Tuesday, February 26, 2013


So, progress is important in life.  It's the laws of evolution.  It's how the human race adapts.  But in my world, progress is essential to keeping me engaged.  To keeping me alive.  If I'm not progressing, I get really. pissed. off.  I get bored and distracted and can stray so far from a good path, it's unrecognizable even to me.  I've had more than one occasion in the last year where as a result of being sick to death of dealing with the same old sickness and the lack of healthfulness of this family, I was ready to walk and find a new path.  One where I could be more successful, have more fun living, and learn/do something entirely brand new.

Today though, I'm so pleased to say, I have witnessed progress.  Real progress.  Since my daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed merely two weeks ago, she's sleeping through the night and I could actually have to check to see if she is breathing before realizing it's true.  She's eating, like real quantities of food that were a never ending battle before her surgery.  When she went in for her surgery, she was 23 lbs.  At 2 years 8 months old, I knew this was a low weight, and I did everything in my power to get more fuel into her little body to help her grow and thrive, but who knew it was because her tonsils were humongous nothing would fit through.  I feel like the worlds shittiest mother for not figuring that out sooner and for forcing an appointment with an ENT months and months earlier, but I have to forgive myself and remember that I did force it.  I knew there was something wrong, I was trying to fix it, and I got her the help she needed.  Now I have to figure out how to feed this child of mine who won't stop eating.  It's way different than it was before.

And I've lost my first 14 lbs.  My pre-op diet, as much as it sucks, is paying off.  But when I sway from the path even the slightest teensiest bit, I pay the price for it.  So for the next week, I'm on it 100%.  No swaying.  Not even the teensiest, tiniest little bit.  I'd like to go in and weigh in before my surgery knowing that I've lost closer to 20 lbs pre-surgery.  What a hell of a jump start that will be.

In the grand scheme of things, 14 lbs is so not huge compared to what I have left to go.  But it is definitely a chunk.  A good chunk.  And if I were to lug 14 lbs of butter from the car into the kitchen I'd probably feel it. So I'll take it thanks.  It's 14 lbs I never want back.

So progress.  My husband still has many an ailment, but I figure the fact that we've gone now a full week without significant illness in this family is stellar.  Again.  There are 52 weeks in a year to get through, so I get it...a week is barely a drop in the bucket.  But I'm taking it too.  I'm looking forward to when sicknesses down this family for a maximum of just 3 or 4 weeks per year, rather than living for those rare 3 or 4 weeks when we're actually healthy and on the mend.

Without hope, we have nothing, and we die.  I'm glad I've got some back.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Strife's an addiction

A lot of what you read in this blog is me trying to make sense of crap that seemingly keeps happening to me, and makes me feel like there's no progress to next steps.  Even when I forcibly take the giant leaps I need to take in order to make a difference in my life and improve my mental health, it's never an easy thing to do.  There's always 40 things surrounding it that make the simplest task or decision life altering, immensely stressful, and which ultimately make me feel like I'm beating my head against brick walls and fighting the forces of nature that will eventually crush me like a bug between its palms just for the fun of it.


It's true.  Life (particularly mine) seems to be riddled with endless examples of angst.  Strife.  A constant tug of war pulling on what I feel is my true purpose and calling, and what I'm stuck doing til I get the opportunity to do what I want to do every single day, and finally enjoy my existence without worry.  Can I get an amen?

Then I read this by Wil Wheaton.  I took up reading his blog WIL WHEATON dot NET about a month or so ago, and honestly have enjoyed it.  I read him regularly.  I was never really a fan of Star Trek, and am not "that sci fi, gaming kind of geek".  But I am a theatre geek.  AND, I am a writer geek.  And if I had all the money in the world, I would spend my time writing in my office, scheduled around the time I spent being a full time mom to my daughter, just like him.  I wouldn't be sitting behind a computer fighting insanely political, time wasting corporate battles for a bunch of drones who think they mean more than they do, and who can't pull two challenging ideas into a bigger picture to save their lives.

And I realized that the reasons I feel the angst I feel is because every day feels like a failed audition for that role I'm still not able to play.  Maybe what I'm forgetting or incapable of accepting, is that this is the dream.  This is the role.  This is the job I'm going to do - and when I finally get to retire dagnabit, no doubt I'll be babysitting grand kids or travelling, or goodness gracious, cleaning up after and cooking for that wonderful husband of mine whom I spent a decade or more of my life praying for and auditioning with other ill fated dates, until we finally met.

It all keeps coming back to this.  Wil Wheaton should not have to audition for roles to play - good grief, I wish I had his resume and noteriety.  And the fact that he is, well, I think says more about a ridiculously 2 dimensional industry than it says about him as an actor.  Either he loves acting so very much that it's worth the batting average heartache, or like me, he's still hoping, wishing and praying and trying really damn hard to be that thing he is not.  I should not be worrying about how to change careers any more than he should be.  I can dabble and write here any day I have a spare moment, and if I'm so inclined I can write elsewhere, anything I choose and at any time without the pressure of an editor or a publisher chomping and burning up my phone lines wondering where's chapter 11.  Eventually I'll be able to retire, and writing can be my priority.  Sorta like I always figured it would be.

