Thursday, November 20, 2008

On what blogs have given me

A sense of failure for not posting every day! Ok maybe not. If I was that upset about it I probably would have posted every day.

A few weeks back my mother called me, as she does, and I could hear the excitement in her voice as she talked about something Heather had done. Well guess what! We do not know Heather. I have never met Heather and I probably never will because she is all the way over there and I am all the way over here. And yet I feel fine calling her by her first name. I am on a first name basis with about 40 awesome women I have never met, and my mother and I bond over the things they talk about to the internet. This is something that blogs have given me.

I have become someone who appreciates design, small victories, and good food, and I don't know that I would have become that kind of person were it not for the constant stream of inspiration in my life because of blogs. Amazing people post the things they love and I get to listen to them tell me all about why they love them. Have you ever been talking to someone and suddenly they light up like a Christmas tree when the subject makes its way around to typefaces? Even though typefaces are kind of specific and odd? And you walk away LOVING THE HELL out of typefaces and you start to see them differently, at least for a little bit? Isn't that the best? These blogs are like that for me. Is it lame that I found that in a bunch of people on the internet who don't know I exist? Maybe. But I am pretty sure that making me feel a little less alone and a lot more inspired is a better use for the internet than, say, two girls one cup (if you don't know what that is, don't Google it please).

Blogs have taught me how to knit (before Ravelry happened, and even a little bit still), how to take excellent pictures for my own blog should I choose to put a little effort into it, how to make things for my home and what to make when folks come over for dinner. This is just to name a few tangible things. They've also helped teach me how to be brave and stand up for myself and how to laugh off the things I can't change. They've shown me that absurd can be hilarious and that grieving doesn't make me a weak person. Most importantly they've reminded me that it is more than ok to be who I am because whoever I am, whoever WE are, we are most certainly beautiful.

When you mention blogging as a hobby, especially when you don't have anything to show for it other than a website made from butchered code with some dinosaurs on it and a habit of writing things down that you want to blog about later when you should be working, people tend to raise an eyebrow. What does it make? What does it DO? For that matter, why? Why do it at all? I think that for me it is pretty simple. I want stories. There are so many to find and they are told in so many ways. Nobody has to read anything on the internet and many people would feel better in general if they remembered that. But my story is here among all these other beautiful stories in case someone wants or needs it. It will help keep the pot full. That's enough for me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I have tiny monsters in my belly.

They are teeny, even. But there they are, lighting up on the sonogram like little fireflies. They have grown on my ovaries and they are PISSED, you guys. So they give me pains like I have to pee. They give me lower back pain like I've been doing heavy lifting all day. Sometimes they make me nauseous JUST FOR FUN.

No, it's not cancer.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis on Friday and I am still kind of trying to figure out what that means.

According to WebMD, "Your uterus is lined with a type of tissue called endometrium. It is like a soft nest where a fertilized egg can grow. Each month, your body releases hormones that cause the endometrium to thicken and get ready for an egg. If you get pregnant, the fertilized egg attaches to the endometrium and starts to grow. If you do not get pregnant, the endometrium breaks down, and your body sheds it as blood. This is your menstrual period."

Well, thanks for that. But what the shit is this shit? "When you have endometriosis, the implants of tissue outside your uterus act just like the tissue lining your uterus. During your menstrual cycle, they get thicker, then break down and bleed. But the implants are outside your uterus, so the blood cannot flow out of your body. The implants can get irritated and painful. Sometimes they form scar tissue or fluid-filled sacs (cysts)." Oh! There it is. "Scar tissue may make it hard to get pregnant." Wait. What?

Nobody knows what course this will take or what to do about it. There is no cure and there are so many approaches to symptom prevention it is kind of dizzying.

I am not really a wait-and-see kind of lady. I am kind of a fighter and kind of a control freak. I want to do something about this NOW, but there is nothing to do. I don't want to control my symptoms, I want to shrink the cysts. I want to make it so they disappear. I want to slay the monsters, not make them a little sleepy.

Some women find a gluten-free diet works. Most sufferers and nutritionists say to cut out caffeine and booze completely. And chocolate. I don't know if you're aware, but I am kind of a coffee and chocolate taster for a living. I am also a booze taster for fun. So where does that leave my options? There is no proof that changing your diet even works, and there is no proof that it doesn't. Some women do nothing and nothing changes. Some women do everything and it just gets worse.

And this whole "It might be hard to get pregnant" thing has got me a bit depressed. Some people have told me that they know someone who has endometriosis and three kids. Some people said that they know of someone with it who is completely infertile. So uhhh... do I freeze my eggs and keep them under my mattress just in case? Or do I take the chance that when I'm ready for kids my uterus will play along? Is action overreaction?

