Monday, March 16, 2009

Old ISCA BBS Profile Poetry

(Back in the early 1990's I was very active on a BBS at the University of Iowa. Your alias included a profile - a space for you to write anything you wanted to - limited to 5 lines. I often used the space to express how I was feeling, and saved some of my favorite "prose poems." I just rediscovered them a few days ago.)

Standing on the edge of absurdity, looking over into your eyes. They change, they cloud over, they are gone, and still I am looking, looking deep into nothing. I can't even see myself reflected in you anymore. I feel my heart go cold. You have frozen me in some horrible web of emotion. I feel your absence circle around me. I am choking, choking on my past. Watch me bleed...

Relatively happy, relatively sad. Relatively good, relatively bad.
Relatively dog-like, relatively cat. Relatively thin, relatively fat.
Relatively pretty. Relatively plain. Some say that I'm crazy, but I say they're insane.

A splintering of rose-fragmented poetry raining down in the midst of inky moonlight surrounding and enfolding skin smooth as flesh lying naked on a rock in the summertime with daisies sprinkled all around gliding in the breeze bringing fresh scents of trees and memories laced with just a dash of old melancholy resting its dark head on my lap and singing to me of yesterday...

Dip your fingers into my ink, spreading my flesh across your page. Smooth me, shape me, shade me darkly with your hands. Take my mouth and paint it raw, dripping oil down across your brush. Feel me rise under your pen, my skin an extension of your touch. Make me come alive, color my world, draw me in to who you are...

I got so used to having it that now that it's gone I can't cope. The craving is always there, strong and feverish. I wake up at 4 a.m. just thinking about it, fantasizing, remembering... Sometimes I'd have it two, three times a day. Each time it just got better. How can I return to a life of abstinence? What? Sex? Who said anything about sex? I was talking about Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

I am everything you've never wanted. I am what you fear I am. I am the inner bitch you've tried to bury. I am the childhood you want to deny. I am what keeps you up at night. I am nothing. I am not who I am. I am not what you think I am. Don't think you know me. You don't. I am hatred. I am rage. I am a dark secret, seething alone. I am what you will not see. I am not me.

Rain, dripping, dripping down. Rain on my face. Gliding down my nose, falling from my eyes. How I hate the rain. Feel it coming - the storm's brewing, even if you see no clouds. Opening, expanding, releasing a torrent, a tempest of age-old fury; my skin is exploding and the rain's going to come, falling, trickling, dripping, dropping, until my eyes are empty and my world is dry.

Dissection and Autopsies of Past Relationships: MWF 10:30, 44 SH
Understanding Your Cat, Understanding Yourself: MW 2:30 - 3:45, 100 PHBA
Guilt and Contemporary American Society: TR 9:30 - 10:45, 224 SH
Survey of Eating Disorders: TR 10:55 - 12:10, 161 VAN
Women Who Love Too Much And Men Who Don't Care: MWF 11:30, 427 EPB

An arm passes a leg in darkness. I feel you move over me, slowly, carefully. I brush your face and your stubble kisses my fingertips. Your mouth descends onto my mouth in soft hello. I move my hand across your back, feeling the muscles turn as you dip to greet my stomach with your lips, your beautiful lips. Your hair whispers across my chest, telling me of love. I am listening.

You were my binge food. The thing I turned to when I wanted to go numb. I indulged myself in you ravenously, hungrily. I felt I could never get enough, panicky at the thought of you being gone. I ate as much as I could, terrified. You settled like acid in my stomach. I hated myself even as I worshipped you. Purging, I wanted more. I tried to throw you up. I still can't.

October walked across my soul, leaving footprints as a reminder, a soft caress of yesterday. Night enfolded me in its arms, playing, teasing me with whispers of you. The mist slipped slowly around my shoulders, settling like a lover's kiss on the back of my neck. I moved in darkness, feeling it follow me, and touched your memory. The water lapped at my bare feet, calling your name...

