Shifting The Numbers (14/365)

When I woke up like a bolt of lightning had run through me at nearly 5:00am, I was curious as to how the remainder of the day would go.  I woke up and got up and got shake and lingered a bit, laying there, drinking what I actually find as enjoyable as any Starbucks I’ve ordered.  I actually finish my shakes more often than not which I can rarely ever say for the former.

Well, it seems, that the energy has stayed with me.

Energy that has allowed me to exercise for forty-five minutes without feeling panicky and nervous and heart-fluttery which usually freaks me out just enough to stop.  My music was fast-paced and my stomp walking with Leslie Sansone felt like…exercise. It felt legit even if everyone and Cindy Crawford is lifting weights and doing yoga.  It was forty-five actual minutes and I felt every drop of that serotonin moving through me.  Oh, this, this is why people do this?

I have to imagine that just the regular walking and getting up and moving around that I’ve been doing in January has helped make it easy to shift a bit.   I’d half-planned just to see if my XBox would even play the DVD or if it had been scratched and ruined at some point between now and the last time I attempted this.  Caffeine, I’m sure played a role, but today…I don’t know.

Energy that stuck with me, too, to take garbage and recycling out, to wash pots and pans, attempt to make chicken stock (celery but no carrots, it is going to need work.), go to the store and try and find size 6 riding boots to zero avail, but ended up coming home with some random chicken, random Bordeaux-hued lipstick, some more gum, and some soda.  Slowly working on pushing that pop out of my life again.  To do laundry.  Order groceries.  Contemplate if in the next month or two if I want to try making keto bread.

And soon, hopefully, if I can stop distracting myself with random nonsense, make up my bed with some nice, clean sheets.

That’s a lot for me.  Maybe you and yours have all this shit locked down, but I am in a constant state of personal revelation when I handle anything without spending hours letting the thoughts run around in my mind, percolating a few drops of high-octane willpower before collapsing in a heap of your own making.

I know that better habits – habits at least like not buying Starbucks, even the low-sugar macchiato – make for days like this.  And if you can stack a few days like this, you can make your surroundings a place where you can trust that you have a clean bowl to cook your slightly more complicated low-carb food in and you’ve got space to move around in and you’ve got time as well.  So you don’t block yourself out of your own plans.

A little scary, mostly wonderful to contemplate.

The eventualities of sticking with this for a full year.  What it will mean.

Comme Ci, Comme Ca

No rush.  No Fuss.  No alligator guts.
This aims to be a wildly enjoyable Friday.
I have maybe another couple of hours, but all the reasonable work is done and I am not going to start a massive project so here I am.  I have to leave early otherwise everyone shall be paying me for all my fun and games and I am ethically heartburned by that.  Even if I could use the money.  I’ve already spent 45 minutes working on my French again.  C’est un stylo! Le femme n’a pas de voiture.  Or something.
I think, perhaps, it is harder to come up with the words lately because the angst in me has somewhat dissipated.  And even the angst about what I am eating – at the moment – is taken away from me and replaced by this earnest idea that I am doing something to improve my lot.  It is not a perfect scenario where the pounds glide away like so much latex beneath a sharp exacto-knife.  It is just not doing the aggressively wrong things – blunting with food the freaked out emotions, the overwhelmed and anxious empathy, the confused spirit who is now in places where she never thought she’d be – more often than I’m doing the sincerely good things.  The attempts at having vegetables become a regular thought, a plan.  The earnest excitement I briefly experienced at the thought of being able to cook butternut squash soup.   The desire to get those extra steps in.  It takes up the gaps in my head where the listless rambling lived.  There’s direction and traction now.  The words are not gone, per se, just redirected.  A mason steadily taking them and putting the bricks and the mortar one next to another.
I have never been sturdy.  Whatever my weight or the morphology of my personage, I have never been steady on my feet.  There’s always been a Santa Ana, a side-eye, a turn on the river. Some distance between my thoughts and my being.  I’ve always wanted to be in the ether, looking down at everything all at once, out of time and out of context. Safe, in that way, but also powerful.
Now, there’s this power in walking inside my own flesh.  In putting things where they go.  In washing a cup.  In following a routine.  Know that once those items are actually secured, there is this massive IMAX screen of life rolling out around and in front of you.  A panorama view unobstructed by the minutiae that means you sleep in clean sheets, you lean down for a pan and like magic, the one you were thinking of awaits.  The butter and the steak sizzles, the dream is not interrupted by the idea that you are a failure because your dreams sometimes break mid-thought.  You make the soapy water part of the dream.  You take away the choice for it to be depressing, low, external to the magic.  You make the laundry churn and the warm heat of the just dried hand-towels part of the care, part of the aerie your thought dance in.  A place you flutter through because there’s no reason to avoid it.  No reason to turn away from this charming scene where your muscles are moving, just as they were made to, to work through the blossoms and the remains of all your day’s plans.

