You Tube: Remembering Joe

I did two You-Tubes just now.  Totally impromptu, getting my thoughts out.

Here’s the first:

I love you and miss you, Joe.

Puzzle and I slept very well last night.  When we awoke this morning, we couldn’t figure out what day of the week it was.  Wow, morning again.  Why get up, when it is so lovely just to lie there and doze.  A few more hours passed.

Friday night

Why does Friday night always suck the worst?

I’m not talking about TV.  I don’t own a TV.  I’m not talking about dates.  My boyfriend died ten years ago.   Ten years ago, and they say it doesn’t matter, cuz we weren’t married.

Well, I’m tellin’ ya, I was bawling over him on the bus just yesterday.  I saw a truck that I knew belonged to his family’s business.  So I said to myself, “No one else knows this little fact.”  And I sat on the bus not caring one bit if anyone saw the tears run down my face.

“So I’m a bit crazy, ” I told this guy on the street later on.

“Yeah, the economy sucks, too,” he said.  “You can’t get a job.  No one can get a job these days,” he said, shaking his head.  He was smoking a ciggie.  No, I didn’t tell him he was gonna drop dead of lung cancer or put him down for wasting his dough.  I don’t criticize or tell people to go to hell for having a good time now and then.  I do get pissed off when people act like assholes, though.

“That’s why my brother won’t let me talk to his daughter, cuz I’m crazy,” I told the guy.  “They don’t want their daughter knowing her crazy aunt.  I’ve met my niece like three times in her fucking life.  Three times.  Cuz they are ashamed of me.”

He shook his head.  “It takes all types,” he said.

Then my bus came right past us and stopped a bunch of feet further up.  I ran to get it.  It was hard to run, I don’t recall quite why, maybe I was carrying an umbrella or something.

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.

Well, that was darned stupid, I repeated myself

Not that anyone reads this stuff anyway, but one blog entry was a repeat of the previous one practically.  Wow, how dumb can you get?

People who are scared that no one is listening to them tend to repeat themselves, because they are afraid that no one was listening the first time.

When I was younger, I knew folks that were so scared of not being heard that they would actually say the same thing twice in succession.  Isn’t that sad?  You wonder about their background.

Then there are those who don’t bother speaking at all, because they think it isn’t worth it.  Or folks who do not speak clearly or audibly.  Occasionally, it’s due to a speech impediment, but more often, there’s another reason for it.

I used to have slurred speech because of my medication.  Now, my speech isn’t slurred.  Still, I feel my voice is too sing-song.  I like that my voice is animated when I read aloud because I feel that I should be expressive.  Surely, I do not wish to read in a monotone!  But I feel that during my overmedicated years, my slurred speech discredited me.  It made me seem unprofessional.  I could have had a million degrees and still no one took me seriously.  I also had pimples and the shakes.  I couldn’t even get a volunteer job looking like that.  Sure, I was qualified for these jobs I was applying for, but could not get anything at all, nothing, due to my overall appearance of mental incompetency.  I think the shakes was the worst part of it.  I’d say, too, that the side effects of the meds were worse than any overt symptom I ever had.  You couldn’t look at me and say, “There’s a mentally ill person.”  I would go apply for a volunteer job, fill out an application, tell them I was experienced and had x credits, more than I needed for a complete degree, and that I’d had x experience answering phones.

Then, I’d see the look.  Look me up and down.  Staring at my shaking hands.  Maybe they’d ask, “What’s that?” about my hands and I’d have to come out of the closet about the meds and my condition.  All this was before the ADA, mind you.  So they’d nod and smile and say, “We’ll call you,” and I’d tell myself, “Yeah, sure,” go home, and never get a call.  Or they’d plant me at a desk where I’d answer a phone that never, ever rang.

Same thing happened to Joe.  He wheeled himself into a veteran’s hospital in hopes of getting to talk to paralyzed vets.  Maybe even doing some counseling, you know, peer-to-peer work.  Not that he had any training in it, but just between you and me, Joe would have been awesome at it.  First of all, just being a guy was an asset, cuz not a lot of guys are out there doing counseling work, and a lot of vets are guys.

