The thing about life … and death

I lost a friend Sunday, probably my very closest and best friend. While he had been seriously sick and recovering for the better part of a year, he was improving. He was able to travel and come home. We had 5 glorious days of talking, laughing, arguing like siblings, just being. While there is no blood relation between us, whatever mysterious ingredients create the dynamic that begets family ties, it was us.

And now he’s gone.

As I finish this post, it has been a few days since that fateful Sunday. Whereas before I could not imagine a world without him somewhere in it, my new normal is painfully uncomfortable learning to cope with that reality. Our guest room still has the bed he slept in, his clothes neatly stacked where he left put them, the hamper with his clothing to be washed still has items in it. I see his shoes where he took them off, cherished books on the table by the bed. Only his laptop and phone have been disturbed so I could get the notifications done.

His final requests were simple, yet painstakingly described in a matter-of-fact, step-by-step descriptions including specific sources and contact information. In life he was an accountant, an auditor, and his sharp attention to small details defined his death and what came after in his same clear and direct manner. He wanted no funeral, no memorial service. His body was to be offered to a specific medical facility for research and if they declined, a local medical school. Failing that, he wished to be cremated and scattered somewhere peaceful. No public tributes on social media, which he abhorred and avoided.

He always enjoyed when I blogged about him, and I know he’d understand my methods to process my seemingly endless well of grief.

The list of people to contact was long, 38 people, and those 38 had similar lists of people they would be contacting to ensure his many friends and acquaintances would hear he was gone. It has been hard for me, because of those names I knew or have met less than a third. The rest – a bunch of awkward and uncomfortable and emotional conversations. But I got them done as quickly and efficiently as possible, then the follow-ups and the reaching out communications. It’s been overwhelming in primarily good and positive ways. But my compartmentalization has its limits.

Thankfully the initial shocking communications and halting, stilted conversation, the emotions are scaling back to manageable levels is fading now. There is still a lot of questions, few answers, and so much emotion attched. I admit – I am so mad at him for this circumstance, for leaving me with all this administrative paperwork and not being here to let me verbally rail on him about it. I have cried silently off and on through my solo practices at the gym and may continue to do so, the most unfettered time where thoughts and memories sneak in and take my breath away. I am not sleeping well.

It’s hard. Grief sucks.

The thing for me – life goes on. As much as I want the world to stop spinning to let me catch my breath and just be infinitely sad, the day-to-day business of living my life continues and persists. I have deadlines and commitments to clients, I am determined to continue with my better health quest, our fluffy-butted kit-cats would not understand why the food ceases to appear on schedule and treats are not dispersed at usual time periods. So I’m sucking it up much of the time, while being grateful for enough life to fill up the empty space and good reasons to push my sadness aside and keep plowing ahead.

Managing his possessions, his stuff, and specific bequests starts for me today and for M and I this weekend. There have been several generous offers from friends to assist, but until I get the very specific items and very specific bequests fulfilled, I am reluctant to accept their kind and generous offers. My reticience – for me, it feels like a sacred trust and will leave me with deep regret if I falter or fail. There are moments when I’m grateful for my hyper-responsible proclivities; I am not 100% certain now is one of them.

I know there is time. I know I am in good health and less likely, hopefully, to be maimed or injured or die myself before this portion of his requests are completed. But I want to get it done, off my own very long to-do list, and receive some respite from the shade that cloud of responsibility. While I know it is not all on me, a great deal of my sense of self is my reliability. In these final tasks and requests from my old friend, I know there is a great deal of comfort and joy and feeling good about myself in my ability to see them through.

So I’m sad. And I’m mad. Mostly I’m glad. A life well lived is to be celebrated, but the light and spirit that has left this world – it is hard to accept that I will not bask in it again.

Choices, stressors, negative vibes

Today, I had only one positive thing to say to anyone thus far. Meeting my friend K at the gym tonight, so that will change. She is doing really well with her barbell training and it’s inspiring and exciting to witness. But for now, I’m a squatter in the negative neighborhood and feeling justified in my wallowing.

Okay, maybe not justified, but having reasonable expectations of allowed humanity. My job has gone from being a huge source of satisfaction and pride to this dismal sinkhole of profanities strung together inside my head while my expression seems to say “what now?” every time someone walks into my office or my email pings.

