Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sometimes You Just Want a Hamburger.

The days when I am really sick of myself, I just want a hamburger.  This is how I can tell exactly how sick of myself I am- by how badly I want to sit down and eat a hamburger. Preferably one with sautéed mushrooms and onions, cheese, and maybe even some bacon.

Today I want a burger and fries.

The thing is, no matter how great I seem.  Scratch that.  No matter how great I am, no matter how great I actually feel,  I'm never really as great as that.  I never feel comfortable, so to speak.  And to be honest, I don't think that's a bad thing.  Comfortable is unfamiliar to me, and dangerous.  It's a state of stillness that I cannot afford nor will I ever.  Comfortable is confusing.  I think it's okay to be uncomfortable and I think it's important to be challenged.

It's been a while since I was really sick (not of myself, just sick in general).  It's been a while since I starved myself for real.  It's been a while since I actively did terrible things to myself because of a deeply entrenched battle between revulsion and control.  Now I don't think I'm in danger of going down that road again.  Not that I'm an expert or a psychiatrist, therapist, psychologist, etc.  But I am an anorexic.  And I know myself pretty well. So I guess I am an expert on something...ish.

But it's been on my mind lately- this combination of greatness and not greatness, of being uncomfortable, of being sick, of being sick of myself.  It's a combination that is on my mind now.  Because I have so much guilt over it.  And it's the guilt that drives it forward over and over again.  You know, because it's not like it's not constantly in my head.  It is.  Just sometimes I keep it back, and sometimes it creeps forward. And it's the guilt that drives it.

Why is it that I, with this life that I lead, can't just be grateful, gracious and comfortable?

I know the answer.  Because I have this disease, and my brain is addled and nothing works right.  But it's still hard to handle that.

And today all I really want is a hamburger- because it's normal, because it's something I would eat before I was sick, because it's something I'd like to eat again (and enjoy).  And because someday I won't be guilty enough not to.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Silent Shakedown.

At some point, as a woman not prone to histrionics, you learn how to shut it down.  You learn how to scream on the inside.*  It's a good thing and a bad thing: useful because you're screaming, useless because it's on the inside.

At some point, you learn the value of not wailing but weeping.

You learn how to paste on a smile, be nice to strangers, kind to others, and laugh with everyone else.  You learn to live on cue.

There are days when I feel like I am beating against a wall that will never come down.  I am trying to heal a mortal wound, and I'm too stubborn to give up.  And I'm frequently doing this in the confines of my own head.  My own heart.  My own reflection.

At some point you learn that madness is not anger but agitation; that from some dark and distressed corner of your being a beacon locates something sad and raging but silent.  

There is a part of me that wishes this were easier.  I wish I could wake up every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to face the day.  I wish I could carry the first happy instant of sun (or cloudy rain) through the rest of the day as I face it.  And then there is that part of me that recognizes the need to wade through the less-than-easy.  We all need to feel the down, the dirty, the blues of it all in order to really get a feel for these lives we lead.

'Cause they ain't easy, that's for sure.



*I myself am pretty bad at hiding things, so my insidedness erupts in pouting and frowning: a slithering, obvious, excruciating silence.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sea Change.

When you're young, at least when I was young, familiar wisdom seemed trite.  Silly.  Antiquated in it's consistency.

'Everything changes' was the worst.  Of course everything changes.  Of course it does.  It always does.  Need we be reminded of that?  And here I am, how many years later, marveling at the fact that everything changes.

Yes, it is true- everything changes.

A decade ago I was getting ready to go to graduate school for colonial North American history.  Now, much to my chagrin, I'm back in school and this time for Environmental Sciences (with all the maths a non-maths gal like me could possibly hope for).  Sarcasm has not changed.

But I have.  Gone is the ferociously independent wild child that I was for just about 3 decades.  Gone is the girl who lived deliberately (and, unchanged, dislikes Walden with something close to religious zealotry) and decisively.  Gone is the mouth, gone is the arched eye-brow, gone is the flippancy, intellect, and sometimes I think the writing chutzpah (ego might be a change, too).  Boy how I have changed.

And here I sit, having just finished up a mind-numbing redux of the Laws of Sines and Cosines, thinking about change.  About my change and the changing world around me.  You see, the other day, my husband asked me if I was feeling a little too 'Groundhog Day' (think the movie, not the actual event) about life.  And to be honest, I thought I was.  I thought there was something humdrum about the in and out of what I do day to day.  And I thought that that was the reason... the reason that I was fading, changing.  Maybe I'm changing myself to suit this everyday.

