Exercise

July 30th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Health - (0 Comments)

In which I tell you how it felt to run medium-distance sprints as a tween.

I have never enjoyed exercise.

I remember being in junior high school on the track team. Sucked at sprinting, sucked at distance, so they put me on the 200 meter. It was miserable. I could not figure out what in the holy hell made people like running. Compared to not-running, it made me feel like shit. Unpleasant sensations everywhere, and no, don’t even talk to me about the runner’s high experience I never had, and no, I never felt noticeably better after running (beyond gratitude that it was over).

Same for absolutely every exercise in my entire life, ever. In fact, now that I’m fat and seriously pushing 50, it feels, well, just like it always felt, only now I look even more ridiculous than I feel. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror doing squats? Please.

While I’m exercising, I’m aware of stress on the body, on the heart, on the tissues. I’m aware of fatigue, overheating, sweating, and a general feeling of this-sucks-let’s-stop-immediately. It isn’t nice. It doesn’t feel good. It’s something you do to get away from danger, not a fucking hobby.

I’ve done 90-minute yoga classes, but only on occasion, and more out of a sense of “oh, I should go, it’s good for me” [read: “I think this activity suits my personality”] than “oh, it feels so great, I want to go.” It doesn’t feel great. It’s hard work, and afterward you’re tired. Whoopee. The only benefit of yoga over any other form of exercise is that the environmental trappings imply that you’re deeper than the typical jock, without, of course, actually meaning any such thing. Otherwise, yoga’s just exercise with a bit of a lie-down at the end during which the white lady with the killer bod she has encased in half your week’s salary’s worth of trendy yoga clothes tells you your feelings are fine, thereby validating your rampant consumerism and cultural appropriation.

I think the best shape I’ve ever been in was probably in Walla Walla, because I didn’t have a car and I walked and biked everywhere. It’s a small town, so it’s not like I ever walked or biked very far, but I did it every day for years. I think it was the right amount of activity for me, in retrospect.

The entire rest of my life I’ve been, to varying degrees, more sedentary than that. Plus with the smoking and drinking and random schedule and diet I’ve always had.

Today I went for a walk to help with my anxiety. It’s fucking hot and humid, and the sun is shining like a particularly aggressive stage spot. I walked down 28th to Soo Line, through the garden to the Greenway, up the Greenway to the very next exit, up the ramp to street level, and home again. Barely half a mile, but hey, it’s 85F and humid, what the fuck do you want from me.

While walking up the ramp, I was aware, as I always am when doing physical activity for its own sake, that it sucked. My quads were fine and signaling stamina, as were my calves, but my fucking skin itched and most of me felt bad. My heart was doing its job but I still felt that hunger your various parts feel when they need just a bit more oxygen. My eyes felt weird; I don’t know how to describe it but they just do, always have, when I’m exerting myself, as if I can’t see properly even though my vision doesn’t actually change. I assume it has something to do with blood pressure in those little eye capillaries. My hands puffed up and turned red, which is a thing they do now that I’m both fat and old, so I held them up like I was prepped for surgery. I had the sense that I could, if I had to, walk up that incline for a very long time; hours and hours, if I had water. But all I could think was, “This sucks. Let’s stop immediately.”

I didn’t find it pleasant.

That ramp is super steep. I’m not sure how many vertical feet, but it goes from street level down to train track level in, like, 1/10th of a block. (I can only ride all the way up it if I get a serious head start and stand on my pedals.) It’s easier at night, of course, when you’re not being roasted from both the black pavement you’re walking on and the furnace of the yellow dwarf star behind you. But no matter the time of day it’s always humid… until it’s so dry your nose bleeds, of course, but I’ve never been on that ramp in blizzard season.

Anyway, I get to the top of the ramp and turn the corner and am heading homeward parallel to the Greenway down below, and I’m thinking, “I really have to feel REALLY SHIT ALL THE TIME FOR A LONG TIME before the shit that is exercise is less shit than the shit that is not.” Which is a convoluted way of saying I have to feel awful, truly awful, in a sustained way, over a long time, to make exercise feel good in comparison.

