1990s Jen to Now

Osiyo readers!

“Osiyo” is “hello” in Tsalagi or as many of you know us as: Cherokee.

So I am still around. I’ve just been all consumed with my move to DC and my new career as a journalist. I’m now all settled into my new place with more articles being published every day so I thought since insomnia is plaguing me I’ll write a little something here.

In an effort to unwind and get to bed at a decent hour for myself I decided to make myself a martini and listen to some music from the 90s. This of course led me to think about my high school self which led me to think about my college self and then down the rabbit hole I went.

The music from my late teen years brought to mind the movies and fashion which naturally led me to think about the body image issues I had. Grunge was easy for a chubby girl like me because I could hide behind big tshirts, flannels, and jeans. It was the late 90s crop tops that became an issue though. My eating disorder switched gears from hoarding food, over-eating, and trying to make myself vomit, and ultimately failing and hating myself for failing to severely restricting my diet. The later would continue on throughout my adult life. It still plagues me to this day.

I spent part of my high school years being the smart, cute, funny, chubby girl that boys were friends with and would talk to about other girls and secretly date to eventually being the thin, hot girl that they had zero interest in talking to. Both situations fucking sucked. Frankly, dating men isn’t much different. Yes, there are men out there that are into women for who they are and blah blah blah, but they’re few and far between. Yes, there are men that are into larger women, but many of those men are fetishists and still wouldn’t date a fat woman openly.

Anyway, I digress. I eventually began to think about myself at my thinnest point in college. I was a size 10 and 156lbs. I know that doesn’t sound small, but I was really freaking skinny. It was bones holding my skirts and jeans up. I looked like I had a giraffe neck. I would double up from pain because I was so hungry. The only thing that probably kept me from looking sickly is that I worked out often and had well rounded workouts so I had muscle on me. By senior year of college though, I was throwing up. During the summer between junior and senior year, I had a horrible drunken night because I was upset about some asshole, undeserving man. When I came to the next morning on my friend’s couch I instantly ran to the bathroom and prayed to the porcelain gods to make it stop. As absurd as this may sound to some, throwing up felt cleansing to me. It felt like all of the pain that I was carrying around inside of me was everyday was leaving me. I couldn’t make the nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and panic attacks from being raped and a survivor of domestic abuse and childhood abuse go away, but I could make myself feel better by puking.

Jump ahead a decade or so and I’ve finally mostly made peace with my appearance and was finally getting help for all of the abuse from my past and that had occurred since college. I won’t say all was well in candy land, but I was trying. Then my existing health issues became a problem. I’ve had health problems since I was very young, migraines since I was 13, and chronic pain due to knee and spinal problems since I was 14. This wasn’t new, but the intensity and frequency was.

These health issues have presented so many problems for me, which I’ve talked about here, but what it also did was present a new reason to hate my body. I had finally begun to accept my body for its size and shape, but now I hated it for all of its limitations and how it was ruining my life. It has triggered my eating disorder. I’ve been struggling with severely restricting my diet since 2012 which is unhealthy for even the healthiest of people. For someone with my health conditions it’s downright dangerous. My last PCP, Therapist, and myself were constantly working to find ways for me to manage my health, in particular checking my sugars (I’m diabetic) without triggering my eating disorder, as well as how I could safely take all of my medications even if I didn’t eat.

Believe me when I say it’s a difficult balance. What I intellectually know my sugars should be versus what my disorder tells me my sugars should be are two very different things. Fear is a powerful motivator. The thought of losing more of myself, more of my freedom, my autonomy, my life, my hopes, my dreams, my wishes, my ability to fight off potential abusers, is too much to bear. Sometimes I don’t eat when I know I should.

So there you have it. One martini and a little music from the 1990s and I have all of this, and a whole lot more, speeding through my mind. I intended for this to only be 3 paragraphs. My brain works an awful lot.

If you’re interested, and you should be, you can read my work on Autostraddle, The Establishment, Wear Your Voice, Medium, and the Matador Network.


The Recent Disappearance of Jen

I recently suffered five weeks of miserable neck pain that ran down my psyche, my emotional well being, and left me mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from the pain and the lack of sleep. It wasn’t long before I was snapping at people and that old feeling of hopelessness began to creep back.

In early April I underwent new Cervical and Lumbar MRIs that found my back has become worse in the last two years. Thank the Goddesses for small favors though my neck has remained the same.

Only a week before these results were delivered my physical therapist informed me that she fears my knees have plateaued. According to her I should be able to walk and stand for forty five minutes to an hour before the pain in my knees requires that I sit. I laughed when she said that. My neck and back are so bad that I can’t go ten minutes before I have to sit down. She thinks my neck and back problems are interfering with knee recovery. I could have told ya that my entire body is connected and not just a series of independent parts.

This now takes us to my appointment with a new chronic pain management doctor at Brigham and Women hospital in Boston.
Same ol’ story different day. He wanted to do steroid injections and had no other new suggestion. Blah blah. I’ve already tried them and the cost benefit analysis is not in my favor. They made me lose my hair. They fucked up my skin more than it already is. I’m currently covered in a rash that won’t go away and that is making me miserable. I don’t need to be more miserable due to skin issues or other health problems simply because I’m trying to manage my pain. Now that I’m diabetic steroids sky rocket my blood sugar and make me very sick. They run my immune system down and make me more prone to catch every virus and bacterial infection out there. A run down immune system also means that I’ll get more yeast infections than I already get. All of this and I only get moderate relief for six weeks and I can only get the shots every three months. It’s absolutely not a long term solution given how it sucks the bones of calcium and does Goddess only knows what else.

