Emotional Vulnerability is Super-Icky…

About 7 years ago I went to the Dentist – and I didn’t freeze at all during a root canal.  Honestly.  It was the most pain that I’ve ever been in and I cried through the whole thing.  The Dentist basically told me that she’d already given me too much freezing and that I was just going to have to deal.  By the end of the appointment I was shaking and tear stained with a poorly filled tooth… and my Dentist asked me not to come back.

Seriously.

Since this appointment what started as a wee bit of Dental anxiety has turned into a massive irrational fear.  I went to the Dentist yesterday for the first time in years and when the Dental Assistant came out and asked the man sitting next to me to come on back so that they could get started freezing him… I nearly ran out.  It was a really, really close call.

But I reminded myself that my back molar is BROKEN and deserves some serious attention.   I also berated myself for being a big old baby and I wished that I’d thought to bring someone with me to keep me from running away.   But that would be pretty embarrassing.  (“Can you come to the Dentist with me so that I don’t run away?  Thanks.”).

My anxiety level was so high though that when the Dentist called me a “bad girl” for having a couple of small cavities I began to cry.  I turned bright red, my eyes welled up, spilled over and I lost the ability to speak for several moments.  He immediately apologized.  I think that the tears made the dental anxiety that I’d warned the receptionist about become suddenly very clear.  He grabbed my hand and apologized again, promising that he would make sure I was frozen before he did anything painful.  The Dental Assistant picked up my hand on the other side and promised that she would help too.

And I think I died a little bit inside.

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I mean: I’m a 30-year-old woman.  And I’m having an absolutely ridiculous and over-the-top reaction to something that most people do without any issues.  Tell me to get my shit together and stop my whining.  It won’t help but at least it’s a reaction that I’m comfortable with. 

All the sympathy and coddling?  It just made me uncomfortable and embarrassed.

I don’t think I am very good at talking about the emotional stuff.  I’m self-aware and I can discuss things that I’ve worked through, the things that I know about myself, or, better yet, others.  Talking about those things in my life that are or were difficult?  Things that I haven’t figured out how I feel about yet?  Those things are difficult, if not impossible, for me to say out loud.

It’s this weird emotional block with me.  Embarrassment, tears, uncertainty.  I don’t want to expose those.  I want to be sure of everything before I present myself to other people.

And I don’t think that any of us are sure of ourselves all the time.  (If we are – it probably also indicates an issue).

So I have an appointment at the Dentist next Thursday and I have some pretty pills to help calm me down and a patient Father who will drive me to and from the appointment.  (Sadly it isn’t the first time that he has had to do this, lol).  I want to cancel because I’m really embarrassed about having had a silly anxiety attack in front of these people but I also know that I have to do this.  I have to fix this stupid tooth (to add insult to injury this is the badly filled tooth from 7 years ago).  I have to get over this fear of the Dentist before I am 40 and gumming all my food.

It is interesting to me that my reaction to these two kind individuals grabbing my hands and trying to help me was to curl up inside of myself and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.  I felt too freaking vulnerable and, to be honest, it made me pretty nauseous.

Is this a sign that I’m some sort of emotionally unavailable freak?  Or just that I have a normal reaction to socially unacceptable behaviour such as a crippling-fear-of-the-dentist-at-30?

I think that this blog makes me sound a lot more neurotic than I actually am.

Pray for my tooth.

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It’s World IBD Day! (AKA: The Perfect Day To Stay Home and Be Violently Ill).

I’m going to warn that this post is tots TMI!  If you are interested in (or have) UC or Crohn’s it is designed to inform and (hopefully) to make you laugh.  If not, you might want to stay away.

Canada has the highest rate of IBD in the world (1 in 150 people rather than the world average of 1 in 350) so the chances are, if you’re a Canadian, you know someone who deals with this disease.

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I have Ulcerative Colitis.

