God bless all you fuckers that have stuck around

You know who you are.  I have given you no reason to be giving me the thumbs up right now, but you are there anyway.

I was cleaning my kitchen counter today with this stuff.  I looked on the bottle…it said, “Kills germs.”  I thought, “I’d like to kill a few bad ideas.  I’d like to kill all the pills I took in the past that weren’t any good for me.  I’d like to kill off the people in my past that I should never have connected with to begin with…strange how many of these are dead now.  Yeah, my life took some yucky turns.  That happens to everyone.  You just turn yourself around, I guess, and try to right yourself again.  It’s all anyone can do.”

I thought a lot about irony.  It’s funny how these things happen to pan out.

Like last week.  I found myself in a situation where I was bawling my eyes out, something that, by the way, is healthy  and right and okay, in my opinion, every now and then.  These three very nice people were surrounding me while I was bawling my eyes out, trying to tell me that no, the following statements are untrue:

Nobody gives a shit about me.
I’m going to die and nobody will care.
Nobody is listening to me.

These people told me that Julie, these statements are not true.  Julie, the truth is that you are DEPRESSED.  That is what is wrong and WE are going to fix it.  Then, this whole crying situation was over with.

Now, this would have been fine and dandy, but these people proved those above statements, about the world not giving a shit, true.  Why?  It has been nearly a week and I have heard not one word from any of those three people.  I phoned one of them later on, just saying hello and I’d like to have a conversation with you, and  my phone call was unanswered and not returned.  Not one of those three people has called or e-mailed to see how I am doing, not one word.  You would think someone would give a shit if I’m as “depressed” as they claim, right?

Actually, I know who my friends are.  You fuckers have been there and always were.  I have given you no reason to stick around.  You are just there.

My friend in Texas and I laughed our asses off all weekend long and into Monday.  We’ve been laughing for quite a while.  A lot of folks say I make perfect sense, and have made sense all along.

I think yesterday I was wearing my “marriage equality” shirt and actually, she hates Obama.

I honestly don’t give a shit what side of the fence my friends are on.

A friend is by my side and that’s the side that matters.

A friend sticks like glue.

A friend calls me back.

You fuckers know who you are and I love you like you wouldn’t believe.

if I can say one thing

Please….

If I can say one thing.

Inscribe my goddamn name on that phone booth at Alcott.

Cuz I made it happen, guys.

the five fundamental rights are not followed at any unit at any hospital in one place in Massachussetts, folks, and you know it.

If I live to see  another day…..

the locks will be unlocked.

If I see another day….

Every person with an eating disorder will have a home, and adequate care.

And be alive, and thriving.

Right now I don’t see this.

Right now, I see suffering, people without care, without homes, suicidal, saying they are ignored, saying they are not listened to, saying they are put aside, saying they feel like they do not matter.

Well, right now, I want to say…

YOU DO MATTER.

Because I am going to do something about this.

I goddamn promise you, folks.

 

 

A basic pattern of brainwashing and abuse

This is a pattern I have seen again and again in my life that I would like to share.  I guess I was thinking right now just a bit more about Jenna’s comment from a few days ago about her unfortunate experience working with Shan Larter.

Shan’s two-hour freebee, which she did twice over the fall that I know of, was of course not an educational seminar but a promo for herself.  I knew this fairly soon into the “seminar.”  She claimed that the audio was not even working properly and she was not truly taking questions from listeners at all, but selling herself, which was I’m sure was the plan all along.  I meanwhile had typed into the “questions” box about five questions.  Silly me, thinking she would answer these questions.

I actually saved the questions I asked Shan, and put them onto a document, but instead of sharing them now, I will share them in a separate post because I feel that I would be straying too far from the topic at hand, as the questions are detailed.  Let me just say that if anyone else out there was foolish enough as I was to think that Shan was going to answer their questions, they, too, were sorely disappointed after listening with baited breath for the entire two hours.

Let me say this: Beware of any individual, group, religion, place of residence, hospital, therapist, doctor, or practitioner who tells you you are “exceptional” or “special” and then says they will make you a deal just for you.  This is a brainwashing technique I have seen used many times in my life over the years used very effectively by abusers, scammers, cults, and brainwashers. 

