Tag Archives: epiphany

Drawing the Line (or Thinking of Me)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
From unsplash.com/salt

I drew an imaginary line sometime last fall.

Or was it just before that?

No matter.  I drew it, even if it was in my head, and still is.

I drew the line and told myself that on the other side is what my partner Denise wants, BUT must want MORE than me.

Last summer Denise said she wanted bariatric surgery and was going to follow through.  It was her idea.

She wanted to lose all her excess weight and feel better.

She also said she wanted to be more attractive to me.

Looks and weight aren’t what turns me off about her.  It’s attitude and how she treats me and other people.

But back to the line and bariatric surgery.

We attended a seminar put on by the surgeons.  I learned some new things this time, such as diabetes being reversed after many of the successful surgeries and that they absolutely will not operate on a current smoker as the risks are way too high.

The patient must also lose a certain percentage of weight prior to surgery, which requires a pre-surgery diet.  This helps shrink a fatty liver, otherwise they may not be able to do the surgery.

Denise indicated, in her own words, that dieting and losing weight before the surgery is stupid because if she could lose weight on her own she would not need the surgery.

True IF she follows the diet for the rest of her life, but I think she missed the point they were making.

I knew from our first bariatric surgery seminar well over a decade ago that she would have issues with the requirements, mainly the foods she couldn’t eat after the surgery.

She loves her carbs and sugar.

But we still followed the preliminary steps for the surgery.  Meeting with the doctor’s office, dietitian, and the psychiatrist.

I was usually the one setting up the appointments, getting the insurance information, doing dietary research, keeping track of the paperwork, and taking time off so I can be at all the appointments.

The process ended after the second meeting with the psychiatrist, after being told some depression issues that they feel could hinder her success after surgery.  She would have to go to counseling for a while, and she didn’t and still doesn’t want to reopen childhood wounds.

Understandable, but she is also physically miserable.  She is over 300 lbs, has chronic pain, has a very hard time walking, has diabetes and severe stomach pain.

She says she doesn’t want to be fat anymore.

She is also a smoker, still, and most of her diet consists of carbs, with a good percentage of that being sugar.

If she wants to lose weight, or at the very least feel healthier, SHE has to do the work.

And she has to MOTIVATE HERSELF to do the work.

Nagging only pisses her off.

Besides, motivation and doing something just to stop the incessant nagging are NOT the same thing.

After all, I do things I DON’T WANT TO DO (and don’t think I should do) just to stop the incessant nagging.

 

I could have followed my normal pattern.  Denise wants something, and I make it happen.

However, I can’t make her bariatric surgery a success.

Denise has to make it a success.

 

 

She must want this surgery more than I do.

I can’t do that for her.

I can’t follow my normal pattern where I work my ass off to get Denise what she wants.

I realized that, and I drew the line.

Regardless of if Denise has the surgery or not, she is the one that has to decide that she is going to be healthier.

She has to determine how she is going to stop smoking.

She has to determine if she is going to cut down on sweets and start eating healthier.

She has to determine how she is going to handle her depression and feel better about herself.

I can’t do that for her.

She decides her destiny by what she chooses to do.  She has to choose the healthy actions in order to be healthier.

I can’t do that for her.

I can only do that for me.

I have taken online courses, read numerous blogs and articles about healthy eating and living.

I am cutting out sweets and a lot of sugar.  I am making things from scratch and using fresher ingredients for both what I eat and what I use on my body.   I am opting to eat as few processed foods as possible.

Denise is seeing that I am not eating the same things she is.  She knows I am buying better food for myself.

However, she refuses to eat what she considers “crap”, which means she will usually only eat the tried and true meals I cook that we know she likes.

Most of the time, that means unhealthy, carb and processed filled meals.  Papaya salad is one of the healthy exceptions, though.

In the meantime, even after only a few weeks of eating differently, I feel better.  Even without giving up my daily alcoholic beverage.