This is so not me. My friend J, who has been a stalwart work-related supporter, mentor, friend for years and years, is starting to think I need to pull the pin now for my own sanity. He says when Pollyanna goes into hiding it is time to get out. He could potentially be correct.

Okay, work itself is gearing up and going well for the most part. For 90% of the staff, acceptance of the changes coming is starting to sink in and everyone is settling down and looking ahead to whatever comes next. Unfortunately, the other 10% are creating a lot of headaches and drama. For a couple of them, I can completely understand the palatable anxiety. They are non-attorney staff, more extreme on the head-down introvert scale, and were not treated like special snowflakes by the incoming firm members thus far. That’s a given; no one here is a special snowflake. But they have been here awhile – one 7 years, the other closer to 9 – and feel a little slighted. The types of personalities, they need a lot more hand-holding than the average professional. I am only capable of some much compassion and propping up before my expectations that they suck it up and deal kicks in.

Surprisingly to me, before today they were the biggest of my staff-related issues regarding the ownership change. My own stuff is my own stuff, and I have a pretty capable Plan B and Plan C to fall back upon. Then I came in this morning and was presented with a thornier problem that blew up my week.

So back embroiled in an HR-related issue for a firm expiring as an entity in a few weeks.

For the most part, I’m hugely disappointed in the staff members involved. It creates an unnecessary negative dynamic in an already tense work environment. But for tonight, I’m outta here on time. The problems and issues will be waiting for me here in the morning.

I get that we all have choices in our lives – what we do, how we react to events in our lives. Today, I am reminding myself of this throughout much of my workday. Thankfully I’m 20 minutes away of another being in the books.

Sometime soon I hope to be back to my regular level of positive motion blogging. The way things are going – it could be July 1 before it happens.

My growing sense of entitlement

A dirty little secret has been brewing, and I have not yet discussed it openly on this blog. Well, until now, of course.

I have a growing sense of entitlement. Yep, me, glitter-bombing unicorn in the lives of a few harbors feelings of deserving things.

Nope, not talking about material stuff or a tiara and princess accoutrements. Nor am I speaking of adoration and worship for my exceptional unicorn-isms.

My sense of deserving is basic human dignity and respect. I deserve my ability to hold and voice my own opinions and to disagree without rancor or condemnation. I am entitled to the opportunity to finish a sentence without being interrupted and an expectation of politeness when socially appropriate. The basic respect and consideration afforded friends.

It is no secret I have struggled in the last year with a particular long-term friendship, and it is truly unfortunate it seems to have spread to a couple of others. My best efforts to have an honest, mostly unemotional conversation about the issues have come to unsatisfactory conclusions. When I have asked with specific examples (Why do you feel I am hyper-focused and critical of others not on the same page with regard to diet and exercise? Can you give me a specific example of putting someone down for not following my example to improve my overall health?), I have been met with defensive “you have changed” and “it’s all you talk about” and “you think you’re better than the rest of us” type responses. Frequently those comments are very hurtful; these are women who have known me the majority of my life. Most of the time I understand where the defensiveness and the hurtful words come from, because again, these ladies have been friends for many, many years. However, my direct attempts to understand what it is I may be doing that offends them so much are then distorted, taken out of context, and repeated to others in ways that are exceedingly painful to me.

I just don’t get it.

I know I have changed. In my mind, pursuing my better health goals makes as much sense as pursuit of happiness. I certainly have no desire to be miserable all the time until my final days, and the drugs, the weight, the slow and inevitable decline in my health until I died was not something I have always been prepared or ready to face. Before getting started last summer, I had my head firmly buried in the sand and was frantically trying to pull more sand over to keep it firmly planted.

Not everyone accepts change well, even in other friends. Even when the friend is happier, healthier, better self-esteem, burgeoning confidence. Friend and commenter SAK has been with me on this journey and we have had numerous discussions about the negative feedback and sabotage we receive from people we consider friends.

Through the years I have adopted a standard where most anything negative said to me about me is sort of absorbed and/or deflected. I had my role in relationships – to be the stable, dependable, non-controversial, non-competitive friend and supporter. Say anything negative or bad about my family, about my friends, I will never promise to be responsible in my backlash. Nearly everyone I interact with understood this unspoken rule and all was well in my little world.

