Thursday, July 13, 2017

I'm back, Bitches.

Ok, so it's been a hot minute....or a long year since I have last posted.  To be honest, although I have a lot to say, I haven't had the words in me to say them.  I'm not even the same person I was last year, or even last month or last week for that matter, so it's hard to know where to begin when starting over.  They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  So here I am, taking that first step - or as it were that initial thud back into real life.  Because the place where I have been stuck - in my head, on my couch, in Season 5 of Pretty Little Liars, in my sweatpants - isn't the place I want to be anymore.  It isn't the place I can afford to be anymore.  My mental health, my marriage, my family, and the button on every pair of pants I own counts on me becoming a better version of who I currently am.  And I think the reason I am ready to become whoever she is, is because I have stopped comparing myself to everyone else, and to the person I once was, and realized that the only real competition I have is with myself.

So here I stand, a little more wrinkled around the edges, a little harder, a little heavier around the middle, and a little too knowledgeable about four teenage girls on the run from other teenagers without parents and with unlimited resources and hacking skills.

So, today it's raining, and the air is cool (which means my hair is cooperating and I don't look like a human troll doll), and my eyebrows are extremely "on fleek" for the second day in a row, and I am sitting here with my pants unbuttoned (at work - oh please, like you've never done it), and I have made the decision to let Hanna, Spencer, Aria, Emily and Alison figure out who "A" is for themselves for awhile while I get back to the art of yoga, being less of an oompaloompa and reclaiming my life.  After all, being lapped in the mall by a 65 year old woman with pink hair, wearing Lululemon's and rocking out to 21 Pilot's is all the shame this 42 year needs, thank you very much.

I refuse to go back to the me from 7 years ago, regardless of how "cute" or "sexy" people still tell me I was.  Being 317 pounds and barely squeezing into a size 26 jeans, and asking for seatbelt extenders on airplanes is not the life I will ever return to.  I may never be able to run again, but that won't stop me from sweating it out and building up some bangin' biceps in downward dog, or lapping the old lazy me by walking a few miles after work.

Watch out world, I'm back and I'm taking no prisoners.  Unless those prisoners are a size 10 peep-toe booties with a 5" heel in nude suede.  Then, you can consider me -A.  And if you don't get that reference after reading this, we can't be friends.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

I'm Bi-polar. And so aren't I.

I have decided that I am bi-polar.  I haven't been officially diagnosed by a doctor or a therapist or anything but one Friday night while partaking in a glass (or three) of pinot I extensively googled my symptoms and bookmarked some very pertinent pages on WedMD so I'm pretty sure I self diagnosed myself accurately.  Who needs this ObamaCare bullshit and co-pays when you have the internet and a ton of neurosis to entertain yourself with, right?

Why do I think I am bi-polar, you ask?  I'll tell you.  Or maybe I won't.  Get it?  Because I'm bi-polar.  I crack me up.  Anyway....

After a very long winter filled with lupus flares and migraines and rashes and basically wishing I was a bear that could just find a nice pot of honey and a cave to hibernate in until it was all over, I started to see the light at the end of a very long autoimmune filled tunnel.  I was finding my energy again.  The rashes were subsiding.  I didn't feel like throat punching someone every time they told me I "looked tired" or want to rip my ears off at the sound of even the slightest hint of human movement because of my migraines.  I was starting to feel less Charles Manson-ish and more like my usual smart ass, hyper, OCD self.

But then.....the body, self love, bi-polar thing started happening out of nowhere.  Because for all of these months that I couldn't work out I wasn't gaining weight, but I was obviously losing muscle and strength because I wasn't able to work out and I spent much of my time on the couch, in my sweats, taking my meds and watching the days roll by hoping that the next one would be the day that I didn't hate my body and the world.  The only marathons I was a part of were the Netflix marathons where I watched all four seasons of Girls in three days or where me and my daughter watched Mad Dogs in one sitting on a gloomy, shitty, pain killer filled day when I was questioning my life and whether it was worth living it (but that's a story for another day).