And if our unreliable scale on our unlevel floors is correct, I’m losing weight.

I’ve gained almost 40 lbs since we’ve been together.

That’s without ever having kids.

While I don’t think fat is necessarily bad–I don’t like having big boobs and a big stomach, so I’d like to lose those at least.

Mostly, though, I want to lose the fatigue and feel better.

While I’m pretty active because I have over 30 animals to care for (including barnyard animals), I still need to be more active.

I don’t make the recommended 10K steps per day, so I can do some more walking.

And so can my dog.

So for now, I am getting ME healthier.

And maybe Denise will follow suit.

After all, if she decides she is going to take action without the nagging , then it means she wants herself to be healthier more than I want her to be healthy.

And that’s the only way she is going to get healthier.

Fighting Myself or Why I Can’t Write

origin_2965585644“We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it.
Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”  from “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

I haven’t written much in the past 20 years, and I have been claiming that time is the fall guy.  Sure I’m busy, and having an extremely demanding, and disabled, partner that I care for does not help–not to mention caring for an average of 30+ animals for over a decade while holding down a full time job (with mandatory overtime) and running an animals rescue along with the normal daily duties of a household on a 2 acre hobby farm.  That alone is exhausting.

But I want to write.  I love to write.  Even if a post is very difficult for me takes weeks to complete, like this one.  During the past 20 years writing has only been periodic.  This past January I decided it was time to be a real blogger and blogged most days on at least one of my blogs and then stopped–I got busy and now I’m back to occasional posting.  In April, I participated in CampNaNoWriMo–goal was 10K words of a new novel, I got 2K.  Again, I was “too busy” to write daily.  However, last month I did truly have other much more pressing needs on my time, so I’m still patting myself on the back for getting 2K words of fiction written withing just a number of hours.  After all, I haven’t actually forayed into creating writing for almost 2 decades when I tried poetry and a short story or two.  But in the past, I get on a writing spurt and then stop writing for months or even years.

I do know now that there’s a lot more to it than time.  I hear from other bloggers, self help gurus, and many others that if something really is important to you, then you make the time.  If you aren’t doing something, there’s more reasons than just not having the time.

I’m finally admitting to myself that old cliche is true.

I procrastinate.  I am lazy but also exhausted.  I don’t have the confidence to share with my partner, so I write without telling her what I’m doing.  And I worry about money, constantly.  I have a million things on my mind, along with a million things to do, and am surrounded by negativity.

Mostly, though, I’ve been fighting who I am.  Trying to change myself (or at least give the appearance) to please my partner, or at least to avoid starting fights with her.

When I met my partner almost 20 years ago, I was just starting my journey to be me, show my true self to the outside world.  I was a shy person and wanted to please others, even if I didn’t believe it what they believed.  I hated that.  I hated that I was pretending  I was breaking away from the LDS Church as well, a church I joined with my mom mainly because she joined and most everyone around us was Mormon after my family moved to Utah.  It wasn’t because I believed in religion, but I felt guilty if I didn’t try and believe.  Others said it was true and that you were a “good” person if you had a religion, so I thought it was necessary if you really were a good person.  However, I strongly disagreed with the prejudices of both the people and the religion.  I have a progressive and liberal mind while still holding to the belief of self sufficiency.  Religion was a back and forth struggle for me that I had just broken from when I met her.

Denise seemed to be willing to let me be myself, and even though conversations proved otherwise, I naively thought that lesbians, especially non-white lesbians, would open minded.  My eyes opened after I moved in with her.  She was quick to anger if things weren’t her way.  And with all her talk about discrimination and prejudice, she hated specific groups of people–even with her ethnic diverse background.  I was, and still am, more opened minded than her.  I started trying to do things her way, doing most things she told me to do, and staying silent if she said something I couldn’t verbally agree with.  And she loved to spend money that she did not have, and then be angry that we were poor.

