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10:31 a.m. - 2004-11-04
\"Thought I Knew My Mind Like the Back of My Hand....\"
As I was reading other diaries yesterday, and the comments for mine, I started wondering: if everyone feels this way, how the fuck did W. win? (I don't say re-elected, because that would imply that he won the last election, and we all know he didn't. He stole it fair and square.) But then a comment that BFRB made a few days ago started to make me think. She said that she wonders why there are not any diaries written by people with money, or people who are not struggling with their life choices. After some consideration, my response is this: people who have money and are not struggling are spending their money and living their lives and generally not worried about things. They don't need to vent or examine everything.

Of course, this started making me all depressed. But then I started to consider this a different way. Out of adversity comes creativity. Sure, we've all read the high-school angst diaries that say shit like "OMG, I totally like Jordan, but he doesn't think im hot and he is like so cute and I will just die if my parents wont let me stalk him this weekend." But for the most part, we're all working through transitional points in our lives. Personally, I am grateful that I discovered this forum. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only 30-something who hasn't figured out what I want to be when I grow up, glad I'm not the only one who is broke and frustrated and confused. Glad I can read the words of people who are older and younger and see where I've been and where I might be going.

Today is my 3-month diaryland anniversary. While I do not feel that any sort of "retrospective" is in order or anything, I did go back and read what I've written so far…I'm not embarrassed about anything I've written, but I do think I've started to find my own voice a little more. At first, I was just trying to be funny and cute and tell stupid stories so people would laugh, or vent about things that piss me off which really have no relevance in the overall scheme of things. However, I've kind of decided that's not the point. Recording the events in my life should be providing me with some kind of insight. Insight about how I react in certain situations, insight about what the decisions in my life have meant, insight about how best to change. Because this is a very transitional period for me…..

First, the whole losing-weight thing. You don't get morbidly obese by accident. You might have a genetic tendency to be fat, or a certain body shape, but at some point, you personally choose not to care about what you're doing to your body over the long term because you need the comfort of food now. And even though at some level, you look in the mirror and see a bloated, distorted version of you, you don't really realize how distorted. You have buried your insecurities and fears under layers of fat, and you've somehow convinced yourself that you're ok. That it's not that bad. That you're still fairly healthy. I mean, I've never had high blood pressure or high anything, I don't have diabetes, blah blah blah. When I started reviewing medical records for diet-drug litigation, though, something snapped. As I pored over page after page of prescriptions for every illness under the sun, and realized that these people were only 10 years older than I was, it occurred to me that, if I continued to live in denial, that would be me eventually. I was also reading records of insecure women who were really only 10 pounds overweight whose doctors were dispensing pills instead of nutritional advice. All of this resonated.

One of the things that has pissed me off since junior high is skinny chicks talking about how fat they are. The insecure junior-high me (who was fat, but not that fat) internalized this. Instead of turning into a bulimic or something, I just binged without the purging. I figured if some little size 6 was going to talk about how disgusting her perfect body was, there was absolutely no hope for me. Plus, I eat when I'm stressed and bored and depressed, and, well, doesn't that pretty much describe adolescence? The problem was that I never got over that mentality. The more my friends obsessed about their weight, the more of the urge I had to rebel against the urge to be perfect. I told myself that I was just enjoying my life, eating what I wanted, not being a slave to the scale, not being athletic, because really, my strengths were more mental than physical. I became the one who could remain calm under pressure, accomplish any task, help anyone out….

I finally got to the point where I was tired of spending 40 hours a week being stressed and trying not to show it. I got tired of crying every morning at the thought of spending another day being degraded and belittled and minimized because I only spent four years in college and not seven. I decided that they weren't paying me enough to be this fucking miserable. So I found another job, and quit FHH.

Then I got to my new office, and there was no stress. I felt like a fish suddenly thrown on dry land. I couldn't believe that all I had to do was ONE job, all day, and that no one was looking over my shoulder and just waiting for (no, EXPECTING) me to fuck something up. I went home from work, and the old hobbies (smoking dope and playing computer games, mostly), weren't fun anymore. I was not physically and mentally worn out from stress every night.

That's when I joined the Y. I thought about just trying to diet (and I lost about 8 pounds in a month doing that), but it didn't fix my boredom and resultant sleeplessness. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, I felt an impending heart attack after spending 2.5 minutes on the elliptical trainer. I was exhausted trying to lift weights. But I liked the feeling of being tired at night physically. Plus, it did require some mental effort, because I had no fucking clue what I was doing. It almost felt like visiting another country. The whole experience was so foreign to me.

Where the hell was I, and did I have a point? Oh, yeah. The point is, you can't just decide to make a change and then poof, it's done. Change is a process. Think about getting over a relationship. Or changing jobs. Or learning how to interact with your parents as an adult and not a kid. No matter how set your mind is on something, your heart takes a while to catch up. That's why you miss your abusive boyfriend, you miss your sucky job, you miss the feeling of mommy taking care of you. Even though your head has rationally told you that the guy was a dick and made you cry every night, even though you bitched about your job till your friends threatened to sew your lips shut, even though you know that a kiss and a band-aid with Bactine won't make the hurt all better…those are the things you're used to. Humans are creatures of habit. I do stupid shit all the time, like taking the exit to go to work when I meant to go home, driving to Wal-Mart instead of the gas station, making a beeline for Taco Bueno when I mean to go home and eat something healthier. Making changes requires re-wiring your brain circuits around the shit you know.

So here's where I'm giving some props to my homies. Read these. They are all in transition, and they are all helping me clearly see the things I do. I can only hope I'm doing the same.


This is not to say that I never intend to be funny again. Or that I won't point out some ridiculous shit that happens or make fun of those who have earned it. Right now, the whole election disappointment and the things happening in my life have just made me contemplative. Not really depressed, just aware.



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