So, when I was able to put down the Amazon Fire Stick, take off the sweatpants, put on my big girl pants and start living life again, I had mixed feelings about the person that remained after what I considered to be the lowest point of my life - including that time I went through the Big C.  (Hey, remember when I went through cancer for 12 years and I was all fat and in a bad marriage and then had all my lady parts ripped out and had radiation and met my now husband and got my shit together and lost 160 pounds and got all healthy only to find out I had FUCKING LUPUS and fibromyalgia and hypoglycemia and they wanted to take out my pancreas too basically rendering me a fucking diabetic because HEY WHY NOT TAKE ANOTHER BODY PART YOU ASSHOLES and then I throat punched all the cunts that were pissing me and THE END).


Back to my story.

Somedays I feel beautiful and amazing.  I am grateful for this body and happy that six years later I have managed to keep the weight off despite all of the crap that has happened.  I have battled my depression and anxiety in silence and still not turned to food or alcohol or drugs as a comfort.  I have held steadfast to the goals I set for myself and remained in control like a FUCKING ROCKSTAR (cue self back patting).  I can get dressed and make it through the day living all 41 years of my life on earth like a beautiful, valuable human being.

But then here come those self diagnosed, WebMD, googled bi-polar days where I literally feel like the StayPuff marshmellow man in the Ghostbusters movie waddling in slow motion through the streets of Manhattan knocking over towers and buildings, eating everything in sight.  I feel like a round, blimpyity, sludge filled, disgusting, saggy, fat piece of dog shit.  I want to give up and become one of the People of Walmart wearing flesh colored leggings and Winnie the Pooh t-shirts with my Crocs and my trucker hat.  Fuck it all and pass me the Twinkies.

But instead, I went out and bought an elliptical.  And started my 30 day yoga challenge again.  And stopped leaving candy in my desk drawer.  And took yogurt to work instead of going to Tim Horton's everyday for the broccoli cheddar soup (YUM).  Some days it makes me feel like a total bad ass.  Some days I hate it, but I do it anyway because I know that in the end I will thank myself for it.  I look back at the old pictures of when I got down to my lowest weight and I just want to get there again SO BADLY, but it seems like a million elliptical miles away.  However, the saying goes that the journey of a million miles starts with a single elliptical step.  Or some stupid shit like that.

I guess the long and the short of it is that it's time to shut down the laptop and get off Google and WebMD and get my fat ass into gear instead of complaining about the things that can only be changed by actually doing the things that need to be done to change them.   I still think I rock at this self diagnosing thing though.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Bittersweet Homecoming

I haven't had the motivation to write in a long time.  Sure, I've had ideas pop into my head.  I've even given thought to a post or two, but nothing has inspired me to write.  Until today.  Because today my mom moves home.


And you're right.  To have my mother right where I can reach her is a blessing 7 years in the making.  To not have to wait months on end, put a countdown planner on my phone, count my sleeps, or wait for a windfall to afford a trip to go see her is something that I can't put a price on.  To be able to hug her, laugh with her, have dinner with her, see her facial expressions when we have a conversation is something I never knew I would miss until she was 2,000 miles away.

But all this joy comes with a great price.  All this magnificent, overwhelming, heart bursting happiness also comes with an extreme sadness.  Because her reasons for coming back are because someone we love isn't where she was to be with her anymore.  The place she called home for seven years doesn't feel like her home without him anymore, so she is coming back to the only place that ever did without him.  And the thought of sharing all this joy without him is sad.

We would be remiss to let this day, and this happiness, go by without letting him know that we are thinking of him.  That there hasn't been a day in the last three months that we don't think about him, laugh with him, cry over him, share our anger because of him, or miss him with every fiber of our being.  There hasn't been a moment that so many lives haven't been affected by his absence.

