“I Have Been Here Many Times Before…”

joffreyI’m only human. Right? There have been epitomes written about that very statement; written to describe the pain and agony that comes with trying to convince the writer himself that there is truth behind those 3 1/2 words. And it usually doesn’t work. Usually, like Christina Perri so eloquently sings, things “come crashing down” and fall apart because “I’m only human.” I thought things were getting better. I thought this perpetual cliff that I’m magnetized to was loosening its grip on me and I was able to take a few steps backwards. I was actually enjoying things for once: a relationship with Darius, school, although tough and frustrating as hell was a refreshing challenge. My health still isn’t optimal but it isn’t the worst it’s ever been. I mean, I’m not dying. Basically, the sun was a bit warmer on this side of the rock. Then, shadows started dancing and flickering their way across the surface and things got alarmingly cold. Mara has managed to creep into my everyday conversations and while she doesn’t hold the same anxiety and nerve-wracking dread she used to, she still holds something. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but, after a short conversation that she was involved in (I didn’t speak with her directly, but she was included in the conversation), I got upset and managed to feel unimportant and…small). My high school friends want to include me in things again. Pete, Tasha, and Grace hang out on a regular basis. Tasha moved to DC for a job but everyone still gets together to drink and have fun. Ever since it was established that they all thought my break from Mara was an overall smart decision, we’ve been in contact and have even gotten together a few times. One of those times, Mara was involved. We were at Pete’s house, drinking and playing games. And I was genuinely okay. Things were fun and I had a good time. I didn’t feel guilty, bad or anything. I was just having fun with some high school friends. This conversation though, was different. Lexi was involved in this conversation. Other people from high school that I never really had a personal vendetta with, but stopped speaking to just through association, were linked. And plans were being put in motion for ski trips, and New Year’s Eve get-togethers. That wasn’t what was bothering me though. The fact that I was actually participating in this conversation and then being selectively ignored by a certain someone? That, that was what was bothering me. Even after all this time, after all this shit that has happened, the bridges crossed, burned and then spilled with oil so the river they tumbled into could be ignited, her pedestal cannot be toppled. Hell, it can’t even be touched. And the fact that I’m bothered by it? Someone please shoot me. I am slowly, but surely, becoming a confident person. I mean, would I have even been able to type that sentence like a month ago? I know that for New Year’s Eve, I don’t want to be drinking and dancing wildly in some club, losing my mind and the short-term memory of what’s happening right then so that when I wake up on New Year’s Day I feel like total shit and am so hung over I spend the entire day in bed. I do that on a regular basis anyway, and it’s not by choice. So no thanks, I’ll skip that part, thanks. I’ll be spending my New Year’s Eve with the people I love: Darius and/or my family and remembering the moment I bring in 2015. I don’t know if it’s because of the special circumstance of having a chronic illness, but I don’t understand the purpose of getting drunk. Like, getting high I can understand. Heavy duty drugs even make sense up to a point. But getting “wasted” just seems like such, well, a waste. Plus, being on all the drugs I’m on and mixing alcohol is not the best cocktail out there.

That magnet is pulling me closer for another reason though…

I’m at the lowest weight I’ve been in a year and a half. I feel amazing. Lighter, more able-bodied (as able-bodied as can be expected with CRPS, anyway), and just generally better. But every time I move, every time I look in the mirror, I’m reminded. I’m reminded that now I have to maintain this. I have to stay this size. I have to stay small enough to fit into all of these new clothes, to stay this small to keep these jeans, these new pajamas. I feel like I have to stay this small to keep my parents happy. And then I feel like I’m not small enough. I can feel my hip bones and the tendons in my legs. If I flex certain ways, I can grip chunks of my body very easily (like my collar bones and my armpits) but, I still have flabby arms and thighs. I still have a bit of a paunch and my hips are definitely a bit muffin-topped. When I was fat, I was invisible. People saw me, but they didn’t. They looked at me to look long enough and be disgusted. Being smaller, people look and scrutinize. They look to make sure I match and my hair looks good. I can’t handle that sort of pressure. I like leaving my house looking like a wreck. But even more than that, I like to feel like I don’t have to worry about what other people think. When I’m in public with other people, it’s easy to fend off the opinions and thoughts of others. I can put on blinders and defend myself through sarcasm and humor against what people say or do. But when I’m alone, the voices in my head, real or imaginary, are much too loud and I’m defenseless. I can’t escape them and suddenly I’m cornered. Today, I skipped going to a market because I didn’t want to go alone. Going alone meant being the sole object of a person’s scrutiny. That is not acceptable. And eating. God, I feel like I’m self-diagnosing. And I honestly don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t eat. Yesterday, I had one sandwich on gluten-free bread (that part is kind of important because it’s really small slices). Today, I had one sandwich and about 1/4 cup of gluten-free granola. That’s it. That’s all I’ve eaten all day. And for the past 4 hours or so, I’ve been fending off the urge to go downstairs and pig out on Gushers because we have like 5 boxes in the cabinet. Why do we have so many? Because I went on a binge the other day and ate like 2 boxes by myself and asked my mother to kindly buy more. Now, we’re stuck in that rut that sometimes occurs when I have this problem. We’ll buy them for a few weeks until this particular cycle is over and then I won’t crave them anymore. Definition of a binge eater. I want to stay thin. I want to stay this size and wear these clothes, these jeans and get these compliments. The problem though, is that I want to be thinner.

