427: Eating Disorders and Females with Aspergers

Recently there was study released that linked females with Asperger’s Syndrome to eating disorders, specifically anorexia.

The researchers are making conclusions that the eating disorder could be a result of the Aspergerian’s tendency to fixate on one subject or thing; and in the case of anorexia or other eating conditions, this one subject or thing would be food or weight, or a variant of the two. I understand this, and the conclusions makes sense. However, I think there is a lot more to it.

Gathering a selection of females with Aspergers and asking them direct questions and allowing the participants to elaborate on their experience, might deem worthy and productive. There is much to gain in looking at the person who has the condition when searching for answers. But there is far more to gain in talking to the person and asking the female to share. We have a lot to offer. And so many times it is a male without Aspergers, and without an eating disorder, constructing these studies. It seems ridiculous to me. How much better for a female, who understands the gender experience, who is a person with Aspergers, and has an eating disorder, to be the person evaluating and determining results of a study about females with Aspergers and eating disorders. Wouldn’t she be much more able to ask the deeper questions? Much more able to interpret the responses and understand what was happening?

There are layers and layers of complexities that the mainstream evaluator and researcher are going to overlook. Not because they don’t have the wherewithal or wits about them, but because having Aspergers isn’t something you can begin to understand unless you have Aspergers. It’s not like having a mild disease where a section of your body responds differently. Having Aspergers is like having an entirely different system of functioning, processing, viewing, and seeing the world. All the senses are affected. All the ways in which the brain digests information is somewhat skewed—not wrong, or even right, but just different. There really isn’t anything simple about Aspergers and thusly no simple conclusions ought to be reached from any study.

Biologically there are differences from the typical person. We are affected by our guts, our skin, our thoughts, and a lot more. Theories abound about variant enzymes and the like. How we process hormones and chemicals, even how food affects our system is questionable. With so much going on internally beneath the surface that most people cannot figure out or understand, and with so much still unknown, it is impossible to accurately point to a singular cause of any behavior at this point. To conclude an action is based on one aspect of Asperger’s Syndrome is not accurate. The complexity of Aspergers is like a ball of twine. One thread affects the whole. The weight, the design, the outline, the movement, the appearance—each string pulled causes an alternate reaction.

Who is to say that food is not the culprit and that food causes the exact disorder that is being blamed on the Aspergergerian’s tendency for fixation. Perhaps the food itself triggers a chemical reaction in the brain that causes interior upset, either biochemical, physical, or psychological. Case in point being gluten which affects many on the spectrum, causing rapid thoughts, depression, or a false type of high—purely chemical. And if a child were to feel those extremes when eating gluten, then could she not then want to discard of the food, to instinctually force the food out of her.

That is just an example, and by no means suggestive of a theory or even grounds for an eating disorder. It is merely a case in point.

Food definitely affects my health, not by my own doing but from my chemical makeup. Certain foods make me very sick and off center, especially genetically modified foods and products with chemicals, preservatives, and other ‘unnatural’ substances. Certain foods cause inflammation of my body and increase my pain, particularly sugar, dairy products and various white flour products. I bloat up from gluten and sometimes get scary thoughts after eating wheat. Wheat seems to put me in a depressive state quite easily or causes me to over-analyze and loop in thought. I also crave wheat at times and cannot get enough of it.

Often after I eat too much of a food that doesn’t feel good for me, I might spend the next day barely eating. This is a way I cleanse myself and try to purge out the poisons inside of me. I then become fixated.

But not on the food itself or my weight but on the ‘rules of food.’

Everything I have been taught and taken in via reading, word-of-mouth, and documentaries reels through me like an old movie film shooting cross my brain. I have a dictionary of food rules in my head. I know what is bad for me and what is not. The problem is that most of the foods that are available are not good for me. The problem then becomes extreme in my mind. I know the dangers of many foods and I know the aftermath I feel. However I live in a world where to fit in and to do ‘normal’ things, I can’t eat like I think I need to eat: unless I have a lot of money, energy, and time to prep myself healthy meals. In addition, the foods I know are ‘good’ for me, e.g., organic veggies, are often lacking the flavor and texture I have been brought up to believe is best and popular and yummy. Not to mention the food industry that spends billions just to make sure what I am eating (that is bad for me) is addictive, appealing, and leaves me craving more.

