, I’m aware that not everyone wants to hear about it 24/7, and that’s not what I’m proposing – but let’s face it, this is a big part of my life now, and of who and what I am, and I don’t like my opinions being stifled (as most know well).
Physical energy. I’ve suddenly become a GREAT deal more energetic, and in turn, more impatient. I’ve always hated it when I encountered people who were slower than I was, and now that I’m able to move faster, get around more, it irritates me three times as much as it did before.
Physical changes. I’ve lost so much weight that I’ve shrunken out of my clothes, sometimes a mere few days after I purchase them. I bought a nice pair of gray work pants at Target this past weekend, in a size that I hadn’t worn in ten years; by the time I wore them yesterday, they were already bagging out, much to my horror. In another example, I bought a VERY expensive UnderArmour sports bra (retail cost is about sixty bucks and for a sports bra that is EXPENSIVE, to me) back around Memorial Day; when I put it on, I had to use a back extender because it didn’t fit around my ribcage. Two months later… it fits wth no extender and no issue. I can’t get used to it.
As you can see, there’s a lot of conflicting emotions that I’m now dealing with; but I wouldn’t trade it for the person I used to be. Not by a long shot. Has it been hard? No doubt. Has it been the hardest thing that I’ve ever done? There’s no question of it.
Would I go back? Never.
And it’s all thanks to being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. The life-changing illness… that saved my life.
As most of you might know, Wednesday (August 28) will mark the 50th anniversary of the famous “I Have A Dream” speech given by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It’s pretty hard to believe that it’s been almost a lifetime since that speech was delivered; I was, of course, not alive in 1963, but it seems as if I have always known it and known about it. It is a powerful speech, even in excerpts; it speaks of tolerance and openness, compassion and love. These are traits that everyone, myself included, could use more of.
Have things changed at all in 50 years? Has King’s dream been achieved, or is there still a long way to go? I’m sure that this question is being hotly debated, as the D.C. subway is mobbed today with hoardes of happy tourists that will flood the Mall on Wednesday. For myself, however, I can unequivocally say that it hasn’t been achieved, at least not fully.
There are rumors swirling about that the March will turn into a massive protest rally over the death of Trayvon Martin. Now, I have no issue with people who want to protest Martin’s death; there is a time and a place for it. And, indeed, this March was and is all about the ravages of a racist system; the things that happen when racism is allowed to run unchecked, when people cannot be civil to one another. But I don’t feel that the March is the time or place to make Martin a focus; it is a celebration of the things that HAVE been achieved. African-American, Caucasian, Latino, we live together in (mostly) harmony. Interracial marriage is not only permitted, but barely warrants the blink of an eye anymore; after all, people love who they love, and love is (in my eyes) color-blind. The word “multi-racial” now describes the children of those unions, and it conveys a sense of pride in one’s heritage.
No, things are still not perfect; African-Americans are still victimized and targeted by the criminal justice system, African-Americans are still liable to be discriminated against in the wage category, underneath the poverty line, deprived of a quality education. However, there are more opportunities – way more – in 2013 than in 1963, when people were relegated to the back of a vehicle because of the color of their skin. I’m more likely to see a young African-American woman in my grad school program today than I might have in 1963. This is progress. Maybe it’s not as fast as we all would like, but it’s coming along. It’ll get there.
If we’re honest with ourselves, there is still segregation on both sides. Caucasians still have their racist supporters – it’s just not as “out in the open” or blatant as it used to be. And, let’s not neglect to assign blame where blame is due. Louis Farrakhan is one of the most virulent segregation supporters that I have ever seen. I know that many African-Americans relate to his words, and that’s a crying shame, because he’s outright wrong – just as wrong as George Wallace had been in 1963. Farrakhan has put down Caucasians, women and the Jewish race; some example of “brotherhood”, dude. (/sarcasm) Anyone that would call Adolf Hitler “a great man” needs their head examined.
Yes, there are still problems. But on the fast-approaching anniversary of the March on Washington, I’d like to think that King himself would be proud of the things that have been achieved, and would be working hard to ensure that more would be accomplished.
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
(The word “Negro” is part of the original speech, and is obviously not an acceptable term in today’s society. Before you all bitch, heh.)
