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I am ranty and upset and I really miss home.

I have always hated shopping.  Shopping is difficult for me.  Being a big girl, I’ve resigned myself to years of living in shapeless clothes.  Lots of black, no colors, no shape at all.  I have a shape, and it’s round, and should be something that is hidden under as much clothing as possible.  There was a brief time when I didn’t give a shit, and would wear sleeveless shirts with lots of cleavage.  But I have learned to be absolutely ashamed of my body, and should hide it as much as possible.

I wish that I had it in me to wear pink tights and skirts and sleeveless shirts, just because.  But I can’t.  So I find stuff that sorta fits, and have stopped caring what I wear, as long as the flab isn’t showing.  It doesn’t help that I now live in a country that’s even LESS accepting of people like me.  And even if I wanted to buy new clothes, I couldn’t find any that even “sorta” fit.  Not unless I want to spend a fortune.

So WalMart stuff is cheaply made and mostly crap, but I know I could walk into any WalMart in America and find trousers that fit me.  I could find sweaters and tshirts and workout gear that fit me.  Sure, it’s crap.  But at least it’s available.

What the high street here tells me is that “You are not allowed to feel good about yourself if you are overweight.”  I went into a store trying to find a bra my size.  The store has an entire floor full of bras, but poorly organised, and I found 30 minutes trying to hunt down the color combination for my size.  I found -3-.  3.  And they’re not the prettiest in the world.  There was a grand total of 1 sports bra in my size.  And it’s like origami to try to put it on my body.  So, you want me to work out and lose my fat? Ok, great, where do I start?

And shoes.  The whole shoe department had maybe 3 pairs of shoes that were wide fitting.  And we’re talking about 30 racks of shoes.  I don’t care how much weight I lose, I’m still going to have wide feet that are a half size that no one carries.  And I’m always going to have these calves that no normal size boots will fit.  Unless I have some sort of calf liposuction to reduce the mass of muscles there, they’re never going away.

There was one store here in town that was a “fat girl” store.  3 floors of awesomeness staffed with these amazing women that always looked stunning. It closed a few months after I got here and moved into a tiny corner of a department store where no one even looks twice at you or tries to help.  The clothes look so sad and pathetic, as if they were just kind of thrown in there, in the back of the store, to hide the fat women from the rest of their customers.

I’m pissed. I’m SO sick of being told that I need to hide.  I just wanted to find some sweaters and a few pairs of khakis for our trip to Scotland.  But no luck.  I ended up crying in the store’s cafe while my husband tried to calm me down.  I’m sick of being told how worthless I am for being my size, and that I can’t possibly be happy with my body until I’m this unreachable ideal.

I hate having to apologise for living.  I feel like I have to make an excuse for everything I put in my mouth.  I hate having to make an excuse for being alive.

I’m sick of having no voice.  I’m sick of being told that I am a worthless human being.

So I’ll go on my trip with shapeless clothes that are 2 years old and falling apart because I can’t find anything in this entire country that fits me and makes me feel beautiful.

You think I should lose weight for my health? For my Happiness?  And if I agree to do it, does that mean I have to hate myself and be depressed the entire time? What about the body I have RIGHT NOW?  It’s not ok to love it because it’s disgusting right?  I shouldn’t show my arms or my legs or any part of me, cover it and wear black until I am thin or I die from being such a fat fat fatterson. Because obviously all I do is sit on my couch and eat junk food all day, because that’s what we do, isn’t it?  People like that shouldn’t be allowed to live or have feelings right? No, I don’t have feelings, I’m too insulated to feel them, right?

I am sick of living my life waiting to be happy because I don’t think I deserve it.  And if I keep listening to what everyone tells me, I don’t.

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Now that my lovely skin situation has returned, I’m finding myself up at times when I should be sleeping because I can’t bear the pain of lying down.  And it’s perfectly fine during the daytime, but as soon as I try to fall asleep, it creeps up on me and I’m unable to think about anything else.  Maybe by focusing on these thoughts I can make my skin feel better or at least ignore it for however long this takes.  So while I may ramble, maybe it’s the best thing I can do to force this out of my brain.

I compartmentalize my life into segments based on where I was living at the time.  I can carve out chunks of my life in 4-5 year increments as that’s how often we moved when I was growing up and in my adulthood I patterned my own life on that nomadic behavior.  It’s easier to deal with those periods of my life because they feel like other lifetimes to me.  I know that they happened.  I remember them happening.  But I can just as easily pretend that they were a story I read once.  I can pretend that the things I remember aren’t real or that they were dreams or manifestations that my brain created after I started having seizures.  It’s a coping mechanism, albeit a bad one.

There are touchstones to the past that I can’t completely avoid.  There are the physical manifestations – the scars mostly, that are constant reminders of the person I’ve been.  But there are also the people – my sisters, my parents, friends that have been there across multiple lifetimes. When I can’t deal, I shut them all out.  I can’t face the me that they reflect back.  There are versions of me that I can’t stand, and those people have known me through all of that.  When I get panic attacks about the past, I can’t cope with these people. I can’t call them even though I know that some of them still want to talk to me even after all I’ve put them through.