Yes, those of you who have been around my blog a while know that I had an experience back in 1979 in California when I was brainwashed by the Moonies.  I got out on my own.  In fact, before leaving, I tried to warn others and tried to get others that I believed were newcomers to also leave.  I tried to spread the word that we were being brainwashed.  I had to do this very secretly and I passed notes to people, trying not to have these notes seen by those that I believed were cult leaders.

Now listen to this parallel:  During my last hospitalization, this in July 2012, I attempted to speak up and tell as many patients as possible to read about the Five Fundamental Rights, which is a document about human rights in psychiatric settings.  The staff tried to break up these conversations and did everything they could to shut me up.  They wanted no talk of “rights” on their unit.  Why?  They were breaking the damn law, lots of laws, and they knew it.  They didn’t want the patients reading the documents they rightfully had access to.

Do you see what I am saying?

Of course, I did win my human rights case and the patients now have a private phone on the Alcott Unit.  I hear that only one of the phones has a phone booth built around it, but I of course have not been on the unit and have not seen it myself.

So anyway, I wanted to point out the parallel of my role in these settings.  It is glaringly obvious.

An abusive spouse will do the same.  Tell you you are exceptional.  Tell you you are the one and only.  And then they will dig in.  Because you are the one and only, the abuser has given you reasons why you are unable to leave.  So you are completely stuck.

An abusive therapist will also do this.   An abusive therapist may abuse their patients in many ways.  Of course we hear the stories about sexual abuse, but what isn’t recognized or reported is emotional abuse or sexual abuse that is done more covertly and can’t be reported because it can’t in fact be proven in to the legal folks.  This abuse is just as hurtful and these relationships can go on and on for years, with no recourse.  And no one believes you.  Because you were the crazy one.  Everyone says you are exaggerating or made it up, but you know you are right.

Please, hold onto what you know is right.  If nothing else, write it down.

The post I just posted a bit ago about what happened at Newton-Wellesley Hospital with the vomit odor room is an example of one such thing, when I was accused of being the “crazy” one, but in fact there was something very wrong with the air vents or something.  (Go back and read that post and if you were  the one smoking some weird weed downstairs, you owe me one.)

So anyway, I had to take a break from writing all this, and rush to the post office before they closed.  I have come back home and totally lost my train of thought.  While walking home I thought up another blog entry I want to write.  So I will write that one, too, soon, and also I will post those questions I told you about that I had stupidly thought Shan would answer “specially” for me.  Oh yeah, sure.  Beware when they tell you you are special.  You sucker.

Thoughts about another You-Tube I saw, this one a rah rah recovery one, compared to my own life

This was another one I saw, and I watched the whole thing through.  A young girl who uses the word “recovery,” a word I choose not to use.

Anyway, some days I look through the You-Tubes and I hope it does not show up on Facebook which You-Tubes I am watching cuz it’s none of anyone’s business.  If it is showing up, then I am disconnecting the two accounts.  Sometimes, I watch some stuff I’d like no one to know about.

Actually, I like watching flicks of people dropping dead.  I have a bunch of them bookmarked.  I am fascinated with this.  These probably eventually get taken off You-Tube and aren’t supposed to be there. They are all rather gross and for many people would consider them “sensitive material” or “triggering” but I consider it “real life.”  I am fascinated with death and it’s kind of a release for me, it satisfies a deep inner need for me to watch really violent, horrible deaths.

But I want to talk about this so-called “recovery” You-Tube I saw.  She has a bunch of them out.  A young girl, doing very well.  Let me describe what I saw.

She was out in her yard.  Now, this girl is obviously from a very well-to-do family, judging by the yard and what I saw of the house.  I mean really well-to-do.

Here’s how she got better.  She decided one day that she was in trouble, so first after a lengthy debate, she told her mom.  Her mom took it well.  Her mom got her into a “support group.”  Then, eventually, the girl told her dad.  It was a little more difficult, but her dad was accepting, too, and all worked out fine.  Sounds like her friends accepted it, too, and she mentioned nothing about losing any friends over this.  The “support group” turned out to be all she needed, and she is on her way.  She is gaining weight and doing fine.

She has a huge following on You-Tube and everyone tells her how beautiful she is.  Indeed, she is very pretty and has everything going for her.  I think her weight looks just fine to me considering her age, but she says she has more weight to gain.  She talks about all the food she loves to eat.

Recovery, rah rah rah.  Oh yeah, caught it early.  She’s a hero, all right.  I guess she was “sick” for maybe less than a year or maybe a year at most.