But then I looked around and realized how very much has changed.  It's impossible that I'm ground-hogging it because things are changing all over the place.  They are admittedly often infinitesimally small changes, but things, they are a-changing.

Which means I have no excuse.

So there's that.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Covered Ground.

In these past few weeks, I have had an immense amount of trouble writing.  Not for lack of material, not for lack of need or desire, but for lack of... well, for lack of hope.  And inspiration.  I have had trouble writing because everything I write, or begin to write, ends up something like this:
I am 32 years old and this is the first time, in my life, that the dread had outweighed the hope. 
The first time that the Future* has seemed at the very least bleak, at the worst, spiraling into dystopian and post-apocalyptic.  Yeah, I said it. 
*By Future I mean the big one, the big, complicated, messy, confused hazy future that EVERYONE faces.
Seriously.  I have at least a dozen posts rumbling around, barely written, desperate to escape, who are never getting out because they look like that.  Because that post, like the others, would only get worse, more honest, and more abrasive from there.

I hate and fear that I am becoming one-sided and mean.  And hopeless.

Trying to combat that, I have looked around me for good(ness).  I have avoided staying on the Facebook feed for long periods of time.  I won't watch the news... well I watched the press conference last night and almost launched plates at the tele... so I'm back to not watching the news.

I have embraced the ebb and flow of personal interest in a bid to remember passionate obsession and that aforementioned good(ness) and in doing so have once again returned to my first Great Love: Poetry...

And it turns out that the poetry that really gets me going is not so much hopeful and full of good(ness) as it is.. ermm.. potent, resonant, dark, probing.  It's abrasive and frank.  This should not come as a surprise.  My favorite poet (a well known and discussed fact) is TS Eliot.  There is a reason he is a Lion amongst Lambs: his genius is as personal as it is biting.  I covet talent like his.  But rereading his work for the (what feels like) millionth time, I am struck by the notion that I am dark, really dark.  That I might be as lacking in hope and good(ness) as these times which unsettle me.

For example... in case you've never bothered before...



There are so many lines.  So much text to wade through.  And yet it captivates me endlessly.  I've prattled on about this so many times that I don't think I need to add more.

Then there's Donne... whose lines echo in my mind relentlessly:

I mean.. this isn't exactly popcorn reading.  I've got to sit back every now and then wonder what is wrong with me??  What is it that drives me into my melancholic mind, into a fragile refuge?  And finally it drives this question that's been bothering me for the past few weeks.  Why can't I see daisies and rainbows rather than absence, darkness,.. well you get it. 

Poor press conferences notwithstanding... it's confounding.   

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monuments, Revisited.

A dozen years ago, as a young, interested, wide-eyed student, I moved to Paris for a term.  I lived there the same way I would live as a student anywhere- with my head in the books.  Oh sure, I took the trips, I visited museums and family, I ate and drank with my friends and got into all manner of trouble.  But I was, essentially, a student.

This past weekend I made it back to Paris for the first time (layovers at Charles de Gaulle notwithstanding) and it was like being there for the first time, again. 











Thursday, January 19, 2017

F*ing Grizzlies.

I am not a suicidal person.  One could make the argument that the eating disordered are, by nature, passively suicidal.  I would beg to differ- I starve myself for many reasons, death is not one of them.  But I digress.

I am not a suicidal person.  I don't have suicidal tendencies, I don't harbor death wishes.  I don't fear death, but I'm not actively seeking it out by my own hand.

That being said, there are some times (lately more times than not) that I don't want to live in this world.  There are times that I don't want to live in this world that we've so overwhelmed and so distressed and so degraded.  I don't want to live in this world that we are merrily destroying.

I'm no Pollyanna, folks, that much is obvious.  I'm not a sunny-side, always on the sunny side, keep on the right-side, etc., kind of gal.  Nope, I'm an eyes-open, brain churning (sometimes stomach churning) inquisitive, questioning, scathing kind of gal.*  I doubt a lot.  I read a lot more.  So it's nearly impossible for me to ignore the articles that I come across which state that the educational gene is failing in human beings; that bees have been put on the endangered species list; that primates are increasingly endangered.**  (It's impossible for me to ignore the man coming into the United States Presidency under a banner of hate, discrimination, and ignorance.)

It pains me.