I asked about neck surgery and par for the course he was against it. He felt I wasn’t really a candidate; that my neck wasn’t structurally bad enough. My neck isn’t bad enough? My quality of life is shit. I’m in horrible pain and it just gets worse with every year and no one seems to have any new remedies for me. I’ve been living with pain since I was 14 and I’m only 33 now! I’d like to have a long, healthy, happy life. MY NECK IS BAD! Fucking fix it or find an excellent way to really manage the pain or I’ll take a goddamn knife to it myself!

Obviously I told the Doc no steroids. I want to try Botox injections next. He referred me to a Neurologist who does them. Of course I can’t get in to see her until July 11th. It occurred to me after I left though that she may not even do Botox for neck pain given that she’s a Neurologist. It may not be a good idea to do Botox for neck pain given that I get it for my migraines too. I’m going to do some research and call my current Neuro and this new one.

I was also referred me to a psychologist who does Biofeedback to help control my pain on the mental health side. Of course I can’t get in to see him until June 11th. He reluctantly gave me the name of a surgeon too.
In the mean time I’ve also faxed my MRI reports to a neck surgeon at Mass General Hospital. I don’t even get an appointment with him until he has reviewed the MRIs and decides if he thinks I’m surgical. If he doesn’t think I’m surgical then I get sent to the physiatrist in the office.

Thankfully I heard from Dr. Shin’s office telling me that he wants to see me. I have an appointment on May 17th. Here’s hoping he has some better options for me.

Welcome to the bullshit of trying to manage spine problems and chronic pain. It’s a broke down journey with a broke down body across an endless dilapidated swing bridge that’s hanging on by threads over the deepest of canyons. At least this broke down body is possessed by a woman smart enough to pack a canteen full of top notch vodka and all her trusty meds. It makes the fight across much more interesting indeed.

Coming up in my next posts:
My feelings surrounding the Boston Marathon
Thoughts on running for office as a woman in my position

See you then!

A Thanksgiving of MY Own Making

Last night I had the intention of writing  a piece about bi and trans erasure and its connection to Native erasure. Yesterday was Trans Remembrance Day and November is Native Heritage Month, not that anyone would know, and it seemed a fitting day to write that piece. By the time I arrived home at 8pm after a day of 4 medical appointments, and a week totaling 7 medical appointments that included 2 physical therapy appointments and injections in my traps, I was exhausted and decided to give myself permission to take the night off from writing. I felt a bit guilty, but I’m allowed to be “lazy” on occasion.

I woke up today and was just raring to go due to the writing bug.  I had thoughts running around in my head about what Thanksgiving meant to me. So here I am sitting down to write out and the honest truth is that I’m still trying to figure it out.

Thanksgiving was never a big holiday in my family. Granted my family is riddled with divorce *I’m talking great grandparents that were divorced* so holidays were difficult to negotiate. I grew up in Oklahoma and Texas where Thanksgiving just isn’t the big deal that it is in the Northeast. I hypothesize that it is partially because Oklahoma has a rather large Native population. Tulsa County, where I grew up, has the largest Cherokee population in the US, which I happen to be. Of course this isn’t the only reason, but I’m sure it has a large role in the “eh it’s only Thanksgiving” attitude that I saw growing up.

Thanksgiving meant multiple holidays between different households. It meant eating multiple meals of turkey, stuffing (My Degee made the best stuffing you’ll ever eat!), green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie (once again, Degee’s pie kicks your pie’s ass!). It meant uncomfortable familial interactions. It did mean though the kickoff to Christmas which I adored then and still do to this day! Christmas always meant warmth and comfort for me. As a result, Thanksgiving, in its own weird way, meant the beginning of that.

Despite being raised Christian I have identified as agnostic for several years. The religious aspect of Christmas means nothing to me. Although I do enjoy the pagan dimensions of the holiday. I’ll often send out Winter Solstice ecards because  I enjoy celebrating the awe of nature, as well as fucking with people’s sense of society’s norms. I don’t get down with the kapitalistic side of Christmas either. I refuse to suck at the tit of consumerism in order to “celebrate” my loved ones and utter glee and delight for the holiday season.

Once I was 18 and out of my own I began the shaping of the holidays into my own design. It took a while to get things how I liked them, but by my early 20s, I at least enjoyed my Thanksgiving tradition. I lived in Los Angeles and was going to USC. My first Thanksgiving in LA was spent with a then co-worker, from the Godiva Chocolatier at the  Beverly Center, and his friends. We had wine, dinner, and watched Sex in the City. I remember I was so taken aback by the use of the word “cunt” in one of the early episodes. I can’t help but chuckle now at how innocent I once was. The next day I was back to work slinging chocolate to the celebrities and rich folks.