There are so many contradictions in food that I become confused. Soy as an example is disputed left and right as a trigger for estrogen. I have terrible endometriosis and PMDD, eating just a bit of soy makes me worry how I have upset my system and what the repercussions might be. Wheat is an obvious trigger, but at times, out with friends or family, the wheat dish is so appealing that I feel I am depriving myself of luxury and joy. It has been engrained and engraved in my head from this society that food is a treat, a well-deserved treat. And my mind plays a ping-pong game of ‘you deserve this’ and ‘you will regret’ this. Yes, I am fixated on the thoughts of what I will eat, but not because I choose food as a fixation but because of the repercussions I often face eating food and of the mixed messages in my mind.

I know the GMO foods are dangerous. I know they are legally registered as poison and not food because of the chemical similar to Roundup, and other disease-like elements, found in the seed of the plant. I know that many a people are having reactions, and many countries are banning the products because of health and farming interests. I know that corn is a main culprit. Thusly I avoid corn. I feel tired and fatigued when I typically eat grains anyhow, kind of a hypoglycemic reaction. So many foods have corn by products, corn syrup being an obvious one. Mexican food, my favorite, is loaded with corn, wheat, and dairy. If I go out to eat my options are so limited, I might get depressed. Or I might just tell myself ‘screw it’ and eat what I want. The next day or two, I pay the price. I am so sensitive that my pain disorders react. I have been diagnoses with hyper-joint-mobility syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and more. Foods directly affect how I feel.

I might spend all day not eating and just having water and herbal tea. I might not eat until four or five in the afternoon because I know as soon as I eat, I will more likely than not have a reaction. I rarely can eat and not feel heavy, bloated, muscle pain and fatigue. It is easier not to eat. Is this avoidance an eating disorder? Or is this behavior a desperation and a means of trying to avoid pain? If a boy was whipped every time he ate, so he refused to eat until starved, is that a disorder, or is that survival?

Of course, in my mind, at times there seems to be a definite means of controlling an otherwise uncontrollable world through diet and exercise. I know that. When my life is essentially overwhelming, as it feels most days, I might fixate on the scale and my weight. Mostly because the rest of the world is entirely unpredictable, full of treachery, deceit and lies. Yes, there are many, many good people and wonderful things about the world, but there are also the continual reminders of the unpredictability of human nature and the deceit of leaders and government. I internalize deceit at a deep level in which I neither understand the drive to deceive nor the person who deceives. My world is often muddled in the mysteries of people and their ways. And sometimes, a number brings me comfort and peace. A familiarity I can trust and control. Sometimes this number is on the scale.

I have been watching my weight recently, as I gained poundage since stopping a low dose thyroid pill that put me into a hyper-thyroid state (hair fell out, rapid heartbeat, rapid thoughts, insomnia, cystic acne, etc.) The pill wasn’t supposed to affect me that way, supposed to be super safe, and my thyroid numbers never got that low, but my system is so sensitive that anything introduced, particularly a hormone, directly causes extreme side effects. Two days after stopping the pill I returned to normal conditions. During the time I was taking the pill I was getting a sore throat two days before my period for seven months. The sore throat often turned into a cold. I was sick almost every month on the thyroid hormone pill. It altered my progesterone levels that caused a reaction to my tongue and the way I breathed at night, which caused the sore throat, which caused the illness. No doctor could tell me what was going on. I had to research. Was I fixated on that too? Or was I trying to solve a puzzle so I could stop being sick? I don’t know.

I am back to watching my weight, because my thyroid numbers are just on the high-normal range. This increases my pain as well. For some reason being in a slightly hyper-thyroid state decreased my physical pain but triggered a bunch of other intolerable symptoms. Now my pain feels two-fold, as if some days my entire body has been dropped off a building. I ache. I throb. I burn. I tingle. Nothing I can’t tolerate, as I have been enduring pain for thirteen years, but something I still hope to diminish.

Less weight equals less pain for me. But it is impossible to lose weight without drastically reducing my calorie intake. If I drastically reduce my calorie intake in an attempt to lose weight, so I can decrease my pain, is that an eating disorder? If I think about food all day, because so much of it seems poisonous and causes me pain, is that a fixation? Or is that me being cautious and over-aware because I have been hurt so much in the past? Is it desperation? Or is it just the way it is, because I know not what else to do?