So Joe told me they gave him that look when they saw him roll in.  He knew the look.  Like, “What can he do?”  I mean, really.  What the heck are these people doing with a messed-up attitude like that.  They shouldn’t be working in a vet hospital if they are going to discriminate against someone who comes to volunteer.  They discriminated against Joe based on appearance.  Yes, appearance.  Now this was well after 1992, folks, well after the ADA had been signed and put into law.

Poor Joe.  He went and worked that job, sitting at a phone that never rang, just like I had done when I was discriminated against, hour after hour.  He was so relieved when there was construction at the hospital.  He saw it as an out.  He left the job, never to return, very discouraged.

It was really their loss, their missed opportunity.  But they hurt Joe, too.   I didn’t know what to say, whether to motivate him to speak up or to try to encourage him to quit sooner. People who run these places are flagrant liars and make excuses and cover up for themselves quite a bit.

Like I said, Joe was in no way qualified to do counseling, which I’ll bet was his dream, but they could have placed him in a more hands-on position with patients.  Then, his quick wit, his contagious smile, and his humor would have infected everyone around him.  Sometimes they have folks bring things from floor to floor, such as flowers or notices or mail, or bring a visitor to a room or something.

I’ll bet it would have made someone’s day if Joe had showed up at their room, peeked in at the TV and said, “Yeah, I agree, the pitching sucks today.  Want anything?”

Even when the Red Sox lost miserably, Joe had folks laughing and smiling anyway.  He could crack a good joke or see the positive in nearly anything.  If the joke wasn’t funny enough, he’d make a face at himself and that was funny, too.

But no, these people didn’t see Joe, they saw the wheelchair and they judged.

Man, I miss that guy.  He never said he was angry over being discriminated against, but I knew he faced the dilemma every time he went there, whether to quit or, shall I say, how to quit.  I admire his ability to put the whole thing out of his mind once it was all over, and move onto other things.  He took up the drums again.  This he did for the last year of his life approximately.  It was incredibly fulfilling for him.  He discovered that he was able to use his feet just enough to do the drum foot pedals, even though his feet couldn’t hold him well enough to walk.  I’m not sure he could use both feet, but he was able to do practically everything he needed to do with the equipment he had, and he was able to move things around and change the equipment around so he could get it to do what he wanted.  I’ll bet some of you realize that some folks who use wheelchairs develop very strong and super coordinated upper bodies.  Joe was one of these people.  He had very large hands and this was an inherited trait on his dad’s side.  So the drumsticks were like toothpicks in his hands.  He held them with finesse.  The first time I saw his drum set and heard him play, I felt incredible awe and respect, like here was this guy doing something he had complete command over.  It was more like I was standing with a highly trained chef who was carefully seasoning a very delicate and intricate foreign dish, but it was all done in rhythm.

He handed me the sticks.  “It’s your turn,” he said.

“Huh?”

“Play.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.  I”ll break one of them.”

“No you won’t.

Once, we did drumming in church.  There were a limited number of drums, so I chose not to get one of my own.  A handful of kids showed up, not many, that day.  Mostly, we sat and drummed, and drummed and drummed.  I liked it a lot.

Both service dogs showed up that day.  Both fell asleep to the sound of the drumming.  It was one of Puzzle’s first times in church.  I think this was even before she was a service dog.  Wow, a long time ago.

Today, I went to a food pantry.  Mostly, I was interested in getting to the clothes closet to find clothes, but all they had were clingy sweaters, so-called winter wear.  I was hoping for button-up shirts to wear to church.  I don’t wear clingy sweaters, not the knit type and especially anything scoop neck or low-cut anything.  Shucks.

My phone's new life

Tomorrow, my landline number will be ported to a cell phone.  Goodbye, landline.  I will be saving $55 a month and still have the same phone number I’ve had since 1987.

Wow, history.  I remember spending hours on the phone with Joe for the four-year period that we were “just friends” and not yet dating.  He said that before he met me, he thought of the phone as useless.  Sometimes, we thought of each other as “telephone friends.”  Then he got a car.  Funny, we ended up calling that Buick the Lovemobile.  We never really came up with the most original names for things.