Upon entering the Disco Wonderland (the Bev Center was decorated with gold disco balls rather than traditional Xmas attire) I headed to the balcony overlooking the courtyard.  I looked down to see the West Hollywood Gay Men’s Chorus singing and to find Noah Wyle from the then popular tv show, ER, and his wife sitting on Santa’s lap-Hunky Santa would be coming out later that evening. I stood there in a sort of awe thinking to myself that I was no longer in Oklahoma. I felt this sense of wonder and joy that I had begun to live the life I wanted. I had escaped my “home” and the pain and drudgery that came with it. Thanksgiving had taken a new turn for me.

The following years a new tradition began: The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving I’d go out for drinks, to club, and party. I’d often hit the queer area of West Hollywood to drink and dance until the sweat was pouring down my body. At 2am when the lights came on and security kicked us out, I’d tumble out onto the street to the smell of the vendors cooking sausage and peppers. I can still vividly recall the many sensations. I miss those nights.

If I wanted to go low key then I’d hit my then favorite  local bar at the Hotel Figueroa for cocktails.  I’d sit in one of the gorgeous Moroccan themed bars and talk into the wee hours over far too many drinks with my friends. The next day I’d inevitably wake up hung over as shit, but I’d fall out of bed and meet the family of my choosing for food, laughs, love, and yes, more drinks. I finally felt like  I had a place that I belonged. I had a community and a family that was mine to love and be loved by.

Eventually I made my way to the Northeast where I have accomplished a lot in terms of my education and the building of my resume’. I’ve also traveled and moved to areas of the US along the way that I never thought I’d see. I’ve met some great people, and some that shouldn’t walk the Earth, along the way. I haven’t, however, found my community or family. I’ve felt alone, unwelcome, and unwanted. The holidays have taken this sad turn. Ever year I’ve tried like hell to make them meaningful and fun and have often, not always, come up short. I’ve lost count how many holidays I’ve spent alone. In all fairness, my health problems have made it more and more difficult to spend my holidays as I’d like, as has my increasing poverty, but the lack of family of my own choosing has been the primary cause.

Last year I spent Thanksgiving alone, eating pizza in bed while watching movies, crying off and on throughout the day. I was supposed to spend the day with a “friend” who blew me off at the last minute because she decided that it just wasn’t that important to honor our plans, and to be with a friend that would otherwise be alone,. She also felt that Thanksgiving was nothing more than a day that meant death to turkeys. Yes, she’ was that big of a fucking asshole! Death to turkeys was all that mattered to that bitch. Needless to say I eventually got fed up with her and cut her out of my life.  I occasionally see her at local progressive events and I say not word one to her.

Thanksgiving has now simply become a horrid holiday that exemplifies the rape, enslavement, genocide, theft, and continued oppression of my people. Now I’ve always known the story of Thanksgiving that we’re forced fed in Amerika is a lie and it’s a lie that harms my people and it’s always pissed me off, but at least Thanksgiving had some happy connotation. I’m missing that joyous part now.  Loosing the joy that I found for myself is nothing more than a continued form of oppression.  That simply isn’t ok with me.

I may not be able to snap my fingers and make the Northeast feel like home. I may not be able to make my body magically better so that I don’t need the numerous doctors, treatments, and hospitals so that I can finally leave the Northeast. I may not be able to click my heels together and come up with the money to travel or move away. I can’t wiggle my nose and make Boston a place full of warm, loving, friendly people that feel like a family of my own choosing. BUT there are small things I can do for myself.  Today I allowed myself to sleep in until my body decided it was time to get up. I may not be able to have my Degee’s amazing pumpkin pie, but I had pumpkin coffee and pumpkin cream cheese on a mini whole wheat bagel.  Later tonight I’m going to make myself a yummy steak with delicious veggies and for a snack I’ll have these amazingly tasty local mixed olive cheese spread on multigrain crackers. Yes, I’m nervous about the fat and carbs and food is scary for me at the moment, but damnit I’m going to eat a good meal today!  When I sign off of here I’m going to call my mom, not engage in any sort of argument or stress, and then I’m going to  continue with my childhood theme of Thanksgiving as the kickoff of the Christmas season: I’m going to put up my Christmas decorations! I’ll listen to Christmas music and of course I’m having cocktails too!

I’ll call it a day on my writing now that Santa has appeared on the second showing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I hope that those of you celebrating Thanksgiving enjoy a holiday of your own choosing! To the rest of you, have a wonderful day.

PLEASE remember the real story of Thanksgiving and PLEASE do NOT take part in shopping TONIGHT or TOMORROW!

For the  true story of Thanksgiving look here:

This is an interpretation of Thanksgiving based on the beginnings of capitalism in America. It is a rather anglo centric view. For example, King Philip is known by Native people as Metacom and Squanto’s true name is  Tisquantum. It is an interesting read though.  http://bostonoccupier.com/original-occupation-native-blood-the-myth-of-thanksgiving/

For a more Native interpretation, and one I appreciate more, read these:



Pour Some Sugar (Substitute) On Me

Le Sigh. Double Le Sigh. So I, uh, have Type 2 Diabetes. I’m still not used to saying this. I don’t like it. It’s not fair. I’m pissed about it. Frankly, I’m still a bit in denial. I just can’t accept that I now have to deal with this too.

