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Still here

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m just…struggling to find words to fill the empty page/text box.

Baby, baby

We found out yesterday that my husband’s brother, and his partner, had their baby. They’re in Australia, which means a delay in news (as well as in cuddling my new little niece!) but I’m thrilled to bits to be an auntie for the first time. So close to my son’s sixth birthday (how am I going to be the mother of a six-year-old in a couple of weeks!), it’s making me remember that first sight of my little lad, purple and not breathing, and then the utter joy of holding a pink, healthy newborn in my arms. Even after miscarrying my first early on in that pregnancy, I didn’t know what it would mean to suddenly have a complete and utter stranger be the center of my universe, and that he is.

We’re not going to have another baby, so he’s it. The little things we missed out on (like pics of me holding him in the hospital), we’ll never be able to make up, but I don’t mind that so much. I am sorry not to have another child to love like I love Ciaran. I’m sorry to not have the chance to be an experienced parent of a newborn, instead of a complete newbie who put way, way too much pressure on herself. I’m sorry for those things. My brother- and sister-in-law are so lucky to be starting on that journey, even if I don’t envy them any of the sleeplessness that they’ll no doubt experience over the next weeks and months!

But I do envy them the introduction to the new little one and I envy holding a warm little body and kissing a fuzzy baby head. That’s a memory I hope I never forget.

Trigger warning – self-harm discussed below.

Fat is not a mental health diagnosis, as Ragen has so eloquently explained but, certainly, some of us fats struggle with depression. My blog seems to have been nothing but grey skies for the last few months, when I’ve bothered to write at all, not generally because I’ve been having acute depressive episodes but just because that smoke cloud of chronic depression has been looming large.

I tried cutting for the first time in my life a few months ago, when an external crisis made me wonder if, when all was said and done, it was better than trying to off myself (which I won’t do.) It wasn’t and I won’t do it again (thankfully things have evened out with the issue that triggered the depressive episode anyway) but it was pretty terrifying. I’ve worked so hard, and spent so many therapy hours (and dollars) trying to deal with that pit and it’s just so hard to escape it. And so discouraging when the spiral brings me back to that place in my life.

Right now I’m desperately needing to find an internship to finish off my MSLIS (master’s in library & information science). The requirements are SO specific, and my full-time M-F job timing is such that it is going to have to be just the right internship, just the right opportunity, or it won’t work. I want to be hopeful and positive but I struggle to have the confidence that I have the skills and knowledge to do anything but what I’ve always done – more office admin. I’m grateful for my paycheck and coworkers that keep me sane even when phones are ringing off the hook and I’m deluged with Stuff [tm], but confidence is my bugbear. Believing that I have the ability to do more is my real issue, not skills, training, or actual ability.

What seems to be most prominent in my life at the moment is stupid drama. Namely, stupid Facebook drama. I’m considering doing away with it entirely. I am so, so tired of having even a respectful statement misread (I’m probably guilty of this too, mind you). The latest brouhaha was over a blog post in Massive Health, which appears to push a healthist agenda HARD HARD HARD. (Is “healthist” a word?).

Take a look at the graphics in that blog post. It begins with the assertion that “We Eat Less Healthy Than We Think”. The only definition of health they give is “fit” vs “fat” – there are no fit fat people, it would seem, and all thin people are fit. Apparently people on a diet, any diet, “eat at least 15.2% healthier than those who eat everything.” Really? 15.2% healthier? I would call the cabbage soup diet, or the lemonade diet, or any of the other diet fads out there dramatically less healthy than a balanced diet, but that’s just me.

And the final infographic, where we are informed that fat people are more likely to have fat friends, because “obesity and healthiness are contagious.”

I mentioned my issues with the infographic and was shot down by multiple people claiming that my negative interpretation (i.e, that the infographics were fat-shaming) wasn’t accurate. They were just statistics, mind you, with no anti-fat bias at all. I would argue that defining “healthiness” as not-fatness is pretty anti-fat. Finally my friend, who is an educated, intelligent person whom I respect, felt it necessary to bring it to private message to tell me that, fundamentally, if I don’t like the app, I don’t have to buy it.

Which is true. But I was respectful in all of the things I said and only pointed out the anti-fat bias of the infographics. Is that drama-worthy enough to go private with? Is it drama-worthy at all? Apparently on Facebook it is. The cutting episode crisis was also inflamed by FB drama (note: I’m not blaming the people involved in said drama for my own reaction to the emotional trauma – that’s on me – but drama seems to be characteristic of many of my interactions there, despite my best efforts to the contrary).

