#thisis40?

I’m 37. but my dear friend J and I have been talking about the advent of a host of new health issues we’re experiencing in our late 30s, and have started hash tagging our text conversations “thisis40″ and now it keeps running through my mind.

a week ago, i clumsily cut the shit outta my dominant hand index finger while cleaning the best damn chef’s knife i’ve ever had the privilege to use. my partner got a Global knife for her birthday, and while it has never failed me in use, i failed myself in its cleaning. the whole thing happened really damn fast and I had to get 3 stitches in a super deep wound. when I went to the ER, the physician’s assistant who treated me (well) was a recent alumnus of the college where I’m employed. he did a great job, and i intend to write a note to the department.

in november 2014, i rolled my ankle and fell to the ground awkwardly while taking out the trash & recycling. I’m an extrovert, so naturally the first thing i did was look around to see if anyone had seen my embarrassing ass over teakettle move, and no one was around. I breathed in and out a few times, assessing the pain level, and then hobbled back inside. rest, ice, compression, elevation like i’ve been taught before– that ankle has been trouble before. i have taken this ankle to PT, it’s been in an air cast, all that. I busted my ass twice walking dogs on ice with this crappy ankle. I stopped wearing my beloved Dansko professional clogs because the weak ankle rolls in those shoes.

i didn’t go to the hospital. i didn’t go to the doctor. it was close to the end of the semester at work and I didn’t make myself a priority, per the usual. (see many examples of untreated colds, bronchial infections, knee pain, mental health struggles, and even a broken organ –the gallbladder– in my adult life that I neglected because i felt that my time wasn’t worth it over my job. i went home to visit friends and family over new years and my mom busted my chops, which I deserved. i swore to return to Massachusetts where i live now and make all the doctor’s and dentist appointments I needed to get back on track with my life.)

so i did. i scheduled a physical and an annual gyno exam and a dental cleaning/check up. i went to the dentist first. the cleaning went great–the hygienist complimented my brushing but encouraged a little more flossing. the dentist had crappy news– i have two little cavities he needs to fill, and a bottom tooth needs a crown sometime in the next year. this made me feel terrible, as if it were connected to my worth as a person. i am no stranger to this feeling; when i was in college, i drank a lot of sugary soda at work (waiting tables in Dansko clogs, natch) and i got hella cavities. i had one side filling come out 5 or so years ago, and the tooth ended up needing to be extracted. i actually fell into a depression over needing to have a tooth pulled–I felt that I had failed as a person, disappointed my parents– I cried in the dentist’s office when he told me. my dentist in Ohio has known me my entire life– i grew up next door to his parents and they were an extra set of grandparents to me as they totally adopted my 21 year old parents when they moved in. my dentist told me about his own vacant tooth spot, assuring me that even sometimes a dentist has a tooth extracted because dentists are not superheroes who can fix everything perfectly. the extraction was horrible– painful and scary, the sounds of my own body cracking haunted my dreams, and I developed a dry socket despite doing everything i was told. I was in really bad pain for a few weeks, and finally it subsided and i was left with this hole in my mouth that my tongue still finds its way to, curiously searching.

later the same day, because i was trying to be efficient, i went in for my physical. (my partner has a car, i do not, and she allows me to use it–but i have to drive her to work to have the car on a weekday so i try to consolidate trips.) last year, when i had to have my gallbladder removed because she was lazy and stopped working thus making me sicker than i have ever been in my adult life, i dealt with an aging thing I hadn’t anticipated. my surgeon was a few years younger than i am. like i said, i’m 37 now, and a surgeon in her early 30s wasn’t surprising… just surprising to me. she did a great job and I felt better LITERALLY IMMEDIATELY upon waking up from the anesthesia, which if you’ve ever had anesthesia, you know is a pretty big deal. So yeah, that younger-doctor thing happened and i dealt with it because i was so zen! so hip! “Her knowledge is SUPER UP TO DATE” i said, not even trying to mask my freakedoutedness to anyone who would listen.

also, my surgeon was pretty cute. #weird

okay, so I digress which is what brings you here anyway, right? you know i don’t stay on topic. tuesday i went in for a physical. my primary care physician is a DO, and I’m fine with seeing a physician’s assistant for basic things, so i went with the sooner appointment rather than the appointment with my doctor. Sidebar: what’s the diff between MD and DO?

The PA was also a relatively recent grad of the college where I work, and I felt instant rapport with her. She was quick yet thorough which I appreciated, and set me up with a million referrals to all the things I need. Ankle problems? ORTHO. Go get an x-ray before you leave here today! Anxiety issues again? PSYCH. Referral sent–they’ll call. You’ve never had a body scan in the dermatologist’s office?! You’re so fair skinned, she said. Referral given. Already all of these offices have contacted me to schedule my next step appointments, which is great. I saw a rheumatologist this morning because they’ve been helping out with Ortho referrals, and I found out there’s a 3mm probably benign tumor in my ankle. WTF, mate?

