Health


In light of today’s sudden and unexpected loss via apparent suicide of brilliant artist, Robin Williams, I feel the need to reiterate what I’ve been saying in various comment threads around social media.
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I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know how to eat like a skinny person. Well, actually, let me clarify. I do know how to eat like one very specific skinny person…the skinny person that I used to be.

For over 35 years I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, in quantities I wanted…and never gained a pound. I was that skinny bitch you hated, the one that wore a size 2 and ate burritos the size of a small child…WITH all the extra cheese and gi-normous glops of sour cream. I ate cake and pie for breakfast, drank breves instead of lattes, ordered fries drowning in melted cheese and dunked them in brown gravy before I washed them down with a full-bodied micro-brew amber ale.

The carbs and fat grams were off the charts. The party on my taste-buds was that to rival an exclusive event on Ibiza…and I drank to match. Oh yes, I drank a lot….frothy girly drinks, heavy wheat beers, sweet liqueurs and of course vodka. Vodka with juices. Hel-LO…can you say calories?

Through all of that…all those years, well into my late 30s…I remained a lithe 5-foot-6-inch 115 pounds.

Oh,I didn’t work out…I didn’t need to. Yes, my feet were my main source of transportation…that and public transit…and I didn’t have a sit-down job, but neither did I have job that required a ton of energy either. I wasn’t running around all day and night, lifting and moving or breaking a sweat…almost never. I just was that lucky girl with the amazing metabolism.  Until…

I’m not sure what happened. Could it be that age really just kicks in one day? I mean, it was like…*snap!…all of a sudden I was growing in places I didn’t want to grow. Sure, I finally got the much coveted “Twins”, but the heck made the deal to let their “cousins” move into The Upper and Lower Asslands, and gave permission to all manner of their “extended family” to take over bodily neighborhoods I didn’t know I had!  My awesome expensive club clothes…Lip Service, Catherine Coatney, Betsy Johnson, all of them…no longer fit. My work clothes weren’t comfortable…and my ankles started bothering me if I wore heels for too long.

So, I did what everybody always says to do: I cut back on all the things you’re supposed to, and then even cut them out altogether. It didn’t seem to help, not one bit. I tried going to the gym…I really did…but I all that happened was my appetite went up and, even though I didn’t give in to it, the scales still stayed the same. I try to eat sensible: small portions, whole grains, naturally low fat…it’s not working. It’s gotten so that I’m afraid to eat anything at all…anything…AT ALL…and I get serious guilt if I eat, period.

Add to that that I live with two adults that can eat anything and do and seem to think I should eat what they’re eating, when they’re eating it. AND I have a mother-in-law that thinks the world revolves around pasta and processed/packaged foods, so she delivers such to my house every Saturday…from Costco…gratis. I’m at my wits end.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not shopping for clothes in the plus-sizes…yet. Oh-gawd-shoot-me-please-before-that-happens. But I sure as hell don’t know who the frak that woman is in the reflection as I walk past the glass-fronted shops and cafes on my way to and from The Slave Box…but she isn’t me and I don’t like her.

No sirree. I don’t like her one bit.

© 2011 D. Kessler

Coming home last night I looked up in the sky and saw a beautiful sight:  a sliver of a moon, just a fingernail shaving of bright silvery yellow hanging in the onyx sky…and I involuntarily gave a relaxed sigh of relief. Or was it just beauty appreciation exhaling from my clenched breast?  Either way, it felt good…and my mood lifted for the first time in days.

Call me crazy, but I am one of those people…and we are many…that are highly susceptible to the fluctuating cycle of the moon.  This I have learned from the culmination of all the months of my many years, observing my moods, their intensity and when they happen…sometimes obvious and intense, sometimes barely a whisper of change…but with every moon cycle, there are always some fluctuations of mood, of sense of well-being.  Boy oh, boy, though…this weekend I was wondering about my sanity. 

