The United Colors of Netflix

I’ve been obsessed with foreign places for the last few months.

Oh hell, for the last few years!

Ok, for most of my life.

There, truth at last, satisfied?

I, a small-town born, Midwest farm-raised, mostly sheltered all my life woman, am intrigued, and absolutely fascinated, with far-away places.

And, I’ve found a way to sate some of this yearning for travel through the wonders of… duh du du Dah! NETFLIX!

Yes, Netflix.

“China Revealed”. “Miss Granny”. “Empresses in the Palace”. Visions of cherry blossoms, silk kimono, and Buddhist temples, right in my living room.

“Queen” was the flavor and flair of this evening. Instead of China or Japan, tonight I chose India as my entertainment meal. Sort of a Hindi “Eat, Pray, Love”, without Julia Roberts, but with some smashing music and subtitles.  I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something uplifting, and don’t mind reading while you watch the action.

Who knows what’s up next for me, where I’ll be when next I sit down to spend some time with far-off strangers?

Actually travelling is not an option for me at this point in life…

So, I salute you from amidst these United Colors of Netflix.

I’ll be watching!

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It Takes Stones

The ride started on Saturday. A day of fun for most, but a day full of pain & stress for me, ending with my eldest taking me to the emergency room once again that night.

The diagnosis I expected.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy was what the Doctor ordered.

Gall bladder removal.

Sunday, I did nothing but wait. The surgeon came around about 10 am, & told me they would schedule my surgery – but didn’t give me a “when”. So, I sat and waited all through Sunday, never getting an answer whether I’d actually be going in that day. They didn’t even allow me to have my anti-anxiety meds, which made the whole waiting process that much more delightful. And with strong pain meds being administered about every 2 hours, I was in and out of consciousness sporadically, sleep came in short bursts, only to be interrupted by beeping machines & busy nurses.

Monday morning, I lost it. Broke down in tears when the surgeon finally made his rounds, & told me that they’d “try to fit me in” that day. I told him that I am a single mom, my kids need me, I hadn’t been allowed my anti-anxiety meds, so my anxiety was through the roof, and no one would tell me when I was going to be getting out of there. 

Believe me, I thought about just pulling the IV (which blew out my vein, then the nurses blew out 2 more looking for another good spot) and skipping out without the surgery. I came damned close more than once, but after talking to E, who calmed me down considerably, I stuck it out.

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Both arms look like I got caned.

Monday  afternoon, I was finally taken into surgery, & they had a robot do the surgery. I guess there might be something redeeming in AI after all, because the job was neatly done.

Four neat stab wounds to the abdomen later, I was sent home Tuesday, my mom drove me to get my pain meds & some snacks for the invalid, as well as the kids.

Mom and Dad had both come up to see me on Monday, bringing flowers, and my dad even bought me a book on Nicola Tesla, who is one of my heroes. I have yet to read the book, however, because Dad took it home – he wanted to read it too! 

So, now I sit at home, waiting for the incisions to heal, waiting for the pain to subside so I can cough without wanting to hold myself together, and waiting to feel good enough so I can go back to work.  The surgeon wanted me to take 2 weeks off, but that isn’t possible, so we compromised on me taking 1 week, and seeing how I can get through at the office, maybe half days for a little while.

Right now, pretty much everything from my sternum to my belly button hurts. But, it’ll heal. And I’ll get on with my life.

It just takes stones.

The Shape of the Day

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. It’s my biggest (no pun intended) personal demon.Demon Wrestling

Chocolate makes for a good snuggle… but a bad case of eater’s remorse later.

My first memory of the issue is when my mom looked at me, getting ready to dig into dessert after supper one night – and her saying “Honey, maybe you shouldn’t have so much ice-cream.  You’re starting to get a spare tire.”

I think I was about 7 or 8 at the time.

Growing up, my mom made healthy meals -meat, potatoes, vegetables.  Dessert didn’t automatically follow every meal, and we lived out on a farm, so there was no store nearby to grab snacks all the time.  I worked hard on the farm, taking care of horses, helping with calves, chickens, running up and down the barn stairs from hayloft to ground with the cats and dogs.  I rode horses all the damn time.

In high school, I grew to be 5’7″, and weighed approximately 130-135 lbs.

And yet, I was considered the fat girl.

Sandy & Me

I’m the one on the left – my junior year

Does this girl on the left look fat to you?

And yet, I always felt that way.  Because of the way I was treated by classmates, among others.

And so the girl I saw in the mirror was, in my eyes, fat.

Objects in the mirror appear larger than they really are?

I have old pictures from my first wedding, too, that show me at that 130 lb. mark, at the age of 23… and I’ve been told that people thought I looked too thin in my dress.

But at the time… I still felt fat.

I’d had a baby, who was 3 yrs. old at the time of the wedding, and I’d lost most of the baby weight by that time, true, but I still had the “baby belly”, that little bump that… never… quite… goes… away.

So, I must be fat, right?

I had another baby at the age of 24, but lost the weight fairly quickly the year after, thanks to long walks & a good friend who I walked with every day. Back down to 130 lbs.  But still feeling fat.

And then… I got married for the 2nd time.  And slowly, over the next 10 years, I gained, and gained, and gained.  The first few years were good, and then the marriage started to go south.  My self-esteem crumbled like soggy graham crackers in milk, as my -at the time- husband slowly started pulling his love out of the marriage, and putting it all into our son.  Baby number 3.

I never lost that baby weight, not completely.

At the time of our divorce, I was at my heaviest.  I have no true idea what that weight was, as I refused, at that point, to even look at a scale.  Even when I went to the doctor, I would stand on it backward, and wouldn’t let the nurses tell me what the number was.  I told them that it was because the numbers made me neurotic.

