Day 351

8PM:

At the end of August, I decided that it would be helpful to re-gig the August Greatist Challenge, continue it for the months to come as loving, supportive inspiration to my wife on her journey of recovery.  In October, it was less a day-to-day set of lines to structure.  It became more of an “open in case of emergency” situation.  Having a shitty day?  Check out the Greatist calendar and breathe five times.  Work using you like a punching bag?  Check out the Greatist calendar and name five things that make you happy right now.

Well, work has treated me like a punching bag for the last (insert what-I-wish-could-be-a-hyperbolic statement HERE [but it won’t be hyperbolic until there is care to remember that I am volunteering for the benefit of the school on a Saturday and that I asked for their blessing in stretching my professional limits for the benefit of my professional development]) and my back appears to be completely fucked either by lack-of-outlet stress or by working out to compensate for the stress, so I looked at the calendar and here are five things that make me happy right now:

#1: I am able to gloat about my grandfather, about the connection that he and I have right now.

#2: I have the means to be a little bit stupid.  And the universe knows it will make me happy, so it went from 10% to 40% to 50%.  Not making it any less stupid mind you, but somehow increasing the right-ness of it.  In setting the stage ever-so-snuggly, the universe made it fit ever-so-snuggly.  I can’t wait.

#3: As a supplement, being in the spirit of happy, of giving, of loving and caring (even for an hour), the parts of my brain that often go unused (because of the whole frosty workplace element), kicked into overdrive.  It gave me a way to combine #1 and #2 that will be beautiful, amazing and loving.  I can’t wait.

#4: Work sucks.  To escape, I went to my brother/sister/mother-in-law’s house after work today.  I was greeted at the door by my nephew, who’s initial reaction was to ask, “Are you staying for a visit?”  I did.  I didn’t because there were some ulterior motives.  I didn’t because there were political gains to be made.  I did because he enjoys the fact that I talk with him, at a level that is him, within his lines and colours, within his vivid.  I did because he enjoys that I read to him, and yes, he and I get impatient, but it is beautiful that he wants to know and learn and be immersed in something.  I did because he and I created love and amazing and beauty in that, because I get lost in that every time, because I got lost in that today.

#5: Work sucks.  To escape, I went to my brother/sister/mother-in-law’s house after work today.  I was greeted at the door by my nephew… no, this is not a repeat.  This deserves its own spot.  In sitting with my nephew, listening to him extolling the various Clash of Clans minutiae, my niece comes along.  Dressed as a beautiful princess (are there any other types at the age of two?), she found her nook = good lord, does she ever act like my wife (even her nose mirrors the cuteness of my love’s scratching and “stop iiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttt” [AN ASIDE: I LOVE IT!!!])!  Not only that, the loving side of this beautiful 831-day-old took her Mickey and Minnie dolls, made sure they were holding hands, snuggled them up to me, made sure they were holding hands, closed my arms around the three of them, made sure they were holding hands and found herself immersed in the comfy, began falling asleep.  I got to notice that.  I got to get lost in that.

#6 (because it’s been one of those mind-fuck days/weeks/fortnights/months/semesters): Even if the blackest parts of me don’t believe it (or the not-so-black parts of which the eating disordered, controlling blackness still has a hold), I can pass on the wisdom of my experiences to the next generation.  Even if the blackness-soaked parts of me scream differently, I can prevent further blackness, further destruction, further disordered thinking, further body dysmorphia and anorexic masochism, further self-hatred through the wisdom gained after being blackened…

20141031_192103

This means nothing

20141031_192301

This means everything

 

 

Advertisements

Day 325

1PM:

Contrary to my grandfather’s openness, he is a man somewhat fixed in traditions.  He supported Black and homosexual track and field athletes before anyone of his generation, opening his home and talent and heart by putting the “athlete” part first.  That is his openness.

He, however, needs to have Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, not recognizing that the traditions of giving thanks and enjoying each other’s company [as opposed to being tired as fuck from helping them move all weekend/week/month/Summer (depending on the respective family member and their level of helpfulness)] is more important that doing so on the day that the pilgrims fucked the North American native populations.