With all the chemical imbalances and ‘dangerous’ foods aside, weight itself does bother me. Faces change constantly for me. My body image changes constantly. When I am at a healthy thin weight, I know what to expect. I know I won’t find the imperfections and flaws that my mind so easily sees. I am a detail-hunter. I find the slightest things that are off center or not right in all things I see. Not that I am judging, only that I am carefully observing and figuring out. My mind is constantly solving puzzles. Everything I take in is sifted and categorized and made to fit my past knowing and experience. I see things so intensely and feel things so intensely that any normalcy, anything that stays the same, anything that isn’t a surprise, new, or different, is a haven—an inner sanctuary in where I choose to bask.

When I am skinny and look the same weight everyday then there aren’t a thousand messages in the back of my mind. I don’t have a tape of old messages from everything I have previously taken in and learned. I don’t here all the contradictions in my mind that the world has fed me. All the contradictory studies. All the falsehoods. All the lies.

“Belly fat is good going into menopause to help from getting bone loss. Belly fat indicates higher levels of cancer.”

And I don’t have the complications of getting dressed. When I gain a little weight most clothes don’t fit. I don’t keep ‘fat’ clothes because I clean out my closet regularly and can no longer wear certain clothes for reasons I don’t understand. Sometimes it is a memory the clothes evoke, a texture, the color, the cut, the way the clothes pinch at me, scratch me, pull on me, weigh me down. Maybe I saw someone else wearing the same shirt, and now I can’t wear that shirt because that person’s image is now with me. Maybe the clothes, I think, make me look odd, untidy, sloppy, frumpy, slutty, loose, etc. It is common in my house for me to ask my husband: “Does this look slutty.” I ask because I was judged so much as a teenager by my body and my clothes that I still here the echoes of my peers. I can’t tell what fits right or what looks right. Things shift for me. I usually dressed my babies in clothes too big. Things hung off the shoulders; items didn’t match; patterns clashed. But I honestly couldn’t tell. I don’t understand fashion trends and I don’t follow them. And I don’t understand why people do. So my wardrobe is limited from what I have tossed out because I no longer feel comfortable wearing and from things I can’t get myself to wear a particular day for some reason or another. My wardrobe is limited because I am not able to wear certain items for weeks or months at a time. I get stuck in my head something someone said or something I read or saw. Like when I was watching a movie that had a 1980’s flashback and the females both wore their hair like me. Two different styles, both the way I do up my hair now, in this day and age. I thought hard about how maybe I am not supposed to wear that hair style anymore, particularly as the women were portrayed as backwoods idiots. Same thing goes with clothes. I am constantly matching and connecting points in my head. So if an outfit for some reason doesn’t seem like I should be wearing it, I don’t.

When I add weight to the equation, everything comes out scrambled and even more complicated. I start wearing things I don’t particularly like, only so I can hide the spare tire. I go out in public and am continually worried about the small amount of excess fat showing. Because to me, (I have taught myself through media exposure),fat is bad. Even the tiniest imperfection is terrible. I have been brainwashed into thinking I am not good enough unless I am good enough by the big business standard. I know it’s not true. And so the logical part of me and spiritual part of me start debating everywhere we look. Sensing my own fat causes me to spin into loops about the corruption of America and the terrible untruths women have been fed since birth. I start to look for overweight women and justify how lovely they are, and that if I was a man looking at a beautiful woman that the small bit of fat wouldn’t bother me. And that a face and heart is what matters. And then I spin back to my body. Am I good enough? Am I enough? And then I go back through all the spiritual books I have read, all the mantras, the ‘truths’ I embrace at times. And I get all twisted inside; all because a tiny bit of flab isn’t hidden by my clothes. The same goes for other parts of my body. My own cleavage is a major issue. How much to hide. How much is safe to share. What I know of the stereotypes of men and what cleavage represents. All of it confuses me. All thoughts that mostly go back to social norms and expectations; things that make no sense to me.

If I am stressing about a little fat around my waste and don’t eat a lot the next day, is that a fixation? Or is that me trying to stop the constant bombardment of negative messages that fill me when I am not fulfilling a role that society has indoctrinated upon me? Isn’t it society doing this to me, to us? The poisonous foods? The restrictions on how I should look and be? The mixed messages? Am I not just extremely sensitive to the contradictions of the world?

I haven’t eaten meat or poultry since 1984. I stopped eating lamb at age four and pork at age twelve. The animal cruelty, the suffering, the injustice—I saw that all too, from early on.