When I began with trainer J and my quest to improve my health, it seems to have created a ripple in the status quo. Everything from questions about J’s competence (shut down super quickly with that overprotective and unpredictable backlash) to my potential overtraining to subtle efforts to sabotage my eating efforts suddenly abounded. Questions about how much weight I have lost, critiques about my figure, and of course the infamous comments about the size of my arms came from all sorts of unexpected sources. Mostly I have weathered it well, and I specifically returned to therapy to find better, healthier ways to improve my self-esteem, confidence, and ability to cope with the well-meaning who have a hard time with change.

If anyone deserves “blame” for my evolving deflection, stronger spine, and standing up for myself it is probably TM, for reminding me, teaching me to value myself and my efforts for self-improvement. I do not give him enough credit for coaching me to a stronger, healthier heart and mind. He told me, warned me about the dynamic that others in my midst that are less emotionally and mentally healthy will manifest as time passes. He coached me on how to react, how to maintain my composure, how to respond to not compromise my own forward progress.

And I cannot ever thank him enough.

With the few friends I have had to step back and away from, it is far from easy or uncomplicated. I am now 55 years old, these are women I have known since high school or college. But I will not be bullied, pushed around, or abused, and I take full responsibility for allowing them to treat me poorly or take advantage of my general nature for too many years. I have done nothing to deserve it, and their own messy emotions and shortcomings are not my problem or responsibility. For too many years I enabled and allowed them to periodically use me as their whipping girl to vent their pain, anger, frustration, or dissatisfaction with their lives or the disappointments that befall them.

I want to be a supportive friend, but I have a good understanding of my limitations. Those limitations do not include being unhappy, staying unhealthy, or listening to endless details and the same rants and raves about their own issues. My efforts at improving my health, both physically and emotionally, are threatening in some real ways. Suddenly I am competition for attention and praise? Because I blog about my life here – and the better health quest is a huge part of my life – does it make them feel worse about themselves? This blog is my place for sharing my own stuff, not an attempt on my part to be a prophet inspiring others to discover their own miracles of diet and exercise. Ask anyone – I am the most ordinary of ordinary people. I struggle to eat healthy, eat well, and I have had to engage my own OCD tendencies to ensure I stay focused and consistent on my exercise. The persistence to break through my own desire to maintain my comfort zone does not come easily or naturally to me; modifying my behaviors has been an uphill battle that I am winning. I have thought about that as well. Perhaps my desire to lock up negative girl and protect myself from her sphere of influence is the problem; maybe they dislike the calmer, happier, positive version of me.

Honestly, I think it’s okay to not like the evolving person, and people do change and add or subtract friends as life continues. However, I need to be clear about my intentions with regard to friends going forward. I deeply regret the need to exorcise you from my life, but from my perspective, continuing a dysfunctional relationship that makes me feel terrible about myself is unhealthy. I am all about better health these days.

In some ways this is among the most painful, and personal, posts I have written to date. The friends I speak of – they meant so much to me once, more like sisters than my actual biological sister through the years. And now it is time to let go, say goodbye, and hope someday we will reconcile and meet again under better, healthier circumstances.

Your brand of mental and emotional pain is not my problem, and no matter how compassionate and sympathetic I am toward you, it is never enough. I will no longer be the toxic waste dump for your shit-worthless feelings from insecurity, disappointment, or unrealized dreams.

You need not like my choices for life or the lifestyle changes I am pursuing, and by extension you need not support or encourage those changes. However, I will no longer accept your attempts to sabotage, minimize, mock, or dismiss my efforts. I never wanted or needed your praise or applause; I merely wanted you to like and accept me, warts and all. I deeply regret that has proved so impossible.

The blog is for me. The only goal I have here is to be truthful and honest about my thoughts and emotions and life. It is not something I do to shame you or make you feel insignificant or inferior or bad about yourself and your choices.

If you hate my blog so much, please stop reading. Now. Into the future. Here’s a thought – there are literally hundreds of thousands of other blogs, websites, and forums for you to pursue content that interests you.