Typically my life is pretty normal.  My average, non-flare, symptoms will usually include fatigue, arthralgia and headaches.  This is on a daily basis but I’ve learned to adjust and so it’s not much of a bother.  I live my life pretty simply, cater to the fatigue as much as I can and I tend to be okay.

I think the biggest impact that my disease has had is on my self-esteem.  It’s hard to feel sexy or attractive when, at times, your life revolves around the bathroom.  It’s really embarrassing to tell people about this disease.  As I get older it gets easier because I’m less embarrassed by it – it’s just my life.

At other times I “flare”.  I can usually tell that a flare is coming when I start to get unexplained fevers (mild but they make me feel gross and sweaty), when the arthralgia gets worse, when the fatigue begins to impact day-to-day functioning, when I start to feel non-stop nausea (sometimes I suspect that a UC flare is very similar to the early stages of pregnancy).

All of these symptoms start before my guts start to lose their mind, freak out, and attack my body with a vigor.

Then my guts will get involved and all bets are off.  Who knows how I will feel tomorrow, today, in 5 minutes.

Seriously annoying.  And Painful.

I had started a minor flare a few weeks ago, did a 3-day juice fast, my typical first line of defense, and thought that I got it under control.

I was wrong.

I’m just going into the second day of a flare.  The kind of flare where I can tell I’ll be scared to eat for awhile.

The funniest part of this disease is the level to which the foods that make you sick are random.  People always ask “will this make you sick?  this?” and while I love their intentions and I wish I could reassure them… I can’t.

The first time I got sick (really sick) I couldn’t eat chicken or bell peppers.  Even the smell of them would send me running for the bathroom.  That summer I lived on nectarines.  Bags and bags of nectarines.  They were literally the only thing that made me feel okay.  (I look back now and think that this is amazing because it’s been about a decade since I could eat raw fruit and veggies without immediate and dire consequences, flare or not).

A couple of years ago I spent an entire month living on Itchiban Noodles which were only okay if they were cooked in the sodium-laced broth, the broth was then dumped out and the noodles were consumed on their own.

A few months ago it was the Homestyle Chicken Breast Sandwich from Wendy’s.  Hold the mayo, tomato and lettuce.  And sometimes the bun.

The more processed and terrible a food is the more likely it will agree with me.  My theory on this is that these foods have so few nutrients and fiber they are practically predigested.  Therefore my body doesn’t go crazy trying to deal with them.

Last night I put steel cut oats into the slow cooker with almond milk and cooked them overnight.  I had one tablespoon at 6 am to see how I would react.  I was sick for 2 hours.

One. Tablespoon.  Two.  Hours.

This disease is a bit ridiculous.  It’s kind of funny.  And let’s be clear.  I am so so so lucky.  I have never landed in the hospital.  I got the disease at 18 and so didn’t have to deal with the embarrassment and disruptions that this would have caused to my teenage (or younger) self.  I have family members whose experiences with IBD have been much much worse.  If my UC ever got that bad they would remove my colon and I would no longer have the disease.  While this horrifies and terrifies me and I’m going to have to get a lot older and more mature to think that I’d want to live life without my colon… It’s an option.  People with Crohn’s do not have this option of escape.  My UC is mild and it really doesn’t impact my world to that huge an extent.

My disease is an irritation and one that I’m now often able to laugh at.

So, I’m at the start of a flare and I plan to start the search today for a food that shall make my guts happy (or at least not violently angry) for the next few weeks.

FYI: last night I tried the Wendy’s chicken burger in desperation and I can say with absolute certainty that that won’t be the solution this time around, lmao.

I’m going to make gnocci with plain tomato sauce tonight.  It’s a bit ambitious (tomato sauce is after all a veggie) but I’m hoping that it will be sufficiently inoffensive.

So today hug a person with IBD (or be even kinder and let them ahead of you in the line for the ladies room).  Tell them that their symptoms really aren’t that gross.  (After all, shit happens).  Read a bit about it.  Try not to react with disgust when someone tells you they have it.