I don’t think that eating disorders are necessarily a result of a fixation. I think eating disorders are a result of the unjust and contradictory, money-hungry world we live in. I think eating disorders are an attempt to feel safe in a very unsafe world. A way to make order out of caous and unpredictability.

A way to gain back some of the control that has been taken from us when we were taught to trust liars and schemers and not our true heart and soul. I think eating disorders are a symptom of the world gone wrong and not of my brain gone wrong. Eating disorders aren’t a simple puzzle to solve, especially when considering females with Asperger’s Syndrome. There are so many other factors playing out beneath the surface. So many thoughts and deep complexities that the experts haven’t even begun to discover.

And to claim suddently, “Hey, did you know females with Aspergers are more likely to have eating disorders,” seems oddballishyly peculiar to me. As if we couldn’t have told them that from the start.

(I am not an expert on eating disorders. I have never been diagnosed or sought help for an eating disorder. I share to raise awareness of the complexities of food and weight in females with Asperger’s. I realize there are many types of eating disorders, some much more extreme and serious than my story. This is just one story and does not represent the collective whole. Also the ongoing research by others will help others detect Asperger’s Syndrome in some girls with eating disorders, and that’s good. To find answers.)

Day 215: Why You Don’t Want to Date Me

Why you don’t want to date me…

1) Well first off I’m married, and that can get complicated; and my husband has a black belt in a particular branch of martial arts, which I can’t spell tonight. So it would be a surprise attack.

2) I used to sing a song about my grandmother’s boobs when I was younger. I taught the song to my younger cousin. We would stuff our shirts with socks, cup our hands over our chest, and sing together: “Grandma’s little boobies go boom, boom, boom, boom. Grandma’s little boobies go boom, boom, boom!” It was a favorite party song. I choreographed the whole thing. On the first line our hands would shoot out in front of us. On the second stanza, we’d drop our hands down with each boom, until they almost touched the floor. Grandma’s boobs weren’t little, still aren’t. Don’t know why I called them little to begin with. But sometimes I still sing the song. Only now I’m crying in the mirror. (Don’t ask me how this is related to dating. It just is. Boobs are always related to dating.)

3) I get super excited. Just ask anyone who has ever taken a walk with me. I like to process when I walk. I like to process even more when I am first getting to know someone. I always apologize for my rambling. And I always get the same half-smile and bewildered eyes, in response. People usually say, “It’s alright.” But I secretly want them to tell me they really enjoyed all my insights. That has yet to happen.

4) I am a very picky eater and will stress over where to go out to eat. Then when I finally decide where I want to eat, I will take forever to decide between the three things on the menu that I might like. I discuss the pros and cons of each particular appetizer. I analyze the menu and point out to the waitress misprints and errors. I question the authenticity of the food description. I try to remember is it farm raised salmon that’s better or wild. I interrupt patrons to ask what they have ordered, and if it is indeed any good. I will taste your food from your plate without asking, especially mashed potatoes. I try to help people. Once I interrupted a couple and said: “Based on your conversation, it sounds like your grandson might have Aspergers.” No worries, I introduced myself first. The grandpa wasn’t too thrilled. I heard him say: “Boy, that lady has got some big ears on her!” I didn’t take it personally because my ears weren’t showing.

5) I will ask you many questions, such as: Is there anything in my teeth? Do I look bloated? How much do you think this would cost to make at home? Do you like the food? Are you full? Did you get enough to eat? Do you want dessert? Do you know soda is bad for you? Are you having a second soda? How are you going to work off all that soda? Are the refills free? Did you leave enough for the tip? How much? Are you sure? What do you think of the waiter’s personality? Would you hire him? Can I have the rest of your potatoes? Want to guess what color I’m thinking of? Will you guess the number? Did you have a good time? Do you like me? Do you think I’m pretty? Why?

6) As a former teacher and mother of three energetic boys, I am programmed to play games for survival. While we are waiting for our food, I will likely engage you in a game of hangman, connect the dots, I-Spy, and guess the animal I’m thinking. Electronics are not allowed at the table, as I require your full attention. And it is important to follow all my rules. And don’t even try watching television. Before we sit down in a sport’s bar, I will make certain there are no televisions in your line of vision, as to not take away from our time together. Of course, I would question why you were taking me to a cheap sport’s bar to begin with.