He, contrary to his openness, needs to have meat at dinner.  And as such, sees my veganism in such a light.  He will come close, because out of love, comes his support.  However, he will comment on veganism’s perceived (and sometimes real) pitfalls.  Usually, in this situation, he will defer to logic (as the protein argument/discussion went, quashed with a couple of Thrive Fitness protein graphics).  One of the things that his logic will deflect, or should I say ignore, is the animal argument.  The argument that eating animals should be questioned, not just done out of “tradition.”

As we were cleaning out the final remnants of my grandparents’ house today, my brother and I found a slip of paper.  This slip of paper is of unknown origins.  This slip of paper is of unknown owner.  However, this slip of paper is the connection between veganism and my grandfather, even though its original intentions we connected to arguing against evolution or for religion or who even knows, even though the sole basis of his follow-up argument was “but you don’t eat monkeys!”.  This slip of paper connects love to love:

20141005_125017

Day 276

6PM:

With this week on the job coming to a close…

This week on the job, taking the reigns, being aware to support my mother…

Doing this has led me to the following (or should I say continuing) thoughts: now, the starbursts of support may be in warmth or in echoes, while light years away the supernova has dwindled, used up its primary energies, become a secondary star.  Now, maybe I am meant to be the brightest star, the supernova that’s meant to provide the strength and courageous care – Tz’u.

It was me who called my aunt as the voice of reason, to make sure that she took care of my grandparents in my absence, ignoring her neglect (my birthday message to her that went unanswered out of “busy-ness”) and instead focusing on my grandparents and inspiring care.  It was me who has been my mother’s sounding board, her unwavering resolution through some trying marketing dilemmas during this job, her idea-bouncer-offer (and often creator).

It was me who has been bolstering my mother’s self-confidence this week, making sure that she does not feel obsolete, out-of-place, purposeless, but also balancing this with making sure she does not feel inferior, that she still feels like she is the best at schmoozing, at taking care of others, at being the silent upper-hand.  For example, last night she went alone to a schmooze-fest with another sponsor, much bigger than us.  I wanted her to go alone not only because I am fucking exhausted and sore (feeling it beyond my bones, but in my marrow, in my coldest physical parts), but because she needed to feel important, she needed not to worry about me being there, she needed to feel the best, she needed to feel “solo,” like she could conquer the marketing world all on her own and be seen as a super-woman.  Much of that is true, but much of that is about emboldening her and avoiding her feeling an iota of negativity towards herself.  I love my mother and would never want her to feel that way.  The difference is that it wasn’t about short-term pain for long-term gain.  It wasn’t about making her emotionally and intentionally healthy so that she could support my recovery, so that she could be the Don.  These intentions were about making her feel loved, feel cared about; these intentions were solely about her.

As such, I am led to the inevitable – no, the approached, not “rapidly approaching” – thought: am I the new dawn/Don of Tz’u?

Day 248

11AM:

Cue Mr. John Lennon…

I am in my hour of darkness, struggling through this new stage of recovery because it will be for the best.  And therefore, I have tried to find that metaphorical “Mother Mary.”  Two days ago, I found it in Habitating Family Friend, using a wireless printer that was wired in his room.  Three days ago, I found it in my grandparents and their new-found interest in veganism that stemmed from their not-so-new-found interest in me.  Four days ago, I sought it in digital companionship, digging into the silent online community who have gone through or are going through stages of recovery, of their reclaiming healthy.

Yesterday, I tried finding it in Intentional Acts of Niceness: smiling at anyone I could to get a smile back – the grocery cashier, cyclists going the other way, drivers who I let pass ahead in stop signs = NOTHING!  It was as if the world had taken a giant step backwards in the graciousness department.  [AN ASIDE: On a more dramatic note, there was a story in the New Yorker about suicide attempts made off the Golden Gate Bridge — the following story has relevance:

Dr. Jerome Motto, who has been part of two failed suicidebarrier coalitions, is now retired and living in San Mateo. When I visited him there, we spent three hours talking about the bridge. Motto had a patient who committed suicide from the Golden Gate in 1963, but the jump that affected him most occurred in the seventies. “I went to this guy’s apartment afterward with the assistant medical examiner,” he told me. “The guy was in his thirties, lived alone, pretty bare apartment. He’d written a note and left it on his bureau. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’ ”

How far do you think this gentleman walked?  How many opportunities for Intentional Acts of Niceness – simple smiles – were missed on his way?  Clearly, I am not that close nor do I ever think I will be, but it does resound given the mental thunderclouds of the last month].