Generally, Full Moon for me…with all its abundance hanging in the heavens like a pregnant, warmly glowing party lantern…accentuates my contentment, happiness, often fueling the itch to go out and stir up a heap of fun, or just the urge to indulge via pillows and bubble baths and rich savory foods all just for me.  I find that New Moon, on the other hand…when the moon’s reflection is completely blocked by the earth and appears invisible, like a menacing mega-magnet just out of sight…tends to hype my anxiety issues. I often need to withdraw from everyone and everything and I feel a distinct vibe of a vast vacant vacuum on some barely perceptible but all important level. It can be very unnerving.

For all our modern knowledge, our prescriptions, our rationale, our denial of the intangible, I can’t discount what I go through every month of every year of my more-years-than-I-like-to-admit life.  But boy-howdy…this weekend was a doozy.  And it got me thinking:  If I can feel like this…me, a seemingly “normal” woman with a “normal” office job, with “normal” social functions and a “normal” face to the world, doing all the “normal” things…how can we know what sane really is?  How close are we all to losing it and calling the aid-car for a ride to the mental ward for observation?  How many of us are only a thread from a breakdown? And what constitutes “a breakdown”, anyway? Are we talking going postal at work?  Is the aid-car coming to your house/work/anywhere a prerequisite for it to be called “a breakdown”? Or is crying off and on for most of a weekend…for reasons you’re quite not sure of, or for reasons that you’re very sure of but aren’t sure they should elicit such a vehement reaction…does that count?

The social stigma of “having a breakdown” is one that leaves a very nasty metallic taste in one’s mouth. We’ve all been brought up to “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps” and “put a good face on it” and…add whatever “that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” -type of cliche for “take a deep breath and deal with it” you find most comforting here.  Little girls are told “Big girls don’t cry” when Mommy wipes their tears away…and little boys are told to “Take it like a man” no matter what the hurt, physical or emotional. 

On top of all that, if you don’t visit regularly with friends at a furious pace…go for coffee, meet for lunch, have a drink after work, got to the movies, have them over for dinner at your house, go to their house for dinner, do outdoorsy things on the weekend…etc…etc…there must be something wrong with you. I mean, you’re going to become a shut-in like that “lonely” old lady down the street when you were kids or that “creepy” guy that you only ever saw come out to get his mail or…blah blah blah.  How do we know that they didn’t just prefer to be alone? That they learned long ago that humans en masse are idiots and an all around pain in the ass?

With such long-ingrained attitudes and expectations of self-reliance, it’s no wonder that so many put off asking for help until it’s too late.  Damage is done…both to oneself and those around them.  Lives are turned upside down, relationships are twisted and torn, friends are alienated or lost…or worse. 

We as a society don’t exactly know when it’s “okay” to ask for help.  We think we might be overreacting to our 15-hour crying session, making too big a deal out of our repeated angry outbursts, and we tell ourselves that our panic attacks can be controlled if we just breathe and not think about it (whatever “it” is).  No, we  don’t need help. Nuh-uh. It’s not like that. “Crazy” is that person that talks to themselves on the bus.  Crazy” is that person that collects disability checks from Social Security because they can’t keep a job because of their “issues” and see a “Case Worker” every week.  Yeah…keep telling yourself that.

Not only do we not know when it’s “okay” to ask for help, once one finally gets the gumption up to do so, our so-called healthcare in this country doesn’t exactly make it so easy to get help. If you have traditional insurance, you usually have the best of it, but there are still a few hoops to jump through.  As uncomfortable as you are with the possibility that you need mental help, you now have to tell what starts to feel like the whole world:  1.) first your primary care doctor, and 2.) they have to tell your insurance provider so that 3.) you can get a referral to a psychiatrist.  If you’re lucky, you get one you click with right off the bat. Usually though, you’re not so lucky and you end up having to try a few before settling on the one that fits you best. Oh, and let’s not forget that you have to tell your employer that you need to leave early or arrive late because you have a “doctor’s appointment”…every week.  Maybe you can just say you have a “class” every Wednesday?  But you know where you’re going and it feels like everybody knows, too.