Pieces of him never left.  Pieces of him will never return.  And with the return of my mother a new journey in her life will begin and we will all take it with her.  We will hold her hand, hug her shoulders, cry her tears, walk her footsteps, make new memories, share old stories -  but we can never take away her pain.  We can never replace him no matter how many miles distance you put between her and the place they made a home.

My mom comes home today.  Whatever "home" is or will be.  I am happy and sad and angry and feeling all the same emotions I felt the day he died, so I can only imagine that as she packs up her things and turns around one last time to say goodbye to the home they shared, closes the door and walks out, she is feeling so much more, and I only wish I were there to help her say those goodbyes.

I sit here pissed off that he is making me cry at work.  That he keeps popping into my head at the most inopportune moments.  Like when driving in my car and a song comes on the radio that reminds me of him.  Or when I randomly flip through Facebook and see his granddaughter, who is his spitting image and will never get to know him.  Or when I talk to my mom and I can hear the pain and the exhaustion in her voice.  I am angry that this is one thing in my family I cannot step in to fix.  I can be strong for myself and my family when it comes to my illness, but I can only be so strong for her and what she is feeling and it makes me hate him sometimes.

And I hate that I hate him sometimes, because I love him so much.  And sometimes....I hate that I love him so much.  Because if I didn't love him so much, I wouldn't have to feel all of these emotions.  And if I didn't feel all of these emotions, I wouldn't spend so much time thinking about how everyone else must be feeling at the same time.

Have I mentioned my mom is coming home today?  Because she is.  And I think we are all ready to put the worst of this pain behind us and move forward into the healing part that everyone keeps talking about.  The part where "they" say it "gets easier".  I hope "they" are right.  Because if they aren't I will hunt them down and cut a bitch.  For real.

Hurry home mom.  Your family is waiting with open arms.  It's been a long time coming.

Monday, November 10, 2014

We All Have Secrets

We teach our children not to keep secrets because secrets are bad.  We acquire friendships so we have someone to tell our secrets to.  We pay therapists to listen to our secrets without judgment or reserve.  We do all of this because secrets are toxic.  They are like a cancer that eat you from the inside out.  They start with your soul, and eat their way through your heart, and they continue through your body until they make their way to your mind, and then they eat their way through your thought process until you are incapable of making a rational thought.  You can’t close your eyes without seeing that thing that haunts you.  You can’t hear a song on the radio without remembering that person who damaged you.  You can’t watch the scene from your favorite movie without remembering how inept you are at feeling real love because it’s been stolen from you.

Secrets are the monster under your bed when you’re a child.  They are the stranger walking behind you in an empty parking garage late at night as an adult.  They are the eerie background music of your horror movie of a life, because at one point in your life someone you trusted put a secret so deeply in your soul that it is tangled and weaved and buried, and nothing and no one can ever remove it.  It sits there and festers and blisters and causes nothing but pain and infection.   There are periods in your life where a happiness or a moment of forgetfulness almost acts like a momentary antibiotic, and for a brief period you have some relief from that pain.  But eventually it always comes back.  Throbbing and pulsating and reminding you that you will never be normal.  You will never be ok.  Because this thing that grows inside you will never, could never, go away.  It’s a part of you, like your skin or your hair or your fingernails.  You could cut your hair or lose a nail, but inevitably it always grows back.  Just like this secret that you are always running from.

It is an unfortunate fate that I happen to share my secret with someone I love.  We bond over this pain and this break in trust in a way that no one should.  It creates a closeness, and at the same time a distance.  Sometimes the beauty you see in a person is so beautiful because it’s actually the deepest pain you can ever see behind someone’s eyes.  You are seeing the vulnerability of their soul on the very surface of their being and you don’t even know it.  You are laughing with them when they want to cry.  You are sharing in a secret that you aren’t even aware of.  Take the time to look closely, love deeply, show compassion for those with these unknown secrets, for they need the most love in this world, even though they act like they want it the least.