Watch this if you want to learn a bit more…

Technology Sucks.

I had dinner with a new friend a few nights ago.  We are both teachers, both in our 30s, both single, both dating.  It’s nice to find someone who is at the same stage and who is going through the same things.

It was one of those dinners that women have where we start talking and, three hours later, still haven’t stopped.  Where you get to analyze your neurosis with someone who totally gets it (and shares them).

Anyways, my friend went to the washroom, and while she was gone I had a revelation.  She came back and I immediately exclaimed:

“You know what I just realized?!  Everyone, everyone who’s married anyways, everyone has done it!”

She looked briefly alarmed and I realized that my words could be misconstrued.

“No, see, I mean, they’ve dated.  They’ve figured out the awkward beginnings.  They’ve managed not to screw it up by being crazy girls.  They’ve called him and that single phone call didn’t make him think that they were a crazy stalker.  They’ve all done it,” I finished triumphantly, looking for confirmation.

Instead I got a look of reluctance.

“Yeah… but…” she held up her iPhone and waved it in the air.  “Most of them didn’t do it like this.  Most of them didn’t have to worry about texts and what they mean, about when it’s a good time to take down the online profile, about the million other options on a dating site.  It’s different now.”

I know that each generation thinks that things are different now and the previous generation smiles, nods, and thinks: I remember when I thought my experience was unique too.

But It IS Different.

Technology can really muck things up.  For example…

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Texts are too easy to send, to misinterpret, to question.

  • Should I text him?  (The answer is pretty much always no… he knows that you are alive and probably you are only texting to remind him of that fact… regardless of the “crucial” thing you want to send.)
  • Why didn’t he text me “Morning” or “Goodnight”?  He did yesterday, or at the start, or once a month ago.  (He isn’t thinking of you.  Or he doesn’t like to text.  Or he is thinking of you but he’s just as confused as you are about whether or not it’s okay to text.  Also, a note here, some poor guys simply don’t like to text.  Are they screwed in this new world?  Will we all write them off as “not interested”?)
  • What did that text mean?  Or that one?  Or that one?  (Stop analyzing it.  Don’t let it make you crazy.  Chances are that he’s trying to make you like him and isn’t being a dick on purpose.  If he is being a dick on purpose dump him.  Do not have an important conversation via text.)
  • WHY IS THERE A PENIS ON MY PHONE?!?!?!  (Run.  Just run.)

I obsess as much as the next girl.  I’m terrible for it.  But I’m becoming self aware enough to realize that I’m doing it.  To realize that my obsession with the fact that I haven’t heard from him in two days has more to do with insecurity then anything else.  To remind myself that I don’t need to be insecure.  That I am in control of my own destiny.  That he is probably just busy.  That I don’t need to be constantly reassured.

And 90% of the time I don’t.

I enjoy the girly conversations where we analyze everything down to the minute detail.  It’s a part of being a girl.  It’s a fun part.  It’s a bonding experience.  It might seem obsessive and crazy.  But we’re girls.  This is what we do.

Back to the original point of this post though.  Technology sucks.

How did it work before the iPhone?  How often was one expected to talk to a new person?  How often did one talk when it was just land lines?

It must have been so much simpler in the time of buggies and courting and arranged marriage.

We have the ability to be constantly connected.  This does not mean that we should or need to be constantly connected.

Mystery is sexy.  Mystery is exciting.

Put the phone down.

Ugh – You Look Like A Whale…

Okay, so if I’m being totally honest and completely over-sharing, last night I had a massive attack of self-loathing.  It just happens sometimes.

I know that this is a subject I tend to harp on about.  I know that I have professed on this blog that I am going to stop worrying about it, start accepting myself, stop the self-hate.