Which is to say that it sucked, but slightly less than horrible hangovers or even more horrible panic.

I blog about this because I realized I’d been thinking an untrue thing; that, oh, I feel so bad when I exert myself because I’m so unhealthy, which is entirely my fault due to poor choices and personality flaws like laziness and selfishness and sloth and blah blah blah. But the truth is, I have always felt bad while exerting myself. Always. Since I was a little kid. I remember finishing up track practice after school and feeling like it was the most bizarre, awful activity there was, and that I would rather do anything but fucking run around pointlessly for a couple of hours feeling terrible and gross. Everybody droning on and on about personal bests and runner’s highs and I’m just thinking WHY CAN’T WE READ A FUCKING BOOK? THIS FUCKING SUCKS.

I remember going to track meets, but I couldn’t tell you if I finished the season or not. I probably did; it seems like I’d remember the infamy of dropping out. But I never went out for track — or indeed any other sport — ever again, and I actually invested a lot of time and energy in discovering ways to get out of P.E. because exercise felt so shitty compared to any other activity.

It’s acceptable if you’re doing it in service of something else — it’s easy to dance for a couple of hours, for example, or to walk while you’re looking at autumn leaves in the woods, or realize you’ve been on a 5-mile ride across the countryside with your friends — but to just do it for the sensation? Eh.

I know the results are important. I’m making the effort. But no, Mush, you were never really fit, ever, and you aren’t some fucking disaster of a human being who’s let herself go downhill. You just happen to find yourself in a life that doesn’t have any physical activity built-in, and you’re not good at forcing it on yourself because it’s shit.

Good on you for walking for 90 minutes this week. Maybe do 90 minutes again next week. Maybe walk after work a bit, when the sun’s down. Maybe get 90 minutes a week habituated, and then go up to 120. Maybe walk all winter; it’s not like you hate the cold anymore (although snow and ice are certainly issues to walkers; maybe get some cleats and a stick).

But the whole self-bashing weirdness needs to go, because it’s weird. You’re okay. You’re making an effort. Quit with the weird-ass self-talk, because exercise sucks and you’ve never liked it the weather here’s crap anyway; not everything is your fault, dear. Just make the effort, okay? Okay.

A series of admissions

June 29th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Panic & Anxiety - (0 Comments)

In which I think about what an asshole I’ve always been, even to myself.

I’ve turned into very nearly everything for which I have ever felt contempt.

Here are some examples:

Fat? Check.

Pampered and lazy, with a litany of psychosomatic, social, and political complaints anyway? Check.

Reaches a certain age and, unoriginally, watches English period pieces, and paints, unironically, with watercolors? Check. Unhip, and occasionally even boring-seeming, life partner? Check. Tomato plants in the yard, even after a lifetime of not gardening? Check. Houseplants in tacky plastic pots I would not have been caught dead with in my 20’s or 30’s? Check.

Just walked through the building, to and from the laundry room, with my old, fat, unshaven, mottled legs exposed, braless and gross? Check!

Even as few as five years ago, at gigs, I’d eyeball women the age and shape I am now, and think, “Why on earth are you dressed like that? Don’t you know how your bra straps leave furrows in your shoulder fat, how your spare tire looks so square from the back?” I was offended that people could be out, in public, having fun while unbeautiful, even as I believed myself unbeautiful.

I felt discomfort seeing older women with thinning hair only slightly less intense than I used to feel seeing amputees or victims of fire. Now my own hair is well on its way to being fuzz by the time I’m 60, like my father’s mother’s was (although she was ill by then, so maybe it’s not genetic).

I have always, always, always judged the fat, the unbeautiful, and the unwell, even without intending. I couldn’t even conceive of any condition that could truly affect a life without being visible or serious. It took ten years of a panic disorder for me to develop real compassion for invisible suffering, like depression or chronic pain or even the anguish of an unhappy, unfulfilled life. I had to get fat myself before my heart could understand how truly fucking hard obese people have it, from the sheer strain of hauling bulk around to all the little discomforts of joints and edema and rashes.

