Along the Way

To paraphrase my grandma Goldie, “The only thing you get out of this life is what you eat, drink, or smoke; and if you’re lucky, you might just get to love someone along the way.”

Strange how love, luck, and fear all roll down the same highway.

Have I been so lucky, or have my fears guarded my heart too much?

I always went for safe men to fulfill my basic human need to love without getting too involved, lest they seek to harm or throw restraints on me.

For good reason. I learned at a very young age that I had to protect myself and guard my sisters from men, particularly from a pedophile who had blended into our family so well that no one believed that he was capable of harming children.

I had some odd ideas about men… wondered if they were some kind of subspecies, so most should be regarded as dangerous creatures. Even those I trusted and deemed as safe had oddities. I believed strange things, like men could not feel the bitter cold of winter because my father went years without a warm coat while us girls were all bundled up and still chattering. In hindsight, I know better… those were lean years when my father went without to provide for his children.

Needless to say, I grew up with some warped ideas. It took years for me to realize that men were just people, too. Poetry and music helped to solidify that conclusion, as it amazed me that men could write with such passion and other emotions.

I was 22 before I willingly had sex with anyone. Thankfully, I had a patient husband who learned how to touch me without triggering body memories that would render me to instant ice or worse… I’d do that little parlor trick and poof, be gone.

Maybe I should delete that, but fuck it… I’m only one of an estimated 60 million survivors in the USA today (link to source) and stats do vary, 1 in 3 girls… 1 in 4… 1 in 5?  Predators thrive on silence, harming little minds as well as bodies, so pretending it does not happen only perpetuates the silence and hinders recovery.

So, how did I meet my husband?

He was in our back yard hunting fishing worms with my nephew when I arrived home from work one day. The only reason I agreed to go anywhere with him (our first date, if you could call it that, was a walk to the park to go swing on the swings) was because I had already said “nothing” when he asked what I was doing and I couldn’t think up a valid excuse to say no. Then he baffled the hell out of me. That weird little man brought me flowers darn near every day while he courted me, but never once tried to touch me. After several weeks passed, I kissed him and we married before the end of summer.

The marriage lasted less than four years, but we were together on and off about ten… lived separately but continued an odd relationship after our first and second dissolution.  Dissolution instead of divorce was quite fitting as I was dissolving in the marriage, felt like I had to explain my every action, as if I needed his permission or approval to breathe.

After I moved two counties north to break free, I tried dating. That was bizarre. I quit after a few blind dates from hell, couldn’t deal with dinner conversation that made me feel like I was on a job interview in the Twilight Zone.

I did meet someone at a gallery… a zany artist who was leaving Ohio before I met him. It started out as a mutual attraction that drew us together now and then, despite us each having reservations (okay, serious issues) that prevented seeking a normal relationship.  Our “unique and special friendship” spanned more than twenty years, with over ten of those years being after he moved to another state.

Once again, I had picked someone safe to fulfill my basic human need to love and be loved.

Then everything changed on March 30, 2015.

Something clicked inside when my aunt died. I threw caution to the wind, and made what turned out to be life altering decisions based on, “What would Betty do?”

Uh… to give credence to what that implies? After my ex-husband met the vet, he asked me how I hooked up with that guy and when I told him that it was a WWBD decision, he was like, “OMG, your aunt was wild! You can’t do that!”

Well, yeah… I did.

I had to throw caution to the wind, banish fears and live a life that’s raw, real, and right now… I just wanted to feel alive.  We could blame it on the bipolar as I did go a tad too manic there for awhile, but there were other things in the works that had been stewing under the surface for a very long time.

So, I went off the deep end, lost a dear friend in the process… but, eventually got it together and life goes on. The consequences of my decisions have not all been bad. Some were pretty good, got me out of the Towers and into a home of my own.

As for the vet, he’s a good man… comes off a bit mean on a first impression, but under the stoic face and military persona is a playful little boy with a kind soul and a teddy bear heart.

He feels more deeply than I do… I opted not to tell him things that he doesn’t need to know about because I don’t want him to feel sad for me. He would, too. I saw his reaction when he asked about a scar on my skin, a little white spot that no one else has ever noticed. He was instantly sad and ready to kill whoever hurt me and I did not go into any details… just said it was a cigarette burn, don’t worry about it.

Besides, I am no longer haunted by body memories. I’m not living in the past, that life is gone. All we have is right here, right now… will it last? I don’t know. All we have is right here, right now, and no one gets out of this world alive.

That’s what clicked inside when my aunt died: a need to live my life raw, real, and right now.

This is not what I intended to write about… I planned to write about life changes docs are demanding I make that run cross-grain to my grandmother’s words, but got detoured by love along the way.

I have been lucky enough to love along the way… and each of the three men mentioned above have blessed my life in different ways. I still love all three… the vet understands that, as he can love me and still love the mother of his children. That’s just the way it goes… true love lingers or flips to hate. It cannot be turned off like water at the faucet. Thanks for reading.