I am a good person, and my battle to make peace and accept myself is ongoing. I have been a good friend to you for many years and through many mutual good times and bad. I certainly do not deserve your derision of and contempt for my efforts. The struggle is real and so are my feelings, emotions, and history.

Letting go is really hard. And turning away from the Baskin Robbins when I feel this level of sad is almost as challenging.

There is no universe where I am happy or optimistic or upbeat about this turn of events. Healthy choices are not always rarely easy decisions for me. I feel gutted and yet relieved, the uncertainty of doing the right thing for me and making what feels right for me have weighed on my mind and conscience.

I feel lighter. And sad. And really wishing my resolve against Baskin Robbins was currently not this powerful.

Expressing myself in the right spirit

Many, many years ago someone told me that “anything expressed in the right spirit could never be considered offensive.” I remember being charmed by the thought, while in my mind considering how naive and blank check that was for anyone and everyone to put forth their own offensive or ignorant on the unsuspecting community at large. The young man was a Mormon missionary; he and his partner at the time had befriended me after my separation from my first husband.

Fast forward 25 years and we remain in communication. Not closest of friends, but I do hear from him a few times each year. He is a sweet man with a kind heart, and after his service was over went back to Utah, went to college, got married, had a couple of kids, got divorced, and is now trying to figure out the dating game.

Anyway, this post has nothing specific to do with him, but I still remember the conversation and the earnest way he had said that to me. I so wanted to believe that, and that sins great and large could be forgiven and washed away. Considering where my head was at and what I had been through in life up until that time, I was torn between wanting to believe that and wanting to scream that some things, some people should be well beyond redemption.

This morning I am sort of stricken speechless by the judgment gene and having to just stop interacting with someone out of respect for their situation being absolutely none of my business and stating my thoughts and opinions doing little other than creating anger and strife where it serves no useful purpose.

So I am coming here to sort it all out.

An old friend had children later in life than I did and her only child is now 19. Said child was a bit of a handful and just barely graduated high school and has decided to put off college into some undesignated point in the future. She has a job at Walmart and is out of my friend’s home, living with her boyfriend in a trailer on his parents’ property. They cannot afford a car of their own and take the bus or depend on others for transportation. There is also a history of recreational drug use by both her daughter and the boyfriend.

And she’s now 5 months pregnant.

When my pal told me about it a couple of months ago, I could not hide my surprise and dismay. I know the daughter pretty well and like her as a person while wishing my friend had not been quite so permissive in her upbringing, but I had hoped that being out of her mom’s house would make her gain some perspective and maturity. Instead she’s now pregnant, her boyfriend and father of the baby presently has no job, has his GED but no high school diploma and has been fired or quit every job he has had in the last year. Bringing a child into a household with such immature parents does not seem terribly fair to the unborn one.

My face is pretty expressive. While I did not say anything negative about the situation my expression spoke volumes about what I really think and my friend was pretty angry with me about it. I stated my feelings as gently and as clearly as I could – their lives were about to get a lot more challenging and it seems unfair to any child to be born into poverty without any clear pathway ahead to be out of that level of economic uncertainty.

She has not spoken to me since. I have not apologized for expressing my thinking, but I have periodically wondered if I should. I guess anymore you are labeled a judgmental bitch if you express anything other than unicorns and rainbows when such auspicious news is presented. My friend, the soon-to-be grandmother has known me for 40 years; surely she is not surprised that I tried not to vocalize the thoughts in my mind. But she did. As she said when we parted, she expected better from me.

Hmmm. When did insincere congratulations become better? I tried to avoid anything other than a very neutral “oh … how is she feeling?” type reaction, but she pressed until I verbalized my reaction to and feelings about this news.

I was a young parent, and I remember the struggles of being 20-something and having to grow up really fast with my first child. And we had a lot going for us. We were married, both had good jobs and with full benefit packages, renting a little house in a pretty great neighborhood, and were very stable, responsible people. But we were in our early 20s when my oldest daughter was born. We were still so young and so very selfish. Being a parent requires that you put that helpless little person you have created first, take care of her needs before my own, put her first, and it was a hard lesson to learn and a challenge to adjust my thinking and change my world view.