Me, 34 years, baby.

But for me, it was 1980, and no one had heard of eating disorders, and I didn’t even know I had one.  I knew I needed help so I went to the local therapy place.  I had a good therapist, but she had never heard of eating disorders, either, and didn’t know what she was dealing with.  I didn’t get better with her.  I got worse.

Guess it was the same story, different time.

I went and told my parents.  No, they were not okay with it.  I overheard my mom telling my dad, “She gives me the creeps” one night.  Gee, that kinda sucked. They didn’t know what the hell to do with me and we fought a lot.

No, I don’t have a zillion You-Tube fans.  I don’t think too many people even bother watching what I have up there.  I’m not rah rah recovery and I didn’t go to a support group and magically get better.  I don’t have a rich house.  I live in poverty.  I talk about reality.  Maybe that’s a little too raw for people.

And I guess those that find it too raw aren’t even bothering to read this right now.  Well, the heck with it.

It’s been ten years….

I was thinking that yes, I did indeed go out to coffee with someone, last November I believe.  I joined a dating service because I clicked on it by accident and then said to myself, “Oh, what the heck, I guess I’ll do this for a month and then quit.”   And that’s what I did.

When you are bisexual, there’s this dilemma.  Dating services are horribly discriminatory.  First of all, a bunch of them only accept straight people.  So if you are female, you join this dating service and they assume that you are seeking someone male.  Then there are dating services that you join and you have to choose.  They ask you when you join if you are seeking men or women.  So basically, they are asking you if you are gay or straight.

You have to click on one or the other.  It’s like black and white.  Is life really like that?  Duh.  But computers are binary, or the little thingies in them are, to my knowledge.  I guess the little thingies in humans are probably binary as well, but we have far more little thingies in us than computers do.  Or at least that’s how I figure it.

But at any rate, back to dating services…when you are a woman seeking women, all the women see all the other women.  Honestly, I don’t like that, so I guess that’s why I clicked on “seeking men.”

I got a surprising number of responses.  Actually, I got a date right away.  I think within a day or two.  It lasted 20 minutes.  I am not kidding you.  Maybe 25.

We had a nice conversation.  I guess we talked about his trip to Europe or something.  Then he just walked out, leaving me sitting there with the damn coffee cups on the table.   He said he had to go home and do something.

Then, I guess I had another date, this one in a coffee shop, too.  It lasted longer than 20 minutes, thankfully.  However, he made it quite clear that I was wasting his time unless I was going to have sex with him, and furthermore, it had to be “good sex,” and on and on…talking about this in public, I thought, was not quite appropriate.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone, a woman, sort of giving us looks.  Possibly she was just looking at Puzzle and thinking, “Oh, what a cute dog.”  On the other hand, she may have been overhearing this guy’s obnoxious talk and thinking to herself, “Oh, geez, I feel sorry for that woman having to put up with this guy, bet she’s embarrassed out of her mind and can hardly wait to go home!”

Then there was another guy.  This one I thought was really nice.   Oh, at first.  I never met him because he lives out of state.  It was all over the phone.  We talked quite a bit.

When you like someone, and you are lonely, you lie to yourself so much, you make excuses to yourself and when you see things in the person you know you can’t live with, you pretend those things aren’t there or turn your back on those things…for a little while, anyway.  You tell yourself, “Maybe I didn’t see that.”  Or, “Maybe he was talking about his friends, not himself,” or something like that.

I think you guys know what I’m talking about.  Like those of you who have dated alcoholics or drug addicts.  Or those of you who have dated child abusers or compulsive shoplifters.  You deny.  You love the person and I guess you are lonely or something.  So something inside you pretends that the ugly piece isn’t there.

So that’s what happened with this guy.  I didn’t see it…and then, suddenly, it was clear as a bell to me.

He was a freaking really bad racist.  It hit me so suddenly during a phone conversation that I literally got physically ill.  No, if you’ve been following my blog a while you know my body isn’t really capable of vomiting.  But all of a sudden, I had really bad diarrhea, and I know this was a reaction to this guy’s ugly racism.  I just sort of had to end the conversation.  And the relationship.

As a rule, I don’t dump people.  I let him dump me.  I guess he heard my tone of voice at the end of the conversation, and knew something was up.  Well, yeah, I was kinda on my way to the toilet real fast.