As most people know, it is a dangerous thing for me to contemplate my past; yet, that’s just what I’ve been doing this evening. I have revisited some people’s blogs and Facebook pages (yes, I know, I’m a stalker; don’t judge), and have read with mild interest about the things that they’re supposedly up to now. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem to be much.
A certain douchebag and his “lovely” girlfriend are, much to my amusement, apparently still living in different countries and no doubt utilizing their computers to facilitate their nightly masturbation sessions and absurd little fantasies. It’s been over two years now, Mr. and Mrs. D’bag – what’s the holdup? How come one of you hasn’t made the big leap to residing in the other’s country yet? Oh, wait, that’s right – it’s never going to be happen, because the two of you are socially retarded. Right, I forgot. Apparently she actually made a trip over there sometime since the whole thing blew up (don’t think for one second that he would actually spend that money – that’s for her foolish ass, to foot the expense – I ought to know), but… too bad, so sad, still separated. She’s my age by now – how long do you think it’s going to take her to wake up to the fact that Mr. D’bag is never going to give her anything more than what she’s getting now? Two years? Ten? Twenty? And, of course, she aspires to research more and more about serial killers and crime and criminal justice, getting her paltry information from popular true-crime novels; oh, so informed!
Now, let’s see here. I’m happily married to a wonderful man that treats me like a queen. As a matter of fact, my husband went out and bought me an expensive software package that I needed for school tonight, even though I know damned well he didn’t have it to spare; but he did it because he loves me and he wants to see me succeed. I have a terrific position in the Federal government in law enforcement, where I just today received the best performance review of my entire career, in any job. I have graduated and earned my B.S. degree in criminal justice, and I’ve begun my classes for my Master’s degree in the same field at one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. I am being taught by scholars that have more information about criminal justice than any book could possibly teach.
I am becoming more and more physically fit with each passing day. As of this evening, I have lost 25 pounds since June 24th, 55 pounds since my diabetes diagnosis last September, and 93 pounds since the winter of 2007, when Mr. D’bag figured prominently in my sad, fucked-up existence. I am becoming a whole person; physically, mentally, emotionally. My financial situation, for so long in a state of turmoil, is beginning to tighten up nicely and I am becoming more and more educated. I clearly see the mistakes that I had made in the past.
I wonder how much Mr. D’bag has her spending these days. He certainly didn’t mind when I spent over 2G’s to fly over there, or that 800 dollars it cost me to ship him an electric guitar that he eventually ended up never using. I did these things because I thought I cared about him – oh, hell, let’s admit the folly. I thought I loved him, at the time. But love doesn’t take the form of using people for what they have, and that’s exactly what he did, whether he consciously wants to admit it or not.
I can imagine their reactions now, if they ever read this; ”Oh, she’s just being emo.” The word “emo”, boys and girls, was a very sarcastic and “elitist” way of saying that it’s wrong to express emotions publicly; it actually reminds me quite a bit of my mother using the word “melodramatic” when I was rightfully angry or upset as a child, and as we now know (thanks to my lovely ex-therapist), that was abusive. So, their reactions would likely fall into that category of abuse.
The joke’s on them, however; I’m living my life on my terms. I have everything that they (well, she, really – I refer to her more than him at this point, as he’s a non-entity) don’t; career, love, physical health, companionship (and I mean real companionship, not some words on a screen). If that’s a result of being “emo”, then by God I’m the most emo bitch on the planet and I like it that way.
I actually felt a little sorry for her as I read her blog. She’s got it all in black, just like I used to, and she rattles on about her little life; it may read a bit more intelligently than mine once was, but it’s not hard to see that she’s completely unhappy. She refers to him as “Mr. L”, most of the time, but she’s slipped once or twice and typed his full name in. It’s really sad that she’s trying this hard, like I used to, when it’s clear that he doesn’t care about her any more than he did me. I was tempted to send a Facebook message to her this evening with my condolences, heh. (Okay, okay, I won’t – it’s not worth the shitstorm I’d get, or even a moment more of my time than I’ve expended on it already.)