I envy cats. Old or young, big or small, fat or thin, they are loved for what they are, and they know it. They are not ashamed of their bodies; they love to be stroked, and unabashedly seek out others to touch them. They purr when they're happy. They choose to be alone when they want to be. They do not follow rules. They do not obey. They live for pleasure. They are not afraid.

I have to learn to stop thinking first in terms of whether or not
I'm good enough for you,
And start thinking about whether you're good
For me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

(Almost) Feeling 17 Again...

Do we ever leave high school behind? Why does that period resonate so intensely with many of us, whether we were happy or not, popular or not? Obviously it means a lot to many people, or there wouldn't be so many movies made about it.

Truth be told, much of my memory of high school is vague, as are about any memories over 20 minutes old. Yet, having found all sorts of high school friends and acquaintances on Facebook, I've actually been a bit stung to realize a) all the relationships / friendships / activities that went on when I was in high school that I was not a part of (not having been in any way in the "in" crowd), b) that many of those friendships continued after high school and into today (I somehow did not keep in contact with people - my fault? Theirs? Was I not liked?), and c) that it *still* hurts my feelings 20 years later to realize how marginalized I felt (perhaps was, I don't know - do any of us accurately analyze our status in school?).

Why does it matter to me today? Does it? The sting usually lasts a few minutes, and then I go on and realize that I was quite happy in college, formed great friendships in college, went on to grad school, got married, have an awesome husband and great kids and am happy in my life. So why do I care about feelings from the late 80's? I think it strikes at that basic fear that people still won't/don't like me. Why did they have all those friendships and why wasn't I a part? Of course what I don't always ask myself is, did I want to be a part? I know by senior year I was drifting away from many friends because I had decided I wasn't interested in drinking or drugs, and many of them decided they were. It helped somewhat to designate myself as a sober driver, but I still was often not a "part" of what was going on. After high school I spent 4 months in Germany, and I know upon returning home that reentry was hard for me, and I didn't feel a connection with my high school friends, even though I wanted to.

I guess the bigger issue is my own underlying feelings of being left out. I've often felt that way. Sometimes those feelings reflect/reflected reality - I was overtly made fun of often for my weight or for being weird or what have you, and clearly rejected by many of my more popular classmates. Sometimes, though, those feelings came from within, which is why I think it bugs me 20 years later. I have those same feelings, of not quite fitting in but wanting to, that I had then. It'd be better if I didn't want to, of course - then it wouldn't bother me. *sigh*.

20 years later, and I'm still just a scared little high school kid on the inside, wanting to be liked.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Hypochondriac In Me Is Alive And Kicking

I've always been a bit of a hypochondriac. It's not something I'm proud of, or a trait I like about myself, it just is. So yesterday, when I woke up bone tired, took many naps, and yet still felt bone tired - well, by 3:00 I had myself convinced it was something terrible. I was convinced it was related to prediabetes or PCOS or something to do with being at my fattest I've ever been - clearly I'm just exhausted because I weigh so damn much! Maybe it's sleep apnea - fat people get that, you know! I knew I hadn't eaten well, so it must be related to eating white flour and sugar, when was I ever going to learn? And since my leg has been bothering me a bit, I was convinced there was something to that - that obviously I was going downhill with this extreme fatigue and slight leg pain and maybe I needed to consider gastric bypass surgery? Or maybe I had deep vein thrombosis. Then I started remembering I had read that often women who have heart attacks don't know it because the symptoms are usually less obvious, like fatigue or upset stomach, and wasn't I exhausted and spending time in the bathroom? Maybe I was having a heart issue! I'd better check my pulse...

So by mid-afternoon I was convinced I was the fattest, laziest person on the planet suffering from leg pain and sleep apnea because of my girth, feeling exhausted because of my crappy food intake, convinced I was showing signs of diabetes or heart disease, or what have you.

Turns out I think I'm just sick. Duh. Yes, some of those other things are things I have been and should be concerned about, but I don't think they are what laid me low yesterday.

However, I'm convinced that TOMORROW that's what's gonna get me.

Out, out, damned hypochondriasm, out!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Energy, Energy, Wherefore Art Thou, Energy?