And in reflection, I knew that this guy was bad news to begin with.  I figured he would have dumped me as soon as he found out I was bisexual, had I stayed with him.

*********

So anyway, that was my experience last November right after NaNo with the jerks.  So I was thinking about that very briefly today, thinking about being bisexual and thinking about the first time I told Joe I was bisexual.  When was this?  What year was it?  Goddamn….

I started crying thinking of it.  Joe did not judge me.  You know something?  He had no clue what bisexual meant when I first told him.  Really, you had to laugh.  But what he did was he asked questions, and listened.

Admittedly, some of the questions were a little silly.  Some were naive.  Some were ones that you’d really never think of asking.  Some were the ones you usually get if you are bisexual.

We talked and talked and talked. Always privately.  Sometimes, we’d be together or we’d be on the phone and he’d ask me if I found a particular woman attractive, or he’d ask me all  kinds of questions about women’s body parts.

He never once put me down, or told me anything was disgusting or anything like that.

Aw man I loved that guy so much.

He was my friend.

He died August 19, 2003.

Did I speak too soon? Watertown has been the center of the world’s attention and I have been lapping it up

Oh sure, as a person who for certain is not Miss Popularity, I can tell you I have never before had so many “likes” on Facebook than over the past week when we had our little adventure here in Watertown following the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.  I made sure to let everyone from out of town know that yes, I did live in Watertown.

Why?  I am quite the ham at heart.  I love getting up on stage and getting the attention of an audience and have rarely had stage fright.  As a writer, I love giving readings, that is, reading my own writings aloud to live audiences, and making folks laugh or cry or giving them chills.

More than anything, I want to make a footprint on the world.  But generally, on Facebook, as I said, I am not Miss Popularity and I am overlooked and I consider Facebook more or less a popularity contest.  The whole Facebook scene in the past has sickened me that way.  I think Facebook is very dangerous and can be used in a harmful manner for this reason.

It’s like a huge version of my elementary school playground, when the kids used to pick teams.  It was all stacked against me.  I was the shortest kid in the class.  I was doomed.  The last to be picked for the team. The first to be called for Red Rover, because I was bound to blow it.  To make things worse, I wore glasses, I was Jewish, and I was a girl.  My mom always embarrassed me with her loud talk, she always forgot to pick me up from school, would send me to school wearing the most embarrassing clothes imaginable….

I suppose each of the kids in the same school would tell you the same story.  We were all embarrassed kids.  The other kid had it better.  The grass was always greener.  Every kid had their moment they wished they never had to go back to school ever again.

I’m not sure if other people grow up and are comfortable fading into the woodwork and never making a mark on the world, slipping away unnoticed.  I can’t see that this is a way to live a satisfying life.  I think it is human need to have a sense of purpose in life.  Generally, this means we change something here in our environment.  Sometimes it means having a relationship with another human, raising animals, or raising good children and then setting them loose in the world.  Other times, it means doing work in writing or the arts and setting our works loose just the same as if they were children.

There were a lot of changes here in Watertown I guess over the past week or two.  I hammed it up on Facebook, just for the “likes” and stuff like that.  I just figured that my phone wasn’t going to ring anyway and I’ve been dumped by most of my real-life friends, so I might as well have a little fun for the heck of it.

So now it’s all over.  What is friendship, anyway?  You get to know it’s kind of meaningless after a while.  Especially when you are lying down in Watertown with your dog, they have told you you cannot leave and no one can come in, and the incessant helicopters are flying overhead, over and over.  Who is with you? Your dog and no one else.  That is the reality.

It is what I have been saying all along.  You are all alone in this world.

And so the helicopters flew over, again and again, and the Watertown sky darkened with the stink of them.  I saw on a streamed-in news station that our tiny malls that sold cheap bargain products from China were suddenly riddled with FBI agents and the like.  No one from Watertown ever went to these malls.  They were for out-of-towners to do their Christmas shopping, with the exception of Best Buy or Home Depot.  I guess a lot of local elderly people still go to that restaurant in the Watertown Mall called Old Country Buffet, but to me, the food that place serves smells like nursing home food.

Brushing my dog’s teeth: an act of love….Ramblings

I guess I am lucky.  Many dogs aren’t very happy about the idea of having a toothbrush or anything resembling one anywhere near the inside of their mouths, however, my little dog Puzzle is delighted every time we do this activity.