My entry from Saturday goes in-depth about my emotional reaction to the diagnosis and how I’ve handled it, or rather how I took a swan dive off the cliff of sanity. This post will be about more of the nitty gritty details of what I’m dealing with in terms of testing my blood sugar, seeing a nutritionist, diabetes specialist, and so forth.

So the diagnosis came down around late September. After a couple of weeks of letting it sink in/me calming the fuck down I went in to see my primary care. Now I love Dr. Raney, but she terrified me on that visit. What sticks out in my mind from our conversation was her talking about blindness, loss of limbs, organ failure, and how my body will rapidly age even more than it already has from my existing health issues. I also recall the room beginning to spin, my heart pounding, and it becoming difficult to breathe. Yup, full on panic attack. I know them well.

A few deep breaths, tears, a damp tissue, and pity faced doctor later I walked out of the office with a prescription for Metformin (at half the therapeutic dose) and the blood sugar testing kit, as well as a referral for a nutrionist and a pharmacist who specializes in helping newly diagnosed diabetes patients. Eventually all drugs, supplies, and appointments were gathered and made. Fabulous. More health care shit to deal with.

October 25, 2012 came and I went to my first appointment for the day: the nutrionist. I admit I was a bit skeptical. The only other time in my life I had consulted a nutrionist was my last semester of college. I was having horrible stomach issues and the doctor felt a change in diet could help. What the doctor didn’t know was that I had horrific PTSD and mental illness that was untreated so I self-treated via starvation, had recently begun making myself throw up after eating, and that I did drugs and drank like a stage 4 alcoholic, but managed to function fairly well. After a horrible set of incidences I went cold turkey on everything and I started tip toeing towards health. Of course I wasn’t doing any of it in the right way, but at least I knew I had to make changes or I’d never make it to see 25.

Enter Malibu Barbie, er I mean the nutrionist. She was so goddamn upbeat I wanted to grab her by her blonde hair and beat her to a bloody pulp. I was going through, what I now know, was with drawl from alcohol and drugs and my brain wasn’t kicking out enough serotonin to even me out and because of a recent attack my PTSD was out of control. I was in a sorry state. The last thing I needed was this perky bitch going on and on about how much she loved her Kashi cereal-Yes, she really did that.

So there I now was, a fat, gimpy, eating disorder relapsing, highly skeptical woman waiting on the next skinny, insensitive, stupid bitch to come out and talk to me like I was just a fat, lazy, lard ass who has no one to blame but herself for having diabetes. Shockingly enough, Nila the nutrionist, was actually pretty great. She was kind, empathetic, didn’t speak down to me, and worked with me where I’m at in my life and health. We spent most of our session talking about the various types of carbs, how the body processes them, and what they mean for me and my blood sugar. There was also discussions around various services that could help me to get fresh produce and other healthy foods given that I suffer from lower mobility and am not always able to go grocery shopping and I don’t have the cash flow to pay for grocery delivery.

Overall our first appointment went well. The only thing that got under my skin with Nila was that she refused to listen to me in regards to how my body felt. I was incredibly exhausted from running around all week to other medical appointments (you need to remember that chronic pain and anxiety are exhausting so I don’t have the energy of a healthy 33 year old woman) so I was having a difficult time staying focused. I mentioned this to her and she insisted that it was because I hadn’t eaten. I told her that wasn’t the case. I had only been awake an hour and half and that was usually around the time that I ate, if I was going to eat that is. She disagreed with me a couple of times until I rather firmly told her flat out that she was wrong and that I knew my body and she didn’t. She looked rather surprised, the way most people do the first time they see “happy” and laid back Jen put them in their place, and backed off. Damnit, I’m an adult and I have chronic health problems that I’ve dealt with since childhood. I know my body. Don’t argue with me and talk to me as if I’m an idiot. I’m highly educated, intelligent, and well versed on my health problems. Don’t talk down to me. It won’t end well.

I scheduled my follow up appointment with Nila for November (which I’ve already had). I grabbed a veggie sandwich on whole wheat from Subway and was off to my next appointment.

Now I was at the Fenway Community Health Center’s South End office (I was at their Fenway location previously) waiting to meet with Tulip. Tulip-Yes, that’s really her name-is a pharmacist who works with patients who have diabetes. I don’t entirely understand her training and so forth, but Dr. Raney (my primary care doc) wanted me to see her so there I was. I got there early so I sat down to eat. Just a couple of bites into my sandwich out she came. When she realized I was eating she told me to take my time and she’d come a bit later.

Eventually I’m in her office being introduced to her pharmacy student interns. Before I’ve even fully become settled Tulip launches into what she does. She instantly uses my meal as her jumping off point:  “I help patients learn how to take care of themselves. I noticed you were eating Subway. For example, I would tell you to get a 6 inch grilled chicken on whole wheat rather than a foot long meatball on white bread.”

Oh mama that minute she said that I was pissed! I stopped her right there. I told her that there were some things that obviously needed to be stated by from the start. I informed her that I had an eating disorder for most of my life that was tied to my history of abuse and had recently been triggered by my PTSD and the diabetes diagnosis so she should watch herself. I also went on to tell her that I had about 4-5 inches of a 6 inch VEGGIE sandwich on whole wheat with minimal low fat dressing and two small slices of cheese and that that was all I had to eat all day. I went a step further to tell her that just because I was fat did not mean that I sat around on my ass all day stuffing my face with pizza with my only form of exercise being the clicking of the remote! Of course I also told her that I have severe knee, neck, and back problems and that I’ve had three very serious knee surgeries this year and that as a result I am limited on the type of physical activity I can get. Once I was done very firmly, but calmly, telling her all of this, her interns looked terrified and she apologized, but looked unfazed. I wanted to bolt.