7) I am not a meat eater, and haven’t been since 1984 (the year I was born). So, if you ask me to help you cut your meat, especially ribs, I will try to use a butter knife and the ribs will fly across the table and plop on the floor and people will stare. But you will likely cut your own ribs, and I will give a look of disgust and tell you that I hate meat breath. Then I might, depending on my mood, remind you of one of the many documentaries I have viewed. I might even write the name down for you on a napkin. I will then eat your mashed potatoes when you are not looking.

8) I will compliment you. I will tell you have nice eyes or a nice smile, and mean it. I will likely compliment the restaurant staff, as well. Then I will stare at parts of your body that don’t look perfectly to scale. I will point out the facial hair that needs to be shaved, the rouge eyebrow hair, the freckle that looks questionable, the blemish, the grey hair, the wrinkled shirt, the old shoes, the nostril hair, and whatever else catches my attention. Unless you are a stone statue perfectly carved, I will find something to wonder about. I will obsess that perhaps you have a terrible disease or are allergic to something, and that is why there is a pimple on your neck. I will point out the bug bites on your arm. I will try to memorize your face, close my eyes and reopen them, and see if I can remember your hairline and freckles. Most of this I will do in my head and not say aloud. So I will be sitting there preoccupied, with a weird expression on my face, and one eyebrow raised high, and not listening to a word you are saying.

9) I will have to guess the amount on the bill. I will say, “Wait, wait, wait, let me guess!” Then I will calculate everything we consumed and add the totals up in my head, including tax. Then I will proclaim my guess. If I am within a dollar, I will smile so proudly. If I am wrong, I will go back and justify my answer, figuring out something I forgot, like the price of your soda. I will blame you for my error. Then I will lean over your shoulder to make sure you leave a twenty percent tip or higher; unless the service was terrible, then I will insist you leave fifteen percent exactly. If the waiter is exceptional, I will ask to speak to the manager about the wonderful service. I will tell the waiter first how great he is. And ask you to agree and nod. Then I will double-check the tip. I will still be worrying about the tip by the time we reach the car, and ask you to verify we calculated correctly. I will then ask if you remembered the boxed leftovers on the table, and ask you to go back and get them. I will complain if you have to use the bathroom, as I am tired, and want to go home.

10) You will be in shock, because on the first and second date, I was on my best behavior.

Day 175: Squirrel on a Wall

Lover’s Point Pacific Grove
Squirrel on a Wall

“Do you think the title ‘shag-o-rama’ would pull in a lot of blog readers?” I asked my husband

I know just the thing to say in the morning to make him laugh. I’m gifted that way, in my off-the-wall-goofiness. And I’m starting to really like that about myself. I see the world through the eyes of a child: somewhat innocent, a bit naïve, and at times downright clueless. Before, when I was younger, people sometimes perceived me as the ‘dumb blonde’ or as fake–assuming it was impossible for someone to be that goofy and hope-filled, naturally.

I don’t buy into people’s judgment of me anymore. I understand now, that like everyone, I have an amazing spirit. I know I am a spirit who never gives up and often tries to see the best in people and situations. And that my spirit just happens to be giddy, joy-filled, surprisingly forthright, and sometimes bold. I embrace my worthiness and I am pleased to do so. And the more I do, the more beauty I recognize in other people.

However, in embracing me, I cannot help but notice that many people are not embracing their own worthiness.

Instead of embracing self, there exists this talking down of self and others. There remains this inability to take in a compliment or kind word, this constant criticism of self or others, an all-encompassing blame, and a narrow scope of focusing on the “negative” aspect of someone else’s life. There often exists a lack of effort and follow through to forgive others. There is often a lack of responsibility for personal choice and action, and an overwhelming sense of ease and comfort to focus on materialism, collection, and possession. To move ahead, to succeed, to surpass and win. Life appears to be a race filled with fear and blame.

sign downtown where I live

For many, day-to-day life has become a routine. The creative spirit has been sucked out of the masses through consumerism, fear-based messages, and dogma that indoctrinates lack of hope and an infections drive for success and materialism. There is an ongoing separation from neighbors, friends, and family. As a collective, some people have forgotten how to appreciate nature and people, and instead are consumed by avoiding failure or disapproval.

This lack of self-worth is evident in the way people focus life around food. How as a society many have chosen food as a way to stuff the empty holes inside. Inner holes and empty space, this sense of lacking and emptiness, is best filled through creativity, self-expression, and an unyielding urge to share and connect, and of course through love. Instead we are stuffing ourselves with food, to the point of fatigue, disease, and depression.