But until then I have a steady and reliable income that supports my first and only real true love, my family.  Comfortably even.  It sucks, but what "job" doesn't?  In the grander scheme of things, the job is not who I am, and if I got my way today, I'd gladly change what I did all day, BUT, I'd do it for the enjoyment.  Not the cash flow.  So this is as it should be.  For me, and possibly him.  I'm going to stop believing that everything I do is with an aim to allow me more freedom to do the things that I want to do, cuz let's face it...it won't ever be that way til I'm not working for the man.  And instead, I'm going to believe more that they are the reflection of a person who is doing what needs to be done to allow my family the necessities and even possibly some of the wants they wish to be fulfilled.  That's a purpose driven life.

And maybe Mr. Wheaton can feel similarly.  That an audition is not a failure or a success, but rather time spent in crafting one's purpose.  And if it's something he loves, he can sustain it and remember that it's a process.  Or he can put it in perspective and realize (hopefully from reading this post), that he just changed someone's outlook on their own life by what he wrote.  And then maybe he'll realize that's a pretty awesome purpose in life to be blessed with.  And he's already infinitely more successful at this most beloved craft than I would dream of being.

And if in fact he does read this, then maybe he'll also get to this final observation - the greats in any art or science were always their greatest postmortem.  So, he should consider himself absolutely gifted (and I'm sure he does, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded) to be so well recognized for his art in his own lifetime.  He shouldn't be wasting his time auditioning for the awesomeness that is already his life.  Least of all feeling badly about an audition that didn't go his way.  And neither should we.

It gives people who don't matter waaaay too much control over things they know nothing about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


So something struck me recently when a female acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook about buying a ticket to Comicon, and all the fun little things she's discovering about what she can look forward to seeing when she gets there.  She's asking friends for budget conscious costume ideas and I was half mortified for her, and half completely agasp at the fact that I was watching all this unfold.

I met her through my husband.  And while we share an online friendship of sorts through Facebook, and of course we've got plenty of ground on which to find common experience through infertility, mental health and wellness, and a joy of photography and all things artistic and written, this is one of those gap areas where you accept your friends for who they are and what they do, no matter the consequence of those quirky little idioms or how different they are from your own preferences.

Then I recalled my first meeting with my hubby.  He told me he was a geek.  He told me he was seriously committed to some truly geeky type games...Even as he described them I underestimated the extent to which they would tether themselves to his life.  I very vocally drew the line at costumes.  And the first time I had an opportunity to check, I looked in his closet, praying I wouldn't find anything in his wardrobe that would help him pretend to be something like Captain Kirk.  Or worse, a comic book character I wouldn't recognize if my life were dependent on it.  Much to my relief, I found nothing.  He too drew the line at costumes for anything not remotely related to Halloween.  I have no issue with a Halloween costume (well with what is hopefully an obvious exception of the "slutty career of choice" costumes pushed on women every October).  At first, I know it felt like I was being snobbish, and that maybe others might think I was being a snob.

But it wasn't until I watched another Facebook post pop up with squeals of delight at the fact that Gillian Anderson would be making a special appearance that suddenly it hit me.  I've never actually wanted to be anyone other than who I am.  Chalk that up to some seriously awesome parenting on my mom and dad's part!  With all due respect to everyone, I'm not perfect and there are and likely always will be things about me that I'd love to change, improve or sometimes even simply get rid of without replacing them at all.  But I've never wanted to be anyone else for the sake of achieving that.  I also don't really want a vacation from myself, or my life.  I'd like a vacation from my job, from my household chores, from hearing the word mommy so often I want to pierce my own eardrums.  But not my character.  Not myself.  I want to experience those escapes fully as myself.  AND, when I fantasize about these escapes from reality, I do so as myself.

I am still a dreamer.  I can envision that my life could look like that of just about anything.  In fact, just last night I dreamed that I was a mother not only to my 2 year old daughter, but also to a man sized duck, and I wondered if I gave him hard boiled eggs for his school lunch was that too much...you know...in the way of asking my grown duck child to succumb to the parent-ally administered pressures of cannibalism.  I have the wildest of imaginations.  But I'm still always me.  Sometimes a little more adventurous.  Sometimes a whole lot more graceful.  Many times louder than I wish to be.  But I'm me nevertheless.  And you could change the career, the friends, the hobbies and interests, and I could venture to tell you that I don't think you'd find anything terribly different than what you would see in me this very moment.

So to imagine or fantasize that you could be anything but yourself is completely foreign.  And while I comprehend that there are millions of people who lavish in that kind of environment where fantasies come to life, and idols can be shoulder rubbed would be invigorating, I still don't see an appeal.  What do those idols give us that we don't already have within ourselves?  What part of oneself could be so hidden from the world that the only way one could feel comfortable sharing it, is in someone else's form?  This is where it loses me.

And it goes without saying that idolatry and fantasy doesn't limit itself to Comicon conventions or other like experiences.  There are whole magazine empires devoted to what is supposedly more mainstream flocking and idolatry of Hollywood actors and actresses, celebrity personalities, and goodness sake's even royalty.  Or the sports junkies who live by stats and idolize specific players to the point where they name their pets after their most favourite player.