At the core is this belief that I am a horrible person.  It’s been suggested that my Catholic upbringing had a lot to do with this.  I have spent my whole life terrified of dying and being damned eternally because of things I’ve done (or didn’t do).  I feel like I’m scared that I’ll be defined by the things I’ve done in the past.  I’m scared that I’ll spend a lifetime (or many lifetimes) trying to atone.  Terrified that one day people will “find out” who I truly am, and never talk to me again.  This is the fear that wakes me up crying in the middle of the night.  This is the terror that I feel when I have a flashback to something from my past.  It’s catching up, running alongside of me, and I can’t avoid it too much longer.

The dark terrible secret? I have always felt guilty that I’m alive.  I have felt ashamed since I was a little girl.  I’ve felt ashamed of being fat, of having epilepsy, of being shy, of not being perfect.  I justified that shame at a young age.  I made a choice that I must have done something wrong for God to make me this way.  And that He made a mistake when he saved me.  Guilt and shame are like old friends that wrap around me, and I don’t know how to shrug them off.

Attitude is something that I’ve seen discussed a lot lately.  It’s not as if I can just suddenly “get over it” or “change my way of thinking”.  There are 34 years of guilt and shame that are not going to go away by looking at a picture of a kitten hanging off a tree limb telling me to hang in there.  Having bariatric surgery – a surgery that would effectively amputate a healthy part of my body just to “make me healthier” is not going to make that go away.  And I’m so afraid of reaching out to talk to someone else because I can’t take the rejection.  I can’t take the leap of faith and trust someone else with my feelings and have them just abandon me.  So, I don’t make the phone call to go get help.  I don’t respond to efforts to reach out to me.  I’m scared that if they really got to know me, they’d leave me too.

Here’s a story for you from a few lifetimes ago.  I was best friends with someone who was an emotional vampire.  It’s easier for me to picture her as the bad guy, but the truth is far more complicated.  I was her willing victim, you see, because I always went back.  I would cut her out of my life, and finally gain my strength.  With one phone call she could get me to drop everything and go to her.  She knew my weaknesses and could always coax me back into her life because she “needed” me.  Some of my happiest memories revolve around my friendship with her, but without too many details, she is the star of one of my defining moments.

The worst summer of my life ended on Labor Day.  I’d taken heavy pain meds the night before, and woke up that morning in a stupor.  I stumbled downstairs and the house was far too quiet.  There was an empty hollowness there that I couldn’t explain.  She and the person I was dating were gone. And there was a note that I will never forget.  “I’m leaving, and I can’t say that I will miss you all that much.  You are so fake, I don’t even think you know when you’re being real.  You are a horrible person and I’m happy that we will no longer be friends. Please take care of (the person she was dating), I just couldn’t stand it anymore.”  I kept that note for years, just because they were the physical manifestation of everything I knew myself to be.

I don’t know why I’m sharing that, maybe so that I can’t edit it out of my life.  It feels like a nightmare, but the words I know are true.  And even though the note is gone, the words are still etched on my heart.  It’ll be 10 years this September, but it feels like yesterday.

I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I’m always waiting for the note from the people I love to tell me that they’ve had enough.  I’m afraid that they’ve had enough of my depression, of my crazy, of my inability to just be happy and change and be perfect.  I’m afraid of people telling me that they’re worse off because they’ve met me.  Or afraid that these people will just disappear because I’m not worth even responding to.

So that’s my secret.  Too ashamed to live.  Too afraid to die.

A foggy monday morning in London

It has been a while since I’ve been able to write, even though I have so much to say.  My emotional energy is completely depleted.  I feel like I’m walking around in a fog, and I can’t possibly see the way out.  I’m going to attempt to use an analogy to explain how I feel, but please forgive me if it’s not perfect.

In my mind, I’m trapped in a room with six sides, and on every side of the room are full length sheets of one way glass.  Most of the time, I’m not able to see out, but I am completely aware that there are people on the other side of the glass.  I know I should notify them that I know of their existence, but all I keep seeing are the images of myself, and it makes me turn away and look down because I can’t face my own reflection.  I feel so lonely, but it’s a trap of my own design.  It’s what one of my best friends calls “hermiting”.  I shut down and shut people out because I can’t even face myself, let alone anyone else.

And then there are the times that I desperately need to reach out.  There are those few bursts when I finally can’t take it, and I need to feel connection.  In those moments, I feel like the glass is the other way around.  I can see everyone interacting and having a good life, but they can’t see me through the glass.  I bang the glass and make as much noise as I can and want to say “hey, notice me!”  But why would they keep trying to interact with me when I clearly don’t know how to interact with anyone else?

I’ve probably taken that analogy a bit too far, but it’s the best my foggy brain can come up with.

I still have the notebook filled with ideas about things I want to talk about.  I’m too afraid to share all the thoughts I have, as I’ve mentioned before. I see the words reflected back at me and they aren’t perfect.  I feel that they’re rubbish and that no one wants to hear them.

So I’ve not written, and I’m suffering for it.