I spent the next hour listening to her talk about different ways to get good nutrition and so forth. Some of her meal suggestions were pretty good. I’m not a big meat eater, and while I like beans and tofu there is simply only so much a grrrl can eat. I love my veggies, cheese, and pasta/bread/rice/etc. Protein is difficult for me to get into my diet and Tulip was helpful with that as well as with good suggestions on healthy carb foods that would help satisfy my need for rice and such. She was NOT good at listening to me though when it came to my limitations regarding exercise. I finally became so sick of telling her things like “No, I cannot go speed walking for 30 minutes. I’ve had both my knee caps realigned. It hurts to walk at a normal pace just a few blocks.” “No, I cannot do yoga. My neck, back, and knees don’t fully bend and I’m not cleared for that sort of activity.” Eventually I just tuned her out. This was not the most productive medical appointment I’ve ever had. We did discover though that my blood sugar was on the lower side.

I checked my blood sugar at home for the first time on October 28, 2012. I had a full blown panic attack. I was actually trembling from anxiety. Thankfully my blood sugar was 121 which is within fasting range. Then again I was barely eating. Every time I’ve checked it since it’s stayed in the 120s regardless of my anxiety (which raises blood sugar), if I’ve exercised (lowers blood sugar), or what I’ve eaten or if at all. Granted, I haven’t checked it much. If you recall earlier in this post I mentioned I’m still somewhat in denial.

Next Steps

I’m seeing Dr. Raney tomorrow. I’ve requested that she test me again to see if I really am diabetic. I just can’t accept it. My body is so broken. I feel so broken. I feel so weak. I feel so unlovable because I’m not perfect. Many, many people have proven time and time again that they won’t love me because I’m not perfect. I just don’t need diabetes too. It’s such a devastating disease. It attacks every last part of the body. How strong can one woman be?

I’m also getting a whooping cough vaccine and my vitamin D levels tested which are supposed to be important to diabetes in some way.

On another note…

Seems diabetes can also affect the sex drive. I haven’t had much of that over the last several months. I’ve always had the sex drive of a teenage boy, but not for a while now. Of course there’s next to no research on diabetes impact on women’s sex drive. Shocking, I know. Perhaps the diabetes has had an impact, but let’s not discount the downturn on my sex drive due to the 3 horrible knee surgeries, the PTSD, the excruciating depression, the incessant panic attacks, how G ripped my heart out of my chest, how most people just aren’t interesting enough to warrant a coffee with let alone to grant them the pleasure of my body, and, le sigh, the fact that the very few people I’ve cared for just haven’t seemed to care as much in return.

With all of that said though I think I’ve also just been ignoring my desire for sex and sensuality. I’ve been having sex dreams almost every night for the last week and have been pretty consistently listening to Jason Mraz’s Butterfly. Have you heard that song? Oh you must listen to it. Go on Youtube and listen to the solo version he does for RollingStone online.

Mmmmm he’s so sexy! I don’t care if it’s cliché: I love the slightly scruffy white boy. I love curly hair! I love the singer songwriter who’s intelligent and soulful! When I think of a man like him I think of the perfect day spent in bed together being playful, affectionate, having mind altering, amazing sex, and talking for hours. He’s the type that I crave. At least as far as men are concerned. Women are a different story. Oh women….

Must. Catch. Breath.

Ok, I’ve cooled down.

Yeah, I’ve been ignoring my desires. No doubt about that. My guess is it’s because I’m distrustful. I’m so tired of being drug through the mud. I’m so tired of being lied to, taken advantage of, used, taken for granted, and just all around fucked with. It just feels less and less worth it. Ignoring desire seems better than dealing with all the bull shit and pain because, believe me, I’ve put myself out there plenty. I’ve tried time and time again to be open to people and circumstances and the universe and whatnot. My openness is closing down. I’m feeling about as open to people these days as the Republican Party is to, oh I don’t know, science!

I did finally break though. I had a rather physically satisfying encounter last night. He certainly wasn’t anyone I’d want to, you know, talk to, but it was a needed tryst for sure. The last ex-see previous entry-so fundamentally fucked up my sense of right and wrong in terms of trust that being physically next to someone has been difficult on me. Last night was physically pleasurable without any fear or panic…other than the worry he might want to stay the night 😉

The Trouble with Beyonce’ on a Lonely Saturday Night

I’ve spent the last two and half hours trying to write something for my About Me and Blog section. I’ve gone off on multiple tangents that have gotten me nowhere. Some of these tangents have actually been the beginnings of something great, but certainly not acceptable for explaining me or my blog.

I’m trying to run from what I’m really feeling inside. I’m trying to shut my feelings down. I’ve barely eaten all day. I’ve had thoughts of cutting myself. I’ve been anxious. I had a beer at 3pm before I’d even had breakfast. I just poured myself a large tumbler of vodka and I’m still denying myself food at 9pm. Yes, readers, I’m doing everything I can to beat those pesky emotions back down into the dark abyss of my psych.

