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Please Don't Ask Me To Smile

Brain Stew

What is Love?

My partner has a chronic health condition and is currently having a flare of symptoms. He has an incredible medical care plan and team of doctors around him.

The thing that really is not sitting well with me at the moment is the loud, overwhelming praise they’ve been giving me for being so supportive. They’ve told him time and time again “you’re so very lucky to have her”….

Seriously!? It’s a trite compliment at best. It is actually reinforcing the idea that illness is bad and who would stick around? “I couldn’t put up with it” I’ve heard people say.

Illness abuse.

Really!? What is love?

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Dealing with a feeling

So does anyone relate to this little case scenario…

Something good and wonderful happens in your life! And you didn’t know you wanted it but it is like a wonderful dream has been realised! You want to yell from the top of a mountain that you literally didn’t know happiness could be so complete!

And you know a person, right… a person all of your people know and they always appear to have something similar happen to your delightful dream!? Does that happen to anyone else? Is it just me? Like I find it hard to see and to celebrate because it actually feels contrived?

Like. I don’t usually want to be in the lime-light but, gee, when this thing happens to me I can relate to wanting to show everyone how special a good thing is…. but no. They have to make it about themselves and have the same kind of joy.

I do not think this is jealousy on my part, I think I am finally recognising some very unhealthy patterns.

Time to say the thing…

I feel like I may alienate a few people with this post. I’m hoping they’ve been listening and watching so it isn’t a huge shock but I think people believe what they want.

Life has shifted dramatically for me. In a way that I love and am committed to.

I don’t drink alcohol anymore. A glass of wine or a beer with dinner. That’s it.

I’m living truer to myself, spending less time in places that make my soul hurt. Doing more things that have me feeling happy and enriched which usually includes nature, quiet and creativity. It pretty much never includes crowds, noise and spending.

Please hear me. Please stop questioning ‘is she really happy!?’. Maybe that’s your own question for yourself?

I love carbohydrates

Oh my GOSH I love them. They fill me up and hug me, I swear. Potato cooked any way, pasta with creamy sauce mmm, rice… just rice… all by itself, I like rice. Chips and uncooked dough, pastry… oh my GOSH pastry.

I’ve Irish heritage so I am supposed to be sustained on potato, right? But here I am with a body that holds onto carbs and slyly changes it to fat to protect my fragile little self from further trauma apparently. Seriously there is growing evidence in the field of epigenetics that historical trauma makes some people more likely to carry more weight as a protective factor (https://sowkweb.usc.edu/blog/link-between-childhood-trauma-and-obesity).

I am so intensley annoyed. Like to the point of exploding into a carb rich diet to sooth the rage. I didn’t eat ONE potato over Christmas and there were so many varieties on offer – roasted crunchy pieces at my mums Christmas lunch, potato salad – home made! – at a little cafe with a friend, chips (crisps) on the table at ever place I visited and scalloped potatoes at a restaurant – I abstained and abstained and abstained!

Then, the other night I had fish and chips with my man at our local sea-side chippy, I didn’t even eat half  of my chips… but yes I did have some.

And yesterday I was weighed and I have put on a 1.2kgs!!?!??!?

Why can some people eat pizza and chocolate and all the carbs in the world and barley have a weight fluctuation but I have to fight every day to not eat most of our regular cultural diet in case I convert the one chip into 7 kilos of fat.

WHY?

fat

Monologue on body Pt 1

I viciously dislike the dominant discourse around weight loss. There is always an underpinning of shame, guilt and a focus on appearance.

I hate with great fury the discussions you are pushed to have when you change something. The presumption of a new partners control, the idea that swimming in summer is the goal. The openly shared opinions of others which often shame the way things were or the way things are.

I have no qualms putting on my togs and walking from shore to water. I am not on the beach to please the gaze of others. That is not to say it doesn’t hurt when you hear a man say ‘look out fatties’ on the street in Melbourne (true story). I have images of punching that man in the face so hard. I have a moment of hating who I am. It adds to my narrative of self in ways I can’t easily shake “the fatness is all over me”…..

I think often about how much space I take up, about what others think as I am eating.

I have a post structural feminist value system at my core though. A vivacious and radical core and so I shake off these conscious ‘weights’ usually very easily.

I thank Nicki Minaj and Saul Alinsky. I thank my sister and my sisters. I thank Kendrick Lamar and Kath Read.

Dark Beast

I don’t understand death.

I have realised there is a link between my hatred for magic. The unexplained.

Magic gets me very mad – I feel like someone is trying to dupe me, like a lie, trying to be more clever than me and make me look stupid. I don’t like it at all, that feeing.

And death makes zero sense to me. They’re there. Even if I don’t see them daily, weekly, monthly – they’re there, in my world. And like magic – that trickery – they’re gone. How do they go?

I get the physical side of things but if my glass stops working – falls over, breaks – the water is still there….

I remember my nanny and poppy dying and I just thought they were some place else and I’d see them soon. Not like ‘heaven’ – literally living somewhere else. I was 6 I think, when poppy died and 12 or 13 when nanny died. I still believed they were not too far away. I missed them – I even cried for nanny but I believed I would see them again.

I remember thinking it was discipline than I couldn’t see poppy anymore – I must’ve been bad and he was now out of my reach.

In a way I like this belief but adulthood brings knowledge – although death remains an inconceivable thing to me.

Arthur Wardle (1864-1949)
A comforting Friend in her Moment of Grief

Poo Not Taboo

A hugely significant impact on my mental health is my continual yet invisible struggle with irritable bowel syndrome. Ahhh, IBS, you farting, gurgling, embarrassment of a thing.

A few years ago now I started a side-tumblr about my struggles (https://intestinecork.tumblr.com/ **be warned** there is talk of poo and farts and sadness and anger). When I did this I started to see the vast array of experiences of this thing. People like me having to plan toilet stops, have mental maps of the closest loo, have hours laying flat waiting for the wind to pass and so on. It isn’t just me.

This week has been possibly my worst experience of the ‘intestine cork’ as I call it. Maybe it was the mango I et, or maybe a piece of bread snuck in..? The thing that gets me (and I know those living with IBS all over the place feel the same) is the amount of people who apparently ‘know’. If I just ate more healthily and excersized I would be okay. This makes the guilt feel like a red mark of shame cuts across my face as I eat chips… knowing they are easy on my tummy.

Having a partner I can talk to openly is pretty significant, no shame, no blame but someone to be honest with about how I am feeling and what my gutty-wuts is doing! Thanks you! Love love love and sorry…

Googling IBS does not explain my symptoms. Your gut does not illustrate my gut. It is weird in there. Maybe a poo transplant will help, believe me I am considering it (https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/28413507621/michael-mosley-guts).

 

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A shadow at a time…

For the past 8 months I have been making tiny, barely noticeable (to me) changes. Mineral water after work, apples instead of chips, walking instead of tv.

I garden now. I explore places. I stretch.

I listen to Radio National. I craft.

Not any grand gestures, just making my heart beat and wondering how my gut works. Saying ‘no’.

More truth to myself, a whisper here and a shadow here. Incredible.

WHY does the black dog sit so close some days!?

A dream, a paranoid thought, facebook, a word. 

That’s all it seems to take and I’m down. So low. 

I know my 5 senses and my mindfulness. I know it’s nothing but I cannot shake it off so easily today. 

Why? Because it’s a different work day? Different routine? I’ll try to wash it off. 

Yuck. 

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