In fact, it was because I was ashamed.  I was, truly and really, fat.

There are very few pictures of me at that weight – I refused to be in front of the camera most of the time, ducking out on one reason or another.  When it was unavoidable, I’d do my best to “hide” whatever of myself I could, tucking myself in behind others in the frame, or “sucking it in”… a meager attempt at best.

I would say that I was probably somewhere between 250-275 lbs.

After the divorce – I lost a good bit of that weight.  I started eating better, started exercising.  I felt better, inside and out, than I had in a long time.

And yet, I still struggle.  There’s more I want to lose, a better shape I want to be in.  Health concerns and just emotional well-being are the 2 things I want this for now.

It’s slow going.  I have multiple food allergies, which knocks out a fair bit of healthy foods I could be eating.  Some of the most favored diet foods – cucumbers, melons, bananas, pineapple – all of them could kill me due to my allergies.

But I work at it, in my own way.  Healthier foods, smaller portions, more exercise, no more soda – only flavored water.

The struggle is real – and it’s time people stop shaming others.

As a child, I might have been a little chubby – but that’s no reason to compare me to the Michelin Man.  Maybe there shouldn’t have been any ice cream in the house?  And who was supposed to teach me about healthy eating and self-control?

As a teen, I wasn’t heavy at all.  I was just the right weight for my height – and yet, because I wasn’t emaciated, and you couldn’t hang clothes from my collarbones, I was called fat in school, and shamed for it by my peers.

As an adult, I finally took back my self-esteem from others – and stopped letting people put me down in subtle ways like my ex-husband had, little by little.

Like the recent co-worker who told me that I “really look like a girl today” on the day I wore a dress to work.  The same co-worker who, upon being told that I’m actually 10 years older than her, remarked that it was my red-dyed hair that is the only thing that makes me look younger, even though she evinced surprise at my actual age.  And, upon being shown a picture of my sweetheart, looked up at me in total shock and said “Really?  But he’s so good looking.”  As if I weren’t good enough for someone she thought was that handsome.

Whether she realizes it or not, she’s a bully.  And I refuse to be ashamed and bullied anymore because of my shape.

So, I still work on my weight, but I’m not doing it for her.  I’m not doing it to “prove” anything to anyone.

I’m doing it for me.  I’m doing it for my sweetheart, and for my kids, and my grandson, so we’ll be able to have many more years as a family.

And that’s the shape of the day.

Existential Weekend

I’ve been rearranging the furniture in my living room over the last few weeks. Shuffling the couch, rugs, chairs & tables around, usually by myself- trying to find my Feng Shui, I guess.

Every once in a while, I know I like to shake things up, change my perspective of the world, see things in a different light.

And moving the furniture around is merely a physical representation of that.

I’ve been in limbo for a while now, waiting for things to change, waiting for him to arrive, waiting, waiting…waiting.  I know that true change takes time, but I hate waiting. I don’t get to do anything about what he’s going through right now, & the things that have to change for him before he can get here.

But, I want to affect something. I want to make a change, for a change.

So… maybe the couch would be better over there?

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A Far Off Sound

I took some time to sit outside on my front porch, tonight. Spring has finally peered her frousled head over the North Dakota horizon, & the temps have been most cordial to porch-sitting.

Well, it’s more of an extended step, than a porch, but it’s enough to plant my butt on while I stare up at the stars.

And as I sat there… I first unsuccessfully tried to reach E, which was disappointing, & a little depressing. We don’t get to talk much, these days, & I miss it, very much. I thought things would improve once he was back on this side of the ocean… It’s different, but not necessarily better.  I know he’s busy, but – it’s still disappointing.

So, I tucked my phone back in my pocket.

It’s quiet in my neighborhood. I live only a few blocks from the “edge” of town, so I don’t get a lot of city noise. But what I can hear – are the coyotes. Yipping and the occasional howl, off in the distance. And, in my head, I can see the pack, loping through the fields on the other side of the highway; calling out to one another.

They are a family, far off in the distance.

Sitting, alone, on my porch/step… I’m suddenly reminded that I am alone.

How lonely, that yipping, that family, far off in the distance.

*and no less than 20 minutes after posting…. E called. And the lovely sound of his voice soothed away the distance, the loneliness… And once again, I am no longer quite so alone*

What the Letters Taught Me

B – taught me that I was strong enough to walk away when it became obvious that love was dead, & I was no longer a partner, but a “comfortable convenience”. I learned that I could turn my life inside out, upside down, & sometimes – that’s what it takes to get back on track.

A- taught me that I am still fun to hang out with. That, after years of being passed over, I was still desirable. Still able to laugh & be silly, and that smart & sexy are still part of my repertoire.  But, I also learned that when the future shows you no change coming, no forward motion, you need to step off the path & wander your own way for a while.

J- – broke my last “give a fuck”. It was a pivotal point in my life. And I learned that I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, but, if I end up that way… I can survive. I will never let another human being destroy me that way. Ever.

F- taught me – that sometimes… Love isn’t enough to fix someone else’s issue. And I learned that it doesn’t matter how I feel about someone if they won’t let me get close enough to prove it. Dragons are feral, wild & skittish creatures who will walk their own path, no matter what, or who, gets hurt & left behind.

And – E- well… E has so far taught me the meaning of patience in the face of insurmountable troubles. I’ve learned that I am more willing to wait than I ever thought I could be capable of.  I’ve learned that I can still have faith, still have the ability to BELIEVE in something that others just can’t, or refuse, to see. 

And yet… There are nights when I sit here, alone in the dark… And I… I am still alone. My “give a fuck” is still broken. I still doubt my own worth, sometimes.

Because the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last 5 years?

They always leave.