That’s my experience and it has shaped my opinions and ideas about what makes a person ready to assume the responsibility to be a parent. I am quite well aware that if you factor in everything parents invest in raising children – time, money, other resources – there is never going to be a good time to have a baby and get started on that phase of life. But without much income or stability, it seems like a ready made recipe for a very tough life for all involved.

And I guess that makes me a bit harsh and judgmental, even if I tried my best to not state any of that out loud.

Fast forward to Wednesday, and in my mail was an invitation to a baby shower. Then this morning, a phone call to ensure I received the invitation and as an afterthought, a belated birthday wish. I recognize this as the olive branch it is, a conciliatory gesture to forgive and forget the preceding radio silence of texts and emails unanswered, phone calls not returned.

I have no plans to attend and to my best to be gracious and brief in my regrets, because after this long she knows I hate any and all types of showers and shower-like events. Unless it is for given for someone I am particularly close to, I always decline to attend and send a gift of some sort. I can hear the disappointment and disapproval in her voice, and she makes no effort to hide either. She knows my aversion to wedding and baby showers, despite enjoying most weddings and universally adoring babies. But this is her daughter, her future grandchild, and all bets are off and the protective mama grizzly claws are unsheathed.

Her words are not harsh or unkind on their own, but the intensity of emotion-backed demand leave me feeling frustrated and angry and completely misunderstood and misrepresented in her statements, but I am calm enough about it in my response. I say what she has just said – I am “punishing” her daughter for this pregnancy, I believe she will be a horrible mother, and I have absolutely no compassion for people in a lower socioeconomic bracket than my own – is absolute bullshit and she has known me since we were 14 and deep down she knows it is bullshit. She counters that people change, because I obviously have to become such a snobby, self-important bitch. That one lands and wounds, because while my general shyness or reserve has been interpreted as aloofness or worse, I have to work to overcome my social anxiety and fear to as warm and as welcoming as humanly possible. To suggest I am a snob of any stripe is uncomfortable and hurtful to me and she knows it. Self-important is not a term anyone who actually knows me would use to describe me. At least I don’t think so, anyway, but I can be insecure and worry about that some other time.

I can barely keep the hurt and mounting anger from my own voice as I tell her in the evenest tone I can manage that if that is what she truly thinks believes I feel and am, then it is probably best that I not attend this event. Her goodbye has the shrill tone of finality to it. *sigh*

Another old friendship bites the dust, but at least this time it is about something other than weight loss or the size of my arms.

My quandary is sending a gift. Or not sending a gift. I will in all likelihood send a gift, but I’m not sure what yet. Diapers? Something from the registry? Gift card? No matter what my personal thoughts on the situation, a new little human is about to become part of our society and will need things to get started in life. Where I typically feel very happy and excited about such events, I feel a sense of apprehension. Maybe I am completely reading the situation wrong, that these kids and their families will pull together and raise baby to a productive adulthood. I would like nothing more than to be wrong about the readiness of the parents.

In the end, I will pick a simple, practical gift, pretend the phone call never happened, send it with regrets about attending the shower, and call it a day. In the end, it will likely not matter much to my friend, or her daughter, or her future grandchild.

Anymore, friendship has its own currency, and I am learning the monetary value system placed on qualities like truth, integrity, honesty, frankness, and loyalty. Sometimes it seems being agreeable and supportive no matter what is the only things that matter. Maybe if I can learn to take a deep breath and express insincere platitudes in the right spirit I will not feel offended with myself. Maybe what I have long believed were valued friends and confidants will not leave me feeling hollow and a bit ashamed for my own naivete in things I have long believed in as real.

It is sad to be figuring out again that long camaraderie and association is not always indicative of a genuine friendship. Or perhaps this is me learning that friendship is not a Velveteen Rabbit; I cannot make it become real.

Food, forgiveness, and letting go

I have an appointment with TM today and it cannot get here soon enough. After that, I may do a second gym practice or take a yoga class. Something to burn off some of my present level of negative energy.

Like everyone, there are a few things in life that genuinely upset me to a distraught degree. It happens rarely – the Very Bad Incident is an excellent example – but there are certain triggers that may result in complicated and messy emotional responses.

I am in the midst of one of those right now.

Something thoughtless was said to me yesterday, and while it seemed innocent enough on the surface, the consequence ripple is still being felt this afternoon. And I have no idea what to do about it.