As a result, I learned to revert back to keeping my thoughts and ideas to myself.  I reverted back to pretending or keeping my mouth shut.  Only, I was no longer pretending so I’d be looked at as a good person.  I pretended so I wouldn’t be starting fights with my partner.  I pretended so that I could keep the peace.  If I couldn’t pretend to be with her on a topic, I kept my mouth shut.  I’m working to rectify that, but it’s hard when you have to do it while walking on eggshells.  This made me a bad person, particularly because I had also done some very bad things financially in the past so she can have what she wanted.

As a result, I feel guilty about it all.

For so long I have wanted to express myself, but I feel guilt.  Guilt because I am not living my beliefs, and guilt that I would be writing against my partner.  I used to journal and write letters about my opinions and what I believed in, but now I feel like a fraud if I do that.  How can I write about something when I’m pretending to do or believe the opposite?  How can I write about self sufficiency when we foolishly spend all our money and our house makes us look like aspiring hoarders?  How can I write about responsibility when we constantly bring in more animals in our household than we can realistically support and, again, spend money foolishly?  How can I write about how being positive and lifting others up enriches our lives when I constantly hear is hateful speech and how everyone else is stupid?

I feel inadequate.

Besides my partner, whether inadvertently or not, making me feel like I can’t do anything right, I also feel inadequate because I didn’t have a hard life.  Sure, my family is dysfunctional and my parents were (and are) selfish people and insufficient at parenting, but I was still safe at home.  I didn’t have a traumatic childhood and my early adult life was pretty uneventful.  Typical suburban white upbringing.  The characters in the stories I think up, my heros, though, have overcome troubled and traumatic lives.  They have lived in and traveled to cities I’ve never been.  Can I really write stories about things I haven’t experienced?  Going back to guilt, do I have the right to create characters that are taking others’ painful expderiences and hardships and not my own?

I am overwhelmed

With everything that’s always going on, and having to deal with the the scenarios I’ve written about here–I’m overwhelmed.  I’ve been overwhelmed since I moved in with my partner and there’s no sign of any responsibilities lifting.  While money troubles may partially lift from time to time, we are usually in severe financial trouble.  Our house and yard is also a mess, a constant reminder that I am not keeping up with my “duties.”  Our house, garage, and barn is full of “stuff”, mostly stuff my partner has wanted and I’m supposed to take care of.  I cannot look anywhere without a reminder of bills we can’t pay or something I’m supposed to do but haven’t.

I’m out of touch

I stopped reading and growing.  I was only learning about animal rescue related stuff or how to grow/market a non profit.  I gave up keeping up on issues I cared about because my partner and our animal rescue consume all my time.  No more reading feminist works, LGBT issues, or keeping up on alternative politics and religions, or even just enjoying a new book or mind bending movie that I was interested in.  I also gave up on vegetarianism because it just became too difficult with my partner being a meat eater and a very picky eater at that.

Taking baby steps.

So, 2015 arrived, I had enough of life as it is.  Giving my life up for what?  Nothing?  I had potential for many things before I met my partner, and I know I could have also made a financially secure life while pursuing my dreams had I stayed alone.  But since that isn’t my life, then I just needed to live for the life I wanted.

I don’t know yet if I am going to stay where I’m at or not.  Despite being disabled, my partner has a lot of abilities and can probably manage on her own, but allows herself to use the word “can’t” far too much.  I can’t change that.  She’s used that since I first moved in with her, before she even became disabled.  However, I am not allowed to use the word “can’t.”  That has made me stronger and able to do more things, but I’m now at an impasse.  No matter what I keep trying to convince myself, I keep coming to the conclusion that life will stay as it is if I chose to stay with my partner.  Despite the fact that she says she wants to be a different person and that she follows Buddha, etc, she has not shown any real willingness to change enough to give me a break, to not be constantly demanding of me and let me be me.