But where I'm going with this is, does this contribute in any way to our inability to connect with our own realities, identities...does it in any way contribute to the epidemic of our failing mental health?  I know that despite my ability to admire qualities in other people, to wish to continue to improve my own self over whatever part of myself is now obsolete, I'm obviously no more inclined to overcome my depression and anxiety disorder than anyone else who is afflicted with it.  BUT, am I healthier, and do I really have a better shot at managing it?

Monday, February 11, 2013


Have been thinking a lot lately about why I need validation, and what ties that has to both my own mental health issues, as well as how it may be connected to my weight issues.

It's no surprise that very often depression and anxiety and obesity are intrinsically co-dependent.

Fat people are rejected.  Every hour of every day, by someone or several people.  And in many ways, fat people have been so rejected for so long, that it's now the somethings that do the rejecting on someone else's behalf.  You see, rejecting fat people has become so passe that society has built ways upon which the fat people can continue to be rejected without having to exert so much effort.  Lazy ass skinny people!

Airplane seats get smaller and smaller - and smaller still.  Movie theatre seats got bigger.  Serving sizes got ginormous as if the corporations who supply them are saying - "holy crap you eat so freaking much we're going to throw the trough at you and hope it's enough".  And the disdain in gym commercials, print media and advertising got even thicker.  It's such a cobbled web of impunity, that now fat people reject themselves before anyone else can have the opportunity.

You want to talk about taking bullying to a whole new level of awful...this is how it starts.  This is where fat people become so unbelievably unhappy, that they remove themselves from social situations.  They create the backdrop to their own depression and isolation.  They take themselves out of life, before other people get the chance to hurt them, and before their obesity has the chance to catch up.

Shortly before my medical leave in 2008 for depression and anxiety, I went on a business trip to Singapore.  Did you know that in regions of the world where people are stereotyped for being petite, they have made airplane seats and therefore seat belts that much smaller?  That's right, while we would complain about the shrinking seat sizes in North America, it's nothing compared to the seat sizes in Asia.  That was the first and only time I was faced with a mortifying reality of having to request a seat belt extender or face being de-boarded.  And I was shocked, appalled at myself, and in real severe pain because the arm rests were digging into my hips like daggers on a relentless mission to remind me of what a reject I was.  Suddenly, in a world full of people of all shapes, colours and sizes, I was made to feel like Godzilla on a war path.  I attracted stares anyway with my 5'8" plus size stature.  NOW - I also had the ridicule and shame of adding that seat belt extender and spent the rest of my several hours in coach wanting to die.  And I spent a week swollen from the humidity of tropical Singapore with black bruises in each of my hips from the entire coach airplane experience to remind me what a reject I was.  Thanking God I didn't have to suffer the added humiliation of being charged for more than a single seat too.

The pressures of rejection are so pervasive that I've spent the last two years thinking about how everything I do related to meals and food, is an example to my child, and worrying that if I eat the way she should, she'll worry she'll be fat.  And if I go to the extremes of eating differently, she'll worry that she'll get fat and have to do that too.  I am terrified that my child will be known at school as the one with the morbidly obese mom.  I'm terrified that no matter how perfect she is, she'll be ostracized and rejected because of my weight.  And I'm terrified that taking the steps I need to take to make sure that won't happen will scar her just as badly.  

And there are many a night when I go to sleep tearful because while my child eats healthy at nearly every single meal, she also gets a treat every single day.  And the thought of a day where she doesn't get a treat causes her distress.  My daughter is thin and beautiful and perfect in every way.  There's no reason why she can't or shouldn't be able to have a treat every day - but what is the right answer when you're a parent?

When work pressures were at an all time high in the spring of 2008, and my body continued to reject the idea of being pregnant, and as I continued to withdraw and I struggled with even maintaining a morbidly obese weight, depression and anxiety took over and therapies and medical cocktails began.  In my work with the psychologist, we figured out that my feelings of inadequacy were a major trigger.  They were a huge factor in how I viewed myself - and as slow as this may seem, but I'm just realizing now, how my failure to lose weight and the constant rejection surrounding my weight has been connected to all of that.  I always knew it was PART of the bigger problem...I just didn't know how the puzzle piece fit.  It wasn't just how I felt I was a failure.  It was how the world at large was rejecting me all along, and telling me I was a failure.  If those things that we do in our lives to mitigate and cope with those feelings of failure are also breaking down (work, etc), what's left?

So, as I'm diving head first into my pre-op diet and am already starving every 2 hours...dreaming of a diet that includes cheese and bacon...well, for that matter any taste at all...I'm trying desperately to remind myself that doing this is brave, difficult and by every possible definition, setting myself up for success.  I'm trying very hard to remember that this is not a mark of failure, but a promise/commitment to myself and a strategy for doing this for the very last time.

In my lifetime, I've never imagined a day when I would know that I was a healthy weight, and that I would never have to fight the battle with weight again.  Today, I feel like that's a remote possibility.  And I'm not sure how to process the emotions of it.  But I'm glad that's where I am.