Since I began this blog it has evolved into my safe place to talk about anything and everything. Only rarely do I ever regret sharing its existence with my nearest and dearest, because what is said here is never anything that has not been stated directly.

Today, however, is one of those even rarer occasions when I wonder if going private might be more appropriate. I reject the idea almost instantly, because I would miss the opportunities to meet other people, gain valuable perspective, and explore other blogs, but it says something about my shaken state.

I skipped dinner last night in my distress. I rarely to never skip meals, because it wreaks havoc on my blood sugar and makes me feel lightheaded and weak. My practice this morning kind of sucked because of it, and the “weak” aspect of my skipping a meal definitely showed. Or maybe my anger was not as focused as I imagined? Whatever it was, I struggled with the weights and gave up worrying about using my “normal” dumbbell weights and used something lighter and focused exclusively on maintaining impeccably good form for 4 sets – J would have been so proud.  Maybe it’s my head simply thrashing myself, but even with that minor success I feel as if I just concluded the sloppiest practice I have had in weeks. Ah well. It is but one practice out of several more this week; I will try again and do better.

But back to the latest in this string of harsh-my-self-improvement-positivity-buzz events. Accidents happen, people are thoughtless and say and do stupid things all the time. I completely understand that, having been there, done that, and have a whole closet full of t-shirts to commemorate those occasions. Majority of the time I am forgiving, as I feel I am or will be in time in this case. But it feels like such a gross violation of trust in a bid for attention or something that I am having a hard time letting it go. Granted, it has not yet been an entire day.

Trust is only 5 letters, yet it is such a loaded word with big giant connotations and consequences.

I know I have trust issues; one does not have the childhood I endured and come out the other side an adult without real hang-ups and issues. But I do try hard do put forth the effort to be a good and caring person and responsible community member. The trespass was inadvertent and to anyone else not that big of a deal. Except it is to me; I simply do not tolerate disrespect of me very well and I absolutely cannot tolerate it for my family and my tribe of adopted family. I have a headache today trying to let it go and get back to my happier place.

I am terrible about relinquishing friendships long overdue for pruning. My feelings get hurt, and I can forgive and get over it. I understand that there are degrees of hurt to be inflicted, degrees of pain I can and will endure. But trust? Breaking that is like snapping a twig; there are now 2 separate pieces that are separated forever, or at least cannot be put back together again in the same way.

So I am wondering what it means to just accept that trust is broken, a life-long challenge for which I still have no clear answers. If I am the good, decent, better person I always wish to be, I forgive and let go of this as a single ugly footnote in a very long book. Truth is I don’t know that I am there yet in my good personhood timeline. I know the regret is genuine, the apologies sincere, yet I have this big cement wall between my accepting the apology and my inner gut-check knowledge that I may never again look at this person in the same way again, nor trust them to the same sort of intimate degree.

It makes me feel terrible about myself. And I so want to get past the part of my life where I feel terrible about who I am and that I have limitations and boundaries that are real and should be respected by anyone who professes to know and care about me. I want to claw and scrape and do whatever it takes to get back to where I was yesterday, in my so happy to be me state of being.

I feel I am regressing. TM will help me make sense of it and come to a better conclusion – he has never let me down in sorting my shit out. I am guessing he will say to give it time, not to make any irreversible decisions, to forgive myself in my inability to react with only frozen composure that may last forever toward this dear friend.

A thoughtless, tossed off comment. Until I expressed my mounting distress, it was not even seen as much of a big deal. Until I made it such, and I was so shocked by the initial cavalier attitude that I could not say “I am very angry about your thoughtlessness toward me and mine” in the moment, because another little foundational pillar within me was crumbling. I completely understand this seems like an overreaction, because people make mistakes. However, I have learned to not dismiss my own feelings in favor of keeping the peace or maintaining facades of relationships.

When I was a little girl, my parents would send me off to spend time alone with my abuser and allow him to hurt me, several days per week, for several years. My tears, my fears, my anxiety about it and about him fell on deaf ears for years, and it taught me how to stuff my feelings with food, isolation, perfect behavior, and to beat myself into a bloody pulp when none of that worked, seemed to matter, or made the hurting stop. I lacked words to make them understand what was happening. But I grew up believing if I were good, if I were good enough, if I followed all the rules and did everything they wanted and said it took to be good, the pain would stop. But it never did, not until we moved. Because what they said to me in their actions is that my feelings did not matter. I did not matter. Other people’s expectations and needs were more important. The lesson imparted was what I think, how I feel matters only in service to others, because that is what determines my good personhood and worth.