Food has become our center light. More thought is spent on food than anything else. And in second place is death, dying and disease. Everywhere in word and picture and form, we are reminded of pending cancer. We are bombarded from a fear-based society by the ever pending potential threat of illness, danger and doom. And then we are offered the remedy of poisonous foods as appeasement.

Someone has it all backwards. The collective buys into this fear and food stuffing, and more and more fear is spun.

window in Pacific Grove

Recently, I was saddened and stirred by the site of a squirrel. Just one squirrel. He was so very fat and sickly, swollen in spirit, sitting there at Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove California on a stone wall. So engorged that he could not budge. I literally stuck my camera right into his face, and he didn’t flinch. I sighed and whispered to him: “You really need to stop eating so much, Mr. Squirrel.”

Problem is the tourists feed him the leftovers from the beachside hamburger joint: french-fries, hamburger bun, ice-cream cones. Poor little critter doesn’t have a chance—constantly bombarded, he is.

And here we are, feeding our people the same. Junk and poison. Fear-based propaganda and polluted thoughts, as well as food lacking nutrients and value.

And so many are sitting on the wall now, unable to move, to walk toward their soul’s purpose, to give and inspire, to create and connect, to live and love, because they are so overstuffed with poison and misery.

I feel for the overfed and tired squirrel. I was once one myself. Watching from the sidelines and wondering how to move. But I found my legs, and now I wonder over and over, how to pull all the squirrels of the wall. One by one, to free people from society’s bondage.

Pacific Grove Squirrel

ever before

Day 139: Tsunami Sam

I’ve been perusing the Internet looking for an appropriate word for how I feel about myself at the moment. I tried to find the root origin of “suck eggs” and concluded I am not a canine who has trouble with stopping myself from sucking chicken eggs nor am I in an uncomfortable situation that makes me look odd. I searched for the word “suck,” to grasp a greater understanding of the word, and ended up with synonyms like “drink from straw.” I was about to ask Google God about “bitch,” but decided I’d had enough reading about dogs. So here I am, debating in my mind what I am feeling, who I am, and where I belong on this damn earth.

Some things I’ve decided are very hard for me today:

1)      Being married

2)      Eating food

3)      Moving my body

Hmmmmm. No wonder I’m a mess.

I try to be very positive and uplifting—other people tend to be appreciative and accept me when I wipe on my smiling face. The problem occurs when I wipe off the smile; not everyone tends to stick around so readily when disgruntled Sam appears. Silly, really, how folks like the fair-weather Sam, and run from the storm in me—natural instinct I suppose. Maybe that’s why my good friends are the types that aren’t too much afraid of natural disasters: living in earthquake zones, flash flood areas, and potential tsunami states.

I am in a potential tsunami state right now. I’ve been triggered, and am thusly harboring a wave as the ground shifts beneath me. Some of the ground shifting is a result of my short list above. I can sum up number two and three on my list fairly easily. Eating is hard because I am sensitive to everything I put in my system. Moving is hard because of chronic pain. Every food affects me at a physical and mental level. When I consume wheat and most grains, I become fatigued, depressed, and sometimes border on thoughts of paranoia about my health. Sugar often causes instant pain. And any type of food, except perhaps a piece of cooked fish with no seasoning, causes my stamina to decrease by half. Precise to say, sometimes I avoid eating all together.

Doctors and other health professionals have diagnosed me with about ten or so different health conditions; and each condition can harbor a strong potential to cause chronic pain. But I like to pretend they are all wrong. And can do fairly well at faking it till I make it, until the wave sets in, and I feel like I’m about to crash, and take out an entire village with me.

When the physical pain hits hard, my immediate reaction is always the same: denial. How can I be doing so well for a month and then, out of the blue, feel like I got run over by a truck?

Then blame sets in. What did I do wrong? Did I eat something wrong? How did I allow this to happen? Am I stressed? Why am I stressed?

Then resentment comes with her evil head. Why me? This isn’t fair. I hate this.

And then I collapse. A curled up not-so-friendly kitten on the couch, unable to move, unable to do anything really, but complain and act like a person whom has had her favorite treasures stolen: energy and serenity. The trick for me is letting go, and letting the cycle pass. If I could learn to shut off my mind, stop the fight, and just surrender to a day of not moving and not getting “anything” done, then I would be all the better for it. But I have this thing about control…especially control of my own body.