So, why now? Why did I decide to take a peek into the realm of the pathetic? I felt that I was finally ready to confront this part of my past, and to consign it to the trash bin for good; and indeed, that’s how it’s turned out to be. I felt nothing but mild curiosity as to whether or not the “lovebirds” (snort!) actually made a go of life together; clearly, there were no surprises here (but quite a bit of laughter – what can I say, I’m mean). After this post, it is very likely that I will never bother to bring up the subject ever again, unless it’s a fleeting thought as I continue to reminisce about my past and to fit the still-missing pieces back into the puzzle that is my life.
Luckily, my puzzle is about 75 to 80% complete, while others’… well, we’ll just say their puzzles are like the kind that one can get at the local Goodwill. There are lots of pieces missing, what remains is old, faded and peeling… and are, in the end, completely worthless.
In this situation at least… I have gotten my revenge. I am content with that.
I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about my life; that is, what my circumstances are today versus what they were five years ago. I think that this has been prompted by the fact that in six days, on August 17th, I will achieve five years of service to the Federal government. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, and in the grand scheme of the world it probably isn’t. For me, however, it is a massive milestone that will be celebrated by a plaque. Yes, you actually do receive a plaque with a gold seal, the works. I guess that it’s acceptance into “The Old Boys’ Club”, or whatever. A lot of my coworkers have them hung in their cubicles, and I guess I’ll probably follow in their footsteps.
So, with that caveat in mind, I’ve been reflecting. That’s usually a dangerous path for me to take, but I suppose that I have a good reason to do so.
I have a lot of regrets about my past. Most of them have to do with the person that I used to be; sad, depressed, scared, admittedly very needy and dependent on what others thought of me. I don’t like to think about situations that were driven by that dependency, but I must be honest with myself and state that it was what it was, and I did a lot of boneheaded, stupid, idiotic things to gain approval from people who truthfully meant (and still mean) nothing.
A lot of the time, I think of people that I associated with only five or six years ago when I reflect on that point. But, if I want to be honest with myself, that applies to a good deal of my life in the past. Ten years, twenty, twenty-five; it matters not. I was still sad, depressed, scared and dependent. That fact in itself makes me sad. If only I knew then what I know today!
I have very few contacts left from the past, and when I do have them, I tend not to speak to them very much. Perhaps it’s because I no longer want to be reminded of the person I had been, and the situations that I caused or were a part of.
The past is thorny, for me – I often felt attacked by others (and in some situations that was very true). A part of me wants revenge, somehow. A part of me wants to flaunt my recent success in their faces; “Look at me, you sad excuse for a human being. I’m studying for a Master’s degree. I have a good career, I make great money, I have a wonderful husband who loves me. I’ve lost X amount of pounds and I’m well on my way to being physically fit and happy. I am somebody, no matter how much you tried to make me feel like nothing. So, go screw yourselves. You fail.” I’ll admit that I go even further than that, sometimes. I openly laugh when I hear about the fates of some of the people that made me feel like nothing; I really do. The guy that humiliated me in front of a crowd after leading me on and thinking we had a relationship (unfortunately, that would apply to quite a few people from my past, I”m afraid). One is in jail serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. Another is in his forties and working for a living at a McDonald’s – way to go, underachiever!
Of course, one could say that this means there’s something wrong with me in that I’d pick these kinds of people to become involved with, and they’d not be wrong. I’ve recognized that.
I want revenge. I do. It’s human nature to feel that. But, then, I see what I have around me – that good job, that nice house, that husband whom I love so much and who I know loves me – didn’t I actually get my revenge? I’m living well. Isn’t that what the cliche says? Platitudes are all well and good, but it doesn’t compare to making the target of your anger feel like utter crap, though, and that’s what I struggle with. It might even sound cruel in a respect, but I’d actually get off on seeing them hurt. ”There, you jerk. See how you made me feel all those years ago? Now I’ll make you feel that ten times over.”
It’s obvious that I have things to work on, isn’t it.
As usual, this post has gone off on a wild tangent; I didn’t actually mean to say any of this originally. But now that it’s out, I’m glad it’s out. It’s something that I recognize as a problem. I still struggle with a lot of anger, both at those who deserve it and those who don’t. I still have a fatal flaw in that I hold people responsible that truly had nothing to do with the source of the pain. In that, I mean that I hold anger at those who may have been friends with the source of my pain; the douchebag from Australia once said that it was “unfair” that I would do that to people who had nothing to do with the original situation(s).