But it isn’t that simple.  A lifetime worth of negative self-talk is difficult to let go of over night and so, while I’m working on my body image,… I’m not there yet.  Some improvements that I have made:

  • I’ve started to buy clothes in the size that I am not the size that I will be just-as-soon-as-I-lose-15-(20-or-30)-pounds.
  • I no longer cry when getting dressed to go out on a date or other, similar, things.  I dress up and I even like how I look much of the time.
  • I no longer spend money on “the latest” weight fix.  I understand that these things don’t work, aren’t healthy and are just feeding my self-hate.
  • I am accepting more and more that my weight isn’t all my fault for being lazy (flawed, stupid).  It isn’t an excuse but health issues that I have dealt with for the past decade have led to a myriad of medication-related weight issues.  I know that my weight always goes up significantly when I am forced onto medications and I hate myself less for not being able to control that.

Things that I haven’t made progress on:

  • I frequently feel apologetic for my weight, like those with me are (or should be) embarrassed to be seen with me.
  • I honestly feel like I am somehow worth less than those women around me who are thinner.
  • I still can’t get rid of any size 8 (or 10 or 12) clothing that I don’t fit.  It sits in my closet (mocking me) waiting for me to “get it together”.

Did you know that according to a recent study 60% of adults report feeling ashamed by the way that they look?  That one-third of men would give up a year of their life to reach their ideal weight?  That 95% of dieters regain the weight that they lost?

I am fully aware that my body image issues currently are stemming from work related stress.  See: it takes a large amount of effort for me to stop the negative self-talk that is so automatic for me (“ugh- you look like a whale” is stopped by the thought “no- you are rocking that dress”).  The energy that it takes to stop these thoughts that are, for reasons I really can’t identify, automatic, is exhausting.  So when I’m already exhausted: I don’t stop these thoughts.

And it takes a few days (or weeks) before I realize that I’ve let myself slip.

Last night I stared in the mirror for an obscene amount of time cataloging my faults.  Then I cried.  Then I researched diets.  Then I went on Pinterest and pinned several things like this…

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And suddenly I felt better, I felt lovable, I fell asleep easily.

I’m not perfect.  I’m so far from it it scares me.

But I’m doing my best.  And feeling okay about that is a journey that I didn’t expect.

Maybe I want to have less sand.  But that isn’t who I’m going to be at this point in my life and I don’t need to feel guilty about that.

And if I’m tired and I have the odd meltdown?  Well, that’s just life as a human and the insecurities that we all face each and every day.

It’s okay.

I’m ok.

Changing What I See…

I recently started watching “The Mindy Project” on Netflix.  It’s a great show, very funny, about a single doctor in her early 30s.

And she’s not skinny.

Seriously.  I had to google “Mindy Kaling Height Weight” because watching this show was screwing so seriously with my mind.  The results said that she was a size 8, estimated 5’3″, 150 pounds.

(I feel guilty and voyeuristic for googling this but I couldn’t stop myself).

In other words: she’s a normal, healthy adult woman.

And watching her on TV for a total of 50 minutes or so had me so discomfited that I had to search her size.

Not only was I shocked that this was a normal healthy woman – I was shocked that I am significantly bigger that Mindy.  I kept watching the show thinking that I was looking at someone roughly my size.  I was wrong.

I’m only halfway through the first season at this point (she just found out that Josh was cheating on her – poor Mindy!!!).  And there has already been more than one reference to her weight.  Negative references.

For example…

But Mindy is funny.  And smart.  And talented.  And hot.

She’s everything that I want to be when I grow up.

We need more Mindy’s on mainstream TV.  Women who don’t look like what we are programmed to expect.

It’s strange to realize that my views of my own body and other peoples bodies is so skewed that watching a normal woman on TV has taken several episodes to (almost) get used to.

In case you want some encouragement to check out this hilarious show…

 

Life Is Just A Beautiful Canvas…

It seems that lately everyone my age I talk to is in the process of buying a house or having a (second) baby.  It’s awesome because I can’t wait to hang out at the new homes or hold the new babies. But… It’s leaving me with a rather complex mixture of feelings.