There are days that I wake up and don't want to be a person who is living in/on and hurting this beautiful, miraculous planet.  I'm being serious here.  Look up the f*ing statistics about the distance from the sun, the atmosphere, the development of provocative, interesting, intelligent beings.   Look up evolution the way it happened.  The timeline.  The fact that humans have been on this planet for less than a split second in the grand scheme of things.  We are the miracle- or rather, we are privileged to have been born from the primordial past of this miraculous planet.  Some people believe in God-the Almighty, Yahweh, Allah, etc.  And that's cool.  But I believe in the Earth.  I believe in the planet that sustains and nurtures us.  And it terrifies me, shames me, that we have so irresponsibly beat her down.

That we have sown the seeds of our own demise so recklessly and with such abandon.  Because we are not the Number One here... she is.  And we've ripped this world apart like... like nothing short of a Hollywood analogy could describe.

It kills me.

Tonight I'm tired.  And I'm bummed.

And tomorrow it's no doubt going to be worse.




*Don't get me wrong.  I like my life.  I have a good life.  I count myself among the lucky few who love deeply, are greatly loved.... and who have dogs lol.  But seriously.  I am going to school, I am living abroad, I am adventuring as much as I can.  I like my life.

**The Iceland study/Education gene... welllllll..... I mean... I do have to pose the question- how many times have you (or I) been told that you are the kind of person who should have kids?  I have a queer feeling that there is an alarming number of incredible intellectual folks out there who are not having kids (see the article) because of.. whatever reason they are not having kids.  And those are the people who need to have progeny.  Those are the people who could stand to raise a kid.

Fo. Sho.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Roots.

If I've stated it once, I've stated it a hundred thousand times: I don't like the New Year's Celebration.  I don't like New Years Eve, I think it's a silly, arbitrary holiday with silly, arbitrary traditions (see Dick Clark, ball dropping, etc).  I don't like the idea of setting oneself up for failure with unrealistic (and silly and arbitrary) resolutions.

I have posted on the New Year, and New Years Resolutions before.. I've written about love and survival in these posts.  But this year is different for me.  This year I've spent time thinking about where I am, who I am, and most importantly how I came to be both where and who I am. 

And what I realized, after some time, is that I've strayed away from my roots.  Or rather, that I wanted to get back in touch with my roots - those things that make me me, those things that I have maybe lost touch with over the past couple of years.  So I set about discovering (rediscovering?), determining, identifying, and finally gathering close those aforementioned things.  

In the process of doing so, I slowly began to understand that this was/is supposed to be the year of reclamation.  I came to the understanding that what I have let slip away from me are the fundamentals- the core beliefs and meanings- of who I am.  And in order to get that back, it means boldly embracing everything I have loved over time:

Nature. 

Nature in all of it's Norwegian (read slightly sadistic) glory.

The wind.  The sea.  The sky.  The Earth. 

The music at which I now cringe...

(the grammatical errors which would have seen me end the previous with a dangling participle)

My belief in childlike adoration of wonder. 

Wonder. 

Everything that can be good, graceful, and real

Honesty. 

Provocation. 

Blunt. Ness. 

Dedication. 

The written word.  

The written word. On this last point a quick note.  Over this past year I have not given as much of myself or my time to what I consider the most important expression.  I could laugh it off and/or blame my new pursuit of a BS in Environmental Science (it's a time suck to which I have dedicated myself with a begrudging zeal).  To honor honesty, however, I've been stuck.  My words have been stuck somewhere outside of me.  Without access to them, I've been staring.  I stared at blank pages.  I stared at myself, I stared at my fingers, sitting still on a keyboard.  I stared at the blinking cursor, taunting me to reach.  

To reach. 

I have sat back on my writing this year- sat back on this blog.  There's been a lot going on in my life but there's also been an unexpected fear of judgment creeping into my mind, my thoughts, my fingers.  And, uncharacteristically, I let that fear still me.  

And for that I am sorry.  I am sorry to the words I cheated, the words I left, the words I hid.  I'm sorry to those I left behind.  

But this year, I put my root down.  I go back and touch base, embrace it all.  I kick it root down.  

A Spreading Stain.

That moment when something fluid and dark hits something light.  It begins to spread, and consume.  The inky creep of dark things against light. The middle is still thick, viscous, glistening.  But the edges are creeping- they are spreading out from the center, like little liquid soldiers on their little liquid missions. 

That is the progression of a bad mood- but not just any bad mood, the kind of bad mood that infects everything, and everyone around you.  It's the creep of toxic foul thoughts that begins in your (hopefully) irrational brain, overwhelms your rational brain, and then leeches into your entire being.  It is the spreading stain.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ruminations on Generations

It's distressing to go back to being an adult* after you've been your parent's kid, again, for a few weeks.

