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.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Societal Distortion

I used to have a love/hate relationship with my body.  There were parts that I really loved, like my voluptuous, full breasts, or my somewhat thin ankles.  But lately, I have developed a very unhealthy loathing of every aspect of my physical self and it is neither healthy nor tolerable.  Like, why do I have to layer and dress and accessorize this “thing” that deceives me just to reluctantly display it to a public that doesn’t see it the same way that I do.  Why do I have to justify my feelings of hatred to people who look at me and tell me I look “fine”, and to those who say “I wish I looked like you”?  I mean, really?  DO you?  Do you wish to carry around the extra skin, stretch marks and wrinkles of a woman 160 pounds ago?  Because I dare you to.  No, I triple-dog-dare you.  And then I triple-dog-dare you to infinity to wear a bikini while doing it.  And when you take the bikini off and shit is flapping around like a wounded bird, I want you to fuck your husband.  With the lights on.  Challenge accepted?  I didn’t think so.

I know most of this self loathing is self induced.  I know some of it comes from this very plastic Kardashian/Victoria’s Secret/airbrushed –not real-suck-the-fat-from-my-ass-and-inject-it-into-my-lips world we live in, but some of it – most of it – just comes from the reality of what I have done to myself.

I lived a wonderfully cake and ice cream filled life for a very long time where Ben and Jerry’s and Little Debbie allowed me to wallow in my troubles.  I wrapped a bad marriage and a deep depression inside a Taco Bell Wrapper and washed it down with a double chocolate shake.  I held it in with girdles, and disguised it with laughter.  And then, I took the easy way out and had most of my stomach removed, almost as though I were ashamed of it being there, like I couldn’t control it’s mere existence, and left myself with a body that is as foreign to me as those menstrual cups that women walk around wearing nowadays. (I mean really?  You’re bleeding into a solo cup all day and dumping it into random toilets throughout the day, and I’m weird for having my stomach removed??). 

I just don’t know how to stop looking at the magazines and comparing myself to these genetic freaks of women who push a baby out of their cookie, and then wear a bikini the following week as if nothing happened.  I pushed a baby out of my cookie and had one cut out of my stomach and I look like I just went 7 rounds with a baby tiger and a tractor trailer.  And lost.

I need to find a way to stop looking through these distorted eyes, and into all these fun house mirrors.  I need to find a way to see what is beautiful about myself again.  If for no other reason than so that my daughter can always see herself that way, and never, EVER, carry these burdens as an adult like I do.

You’re too skinny,
You’re too fat.
Don’t eat this.
Don’t eat that.
Put on that girdle,
Squeeze into those Spanx.
Put on those heels,
A thicker belt will cinch that waist.
It’s picture time?
Go paint your face.
Make sure to stand at an angle,
One knee bent, One hand on your waist.
Eat kale and fish,
No apples or grapes.
That’s too much sugar,
You need protein intake.
Get on that treadmill,
Put down those weights,
You want to tone, not muscle,
It's sexy to look emaciated.
You’re beautiful
If the world tells you so.
Never let anyone down,
Never say no.
You can never be too pretty,
You can never be too skinny,
You can never be too perfect,
In a world without pity.