“I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad…I find it kind of hard to tell you ’cause I find it hard to take…”

“Winters Come, My Love The Winters Go…”

polar-bear-face_1811615iHowdy do. I’m just gonna skip all the formalities and apologizing (mostly to save myself the humiliation and embarrassment at having been underground for so long) and get right to the bare bones: things have been…well, weird. I’m finished my first semester at Towson State. My teachers were ethically questionable and a bit insane but I passed all of my classes. I would have preferred higher marks. I have to listen to my parents brag about Thomas’s grades for the rest of winter break since he got (almost) straight A’s this semester. And it’s his first semester at college. He’s home right now though because yesterday was Christmas! And quite a Christmas it was! My dad is suffering from a bad case of gout, coupled with a UTI so he’s pretty much immobile and had to stay stationary for the unwrapping of presents. Once all that was over, he was forced to retreat to the basement, where he stayed with fever and chills the rest of the night. I played with my new touchscreen laptop (it folds too so it can act like a tablet!) and other gizmos. It was quite a Christmas. I baked a lot too, something that I don’t normally do. Cooking isn’t really my thing. I just don’t really tend to stay committed to the whole task. It starts off really fun but then I get bored and don’t want to do it anymore. After presents though, I got a massive migraine, where my face hurt and the roof of my mouth felt like it was being jammed up through the top of my skull. It was horrible. I had to lay down and stay in bed for a few hours until it subsided. Besides that, Christmas was relatively quiet. But that’s not why I’m writing. Christmas is a holiday that Christians celebrate all over the world so it’s pretty uneventful, as sad as that is to say. What I wanted to talk about is the fact that a) I’ve lost even more weight and now I’m suddenly very body conscious and b) my doctor treating me for CRPS approved me for the spinal cord stimulator. I called the pain clinic and am now waiting for the game of phone tag to proceed so that we can get this surgery scheduled. It’s the Friday after Christmas so I’m not expecting much, and they schedule these things way in advance but the sooner I get it done, the better. I’m going into a flare right now; I can feel it. I’m already in doctor-ordered physical therapy (which is not helping) and I’m trying to be as mobile as possible but I can only do so much. This flare won’t be stopped for much longer. And that’s not cool! I’m having a good time for once. Me and Vladimir are in a really good place. He got me a penguin Pandora charm for my Pandora bracelet for Christmas. He even drove all the way to my house just to see me for an hour or so on Christmas when I said I couldn’t drive because of my migraine. We’re going to get married; I know it. Then, my foot has to rear it’s ugly…self and remind me that it can’t be that simple. And my body image is acting the same way. I’ve finally dropped closer to my ideal weight, the number I set as my goal when I suddenly woke up and realized I’d gained 50 pounds. It’s great and wonderful to be fitting into smaller clothes and moving easier and all of that but now I’m also panicked about gaining the weight back. I’m constantly worried about how my “extra” skin looks and how everything appears from the side. I even thought about taking laxatives earlier because I had eaten a bit more than normal and didn’t know how to even things out. What the hell?! I don’t think I’m a vain person; I have no problem walking around in public without makeup on and looking like a total mess. It takes quite a lot to embarrass me. But all of a sudden, now that I’m smaller, things matter. My complexion, the hickeys Vlad gave me (that was an awesome time), whether or not you can see my gut in these jeans, all of that matters now. If my nails are cut evenly, if my glasses are on my face straight, if my pants are both tucked in or pulled over my shoes. I operate under rules and regulations. That’s the only way my world functions, even if I’m the only one who knows those rules and regulations. But having the sudden, added pressure of not knowing what rules are more important than others, of not knowing what rules are being broken and what rules aren’t? That is something that I cannot handle. I never know what is going on, what people are staring at. I don’t know where to put my hand, or if I have a booger or if they can see the crease of my underwear. It’s humiliating and totally exhausting. Public outings are costing me energy and effort that I sort of don’t have. And then, when I lay back, and feel the tendons in my hips, or clutch my ribcage and count the individual ribs, I know it isn’t enough. I need the exaggeration to be more exaggerated. I am extreme person. And there is no limit to the amount of extreme I will go. And honestly, standing on this little piece of ice, this quickly melting piece of ice, staring into the abyss, not knowing if there are narwhals or orcas or polar bears in there…is absolutely and utterly terrifying. But thrilling at the same time.