I spent this past weekend in a bit of a daze. Intentionally trying to get out of my own head and existential thoughts and into some wonderful, or at the least, far gone place that may or may not have ever existed. Fantasy! Well, for me that meant the new season of Summer Camp Island (HBO Max), 4 new episodes of Apple & Onion (Cartoon Network) and a few Marcello Mastroianni films.
Summer Camp Island is just the most charming show there is. It’s sweet and snarky and just a big comfy blanket for my weather beaten heart. Apple & Onion is just silliness for the most part, but Onion is voiced by Richard Ayoade and I have the biggest crush on him. I can listen to him all day…or, well, after Marcello! Ugh! That voice! I don’t speak Italian, but I don’t mind subtitles. I mean, it sort of forces me to pay attention and not fall prey to distraction. And Marcello’s voice is so swoon worthy.
As I was watching those films, all made in the early 1960’s, it made me realize that my Gomez Addams seeking may be coming back in full effect. And then I watched another. Ha! There’s no direct comparison to be made here, only that I have realized that what I want and what I tend to seek out doesn’t always match up. I was done “seeking” anyway, right? I have had exactly one year of no dating activity of any kind. No dates, no apps, no chatting, nothing. I had planned this last December, not realizing both how easy and necessary that would be.
I’ve had quite a few people say that they admired or were impressed with my former dating life. Little did they know how little I cared about it though. Dating seemed a necessary evil in a way that only lead to disappointment and frustration. I still feel that way. Modern dating is all about instant gratification, and being demisexual, that just doesn’t work for me. Yet I would still dip my toes into the dating pool on a quarterly basis. I would have genuine interest, go on a few dates, realize how awful the world is, and go back to my solitude.
Taking a year off dating sounded so cool. A year seemed a long enough time to get my priorities straightened out. Respectable even! Even as I had made that decision, though, I had found myself swept up in something false that only made the choice that much easier. I had a boyfriend for two weeks last November. Knowing all that I know and have been through, I still looked that person in the face and believed them. And I think they tried to be who they thought they were supposed to be, but made no effort what so ever to get to know me. Then they disrespected me in my home and I have no tolerance for that shit. Period.
So here I am, more than a year later, and I’m overwhelmed at the thought of even trying again, let alone during a global pandemic. The truth is, most single folks are lying to themselves and the world. Posturing to attract, saying the right things, doing all they can to appear a certain way even if it isn’t them at all. As someone who does all they can to live as honestly and for the truth as I do, I just don’t want to pollute my head/life/waters with others lies and messes. This year what I have taken away from all of that has given me clarity. What a gift!
I have seen and interacted with fewer humans than I can count on one hand. I have been so careful about the quarantine/shutdown orders. I only go into my empty office once a week to process the mail and handle any physical office needs that may arise. That’s it! I had already had my groceries delivered for almost a year before the shutdown. While I had a difficult time at first, I soon found myself nearly thriving in my isolation.
I cooked like never before and started to bake again. I spent time in my little garden and even repotted some of my much loved plants that had outgrown their pots. I was taking dance classes a couple of time a week on Zoom. I was engaged in anti racism activism and felt connected to my community. And then the summer began and I caught two large rats in my kitchen. That lead to a resurgence of obsessive/frantic cleaning episodes, to the point of exhaustion. Soon after depression invited itself in again and well such is life, eh?
Next thing I knew it was August and I was just starting to come out of my funk when the fires and heatwave began. Then the power outages. And then out of nowhere PAIN! Enough pain for two weeks that I drove myself to the emergency room nearby at 7 am on a Saturday morning. I thought I was dying. I learned so much about myself during that visit. For one, when I am terrified and desperate, I will be unable to actually show that I am in pain and afraid. Instead I get an unending flow of overly friendly dialogue spewing from my mouth uncontrollably. To the extent that anyone interacting with me in that setting would think I was there for entertainment rather than treatment. I had them laughing, so they had to see me as human and autonomous and help me, right?!
The attending physician actually questioned if I had anything going on at all once the labs and scans came back. I explained that I was in horrific pain. She actually said to me, “I’m not so sure about that.” Ugh! I had walked in shaking and doubled over in pain after no sleep for two days because of it. The emergency room really only serves one purpose: to save lives in an immediate way. If you have something life threatening going on, regardless of symptoms, they will save your life. If they find that there is nothing immediate they can find or do, they will kick your ass out the door. And they did.
I then spent the next 3 months on various meds for various conditions they insisted I had when my instincts told me back in August what was going on but was ignored by that ER doc: my gallbladder stopped working. They didn’t find any stones because I have none. I had severe pain episodes for 3-4 days every week for 3 months with no end in sight and no solid answers.