Then Beyonce’s If I Were A Boy popped up on my iPhone. That’s what finally made me crack.  I was taken down by a motherfucking pop song sang by a woman known only for her ass, husband, and
“Rah rah I’m so independent!  Girl Power! Now where’s my ring, bitch?” songs!  I’m so eaten up inside by pain that I don’t even know what to do with it. My eating disorder that hasn’t been much of an issue in years has reared its ugly head  again in fairly significant ways. Despite the countless desires to cut myself  since I was only 8 years old I never did until May. Since then when I find myself in emotional distress it’s as if my head is bombarded with a barrage of  vivid images of me cutting myself . This started after my second knee surgery and the end of a relationship.

I’m not the kind of woman who snaps because someone dumps her, but this was so much more than that. It felt as if I were being tossed out into the garbage by everyone I ever trusted and believed loved me. I literally put my health and happiness in this man’s hands. He was supposed to help take care of me after a horrendously painful and debilitating knee surgery. I had my left knee cap realigned in January 2012 and the right realigned in May 2012. These surgeries are more painful, more difficult, and have longer recovery times than total knee replacement. I couldn’t leave my apartment. I could barely get out of bed. I have no family or  friends in Boston. I was helpless. Except I was blindly, amazingly, head over in heels in love with someone who I believed with my last breath loved me, every last bit of me, without interpretation, hesitation, or exception. He showed me that love in a million different ways everyday. Until one day, three days after I came home from the hospital to be exact, he didn’t.

He came over to my apartment and told me that he loved me, but couldn’t be with me. I had too many health problems and couldn’t give him the kids he wanted. He swore my health problems would never chase him away and that they weren’t an issue. He promised he’d be there during my recovery. Over night, out of nowhere it all changed.  Suddenly I was not worthy of love and a life together because my body was broken.

Five minutes after he left, when the shock wore off and the reality hit me, I grabbed my crutches and somehow got myself into the kitchen. I was sobbing and shaking from the  pain of being metaphorically ripped to shreds and from literally being cut open, sawed at, bones moved, drilled into, and held together with a couple of screws. Before I knew what I was doing I grabbed a knife and cut my upper, inside forearm open. I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I just needed control over the pain I felt. I needed a concrete source of my pain that I could turn to and say “See that? That’s why I’m hurting. Ok I can fix that.”  Cutting myself, much the way denying myself food does, allowed me an outlet, that I solely controlled, for my emotional pain that is so far reaching that I’m almost afraid to strap on the excavation gear and find out.

About a month later I decided it was time for closure. I invited him over and asked the questions I needed answers to. There wasn’t anyone else. His change of heart came out of nowhere. However, when we started seeing each other he was still in love with his ex and probably always would be. I was merely his attempt to move on.

Two days before he shattered my sense of self and the universe, he looked at me with the sweet, dopey grin he often had when we were together and  as if pulling the words from the air he said “I love you so goddamn much.” We were being silly and I was just so, so very much in love with him, when he said those words to me. They made me melt. Today they make feel twisted and knotted up confusion, hurt, anger, and loss.

While we were dating he read some of the essays I’ve written for my book, one of which is about the ex I had an accidental pregnancy with.  That ex, will call him Asshole 2, left me to have the abortion by myself. I opted for the medical abortion, commonly known as the RU-486 pill. I was so sick and in so much pain I passed out on my bathroom floor. I was utterly alone. In the aftermath, that bastard never bothered to even followup and ask how I was. Well, this current ex had read the story. I told him that what he did to me was worse than that guy. At least with that guy, we were using birth control and it was an accident and he was moving away and blah blah. Yeah, the past ex was a worthless piece of shit and I hoped he’d get what was coming to him, but this ex, the one who swore his love to me and just left me after a planned surgery, he was so much worse. He broke my heart. He further broke my trust in people, men, in myself. He endangered my health.

Not long after this my surgeon told me that one of the screws in my right knee had cracked and was coming out of place. I had to have another surgery.  I needed physical help that I didn’t have in Boston. I would have to spend time with my mom and step-dad, who would only trigger my PTSD and cause me more pain during this “recovery” period. I suffered one more agonizing surgery and then spent 10 emotionally brutal weeks at my mom and step-dad’s house.

I’m choosing to not get into the details of my PTSD or how it was triggered by my mom, but it made the nightmares I was suffereing from exponetionally worse.  It also kicked in my eating disorder. Pain and anxiety kill the appetite as it is. Now I just didn’t want to eat because of the emotions surrounding various incidents. I needed to have control over uncontrollable pain. Enter old eating disorder

I finally got out of my mom and step-dad’s place and got back to my home in Boston. My eating got back to normal.  In typical cataclysmic fashion that is my life I was hit with another bombshell: Type 2 diabetes. My blood sugar, and blood pressure for that matter, had always been perfect up until the surgeries. My blood pressure sky rocketed after being sliced and diced. Turns out my blood sugar did too.