Later, it was his Dodge Caravan.  It was a leased van.  After two years, the next Dodge  Caravan, lease-to-buy.  By then, we weren’t using the phone like we used to.  “I’ll pick you up in 25 minutes.  Bye,” and that was it.

It was always 25 minutes.  That was what he said.  It always took him much less time to get to my place.  I’d get down to the lobby early, and he’d already be there, parked in the circle, smoking a cigarette to pass the time.

In the months before he died, we spent our afternoons sitting in the van listening to the Red Sox on the radio.  Periodically, he emptied his stoma bag into a two-liter soda bottle.  When no one was looking, he dumped the contents of the soda bottle into a drainage grate.

I didn’t think much about it.  You do what you have to do to survive.

So, to survive financially, no more landline.  My usual phone number will now ring into a cell phone.  After that, I am porting the number from the cell phone onto Google Voice.  I read up on how to do all this.  I will have one number and lots of options.  If cell phone reception sucks too much, for the cost of less than one landline bill I can get an Obi device and hook up my landline phone to it, using Google Voice.

I hear that folks run into snags all the time with all the porting.  I have already been on the phone with AT&T tech support a couple of times.  They were very nice.  It all worked out.  Lord knows my entire life is a snag.

snag (snag), n., v., snagged, snag·ging.
–n.
1.    a tree or part of a tree held fast in the bottom of a river, lake, etc., and forming an impediment or danger to navigation.
2.    a short, projecting stump, as of a branch broken or cut off.
3.    any sharp or rough projection.
4.    a jagged hole, tear, pull, or run in a fabric, as caused by catching on a sharp projection.
5.    any obstacle or impediment.
6.    a stump of a tooth or a projecting tooth; snaggletooth.
–v.t.
7.    to run or catch up on a snag.
8.    to damage by so doing.
9.    to obstruct or impede, as a snag does: He snagged all my efforts.
10.    to grab; seize: to snag the last piece of pie.
–v.i.
11.    to become entangled with some obstacle or hindrance.
12.    to become tangled: This line snags every time I cast.
13.    (of a boat) to strike a snag.
14.    to form a snag.
[1570–80; < ON snagi point, projection]
—snagÆlikeÅ, adj.

–random house

Ta-ta.

A person with anorexia nervosa writes about her memories of Goddard January 2005 residency that popped into her head while browsing the Internet and drinking tea

I’ve been sitting here drinking a cup of tea, and my mind got to wandering.

Well, no, let me make a confession.  I was drinking tea and doing something I admit I occasionally do: I was browsing the Internet looking around at sites that tell you ways you can lose weight.  Are you surprised?  Well, you shouldn’t be.  I think a lot of people do this, not only people with diagnosed eating disorders.  Do you?  Do you then erase your history trail so your spouse or kids won’t see where you’ve been browsing?  Anyway, I have never been to a pro-_n_ site.  Why?  For one thing, viruses.  For another thing, I don’t know how well they keep your e-mail addy, etc, private, if they follow whatever privacy policies they claim to have, or if they put weird cookies in there.  I don’t want to “join” these clubs, never did, and never will.  Scratch that third one, that is, “never will,” cuz really, I can’t predict anything.  Life can and does take funny turns.  I don’t have a bit of pro-_n_ in me and I do not in any way think of anorexia as “lifestyle.”  I think many people, whether they have anorexia or any other type of eating disorder or if they do not have an eating disorder, any of these, if they have spent all their lives, or just about all their lives dieting…this is not “lifestyle” this is suffering.  This is being tortured by this thing “diet.”  I am tortured by it daily.  I am tortured by it 24/7…are you?

