Lighten up!

It can be oh-so-gloomy here sometimes, don’t you think?

See, when I flip heads or tails for who will be the whipping girl and who will be the whipping post, I really do a number on myself, because either way I lose and you get bombarded with every stage of the self-pity cycle and I wonder how it ever got to this and what I can do to be better than I currently am, and you get to witness it all.

By the way, I’m grateful for your witnessing.

But, sometimes I got to throw my hair out of the tower and fashion a way to climb down it myself. I got to slay the dragon and battle through the briar, or just look for the road and deal with the highwaymen as they come. Because the only thing worse than struggle is sitting still.

No, it’s not easy, for any of us. It’s not going to get easier either. Whoever told us that is peddling myths and we shouldn’t be buying what they’re selling us. But, success, or the perception of thus, is defined by the smile in the face of adversity, or at least the audacity to remember that a smile will come again. Audacity…that’s a good word…

I’m going to nail it to my forehead.

Have you come out of your funk yet?

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Goddess of Carnage

I forgot myself.

It appears that in waging an all-out war on myself, that I also became less kind all around. I became less able to empathise, less forgiving, less patient. I didn’t listen well enough and when I did listen, I judged so immediately and so harshly, that our dearly departed Joan would have taken pause at my behaviour. I sniped and bitched and all my nasty came pouring out, because I had filled myself up with so much hate. I became hateful, because I forgot how to love and it started with me and now I am ashamed because I don’t know where I placed my love. I lost it.

I know it’s somewhere. It’s glistening in a dark corner behind the back-biting and the complaining and the gossiping. It’s trying hard to shine out, to glisten furiously, a small beacon of good trying to grab my attention. But I piled up big, old, stuffed to the gills, boxes of viciousness and spite, that all I can see when I look around are shadows.

Perhaps if it gets dark enough, I will be able to see my light.

But at least now I am looking. At least now I am aware that I misplaced something. At least now I am looking for the glasses on top of my head or the pen that I’ve stuck in my hair or the thing that is right in front of me.

At least now I am looking…

Tantrum

I am sat here in a catatonic state. For the first time ever, I honestly don’t know what to do.

I mean I know what to do. Do more activity and eat less…right? It’s easy, simple. I love mathematics. It’s a simple mathematical equation – Less in, more out.

And yet, I am paralysed, here, with my own inability to do anything.

I am paralysed by my failure. This is a lifelong struggle, with weight, with self hatred, with doubt, with pretending. I told myself to be myself the other day, and responded to myself that I didn’t know who that person was. I don’t know her. I don’t know me.

I am made tired by my failings. I’ve got the knowledge all up in my head. I know the things. I know that you got to move it to lose it. I know that community helps. I’ve got all the apps, I count all the calories, I make myself accountable, I stand up and hold my hands up when I don’t do it right. And I fall. And I can’t get up.

And it sucks.

I’m gonna stay down here a little while and flail and kick my legs and scream out to the blackened, wintry heaven, and cry and beg for inspiration and a little bit of motivation.

I’m just going to stay down here a while.

My pen

We forget.

We forget how much freedom is afforded to us. We can use a platform, anonymous or otherwise, and share our views, our thoughts, our goals, our feelings. We do not have to agree, but we can stand on this virtual stage and sing our song and others listen or don’t.

But we are free to do so.

Here’s to us all, who continue to be free. Who continue to speak, to sing our song, whatever that song is.

Here’s to the pen.

Like riding a bicycle

I didn’t really do it, did I?

I started it, I really believed I would stick to it, then I discarded it, like empty fireworks cannisters on January 1st, at about 1:17 a.m. I had every intention, they were all good, they were all looking forward and seeing a bright and sparkly future, where I stuck to things and ticked off small goals, and set specific, measurable, achievable other goals, and treated myself kindly, and rah rah rah, aren’t I the greatest and most sensible of them all.

I didn’t really do it. It was all a bit too much.

I slid back into habits. I drank too much, ate too much, worried about life and work and study.  I left my home for a bit and was a tad nomadic and made new friends and drank some more. I sang songs in the middle of the night with people I will never see again and I laughed and lavished myself with self loathing in the morning. And the next evening I met even more new people and sang more new songs and drank champagne until the morning reminded me that I could do with doing a little better for myself. I ventured far and wide and remained stuck where I was.

I fell off my bike.

Hello gentle folk out there in the ether. Where are you? What are you doing? What do you think about in the quiet night?

It is nice to see you again.