I am pretty unabashed when it comes to my good relationship with my mom and dad.  They've put up with a lot from me and I've gotten a lot from them in terms of emotional, physical, and (yes) financial support.  A college friend of mine once told me that I was literally the most emotionally spoiled kid she had ever met- largely because my parents usually picked up the phone when I called.  Or emailed me back pretty quickly.  Or came to visit me relatively frequently.  You know... things that to me seem normal, things that to others seem... unusual.

But I digress.  My parents and two of three of my husbands parents just came to Norway for Christmas (mine stayed through New Years but you get the idea).  I got fifteen days with my mom and dad.  Fifteen days to be a kid again, to try and not make decisions, to reap the benefit of mom agreeing that I really do need that pink sequined skirt and absolutely taking my side in everything.  Fifteen days of biological partners in crime.

And dropping them off at the Passport Control Gate in Oslo Airport today was tough.  I tried my best to be a big kid and honestly did better than I thought I would.  I waited until after they were out of sight to start crying.  Because here's the thing- it really only takes a few days (and I had many more than that) to remember that you're always going to be somebody's little girl.  (Here I go fighting tears... again).  It takes just a minute to recall how nice it is to be part of a multi-generational family unit- especially one that spoils you with care and concern.  And it takes absolutely no effort whatsoever to bask in that knowledge.

Which is to say it's a bit of a bummer when the party's over.  It's easy to put it out of your head when you have to.  It's easy to not think about adoring your parents when you have to be present here, without them.  When you have to be a mom (to a dog, CALM DOWN), a student, a wife, a writer, a park ranger, a wanderer, a whatever-it-is-that-you-do.  They are always in the back of my mind and a constant present in my heart and my life... and when they are right next to me, playing cards or making chili or drinking far too much, it's like we've never really been apart.

So it's not an easy thing to let that go at the end of a holiday;  to live an ocean and a couple of continents away from many of the people you love most in the world.  It's an adventure for sure, and a whirlwind, and I would not give up the life that I'm still carving away.... still it's not an easy thing.

But it's nice to see my parents.  Especially at Christmas, and especially to bring 'home' a New Year.

And until next time, I've got my own plane to catch.

*Insofar, that is, that I have the cabability of acting like, or being, an adult.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Restless Train Syndrome

Despite the fact that I am a self-proclaimed traveler (indeed, I'm writing this while logged into the internet on a train- look at me, all fancy and tech-savvy.  I even packed lunch for the family AND remembered to charge and bring my tiny tablet computer rather than my trusty, overly large MacBook), I am terrible at it.  I mean, truly terrible.  I am horrifying to travel with and even worse to cater to.  I'm pretty sure I'm on some sort of Irksome-Traveler Hit List held secret by flight attendants the world over.

I'm antsy, fretful, panicked and annoying.  I get up to walk around on planes, trains, and boats as much as I can (so far on this 8 hour train journey I'm taking today, Fitbit tells me I've logged just about 2,000 steps).  I bounce my legs in cars and incessantly ask for pit stops.  I try to read to calm myself but then drink water while I'm reading and then have to ask for even more pit stops.  I literally drive everyone around me absolutely nuts.

You may ask my husband about that.  Or my father.

I'm also painfully terrified of planes crashing.  Yes, I know the statistics.  No, I don't care about them.  You are still sitting in what amounts to a very large, winged tin can that has been launched 35,000 feet into the air.  Call me crazy, but when things shake and rattle up there, I begin to do the same.  Whenever I fly I mutter the following prayer:

'Whoever's out there, if you're listening... look if we go down, please let me kick it before the sharks get to me.'

... Even when I'm not flying over any bodies of water (or bodies large or saline enough for sharks).  Because I do.  And because by now it's ritual.  Like coaches before big games- only I just want to get through the moment unscathed and still relatively well-intact.

You see what I'm saying?  I'm terrible.  I have even been guilty of the white knuckle grip upon landing, takeoff, and turbulence.  And of gasping.  And possibly, once or twice, of tears.  And then as soon as it's safe, I'm up again, bouncing around like a children's toy.  If I have a short layover or a long flight delay I crumble into a frenic state most clearly identified by my checking my watch every thirty seconds or so... as if my desperate need for smooth sailing could somehow will the plane to take off or the runway to magically clear or the people walking at a snails pace in front of me to spontaneously disappear.

I also make very loud huffing noises when none of those things happen.

And until next time, I'm off to the bar car.