How to connect with the people on Facebook without actually using Facebook is the dilemma. But, and I suspect this will happen soon, not enough of a dilemma for me to keep using it.

Blogging hasn’t really been on my radar lately. I’m realizing that I really must have SAD, to some degree or another, because winters (especially grey, gloomy Seattle winters) take such a toll on me, mood-wise. Now that we’re seeing a little more sun, I’m starting to come back out of my shell, and what a tempest there is in the FA teapot!

The NOLOSE letter and responses thereto are fairly easy to find, so I’m not going to re-link. I’m also not going to engage in the discussion over whether the letter, or responses thereto, are appropriate/not appropriate, as far more eloquent/vocal FA folks than I have already chimed in to a far greater extent than I currently have the spoons to deal with.

That said, I found aspects of the discussion quite fascinating. It might be a year, or perhaps two, since Katie and I mentioned the possibility of an introductory FA space, with Racism 101, Sizeism 101, and other helpful places where newbies (or oldsters!) could ask questions and have them answered in a respectful way. It would not, of course, eliminate asshattery but perhaps might deal with the general accusation that “I can’t get a question answered without Googling it and I don’t know what to Google!” and similar.

Katie and I envisioned a community but, for a variety of reasons, I think people felt it wouldn’t be workable but I don’t see that mutual understanding has improved very much in the intervening time and that saddens me. If people who supported FA were a majority, arguing and infighting might not be as problematic. As it is, however, every time we have a major drama, I see people becoming discouraged with the movement and that weakens us.

We don’t have to agree on everything, which is just as well, because that would be impossible anyway. What I do worry about is that, without a coherent focus, we can’t effect change.

Since a community space seems to not be something people want, and despite the fact that I’m a little discouraged about my librarian prospects at the moment, I’m wondering if it would be helpful to have a pathfinder for FA – a compilation of every FA resource that we can find, from books to feeds to…? Is that something that would be useful for future reference?

It’s been a hell of a week. I mean last week, obviously, since Sunday is widely opined to be the first day of the week, something I’ve never understood because, well, it’s the weekEND.

Anyway.

It’s been a hell of a post-Christmas, is what I should say. I was out sick from work the week after New Year’s because of a helluva virus that knocked me down, jumped on me, and left me doing not much but watching TV and reading books. The following week was nuts at work, because I was trying to catch up on everything I hadn’t done the week before, and then the week after THAT? We had layoffs. The other member of my team, the receptionist, was laid off and my job was made into my job AND her job. I now sit at the reception desk doing a mashup of two jobs and, while I’m exceedingly grateful both to have a job and for the title/pay upgrades that were accordingly awarded, adjusting to a new schedule is impressively hard. It’s also difficult to adjust to constant phone calls and visitors interrupting my work, although I’ve had this role before in other jobs. I’m hoping that I will soon move into “just” busy rather than insanely-want-to-scream busy…but what hasn’t helped with that is the multiple-whammies of last week.

Last week I was hormonal (yippee!), insanely-want-to-scream busy, and got pummeled twice in Facebook brawls, both of which left me feeling very shaken. I very seriously considered quitting FB altogether but decided to just step back and not post anything political for some time. I’m okay now, if feeling twice-bitten, thrice-shy, but the real doozy was the head cold I came down with Friday evening. Hormonal stuff tends to cause me headaches and I can cope with all but the most head-pounding of them but head colds send me into a self-pitying, grumpy, exhausted spiral of woe. I’d take tomorrow off, only the above-mentioned work changes mean that it’s especially difficult to deal with sick days, because we now have people in the office filling in for reception on breaks, rather than temps, so I inconvenience everyone if I’m sick. But, it also means there are four people I’m directly exposing, because they cover for me at my desk during breaks/lunch, and even sanitizing wipes might not work.

I just wish it weren’t all at once and, invariably, that’s what seems to happen. I really, really just want one more day off, without having to worry about reception cover and guilt, to feel better and a little less fragile.

Wee Regrets

I’m a worrier.

You had probably noticed that.

I’m a worrier who worries about big things, little things, middle-sized things. All The Things [tm], to quote Hyperbole and a Half. If it’s out there, I’ve probably worried about it at least once, from Yosemite blowing up and exterminating my family (okay, that was a short-lived, insane worry that I mostly don’t worry about any more, given that Seattle’s very own Cascadia subduction zone could produce an over-9-point earthquake with a tsunami up to 30 meters high, so I’ve got more immediate problems on my hands, obviously), to whether or not it should matter to me that people in the office haven’t said that my new scarf is pretty today.

