When I last wrote my reflections on my thoughts, dreams, and goals, it was on my 41st birthday and I was very depressed. Since that time, a few things have changed, got rescheduled, put on hold, and rearranged. We are just a week after Midsummer, I still have occasion to weep over events in the world out of my control, but my family life has improved. A great heaviness lifted when my brother broke his silence and called me on Midsummer’s Eve night. Hurts between us are always due to misunderstanding made even worse due to disorder. The same goes with my father who likes to lash out at me whenever he’s in pain. I’m all too willing to act as care-giver when I really need to take care of myself more. My father is in a comfy vet’s home where he’s under 24/7 nurses’ attention (“like living in a hotel!” he describes it) and my brother has his own help, too. Yet, both my mother and aunt, before they died, instilled in me a sense of duty and honor to care for my closest blood relatives. If I cannot do that, what good am I? What kind of sister or daughter would I be if I didn’t do anything to help them? So the more I fought to help my father and brother, the more they felt smothered by me. I offended them every time I offered to do anything for them! I thought it was the right thing to do, but then realized that the really right thing to do was to follow their wishes. Both men wished to be left alone. So, I did just that.
But I did not leave them alone without a sense that I was abandoning them. During the years when my mother was dying, even though it was emotionally and physically draining there, I always felt good that I was making my mother very happy. She lived for her visits with me and my brother. I don’t think she even minded when he and I would fight over who got to do what! For once she was the center of our attention. What I miss the most is printing photographs and making little displays on her activity board in her room. I miss meeting and talking with the nursing staff, greeting the other patients, and always going to that home with a mission — to make my mother’s day! Planning a visit was always planning a little project. I tried never to go there without having something to give, or a story to tell her, but it was never enough. I still feel like I did not do enough to make her life better in her last days. But she told me that just being there meant more to her than anything I could ever buy or make.
When my father checked into the vet’s home, I looked forward to making him a cork board to post photographs and other mementos on. Even more I wanted to make new friends with his 80 to 90 something neighbors — seniors who are full of stories! But, no, Dad is very introverted, plus he told me he’s embarrassed to introduce his fat daughter to everyone. I cannot tell you how embarrassing it is to have a father who has never told me he loves me or is proud of me. Oh, he tells me I’m the prettiest born of all his daughters, but I’d really be beautiful if I just were skinny. Whatever. He’s gotten so bad with me that I can no longer eat a simple sandwich, or any kind of meal, with him anymore because he panics whenever I eat.
This brings me to the one subject that hangs over me like some big, black, over-hanging-over thing (my imagination is too exhausted at the moment to include a metaphor for the moment): my weight problem. No matter how happy I get, or what I accomplish in life, it’s the one thing that holds me back from being completely happy because there’s always some damn fool picking on me for being obese. Ugh.
Back in January, I wrote Belly Goal, Belly Truth and made the simple goal to study belly dance, get to an intermediate level, and conquer my fears of being ridiculed. After a bout of whispered bullying from young women, and then finally facing the worst form of ridicule: the looks of disgust toward me from a guy friend I respected, I backed out of a public performance. I realized that if these two forms of ridicule are still bothering me too much, I’m not ready to give a truly confident performance.
I am close to reaching my belly dance goal. My skills and sense of balance have greatly improved, but I have yet to really lose a lot of weight as a result of my obsessive dancing. In fact, as a last resort, lap band surgery seems the way my doctors are pointing me into. My body is set at 250 lbs. and it is becoming more and more cumbersome for me to stay at this weight. At this point I’m more concerned about my health than my looks, of course.
Last night I was in and out of the hospital so I could be monitored after my blood glucose spiked too high, too fast. When one part of my body is out of balance, the rest follows suit. What caused the spike? Long story short: I was low on my mood stabilizing medicine, and there was a delay in a shipment of it getting to my pharmacy, making me wait five days before I could get it back in my body. I thought I could handle going without it for a few days. I was wrong. Lack of those chemicals made me get hyper and then crash — combination of two kinds of extreme mood stress broke my sleep routine and food intake, therefore making my body go through a total tailspin! Val went BOOM!
After a brief recovery, and a lot of yelling at my pharmacy for the mistake, I am much better. I feel very lucky to have the health care team that I have. Plus…
I have GREAT NEWS. Just signed an approved contract for MORE pay than I estimated/asked for a playing card project next month. I’m beginning to feel more like a published artist. Someday I’ll have to talk more about that. For now, I’m relaxing back into my routine with a few burdens less heavy and with plenty room in my mind for rejuvenated inspiration!