My mom’s family has a long line of type 2 ‘betes having folks. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, gets diabetes in my mom’s family. It doesn’t kick in until the 50s though. My mom made it to her mid 50s with no sign of it so I thought I might have a chance. She’s always been thin and utterly terrified of being fat (gee, can’t imagine how this might have effected me) and of loosing her health like her mother, my Degee . As a result of this, other than what I consider an unhealthy relationship to food, she’s always eaten pretty healthy.  Boom. Enter new health problem.

My mom got very sick with a staph infection and was in the hospital receiving iv antibiotics and steroids for a week. Her blood sugar sky rocketed and she was soon diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. The lucky bitch never had to take medicine, where as I have to take pills morning and night, and she is now considered as having pre-diabetes. My primary care doctor thinks that because I carry the lovely genetic legacy, because I’ve been on high and consistent doses of steroids since I was very young, and had the stress of the three surgeries, that my body finally revolted and that’s why I now have ‘betes. I get the pleasure of having it a whole 20-30 years earlier than everyone else in my family. You know, because I didn’t already have enough health problems.

I told you all of the craptastic diabetes story for a reason. That diagnosis came down around late September. Guess who had a total melt down? Guess who had a panic attack so severe it triggered her asthma and she probably would have died from a damn asthma attack if she didn’t have an inhaler? Guess who freaked out about food again? This grrrl!

I couldn’t get into the nutritionist for about a month so, with trepidation, I asked my mom  roughly how many carbs a day she’s allowed to eat. I NEVER wanted to be a carb counter. I NEVER wanted to go back to counting calories, fat, points, or any of that other dieting, Weight Watchers, I hate myself because I don’t conform to bull shit patriarchal, fat phobic society’s standard of beauty. There I was though, asking my mom again how much goddamn food I could eat. I felt like the broken hearted, abused, traumatized, self-hating, teenage girl I was once.

My first grocery trip after that was one giant cluster fuck of a panic attack. I almost broke down crying in the middle of the Whole Foods. Do you know how many carbs are in everything we put in our mouths? Even healthy food has insane amounts of carbs! Of course, like fat and cholestoral, there are good carbs and the healthy food has the good carbs, but for someone with diabetes I have to be mindful of  a banana, for fuck’s sake! My mom eats 3 meals a day at a max of 40 carbs each and two snacks a day at a max of 15 carbs each. An entire day of what my mom eats is basically a freaking bowl of pasta.

Most of October I barely ate. I started having dizzy spells. I was lightheaded throughout the day. I had practically cut all carbs out of my diet, as well as most fat. I partially did this out of fear of food and it causing more health problems. My life feels as if it’s been ruined by health problems. I feel like any chance I had at a good life and achieving all of the dreams that I’ve worked my ass off for have slipped away from me because my goddamn body has betrayed me. I don’t need diabetes ripping me apart limb from limb. I watched my Degee go blind from diabetes. I watched her loose the use of her legs. I watched her heart disease get worse. I watched her suffer from what I only just learned was most likely diabetes induced dementia. Dementia people! Dementia! My intellect, thirst for knowledge, and education are some of the qualities about myself that I am the most fiercely proud of. I can’t loose those, on top of my mobility, to health problems. Food has yet again become my enemy, but for a whole different set of reasons now.

Dizzy spells. Light headness. Migraines everyday since October 23-have one right now, in fact. Fear of food.

No one knew what I was dealing with years ago. No one listened. No one cared. No one understood. People freaked out. People got awkward and uncomfortable. They said hurtful things that made situations worse. I finally gave up trying to talk about my pain, abuse, self-destructive behavior, etc. I’ve been good though about talking to people about this all, specifically my medical practioners. Some of them have been great, others have a lot to learn.

A few weeks ago I finally snapped out of the starvation thing. My roommate came home with awful, and I say awful for many reasons, Chinese food. I think it was pork fried rice and an egg roll. It smelled so fatty and so bad, but so delicious. It awakened this ravenous side of me. The next thing I knew I was ordering from my favorite neighborhood Chinese takeout spot, Chang’s Place in Brighton (hey, gotta throw business to the little guys, right? We can’t have the whole world be PF Changs? *shudders*). I ordered way too much food and devoured about half of what I ordered. Other than having a way too full tummy I felt pretty damn good. The next 2 or maybe 3 weeks (I’ve recently discovered that my sense of time, in terms of how I physically feel, is a bit thrown off because I feel like shit every day) I ate healthy meals every day and didn’t have a single dizzy or light headed spell. I also didn’t have any cravings to deny myself food. Until…

Remember how a couple of paragraphs ago I said that some of my medical practioners still had a lot to learn? Well, my neurologist, whom I believe is very well intentioned and worth hanging  with for a bit longer, needs some work on this issue. At my second appointment with her on Thursday we talked about the string of migraines I’ve been suffering from since 10/23. During this conversation we of course had to talk about my stress, anxiety, depression, and this of course leads to my life and eating and crap. <Crap? Yes, I went there. I’m emotionally exhausted and “crap” sums up my sentiments nicely. >

I’m trying, I mean really trying, to find a health, happy, stable life for myself. This means being honest with myself, with whatever friends and family I have and that ain’t much,  and with my medical staff and boy does it feel like I have a medical staff. I wish people made it easier on me to be honest, but I’m doing what is right by me, which means being honest about my feelings, my life, my behaviors  and so forth.  I have to talk about things that are holy uncomfortable, painful, dreadful, some days are so utterly unbearable I don’t know how I manage it, but I keep at it because I want a healthier life in every way possible and that won’t happen by denying my past and present.