So being unable to find that metaphorical “Mother Mary” in my bag of recovery tricks, I sit here in my hour (oh, what I wouldn’t give for that to be a metaphor) of darkness.  I sit in the dark, worrying about having sat down for too long (even though I biked for almost an hour uphill yesterday and will probably lift weights or run later today), about small flaps of skin around my waist (that very well could have always been there, fucking hypnotic, body dysmorphic voice of the blackness) and about a stomach that touches my T-shirt a little too closely (even though I did core work on Friday and that always causes a tighter stomach).

Don’t worry trusted readers… this is not feeling sorry, indulging in self-pity or even clocking in the five seconds of Lost fear – it’s just crossing the tools off that are not working at the moment.  Instead, I will seek wisdom in the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, a wonderful discourse on peace of mind and quiet of soul.  I’ll let you know if…

When I find myself in times of trouble
Winnie the Pooh comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
He is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Day 246

12PM:

How did eating get to be so hard?  It should be such a natural thing, shouldn’t it?  It should be like breathing.  Instead, I am holding my breath these days more than I should.

Well, it got to be hard on Sunday, six days ago, because we took me off the respirator.  There was a mechanization to my eating.  And while I was getting enough oxygen, I was stupidly choosing to take it all in at irregular intervals – taking the pain and suffering through the day to enjoy the high at night.  That was not living, that was being hooked up to tubes and having my family, my world unable to connect with me.  It took away my other functions, it took away my other natural things, like I wrote about yesterday.

It is so hard because we are reclaiming our lives, reclaiming each mother fucking breath in and breath out.  They are chores, they are laborious.  Each breath is its own mountain.  Each bite of food, each acknowledgement of hunger, every midnight indulgence for a greater good (chocolate to greet my wife at the door, connecting after a hard day) – these are my mountains, these are my accomplishments, these are the breaths I take, that take.  But the toll these take… the toll is collapse-inducing, tear-jerking, and blindingly weakening.  They are humbling, because it shows how truly weak and atrophied these parts of me have become.

I need the strength to fight through.  I need to take the risk that I eat too much at breakfast or feel hungry two hours later and eat too much as a snack or eat dinner earlier than I planned or have a piece of chocolate at midnight or mistake being sick and exhausted for needing food, that my body will take care of it, that nature will take care of it.  And if they don’t, that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, because it will even out the next day, or the day before, or two days after.  And if it doesn’t, that maybe I should be eating more often, more period, because that’s what my body and nature have been asking for.  And if that’s not the case, my support system will be there, not with a respirator in hand, but with the love that will keep me breathing.  Love that manifests in Mom and my wife preparing food to help me not struggle through cooking, magnificent vegan meals that taste so much better than they should (except for that weird rhubarb-cherry compote thing – sorry Mom).  Love that manifests in attempts at understanding, my grandparents reading books and surfing websites to find recipes and knowledge that will help them make me feel at home when I stay over – when really, the actions of attempting to understand are truly what make me feel that there is nowhere less like home.

This is the strength that will keep me breathing, hard as it is and as weak as I have been and as mistaken as I will be, their love will help me keep breathing.

Day 243

10AM:

Three days into this and there is definitely doubt – especially because of the length at which we have been existing in this stage of recovery, the one that needed the portion control, the calorie counting, the external voice to keep me in line.  Doubt brought on by my wife putting herself in another careless, thoughtless situation last night with drinking and work and neglecting her home-life, her whole life, her life of intention.  Not doubt of her, but doubt brought on by the stress of staying up all night waiting anxiously for her to come home safe.  Doubt brought on by a soul less powerful today to fight off the blackness.  Doubt that has questioned and will now question every fucking food decision, constantly: Too much? Not enough? Waited too long? Should have waited longer?  Doubt that analyzes every time a piece of food enters my mouth.

