you do not have to be good.
the more i think about it, the more i need this tattooed on my being as a reminder.
i can know this. i can memorize this mary oliver poem and i can share it and i can tell people 'you belong, of course you belong, just as you are, exactly as you are existing in this moment.' i can imagine this for everyone. i can imagine what glorious beams of light people would be if they remembered this.
but not for me. not for me. never for me.
and wanting it changes nothing. having others tell this to me changes nothing. and i wonder where this comes from and why, deep down, do i believe i don't deserve it?
this wounded creature inside of me feels like this is impossible.
how long does it take to undo?
my parents are different people these days. i love who they have become in their old age. i can almost accept my mother's stubborness because i see so much of that in myself. but outside of these familiar traits, they are easier people. i'm glad that their life experiences have made them softer and not harder. life is not as much of a struggle. they are finally at home here in america and they have community and love and all those things necessary to feel like they belong with nothing to prove.
i will never live up to your expectations and that kills me.
existing in this world, in this body, exactly as i am, is the single most hardest thing i've ever had to do.
and i do it everyday.
it's a wonder why i nap so much.
food is easy and i'm lucky enough that it is regularly available to me, so it's been the best and most convenient way to cope.
drugs were nice but hard to come by and much more expensive monetarily and emotionally. i have fond memories of ecstasy. i'm too old to call it molly. i don't even know where that came from. i remember feeling complete, full of enough love for everyone in the world that it came spilling out of me. i remember feeling weightless and easeful and i remember loving everything about myself in that moment, from the cargo pockets in my favorite rave skirt to the bad home dye job with patches of skin still dyed pink and purple, to the old lady glasses i used to wear. i was fine with all of this. i was more than fine. i was elated with myself.
24-48 hours later i hated myself more than i could ever imagine. depleted of serotonin, unable to care for myself and my poor frazzled nerves. drugs were totally awesome until they weren't.
food was a safer option for riding that train to my happy place and i could eat whenever i wanted and no one ever had to know what i was eating or how much or why.
there was usually a similar hangover after eating though. it's interesting that the food hangover was filled with much more shame than the drug use.
no matter how well you think you know me i won't ever believe you when you say you love me.
when you say you love me, the first thought i have is "but, why?"
it feels like this bottomless pit. this deep deep well of sadness that is never ending. sometimes i think i'm just biding time until this is all over and the big sleep will come and maybe then, i'll be able to breathe.
this is the most dramatic thing i have probably ever said, typed, whatever. this feeling comes once in awhile and i don't know what causes it specifically. it never stays for very long, but i do feel it. and then i worry about it because i know it's not good. and then i look down and one of my dogs is staring at me and i remember that this is temporary and i get up and give them a handful of treats because everyday they save my life.
a tiny part of me knows and understands that i have a very specific place in this world. i can't describe what my role is and often it feels so miniscule and unimportant but then i'll make the most amazing batch of cookies i've ever made and all of a sudden i want to invite everyone in the universe to my house to have them. come over, they just came out of the oven and they're falling apart and melty, but only for a small amount of time so you need to come over now. this is all i have to offer the world and there's a deadline to enjoy them while they're perfect.
i want to tell people my story but like most storytellers, i only want to tell you the important good stuff, like how i triumphed over evil or how i overcame some impossible feat.
no one wants to hear stories about suffering that does not have a guarantee of a happy ending. or even a satisfying ending. or any ending at all.
a lot of the criticism i've heard about roxanne gay's memoir 'Hunger' was about how unsettling the end felt.
i was like, 'yeah, it's cause she's still living and it's still fucking hard.'
i'm still living and it's still fucking hard. and then i write shit like this and then feel guilty because there is pain out there much larger than mine.
i can only seem to write in these vignettes because the moment i try to write something longer my brain does everything it its power to divert me away from the truth. i'm self sabotaging to a degree. it doesn't want me to go too deep. i've been avoiding writing because there is something inside of me that is afraid of what i'll find out if i tell my story, or more like, who i may become if i share it.
so i live in what seems to be the safety of 4-5 sentences.
but how safe is it really if i'm just boiling it all down to the most important words?
i tell him how i can only write twitter style, in small chunks, otherwise, i become distracted and the urge to run to the mind numbing emptiness of facebook is great.
i also tell him the community pool has an open swim time starting in half an hour or so.
and then i start crying.
"i don't know whether i should keep writing or if i should go to the pool."
making decisions is hard and so much of this can feel so dumb.