Yes, I worry. Yes, I know this is bad. Yes, I worry that I’m worrying myself into an early grave. It’s what I do. I’m good at it. I’m working on not doing it so much…but did any of you other chronic worriers notice how hard that is?! Back when I was doing my first master’s degree, I took a great biofeedback and meditation class that worked really well for shutting off the 2:00 am crazies. Since getting out of the habit, though, the worrying has come back with a vengeance.

Last night I think I spent two hours feeling like a terrible person because, back when I worked with students in Manchester, I didn’t give a girl a class refund of all of 4 pounds when she was obviously really desperate for it. It was the rule, and I was following the rules, but, in hindsight, I wish I’d broken them. An hour worrying about that, and an hour reading to try to stop worrying about that…and I’m exhausted today.

It’s almost funny. I know, of course, that we all should let go of our guilt and fly free like happy butterflies, but the knowing and the doing (and the flying thereafter) are all entirely disconnected steps. I can let go of things. I can close the door on some things, knowing that I’ve done my best and that was the best I could do, but it’s the pesky moments when I let someone down, or when I let myself down, that plague me. Letting go of those, acknowledging that I’ve grown as a person and am trying to improve, just seems so difficult to accomplish, because the logical reminders of my growth don’t seem to hold much weight in the middle of the night, especially when, being human and all, I keep making more pesky mistakes to regret.

Shopping for Doctors

So, a nasty cold/flu/whatever thing meant that I needed to call my doc today for an appointment to get checked out. After two hours of not hearing from her, I gave up and called the clinic my husband visited for the first time yesterday. One same-day appointment later, it really is just a virus, I have a refill for my rescue inhaler, and all is well.

Thing is, my regular doctor hasn’t been great lately. I needed a Metformin refill and didn’t hear from her for a week. Luckily it’s for PCOS, not diabetes, but I consider that bordering on negligent, myself. I’ve had trouble booking appointments and her assistant never actually answers calls. They just go straight to voicemail and you get to hope that you’ll get a call back…sometime. Not okay, for my purposes, so I’ve been considering shopping for doctors and this was the final straw.

The guy I saw today was friendly and seemed to be really eager to be helpful. He’d never heard of HAES but was okay with my saying that I didn’t want to discuss my weight. He said that he was fine with that, although if I came in for a sore back, say, he’d want to throw it out there as a possible avenue, but that he would absolutely respect my wishes. The office was fine with my asking not to be weighed, which is also nice.

I think I’ll switch over, for the time being, although I’m tempted to mail him a copy of “Health At Every Size” for some homework reading. What made me proudest was that, when he said that he’d be willing to be my PCP if I wanted, I was very firm and unapologetic about my history of ED and desire not to discuss weight loss. I didn’t feel embarrassed, either. If he hadn’t been okay with it, that would have been fine, but I would have moved on to find a different doctor without feeling ashamed. I think.

It felt like a step forward. Now I just have to deal with all the other freaking issues that I’ve got, the biggest of which I can’t discuss here, resulting in my long absence from posting!

The thing they don’t tell you about adulthood as a kid, when you dream of all the freedom that you’ll have when you’re grown up, is that as an adult, you don’t get the kid- or teen-excuse card to play that is sort of your get-out-of-jail-free. Your excuse to do, say, and feel whatever’s on your mind and have it all written off as “teenage angst.”

Not as an adult. When you’re having a hormonal sort of day, your son woke up with a cough and you had to keep him home from kindergarten even though he wanted to go, and you found out that one of your very best work colleagues (one of those people that keeps you going to work in the first place) is moving away, and everyone seems to be NEEDY!NEEDY!NEEDY, and you didn’t get anything tangible accomplished over the weekend, and said work friends is going out with two other work friends and you were invited but can’t go because they set it at about the ONLY time during the day when your schedule precludes it, and you are being expected to know information that nobody gave you in the first place, and all you want to do is either throw a screaming tantrum or huddle up in a ball and weep…you don’t get to.