Soft Boiled Egg

Time enough to write today?
I think there must be.
I am feeling decent.  Sufficient.  Improved.  Supported.  Free.  Slightly masterful.  Lots of disparate concepts, but overall: good.
I got in early to help with a meeting where I did not need to help which I have decided means I can leave a bit earlier.  I paid my credit card bill.
I got requests to help from a few counterparts who really appreciated it and which I had time to focus intently upon because I am mildly without tasks, as I’ve mentioned.  One of whom always said hi to me in the hallways and I would smile back and it is only at this point that I realize what her name and department is.  Now, I hear she thinks I am great which is the thing that is said about someone who smiles at you when you pass in the hallway.  Apparently, they need help and they don’t have help.  And I can provide help and have oodles of time.  I am hopeful that in some way a few well-placed favors with a few people might save my skin around here.  That is the sense here, that in the end, like any society, it just works best if you go ahead and scratch someone’s back based solely on the tacit understanding that someone’s going to decide to scratch yours.  Eventually.  Work your nails down to the nubs and never tell anyone you’re feeling itchy.  Nobody wants a job, everyone will offer a favor, so scoot along little cowgirl and try and make friends.
Trying to make friends and not just endlessly curt and awkward circuitous conversations.  That’s the philosophy right now.  Just befriend everyone and say yes to the grunt work because, frankly, you can handle grunt work.  This higher-level tarantella everyone else seems to be able to accomplish in their high heels and pearls is not liable to be your dance.  Not ever, not after years upon years of knowledge being foisted upon you and experiences to teach you better than you know right now.  There will be no graceful flamenco.  You just try and do-si-do and promenade, do whatever the caller asks you do and hope no one pulls out the hook while you’re on stage.  I need to enjoy this time.  It is awkward to try and nose about, forage for the truffle of a task to keep me from seeming like I sit at my desk and write blog posts all day.  But somehow, I will end up in some spot that will demand more of me than this and I will look back and sigh that I didn’t keep it a secret so I could sit and spin on the company dime.
No.  That’s not in my blood.  The guilt, my friends, the unholy guilt of just trying to type this up before I go, oooh.   Still, the feeling of knowing the post is done is worth a twinge or two.  I like that I have that time.  Having the food there is so valuable, too.  So much easier just to let the refrigerator contain the wide expanse of possibilities and know that in just a few days, I’m going to restock and can make a whole fresh batch of choices so I don’t have to panic.  I can already tell that when I do have another meal out, it will be something that I look forward to, that will actually contain some element of celebration and achievement in it rather than an almost burdensome excess.  A demand to fill up on salt and fat and smile.  Quality vs. Quantity.
In the same vein, I’ve started making some lists – looking ahead to the holidays – realizing that if I can get a few stitches in now, how much more enjoyable it would be to have
If I can figure out who needs a gift, who needs a card, well, maybe I can print the addresses on labels, maybe I can draft a general Christmassy letter that people will be pleased to read, and I can actually take care of what I always want to – which is to make people feel joyful at Christmas.  I always run out of time, and in the past been embittered with the retail holiday gloom, but now, there’s a chance to both have the money and energy to be smiley and bake cookies and feel cheerful for more than just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Of course, this does make me mildly irritated that J is too anxious about things to come and see me and eat turkey at my table.  This means I will have to be constantly pulled over those days to check in on him, mid-meal, even.  I will feel a compulsion to keep one foot in each world when I am so craving the silence of my own imagination, the quietude of being untethered to a computer desk, to making jokes with the family, to the congenial world that we make when we are all together at Thanksgiving.  A place he doesn’t know, and much as he would like to know it, it’s far too far a trip to consider.  It seems thus.  Not on a whim.  But this is well past a whim, past a favor, this is…the job.  The job of being together that neither of us wants to concede we’re employed at, despite finding ourselves clocking in and out everyday.
Eventually, I think I’m going to get stretched too far to come back together and I’ve never chosen this unknown world instead of my own mind to save me from being split.  Really, King Solomon’s never concerned himself with my heres and theres.  He is fine if I am bisected along my spine and useless everywhere they lug me.