So I decided I better not start googling this, and so I’m not. I’m back to waiting for a meeting with Ortho, which means I need a MRI or a CT scan on the ankle. #Thisis40?

I get a call yesterday afternoon. My LDL cholesterol is elevated. She wants me on a low fat diet. Um, I had my gallbladder out a year ago. I’ve been a Weight Watcher since Sept 2012. My diet can’t go much lower fat, but okay. I’ll see what I can do. The bad ankle has kept me out of the gym a lot since I injured it. Not exercising impacts my mood, which when joining forces with my anxiety and all of this “what’s going on medically” feelings is making me pretty grumpy! When I feel grumpy, all I want is sugar to pick me up and of course, it actually doesn’t make me feel better. Sugar makes me feel cruddy.

So now I’m trying to figure out how to cut way back on sugar too.

How is it that I’m an adult and have no idea how my body works or what to feed myself to be healthy & happy? Geez. I live in the most technologically advanced time, completely surrounded by information, and I have no ideas.

Let me know if you do.

radio silent

y’all, i don’t know if people read blogs anymore. all the blogs I used to read aren’t really on my radar anymore because of the death of my one true love, Google Reader.

I haven’t been writing. And I’ve been beating myself up in my mind almost every day, feeling like a jerk because I love to write and I haven’t been doing it.

so here–this is what i’ve been up to.

i’m no longer living in my hometown of cincinnati, ohio, usa — me and my gf are in western massachusetts, usa which we really love. great hiking, lots of queer folks, beautiful scenery, and we both have jobs we like.

i went home to cincinnati for about 12 days and I spent most of it with family, and nursing a cold, and eating everything I miss except I missed a couple of places. I really didn’t get to see a lot of people I love but they know I love them, yeah?

2015 should be good. we have some great concerts coming up– Sleater-Kinney in Boston, St. Vincent in Providence, and Neutral Milk Hotel at the Mass MoCA in North Adams. We’re hoping to do a vacation to Washington DC because Kat hasn’t ever been to the big historical sites and we have friends I’d love to visit.

I’ve gotta find some volunteer action here– I’m going to sign up to volunteer at a local animal shelter. My parents are custodians to my beloved cat, Hillary Rodham Clinton, because I’m not allowed to have pets in my current housing situation. I miss being around cats & dogs, and so I’m excited to maybe walk shelter dogs.

I need to get a passport. We’re so close to Montreal and I know Kat would love love love to go there. She’s been there before and I haven’t.

I promise to keep writing here, even if no one is reading it.

Whoa.

I can’t believe I haven’t written anything here in almost a year.

I have so many thoughts brewing.  I’ll be back, and soon.

ouch.

recently, i put myself out there and applied to a promotion at work after a bunch of people I like & respect encouraged me to do so; and i didn’t get it.  and i’m feeling really embarrassed and disappointed and angry about it.

 

how do you manage feelings like that without engaging in destructive behavior or communication?

owning my choices

i turned 35 this year, and i’ve been trying to be more of an adult by doing things like getting a physical, updating my glasses prescription, getting all my dental issues fixed, paying my student loans, opening a savings account, & upgrading my car insurance.

part of this growing up thing was to consider my physical health, and i tell you, i was not healthy.  my numbers were a mess, and i was in a lot of physical pain.

I have been very much impacted by the Health At Every Size movement, from involvement in the Fatshionista community on LiveJournal, and reading lots of blogs & books, and having lots of honest conversation with other fat folks.  And I came to realize that I was not healthy– I was not active, I was in a lot of pain, and I was approaching some dangerous ground with regard to diabetes.  So I made a decision to do some work on my health–I have joined a gym and changed my eating habits, and I’m happy to report that I’m feeling a lot better, and even though I’ve lost 55 lbs,  I’m still fat.  Even if I lose another 100 lbs, my BMI will fall in the overweight category.  (I know, BMI is bullshit.  Just saying.)

For me, there’s a lot of fear about judgment around this issue– will I be a BAD FAT ACTIVIST if I choose to lose any weight?  I think the answer to that question can be a hearty yes, and it can be a no.  I think it depends a lot about HOW you go about doing things, WHY you do things, and what you say to folks in conversation if you choose to be public about your decisions like I do.

I was at a diversity conference this week and attended a session called Sizeism: The Final Frontier of Inclusion.  (I want to say that I don’t believe that sizeism is the final frontier of inclusion–more on that later.*)  At one point in time, the fat presenter used the word fat, but gave the disclaimer that she HATES that word, and I couldn’t let the statement stand in the room full of people who were obviously interested in the topic, so I spoke up.

“I don’t hate that word– it’s just a descriptor, like describing me as white.  I don’t let it hold any judgment for me.”