What is “lifestyle,” anyway?  Low-carb lifestyle?  Oh bullshit.  It is just food choice.  Living alone, for me, has something to do with lifestyle.  I spend just about every day alone with no human contact.  Lately, this has pleased me.  I was standing in the kitchen maybe 45 minutes ago thinking, “Oh thank goodness I live alone! I might have this eating disorder, but I am SO much better off now than when I lived with other people!  I have my privacy, I can do whatever I want…no one snoops around or asks to borrow things…no booze bottles…no one steals my stuff or opens my mail…tries to convert me to their religion…sits around and doesn’t say a freaking word to me…And no therapist to send me to a group home!  I am free!”

Lifestyle…lifestyle can be culture.  I grew up in a Jewish family with Jewish culture and religious practices and that was our lifestyle.  The fact that my parents shamed me and used our Jewish beliefs as a way to do this…shaming is not lifestyle…it is abuse and abuse is not lifestyle just as dieting, restricting, and starving is not lifestyle…get it?  No, I am not pro-_n_.

Sometimes, I live in this persona, and sometimes, I don’t.  I can switch in and out of it within seconds, or I might stay in it for days without end.  It was the acupuncturist who pointed out to me, that right while we were speaking I was switching in and out of it.

I probably go back and forth while writing in here.   Oh, I know I do and you know it too.  A milder form of it is called indecision, but this is not mild.  I don’t even notice it, though.  I can’t even get into how it feels.  It doesn’t feel, really.  I’m talking about how I think and process information.  It’s not surprising to me and it’s not frustrating and it’s not confusing.  I find it very, very funny.  I spend a lot of time poking fun at myself, seeing myself from afar, and this is one way I survive, and one way that I communicate just how painful and sad it is to live with this disorder.  I enjoy making you laugh at me and laugh with me, cuz this disorder is so damn illogical.

So you might as well laugh at me, sitting here with my tea just a bit ago, Googling this and that, trying to find what I can add to my multi-faceted repertoire of things I can do to lose weight.   You can imagine the clicks, back and forth, brows furrowed, uh-huh, uh-huh, maybe I’ll give it a try…write this down…now Google this…damn these pop-up surveys!

Okay, so…a couple of memories popped into my head.  (Change of verb tense.)  2005.  Goddard College winter residency, Plainfield, Vermont.  I had to drop semester #2 near the end cuz I ended up hospitalized.  Unlike way back when, everyone was very, very cool about this and understanding.  I had it rough my first two semesters.  I had just been widowed in 2003, that is, my boyfriend died suddenly right after my graduation from Emerson College.  I’d finished up, actually, after the graduation ceremony in May.  I had maybe a course or two more to do.  I think the last one was American Government.  It was a great one to end up with.  Our instructor was a lawyer and thank goodness he was an anti-Bush liberal.  He was arrogant.  He was anti-cop.  I had loads of fun with him in class.  We challenged each other.  It was back and forth.  Wicked obnoxious, I must say.  I had to memorize a lot of laws and amendments and stuff.  I wrote these on flash cards.  Joe and I sat at Dunkin Donuts every day and he’d quiz me, sipping on a gigantic iced tea and smoking.  Occasionally, he corrected me, but I had these laws down pretty well.

You know, I noticed something:  Not long before he died, he began to make a point of always wearing a watch.  He’d smoke a cigarette, then check his watch.  Once, he wasn’t wearing it, and right after he finished his cigarette, he asked me what time it was.  He asked me a couple more times.  I noticed the pattern after a while.  A half hour later, exactly a half hour, he lit up again.  I noticed that he smoked fewer cigarettes each day, a lot fewer, than, say, two years ago, or even a few months ago.

Yes, he was making an effort.  And there may have been a reason for this.  You know something?  In the seventeen years that I knew him, this was the only time that I knew of that he made an effort to cut back.

You know, it had only been months previously…I am not actually sure when this was…I stayed overnight at his place…at night, while he slept, not only did he cough…no, not cough exactly…he struggled to inhale and exhale, to breathe.  He struggled noisily.  He vocalized.  This went on for a bit, then he returned to normal sleep.  In the morning, I told him that this had happened.   I told him that this happened all night long.  Then I didn’t say anything more about it.  Yeah, he heard me.