Pink in Eureka

Certain forms of hysteria have taken hold.  Perhaps because I made the step to get the blog running in some sort of functional form, I have begun to think I am smart about certain things.  This is not the case.

This is day two of going low-carb.  Low-carb = traditional Atkins, 20 carbs or so for the first two weeks, then, we evaluate how shit is going.  I feel better in a lot of ways already.  The scale, as ever, is fucking with me, but it says I lost 3 pounds (yes, we can hear the yelling of WATER WEIGHT from here) overnight.  I don’t know…I do know that it mattered to me to just start this.  To just do it so here I am.  Having had more vegetables today than I’ve had in eons.  More water.    And less food overall.

I still feel weird and tired (again, the shouting of transitioning and detoxing groggery can be heard for miles) and I have done bare minimums in terms of exercise.  But I did do it.  I did do it with nary a complaint.  I will do it again tomorrow.

I keep thinking about what I want.  That is one thing that my new job has really helped with.  The courses I’ve taken have impressed upon me that I need a plan and I need to work the plan. Goal setting and moving in slow, steady steps towards the future.  That you can actually say I want this big, overblown, challenging result and if you mete it out into little, manageable daily contributions, it would happen.   That’s the issue and that’s why I’ve spent so much time avoiding finishing any of these little, manageable steps.  So that I don’t end up somewhere I don’t want to be.

I’ve done this instead of deciding where I want to be and working really hard to make that happen.

I don’t know if I’ll write this way all the time, but I like that this all has just started and it isn’t January 1 and it isn’t a Monday (not yet).  It’s not a perfect takeoff (I don’t imagine I could even recognize it if it was), but it’s like how with every paycheck, I’m adding to savings, already it feels significant.  If I continue on, the possibility continues on.  If I keep clapping, Tink still glows.

So.  What I want is to be with him.  Not…necessarily in terms of trying to have a partnership on a level that demands that one of us move to where the other one lives, though that doesn’t faze me as it once did, but I want a weekend. I want a day of shared space.  Of mutual presence.  Of figuring out if the shit in my head is anything more than shit in my head.   Not putting carts before horses.  But this, all of this, tells me, I gotta keep on this diet on track if this is really what I want.  And I keep testing it and realizing that it is.

 

 

 

 

 

The Dismal Visionary

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Who can say?  Not I.  Not I.

2017 is nigh.

Food.
I am inspired to do low-carb starting January 1.   It’s coming out of my own desire to do it and not, I believe, out of this sense of needing to have a resolution.  Not out of habit.  It’s, instead, coming out of my own personal sense of needing to start the year working on myself because I want to see improvement.  I want my life to be better, goddamnit, fabulous, even.  Not choosing food to serve as an external release valve on all of my emotions.  Of wanting to be able to get myself moved out of this limbo.  I know that there’s a big event coming on the 9th where food will be funky.  I know my birthday is coming again.  Yet, I want to do this.  I want to have a year-end change.  It’s time to start pulling out the motivational picture albums, the MyFitnessPal, the FitBit or some form of pedometer and get to be excited about progress again.