For once, I have to agree; he is right. It is unfair. But I can explain that right now in that it’s perceived, in my mind, as a “loyalty” thing. When you’re abused (either as a child or otherwise), you will not only blame the person who is hurting you, but those around that person that did nothing to stop the abuse. Does that make sense at all? It’s an automatic, reflex response. And, unfortunately, it applies very well in my case. Those so-called “friends” could have told these people off. ”Hey, you’re an ass for doing that to her. Stop it, or maybe I’ll stop being friends with you. Maybe I’ll expose you for the low-life you really are.” Another good example is that of the torture that I suffered in school (as yet, unexplained – maybe someday I’ll talk about that, too). ”Hey. That girl did nothing to you. Why are you hurting her like that? Stop it, or I’ll go to the authorities, or I’ll quit being friends with you. You’re a jerk.”
Not one person has ever stepped up for me like that. Not one. Or, if they did, I don’t know about it and I’m not all too sure I’d believe it if they told me that they did.
I don’t really know why it matters so much to me after all of this time. I can point out different times in my life where I can identify a single source of pain, and identify all of the people around that source that did nothing to help or assist or aid me. Does it really matter anymore?
I guess that, to my hurt and abused inner child, it does.
I am, obviously, back home from the U.S. Virgin Islands, and never have I been more glad to be here. I was a bawling, snotty mess when I disembarked from the plane and saw my husband at the gate. Trust me, someone could have taken my purse and all of those nasty clothes of mine and I’d never have noticed it, I was that intent on getting hugs and kisses and reassurance that I was still whole.
I missed him so.
Since then, I’ve started to ease back into the way things had been before; only my life somehow doesn’t feel quite the same. I’m not sure what the cause of that is. Perhaps it’s the realization that I’ve had so many deaths in my family recently, and it’s just hitting home that I’m that much closer to my own demise, as much as I don’t want to think about it. It seems shockingly unfair, really; twenty years ago, I felt invincible. Who, me? Die? You must be crazy.
Until I see the sad, disillusioned residents of Generation X beginning to fall prey to the Grim Reaper. I don’t know how you might feel about it, but to me – that kind of sucks.
As a result, I feel the old familiar sense of disconnection creeping in. However, unlike in the days where my depression ruled my world, I know this time that it’s just temporary. Things will get better.
I am still waiting on my financial aid to be approved, but I don’t foresee an issue, so far. I’ve also begun to expand my horizons and start looking for other employment (within the Feds, of course). I’ve also enrolled in driving school, which begins on the 10th. There’s obviously quite a bit going on, and will increase exponentially as the weeks go by.
At least I’m somewhat healthy. I had to go to the doctor to clear up a nasty rash of bug bites that I’d picked up in St. Croix, yet another lovely souvenir of my trip, and found out that my blood pressure is 108/79, which I suppose is something to get excited about (everyone else seemed to be, anyway). I’m still losing weight, although it’s slowed down quite a bit recently, more than I want it to. Otherwise, all is well.
I guess that I didn’t have a whole lot to say, after all. I want to do so much more with this space than just issue silly reports about my life and well-being, but I’m driven by too little time and too much energy expended elsewhere. Perhaps when (if) I ever retire, I’ll have that time, but then blogs will become “so turn-of-the century” by then. If they haven’t, already.
Small update: the Honolulu job didn’t pan out, which is pretty much what I had thought would happen, and I’m secretly relieved. There’s no way we could have afforded the cost of relocation there.
I’ve not been around much to make a blog post or comment, which is typical of me; after navigating to WordPress, I had a brief flurry of excitement where I was posting a great deal – oooh, new digs, shiny, all of that. However, life sort of “took over”, as I knew it would, and we’re back to the status quo. No matter. There’s been a lot going on.
I’ve dumped my cell phone plan. I no longer have a mobile phone except for a small, no-frills basic model which I keep stocked occasionally with “pay-as-you-like” minutes; this is what I consider an “emergency” phone. I now have a spiffy land-based line, provided by Verizon, that everyone may now use to contact me if necessary.