Recently, yesterday, in fact, I saw an ad for a product that made claims to “freshen dog breath.”  Now listen carefully.  First of all, the advertiser stated that brushing a dog’s teeth was not something a dog owner wanted to do, claiming that this was an unpleasant, yucky activity for both dog and owner that every dog owner would pay good money to avoid.

Really?  You can brush your dog’s teeth and avoid yuckiness such as tartar buildup, eventual loss of teeth, god knows what resulting pain and suffering (your dog’s, that is), of course bad breath (your dog’s), and huge vet bills (yours).

So the entire ad started with this premise and went onward.  What to do about bad dog breath?  I have no idea about the price of this product, and when a product’s price is not advertised, I’m sure it’s either sky high or the company has “special offers” and is deceptive about its prices, offering what people think are “bargains,” but we all know what that means.

So the product cleans the dog’s tongue, thereby freshening breath.  Technology at work, folks.  Listen carefully to the ad.  It makes claim to freshen your dog’s breath, and makes claim to clean the tartar off your dog’s tongue, but not from your dog’s teeth.

So, you’ll be paying a fortune for the tongue scraper, and then paying for the special gel for it, probably a they want to dupe you into a subscription payment, and then paying the vet for the teeth cleaning once every few years, anyway.

So back to dog teeth brushing.  It’s not expensive at all.  It’s just like brushing my own teeth, only for me, brushing Puzzle’s teeth is less disgusting than brushing my own teeth.  Dogs need different toothpaste.  They need what’s known as “enzymatic” toothpaste, not the toothpaste people use, such as “Crest” or “Colgate.”

I ran out of the dog toothpaste I’d been using for a few years.  Trust me, dog toothpaste is one of those things like tissues or toilet paper, one of those things you just don’t want to run out of.  Luckily, I had an Amazon gift certificate.  I went online and peeked at the Amazon product reviews.  Naturally, I take these reviews with a grain of salt.  So many of these reviews are all about how fast the product arrived, or if Amazon shipped the wrong product.  Finally, I found overwhelmingly positive reviews of a dog toothpaste called CET.

I have the product right here in my hand, and I will tell you what else it says on the box: C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste, Virbac Animal Health I think that’s all the information you will need.  You can get this product from many veterinarians right at their offices, and you will find that it is highly recommended.  The tube only 2.5 ounces, not particularly a lot but sold for well under ten dollars a tube, if I recall correctly.   If you go through the Amazon site, you will find the product sold by various vendors at varying prices.  CET comes in a variety of flavors.  Pick whatever you think your dog will like best.

For a few days, Puzzle and I were out of dog toothpaste.  Trust me, it was not a good thing.  I have always brushed Puzzle’s teeth I was cringing thinking of her going without brushing for those days.  Then, the CET arrived at the post office.  We began using it.  I was surprised because I figured it would take much longer than it did to clear up the yucky buildup from the days that Puzzle went without having her teeth brushed.

I’m not sure how to teach an older dog how to allow a toothbrush into their mouth, if the dog isn’t used to one.   I used to brush my dog Tiger’s teeth and in fact scrape her teeth with a dental scraper.  If I recall correctly, I didn’t do it daily.  I think I did it once a week.  I rolled her over on her back, and when I got the tartar off her teeth, I carefully lifted it out of her mouth to make sure she didn’t accidentally ingest it.  Human dentists are careful also to make sure we do not ingest the crap they remove from our teeth.  This was all so long ago.

Tiger’s teeth were much larger than Puzzle’s.  Her head and body were differently shaped, and she had a different disposition, being a herding dog by instinct.  Tiger often rolled over and lay with her belly exposed, and stayed in that posture for so long, her delicate front paws bent, waiting.  I was always amazed at how vulnerable she allowed herself to be.  It is a pose I rarely see Puzzle take on.  Instead, Puzzle, who is much smaller,  is more self-protective.  If she is curled in what we humans think of as fetal position, in apparent sleep, she will have her ears up, always on the alert for possible danger, real or imagined.

This morning, Puzzle decided it was time for me to get up.  I suppose it was.  Puzzle decided to change positions from beside me with my arm around her to directly on top of me.  This was not a lengthy commute.  Perhaps a few inches.  I wasn’t exactly awake, nor was I exactly asleep.  So Puzzle got on top of me.  I suppose she was saying, “Mama, get up.”