The adventure

Boy, doesn’t life love a twisty-turny way of tying you in knots and letting you know it’s now or never, do something or perish…

Two roads, Robert Frost? How about five? Or seven? How about it becomes one of those infinite roundabouts in and out of Birmingham, where definite maps might help you, but it may not save you?

Sharp corners and unexpected detours should be met with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure. But being only human, the surprise and unknowing can throw up a fear in me unlike any other. I can stand there quaking in my boots for a good few weeks. That’s a lot of quaking…

I wonder if that counts as calorie burning.

So I shudder and I weep and I reach for the chocolate and then realise I’ve thrown out all the chocolate because I don’t have that unhealthy shit in my house no more. Then I bemoan the fact that I’ve thrown out the chocolate and praise the fact that I’m far too lazy to leave the house to go replace the chocolate. Then I berate myself for being lazy and jump on the exercise bike for ten minutes to replenish the depleted well-of-worthy within. Then I bewail the fact that I couldn’t muster up the energy to go for a certain lack of sticktoitiveness that means that ten minutes is my boredom limit which means that I must go do something else which involves sitting but not moving.

Then the sitting and not moving reminds me of the crossroads that I am facing.

Self-flagellation cycle much?

But I persist and survive and more so, I thrive, because I’m a drama queen and a creative, sensitive soul, and I’m reminded that even with my flair for show, I’ve got a good head on my shoulder and love on my side and I love an adventure anyway.

So tell me, where have you been? What have you been doing?

Serving sadness with a spoon

Comfort eating, now there’s an oxymoron.

There is nothing comfortable about shovelling tons of food down your gob because the pain is too hard to swallow and you’re trying your best to force it down your gullet with another piece of fried chicken. There is nothing restorative about the feelings of guilt and shame that you add with every mouthful to the already accumulated feelings of guilt and shame that you’ve collected over time. There is nothing warming about that heavy, grease stained feeling of emptiness that accompanies the knowing that the food just didn’t make it better, that the sad is just as sad, and the bad is just as bad and now you’re fat and ugly and hopeless to boot.

Unfortunately, we can’t stick the broken pieces together with a stick of butter.

I try hard to replace the spoon with a wrench. I work hard at getting beneath my own hood and finding out what is broken inside. The malfunctioning thoughts need to be replaced. The caked-on habits need to be repaired. The misfiring self-love needs to be tuned up, having seized up through years of underuse. New oil of movement needs to be added to the rusting parts of inactivity.

I don’t need comfort. I need to be as uncomfortable as ever with this hole I’m sitting in. I need displeasure and discontent with what I have thought for so long was all I deserved – a giant tub of ice-cream topped with a  healthy dollop of self loathing. I need to be dissatisfied with the life that I have given myself.

I don’t know what sticks the broken pieces together better than butter. I am willing to find out.

Glass

I cannot tell you how often I have looked at my life’s troubles through the bottom of a wine glass, a pint glass, a whiskey tumbler, a martini glass. I cannot tell you how many times I thought the haze was the clearest vision I could bear of the things that wore me down. I cannot tell you how many times I chose the watery view of the world brought about by liquid comfort rather than the stark scene of my life through tears. It numbs the pain.

It makes more pain.

Nor was I ever alone. I ran around in circles with a circle of hedonists, each watering their own garden of agony. I broke heels and tumbled down stairs with the best of them. It was cool to be a ‘fallin’ down drunk’, because my falling down only took place in the blackness of the night. During the day I was ram-rod straight and as upright as they come. I didn’t have a craving that wasn’t appropriate for the time of the day. My inhibitions fell as soon as night did, and the monster of need climbed out of the gutter that I would roll around in only a few hours later.

The only glass I avoided were those in which I could see my reflection.

Any kind of self-reflection was unnecessary because I didn’t see a problem. Who doesn’t want to wash away the blood of disappointment, anger, hurt? Alcohol is a suitable detergent for the stain of hardship. So when life’s frying pan flattened my nose last week, my hand made the familiar curve and reach of someone who has hugged a bottle far too often.

This time I saw myself in time.

Every day I pull the dust sheets from the mirrors around me. I cannot Haversham myself, calcifying old habits and hiding behind nailed down shutters of blissful and not-so-blissful ignorance. I have got to stand up for myself, and see myself and notice when I am taking the easy way out. I have got to challenge myself when I find that I am ready to slip, oh-so-easily, back into this solvent self-harm.

Every day, it is hard.

Some days, I fail.

But not every day.