The reason that I have given up the cell phone is, of course, related to money; it’s not because of the recent sequestration efforts for government employees (though I will admit that such maneuvers help no one). Rather, it’s a desire not to be enslaved financially to cellular corporations that charge nearly two hundred dollars per month for the privilege of checking Facebook eight times a day. Seriously?
It’s been nearly a month since I have given up the mobile phone. I can’t say that I honestly miss it, or the outrageous monthly charges. I’ve had a recent family emergency (that I will explain further down into this post) which has depleted my “pay-as-you-like” minutes, but they’ve been quickly refilled and hopefully everything will settle down shortly.
I had originally begun writing this post on July 14, 2013, nearly a week ago; however, I have experienced a death in my family since that date (my sister-in-law) on the 15th. It was unexpected, untimely, and from what my brother reports, it was ghastly in nature. I am completing this post from his home in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they have lived for the past few years. I can only say that this place, itself, is ghastly. I have never lived in a hot climate where I had ever enjoyed it, and St. Croix is the definition of a hot climate. It has not dropped below 80 degrees since I’ve been here. I have been eaten alive by a million flying insects, from mosquitoes to fruit flies to God only knows what. Washing here is pointless, as you are sticky and hot and feel dirty ten minutes after you shower. I will never understand why my brother and sister-in-law ever decided to come here.
My brother is so beaten down. I have never seen him like this, ever. It’s as if he has lost the will to live, and it’s not only caused by my sister-in-law’s death; he’s been this depressed and down for years. I am struggling not to cry, but it is very difficult. I have had conflicted feelings about my brother and, indeed, my entire family for several years now; this is very hard to process for me. I sit here in the sweltering, stinking heat and have no idea of what to do. For the first time in my life, I am paralyzed. I do not know what I can do to make my brother feel better, or return to his “normal” self. I don’t seem to know what normalcy is anymore.
My brother and I have spoken about my father. If you are a regular reader of this tome, or know anything about me at all, you know that I have deliberately chosen not to contact my father, and that I had requested that he not contact me (something that he, so far, abides by, possibly the only thing ever). I managed to come to an agreement that if my father contacts me directly – that is, no involvement from my stepmother whatsoever, including her handwriting or anything else – I would be open to the possibility of future contact. While on the telephone with my mother yesterday, I was shocked to hear her encourage that; she had even said that “too much time has passed, and it’s time to make amends”.
I am baffled. After nearly thirty years of pain and anger and feelings of hurt, I’m now being told to forgive and forget? Pardon my elaborate French, but what the fuck?
I now know that both of my parents (mother and father) were participants in what is today called parental alienation syndrome. I don’t think that either of them were conscious of what they were doing, as the term itself did not exist when I was a young child; but there is no doubt that this is what was happening. My mother used to speak ill of my father, right in front of us, calling him names such as “deadbeat”, “shithead”, intimating that he “didn’t care about us”. My father used to use the two of us as messengers, saying “tell your mother (fill in the blank)”. We had to bear that responsibility. And this wasn’t parental alienation?
Some of these things are so hurtful that I have clear recollections of some of the times that they would do this to us, usually on an outing or a visitation session.
I have never openly admitted any of these facts to myself, much less my family or friends. Even my husband does not know the full circumstances, although he is well aware that my childhood could be considered abusive (and parental alienation is certainly abusive – most professionals in the psychology field seem to be in consensus with that). I do not talk about these things, mainly because I have been accused of “having a good imagination” (and that’s a nicer way of putting it than my family would say, I assure you). Yet, the further I examine my childhood, my past, and my interactions in that childhood, the more clear it becomes to me that I cannot be making these things up, not even for a “melodramatic” factor (and I also assure you that this seems to be my mother’s favorite word to describe me as a child, a word that to this day is extremely hurtful and triggery to me).
I remember feeling dread on the plane from San Juan to St. Croix. It was palpable; my thoughts were that I had made a mistake in coming here (and it was a mistake, but not for the reasons I’m about to outline). I just had this very strong feeling that I didn’t want to see my brother again – or my mother, or really any of my family. For the longest time, I have felt like an orphan, cast off to fend for themselves in a cold, cruel world. I still feel that way a lot, and if the status quo had remained, I probably would have been all right with that. Yet, here I am, here in a hot, sweltering environment with bugs biting me all over, trying to help my brother out of a pit of despair; the same pit that I was trapped in for so many years. What does that say about me?