Then, right on top of me, she immediately fell into a deep sleep.  Now what’s a dog owner to do?  I had a funny-looking now-quite-white fourteen pound dog on top of me, fast asleep, and it was time to get up.  I didn’t want to be rude or anything.  She was truly in a doggie comatose state.  Married folks, you know the situation, it’s heartbreaking to interrupt them, but you have to get out of bed somehow.

I thanked myself a zillion times that my asleep dog didn’t have bad breath.  You sure don’t want a dog that’s suddenly fallen into a deep sleep for whatever reason breathing yuckiness all over you first thing in the morning.

As I remember correctly, I fell back asleep myself, my little dog I suppose in her own dream, too, and we were like that for a while until finally I awoke again.

And all over, upon waking, for me, it was again a surprise to see my dog, this wonder, this creation, how could this be?  How could a creature be so small?  How could a tiny creature love me with so much abandon and joy?

Readers, today I could not ask for more.

My amazing treadmill run the day after the 2013 Boston Marathon at my gym in Watertown, MA

As I figured it, things were not going to be the same for runners for a while.  Not for any runner anywhere.  Not even on a treadmill.  As I saw it, a shadow had been cast on the sport.

For me, I thought of the Marathon runners, how each had trained for a year to run in this event.  Yes, a year.  I had heard that it takes a year of solid work, specifically training to run this very long distance that our bodies are not really designed to do.  I have heard that the half marathon, that is, approximately thirteen miles, is far easier on the body, whereas the full marathon is well beyond the scope of most people’s natural abilities.

Running is a solitary activity.  I say this because you do it in your head.  Or at least I do.  I have never done it with another person, and don’t intend to.  I cannot fathom it as a team thing.  I see it as something one person’s body does by itself.  It is not multiple bodies doing something in cooperation, as is synchronized swimming, a ballet troupe, or, say, a jazz quartet.

And so, when I run, I daydream.  I go off places.  Many places.  Even when I ran at our track, called Victory Field, I loved to imagine I was ending my run at Copley Square, where the Boston Marathon ended each year.  Yes, I imagined not that I was the winner in first place of the Boston Marathon, but that I was one of the runners of the race that was completing, anywhere, really, it didn’t matter to me, only that I had made it to the finish and was congratulated, a wreath of sorts placed around my neck as I passed across the line.  I enjoyed this image every time I completed my final lap at Victory Field.  I sped up as I rounded the curve.  I told myself, “Julie, you’ve done it again.  You are a winner.”  Then, I’d leave the track, walk through the gate, and cherish that imagined wreath around my neck.

As I walked through Victory Field’s small parking lot, careful to avoid exiting cars so that they wouldn’t back into me, I’d imagine I was coming home from the Boston Marathon a winner, a protective foil draped over me.  Nobody would drive me home.  In fact, I was once in Boston’s Red Line station and saw marathon runners going home alone on the subway alone.  Yes, alone.  With that foil draped over them, the foil that told me they’d run the marathon.  The solitude of these runners made me so uncomfortable that I guess that’s why I felt the need to congratulate them.  Now, I realize that maybe what they felt inside was enough.  After all, they were going home.

Or maybe not.  It was hard for me to remember.  Were they going back to lonely hotels?  But as I left Victory Field, I changed the music to something else.  I turned it down so that I could hear an oncoming car.  You sure don’t want to be hit, to be so lost in a daydream and get yelled at by a driver, “Hey, watch where you’re going, idiot!”

I had to switch to treadmill running quite suddenly.  I guess it was November.  My fingers and toes told me to do so.  My body told me to do so.  When you are on your way home from Victory Field after a run and it isn’t even all that cold out, and you are convinced you can snap off every single frozen finger and every single frozen toe, and no daydream will cure that notion, it’s time to look for a budget gym.

I’m not sure when the mailing came.  My mailbox is barely big enough for a postage stamp to fit in, let alone a letter.  But along with the usual ads for tires for the car I haven’t driven for maybe thirty years came an ad for a gym called GymIt.  GymIt?  What a weird name for a gym.  It turned out that GymIt was the new budget gym in town that believe me, turned out to be the best gym I had ever belonged to.