For the sake of my own honesty and story I feel I should say that during the writing of this post I have been drinking the earlier mentioned tumbler of vodka. It’s not yet finished. I’ve had to take a moment during different periods of writing to stop and sob too. Over the course of my 20s and 30s I’ve had plenty of people tell me that I’m brave, accomplished, strong, successful, and so forth, but this is one of those moments where I wonder what they’d think if they could see me now? Would they really think those things about me if they saw me sitting on my couch in my “sitting room” which is just my fancy way of calling my pathetic excuse for a hallway/non-living room something other than what it really is, all alone, drinking the last 1/4 of a tumbler of vodka by myself while writing, crying, and listening to depressing music on a Saturday night? Brave, accomplished, strong, successful, or whatever is the last damn thing I feel right now.

Seems I lost myself down that trip to pity lane. Hmm. Oh yeah, neurologist. So I told her about the eating disorder and how it’s been a factor again, but how I’ve been OK the last couple of weeks again. She showed concern and was really great. We started talking about next steps and possible other drugs to control my migraines. One of the pills she suggested was Depakote. Depakote instantly plunged me back to the teenage years. Perhaps I’ll elaborate on them one day, but for now I’ll just say I was a goddamn guinea pig. Between the migraines and the mental illness I was pumped full of so many pills that it was ridiculous. I had regular blood tests to make sure my liver functions were normal which is rather ironic considering how much I’d grow up to love my cocktails. I gained excessive amounts of weight around the time I was 13 which is also when my migraines began and also when my mental illness became unbearable. This was around the time I was put on multiple meds. I don’t question the validity of my health problems because they came long before the meds and stayed long after I took myself off them, but I do question how some of those prescriptions made things worse, Depakote being one of them.

I turned down Depakote flat without question. I’m not sure if my neurologist took this as a sign of me being worried about weight gain or not, but we decided instead to up my dosage of Topemax. Towards the end of our appointment, when I was a bit more up-my moods, while fairly well controlled with meds, can go up and down very quickly because I have borderline personality disorder-she seemed to become more comfortable and relaxed with me, as many people do , and perhaps forgot her role as my doctor and made mentions about how we all eat larger portions than we should. It took me a bit aback, but I hid it well, as I often do when I feel necessary to hide my emotions and thoughts. I truly think she just forgot about what I told her earlier. Not only do my moods change quickly due to the illness, but I’m good at smoothing people over with my wit and charm and making them forget things I’ve said regarding my emotions etc . I have no problem putting people in their place when it’s necessary and I can sweet talk you into handing over your last dime to me too.  I grew up in a shitty family and was surrounded by abuse. I adapted to live under the circumstances that were in front of me. It led me to the skill set I currently speak of. I also just happen to be a warm, genuine, kind, friendly person. I’ve had people tell me over the years that I’d make an excellent agent, road manager, lawyer, and a candle stick make. Well, maybe not that last one. Now if only I could ditch my morals and use my powers for evil so I can afford an apartment with an actual living room.

I once had a therapist, a psychotherapist to be exact, tell me that she had a hard time pinning me down. She’s the one that diagnosed my Borderline Personality Disorder. We were not a good match and only lasted for maybe 9 months, but I do agree whole heartedly with her diagnosis. She told me that she had a hard time understanding how every week I could come in with such a change of emotions and how my emotions could change so quickly during our sessions. I’ll admit that my emotions were very strongly portrayed with her because I didn’t trust her one little bit whereas with my current therapist I feel completely safe and have opened up a great deal. Anyway, old therapist told me that she had such a hard time figuring me out because I’m so “successful” (apparently most people with BPD aren’t *cough* bullshit!*) and that I’m very good at masking my emotions. It’s not as if I’m sort of psychopath and don’t have emotions. I think my 3 blog posts make it pretty damn obvious that I have LOTS of emotions. I simply had no choice , but to hide them growing up and I learned to hide them well.

Soooo here we are. I’m at home, alone on a Saturday night, finishing off a tumbler of a vodka on an empty stomach. I’m hurting. I’m sad. I’m alone. I thought I was doing better in regards to love and the possibility of being open to people then I met that bastard ex and the little bit of betterness I had was fucked up. It’s not about how he hurt my trust in men or people which most certainly did and I did not need any help in that avenue; it’s about how he hurt my trust in me. I’m back to not trusting myself to make good judgement calls on others. I’m not just talking about romance. It’s lighthearted social encounters, meaningful friendships, sex, dating, romance, family, doctors, myself, everything and everyone. I don’t trust myself to decide whom to trust on the most basic of levels.

My tumbler is empty now. I still haven’t eaten. Beyonce’ is still on repeat-Goddess help me!

I can’t say for certain that I won’t have another vodka. I can’t say for certain that I’ll eat when I sign off. I can say though that I did finally honestly acknowledge and share my feelings tonight. That may not be much to some people, but that is Empire State building huge for me.

And fuck you, Beyonce’ and the ring on your thang! You didn’t spark my emotions; Nnenna Freelon warmed me up!