I have no energy today. This is not unusual as of late, and I am wondering once again what the origin is: lack of sleep? too much sugar? hormonal issues? depression? PCOS? prediabetes? lack of exercise? something else?

I'm sure all of those come into play. I certainly don't get enough sleep or enough quality sleep, at that. The curse of being a light-sleeper, but also of wanting to have a life beyond mommyhood and therefore staying up until 11:00 p.m. or so when I really should be in bed (and does it count as having a life if I'm just watching TV or playing on Facebook? Doubtful...). I know I eat too many sweets and am addicted to sugar and white flour. Sure, I've given up chocolate and fast food for Lent, but I'm finding other things to eat, of course, and I know it starts the blood sugar tango. Which, of course, is related to the prediabetes and possibly PCOS I've been told I possibly have. Don't know when I'll get something definite - but if it IS prediabetes/PCOS, can I overcome it? If prediabetes drives cravings which leads me to sugar, if fatigue is sometimes a symptom of those things, what do I do? Could it be depression? I do feel just really blah lately, unmotivated, but is it a chicken and egg thing? Do I feel those because I'm tired, or does feeling ehh make one tired? I'm also certainly not exercising enough - sickness has prevented that, fatigue has contributed to the "I just don't feel like it" mentality, and both of those have me moving less and feeling tired more, not good for a fat lady to begin with.

The thing is, I want a simple answer. Or maybe better said, a simple solution. I want to know what it is and fix it. Likely it's a combination of all of those things. But it's wearing me down, it's impacting my life, it's making me much less the mom I want to be, it's chipping away at my self-esteem (a battle already), I just feel useless... too tired to be who I want to be, too tired to care about changing. I'm SURE if I dropped 80 pounds I would feel better, but it just feels so impossible. When I had my heart health check, the nurse with whom I spoke said the first thing I need to do is work on the fatigue and getting enough rest, because if I don't I won't have the coping skills to work on the other things. So true! So TRUE! But if the other things exacerbate the fatigue, how can I fix THAT cycle? So I write today wondering if other 37 year old moms feel as tired as I do... is this common? How can I fix it? WHAT IS IT?

I guess I need to do what I can to: a) get to bed earlier, b) sleep more soundly, c) eat better so to keep blood sugar steady, and d) exercise even if I don't feel up to it, b/c the more regular it is the better I feel. But today all I am thinking is how much I want to go back to bed and ignore my life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Expectations, or, The Birthday That Wasn't

Yesterday I turned 37. 37 has been my favorite number for who knows how long (and for who knows why?), so I have been looking forward to this birthday for what seems like forever. And although, as an adult, I realize adult birthdays are much different from childhood birthdays - as an adult, I know not to expect clowns or pool parties or streamers or what have you - I have to admit I felt let down by all the hoopla that wasn't.

I'm sure it's not fair to the people around me. I just expected - I don't know - *something*. We had a little "Open House" for me on Sunday night, to which we invited a number of people, but only 1 family and 1/2 of another family stopped in, plus my parents. Not to denigrate them - we had a great time, ate some pizza, talked a bunch, but it was fewer than I had been expecting (and fewer than had RSVPed yes), and kind of rushed, and I had to get out my own cake and put the candles on it, and remind family to videotape, etc. And everyone was gone within an hour, and then *poof*, the kids were in bed.

On my actual birthday, I got two wonderful cards from my family and hugs. We were stuck at home for a snow day, but that was O.K. It just didn't seem wowy zowy. My husband, in particular, just wasn't enthused, and hasn't been for a while. Don't know if it's me or something else, but it was kind of a bummer. I actually expressed that to him, but it still didn't help. I think a little part of me wanted the parade, wanted the fireworks, wanted to be struck on the head by lightning so that I would glow to the world and say, "Yes, THIS lady is 37! Celebrate!"

It's a reminder to me that expectations are just that - expectations. They aren't reality, and they aren't always realistic. Just because 37 is special to me doesn't mean the world will react that way. So I go on, on Day 2 of being 37, and just have to celebrate me on the inside.