GymIt is operated by a couple of brothers to my recollection.  The staff are always friendly and truly proud of the place.  So when I showed up the day after the 2013 Boston Marathon, checked in, and said hello to the very kind staff person at the desk, I decided I might as well throw in my two cents.  I said, “I’m not going to be daydreaming that I’m at Copley Square while I’m on my run today.”

I guess she misunderstood me.  She asked me if I’d been a runner at the marathon, that is, Boston Marathons of past years.  I replied, “Oh, no, not me.  I only pretend.  I daydream.”

She laughed.  “Oh,” she said.  “I get it.”  We both laughed.  “But you can pretend you’re at the London Marathon.”

“Perhaps,” I said.

“Enjoy yourself, Julie,” she said, waving.  They call me by name because they see it on my tag when I check in.  I headed off to the locker room, being careful to go into the Ladies’ and not the Men’s.  One of these days, I’ll make that goof, but I haven’t yet.

So once on the treadmill, I set my player to something I’ve been using lately by Podrunner.  It’s free running music you can download off the Internet.  I decided to use what I’ve downloaded from their “Intervals” training program by “DJ Beatsmith.”  Actually, I call him “Steve” when I talk to him in my head, because the other DJ’s name who does the Podrunner mixes is Steve Boyett, so I figure I might as well call them both Steve.  I talk to them both in my head while I run, not out loud, but to myself.  I tell them I can run faster than them.

Today, the guy to my right was running up a storm already.   You really should have seen this guy.  He was so into it, not that you could blame him after what had happened the day before.  He was throwing punches into the air.  I do the same thing, but only in my head.  I punch out anyone who ever called me Welfare scum.  Sure I do.  But this guy, he was really punching, really throwing his fists while he ran.  I thought that was cool.

So I began the treadmill.  Soon enough, it was going up close to the speed of 4.0, then over 4.0 as I walked.  I generally don’t let it go past 4.3.  See, I’m short, only 5’1″ tall.  So short folks like me can’t walk super fast.  But all the while, all I could think was that anyone who ever looked down on me was going to have something to reckon with.  Then, the music gave its signal to break into a run.

I knew that this particular mix would have me running for twenty minutes straight.  Given that I took a bit of a break in there, I knew that twenty minutes nonstop was perhaps at my age, 55, not something I should take lightly.  I knew I shouldn’t do this at breakneck speed.  At the same time, I’d done it a few times before in the past couple of weeks, and knew my capabilities.  How much could I push myself?

As I began to run, I chose a speed far slower than usual, under 5.0.  Suddenly, I found myself into a daydream, and I didn’t look back.

No, I didn’t look back.  I looked ahead.  I watched the road ahead of me.  I watched the pebbles.  I didn’t want to fall.  I concentrated.  I thought of my legs.  I didn’t think of my legs at all.  My legs were not my legs at all.

I thought far, far ahead.  I thought of a friend of mine, my friend Michael, whom I’d messaged with on Facebook the day before.  My friend Michael who does not have a home.

I thought far, far ahead, to Copley Square.  Ahead to Copley Square, to the Boston Public Library.  Here, next to the library there is a grate where the homeless men and women sleep, by night, by day, to warm themselves.

No, Michael won’t be sleeping there.  It is the day after the 2013 Boston Marathon and no homeless folk will be sleeping in Copley Square tonight, or anytime soon.

I thought far, far ahead as I ran on the treadmill, and the guy to the right of me punched as he ran.  I punched in my head along with him and said to myself, Michael, this one’s for you.

I didn’t notice that DJ Beatsmith, whom I call Steve in my head, had signaled me to stop running.  Or I guess I hadn’t noticed.  In fact, the music had changed over to another mix entirely.  I hadn’t noticed at all.  I kept on running, and suddenly noticed that I’d gone on much longer than twenty minutes; in fact, I’d gone longer than thirty minutes.  I had run nearly 5k.  I kept on running and then there I was, the steps of the library, the Green Line entrances, the smell of sausages cooking, everything.  I was there.  Copley Square.

To my left, there had been a cycling of treadmill users.  The two that had been there, two women conversing with each other had been replaced by two others who also conversed with each other.  I thought that was amusing.  The man to my right was about done with his run.  I wanted to tell him, “You rock, fella,” but I didn’t.  I figured it was unnecessary.  I mere nod of my head was enough.  Finally, I slowed my treadmill to a walk.  I wanted to spend some cool-down time.