I never meant to inwardly recoil from everything not ideal. It was never intentional, but I was born without a compassionate bone in my body, it seems. And it’s taken me forty years to quit caring about what shit looks like on the surface and really understand what lies within, the souls themselves.

Because, as it turns out, most of the beautiful people are assholes, and most of the “ugly” people are wonderful.

Today, day three of acute anxiety, I had a bit of a revelation. I had just come up from the laundry room and caught sight of myself in the hall mirror and again in my monitor as I sat down at my desk and really noticed my passing thoughts: “God, you’re fat. Look at you, you’re hideous. So ugly.”

The anxiety I’d been trying so hard to turn upward, into excitement — we are, after all, leaving in the morning for a weekend with Amma, and I should be happy, not in the misery of fear and anxiety — suddenly seemed deserving of compassion. Is anyone truly compassionate who is so mean to herself? So instead of trying to change my anxiety into happiness, I just looked at myself and thought, “You poor baby, you’re okay, you can be loved.”

And the attack stopped.

I mean, my leg’s still bouncing, but that’s okay; I’m not fucking suffering. I’m so ashamed of my disorder; I am one of the world’s most fortunate and lucky people. I’m never hungry, never cold, never afraid of real things. I’m not sick, I’m not in pain, I have free time and I get to sleep until I wake up every day, but I suffer. A made-up, not real suffering I judge myself for.

~+~
Okay, turns out that was a lie. It didn’t stop, it just eased off. It’s trying to come back now, the “Oh! I feel dizzy! Weak! My fingers are numb! There must be something wrong with me. Oh, I’ll never be able to travel like this.” The fear, fear, fear.

I so don’t want to develop fucking agoraphobia. I’m at the point now where just standing waiting for the light to change on Lyndale makes me twitch and bounce and tap.

But it’s okay that I’m afraid. It’s okay to have sensations. It’s okay to be fat, 48, frequently idle, and nervous. It’s okay, Michelle, you’re okay. Not everybody is the judgemental asshole you are; lots of people can look at you without disgust, even. You have a disorder lots of people have. You hardly do it on purpose. And, before you object, you do try to mitigate it! You do walk, bike, stretch, meditate. You have maybe a cup of coffee per day; you rarely eat sugar; your vape juice is only 6mg.

Remember hormones, too: it was only a 26-day cycle. Very short. Who knows what’s going on with those hormones, eh?

…I wish I didn’t have to work tonight; I should have taken it off. Oh, well, it’s only four hours, and right here at my own desk. But it would be better if, after Scott gets home, we could eat, pack, and nap until the unreasonably early taxi pick-up.

Oh, I want a cuddle so much just now, but I’ll soldier on and put the laundry in the dryer instead.

In which I’m just watching my mind be an asshole, because that’s what you do.

I smoked cigarettes for 30 years. I was at the point where my lungs felt dry, I couldn’t get a deep breath, and walking three blocks made me pant.

I quit smoking by switching to vaping, because patches and gum didn’t work, and I wasn’t willing to try Chantix. When I made the switch, I read everything I could find about vaping and determined that vaping was not zero-harm, but was most probably significantly lower harm than smoking.

That was a year ago. My lungs feel much, much better! I can walk to Pancho Villa’s and back without panting. My voice sounds better. I don’t think about smoking at all, and I think about vaping very little: when leaving the house I no longer feel compelled to bring my nicotine delivery system, I just go. It’s great.

The other day I read a Skeptical Raptor round-up about vaping. The take-away was, essentially, we don’t know what, if any, harms are associated with vaping, really, but it does seem like you might maybe possibly be exposing yourself to more formaldehyde than you should. Aaaaaand my stupid brain latched onto that, and I spent the rest of the day being afraid of vaping but doing it anyway. And like a tongue worrying a loose tooth, my mind is still trying to be upset about the topic and provide me not with solutions, but just vague dread and worry and self-pity. Nothing like, “Well, perhaps it’s time to set a plan for quitting vaping,” just vague dread. Nothing like, “Is your need to vape greater than your fear of possible formaldehyde over-exposure?” Just nervousness and anxiety and feeling bad.

