Firsts, Fears, Fails, & Fall

I feel kind of like I’ve been holding my breath all year. Or rather, I held my breath for most of last year and then in the moment I thought it would be time to exhale, life doubled down.

This was the a summer of mixed firsts: the first since moving to Colorado that I didn’t work at Townhouse, that really I was barely in Manitou at all. The first where I was married to my best friend Josh, but we didn’t have a home to call our own. The first that I spent without Dr. von Rockenstein in what felt like forever.

There were amazing times. For example, I attended three weddings since Memorial Day weekend and not only were they all incredibly fun, beautiful, and special, but I believe in all three couples with all of my heart. I got to see four really great people (one of whom overlapped with the weddings!) graduate after so much hard work, and I fully believe in their futures as well.

But this summer was also weird and hard and sad af, all the while both sharp and dull, depending on the day. Within it, I alternately wildly between hating every moment and hating the world (only the bad parts, but rage can confuse), wanting to feel absolutely nothing, and desperately desiring to appreciate every single moment I got to experience, each one of Mama’s Sunflowers.

So the last thing I expected to get this year was a Fall. I don’t even care for pumpkin spice so much, but Fall is my absolute favorite. It’s all the things you see in memes — sweaters, scary movies, leaves.

I could make a list of 1,000 reasons that I love Fall the most, but today it was about one morning, and then one moment. My parents are away and yesterday, I opened every single one of the windows on the main floor and in Josh’s and my temporary room down below. Our first married apartment, for better and for worse.

Normally I struggle in the mornings, in those first waking moments where if no nightmares were involved, the calm beauty of sleep fades into the harsh light of day, even before I open my eyes, and I panic.

This morning, I didn’t feel that way. The weighted anxiety blanket on top of me and the presence of my best friend peacefully sleeping next to me is normally a cocktail of cozy that is complete kryptonite to facing the day, especially in light of my everyday morning existential crisis.

Not today. I didn’t have a manic burst of “YES TODAY I AM GOING TO JUICE AND FIX MY LIFE!” Though I thought about it, and weighed out my financial produce options while taking a shower as part of my positive mental spirit for the day, albeit a quick one because yesterday the basement drain got all horror movie on us and started overflowing. Probably in preparation for Fall, so I can’t even be mad at it.

The cold air from the open windows didn’t make me want to hide under the covers today; it made me curious to see what the day had in store.

When I walked upstairs, the windows were closed, but the night air that had swept into the room remained, as Josh had stayed up a little later into the night before “shutting down the house.” Scents of apple and autumn candles lingered, but the best one of all came as I opened the door to let Crispin in, and Chip out.

Every morning since she died, I have two rituals for Doc. I kiss the spot on the couch where she used to sleep, then I say hello to her final resting spot out back. Lately we’ve been moving our things out of storage and I put all of our stones, decorative and collected throughout the years, over her gravesite.

I hadn’t been back to the spot since May, even though it’s only about 10 or so feet away. But I put down all the rocks and hoped she somehow knows that they used to share a home with her and now surround her, and I hope they can be a peaceful and joyful reminder of all of her homes where she was loved completely, every day.

Today I didn’t walk across the yard to visit, but I opened the door to let out Chip and say hi to Doc, and noticed that her spot looked unusually plush. Branches and leaves have fallen; time has marched on, but in a gentle way.  I closed the door and for the first time this year, in possibly many years, I smelled Fall. It was cold and it was fierce and it was filled with hope ❤

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My Slumbering Heart

It’s become just like a chemical stress
Tracing the lines in my face for
Something more beautiful than is there
I’ve barely been gone

~ Rilo Kiley

My most oft-recuring dream varies in detail, but is always the same at the core: I’ve been on a cruise that I don’t remember; it’s the last day, and I still haven’t been upstairs to see the sun.

You’d think I’d hustle my ass upstairs, but first I need to find my bathing suit. And pack. God, I have to pack; the whole room is an unmitigated disaster.

And meanwhile, passengers who’ve enjoyed the trip are headed upstairs with their suitcases.

It’s been so many years that I’ve dreamed this, that even within the dream, I realize “Oh, this is like my dream and I’ve toats learned.”

Except that I don’t.

I keep packing, literally and figuratively, looking for a bathing suit that I haven’t owned in 18 years so I can at least take a dip in the pool, if not the ocean. It’s that blue one with the white polka dots. It’s in here somewhere…

It isn’t, though.

My second most oft-recurring dream varies little in detail, except for the people involved. We’re always on an elevator, and I never want it to get too high. Because when it does, the bottom drops out and it’s like that ride that gets conflated with Gravitron, but isn’t. We rise and then fall and I simultaneously brace for impact and try to climb onto the walls to avoid the crash.