I have a secret.  Maybe you do too.  I’ll try to love you despite yours.  Can you say you can do the same?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I'm Fine. Sort of.

Everyone keeps saying I need to accept my body the way it is.  Stop obsessing over the number on the scale and listen to the way my clothes fit.  And my clothes have basically fit exactly the same for the last few years – with the exception of a brief freak out period where I gained 25 pounds thanks to the helping hand of a hormone replacement pill that I quickly flipped off and threw in the garbage can.  It took me a good SIX months to shed that weight, along with all the self hatred I gained along with it.  And somewhere along the way, I feel like things shifted.  My body never regained that slender “skinny” that I had when I originally lost all my weight.

I managed to stop stepping on the scale multiple times a day.  Ya know, after I showered.  After I pooped.  After I ate.  After I pooped again.  Before I went to bed.  In the middle of the night after I peed.  Counting and cringing over every single ounce gained and lost.  Now the only time I know when to take accountability for an overdose of late night wine drinking is every three months when I go to the doctor’s office for my follow up visit.  And nothing ever changes.  The scale says the same thing every single time, plus or minus a few ounces. 

Yet something about the way I feel just feels off.  Something doesn’t feel as proud.  Or as strong.  Or as confident as it used to.  Something in me feels every bit as large and uncomfortable as it did at 317 pounds.  Maybe it’s the ever plaguing illnesses that never seem to give it a fucking rest.  I mean seriously universe, kiss my expanding, middle aged ass already!

People always ask how I am feeling and I die a little inside because I never know how to answer.  I mean, do they really want to know, or do I give the standard, “I’m fine” answer because no one really wants to hear how I’m really feeling most days?  If you don’t count the hole in my heart, the never ending blood work and doctors appointments, the lupus, the fibromyalgia, the daily pain, the recent bout of shingles ON MY FACE (thank you very much Karma, that was really funny), and the unending depression and anxiety that is my everyday life, I am Jim-Fucking-Dandy.  Pop a lollipop in my mouth and dance me over a rainbow I’m so fucking FINE.

Except that I’m not.  I mean, sometimes I am.  Sometimes, I have days when I wake up and get dressed and put on a scarf or some jewelry and look in the mirror and think that I don’t look like a middle aged mom who is faking her way through being just OK.  But to be honest, and maybe this is just me fooling myself, I have been trying to lose these last ten pounds that were always my long term goal FOREVER.  Maybe they won’t solve everything, but maybe I would feel like I was finally able to control something.  I can’t make the lupus go away.   I can’t take back the fibromyalgia.  I can’t super glue shut the hole in my heart.  But I CAN lose 10 stupid pounds.  Ten stubborn, stuck to my ass and thighs and stomach pounds that would just make me feel like I took control of something in my life.

And then in three months when I go back to the doctors to deal with the things I can’t change when I look in the mirror, I can at least find a little bit of peace knowing that at least I accomplished taking back some small bit of control in my life.  It’s strange how something that seems so small and insignificant to most seems like the most unattainable to me.  There doesn’t seem to be any amount of downward dogging or 5k’ing or trampoline’ing or kettle bell swinging that I can do that will make that asshole of a scale say anything different.  There are no detox pills or stomach flu’s or bouts of face leprosy (aka shingles) that will change anything other than a couple stupid ounces.  My weight is that stubborn kid in the middle of a toy story laying on the floor, rigid and stiff and unmoving and there is nothing you can do but stand there looking at it until it decides it’s ready to move.   The metaphorical part of me wants to kick that stupid kid and tell it to stop being a little asshole, but I know that if I did Karma would only come back and bite me harder than it already has.  

I want to find peace with myself exactly the way that I am.  Maybe if it were 20 or 30 pounds it would seem more reasonable.  Like I was further away from a goal that wasn’t meant to be met.  But 10 pounds is like hanging off of a cliff and being a fingers reach away from a cliff hold that could be the difference between  climbing back to safety or falling further down.