Oh, and every week? Yeah, you’re insurance isn’t going to like that. Be prepared for your coverage to end after anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months. You get to pay for the rest of the year’s visits…at anywhere from $100.00 a pop and up.  And I didn’t even get into the 10-ring circus that is trying to get help if you don’t have insurance…and don’t have $3-$5K a year to spend on it.

You start to remember why you just wanted to hole up under the dark covers with a sharp object in the first place. That seemed so much more low-key, more private, more…safe.

Yeah, a sharp object safe?  Who needs the medication now?

© 2010 D. Kessler

Food.  Ya gotta eat it or you die.  Fun, huh?  

You take some substance that used to be living…some plant or animal or derivative of such…kill it and maybe subject it to heat for a period of time in order to break down the molecular structure, therefore making it easier for your body to extract and utilize its nutrients.  Then you put in it your mouth and mix it around with bodily fluids that contain enzymes that even further break down its molecular structure, mashing and grinding it with the bone-bits protruding from your gum tissue, eventually transforming the dead plant/animal part into a pulpy and slightly lumpy paste.  After the paste is the sufficient gross-out texture, a slimy muscle in your mouth, with weird tiny bumps all over it, maneuvers the paste to the back of the mastication zone and shoves is down a tube which in turn squeezes the paste along its entire length to a bag full of acid where it sits fermenting for a few hours before being flushed into another extremely long tube that constricts and releases in turn, moving the paste-acid concoction along its entire length of anywhere from 20 to 27 feet.  Along its journey, the convulsing tube will extract moisture and elements that the body deems necessary.  After the concoction has run the gambit, the body, via the convulsive-tube-organic-extruder-machine pushes whatever it can’t use out your ass.

Yummy, huh?

Why do we do it? I mean…yeah, yeah, ya gotta eat or you die, but we do it far more than we should.  According to the CDC, over one third of adult Americans are obese.  Obviously, some part of it the aforementioned process is enjoyable.  To quote a certain very annoying Alaskan Governor…Ya betcha! 

Pile on all that ooey-gooey cheese on a chewy-crunchy carb-filled crust and add your choice of fatty animal-based proteins chock full o’ spices and smoky goodness!  A single slice of Domino’s Pizza can have 30 gm of fat, and 47 gm of carbs…and we all know we can’t eat just one slice!  Add one single 12 oz beer to that and you’ve added another 12 to 20 gm of carbs.  Ah-haah…it’s starting to make sense.

Also ever notice how good pizza is when you’ve got a hang-over?  I swear the best hang-over food is pizza, Mexican or Chinese food.  Why?  Um…the excessive carbs, protein and fat help to repair your battered body tissue is my guess.  And thank Zeus you can get it delivered!  ‘Cause you know the last thing in the world you want to do is get dressed and go out in public with a groggy cloud of what feels like fiberglass insulation wrapped around your head and scouring your eyeball sockets.

So, kiddies…that’s where we have ended up, right next to the “Name Your Item of Thanks Here” ATM-thingy:

I am thankful for DELIVERY.  The delivery of Dominos Pizza, the delivery of Chen’s Chinese Cuisine, the delivery of Insert-Your-Favorite-Establishment-Here.  Oh yes…because HELLL no, was I gonna get my ass anywhere near any place today that anyone could see me.  Not after last night at The Mecca with Cory and Dave and Attilla and Stevo and Kirsten and Erica and Andrea and Kaitryn…and whoever else I saw there last night in my celebratory haze.

HELLL no.  Give me the dark, comfy cave of my apartment and the glow of my ‘puter and some ooey-gooey cheesy goodness…and I’m back to sleep now…

© 2008 D. Kessler