return of the prodigal daughter

You know those weeks when you’re just slightly askew? You don’t say the right things or say things the right way? You walk around in a perpetual question mark of why the hell did I say that or, why can’t I seem to function like everyone else? That, my friends, has been my week and shit, it’s been hard.

I have these weeks. We all have these weeks, I’m sure. I feel like I’m picking up all sorts of vibes—meant for me and for others. It’s overwhelming and it muddles my sense of grounding. My instincts are asking for vodka shots they are so done with trying to figure it all out.

It’s the end of spring semester and the height of lax season. It’s that time of year when the tired is particularly strong and thick. While I feel like I’ve rolled with whatever was thrown at me, the actual weight of it all is starting to get to me. Forgive me if I am my usual ribbon of humor doesn’t find its way into this. Rest assured, it is there, but this has been a trying week and a trying semester. Oh hell, while I’m at it, a trying couple of years of transition. There’s so much to be happy with right now. There’s so much progress. The return of my normal ridiculously shy tendencies is proof that I am back on some very important levels, but alas! This week no matter how hard I’ve tried to find the productive and see the positive, I eventually had to throw up my hands and say, “uncle.” I was not as successful this week as my anxiety and self-doubt were. That’s okay. It really is because it makes me sit down and write, first and foremost, and to do that internal work that has been so very integral to my healing.

Also, there was the return of Fluff. Fluff, people, Fluff. The jar says it’s gluten free and if it isn’t medically-GF and makes me sick I’m going to stab things. Fluff is one of the most amazing foods of my childhood. No, my bar wasn’t set that low, rather my parents were very into healthy. This is generally a good thing and I thank them for it, but as a kid it was less awesome. There were no sugary cereals, no lunchables (which totally freak me out now), and no fruit roll ups. There was trail mix and bread sticks and dried fruit. BUT, when fluff appeared on the market somehow it made it into the house. Peanut butter sandwiches were never the same. I love Fluff. Fluff was one of the highlights of this tough week. For that I am thankful. For the rest, here we go…

Writing. I’ve been trying to write more. My writer self has been pushing me to get back to it, but I’m scared. My nerve has been temporarily lost. My voice is hiding. As much as I’d like to say I’ve moved past the insults and abuse from the program, I haven’t entirely. And I am soooo tired of talking about this, people. I can’t even begin to express it. I am embarrassed that this is still a thing in my life. Too much of me still believes that my work will be rejected, much the way it was throughout my time in the program. I don’t want to hear about how boring and simple my writing and my ideas are anymore. Of course, this is not the time of the semester to be breaking out any new projects, but the time is drawing nigh. Enter: anxiety.

I spent some time thinking about this and what I came to is: I need to replace the bad memories with successful ones. I’ve been sort of doing this already with field hockey, but it’s time to address it directly with writing. While I am under no obligation to achieve anything more than I already have, I need to do more for myself. I need to prove that they were wrong. This summer holds a very big mission. Seriously, I’ve literally cleaned out every single room in my apartment and the garage. It’s time, people. It’s also frighteningly difficult to imagine myself going there again.

I’ve been trying to buy a home of some sort, which has proven to be more difficult than I expected. Houses in my price range are higher than they ever have been, fewer are on the market, and more of us are looking. Twice, I almost purchased one. Twice, I would have had my offer accepted. They were both lovely in their own right, but it wasn’t right. Either they were really asking too much for such an uncertain market or it was still too much of a stress to my budget. It all came to a head in February and left me feeling defeated, as well as embarrassed. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about because I know I have a very tight budget and a lot less room for fucking it all up—or a greater chance at doing that depending on how you want to word this. I have faith that I will figure it out, but it’s definitely something I’m carrying with me and most people don’t understand how I feel that weight. Couple privilege is a real. What’s also real is feeling like you are hurting people by acknowledging realities of your life. No, I shouldn’t be single right now unless it was by choice, but I am and it has taught me not to build my security on a man on a white horse. That’s not so bad for me most of the time, but there is a way in which that cuts right through all the tender parts. People don’t seem to understand that underneath all that financial practicality is a fairly decent-sized wound. Tread lightly on it, folks.