Another example. Human hair sheds all the time, constantly. For me, about every 36 months I experience a few months of my hair shedding out more heavily than usual, probably because for some reason there are just a bunch of follicles on the same cycle, and because I’m vain and aging is weird, I dislike it. I mentioned my feels about hair shedding on social media yesterday and two people were all HAVE YOU CHECKED UR THYROID. So I rolled my eyes and went and looked up the information on hypo- and hyperthyroidism again, and yes, while I do have a number of the symptoms mentioned, half are from the hypo- side and the other half are from the hyper- side, so, yeah, no. It’s much more likely I’m subject to normal shedding cycles and, based on my older relatives’ hair, genes, thanks.

But now my stupid mind is trying to obsess over those “symptoms,” all of which are also consistent with hormonal changes typical to women of my age, while ignoring all the symptoms I don’t have and the fact that you can’t have a simultaneously over- AND underactive thyroid. It’s trying to give me an anxiety attack. Because it’s a bastard.

I’m not sick. Nothing hurts. My life is so nice that I never use an alarm clock! I sleep, every day, until I wake up naturally! I live a block or three from everything. I have incredibly fast fiber-to-the-home, money in the bank, and two vacations planned! I am pampered, lucky, well-cared for, and fine.

Except for my stupid mind, which wants me to have anxiety and panic attacks anyway. It wants me to be afraid of things over which I have no control, while frequently ignoring things I should be afraid of — it let me smoke for 30 years, unironically! It let me do cocaine, a street drug of unknowable dosage and provenance, for several years, without a peep of worry — and obsessing instead over dumb things! My mind is afraid of the regulated, properly-dosed OTC drugs you might buy to treat a bad cold, but was never worried about street drugs. Because it fucking sucks at risk-assessment and is irrational.

Conclusion: my mind is an idiot, and, because it never shows up when there’s actual statistical likelihood of danger (riding in a car, for example), anxiety is non-information and should always be ignored.

The Dread

May 30th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Panic & Anxiety - (0 Comments)

In which there was a sensation and I freaked the fuck out: another boring-ass post about my anxiety disorder, because I bring the content!

Woke up weirdly early, like 7:30 or so, and though I did try, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Eventually got really hungry, as one does if she’s awake long enough, so got up and had a cup of coffee, and made some hash browns, facon, and a poached egg.

After eating I went outside and dug up a bit of the turf where the tomatoes will go, then came in and swept the kitchen and living room, and hand-scrubbed the kitchen floor. Go, me!

Sat down on my ass in front of the computer, found a show to watch on Acorn (‘Delicious,’ with Dawn French, which is much darker than I’d expected because I guess I’d assumed it was a comedy). Scrolled Twitter and Facebook like an asshole, as if it were some sort of reward for doing a couple of chores rather than an absolute and utter waste of time. Realized it’d been hours since I’d eaten already and that I was hungry again, damn it. Was going to eat leftover rice and chickpea curry, but they’d gone off, so I threw some veggie tots in the oven. Mixed up a little bit of fry sauce while they baked.

Brought my treat to my desk, pushed play on the vid, and began to eat, cross-legged in my office chair, chin a couple of inches above the surface of the desk.

Sudden, weird fluttering in my chest, like a bird trapped. No pain or discomfort, lasted maybe three seconds, but scared the shit out of me. During, I stuck my index on my pulse but by the time I’d found it the flutter was over and my heartbeat seemed, well, fine, if a little fast. Realized I was slouched forward and so I sat up straight, adrenaline just coursing through me because holy fuck did my heart just fuck up?!?!… and burped.

Sat here freaking the fuck out for a moment, as you do when you have a panic disorder, then started googling shit like ‘esophageal flutter.’ Burped again. Immediately realized that searching symptoms would just end in shit about heart defects and cause a full-fledged panic attack, so I closed the tab, breathed deep, and pulled my plate to me.