March ANTI-Res

March roared in with subzero chills on the kite wind.  Winter stalked the Midwest all the way down south and up the east coast like a jilted lover who refuses to let go.  The ides passed without a word.  I did not make a March Res as the resolutions made for February kind of spitter spatted and stalled.  (Spellcheck tells me “spitter” and “spatted” are misspelled.  We can “spitted” and “spatter” and but not the other way around?  OH WELL.  Everyday lingo does not always sync with dictionaries.)  Now where was I before red squiggly lines interrupted my train of thought?  Oh yes, February.

I finally got wet.  In March.  Last week, to be precise.

After gathering up my courage and swim gear, I walked over to the YMCA to do some deep water walking and learned that my Y-PASS card had been deactivated.  I had changed insurance companies, got a new  Silver Sneakers card, so I’m guessing the Y dropped me during the transition.  (Silver Sneakers is a perk offered by some insurance companies to old and/or disabled people.)   She let me in anyway, and I was the only person in the shallow pool, which was not deep enough to keep my feet off the floor.  I was also the only person in the locker room so I got a good look at myself in the full length mirror.  The Y called me latter in the week to let me know that my Y-PASS works again, so now I am good to go.

The two piece swimsuit purchased to replace the baggy suit does not look nearly as cute on me as I thought it did.

To tell you the truth, and this may sound bizarre, my body actually looked better when I weighed 80 pounds more.  I told my sister and she was all, “oh no… you look better now” but she’s seeing me with clothes on.   Everything that used to just be big and rounded is now saggy and lumpy.  I have folds where I never had skin folds before, lumps where they don’t belong.  And it is going to get a lot worse and that scares me.   I am afraid that by the time I am done, the skin on my tummy will hang to my knees and the skin from my knees will sag like capris.  The bat wings will be so long that I will have to flip the skin around my arms a few times and secure it with scrunchies.   I have this mental picture of how it is going to be and sometimes having a vivid imagination can dramatically exaggerate things, but I knew when I looked in that mirror that reality is not too far off.   It scares me because I have heard horror stories of nasty sores, which thankfully I don’t get but then again, I take extra care to pamper that excess skin.

I am seriously thinking of putting myself on a diet.  My weight has been stagnant, the needle barely moving up or down a pound or two for months on end now.  I think the fear of excess skin has got me self sabotaging to maintain where I am as I don’t dare gain back any weight.  My imagination goes extreme that way, too.  It never goes on or off the same.  If I gained weight, I imagine it would go to those lumpy areas and turn them into monstrous things attached to my body.  Yeah… gaining weight is not an option.  My best bet is just get through this as fast as I can, get it done and over with.  I still have a lot of weight to lose before I would be a good candidate for skin removal surgery.

Ye gads… it leaves me with one question:  Are navels optional?

Bend (beyond ropes)

I crossed the line.  The earth did not shatter. 

That line was my SAFE line on the scale.  Kind of stupid, but I had to CBT some sense into my thinking and writing it out into poem form really helped.

My fears were delusional.  I do NOT NEED a hundred plus pound “cushion” to protect myself anymore. 

Facts are:
1.  I am not a defenseless child anymore.
2.  I am an old woman now.  Time itself is a blessing.
3.  No one has tried to rape me when I weighed over 100 lbs.  No one has tried to force me over 200 lbs.
4.  Age & fat do not eliminate all unwanted advances, but there is a definite inverse math thing going on.  The older/heavier you are, the less often a woman has to deal with that. 
5.  I can and have warded off unwelcome advances, so telling myself that I don’t know how to deal with that bull is a lie.  Quite simply, I hate being hit on.  I don’t want to have to deal with any of that.

Do I have sexual issues?  No, I have issues with total jerks, drunken assholes, and pedophiles. 

It is funny how the mind works.  I have hovered just above that “safe” line all summer, self-sabatoging (not always conciously) every time I was about to cross it until I realized what was going on.  So stupid to have so much nonsense attached to a particular number.

I’m not scared anymore.  I don’t “need” fat anymore.  Crossing the line or maybe writing the poem “Ropes” brought peace and clarity. 

OH… by the way, having a clear head is wonderful.  I have made some life altering decisions, including a relocation.

Yes, I am moving! 

It is not a 100% done deal yet… but I have already given notice to my current landlord and started downsizing and packing up to move to a smaller space in a much desired location.  It will be a life changer.  I don’t want to say too much about it yet because it’s not a done deal yet, don’t want to jinx it.

Well, that’s what I have been up to… life is about to spin on a dime with some much anticipated changes and once again, I am slow to blog and very behind on blog reading.

Yo, anyone local want to buy a large mosaic lady for their flower garden?  If so, make me an offer… my life is about to spin on a dime and I can’t take her with me. 

image

That’s an old photo from before she went outdoors.  I can snap more if anyone is interested… or come see in person.  She requires a dedicated dolly to move her, just wrap her in a heavy blanket and strap her down, roll her on out.  She’s been moved 3 times, twice in moving vans.  The last time, it took two men to lift her onto a pickup truck. She’s heavy, a bit crude, but belongs where the sun can sparkle on her glass, surrounded by flowers.