At the end of the day, I know this won’t make or break me, it won’t define who I am or who I can become.  It’s just another chapter in the Archie’s comic book that is my life.  I hope to achieve this goal someday soon, but if I don’t I’m sure I will find something new to obsess over.  I’m sure life will throw me new curveballs and I will be standing here with my catcher’s mask and glove ready to catch them all.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

LIfe is Funny, in A Really NOT funny way!

I have been a participating member of society for 39 long and functioning years, so I am not sure why it still surprises me that people are self entitled MORONS, who feel like they can walk in and take over shit like they own it.  And furthermore, I have no idea why I feel like I need to be the bigger person who makes it ok for this to happen so that tsunami waves of shit don't roll in causing mass chaos everywhere for everyone else.

They say shit rolls downhill, right?  Well some days, I feel like if that's the case than I am at the bottom of that hill, in a hole dug at the bottom of said hill, being covered in shit.  If I'm not at work trying to mind my own business and not bury a pair of scissors in some self entitled morons forehead for their ignorance and all around rudeness, I am sitting in an urgent care facility thinking I have a sinus infection and a spider bite, only to be told I have shingles.  ON MY FACE.  Which ya know, just HAPPENS to be the most dangerous kind of shingles someone can get because it's all like near my FUCKING EYE AND BRAIN and stuff so now I have to worry that I will go blind and start slurring my words even when I'm not drunk - which isn't much lately because of the aforementioned self entitled morons and all the scissor stabbing that needs to take place.

I'm trying to be all unicorns-and-rainbows-coming-out-of-my-ass-happy ya'll....really, I am.  But life is having a really good time fucking with me and seeing how many things it can throw at me before I finally flip my shit and go all sniper coo-coo on top of a 7-Eleven taking out tailgating drivers and people that still bump Snoop Dogg out of the sub-woofers in the trunk of their beat up Hondas.  It's gonna happen.

Let's take inventory of the last two years.

  • I spent EIGHT long months being tested to find out why I was in pain all the time.  I was poked, prodded, violated, de-blooded, medicated, shocked with nerve conductors and cat scanned to death to find out why my vision was blurry, my feet/hands/mouth were numb and why I had a never ending migraine.  These were just on the non-Muscato days, mind you.  My husband isn't a Doctor, no matter how often he likes to play that game.
  • I received a diagnosis of MS.  Not something anyone wants, but at least it was a diagnosis.  Over the course of six months I would try several different medications and treatments, each one making me more sick than the next, NONE of them bringing me any relief or comfort.
  • After another round of testing (over two more months and several more doctors), it was determined that I did NOT in fact has MS, but I had my original diagnosis of Lupus and the cherry topping to that would be another diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.  OK, then.  You're funny, life.  Real fucking funny.
  • Just as I start to get my shit together and find the right combination of meds (and also regulate a severe B-12 neuropathy), I happily head off to my nieces 2nd birthday party only to BLACK THE FUCK OUT, trip and fall IN A WALGREENS PARKING  LOT and break my arm.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Arm heals.  Life resumes.  Things are starting to get back to normal once again.  I harmlessly go in to see the GYN for a yearly exam and some hormones.  What does she find?  Why a lump of course!!!  So, let's schedule a mammogram in TWO MONTHS and a BRCA test and then you can decide whether or not you would like to live in fear of WHEN you may or may not get breast cancer, or just have them puppies cut right off and  take a brand new pair for a spin.  Who wouldn't like a brand new pair of perky titties for their 40th birthday courtesy of their health insurance provider, right?  I mean hell, that lump could have just saved me $5k!!  Oh look, a silver lining! *insert sarcasm here*
  • And then......shingles.  On.  My.  Face.  Because why would I get it on my stomach like a normal human being?
I am pretty sure that in a past life I was the office bitch who tortured everyone.  Or I pulled the whiskers off of small kittens.  Or kicked crippled kids.  Surely, I have done SOMETHING to deserve this much aggravation.  