Finished eating my tiny plate of tots, had a couple more burps, and… well, haven’t died.

My shoulders are so tight they’re up by my ears now, and I have the nervous energy and delusion that I’m dizzy and bouncy leg of a fairly acute anxiety attack, so I’ll need to get up and go do laundry or something, to keep myself moving until I forget I’m nervous.

Who am I kidding, I’ll probably just sit here and marinate in my own juices.

Ah, fuck the dread. Seriously. Although I guess I’d rather have the dread of modern living rather than, say, the plague, or the various other much more dangerous afflictions of the past. The dread fucking sucks, but at least it isn’t actually fatal.

Sigh.

Eyes

May 23rd, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Health | Weather - (0 Comments)

In which there’s an appointment.

It had clouded over a little, sure, and was only in the 50’s when I checked the weather, but it didn’t say anything about rain online. Notification on my phone said, at 1:46, when I checked, that the rain would end by 2 PM. I looked out the window but it wasn’t raining. Grabbed a vest anyway (so glad I did) and headed out.

By the time I’d carried my bike up the stairs and opened the door, it was raining.

I was soaked within three blocks!

Arrived, locked up my bike, squeezed the water out of my hair, and went inside, dripping on the carpet. Receptionist gave me some paperwork, which I had just finished filling out when Doctor Hansen came out to get me. Did I have my glasses with me? No. Did I have my prescription? Yes, I’ve written it down on a post-it. Did I have insurance? Yes, but not optical. What was my insurance? Hennepin Health. They do optical, give me your card.

Apparently I do have insurance? It doesn’t say optical on the card, and I don’t remember seeing it mentioned in the paperwork, but I got the full exam and was told to order a pair of glasses because the insurance covers it!

I can’t remember ever having eye insurance. Thanks, Obama!

The prescription I wrote down made no sense to the doctor and did not match at all what Pearle Minnetonka faxed over. It matches what’s stamped on my contacts boxes, but I have no idea what any of it means. The doctor said something along the lines of my actual prescription being so different from what I’d written down that he’d have had to worry about things like acute diabetes or organ failure or something. He ripped up my post-it and threw it out.

Note to self: next time you see the optometrist, bring your glasses and the print-out of your previous prescription!

For the record, I still don’t enjoy having my eyes dilated, but it wasn’t half as bad as it was the last time when I had to sit in my truck in the parking lot for two hours before I could see well enough to drive! (It occurs to me now that that doctor may have used too large or too strong a dose.) I was able to see well enough to ride my bike home, but everything’s still weird-looking nearly two hours later.

Doctor says my prescription isn’t changing much at all (which surprises me, considering I’ve upped the strength of my readers and have a hard time seeing my journal well enough to actually write in it) and tells me not to drive with mono vision lenses. My new glasses — which are large and chunky and a clear dark blue — will be distance-only since I take them off to read anyway, and should be ready in a couple of weeks.

The doctor was concerned with the idiotic cluster of zits under my left eye. How long has that been there? (Three days.) Advised me to “see the dermatologist if it doesn’t clear up.” (I didn’t go into how I’d messed with the area the day before with a pair of sharp tweezers and some rubbing alcohol, and that that ill-advised behavior, along with the proximity to the delicate under-eye tissue, might be why it looked weirder than your standard garden variety blemishes.)

Excited to get new contacts and new glasses! Even more excited if the insurance really does cover the entire exam plus the new glasses; I’d been expecting to drop $99 for the exam plus the contacts, but only had to pay for the contacts themselves!

I was really chilled and my shirt and vest and messenger bag were cold and damp by the time I left an hour later, and the ride home was therefore cooler than I’d have liked, but some warm socks and a dry long-sleeved tee put me to rights. I might need some sort of rain jacket, if I’m going to keep getting monsooned on when I’m out on the bicycle. I was completely drenched when I got home from the grocery store last week!

Need to drop a couple of packages off at The UPS Store over on Hennepin Avenue, but my eyes still feel so weird I’ll have to do it tomorrow.

Another ride

May 10th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Life | Panic & Anxiety - (0 Comments)

I’m so fucking high strung, you guys.