I don’t want to be at that stage of life right now.  I like my little apartment, job, friends, my new relationship.  I’m in no rush for the rest of these things.  But sometimes I wonder if I should be.

Is it strange to be a thirty-year-old woman who is okay with being on her own and not worried about having the rest of the “package”?

Is it okay that I feel like I have time?

It feels sometimes like I’m in this weird little pause between lives.  Like my past marriage and life were a dream that I can’t really remember anymore. And my future is this unpainted canvas.

And I’m just sitting here looking at colour options, not all that fussed about filling it up.

It would be nice if someone would come along with a brush and paint on that canvas a guarantee of certain things for my future.  Things that I want.  Things that I worry I may never have.

Life doesn’t work that way though and I’m coming to the conclusion that I need to be okay with the possibility that I won’t get everything that I want.  That if those things don’t happen it’s in my power to fill that canvas with other beautiful things.  After all…

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My world won’t be over if the canvas doesn’t end up looking the way that I hope it will.  It will be up to me to make is just as beautiful, if different.  I have the power to do that.

It’s occurring to me that I need to stop thinking of my life right now as somehow less “real” than the lives of friends who are in a different stage.  Right now is a moment that I’m getting reacquainted with myself.  That I’m building a new future, a more exciting future, a future that I will choose rather than just walk into (as I did in the past).

No one has made me feel like my life is less “real”… It’s just this annoying feeling that has been floating around in my brain when I listen to people making these big and amazing plans for their future.  I’ve been having trouble putting this discomfort into words and thought I’d give it a try here.

Ta ta for now folks.

 

 

Money Honey… Should I Get A Roommate?

In a previous life I was an accountant.  With this comes certain responsibilities such as ocd-style spreadsheets outlining my budget and household expense percentages.

I’m going to over-share here and show you what my current categories and spending percentages are…

  • Housing – 49% (should be 20-30%)
  • Debt – 5.5%  (in range)
  • Transportation – 10.5%  (in range)
  • Groceries – 10%  (low)
  • Cell Phone – 2.5%  (usually not included in separate category)
  • Remainder – 22.5%  (I really need to break this down further at some point)

“Remainder” goes towards things like savings (HA!), entertainment, household maintenance, extra expenses (aka the $400 or so I plan to spend on my divorce this month), travel (HA! x2) and clothing.  12.5% of my gross income goes towards my pension so I’m kinda saving in that way… all of the other numbers above are based on my net income.

In the lower mainland I don’t think that it is practical (reasonable is a whole other story) to expect that our housing costs are below 50% of our net income.  Assuming that we want to own our home, live alone and live somewhere desirable.  This is a choice that I make (and one that I regret more than I care to admit).  If I get a roommate my percentages all change but the housing one comes down to a (much?) more reasonable 41% of net.

In my research I have come across many budgets… and all of them list entertainment as being around 5% and clothing as around 5%.  I’m probably over on both of these items.  I’m wondering if I’m the only one.

My entertainment budget has gone up, up, up since I’ve been single.  Not having someone at home (aka built in entertainment) I find myself going out much more often.  Because: why not?

Travel doesn’t fit into my budget easily but I hope that over the next couple of years, as my income increases, I should be able to start making that more of a priority.  It’s a priority to me to start getting out and seeing the world… and yet I’m uncertain as to how much I am willing to sacrifice for this.  Aka: Is it worth having a roommate if that suddenly allows me the chance to take an annual trip?

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I’m not getting ahead (beyond building a bit of equity and my pension) but I’m also not getting behind so I’m going to call that a win for right now.

I keep looking at this point in my life as a little calm break… Assuming that one day I do end up married again and with children… This might be my only change ever to live alone.  Shouldn’t I embrace that?

What’s your budget like?  Have you ever broken it down?  Did the results surprise you?

Do you think it’s worth giving up my personal space to gain back that 8% of net?  I’m really torn on this whole roommate thing… Opinions would be great!