I am confused and troubled. I do not know how things stand now. I know that I want to come home and see my husband again. I want to feel his hugs and look at his smile and hear his voice cautioning me to “have patience”, heh. I want to hear him telling me that everything is all right – even though it isn’t.
Is it bad to say that there are some days where I wish I had been born an orphan?
In the midst of troubling times and all of this bad news, I can say that I was accepted into Boston University Metropolitan as a graduate student; my classes start on September 3, unless I find out that my application for financial aid wasn’t processed. In that case, my classes will begin whenever the application is processed. The cost of one course there is way more than I can ever handle.
I have 96 hours before I can get out of here. I am counting every single minute. No offense meant to my brother… but I hate this place and I can’t wait to leave it. It is truly the oozing asshole of the United States (St. Croix, that is).
As someone who enjoys cooking (and, therefore, cooking shows) quite a bit, I’m familiar with a lot of the “personalities” that have gained national (and in some cases, international) attention. One of those personalities is a rather bubbly and somewhat flirtatious British chef named Nigella Lawson; she’s one of those people that have crossed over into that international fame. I haven’t seen enough of her work to really know if she’s decent or not, as I tend to watch a lot of public television and much prefer the styles that I see there – think America’s Test Kitchen, for example. Like everyone else that is familiar with the world of cooking, though, I do know of Nigella.
If you’ve been reading the news this week, you know that Nigella Lawson’s husband was recently caught on film choking the living crap out of her at a restaurant. I’ve seen the pictures and they don’t look staged, nor do they look like a “playful tiff”, as her husband tries to claim.
I, myself, have been the victim of domestic violence in a previous relationship. I know that it’s not pretty and that it’s difficult to get out of the situation.
I admit that I have a lot of bitterness over this issue because of the recent legal case involving my husband, where he was falsely accused of domestic violence – by the very person who had actually committed the acts against him. Unfortunately, it is all too common for men who are truly domestic violence victims not to be believed or, even worse, to be laughed at when they try to get help. Things have come quite a ways in the last few years, but it’s still not at the level where it needs to be.
My husband was a victim that never did, and never will, receive justice. That is a very difficult “pill” to swallow. However, swallow it I must, because if I were to distribute the revenge that I want, I’d be in jail for assault. I’d rather not go through that, as she isn’t worth the effort or the time. I cannot lie, however; I am angry over the fact that this “woman”, quotes deliberate, was allowed to use our justice system to create and spread lies about my husband and potentially ruin his life – permanently – when she well knows that she was the one who perpetrated such acts. Our lives were made a living hell for months when he first arrived; she was calling his cell phone day and night, texting him with alternate threats and promises. It’s the classic example of the abuse cycle; sweet one minute and a raging bitch the next. I don’t know if my husband was ever afraid, exactly – he’s the personification of “easy-going” – but I know that I wasn’t afraid of her and that if I ever got my hands on her, I’d be giving her a dose of her own nasty medicine.
I admit that I still want to.
My husband’s ex-girlfriend called the police to report her “abuse” three days AFTER it supposedly occurred. During those three days, my husband was with me, because he moved here less than twelve hours after she hit him for the last time. (He arrived here with bruises up and down his arms.) I have proof of his residence here during that time. In those three days, she had plenty of time to fabricate whatever “evidence” she wanted. Apparently, our lawyer must have thought so as well, because when he subpoeaned her for proof of the incident, she amazingly didn’t have any other than the original police report. No photographs of these supposed injuries (even though the report said they existed), nothing. My, my, my.
The case was dropped as soon as the subpoena was issued. What does that tell you, ladies and gentlemen? I was actually looking forward to slaughtering this bitch in court; even that was denied me. Boo, hiss.
Despite my obvious feelings about the subject, I hope that Nigella Lawson will get the help that she quite obviously needs. She’s luckier than most; she has finances of her own and has the ability to get counseling, her own place, and all of the tools she’ll need at her disposal to dump this waste of skin.
(I was looking up Mexican recipes online the other night from Pati’s Mexican Table; just an aside, if you want good, authentic Mexican stuff to try out, I think this website is a great start!)