That doubt says maybe I need a plan to follow for eating – maybe that’s just me, needing some sort of organization.  Maybe I can’t be eating “willy-nilly?”

But wouldn’t this still be restricting, be suppressing emotions, which we think is what killed the other emotions (sex, love, sadness, rock and roll)?  Wouldn’t this be perpetuating the dulling of my soul, as opposed to reclaiming its beauty?

That doubt says why not keep the portion counting and set breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner and post-dinner = fuel the brain enough throughout the day to fight the blackness that screams loudly when I am hungry (e.g. suicidal thoughts, self-harm, self-doubt, self-inflicted pain, guilt, and all the other dwarfs who missed out on Disney).

However, to the point made yesterday, those lines are old lines, too bold for the me version of me, too solid for these colours of my soul.  Quell the short-term anxiety for long-term harm?  That doesn’t sound like what brave, strong and smart bears do.

And what would you do about activity levels?  Regimented eating is one thing, but to truly “do this right,” you’d have to regiment movement, stress levels, activity duration and strenuousness, sleep times… (get the point).  Dealing with the movement anxieties of “not sitting down because it isn’t compensated for naturally” (as it would if I just ate, like the new stage of recovery suggests) prevents calmness of mind and soul, feeds the perfectionistic qualities, brings out the flawed nature of my obsessive imperfections.

That doubt says today – given how hard things are setting up to be with home stresses, crappy sleep, potential for restriction as a result of both (just because hunger has had a hard time speaking through these before, not an intentional restriction), Summer School midterms to turn around in less than 18 hours (assuming sleep isn’t a priority…) – maybe today I count, I take it out of the context of yesterday and the context of tomorrow and I pick up the calorie/portion counting for one day.  I can’t get out of control for one day…

If I can get through today, if we can get through today, on Day 3, not taking a sabbatical…  I have always been too stupid to fall down, to know when to give up, forever tilting at windmills because I’d rather find the giant among them.  But this is more than that, getting through today will give us strength.  It will embolden us and more importantly for me, it will embolden her.  Show her that when times are tough, she does love, and MOST importantly, she does care.  Stay the course.

That doubt says I have felt bloated over the last three days, and I don’t think it’s the blackness talking.

That is anxiety fucktard!  It probably always existed and you just ignored it because while the cause was unknown, the intake was known (used to tell the blackness that I couldn’t get fat, because the intake was regular, regimented, controlled).

I’m scared.  I need to record these because even though they aren’t real, they are real to me, right now.  I know that these are just fears and that these fears and anxieties are temporary (but I’m an overachiever — and I really want it to stop) and that I need to focus on the positives (like the fact that I haven’t had a desire to binge at any point during the day, except yesterday between lunch and early-dinner when I waited too long – but the voice stopped when I ate reasonably, turning off the demon that screams in times of restriction) and have faith.

I know these things because of my grandfather who emailed me within minutes of me asking for advice.  I know these things because of my beautiful wife, who (yesterday, before the carelessness) in a step on her recovery of the her version of her, reminded me that maybe (just maybe) these anxieties are because I’m not at my appropriate weight and that will fluctuate when I accept my hunger, my feelings, my emotions = evidence of care.  Even after last night, that is what I want to believe in – the unicorns, the penguins and her.  That is her reclaiming healthy, being my support system, holding my hand as we walk this path of recovery together.

And suddenly, I’m not as scared anymore, even though the path ahead seems dark.

Day 226

1:30PM:

Some people have turkey dinner or chocolate chip cookies, neither of which taste as good as when they are made with love, never mind the dry or burnt bits. Others have bagels and cream cheese or Costco hot dogs, cheap dates that are more valuable than any other. Others even still have the smell of a musty, well-worn but classic and authentic cologne.

For me, it is the singing the birthday song over the phone. For me, it is the always standing on the porch, waiting for the drive off so the last image you have is of them smiling and waving, is of love.

Thank you Grandparents. I love you always.