The legacy of that haunts me to this day.

I am fiercely protective of my family and those I adopt as family (whether they are aware of that adoption into my tribe or not). It’s like a mortal wound when someone within my realm mistreats another in hopes of a laugh or as attention seeking behavior. My reactions to such tend to be mama grizzly type severe. It’s hard to hear shortcomings about yourself from others you like and respect, but if it comes from a caring place I can accept and cope with it in a relatively rational manner. But when it comes to my family or those in my tribe, our private discussions can be as joking or as serious as appropriate, but they should always be harmless fun or at the very least respectful. But there is a big difference between a private disagreement and reprimand and a public derisive or insulting comment; all bets are off if the injury occurs in a public forum. It is rare for me to choose to end a relationship and it is not a decision I make lightly, but right now I am in such a state that I need to maintain a safe distance in order to not rain an escalating level of pained anger over a few seconds of unthinking words.

TM will likely counsel to give it some time, to allow my feelings to settle down. I don’t disagree with him on that course at all, and I will take his advice to heart in whatever context he frames it. But there’s the searing sort of pain that says while I do not want to let go, my self-destruct pin has been pulled and I either put some distance between me and this grenade or I blow myself up with it.

So how does all this relate to food, you may be wondering?

This is supposed to be my 5 day food logging for the dietician. I have thus far skipped dinner yesterday (definitely an anomaly), had my pre-workout protein shake before going to the gym this morning, and since it’s nearly 1:30 p.m., I need to eat something for lunch. I have been studiously avoiding the office kitchen and the ooey-gooey brownies on the table – my ability to resist is nonexistent at the moment. The little bag of almonds and orange on my desk do not constitute a typical lunch for me, but it’s getting late enough that it will tide me over until after I see TM and can get home for a decent dinner. So this has not the best start to meal tracking. Therefore, I am making an executive decision to restart the tracking clock to tomorrow and try harder to be better about it. At least I avoided the sugar trap; surely it should be gone by tomorrow.

The urge to eat crap is all around me today, but thankfully I am both working at my part-time office job and handling matters for my self-employment clients. It’s a crazy time tracking day, but I am making it work.

I feel all Debbie Downer today and am so sad about that. I need to repower my happy and bring on the more meaningful suck. Like single legged deadlifts or anything yoga. I would much rather be frustrated about my present physical imbalance than my off-kilter emotional balance.

Carpe diem

My next door neighbor has just learned she has both brain cancer and has a very poor prognosis. We just found out last night, and I am not quite sure how to feel about it, other than shocked and sad. Maybe shocked and sad is adequate for right now.

This is the neighbor with whom I used to do regular urban hikes around the neighborhood on weekends. She and her partner went on vacation a couple of months ago and were gone nearly a month, so we got out of the habit. But we are still friendly and see each other in our comings and goings, but the opportunity to walk and chat has been missing for quite a while. When her partner came by last night to tell us the sad news and give me a small gift – a heart rate monitor she will never use – we tried to be supportive and comforting. But he’s not an emotional or comfortable with support kind of guy, so it was awkward. I asked if I could or should come visit, and he said it would be best to text and ask if she was up to visitors. We also asked if there was anything we could do – feed the cats, errands, groceries, anything – and he said they were fine right now.

I feel badly for them both, and I did text thanking her for the gift and to ask if she would like a visit or if there was anything I/we could do for her. Thus far no reply, and I am not taking it personally. But I am so saddened by the situation.

Part of me wishes to do something, anything for them. Yet I also recognize this is me wanting to do something to make me feel better about an impossible situation. I am opting to simply sit and wait, but it is awkward and difficult. Ours is a neighborhood full of elderly people and several have passed away or moved to assisted living in the almost 4 years we have been in our home. These neighbors, though, are about our same age and we thought they would be around for a while to come.

Sometimes the phrase “carpe diem” hits far too close to reality than I like.