So I woke up this morning, had a hummus/tabouli/falafel/feta lettuce wrap, drank some water, decided being awake was stupid, and went back to bed ’til afternoon.

Detail

Got up a second time, had some water, rearranged my very dirty hair, put on eyeliner, dressed, took my shit out of one bag and put it into another, and went for a bike ride.

Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. No one to see. It was so easy when I lived in a small town and didn’t have a car. Got my exercise in without noticing, in the form of transportation.

It was raining. Low-seventies. Nice light spring rain.

It rained

Rode to the Midtown Global Market again. Locked up my bike, under a tree to help keep the seat dry. Went inside.

Walked around for a few minutes. Realized I was hungry. Walked around until I found a place selling chile rellenos. Ordered some. Wandered over to a coffee shop. Didn’t buy coffee. Felt anxious and weird, dizzy maybe, and realized that my vision isn’t really up to dealing with very high-information environments: the two different prescriptions, both out of date, plus the addition of the floaters that have been slowly and regularly increasing over time, make my brain feel weird.

Chose a table. Took out my readers and a magazine. Leg bounced. Felt like I just wanted to get back on my bike. Uncomfortable. Not an anxiety attack yet, but close. Also, the body, so unaccustomed to exercise, feeling different than usual.

I had cheese chile rellenos

“Number one seventy one? Do you want salsa?”

“Please.”

“Mild or hot?”

“Hot.”

“Green or red?”

“Red. Thank you.”

Sat down to eat. Can’t really see my food; really need to get in to see the optometrist. Put my readers on. Methodically and rapidly devoured a chile relleno. Unwrapped the tortillas. Cut the other chile relleno into thirds. Made three chile relleno tacos. Wrapped them up. Took off my readers. Cleared my table. Got a container from the counter and put my tacos into my messenger bag.

Walked around the market some more. Really should have enjoyed it, because it’s really the sort of place I would enjoy, with all the international stuff and all the interesting people, but didn’t. Just wanted to get the fuck out, get back on my bike, move, use up some energy. All the little shops: didn’t go in. Last time I was there, last winter sometime, I saw a really great top in one of the booths. Didn’t even look for it. Walked by the coffee place again, decided I didn’t need a drink because I had a water bottle on the bike. Really not feeling at all normal. Just being here is fucking difficult. What the actual fuck. I have nothing to do until work at 6 tonight, and I came here to sit and read and write, didn’t I? What the fuck is even wrong with me?

Sat down at a table in the central seating area. Readers and magazine out. Knee bouncing, I made it fewer than five minutes before I got up and left.

The rain had stopped.

Unlocked my bike, tied up my right pant leg, and off I went.

Nice ride. Much better. Leg muscles working felt good, damp air felt good, the lilacs are finally in bloom.

Most of the Midtown Greenway is in an old train corridor, beneath the streets and safe from traffic. Saw Mexicans under the overpasses. Some were singing. One was sleeping.

My Schwinn

Pulled over at a rock and sat for a few minutes. Thought it would be a nice place to meditate, but didn’t want to mediate. Wanted to go the fuck home and relax. Got up, rode the last thirty feet to the Soo Line Garden, dismounted, and pushed my bike up the bark trail to street level.

Flushed, hot, inwardly shaking my head at how honestly hard it is to walk my bike up a steep hill, almost there, almost at the top, slow steps, at least nothing hurts.

Still aware of how floaters confuse my brain’s interpretation of what I’m seeing and what’s moving when I’m outside and the light is bright. I don’t notice them at all in familiar or low-light situations, but out in public in bright light there’s a sensation that everything is moving, even though it’s not, and my response to weird vision and being in public is to ratchet everything up, fight-or-flight style. My internal experience is one of great agitation and intensity and nervousness, and I’m having to deliberately focus on the feel of the air and the smells and all the nice nature around me rather than the quite frankly irrelevant internal experience.