C: “I don’t understand why I’m doing this. You don’t like avocado, or plantains, and you don’t like tres leches so I can’t make anything with that. Why am I considering making some of these recipes for you?”
Sweet Husband Mine: “Well, I like the rolled-up shit.”
C: (staring incredulously and trying not to laugh)
SHM: “You know, the enchiladas and burritos and stuff. If it’s in a circle, I’ll eat it!”
C: (breaking out into uncontrollable laughter)
People, this is why I love being married. The laughs I share with my husband are absolutely priceless. <3
I have an ongoing employment search through USA Jobs, which occasionally suggests appropriate job postings related to my field of work; apparently, there have been a lot of vacancies this week, as I’ve received three that fit quite well with my commensurate experience and education. Two are with the Department of Homeland Security, while one is with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (in a clerical capacity). The DHS jobs are located in the general area; one is in D.C. while the other is in Baltimore (and would be very welcomed, from a travel standpoint!). The BOP job, however, is very far from here. I mean, it’s as far as you can get from where I am now.
Is Honolulu far enough?
I don’t expect to proceed further with any of them; however, I decided that I’d apply anyhow. What do I really have to lose? I may actually be very lucky and get one of them, although I would be beyond shocked if I was appointed to the job in Hawaii. What on earth would I do?
What scares me is that the job in Hawaii would actually be the best fit, career-wise, for me.
There would be so much that I would have to consider. I have an elderly parent that I absolutely cannot leave behind; she would have to come with me to wherever I’d end up, and I seriously don’t know how she would take the news that she would have to move to Hawaii. Most would think that it would be a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it is; however, for my mother I think it would be extremely hard on her. I have to balance that fact with pursuing career opportunities. In a way, I’m almost hoping that I’ll be completely passed over for this position, because it won’t be an issue then.
Caring for an elderly parent is difficult and is yet another factor that marks life for many of Generation X. In my case, unfortunately, my elderly parent is neurotic, as most of my family has been. Many have said that I should leave it all behind and do what I need to do; however, I can’t do that and sleep at night comfortably. It’s a conscience thing.
It’s a bit ironic that this comes now. My immediate supervisor is making noise about another wage increase, darkly suggesting that my current “grade” level is as high as I can go while in the job I’m in now. (She’s right.) In other words, if I want to continue on the government career ladder, I need to start investigating other opportunities, and since I’ve recently graduated from college, “now is the time to look around”, as she put it. I don’t think that she wants to get rid of me, but I also think that she’s realistic in that there’s not much else I can do here.
This, for me, is both a blessing and a curse. I have so much talent and ability, at least according to the fine folks at work, and yet I seem to outgrow my career almost at every turn. I really don’t want to keep bouncing from place to place to place; it doesn’t look good on a resume for one thing, and I’m getting a bit old chronologically to handle such changes. What I truly need is employment that challenges; it seems that this has been a difficulty for most of my days, whether it involves school or work – I am not encouraged to push myself, and I feel as if my talents lay fallow.
Things have always been “too easy” for me, to my utter detriment. At the very least, I’ve felt bored and unfulfilled. Perhaps this is the real reason that I ended up returning to school; however, if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that college wasn’t particularly challenging, either. Perhaps I’m hoping that graduate school will be at least a bit more exercise for my brain.
There are some days where I do wonder if all of this angst is worth the reward. However, it’s nice to know that my talents are appreciated somewhere.
Several notable things happened on June 12, 2008 that many might have forgotten:
Eight U.S. soldiers died in a mortar fire attack in Iraq.
Three hikers were rescued from Mt. Rainier during a blizzard.
According to the Feds, the U.S. economic picture was “sluggish”. (Not so much different than today, but.)
Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” was the most popular “song” (quotes deliberate) in the country.
“Kung Fu Panda” was the top-grossing film in the U.S.
This blog was “born”. Or, rather, “rebirthed”, if that’s a more appropriate term.
The years between 2005 (the LiveJournal entries) and 2008 are, unfortunately, lost. I would like to say that I hadn’t written at all during this time, but the painful fact is that I had deleted everything from those years out of a fit of combined anger and depression. In some ways, it’s better that I don’t re-read from that point in time; the depression struck in 2006, and it is undoubtedly a fact that most of everything I’d have written during that time would smack of utter desperation and pain. It is difficult enough to return to June 12, 2008.