So for now, I just write when I can and wonder what I’m going to do from here and how I’m going to get out without feeling guilty for deserting a disabled partner and the animals.  Been wanting my own tiny house on wheels, so maybe I’ll do that and still live on my property.  That probably won’t been seen as acceptable, but it would be a new start for me.  I hope.

What I Learned from my (former) Mormon life

origin_6416013415I currently do not practice any religion or spiritual practice, although I do have an interest in some non-Christian religions.  I was not born into any religion and did not go to any church on a regular basis until my family moved to Utah when I was 10.  My dad never believed in religion and my mom was a follower, and I followed my mom into religion.  We both had guilt complexes and somehow been let to believe you were bad if you weren’t part of a religion, so we joined the Mormon church because everyone else was Mormon.

Eventually, I “grew out” of my beliefs, but I didn’t become bitter toward them as many do.  I’m not a Mormon hater, but I have current and former friends that are.  They either have Mormon spouses or they live/have lived in Utah.  With that said, I do hate the intolerant views many Mormon’s have of “non-members” and treat the Mormon church as an exclusive club where anyone that’s not a part is not a worthy member of society.  However, that’s a human flaw that many humans have with their personal beliefs, no matter what that belief is.  Christian or not, religious or not, democrat or republican or not, liberal or conservative, etc.  While the Mormon church does teach that it’s the one and only “true” church and only they are right, they still teach that they should “love one another”, just as Jesus did.  Just a good amount of church goers just see the fact that they are following the one true religion and want everything in their world to conform to that one true religion, which has made the Utah political climate what it is.  But that is (maybe) a story for another time.

With digressions aside, there are some solid truths and values that I still hold to today;  universal values that I personally believe make people better, happier, and make the world a better place if they are followed.  These are:

1.  Be responsible for yourself.  Do what you can on your own.  Ask for help when you need it, but if you ALWAYS need help with the same things, maybe you need to rethink what you are doing.  Pay your bills.  If you can’t, ask for help, but if you can’t make it without constant financial help, then rethink what you are spending your money on.  If it’s too much debt, reduce that debt.  Get rid of what you don’t need.  Don’t blame others for ALL your problems, and only blame them if you have no control.  But still determine what you can do to solve your problems, regardless of fault or blame.

2.  Be prepared.  Keep a food supply and other necessities “just in case”.  Also keep a healthy savings account for unexpected job loss, expenses, etc.  Don’t constantly live in excess and constantly whine about always living on the edge and that you can lose everything at the drop of a hat.

3.  Do unto others as you want them to do unto you.  If you don’t want people to think you are pathetic, stupid, or are bad, don’t treat everyone else like they are losers if they don’t do everything you think they should be doing.  If you want them to respect you, respect them.  If you want them to treat you kindly, treat them kindly.  This includes in private.  Don’t bad mouth others behind their back if you don’t want the same. If you want people to appreciate you, then truly appreciate them.  No guarantee that you will be treated as you want, BUT at least you know that you are being fair and unprejudiced.  And after all, you can only control yourself, and filling yourself with hate/dislike/disgust for those that are not like you ends up poisoning YOU.  And when that happens, does it actually matter what type of people “they” are if you, yourself is poisoned?

4.  Help others, after you have taken care of yourself.  It is very difficult to help others when you need help, and I’ve learned that the hard way.  In my current relationship life, we spent every resource (monetary and otherwise) before we had it, and still proceeded to have our own animal rescue against my better judgement considering we didn’t have outside support.  We still can’t support ourselves and the rescue properly and always have to beg for volunteers and monetary help.  It’s my belief you have to practice 1-3 before this step is affective.  I was convinced that this belief was wrong.  Or rather, I just gave up trying to explain why this belief is right and necessary because my partner is convinced that I am always wrong.  And here we are, on the verge of losing everything at any moment because we can’t keep our heads above water.

My mantra:  be yourself and take care of yourself.  A mantra I’m working to once again have in my life.
photo credit: -Reji via photopin cc