I thought of the foil draped over me.  I thought of the blankets a homeless person such as my friend Michael might keep wrapped around him to stay warm on a cold night.  I have passed by that grate many times.  It is indeed warm there.  I slowed the treadmill further.  Michael, this one’s for you.

I passed by the desk and said goodbye to the GymIt staff.  I had to wait a long time for the bus that evening.  I didn’t realize that our town, Watertown, Massachusetts, would at the end of the week be at the center of the world’s attention.  In fact, right where I was standing at the bus stop, where our tiny shopping malls were, hundreds of cops, FBI people, National Guard, media people, the military would be all over the place, and it sure wouldn’t look like what I was used to seeing.  Sure, the atmosphere was tense.  But for now, the sun was behind me, a nearly empty water bottle was nestled in my hand, and a daydream ran through my head, as free as daydreams can ever be.

 

To my dear most wonderful most awesome brothers and sisters with eating disorders all over the world

I want to say right now from the bottom of my heart I love you all.

I wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for you.

************

I feel like there’s this wall around me and the world.  Folks around me don’t know what to say to me.  They look at me and they make false assumptions.

They assume things about people who are stuck on “disability” that are not true.

The assume that because I am thin, I am not “recovered.”  Why are they basing their assumption on my appearance?  Do I judge others on their appearance?

Some people are afraid to get close to me.  They are afraid to be friends with people who have a history of “mental health problems.”

Many people are resentful of the fact that I got better on my own.  However, that’s what it boils down to.  Humans will fail you.

Even the best therapists and nutritionists get laid off, get burnt out, drop dead, or retire.  Please don’t rely on these people.  Learn to rely on yourself.

People who are now around you, such as the person you now call your “best friend,” in ten years will most likely not be in your life.  Chances are the folks in your life now, most of them in a year will be gone.  New people will replace them.  There is a cycling of humans.  It is probable that in ten years you will be living in another location.  You will still be yourself, and you won’t look the same, but you will be much wiser.

Perhaps a beloved dog or cat or other pet will travel with you.  Such a blessing this is.

****************

People with eating disorders, I love it when I get a message from one of you encouraging me to go on with it all.  Keep going, folks, and I will, too.

 

Walking my dog on Watertown’s back streets after the massacre is finally over, Friday night at 10:30pm

I couldn’t bring myself to make the turn onto Main Street and join the crowds that were cheering and clapping away.  I even heard some folks setting off some sort of firecrackers.  Instead, I chose to stay on the empty back streets, where no one was walking.  I heard the sound of wind chimes and the air was damp.  Branches swayed as the wind tossed them this way and that.  Today had been our warmest day yet, but we hadn’t been allowed out by police.

Police.  Those guys in uniform who were now being hailed as heroes.  Who were they to me really?  How many times had I had to call 9-1-1 in the past year?  I couldn’t even count.  Would anything really change now that this had occurred in our town?  Would calling 9-1-1 be any different for me, a low-income person on “psychiatric disability”?

Probably not.  How many times had the cops seen to it that I’d been properly “sectioned,” that is, taken to a mental hospital, locked up and put “where I belonged,” safe from society” where I would “not harm anyone”?  How many times had they searched my apartment unnecessarily when I had phoned them about something else entirely?  How many times had they accused me of things I had not done, only because I am a mental patient?  How many times had they not believed my story only because I am a mental patient?

What the fuck does it take to gain credibility with these people?

And how many times have I phoned 9-1-1 with legitimate MEDICAL concerns only to have it considered PSYCHIATRIC even before I have arrived at the emergency room, even before I was seen by a doctor, just because the folks who arrived at my door or even the one that answered the call learned that I take psychiatric medications?

I am tired of “the look” I get from the people in uniform as soon as they arrive at my door, just because I live in subsidized housing.  Now those of you who own your own homes do not get this look, so you have  no clue, you have had very good experiences, but those of us who live in low income housing know very well the look they give us.  We are trash to them.

I have heard them yelling at the lady down the hall, who does not speak English, screaming at her while she lay down in front of them.

Disrespect is disrespect.

Does this event change what happens next time I call 9-1-1?  Actually, after my last experience, I resolved I would never call 9-1-1 again.

So no, I sure wanted to walk alone tonight at 10:30, just didn’t have the heart to wave around an American flag or run around with humans, wanted to be alone, actually.