However, as pathetic as those past entries may seem, they are a testament to the power of self-healing. In five years, I have re-invented myself, my life, and my ultimate goals. I won’t continue to pat myself on the back at this juncture; the progress is nicely outlined, for those who care to read it. I do feel that a mention of a five-year “anniversary” is warranted, however; I have a track record of not finishing what I begin. In this case, however, I think I’ve met my goal, and then some.
I will say that I am really looking forward to the future, with all of its positive and negative qualities. There are several aspects that I am working on, including that of improving our financial future and continuing my education.
I am definitely more hopeful today than I was five years ago!
I often browse the vastness of this thing that we Gen-X’ers call “tha interwebz”. While engaging in this particular activity, I came across a question (that was posted on the social site Yelp!, of all things) that made me think a bit.
The question involved nursing in public; in other words, is it an acceptable practice?
I will preface my opinion with the fact that I do not have children of my own, nor will I probably ever be in the position to do so. (This is partially by choice, and partially because I am, by marriage, already a stepmother to five!) My “children” consist of fur and paws and teeth; if they count, then I have three.
I do not find public nursing to be a problem, or a nuisance, as so many of the Puritan-minded seems to do. “Babies have to eat, too,” I’d said on the thread in Yelp!. And babies, in my limited experience, aren’t too particular on where or when; if they’re hungry, that’s just the way it is. They’re sort of like cats, really (or at least, my cats); they’ll do what they have to do in order to grab your attention, and that’s be as loud and obnoxious as possible. So it is with babies; they will do the same thing, which is, of course, being as loud and obnoxious as possible. They will be that way until the parent or whoever is responsible for their well-being feeds them.
This is where public nursing comes in. Will it bother me to see a bare breast if I’m on a crowded bus, or at a baseball game, or at a cozy, expensive restaurant? The answer to that question is simple; it will bother me much less to see breasts than it would to hear a baby screaming its head off if it doesn’t get fed. Loud noises greatly disturb me; whether this is because of my newly-discovered sensitivity to sound or because of my self-admitted loathing of most children’s habits, I cannot say. (The latter is borne from lack of exposure to children, which I do take into consideration.)
Many are disturbed by the fact that I do not seem to have a “mothering” instinct of any kind, or even the need or want to “nurture”. Many have said that I am abnormal, heartless, even “a monster” because I do not, nor ever wished to, have children or even be around children.
While I may be indeed all that these people have said, I can say that I have been honest about my intentions, or lack thereof. I know that I do not have the capability or the patience to raise children, and if I want to be truthful about the matter, I have known this since childhood. My pursuits as a young girl involved writing little stories and playing with “sidewalk chalk”, not dolls or “playing family”. There could be a lot of underlying reasons for that, as well; it borders on playing psychiatrist, which I certainly don’t have the qualifications for. Still, the relentless pressure to feel “maternal” in American society is quite strong; I often see contemporaries on forums that I visit bemoaning the lack of, or the ability to have, children even when they already have two, three, maybe even four of their own. How many do they want? Seriously?
I find that taking care of my three cats is difficult enough.
I will admit that I sometimes wrestle with regret when it comes to this subject; however, I am honestly not sure what it is that causes those feelings. I do not regret the fact that I have not brought children into the world, because my general belief is that the planet is already overpopulated as it is and that my having children would simply contribute to the problem; I also believe that my emotional and mental state is such that I am incapable of raising a human being without the numerous flaws that I now suffer (specifically depression but other mental issues as well, such as possible obsessive-compulsive disorder. I do believe I have “OCD” to some extent, albeit undiagnosed). I find it actually a bit cruel that people choose to bring others into the world while knowing that they have incurable or uncontrollable illness or disease; who would subject another human being to that? Such actions violate my sense of justice.
I guess that the regret comes from simply wondering whether I have truly missed anything, which is inevitable. The only way to solve that paradox is to, of course, have children, and this will not occur. I’m okay with that; I don’t feel like “less of a woman” because I didn’t bear fruit. I have physical proof that I am female; I get to look at it every day, after all.
As you can see, this innocent question has unleashed quite a different line of conversation; I find it amusing because I do have a tendency to “go off on a tangent”, if you will.