Gung-ho and the brick wall

It often happens. You do all the things. You’re so disgusted with yourself that your resolve to change has never been stronger. You research everything you can on the internet, trying to find the perfect panacea for your pains. This time will be different. You change your surroundings, you put that exercise bike right where you can see it. You take the before pictures. You clear the junk out of your kitchen. You give yourself a good talking to. You start the blog and tell everyone who cares, or has a little time to spend reading about a perfect stranger’s plight. It has got to be this time, because this time you want it more than anything else in the whole wide world and you’ve never felt this way before and you know that this is the perfect time to change because you’re getting older/fatter/wiser/sadder. You’re ready.

But life is a cruel bitch that is not going to play fair and is going to smack you right in the kisser with a sock full of coins and your good intentions.

In the first week, I did it all. I got on that bike every day. I changed my eating habits. I blogged about the details and you all were super-encouraging and super-sweet and I wanted to lick all of you on your respective faces (in the most non-creepy way imaginable). I pledged that I would be kind to myself and encourage others to be kind to themselves and I carried that feeling of fed-up-ness with me like a blazing torch of ‘To do!’ I had never felt better in my life. I struggled with the activity and the endorphins give me wide berth and I didn’t feel the euphoria that was promised. I felt pain, as inactive muscles screamed ‘WTF!’ And I felt blue. But fed-up trumped blue daily, so I got on that bike again, and I ate that porridge and those apples and I drank that water to the verge of myself dissolving.

In the second week, I got a big disappointment. It was a work related disappointment, in that I did not get the work that I was hoping for. I was led to believe I would get that work and then I didn’t get the work for a reason I could not control. I did everything right, my efforts were appreciated, but they didn’t want me.

Blammo! Right in the kisser.

It’s a big deal because I’m broke now, and I don’t have much money left and I’m not quite sure how the bills are going to be paid and it’s a right pain because I’m pretty bright and this is not the future my mother imagined for me. Yeah, I’m not just disappointing myself, I’m rending to tiny pieces the aspirations of those that love me. But that for another day…

Well, as if that disappointment didn’t make me want to sit down and eat an entire bathtub of macaroni and cheese.

I didn’t though, well, not an entire bathtub. But I felt my energy drain away from me, right through those motivated feet, to the dank ground below. I felt my intentions evaporate from my skin. I became tired, I felt every one of those near 200 pounds pulling me into my bed. I was ready to hibernate because the harsh winter of my present was just too arduous for me.

I said hello to my brick wall.

 

Water, water everywhere!

Ah, water. H2O. The source of life. Maker of all things. Predominant component of earth and man. And possibly the most boring substance to consume since time began.

It’s good for me. I know. But obviously I don’t ‘know’ know because I’m nearing forty and I just about turn four years old whenever I’m faced with the possibility of having to drink it.

Now if only we could get the same benefit from drinking beer and wine without the unsightly adding of pounds then I would be all on board for that stuff.

If only we can add lovely tea and coffee to water, or get it in our food or…wait…

Ah, science.

Apparently we can. If we think of water as the nutrient we get from our additional drinks, our plain water intake (of course) and our foods and we have the right balance of the right intake, then we’re getting our water on without the feeling of drowning in liquid ennui.

(Disclaimer, I know some of you love the stuff. Good for you. You’re probably all healthy and glow-y and can run for miles and leap tall buildings. I’m trying to become you. I’ll get there.)

Modern science says we may not need 8 glasses a day. I want to rub my rotund body all up and down Modern Science. But that does not mean that I can get away with drinking 8 cups of coffee a day. It’s all about balance and about doing what’s right for my kidneys, my skin, my digestive system, my bowels (booty-chutes need love too!), my muscles, and all the while regulating my caloric intake by fooling my stomach magnet that something food-like is already stuck to it.

(Yeah, stomach magnet. That thing that just attracts food to it with such force that I am mindlessly turned towards the nearest buffet, using my mouth and gullet like some sort of path of magnetism).

So I’m learning to love water. I’m learning that it’s trying to help me, not bore me to tears. I’m learning that it is in fact my mama, as so much of me is made up of it. And I’m learning to love and respect this new mama, even though sometimes I can’t stand it. I’m learning that swirling around those two little Hydrogen atoms and that one little Oxygen atom is a universe of liquefied goodness synonymous with health and vitality and available to pour those assets right down my ungrateful, squirming little throat.

I leave you with my favourite little Science rhyme:

Billy was a chemist,

Now Billy is no more,

For what he thought was H2O

Was H2SO4!

(Geddit?? GEDDIT??!!)

So what do you think of water? Love it or loathe it?