I am a bit confused, is what I'm saying. I am a believer in traditional medicine but when there isn't really a traditional medicine approach that fits I am inclined to think holistically. Yoga might make my tum feel better and changing my diet might stop these little beasties in their tracks. Maybe. Might maybe. But yoga is expensive and changing my diet could affect my job. Also my life. Also it is probably expensive to buy all that organic, non soy based, gluten free food.

And then there's the anger. The irrational anger. What the fuck, nature? What the fuck. It should make me feel better to hear stories from women who suffer from endo and have had healthy pregnancies, but all I can think about is the fact that it doesn't mean anything. I am happy for them. But their fallopian tubes are not mine, and mine could be being crushed under scar tissue right now. I wouldn't know. A twinge of pain and there goes any chance of conception. Fuck you, tiny monsters. Eat a dick.

So I have another sonogram in six weeks or so to see how this has progressed. Maybe I don't change anything until then. Maybe I move to Vermont and eat nothing but bark for a while.

Also: part of my index finger is numb. WHAT THE HELL, Body? You are a laugh riot, I tell you what.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pretty soon I will have no thumb left.

I have one compulsive behavior. I have done it since... I don't know. Forever? I don't remember not doing it. I don't know why I do it. There is no pattern; I don't do it more when I'm stressed out, I don't do it more when I'm bored. I just do it. All the time. It's kind of gross too so hold on to your stomachs.

I pick at the skin around my fingernails. According to experts (science!) this isn't necessarily uncommon. I just do it without thinking about it. When I notice I'm doing it, I stop. But then like 10 minutes later I'll catch myself doing it again and be all "When did this happen?"

Sometimes I'll do it just to do it. It isn't a feeling of "Oh man I have to do this right now or I'll die" but more of a "Hey! Piece of skin! What are you doing there? I'mma getcha!" And I get it. Which makes more pieces of skin kind of loosey goosey and I'm all "You! You're next!" I do it to my lip too. It's just so satisfying sometimes. Like picking a sunburn. Only it never stops.

It's really noticeable around my thumbs. Sometimes it gets so bad that I have to hide them in band-aids and I often do it to the point of making myself bleed. I used to tell people that I had burned my hands (Oh really Danielle? Only on the outside of your thumbs? In the exact same spot on both hands? HOW INTRIGUING). Thank you for not prying if I have ever given you this excuse.

Oh man I was just doing it while I was thinking of the next sentence! HA! Ha ha ha! Ha.

Sometimes I'll see other people doing it and I'll want to hug them. It's probably not such a big deal for them and I've never seen anyone with thumbs like mine (please don't stare!) but really? We're the same, you and I! I see you chewing on your on your fingers and trying to be all sneaky about it. I DO THAT TOO. Let's be bff.

The reason why I bring this up is because I ripped the hell out of my left thumb this morning and it has never bled that much or hurt that much. At least in a long time. I am taking tiny little breaths because my thumb is on fire and pain is shooting up my arm. I had to change the band-aid because I bled through the last one. FUCKING OW.

I will be spending some time Googling to figure out how to end this madness. In the meantime you all should be excited because those kids from "Once" won the Oscar for best song in a motion picture and I love them and you should too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Boys boys boyz.

- I sit on the edge of the pool with a tee shirt over my babyish one-piece suit. My mom wouldn't let me buy a bikini. All the kids from my class are playing keep away in the pool and he's the tallest. He holds the ball high above his head as a girl jumps for it and fumbles, her hands sliding down his torso. He throws it and arcs over my head but I don't make a grab for it. The other girl chases after it, her newly blossomed body filling out her bikini like the swimsuit models over my dad's workbench. She holds onto it for longer than necessary. She's waiting until the boys notice she has it and make a move to get it from her before throwing it. Waiting to be tackled. As he lunges for her and they both go under the water I can feel my eyes well up with tears and I splash water on my face so that he doesn't see.

- After he moved he told me he loved me. He told me that when he was 400 miles away the distance made it real. I told him I'd wait for him, promised I'd go to college near him. A year later he visits all of his old friends, a group I was never really a part of, and we barely speak even though we've been e-mailing constantly because we're too shy. A year after that I return to the summer music school we attended before he left in the hope that he might go back too. While I'm in New Hampshire learning about arpeggios and the proper way to play a jazz chord I hear from a friend that he's in Rhode Island. I beg my mom to pick me up and bring me home for the weekend so I can see him but she doesn't come. Years later I find him on Facebook and feel myself blush. I wonder if he remembers what he said. I decide to never ask.