So, I can’t do it all at once.  But water, cutting carbs, tracking food and posting daily on MFP about it.  That’s a path towards something.  You will see me doing that, failing, upset, excited, not doing what you think I should, working really hard, being all over the map.  But this is my intention.

I also pledge not to eat out more than once a week.  That’s mostly about money, but I also eat so maniacally, it’s a way to help myself, too.

Writing
Just to reiterate, changes are going to happen here because…they have to.  I can’t do another year of just posting moaning screeds.  It’s a waste of my talents.  I need to read.  I so need to be reading so that the well has something other than marsh water to draw on.  I can’t do better unless I do differently, so the post will happen in essence via MFP or me writing.  I will be here weekly to spaz and cross-post, but it won’t be like it is now.

That scares the everloving shit out of me.  I might accidentally just post. I don’t know.

Computer Time
The reading and the writing and the not just spending whole days restarting Civ IV games.  I have to be conscious of how much time I cede to this thing.  Even just waiting for people to respond to messages.  It’s endless at times.  I mean, I love it, it’s comforting, but it chains my ass to the bed for ages.  I can’t be chained like this forever.  Nothing is forever.

Love
Every day we start over.  The hand hangs out of the carriage and is grabbing in all directions.  But I am sure that I like myself better for just that little bit of trying I am doing.  So, I say how do you do, and I try and make jokes, and I try and express interest and comb my hair and buy (with gift certificates) new dresses and be cute and willing.  And we’ll see.

 

 

Slap

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Well.

So.

Fuck.

I want to say that I’m a post-panic attack mess, but the thing about panic attacks is that when you’re over them, you’re out of the zone of panic, you’re fine.  Or I am, typically. It feels ludicrous after the fact, except, there’s no way in hell you’d want to go right back and face it again.  Today, however, I had multiple incidents of JUST NO GODDAMNIT.

I was fine driving to the parking garage.  I parked, and looked around and realized I had driven to the opposite side of the freeway from where my bus would pick up.  This meant, if I had any interest in not missing the bus, taking the walkover bridge.   This, for most people, is not a thing. But my mind slipped its gear and suddenly, tunnel vision, heart racing, the usual effects. I paced about trying to not appear completely insane as people walked casually, strode earnestly across the bridge.  I was feeling light-headed.  The solution was right there.  Eventually, the necessity of the thing somehow kicked in and I thought, I can see the buses over there.  I can’t not get on the bus.  The only busses I need are over there.  I will do it.  I will cross this evil looking unholy bridge.

And running my hand over the railing, my heart feeling as though it were a glob of coal furiously twitching out its last dying beats, walking like some sort of clomping psychopath, I crossed the bridge.  And nobody knew that it felt as though I had defeated some sort of boss battle.  Nobody knew how incredibly hard it was.  Nobody cared as I bought my bus fare and calmly went to the downtown station and then took a lyft to the new job because I didn’t want to have to worry about finding the place on my first day.

Nobody cared as I sat quietly at my desk in our new space which is just a cubicle.  There are people around, but we’re so tense, and feel, to my mind a bit like refugees trying to make our own space in this established country that it’s…well, it’s nothing like the shop.  It’s sterile and claustrophobic and it’s nothing I want to experience, really, ever again, but I will.  Even if I…well, eventually, it became time to go home.

And I laughed internally about what if I have some problem, wouldn’t that be awful.  That joyful anxiety-based what if probe that never finds anything but blows up half my brain anyway.  I shrugged it off, but then the lyft driver to the bus station was a mess once I finally got there and my initial start time to catch the bus back kept getting pushed back so that it had been nearly an hour since I left the office until I even got on the bus.  Then, upon arriving at the station and getting in my car, I have this odd thought about how this place doesn’t look like any place I could ever be.  My muscle memory won’t stop recalling how it felt to cross the walkover bridge even if I know I don’t have to do it.