Sometimes, other times, I fly. I think that I hoped for juicing to get me there. That if I could just close my eyes, grit my teeth, and wait for a morning 29 days later, I could wake up as a superhero. The room from my first dream would be clean and packed and I’d be sunning or swimming, strong now. Better now.

That’s not how it works though, at least not left to my own devices and head space. Even if I went to Jason Vale’s retreat, stayed the course, and came home a changed woman? I don’t think I’d have the confidence to keep myself in the air, or my feet gliding over water, as it were.

Speaking of the Bible and retreats. My mother went on a retreat a couple of weeks ago and I don’t want to overshare her personal journey, but she said one big theme she took home from it was the reality of messiness. She’s messy, I’m messy, everyone is, inside, to at least some degree. And it’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to clean up that mess, but to insert my own stuff/keep hammering in the metaphor, I think it means that we definitely should not be missing out on entire cruises because we think cleaning up that mess is more important than the actual sun.

I don’t know how I’m going to reattempt the juicing hurdle, next. I know that I’m going to, but have spent these past couple of weeks in my cruise-ship room, trying to make it neat and my bathing-suit-clad self presentable. If I could only find one…

And it’s driven me absolutely fucking insane. It’s made me mentally and physically sick. I can’t clean up the mess. I can go to the doctor and have actually burst out of my phobia for a second to make appointments. I even have refills at Safeway to pick up! Quick shoutout on behalf of the world’s introverts to their website where you can make that happen online.

Juicing won’t untangle my brain, or “clean my room.” It won’t get rid of shit inside myself that should have been thrown in the trash long ago. The stronger I feel, the more I’ll feel like a fraud and fall into the pit of neverending self loathing.

The room.

Sorry for abruptly departing (“I HAVE ABANDONED MY BLOG!”), but I needed to. However, besides getting necessary nutrients when I was being diligent, I also broke the blogging seal, and that needed to happen.

Today is my birthday. I woke up to life itself, an amazing husband, a roof over my head, and also an incredible care package from a friend of 20 years. It came with chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, pure cocoa, and instructions.

 
How in the world did I deserve any of that? SPOILER: I don’t. But I got it anyway.

Maybe I won’t ever figure out how to be a superhero, but I’m so grateful to my loved ones for letting me be a Harley Quinn who sometimes drinks produce. Seriously though, I will get back to it, just revamped. Thanks for supporting and/or lurking — I DID promise schadenfreude!

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Juicing, Day 11: Still in a State of Fail

Soooo, obvi, I’m not doing super well with my juicing, these past few days. And I haven’t really been eating a lot, save for the mashed potatoes from a bag and assorted other nonsense.

But I will fix it. That I’m writing right now and not hiding out in a sea of shame and self loathing isn’t award-worthy, but it is a really big step.

Thank you for being here while I try to assemble my personal staircase.

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Juicing, Day 10: Messy Bessie

When I decided to blog about my juicing experience, the high of the produce and determination led me to semi-forget that I’m a mess, and how my brain and spirit fall to shit about every other week.

Everyone was REALLY nice yesterday, when I posted my vulnerable blog. That post has gotten more hits than any I’ve posted in years.

So that makes part of me want to hide, find a safe place, not deal. And I still haven’t had juice in about 36 hours.

But that’s why I committed to blogging this experience. The good, the bad, the ugly. The last couple of days have been ugly, as far as these things go. It’s all part of the process, part of the whole, part of fitting my soul back into my body somehow.

I swear that I’ll drink my apple ginger shot today. And hope that even on the days that I’m the opposite of inspiring, my words can help others know that they’re not alone in their messiness. And maybe those others can help kick my ass.

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Juicing, Day 9: My Dirty Little Secret

So yesterday, I didn’t really do anything juice-wise, except for drinking the remains of Day 8 juice that looked remarkably like terra cotta runoff from Ruxton Avenue.

Essentially, I failed. I didn’t eat, but that’s not necessarily a good thing, and so I want to briefly talk about that today.

I have an eating disorder. It manifests itself in all kinds of ways, but I’m hyper aware of the fact that nearly no one notices, because I’ve never been even close to skinny.

In the days before the juicing challenge, I went four days without eating. Anything. My poor/amazing husband called me out on it.

Yesterday, I did badly. Today’s not going swimmingly, but my head and heart are in the right places. And even just writing this today helps me know that the demons who threaten to possess me will not win. Not this time.

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Juicing, Day 8: Hot Girls in Hot Tubs

Tuesday, August 15th: Day 8

9:15 am

JVD8electrolyte

Only 15 minutes from the start time in my app, I had my first shot of the day! Natural electrolyte.

