what if i told you the highlight of my year was the Janet(s) episode of The Good Place?
like, i’ve watched it twice and can watch it another 5-10 times if need be as some sort of reset button when i feel like i’m glitching out and can’t even. my anti-glitch resource used to be listening to ‘Magpie to the Morning’ by Neko Case on repeat while re-organizing my underwear drawer and re-balling my socks over and over again. i think watching this episode of The Good Place, or any episode of The Good Place (oooh, the Derek episode!) is an upgrade from balling and re-balling my socks (which apparently is bad for the elastic in your socks but whatever).
January started off with an exhausted groan. shoving a lot of travel into the end of 2017 made new years an uneventful thing. I baked a cake. I declared this year the year of cake and passed out before midnight.
Knee surgery was looming and it was giving me horrible anxiety. I had a dream that someone broke all 4 of charlie’s legs and i woke up crying and couldn’t stop crying and even thinking about it right now typing this out my eyes are welling up and my chest is tightening because i think that’s probably one of the most horrific things that could ever happen and i’m so so so sorry to have even shared this if it brought you horror and pain as well.
that’s the state i was in prior to knee surgery.
January and most of February can be described as
i spent most of my time like this in a full leg cast to keep my knee as straight as possible.
i started PT. PT was all I remember of February. Maybe some snow. Working from bed. Sleeping downstairs in the front room of our house because stairs were out of the question.
March rolled around with more mobility and my first foray back into movement was a Fat Kid Dance Party class with Bevin who was on a mini tour.
We decided to foster again with OTAT PDX and had a great couple of weeks with this big baby
i took him out on a solo walk and we ran into neighbors i had never met before and they fell in love with him at first sight.
the best thing is we still get to see him and his new family since they’re close by. we get to dog sit him and his brother Kuma and they’ve gotten to dog sit charlie and bean.
i started to volunteer more with OTAT and get more involved because as the year in politics and existing in this world became more exhausting the more i found dogs to be my saving grace.
i continued to struggle with knee issues but i kept on working at it. i continued to struggle with my body and feeling like it was failing me because i am inherently a failure but i kept working on it. i continued to go to therapy. i continued to spend time with other fat folks who weren’t trying to change their bodies. i went to see sonya renee taylor and jess baker speak and read. i thought about cutting out food groups and then didn’t. i entertained the idea of diets but then didn’t. on my worst days i called my body garbage and went back to the idealized version of me i always imagined i should be. when i realized this version of me was always white i realized that there were so many more things i hated about myself that had nothing to do with size.
I KNOW, RIGHT?
therapy is horrible and awesome and painful and helpful and shitty and necessary.
i started taking a writing class.
i was still working at the same time. the OTHER kind of work. the paycheck kind. it was starting to make me a horrible person to be around.
i started to entertain the idea of writing more and working less.
i deleted facebook and instagram off of my phone and then re-installed them because i am human and because local friends are sparse.
i recorded a podcast with IRL friends and it reminded me of bad decisions, sloppy living and how much that can bond people when you survive the worst times and the best times of your life with a group of people.
i finally finagled an appointment with winston the whale and committed to the largest tattoo i have.
people ask me for meaning and significance and really, it’s a head in a book. a tribute to my inner nerd and nothing too deep.
spring melted into summer and instead of getting up at ungodly hours to go to the gym i’ve found myself going to a monday night dance class that has made me completely rethink my old relationship with movement.
i continued to dismantle all the old ways i used to think that were slowing killing me while the outside world crumbled around me. immigrant detainment. children in cages. this proposed wall. the privilege i currently have along with the truth that if i do not open my mouth and speak perfect english something bad could happen to me... it all played out in how i was living my life and spending my days.
existing anyway. waking up every morning and going about my life anyway. being and thriving in this marginalized body anyway is a political act. understanding the privilege i have being a smaller fat, being a less brown race, having opportunity and choice which means it is my duty to listen and help those more marginalized than i am in whatever way i can.
i decided to stop working and talked to my company about taking a break to write. i couldn’t keep doing what i was doing. i have been needing to get off the hamster wheel for a long time now.
melissa moved back to the bay. when your local friend contingent consists of 3 people that’s a pretty significant loss.
i stopped working and i thought i’d be a writing machine.
i clearly wasn’t.
in true ME fashion, i slept. for like, a thousand years.
between naps friends came to visit.
we spent time in large bodies of water.
and tiny bodies of water.
i kept doing the work.
some days i felt cute.
somedays i did not.
more bad shit kept happening to BIPOC.
i kept writing. and reading. and going to therapy. and going to dance class.
i went river tubing for the first time ever and got stuck in various places which reminded me of several important life lessons.
people want to help you (people i had just met that day were willing to come take a dangerous route to fish me out).
2. i am also capable of helping myself out even when i feel like a hot mess.
3. next time, bring a paddle.
i had a birthday. i contemplated this step closer to the end.
I went back to San Francisco with Jeff for the first time in over a year and a half. I mostly went for the friends and the food.
I continued to not work.
i wasn’t writing like i had anticipated. it came and went in spurts in between a plethora of appointments. P-DTR. PT. Acupuncture. General Practitioner. Therapy. Pilates. Dance. Yoga.
I was busier than ever and I had no idea how it happened. This writing sabbatical turned into a healing myself in all ways possible sabbatical.
I realized the more I wished things were different the worse I would feel.
I got another tattoo.
I made it to my third Portland Bookfest/Wordstock in a row to see Lindy West and Abbi Jacobson. Chef Ed Lee and Sam Sifton and a whole slew of other writers.
i wrote notes to myself on bus rides.
there was more of this
i also got to go to England with Jeff to spend time in London
drink coffee with my sister in a former public toilet
and see these lil guys who are growing really fast
and despite the long flights there and back it was worth it
the rest of december has been quiet settling and the acceptance of this concept
and trying to keep the voices at bay that tell me i should do this, i should do that, i should, i should, i should…
It’s January 1st. I slept in as much as Bean will let me (before he gets the breakfast shakes). I pulled out the journal and wrote a bit. I lounged a bit. I made breakfast and ate it with Jeff. I settled down to write this with the fear it would take up most of my day and it has but the sun is still out and I still have time to put on real pants, possibly a bra and run a brush through my hair…or not. I still have time to bake another cake or finish coloring this while listening to podcasts (which is a whole new level of “things that bring me total joy”)
this year has felt like a lot of this
but i’m still here and so are you and most people i love. i don’t know what this year will bring. i typically like to throw out some message of hope and joy and whatever but this year it feels more appropriate to tell everyone that if you need to feel shitty, you should let yourself feel shitty. feel all the things. the hopelessness and the darkness and the fear and despair. feel meh. feel angry. feel all the uglies you need to feel. all of this is ok. don’t cover it up with “love and light”. don’t let yourself think your feelings are ridiculous or uncalled for.
then give yourself some grace.
know that you are loved even if you don’t feel it at the moment.
it’s just a moment.
find your own reset button. the Janet(s) episode is a good place to start.
you can try and categorize your moments with an app (like i do and i DON’T KNOW WHY I KEEP DOING IT)
but know that you contain multitudes.
i love you.