- We drive around for thirty minutes wondering what we should do and where we should go. He suggests the beach even though it's past 11pm. I am quivering, nervous that there will be a guard in the little house at the entrance. I don't break rules and the possibility of having to explain myself is terrifying. I worry and sweat the whole way there. As we pull up to the guard station I realize that there are two guards in there and they will probably want to know what two twenty one year olds are doing at the beach at 11pm. I open my mouth to tell him to turn the car around but they're already walking to us. He motions to the back of the Rav-4 where there are two fishing poles that I hadn't noticed until now. I look at the guards. They're waiting for more explanation "My brother and I," I start, my voice shaky, "go fishing late at night." I look at him and my voice becomes more confident. "The fish feed in the shallows then." He struggles not to grin and stares resolutely at the steering wheel as they wave us through the gate. We spend the night in the dunes, wrapped up in each other and the sand.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 16: Friday 250

We collapsed into the snow out of breath and pulsing from the fight. I moved so that my back was against yours, me facing into the sun and you facing into your own shadow. I had taken off my coat. You were wiping the blood from your lip with your mitten.

"You know," you started, and your voice was shaking, "Mom really does love you more." I didn't say anything. What could I have said? "She tells you everything," you continued. "She doesn't tell me anything. She loves you more."

I wondered if it was love that made mom tell me that dad loved naked women on the computer more than he loved her. I wondered if it was love that made her tell me that thirty eight was too young to be stuck in a family, that she never wanted a second daughter, and that I was an accident.

"I don't want her to tell me everything," I said, but I knew you wouldn't understand. I turned and hugged you around your neck. Your ear was so cold on my cheek. "It doesn't matter, Josie," I said. "I love you more than they ever could."

It was then that the knife slipped and cut the tip of mom's finger off while she was chopping vegetables in the kitchen and dad, who was cutting wood in the shed just to do something with his hands, felt his heart palpitate, shudder, and double its pace. He coughed and it was over.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 12: Short stories

- My mother and her friend have dressed up in over-sized pillowcases, drawn cartoonish faces on them and put clothes low on their legs to appear as if they were really short people with huge heads. They're dancing around for my 6th birthday party and my friends love it. I think about how I'd never seen any of their parents have as much fun.

- I'm looking out my parents' bedroom window and crying for some reason, a washcloth clenched in my hand to stifle any noise I might make. I'm around 8 or 9 years old, but I know that whatever happened shouldn't have been heard by my ears.

- It's the first time I ever got that feeling from a boy - where they touch you and you shake because it's so electric and so delicious. It eventually becomes a warning sign, that when anything has that much voltage it has to be dangerous.

- The door shuts behind me and I can see him crying through the window. I pick up my two garbage bags of clothes and throw them into my car with the rest of my stuff. It isn't until I'm on the highway that I remember to breathe and I let out a sob so loud that I scare myself and almost hit a pole. By 4am I'm three states away.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 9: An excerpt from a short story I'm working on

Through one town, into another, south and south, intrepidly south. South to the end of the road where the water tries to swallow the shore and gnashes its foamy teeth on the jetty. I had to park the car as the road had turned into sand and then water. But I left it running.

"I'm not going to kill you, you know," I said.

"Well, after all these year I still don't know what you're about." We smiled at out joke, but I know you still, after these many more years, don't know what I'm about. I forgive you for that and for not knowing how to break me. It's your only flaw.

"Come on," I urged, and took your hand.

"Out there?" You looked scared. It was the only time I've seen that look in your eyes. Was it the water? The black sky against black waves? The rocks making those odd jagged shadows?

"Don't worry," I laughed. "I'll protect you from the fish."

The spotlight on the dock shining between the masts of the fishing boats slid back and forth across your face as the mast obscured it, then let it through. Now I see you, now I don't. Where are you? There you are. I held your hand tighter and pulled you onto the jetty, stumbling over the cracks between the stones. We moved when the light allowed us, jumping the larger cracks, performing a treacherous dance.

"Slow down!" you shouted at me, but the wind pulled it out of your mouth and your panic was all around us. Then you slipped. I felt you pull at my hand as you fell and let go to save myself. I recovered my balance and turned around. You were bleeding and your pants were ripped. I almost vomited.

"Are you ok?" I asked, after the nausea passed.

"I'm fine. Are you ok? You're as white as a ghost."

"I just don't like seeing you hurt," I said, and I meant I can't believe I let you go.

"Don't freak out. This is far enough," you said with such finality that I knew, of course, it was.

"This is far enough."