How he felt in those last months, whether he felt fine or yucky or had some anticipation or funny feeling…whether he recognized this feeling…if he had chest pains maybe he thought it was heartburn, cuz he used to have terrible heartburn…

Why on earth am I thinking about this and does it matter?  He died in an instant and everyone told me that most likely he didn’t even know what hit him.

That was August 19, 2003.  I spent the fall in a daze, then in January started grad school, still in a daze.  Not only that, but on freaking Seroquel, my body out of control gaining weight gaining weight gaining weight.  Like my fucking life.  I’m widowed and ashamed of my body and can’t even hide it in a coat at this point.  Every day drags and goes in Seroquel drugged slow-motion and I don’t even bother trying to be the overachiever I used to be.  Just adequate.  Barely adequate.  Not only at school, but at life itself.  Barely making it, barely hanging on.  I guess that’s why I ended up hospitalized.  And put on 900 mgs Seroquel a day, an unheard of dose.

2005 residency.  I’m going to finish up fall semester, that is, second semester, in the first few months of 2005.  I’m here at this January residency but am not officially doing the spring semester cuz I’m still doing fall.  Got it?  So I kind of feel like a failure and a tag-a-long to begin with and out of place and never mind a social misfit.  I developed a bad, bad cold virus while I was there, and a cough that went on all night one night.  Thankfully, I had a single at the dorm otherwise a roommate would have been kept up all night.  (I know, switch of verb tense.)

So here I am, walking from the dorm, which I think is called Kilpatrick or something like that, to the dining hall and main building where a lot of stuff happens, including all the readings, and a student stops me (unfortunately, I remember her first name, and wish I didn’t) and says to me, “You gained some serious weight, girl.”

And yes, a few days later, she said the exact same thing to me.  Again.  This was a Goddard student.  And this, people, crushed me.  It still hurts to this day.  I remember how it felt then and I remember how it felt a little while ago when the memory came back to me in the form of a very clear picture, while I sat here drinking my tea and browsing the web.

Yeah, I lost that serious weight.  Being overweight, having a body that I was ashamed of, my anger over the Seroquel weight gain experience, and the way society and everyone treats people who are overweight, and that included me, was one of the things that drove me to diet myself down to this weight that I am at now.

To be honest, it was that exact remark, “You gained some serious weight, girl,” that was the one reason that I switched to the Port Townsend, Washington campus.  Our director kindly allowed me to do this.  I didn’t mention the weight remark.  There were practical reasons why it made sense to switch.  But the actual reason why I came to this decision?  Yep.  I admit it.  (I was always happy at Port Townsend, and ended up loving it there, by the way.  It was, in a way, a new life.)

Okay, another thing that happened January 2005 residency.  I’m sitting at a table in the dining commons.  Our residency, that is, the creative writing residency, happens at the same time as the health arts and sciences residency.  Now, these people talk about nutrition all the time.  Oh, great.  Sometimes, they talk about how people are pigs and can’t control themselves and overeat.  I am not, not, not kidding you.  I ended up sitting with these people and had to listen to this crap.  I felt like shit to begin with, now I feel doubly shit.  These assholes don’t even know a damn thing about what they are talking about!  Do they know anything at all about nutrition or eating disorders, or are they talking off the top of their heads?  Do they write articles, like, say, those fad diets you see on the Internet?  I listen to them rant on and on about bullshit nutrition, what you should and should not eat, and looking back, OH MY GOD I FEEL DAMN SORRY FOR THEIR KIDS WHO HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS BULLSHIT YEAR-ROUND…lecturing on and on, judgmental…I don’t mean to say bad stuff about my own school, but I sat with these people a lot, because I couldn’t find anyone in the writing program to sit with.  I just didn’t know people.  I was shy.  So I ended up sitting with the diet fanatics.

So one day, I am sitting with them eating a sandwich.  I don’t remember what kind of sandwich.  I guess peanut butter.  Yeah, let’s say peanut butter.  This memory was buried deep, deep inside me and I didn’t remember until I was sitting here with my tea, which I finished quite a bit ago while I was writing to y9u.  So I’m eating a sandwich, and one of the diet nuts blurts out, “You shouldn’t be eating that sandwich!  You should never eat peanut butter and bread at the same time!”

