My blog has been a bit silent the last week or so as I try to work out the stresses in my life (of which there are apparently plently) and sort out tit from tat. (Anyone else just love the sound of that phrase? “Tit for Tat”. Nonsense words at their finest.)
Anyways I needed a place to write things down, sort them out and just plain old Get Organized! (Anyone else have that line from “Chicken Run” going through their head right now? “I TOLD you them chickens was organized!” heehee. Anyways. Yeah so apparently the mix of shingles curing pills and digestion calming pills I’m taking really makes my imagination run into overdrive more often than normal. My dreams have been weird and my day-dreams go into strange-tangential territories!)
(I’ll try to edit what started as a long ramble into something resembling a post making an actual point too…)
So a list of accomplishments that I’m proud of and happenings that have made me happier lately:
- Playing my trumpet with the group of folks at work; improving my confidence to the point where I actually posted a wee video of myself playing on youtube
- Finishing my research project and oral presentation preparations for the final class this Thursday (well, final class is NEXT Thursday but I volunteered to go on the first of the two presentation days; get it out of the way)
- I submitted my proposal for an AAUW grant that might allow me to take 5 more classes in my degree without having to add more loans to my still hefty college bills
- I called and “Opted out” of my credit card’s new more than double finance charge. Yeah, I’ll stick with my 6% until the card closes, thanks
- I bought with my birthday money a lot of fabric and accessories to make a tribal belly dance outfit and it is coming out great. I even made a hip belt and learned to sew on mirrors
- The shingles is clearing up and I’ve stopped taking the Perkaset for the pain, weaning down to plain old Aleve
- My brother is doing well and might even be moving closer for a year or so
- My body acceptance is reaching new and more interesting peaks every week, every day
- I’ve gotten up to 10 laps at the gym pool in one session now; which is a large goal for me. Next is getting up to 15
- We’ve started going to church again after a few weeks break and even volunteered (albeit somewhat reluctantly on Adam D’s part) to join others in singing a song for the 21st service
- Holiday decorations are up and the colored lights make me smile
There is unfortunately also a list of things I’m still frustrated with:
- I still need to change my name on my passport (It’s one of the last lingering things but it has been 2 years since I got married! Ooo that reminds me, wedding anniversary in less than a week. Ooo. Fiddlesticks.)
- I have about 50 shirts that are too old, too ratty, etc but which the hubby or I love the design too much to part with, that are piled up and waiting for their cutting and sewing transformation into a comfy quilt (or 4)
- I signed up for Spring classes and have to figure out how to accept only the financial aid that is subsidized and not the unsubsidized debt
- Healing for this shingles crap is still going to take a long time and it may come back again in the future *sigh*
- My full-time job is mind-numbingly simple but is the best option for continuing to pursue my Master’s Degree for now
- There never seem to be enough hours in the day to work, sleep, eat, dance, swim, draw, play trumpet, talk with and enjoy the hubby’s company and get through all that seems to crop up each day clamoring for attention
- I feel like I’m “on hold” with life, working and living day to day in some sort of limbo-stasis. Waiting to change the job, get a house, have a child and start growing the family until I’ve gotten through college, gotten enough money, gotten enough mental security. It never seems like it is enough; be it money, time, love or acceptance it always seems like I’m waiting for just that little bit more before I can jump into the next chapter of life.
And you know, it is that last thing that really bothers me. I mean, I know at least in my mind I’ve given up on holding off on life and things I want to do until I reach some magical size or shape; that Fantasy of Being Thin malarkey. But just when it seems that letting go of such limitations would open all these doors; it looks like behind “Door number 1” there is just a hallway with an arse-load MORE self-limiting doors to struggle through. Some are mental limits I impose on myself. Others are limits imposed from outside my realm of influence. And some might even be imagined; not really there at all.
I’m still frustrated though with this feeling that behind each limited barrier I surmount there are yet more and more to climb; some of which I might never get around or above. And sometimes that makes me feel very existential, very small, very insignificant on the scale of the world. The doctor’s scale may say I’m Morbidly Obese, but to the world’s scale of importance I barely register as a speck of existence marking out a brief span of time.
But this isn’t about moping down into dark despair. I’m out of the high-school drama poetry phase of my youth. Instead of bemoaning what limits I see I am trying to define them; acknowledge them, and like any good research project, trying to measure the results of my actions despite the limitations, or at least with an acknowledgment of their affect on what I’m able to do.