Then I had a consult with a surgeon regarding a mystery mass they discovered while looking at my other organs. She explained that they wanted more tests and finally a biopsy of the mass to rule out cancer and other scary things. At the end of that call she asked about the rest of my life and lifestyle. She was asking about and seeing me as a whole and human being! What a revelation! When I told her about the pain episodes and all I had been through since August she was hesitant at first, not wanting to step on other MD’s toes, but insisted that it all sounded like gallbladder malfunction. Since that is her actual area of expertise she ordered a new and different scan and sure enough! My gallbladder just won’t empty on it’s own anymore. Ah!
I have since had an upper endoscopy (to rule out ulcer and gastritis which they insisted I had, but I do not) and the scary biopsy for the mystery mass, which came back with all good news. So yeah, I need my gallbladder removed, but because I’m in a massive covid hot spot, they aren’t scheduling outpatient surgeries until things calm down. Oddly, but thankfully, the pain has not returned in over a month. I am grateful every second for that! And I’m eating regular foods again, for the most part. I was eating nothing but broth, rice, cabbage, and small amounts of chicken and fruits for months. Ugh!
I’m finally feeling more like myself. I’ve had another consult with that surgeon and I thanked her profusely, though I’m not sure she got my main point. Had she not asked about me, my lifestyle and all of that, I wouldn’t have had the answers to my issues. I had seen I don’t know how many doctors, but it was this surgeon on the phone that got it right by seeing all of me, though she was and remains concerned that I’m over isolating. I can’t help but wonder (or know deep down) that had this been in person or on video that I may not have received the same care as a visibly fat person. Though I have since had 2 video calls with her and she is truly empathetic and delightful. I know when a medical care professional is writing me off as fat. May the universe bless and provide for those who do this work with care and compassion, without bigotry.
Truthfully, I have withdrawn from everything. I stopped the dance classes and dancing all together because of the pain. I didn’t even really wanna talk to friends. Being on Zoom based anything became an upsetting proposition. My head was all over the place as the mysteries of my body took over my every waking thought. I would calm myself at night by going over an imaginary will, planning for my inevitable and forthcoming demise. I still do it sometimes when I can’t fall asleep. I don’t know why it’s comforting when I don’t actually have a will. I know my life is not in immediate danger. I’m not even in any real pain outside of creaky old lady knee.
I think as my organ failed, unbeknownst to me, I became disconnected from myself and my body. The more runaround I got from MD’s, the further from myself I withdrew. I was absolutely miserable and felt helpless. Having said that, my tried and true besties were there for me when I needed a ride to and from the hospital for various sedated procedures. We have all had medical stuff going on this year. We have a weekly check in via text filled with jokes and gifs. It is a bright spot in my week for sure.
Watching Marcello playing a film director and a writer and all that those roles entail, reminded me that I saw myself as a writer years ago. Shit, I’ve had this blog for twelve years already, though much of that has been dormant. After my divorce I just never got my writing groove back. I think about that time a lot lately. How much I was writing and how connected I felt to fat community. That evolved over time as I started my new single life. I no longer feel that sense of purpose, that drive that kept my fingers going on the keyboard everyday. It was so easy then.
I also realized how much and how long I carried my own traumas inside while helping so many others heal from their own. I think that served me for a time, but a few of those former friends were merely a lesson to be learned. It felt good to help people carry their burdens for a time. Not everyone is interested in growth or healing though. Some I think just enjoy seeing how much, how far, and for how long others with go for them. It’s gross and quite boring.
So here I am wondering how I strayed so far from the life of poetry and music I always longed for and saw for myself. How did I get so swayed by so many, only to shut myself off from everything. It’s maddening but perhaps now is a starting point. The timing certainly makes sense. It is said that we go through massive life shifts every 7 years. For some that means new friends or losing old ones. For others it’s romantic relationships, we’ve all heard of the 7-year itch. Well, it’s been 7 years since my divorce, 8 living un-partnered.
I would very much like to write again. I have started posts only to abandon them many times. I think it was two years ago almost exactly that I started to write about some childhood stuff that kind of fucked me up. I don’t have that same spite in me these days. My solitude may seem worrisome to others, but it has brought me great peace. I’m so very glad that I went to Hawaii for my birthday last year. That was my first taste of peace. I think about that trip a lot. And when I went to Seattle last December. I got so much out of both of those trips. I hadn’t traveled for years before that. Now I dream of returning to everywhere I’ve ever visited! Especially Florence, Paris and Ireland (my honeymoon was 3 weeks in those locales).
Would I find the thread that leads to my life filled with poetry and art and music in Paris or Florence? Would being in my ancestral home again (Ireland) reconnect me to my life’s purpose? It all sounds so lovely, but the realist in me knows better. There’s nothing “out there” that isn’t already within. There is so much of life I wish to sip from like some great goblet or fount. The past has lost its grip on me in many ways. Dealing with health stuff and thinking about your own mortality certainly takes some of the romance out of things. Like, I’m okay, but…
“Is that all there is? If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing!”
I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
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