I’m trying to finally figure out some things about my health, in particular the neurological issues. This means I’m headed to a neurologist, which is oddly enough the least scary thing of the week/semester. I know there’s something wrong and at this point I just want to understand it as fully as I possibly can so I that I can work with it. Truthfully, I want some quality of life back. I am better than I was, but I still don’t sleep well most of the time. Sleep well is only waking up once a night or getting a full 5-6 hours before my legs start to act up. I also can’t really eat out many places and I’ve found that I don’t have as much support in that area as I expected to get. My sister and family have been wonderful, my friends not so much. I don’t think it’s malicious, just ignorant. I know it can be difficult to put yourself in another person’s shoes, but it is possible and fool allergy information is fairly abundant at this point. Sometimes I feel like they have carried me for so long and this is just their breaking point. I feel like maybe they are tired of me needing support. It’s changed things and that’s hard.

Anyways, I’ve been trying to cover the smaller stuff before I tackled the neurological issues. Mainly, it’s been addressing the triggers and impact of the residual anxiety I have from the program and fixing my knee. I figured both would be fairly easy, so of course they weren’t. And, it’s not that they were worse than I anticipated. I just don’t feel they’ve been directly addressed. What do I mean? I have been told too many times for my liking that all will be better if I lose ten pounds. Ten. Always ten. That makes me automatically skeptical of the advice. I don’t think I am buff, buff, buff, but I also don’t think I am necessarily overweight; however, I am 177 pounds and 5’5”. I weight lift and I don’t have a naturally slender frame. There are definitely places that need some work (talking you, abs), but my focus isn’t thin, it’s strong. My core needs to be stronger. This is my workout goal for the summer. I can’t promise, though, that I will lose ten pounds in the process. What bothers me is that it feels like unsubstantial doctoring. Not only do I not feel heard, but I feel like I am being stuck with an overly simplistic response. I feel like this is largely due to my being a woman. After all, what woman doesn’t want to be as thin possible? This one. I’ve never encountered this in all the years of sports and physicals. It’s disappointing and ultimately, doesn’t solve my problem. It’s also making me question what I see in the mirror.

Finally, my dad had a heart attack in March. (He’s totally fine, thankfully.) It’s easy to push that aside and just focus on the fact that he’s here. In fact, that is exactly what I’ve been doing–and I think I should be doing to an extent, but there’s a truth there to face that you don’t really face until these moments. This is going to happen for real one day. My parents are my biggest supporters. They put up with all of my crazy and still love me. That’s hard, folks– seeing yourself outside of that support structure, knowing that you’ve got to have something there to replace it when it changes. This is especially hard as a single woman. I don’t have anything outside of my parents and sister, aside from a few very solid lifelong friends. Don’t get me wrong, I will carry on. If nothing else, I’ve learned how to be okay with the part of my independence that essentially means being alone. We all have to work through this kind of shift, probably many times over. But this is a big one. I don’t know that any man will love me as consistently as my dad has. I don’t know if any man will show up for me every time I need him—the way he has. Truth is, I have never been able to lean on any guy. Ever. When I lean, they run or they get mad. I’m supposed to be a fortress in that way, but not with my dad. It’s always been understood that when you push your boundaries and work hard that periodically it will get overwhelming and it’s okay to need to someone to help you walk through it. I am very much so my father’s daughter, so he understands all the ways the world bruises me. He understands how things bite at the softer parts of my soul. Our method for dealing with life is practicality and grounding and honestly embracing how uncertain and messy it all can be. I have spent a lot of time with him this past year as I’ve been trying to secure my financial future and ensure that I can handle things that women just don’t usually get taught. He’s fine, so that’s where my focus has been, but the weight of it all hit me last Sunday and it’s been tough. It’s been really tough. I’ve kind of shrunk back in the last couple of years in order to get healthier. Part of that has been designating Sunday as the day I don’t have to drive anywhere and this has meant not going home for church and Sunday brunch. I’m exhausted when I’m not sleeping. I need that one day a week, but I feel like I should have been there more, despite being tired. I guess there’s no shaking that feeling that you haven’t done enough.

So last night, I talked to someone I was thrilled to see— even more than the Fluff, but I don’t think I really conveyed that. Some of it was nerves that have inconveniently found their way back (UGH!), but it was also too much heavy still lingering around– too much thick, muddled, weirdness. I was all fumbly and lost for words. Me, lost for words. That just made me mad, so today’s task beyond cleaning my apartment and grading some leftover papers was to process this shit. It’s time to pack this up and put it away. I’m not taking it into next week. I want to be awake and clear and present. I want to shut that little voice of self-doubt down, maybe strangle that shyness, and stop being controlled by that weirdness– get back to harnessing its power instead.

And eat more Fluff…

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