This leads me to marriage. The original title of this post was going to be: Why It Sucks Being Married to Me. But I thought that was just a wee bit too self-demeaning and seriously similar to putting a firing-squad to my ego. Not that ego doesn’t deserve to be taken down every once in a while. I’m just not ready to annihilate him all together.

But I do know I’m not an easy person to live with. I sometimes wonder if life would be easier if I was single. Mostly so I could retreat in isolation and wallow in self-pity. I lived alone in my early twenties. I remember. I was in a constant state of panic and fret. Anxiety lurched around every corner. I was even afraid to leave the house and walk across the parking lot to do laundry. I’ve grown and matured some in the last twenty years. I think I could manage a laundry facility okay on my own. I wonder about all the other elements of life, though. Too many to mention, or even list.

Don’t get me wrong. I like me. I have plenty wonderful qualities to offer a spouse. It’s just, living with me, is like living with a lion let loose from a cage at a circus. I’m trained and all. I’ve learned how I’m expected to act. I try my best. I even love the people around me: they feed me, they provide shelter, they even give me a stage in which to receive praise. And I love them for their unique spirits, too. It’s just I long to be in the wild and free, without restriction, without having to follow a role, having to be something I am not.

And I tend to lash out unexpectedly; from an onlooker’s point of view, I probably appear to lash out from nothing. But there are always triggers. Whether the food intolerance, the surmounting physical pain, or my non-stop brain, something is always about that causes my reaction. Sometimes my reaction is to other people’s words and/or actions, a direct result of my rigid thinking. I carry high ideals. I cannot help this. I find it difficult to tolerate lies, betrayal, aggression, passivity, gluttony, rudeness, and avoidance behavior. And I have a hard time understanding why people do the things they do. I try. I try to be flexible and tolerant. Trouble is this brain of mine is hyper-sensitive much like my gut. And all this rubbish going on inside of me, turns me into a prickly prune—all wrinkled up in poutiness and spiked out with defense weapons. Picture a shriveled plum with sharpened toothpick spears stuck about.

That’s why a cave near the sea sounds nice about now. A warm cave that smells like real wild flowers, with soft organic bedding, no insects or other lurching animals, temperature of 76 degrees, no wind factor, no dampness, absolutely no mold, low humidity, only the sound of ocean water nearby and birds chirping, and absolutely a non-tsunami zone. That’s all I need. I semi-dark luxury-cave on an island inhabited by smiling, quiet, private people. Until the wave passes—just until the wave passes.

Day 68: Karmic Crumbs


I am fortunate to have married one of the most patient men on earth. I honestly do not think anyone else, besides my children and dog, whom all rely on me for food, could stand to live with me. I have a plethora of unique quirks and habits.  Too many to list, and as many know, I’m a good lister. (Lister should be a word.)

Prepare for digression.

Today I almost wrote on death terror (always on my mind), then moved onto the funny things about aging, and then landed on exploring raw food diets. My heart palpitations started up with the thought of switching to a raw food diet. I’ve tried the diet before. Moving from vegetarian to vegan (no cheese, no eggs) lasted four days. Trying to go from vegetarian to raw-food-vegan lasted about the time I take to walk to the fridge, open the fridge, and devour a slice of veggie-combo pizza.

I sure would like to rid myself of aches and pains, have more energy, and look like I’m 50, when I’m 70, but I’m thinking the heart attack and situational depression from the removal of Italian food from my life and stomach, would certainly kill me. I’m all for people finding something that works for them, be it diet, exercise, love, or faith, as long as the solution doesn’t harm another. Me, going raw vegan, would harm all the people who loved me. The radical mood shifts alone would cause mass destruction.

Which leads me back to my marriage. I am a moody gal. And the fact that my husband sticks around is a miracle. I got over myself, and my ego, in relation to my place in our marriage, about ten years ago, when for the hundredth time, I heard, from yet another woman: “You are so lucky to have a man like Bob.”

Gag! No one ever once, not once, not anyone from school functions, the workplace, the family gatherings, friendly circles, not one person ever said: “Bob, you are so lucky to have a woman like Sam.” (Insert my real name there; for all you logical souls concluding: Well, of course not. Her name isn’t really Sam.)

Not a one! I’m not chopped liver. And my brain is keen. So it’s got to be that whole “high maintenance” attribute I’ve got going on.

Poor, poor Bob. If you believe in the Buddha’s way of a person coming back in a life position based on previous karmic dealings, then I certainly wonder about my husband. For him to end up being my breadwinner, dishwasher, back and neck massager, psychologist, best friend, and emotional punching bag, I figure he must have done me mighty wrong in a past life!