I think that part of being an activist is recognizing that talking about things can be triggering for folks.  I don’t post weekly status updates on fb or tweet about my weight, and I don’t appreciate seeing those posts when other people do it.  I think that information is cool to share on an individual level with the people in my life who are invested and interested, but why throw it out there for those who it may impact negatively?  It’s easy to talk about numbers because they show us what has changed– it’s a lot harder for me to explain how I have increased energy, my knee pain continues to decrease, and I’m sleeping better.  I can’t give you a percentage of how those things are improved, but I could measure my waist and tell you what’s changed.  Don’t worry– I won’t.  It is just as important for me to note that I believe the changes in the way I feel to not only be related to weight loss, but also very much related to the vitamins I take, the food I eat, and the exercising that I do.  These things are all tied up together, very much impacted by the fact that I found a doctor who did not encourage me to have bariatric surgery, but rather found a good vitamin for me and encouraged me on the path I am on.  Feeling shame from doctors had kept me from even getting a physical in over a decade.

When people first started making comments about noticing that my body has changed, I felt uncomfortable.  If my health is private, how do I assert that to people without coming across as a total jerk?  I haven’t figured that out yet.   How do I continue to work for fat acceptance and inclusion as someone who has noticeably lost weight?  I was not a healthy person at the size I was in August 2012 when I decided to change my eating habits & start moving my body, so I felt that my credibility was suspect when promoting the ideas of HAES because I wasn’t living them myself.

*I say that i don’t believe sizeism is the final frontier of inclusion because I believe in the intersectionality of oppression.  I don’t think that we will ever CURE racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, sizeism, etc because power and control will continue to operate as oppressive forces in our culture, and while dimensions of difference may change and shift over time, there will always be difference and there will always be privilege, and there will always be oppression.  I don’t believe in a hierarchy of oppression, and I don’t think of different oppressions like a list to check off one by one as they are solved.

There are so many things to think and say about this giant body (pun intended) of thought, action, and activism but for now I’ll just share this article I read today:

http://jezebel.com/5992866/dont-call-people-fat-in-front-of-your-kids-unless-you-really-want-to-screw-them-up?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

marriage

So this post is really just two facebook status updates.

The first person I ever came out to was Kate Williams. We were in my car, driving from Roger Bacon to Perkins and listening to Liz Phair. And I admitted that I’d been singing “i want a girlfriend” instead of “i want a boyfriend” to the song Fuck and Run.

It was either late fall 1994 or spring 1995. And I didn’t come out to anyone else until I came out to

The first person I ever came out to was Kate Williams. We were in my car, driving from Roger Bacon to Perkins and listening to Liz Phair. And I admitted that I’d been singing “i want a girlfriend” instead of “i want a boyfriend” to the song Fuck and Run.

It was either late fall 1994 or spring 1995. And I didn’t come out to anyone else until I came out to Rob , Carter , and Mason at OU in the Fall of 1995. And then slowly I told some other folks, like Linda and Jason.

Since those first words about my sexuality so long ago, I have wrestled a great number of demons about it. I married a man, and I hope that he’s forgiven me–i don’t know because we don’t talk.

But what I do know is that never did I imagine that gay marriage was a possibility. Never did I imagine that I would have the CHOICE about getting married, and that’s what this is about now. Whether I think marriage is awesome or crap, what matters is that I’m a citizen and I deserve the full rights & privileges that other citizens have. I deserve to choose whether or not I want to marry my partner.

My mom posted something about being an ally (which I truly appreciate because it was a long road to this place where she’s cool w/ me being a homo) and then her cousin posted an ignorant comment.

So I posted this reply to her:

“I should have equal rights as a citizen of the United States of America. Anyone’s religious beliefs are not my concern because I believe in the separation of church & state. As a citizen, I deserve to be allowed to marry my female partner if I choose, and because I’m not allowed to, I’m denied about 1100 federal rights that my parents, you and your husband, and other married couples have access to. (Not to mention about 500 rights at the state level.)

Those rights are mostly financial, related to taxes, social security, death benefits, estate taxes, taxation of benefits, but also include things like Family & Medical Leave Act time, bereavement time, immigration, benefits for the spouses of federal employees, and health insurance coverage.

Everything I was taught in my Catholic education at Our Lady of the Rosary & Roger Bacon High School about Jesus focused on the concept that He is Love, and while I no longer participate in a church community anymore, I think that people who hide behind any argument about religion or the Bible are doing nothing but hiding.

If you hate gay people, think we’re gross or sad or whatever–that’s fine. Have the chutzpah to just say so– but don’t hide behind a religion whose main tenet is love.”

Happy New Year

I haven’t had much to say lately, but sooner or later I feel like I should check back in.  Things were a little chaotic for awhile personally & professionally, so I have more gray hairs than I did a month ago.  But things are good now.

Dreamboat and I got back together. We both learned a lot from being broken up for those months.  I’m optimistic about the future. I spent New Year’s Eve in Chicago with awesome friends.

My cats are doing well.  I’ve been knitting a lot, playing a lot of bar trivia, and as always, job searching.  I’ve been going to the gym still, and I’ve lost almost 40 lbs.  (Don’t worry, I’m still really fat.)

 


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