I Don’t…Understand.

I’m not going to sleep much tonight so I might as well write. The world lost an amazing woman yesterday to a drug overdose. A woman I didn’t know well but knew well enough that just the mention of her name would bring a smile to my face. I knew her to be saucy, stunningly beautiful with a huge smile and deep chocolate eyes, fun to be around, full of life, and full of light.

The first hint I caught that she might be gone was earlier today when I noticed a friend’s post on her Facebook wall. It said, “You are in my heart. You were so brave. I’m so sorry. God damn that monster.” And I’m thinking, “Huh, wonder what that means.” So I keep reading. Another post says, “i love you and i’m proud of you. i miss you so much already.” “Okay,” I think, “now we’re getting somewhere. She did something brave (as mentioned in previous post), for which this friend is proud of her. Maybe she moved across the country for graduate school like she’d mentioned wanting to do.” The next post I saw said lots of words and then, “I’m sad to hear about your passing. I was blessed to have known you.”

So do you know what I did? I got onto Google and I typed in her name and was relieved to see that only the recent(ish) passing of her grandfather was coming up in my search. “If Google doesn’t know about it, it hasn’t happened. People are always doing effed up stuff on Facebook as jokes. I’m just missing a bit of information. I’ll check it out further tonight.” And then I put it out of my mind.

Wow, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt! Which part of “I’m sad to hear about your passing” did I NOT comprehend? And yet, why WOULD I comprehend that? I’m thankful that my denial superpower protected me as long as it could—it did a great job. In hindsight I realize that it even diverted me from seeing the post written by the woman’s sister stating very clearly the very thing I was not allowing myself to think could be true. Then about an hour ago I saw a close friend’s post about it and the denial could no longer hold (the post was not cryptic and it was now information from the mouth of someone I would trust with my life).

I’m not a fan of comparing suffering or struggle or demons. We all have these things and to each of us, regardless of the appearance to the outside world, our demons are all probably pretty freaking scary. The prickly that’s been up for me lately is food addiction, especially to sugar and gluten. Despite having been off them during two months on Whole30, once I started reintroducing foods and was no longer relying on the firm structure of the rules to protect me, I slid quickly down the slippery slope. I slid so far that I’d even returned (for three days) to drinking soda and eating candy.

I was at a party this past weekend eating Red Vines like they might be the last to exist on Earth. I was surrounded by friends, bingeing in plain sight, and I was thinking, “Wow, if my addiction were to drugs and I were relapsing right now in front of all of them, they would have something to say about it. There would be an intervention.” But I was eating RED VINES. Totally fine, totally acceptable. Only not fine.

I had become so clean during the Whole30 that one week of intensely inappropriate consumption of sugar and gluten made me lose life force. It made me sad. It re-inflated the tube around my midsection. My posture slumped. I felt like a failure. I started wearing my biggest clothes again. I wanted to be invisible. The skin on my face broke out. My urine smelled sickly sweet. My mind could think of nothing but sugar. And I felt momentarily hopeless.

I’m thankful my addiction is to food. Relapsing won’t kill me instantly. An accidental overdose will only leave me with a food and shame hangover. I will have many more chances to make healthier choices. I might need to keep learning the same lesson over and over before it really sticks—BUT I WILL HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY. And for that I am grateful.

And for the bright light that my beautiful friend shined every time I saw her, I will continue to be grateful. Shine on, my friend. You are dearly missed.

Advertisements

Who Needs Intuition? I’ve Got Hallucination!

There are a fair number of you loyal readers (thank you, thank you!) who might not know about how I first realized I was gay. The full story is published in a book called Secret Sisters: Stories of Being Lesbian and Bisexual in a College Sorority, edited by Shane L. Windmeyer and Pamela W. Freeman. Perhaps I’ll post it here some time.

For the purposes of this post, however, I’ll simply set the scene by saying it was the end of my sophomore year of college, the night before my last final, and I hadn’t slept more than a few hours in three or four days because of cramming for finals. I had made the choice to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep over reading the book I would be tested on the next day (a gamble that I lost, by the way.) As life would have it, I was too tired to sleep. Or was I just tired enough to have THE REALIZATION? Either way…not many of my gay brethren can probably say they realized they were gay because they saw written on the ceiling in green neon:

YOU ARE GAY

True story. That’s really how it happened.

I like to imagine a whole host of unseen entities trying to figure out how to get me to finally realize what I’d known all my life. (‘Cause you know our lives are just reality television for entities, right?) They try all these different things until one of them puts all the pieces together: “She’s a compulsive reader and has an active imagination! Let’s just etch-a-sketch it on the ceiling and not let her sleep until she sees it!”

Needless to say, it worked.

So now fast forward almost 20 years to, well, a couple weeks ago. I was sitting on my couch, like I do, and Sofie, my little dog, was sitting on my lap. Something inspired me to lift her lip and look at her teeth (likely the result of a friend observing a few days prior that her breath was funky). What I saw was looney tunes: One of her teeth was so loose I could see it moving as she opened and closed her mouth (in an effort to bite my hand)!

I called the vet the first thing the next morning and got her an appointment. I looked at her teeth again that evening just to be sure. “Yep, that bad boy is LOOSE!” So want to guess what happened when I went to the vet? Yes. I made a total ass of myself. I was telling the tech, AS HE WAS LOOKING AT HER TEETH, that the loose one indicated to me that she really needed a dental. “Do you see the one I mean? It’s super obvious.” The cute 20-year-old kid was super sweet and nodded his head and said, “Yeah, maybe…” That tipped me off. If he’d seen what I’d seen, there would be no maybe about it! So I pulled up her lip where I’d seen the loose tooth and lo and behold, IT WAS GONE!! In its place was a tiny tooth, totally intact.

Right about now is when the veterinarian walked in. This is a new vet to me because I had to take my precious baby to the low-cost clinic (which was not a great experience and I’ll never do it again—it was like the time I tried to sell my plasma and was treated like a drug addict). He walked in with an obvious lack of bedside manner and he was very abrupt and rushed. I was in the middle of my “OMG, I’m losing my effing mind” moment, and he just looked at me like I was the biggest idiot he’d ever met. I explained my confusion while busily picking my jaw up off the floor and his response was to assure me that there’s no way she’d just lost a tooth because it would take a couple weeks to heal and he’d see the indications. So I walked outta’ there with my dog in my arms, my tail tucked, and my universe spinning around me. “So this is what it feels like to lose my mind…”

Today all the pieces aligned enough to reveal the method behind the madness. The Sofie debacle had prompted me to look at my cat’s teeth, which I could see were in dire need of help. So today I took both Sofie and Chester for dentals (Chester got to go to the upscale vet). Sofie ended up having three teeth extracted. Chester had to have one molar extracted and another root dug out where the tooth had broken off and left it exposed (which must have felt awesome for him). Clearly, this had been an urgent situation* that required my attention (as had my sexuality at the age of 20 been an urgent situation!).

So…next time I hallucinate and think I’m going crazy, please be my memory and remind me of this post. Please remind me that my hallucinations are a latent superpower.

What are your superpowers?

*Incidentally, so as not to seem a neglectful animal momma, they both checked out fine in their exams last year…