Which logically means I have an obligation to even out the karmic relationship, I suppose. Speaking of such, accordingly, I must have done a whole lot of people wrong in my previous incarnations. Although when I was much younger, I had that whole “pretty girl” thing going on. So I must have done something right eons ago.

I think the biggest karmic wrong doing I ever did in this life was the time I stole the yellow spelling book, with the illustrated cat on the cover, from a girl in pigtails named Alice. She was a straw-haired blonde girl in second grade that sat two seats up in front of me, and she always, I mean always, got the right answers. While I was in the back hooting and hollering to be called on, Alice glided up a smooth arm and remained calm. One day, I couldn’t stand Alice anymore, and I did a terrible, terrible thing. I took her spelling book when no one was about, and hid the book in the back of the room. When Alice’s turn came, she couldn’t answer, and I could. Only, the plan backfired, because we spent the next twenty-minutes calming Alice down and searching relentlessly for her book. Well, everyone but me. Worst part of the whole spelling book fiasco, is that I still feel guilty. I remember thinking right then and there, in the company of a bunch of eight year olds, that I’d never ever purposely do wrong by anyone ever again. And I’ve tried my best to uphold that rule. Though I still fear I’ll be coming back as Alice’s gerbil in another life.

I can go on and make excuses about my home life at that time, but I’m not going there. I’m sorry, Alice, wherever you are! Please keep my cage clean!

Karma is a funny thing. What goes around comes around, so they say. But it seems to me the clueless people always get a better life, at least this time around, and the smart folks end up with all the misery. Which makes me wonder if I want to have brains in my next life.

This post was supposed to be about the high-tolerance level and total awesomeness of my husband. But somehow ended up being about gerbils. This is what Bob has to live with. If you are religious, you may want to stop and say a silent prayer for Bob.

click to see where image was found

Just to make sure I don’t have to be anyone’s gerbil, here is a list of I’m sorry:

  1. I’m sorry to that lady on the phone, whom I said this to: “Well, as long as you are more accepting of children with special needs. The last music instructor had zero tolerance of my son and her classes were boring.” Turns out I accidentally dialed the instructor I was speaking about.
  2. I’m sorry to T for lecturing you on my thoughts on God after I’d had one to many caffeinated beverages.
  3. I’m sorry to Mom for having a blog where I discussed everything horrible I thought you ever did to me.
  4. I’m sorry to my mother-in-law. You were right, when you stood up at the rehearsal dinner and announced loudly: “Are you sure you want to marry her?” But I think karmic wise we are more than even.
  5. I’m sorry to the university professor that I wrote about more than once, and called a “dumbass” to the world. (I’m sorry for the ass part.)
  6. I’m sorry to that Swan chick because I posted a big sign on my blog that directed readers to your website, because you were stealing my stories.
  7. I’m sorry to all the people who signed up to follow my posts, because you honestly had no idea what you were getting yourself into.
  8. I’m sorry to all the perfect-looking, skinny women at the gym that I stick my tongue out at, and for the teasing about your flat chests.
  9. I’m sorry to the drivers I yell at when I say: “Come on! Can you go any slower?”
  10. I’m sorry to my husband Bob for making you fetch me cleaner drinking glasses, for kicking you when you snore, for singing Daddy can’t rhyme, for saying, “You smell,” for asking, “What’s on your face. Can you die from that?”, for telling you more than once: It looks like your gaining weight, for making you move seats five times in the movie theater, for freaking out over the smell of taco meat, for screaming frantically over your driving, for calling you ten times in a row over the possibility of my heart exploding, for making you edit my writing and then critiquing your editing skills, for calling you various names based on the time of the month and the planetary positions, and for all the annoying things I do and say.

Okay. That just about covers me karmic wise until tomorrow.

Side note:  More evidence that Bob is a saint. I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so I made up stupid jokes in my head. Then I got out of bed, went into the bathroom, where my husband was, and told Bob the jokes. He told me I really needed to get some sleep.

Jokes:

Why did the Blue Jay cross the road? Because he was a jay-walker.

What did Jesus say when he looked in the toilet? Holy crap.

What do you call a slutty alcoholic living on the streets? A wine-hoe

I apologize to any jay-walking, Jesus-loving, homeless people. No offense intended.


A nice example of a clean Gerbil Cage