They say God never gives you more than you can handle.  And the joke is that God must think I'm a badass.  Am I mean, I AM.  But for reallies God, can you let someone else be a badass for awhile because like, I'm really, really tired and my face is sore from fake smiling for people.

But until then, I will drink and be merry.  And I will keep looking for that fucking silver lining everyone talks about.  And if anyone wants to go digging up my ass for those unicorns and rainbows I was talking about, go right ahead, but be warned, my sarcasm may or may not smell alot like refried beans today so Happy Hunting!

Friday, September 12, 2014

If you only knew...

They say you have to crawl before you walk.  Four years ago when I made the decision to change my life, I had to learn to do everything.  I had to learn to sit up, roll over, crawl, stand, take my first steps…well, you get it.  But after some time, I was in a full on sprint all the time.  Nothing could stop me.  I had the world in the palm of my tightly clenched fist and nothing was going to unravel it from my fingers.  Or so I thought.

My once brightly lit star is slowly dimming against the night sky that is currently my everyday life.  The days pass by so fast that I seldom notice the rays of the sun on my face, because I’m always wishing for the darkness to come so I can close my eyes and shut out the noise of the world around me.  The rumbling is like thunder in my ears all the time.  The tears like a never ending rain shower all around me.  The things that once made me so happy are now the things I avoid.  My daily runs replaced by evenings in front of the TV mindlessly ignoring the glare of the TV in front of me.  My once loved yoga practice now a distant memory as I stretch and yawn myself into my yoga pants, only to count down the hours until I can crawl under my blankets and rest my aching head on my pillow.  My once able body is now on fire, screaming in agony, fighting my every movement, forcing me through every second of every day.  A moment of reprieve doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. 

The people I love – they’re supportive.  But, I can almost hear the sighs and eyerolling as each new doctor’s appointment reveals some new annoyance, yet they remain supportive nonetheless.  I wake up every day hopeful that it might be better than the last, but the moments of joy come few and far between.  I avoid social situations, anything that requires me to force a smile, anything that requires me to answer the everyday question “How are you doing?”  I would rather engulf myself in some TV reality series so I can invest myself in someone else’s life and ignore my own, even if only for a little while.

I’m not sure what I spend more time doing these days – reflecting on what my life has become or deflecting from the reality I’m too afraid to face.  I want to feel normal again.  I want to be happy again.  I want to remember why I lost all this weight and got “healthy”.  I want to be a good wife, and mother and friend and daughter and sister.  I want to be ME again.  But I am lost behind this porcelain mask with a painted smile that is quickly fading against the sunlight.  I’m becoming almost non-existent.

If my life were the directions on a shampoo bottle it would read:
Wake up.  Shower.  Remember to nod and pretend to pay attention.  Smile.  Go to sleep.  Rinse and repeat.

Some days I can barely walk.  Some days my eye balls hurt to even be in my skull.  Some days I want to rip my head off my neck and throw it in the garbage disposal because it hurts so badly.  And no one seems to be able to fix me.  No one seems to LISTEN to me.  And every time they fix one thing, something else is fucked.  It makes it hard to find the light at the end of this very long tunnel.  I’m driving on a thruway in a broken down jalopy of a vehicle, running out of gas and there are no rest stops or exits in sight. 

This pity party is lonely.  Depression is the devils mistress.  She is a wretched bitch who only takes and never gives anything in return, aside from more pain and depression.  Fibromyalgia is like a jackhammer that never stops vibrating against your body.   And aside from the physical, the emotional aspect is what cripples you the most.  In the words of Ron Burgundy: Anchorman, “I’m stuck in a glass cage of emotion!!”.

It’s time to break the glass.