She goes on and on.  Don’t eat meat with this, don’t eat this with that, on and on.  Lecturing me.

Listen, lady:  Like I concluded when I was a patient at Alcott last month where I was being treated for anorexia nervosa after nearly starving myself to death, DO YOU HEAR ME?…You keep you eyes on your tray, and I’ll keep my eyes on my tray.

Just shut up.

So that was January 2005 residency.  For me, it had very little to do with writing.

It’s a little late to go back to my web-browsing.  But I was pretty much done with it, anyway.  I’m pissed with myself for not being skinny enough and I feel like my face is too fat.

When I was a little kid, my mom shamed me because of my breast size.  She shamed me as soon as I started “developing.”  She shamed me because my hips were getting wider.  Everything.  When I was smaller, she made me ashamed of my body in other ways too complicated to get into.  And she shamed me by force-feeding me and shaming me by commenting on my food habits and manipulating me into eating food that repulsed me.

All my life, I’ve been ashamed of my body.

When I went to the self-help group for people who suffered from compulsive overeating, I met people who were very, very overweight, and this was the first time that I had ever known anyone over 300 pounds that I knew of.  I met people over 400 pounds.  I met people who were diabetic.  I learned that diabetes and overweight were often closely related.  I learned that some people manipulated their insulin when they overate.  This is difficult to explain.  I think most people understand how diabetes works.  Some people who are diabetic and suffer from severe overeating “compensate” with their insulin.  It’s dangerous.  Very.  It’s playing with fire just like I play with fire when I starve.  Not only that, people who are dangerously overweight have to live in large bodies and many health risks.  They are stuck in these bodies and can’t get out of them, can’t peel off the costume when they get tired of it.  They live with constant discrimination from society, wherever they go.  Now, I’m not only talking about clothing stores.  I’m not just talking about the gross insults that were spewed at me during the 2005 winter residency in Plainfield.  It’s subtleties.  The way everyday people use words and language.  Strangers and friends and family alike.  I know this because I lived in a large body in 2005.  I know language and I heard how it was used toward me and about me.  (Yes, by you, too, Dr. P, by the way, and a bunch of other mental health professionals.)  I wasn’t 197 pounds for very long, but I got a hint of what being overweight and discriminated against was all about.

Just like the world treated me in 2005, I am sitting here, my teabag now drying out, and treating myself the very same way.  Spewing horrible insults at myself.  I mean worse than any human has ever said to me.   I am the worst.  I looked online and said, yep, shouldn’t eat that.  This will give me BELLY FAT.  I mean, have you ever heard anything more insane?

I think I really better get to church tomorrow.  It’s late.

Also, I need to give this entry a title.  Any ideas?

A poem I'd like to share, right before Hurricane Irene hits New England

I was going through my “important documents” which happen to be stored near a window.  Obviously, I need to move them.  These include my SS card, passport, and birth certificate.  Among them, I found this poem and one or two others, plus an essay.  I finally found the poem on my hard drive.  Here it is. (Looking at how it showed up on the blog, the stanza breaks didn’t appear, but I’m not going to fuss with it.  WordPress…grrrr…….

IN HIS MEMORY

Joseph Coleman Casey

February 26, 1958 – August 19, 2003

Slithering like a fish,

the dead man slipped into heaven

while my eyes were turned.

When I looked back

I saw the arms of evergreens

reaching out to an eclipsed star,

familiar as beachy sands

and a stone that skipped over my grief,

hissing, popping, then breaking

under waves’ surfaces–

God knows where it went–

leaving a white, smooth rigging

once touched by storm,

then whitewashed until only

a conspicuous sediment remained.

Raindrops kiss window panes,

glide like scree,

embrace earth at last

then sink deep and steamily rise again,

filling my breath and holding me

within an angerless shroud

that protects and suckles

until I can almost feed myself,

yet hunger for more.

Joey,

your spirit creeps ever forward;

I cherish fullness for a moment,

remembering the day in February

when the Artist seized his brush

and spat out blazing hues upon the world,

in praise of God.

8/2003