I’m not rich, I’m not even “well-off”. I live pay-check to pay-check and neck-deep in debt. That is a limiting factor in my life. It may be that I am always digging out of it and never get to have that huge house with the backyard (though it looks now like renting is cheaper than having a house until the market returns values for a lot of folks). That is a limit I can work around. I will acknowledge it; and try to move on.
I’m not male. There are benefits and easy paths in life that being a man would certainly open for me; but I am female. I work to change this “reality” of better opportunities for males over females the best that I can and acknowledge the limits that gender still poses, very slightly changing for the better as it might be, and move on.
I’m not thin. I’m not always in tip-top health. I’m not a rock-star. I’m not Mother Teresa. There are things in my life that I will never be. (One of a set of twins, a veterinarian, a fashion model, 6 foot 4, 110 pounds, etc). Some of that is because of my own self-imposed limits (I’m not going to work on pets if people keep SNAKES as pets. Yeesh! I don’t feel the need to 1. Learn about fashion, 2. Become model thin). Some are due to limits outside my control (unless he or she is running around somewhere already, I doubt I can somehow BECOME one half of a set of a twins at this point in life).
Maybe for the level of my own stress to lower I have to stop seeing so many boundaries; stop focusing so much on the limits in my life. Yes they exist. Yes they suck. But they are not the parts of my life most worth focusing on. My energies go much better into things like learning to breath more deeply (both for self-calming when I find out my co-worker has spread something spoken in confidence to EVERYONE who would listen; and for playing better tunes on the trumpet).
Think of the things I could accomplish in life if instead of thinking only about how certain aspects of my life were putting me into a corner, I thought about what I was getting done anyways. I might be a small fly in the soup of social change outrage but if even one person has gotten fired up over what I write or say, then I have done something amazing. I am limited by the funds I received despite two jobs, yet I still manage to pay the bills, donate to church and spread what I have to share with others.
Life throws me curve balls and sometimes I feel like I’m playing the game without a rulebook, while wearing a blindfold and with a hockey stick instead of a bat. Yet I need to work more on moving my focus away from the negativity of those limits and moving the focus towards pride in those achievements that happen regardless or because of or in spite of what seemed insurmountable.
Not everyday will be perfect. There are still days I wish I was a model-thin wafer strutting down Bryant park at the height of fashion-consciousness. There are still days I wish I had a twin. There are even days I wonder what it would have been like to pursue that degree in Veterinarian science. It is not unhealthy to dream. It IS mentally damaging I think to let those dreams and wistful wonderings take over your life in a way that prevents you from moving forward. I can dream all I want about having a twin sister; that still won’t make it come true. And if I put all my energies into THAT dream (or some dream of losing over 120 pounds and having life “fall into place” due to my new status of “normal” via BMI), instead of into something I can actually affect, and permanently, then I will be wasting good effort on a fantasy.
I need to stop putting life on hold for something else. For something better, for a brighter day, for a shinier penny, for a smaller body or more hourglass shape, for “something more” that might never come down the pike. If I keep holding on to some dream that all of a sudden the magic-wish faerie is going to come down and say “Oh! Sorry, we’ve put you in the wrong life, here you were supposed to be a rich white congressman” and do a life-switcheroo; then I’m doing myself a huge disservice. So who am I, really?
I am April D. I blog about self-acceptance at all sizes. I’m a fat, white, female lower-middle class American. I work two jobs. I take classes towards my Master’s degree. I’m married to a supportive man who makes me smile and renting a lovely townhouse in a very small town in New England. I’m a practicing UCC Christian in a great community-oriented congregation. I swim, belly dance, play the trumpet, draw, laugh, love and live. I am me. My life has limits, but I refuse to let them distract me from my true goals in life. I’m not sorry for who I am. I won’t apologize for having opinions, beliefs and what some might consider to be frightening ideas. I’m happy to have goals. I’m glad that I’m working on my belly dance and swimming with set goals in mind (working on a tribal sword dance, getting to 15 laps in one session). I’m glad to be gaining so much ground in self-acceptance, allowing myself to DO what I preach we should all be able to do; namely whatever we CAN do, regardless of imagined or culturally ingrained limits.
I am me. I am limited. And that’s okay.