It won’t stop cycling over and over as I leave the parking garage realizing I don’t want to be on this side, that I can’t be on this side, what road is this, it’s dark, I can see things I recognize right over the freeway, but I can’t move to get there…and then, full-blown meltdown.

I think my brain just realized that I was pushing it job change/life change/knuckle-down and bear it reaction  right through and whatever calm I had before was gone.  I pulled over and shook and cried and did the whole thing.  Couldn’t get a hold of my sister, so I called my other sister and she was quite kind about it.  Until she suggested I call my father, call uber or lyft and I was able to take a breath and manuever the car over to where I had intended to be.

And then, I sat and breathed through it and thought and twinged and flipped for about an hour in the parking lot.  Stared at the cars as though they were weaponized.

Finally, FINALLY, time was time and the prospect of having anyone come and get me felt both deliriously right and tremendously wrong at the same time.  Like, sure, it would in the instant relax and get rid of the panic, but then, I’d have to stave off the guilt.  And if there’s anything in the world worse than panic (aside from the actual horrors of war, the actual traumas that exist), it is feeling guilty because you panic.

So, I rolled up this little ball of energy, the radio played a Paramore song.  I thought I have power, I have an incredible superpower to fight through this now, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.  A mantra that would brook no opposition.  And suddenly, I found myself at the  taco place getting tacos and gasping because, well, it was easy, of course.  So close.  So simple.

Hah, oh, fuck.

I can’t express how much I hated that.  Or how relieved I am I get a day away from it.  I don’t think I can share with you what it felt like to know you can’t go home.  Or how suddenly, you could.

But, it was a day.  And the fight goes on.

The Heartsick

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It is of note…if this blog is useful for anything, it must be useful for noting a happenstance when it happens…that despite my wooly and overgrown driving fears right now, I took to the roads today and did not die.  Despite trying a single time to finagle a ride from my father who was going to the same spot, albeit two hours later, I did not cry and sob and shake myself into a far greater sense of woe.  Instead, I got out there and started it and started swiping as far as my little arms would allow to get off as much snow as I could reach.  Then, once that was done, I had no real excuse not to try and go.  So, go I went, down the backest back roads to avoid the pressure of honking drivers from whom I could never get any compassion even if I could pull over and talk to them about the whole panic situation.  Instead of thinking about the thing, I did the thing. I did not slide.  I did not speed.  I did not risk or hurry to appease the drivers behind me.  I did not do anything reasonable or unreasonable and I parted the waves of the White Sea and made my way to the Frozen Babylon of the little shop.

Where people did come out, even at 2 degrees above zero, to buy presents at a far greater rate than I would have anticipated.  I had thought in my mind that somehow, a cold day, a foot of snow, people would just lay off shopping for a while.  But no.  I stayed busy all the way up until the evening’s end when the kind co-worker who lives within walking distance sent me home.

And from there, we did it again, slowly picking my way across the landscape, going very slow, but not allowing the panic to rise to any sort of noteworthy level.  It was a bit like being in a trance, driving through the foothills in the dark, watching the road that seemed clear but was actually just snow-packed, not thinking that at any moment I might fishtail to my doom, but just being aware of it needing to take care.  So after an hour of this fugue state, I got to the parking lot, and ended up taking a left turn and bringing myself to Old Chicago.

It was odd.  There’s something validating to me about being in public alone, something that re-affirms and defines the fact that if I am single and/or alone, I can be fearless about it.  Or at least, it’s nothing that requires fear.  It felt like I didnt want the magic of self-sufficiency to die on the frozen vine.

But now, quite loaded with calzone for bear, I am giddy for the fact that the morning will bring with it no demands for travel.  I can stay warm and play video games and plot presents (some of which I actually have bought now.)  I can, briefly, think that there is a holiday coming with something other than considerable blankness.

This is a good night.