You get to smile, and do the job at the time that you had it scheduled, and you don’t get to go home, and you don’t get to say that you don’t wanna do it and you’re not gonna, and you suck it up and you do it. Because if you don’t, you’ll lose your job, and you’ll lose your income, and the little person at home depending on you won’t get the new clothes he needs, and you’ll default on your student loans and and and…

And you still have to do it anyway. And it sucks. It sucks so much that I wonder why I ever wanted to be a grown up anyway. Being in high school and college might have been some of the most screwed-up, depressing, horrible times of my life…but at least I could go home, cry, and think that some day, as a grown up, it would be better. I’d make it better.

And I haven’t.

As a teenager, you can always think that it may suck now but it is going to get better. As an adult, not so much. This could be as good as it gets, ever.

And I thought I had it bad back then!

Retail Therapy

One of my goals for the remainder of the year, especially as I get to start repaying those zillions of dollars’ worth of student loans, is to Spend Less Money On Frivolous Things [tm]. Considering that shopping for pretty things is one of the ways that I cope with stress and depression, this isn’t an easy goal. Shoes? Pshaw. Clothes? HA HA bloody HA. Shopping for them sucks (wide feet, size 30 body) so I avoid them like the plague. But pretty things…pretty decorative things…oh, be still my wallet!

Did I mention that some douchebag posted several hundred dollars’ worth of fraudulent charges on my debit card (which never left my possession), which I’m having to work on claiming back? Bastards.

Anyway, I found a couple of pretty things for quite cheap on Etsy and lost all willpower. First, this:

Okay, so, I know it’s not crazy cheap ($14, in the end), but isn’t it beautiful? It’s 4″ square and sitting on my piano. It’s dreamy, features hydrangeas, which I love, and is just the right color scheme to match with any number of rooms, including both my bathroom and bedroom, if I want to move it.

I also fell for this:

It’s hanging on my bedroom wall above my great-grandmother’s vintage (50s? 60s?) chest of drawers and mirror. It cost a little more than the hydrangea wooden block but still, $20 for something beautiful isn’t THAT much, right?

Right?

This is why I’m poor. But, I will say, at least I’m being careful about how much I spend and for what. No more purchases of things I don’t really love. No purchases of things that aren’t small and easy to transport.

I will say that one of the great cures for my retail therapy needs has been Pinterest, because I can “own” the pretty thing, only I don’t have to purchase it – I pin it on my wall and it’s there permanently, or as permanently as social media can be.

Oh, Monday

It has been the most Mondayish of Mondays, what with the carryover of feeling nauseated all day yesterday, which meant I didn’t get nearly as much done as I had hoped, save for baking a homemade peach pie (and even that wasn’t quite right, because I forgot the lemon juice, which meant it was a tad overly-sweet). When Sunday is a bit crummy, Monday’s not going to get any better and it hasn’t.

But, I did manage one tiny little mental breakthrough that I need to write down, lest I forget it. I was in the shower, doing my groggy-ugh-Monday waking thing and, for some reason, my thoughts were wandering to shopping with a work friend on Friday – I realized that, back in the day, I could have fit a women’s large too and that I sitll thought of myself as horribly fat. I wondered, as I’ve wondered before, what size I would be now if my dad, mom, and grandmother had recognized that putting on a bit of chub around age 9/10 is normal, given the fact that I started my period less than two years later, and had never started the “oh, don’t eat that, or you’ll get fat!” mantra. What if I had been taught that PE was fun, instead of seeing it as the miserable place where I was clumsy, awkward, and never did anything well enough not to be chosen last? Would I still be a size large? Or just XL?

Anyway, I was suddenly filled with this fury toward my PE teachers. How DARE they take the joy of movement away from me? When I was little I rode bikes. I climbed trees. I walked all over the place. And then I learned to hate my body, to feel like it wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t good enough, and I stopped doing any kind of movement for joy.

Last night, in bed, my husband was telling me about the local swimming pool and mentioned that they have a rope swing that goes out over the water. I said I thought maybe I should go to the pool too and he said that he wasn’t sure they’d let me on the swing. I know he didn’t mean it hurtfully; he’s not that sort of person, but entirely factually, they might not let me on the swing, because I’m fat. Things that I used to love doing as a kid, like scrambling over rocks, or swinging on rope swings…my body is in no shape to do those things, not just because I’m fat but because I haven’t voluntarily done movement in so long that I know I’m out of shape. My lower back has been killing me for weeks now (my chiropractor says there’s a nerve, possibly in the s1 vertebra, being pinched…which…ugh) and I just feel really OLD. I’m only 34 and I feel old.

Damn those stupid PE teachers for taking fun movement away from me. Now I “just” need to figure out how to get it back, so that I stop feeling so sore, achy, and tired all the time.

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