  • I feel groggy and down and think it’s partially from taking generic-brand Nyquil last night. Not that I’d be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed if it were real Nyquil, just trying to keep it real, lest you think only rich fancy pants people do juice cleanses.

 

10:55 am
Oxygen Elixir

JV D8 Oxygen Elixir

 

I’ve never had this, and I like it! Apple, beet, carrot, spinach/kale mix, celery, and lemon. I think that lemon makes everything better.

Mid-day notes:

– Just want to break out of this funk. I still feel off course and undisciplined, even though when I look at what I’m consuming and what I’m not consuming, it’s kind of huge. But I want to feel more in control and am struggling with my energy levels. Think I will take break to go to Safeway and buy an avocado.

– Ate some nuts. I wish I felt my high of last week when I felt strong and confident. I feel like I went to battle without armor this week and I’m not quite sure why. Even my cheats, black and white cookies aside, have been reasonable and with good intentions. But I guess this is part of it too — getting through the doldrums and non-exciting parts, and going through the motions.

– Now that I think about it, I thought I was being extra hippie dippie and non-efficient by going to the store every day for my produce. But it was exactly the day I didn’t that things went downhill, juice-discipline-wise. So I’m on my way to Safeway for some apples, parsnips, celery that doesn’t feel like erasers, and avocados that I will eat so my brain doesn’t go crazy from having no fat.

1:36 pm

I know I had some nuts, but after I drank the Oxygen Elixir, three hours till the next juice felt like a sad eternity. But thanks to some water (oh, right, my body needs water) and the trip to the supermarket, they flew by and now I don’t even feel particularly hungry! Perhaps in addition to the sunshine and produce section, the Oxygen Elixir is really living up to its name 😮

3:43 pm

Low energy again, hour late, drinking Mineral Medicine – subbed extra carrot for apple and zucchini for cucumber so it wouldn’t go bad.

 

I like this! Has a kick, not sure from what — the parsnip? I taste the ginger, but it’s faint compared to the other taste.

 

4:53

Made rest of the Oxygen Elixir

 

5:00

Eating avocado. Can’t finish it.

The Rest of the Hours!

 

I totally had a glass of red wine tonight, and I’m not even upset about it. I had the bittersweet opportunity of attending a goodbye party for my dear friend Alice, and there was no way I wasn’t going to say “Yes, thank you” to one of the many glasses of the many bottles offered up at the home of my friend Melissa; i.e., one of THE best hostesses ever!

Plus, wine has grapes.

Meanwhile during the night, I learned something important. In case you didn’t believe me when I said Melissa’s parties were awesome, she has a freaking HOT TUB, like right there, next to the kitchen. And three of my girlfriends were in it. Having a good time would have been all that mattered, but all three of them have been working SUPER hard on their bodies and health this year, and they all looked incredible.

I just stood there, in my fake jeans and Sunnydale Razorbacks tee. I’ve also been working hard on my body and health, but literally have not bought a bathing suit since the late ’90s/possible early aughts. And I think it’s time to change that.

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Juicing, Day 7: Trudging Along

Day Seven – Monday, August 14th

I can’t believe I’m on Day 7! I think this is the furthest I’ve made it so far. Got off to a late start, but it was a morning of positivity and I got more apples and pears, so it’s all good.

1:41 pm

Apple Ginger Shot

JVD7AppleGinger

Very tasty today! I do kind of wish there were more shots on the program than just the two.

2:48

Green Zesty Super Smoothie

JVD7GreenZestySuperSmoothie

I still don’t have fennel so I had to skip it, and I really just can’t with avocados of indeterminable ripeness, so this wasn’t really a smoothie, but it was still good!

 

The Rest of the Hours!

Since I hadn’t drunk either Diuretic One from Day 6, I didn’t make any more juice, but instead had that as my two nighttime ones. Though I was very hungry by the time I got home from work, I headed straight to the fridge and poured a juice and in that moment it almost, kind of, felt natural. I’d still rather have gone straight for a snack or a glass of wine, but now that is kind of the point of this challenge, isn’t it!

And it was nasty. Not adding the pear really made the juice quite *savory,* not in the way that I like. But I drank it anyway, and the challenge was kind of fun! Kind of. Later on, I had the other half and by that point it felt like no big deal.

There was nothing of note in the night to report. I did eat a hardboiled egg and piece of hard cheddar cheese because I still am not getting enough protein and because I didn’t get the fat from avocado in the green smoothie. I also had some dried chick peas for protein, but they were way too tasty and chip-like to be used in the future, I think.

So still some kinks to work out and I definitely need to get more avocados (maybe just two so as not to freak me out with ripeness), but in the meantime I’m absolutely thrilled to be writing about Day 7. “Just” three more weeks…Ooph.

 

 

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