I wonder if watching the entire season of Queer Eye has made me feel this dumpy. I saw some recent candid photos Jeff took of me this week and I couldn’t get over how sloppy I looked. My typical work from home uniform consists of one of many pairs of black leggings, a tshirt and a hoodie. I don’t really do my hair. I’m lucky if I brush it. Often I keep it up in the 1/2 pony I put it up in at night before going to bed. When I wake up in the morning it’s loose and unwieldly but I notice it, dislike it, then open my laptop to start working. The minimum I do in the morning is put on a bra and pants and then I hit the ground running.
No one outside of jeff really sees me. My physical therapist sees me at 7AM twice a week but my disheveled attire is almost expected of me at 7AM. I’m not dressing up for 10 minutes on a recumbent bike and some painful joint manipulation.
Although I was unhappy with the way I looked in these photos I feel like I am unwilling to jazz up my everyday work wear with something fancier. I’m not willing to sacrifice the comfort of elasticized clothing to not feel so sloppy because I’d rather be comfortable than look like a contributing member of society.
Being in this skin, in this body, is uncomfortable enough.
I sometimes find myself looking for a snack because I’m bored.
And food is delicious and exciting.
I often feel like this makes me a bad person and only because I’m fat.
This is the shame society wants me to feel.
If I was conventionally thin and wanted a snack because I was bored no one would give two shits but because of the size of my body if I want to eat something because I'm bored everyone would be concerned about my pending diabetes and heart problems.
it's now 3:09 PM and i'm too late to make it to the pool on time before open swim ends so I guess I'll keep writing.
what i want to tell this version of myself:
"your body has been smaller so that's why you're taking photos like this so you can go on some sort of diet (aka "lifestyle change") and this will be your before photo. your body has also been bigger than this but you've tried to forget that time because you were dating someone who was a feeder, someone who wanted you bigger, someone who didn't love you at all. your body will get smaller again in the future. it will also get bigger again. through all of this change, you will think you have it figured out and then you will realize that controlling the size of your body forever is a full time job that doesn't make you any happier. it will make you feel more accepted though. when you're smaller you'll be relieved because it's easier to navigate this world in a smaller body. you'll be thrilled because people will be congratulating you for being so "good". you'll also be constantly sore from working out. you'll also be constantly foggy from giving up carbs. you'll also look for shortcuts to keep yourself smaller. you'll go see a 'medical professional' who will give you weekly b12 shots and phentermine. they'll monitor your blood pressure, warn you of the side effects but it's no big deal. it's totally ok. you'll be fine. you'll be less hungry!
you will basically be on regulated speed which makes you forget about food. for the first time in your life food will be at the bottom of the totem pole or priorities. you'll be busy with meal prep and measuring out your 12 pistachios and 15 blueberries into tiny tupperwear for snacks. you'll be busy expelling all that extra speedy energy into multiple spin and circuit classes a day. you will overwork your tired body and not fuel it correctly. you will wear down cartilage in your knees and require surgeries.
but that's ok because you'll remain small! the drugs will make sure of it!
until they don't.
until, like most drugs, you'll need more of it to have the same effect.
until you start to care more about how you feel than how small you are.
your body will feel broken in many ways. but it will also get better because you'll start feeding it again. letting it rest again.
you will stop seeing this 'medical professional' for b12 shots and phentermine. you will think about going back when your knee heals. your knee will never really heal.
your brain will feel really bad about a lot of this. it will be resentful of the weight you will gain. it will be mad that your body will require this much rest and down time. your brain will tell you that you are failing. you will continue to believe that you are failing at life because of the size of your body and how it is growing and growing.
your body just wants to live in it's natural state. your brain will be mad it doesn't fit into straight sized clothing anymore. your wallet will also be mad because you'll need to invest in larger clothes.
your brain will be mad that you are eating pizza on a more regular basis. your brain will be mad that you are no longer working out 5-6x a week. your brain will be mad about a lot of things.
your body will start to forgive you for years of food restriction. your body will forgive you for all the phentermine you fed it that made your heart beat loudly in your throat and fried your nerves until it turned you into jesse spano in that notoriously bad' saved by the bell' episode where she took caffeine pills. (we all know those were speed.)
your brain will get tired of being mad at your body and will start to get mad at diet culture. your brain will do research on the harms of weight cycling.
your body may get even bigger. your body may get smaller. this is not new and you need to know that it doesn't matter because you are still you inside of this ever changing mass of cells. you will not like your body very much. somedays you will hate it. on good days you will feel neutral about it. you may love it someday but, no pressure, you are not required to love it. you are however required to cherish and care for the soul that lives inside this body. she's pretty amazing. she doesn't believe this very often but the simple fact that she exists and that she loves...that is enough. that has always been enough."