Meanwhile, while all this weird shit is going on, simmering half a degree below a full-blown goddamned panic attack, I look like a pleasant, plump, white lady, slowly walking her retro bike up a hill through a garden, wearing black linen palazzo pants and a slouchy V-neck, meditation beads and a messenger bag. Really makes you realize that nothing is how it looks. You see someone and have no idea what it’s like to be them; who knows what goes on in the skulls of other pleasant-looking, plump, white ladies?

They’re probably all mad geniuses but too pleasant to say so, or gacked out of their head on street drugs just walking along, looking like somebody’s grandmother, smiling pleasantly.

In which there’s a map, and a bangle of sorts!

Google Maps never really does well with the Greenway, but this is, more or less, my path for the day.

Ride

(I still can’t tell, honestly, if I’m charmed by the knowledge that my Android phone tells Google Maps everywhere I go, or freaked out.)

In the early afternoon, I stopped on the corner for a jar of delicious iced coffee and a salad to go, and then I rode to the lake, sat my fat ass in the grass behind my bike, ate, and then I rode home again.

It occurred to me that going to the park specifically to eat was an excellent fat-girl behavior! Hi, I’m fat and I’m the only person in sight who is eating! I just ate and took off. Didn’t even walk out on the floating dock I love so much. Oink!

Lake Calhoun

Fucked around at the apartment for a couple hours, but wanted to go ride some more. So in the late afternoon I rode the Greenway in the other direction, east, and bought dinner from the Midtown Global Market — a cheeseburger for him, falafel for me — so not only did I spend a bunch of money today for no reason (there are plenty of groceries in the kitchen) but I rode 5 miles!

Now, the ride to the Midtown Global Market is a fuckin’ breeze, and you’re, like, Oh, yeah, I got this, my quads are in better shape than I thought, far the fuck out. But the ride home? Is ever-so-slightly all uphill and OMG IT half KILLED me.

But still, I rode five miles today, voluntarily and on purpose, for fun, by which miracle I conclude that this RoadID bracelet, which arrived in the mail today, is magic.

Five miles isn’t far, of course, but it’s a lot more than no miles!

Anyway, it’s basically dog tags for your wrist:

RoadID

Apparently, if you get knocked off your bike in a car accident, your shit usually ends up many feet away from your person, and often isn’t found until after you’re off in an ambulance. So I figured, since this is a super high-traffic neighborhood, everybody here drives like they have PMS, and I’m usually alone when I’m out walking or riding, some wearable ID would be a good idea.

Name, age, location, emergency contact, medical information: apparently these details are fantastically useful to EMTs when an injured person is unconscious.

Now, I guess if you’re sporty, you put some kind of motivational motto on the bottom line, like SHUT UP LEGS or some shit, but I’m not so I put a mantra. And the badge thingy on the left is a custom ‘OM’ symbol. Custom! OM!

I briefly considered the ‘BIKE’ badge, because I ride a bike and have done for the past decade, but I’m hardly a real cyclist, like those skinny nerds with all their clothes and gear, so I figure it would have been weird. I’m riding along in Thai fisherman’s pants and a Hanes cotton t-shirt, right? I’d probably be publicly shamed for appropriating jock culture or some shit, amirite? YOU’RE NOT WEARING WICKING LYCRA, YOU HIPPIE, YOU CAN’T HAVE THE ‘BIKE’ BADGE UNTIL YOU DO A TRIATHLON. IN NEON LYCRA!

To conclude: I am older than I’ve ever been and in tremendously bad shape, but it felt so great to look at things that are green and flowering and to smell the spring breeze and to move and to ride along the lovely Midtown Greenway!

Such a gorgeous day! Yay!

Oh, great. Not.

May 1st, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Panic & Anxiety - (2 Comments)

In which there’s a tostada.

Tostada

I made the salsas and the guac and fried the tortilla. I even put on a pot of pinto beans, but they’re not done yet. I mean, I made salsa. Look at this shit.

Making salsa Salsa

And then about a third of the way through eating the glorious thing with the delicious salsa on it, I had a panic attack — first one in awhile — and now it’s just sitting there, getting soggy, and I’m sitting here twitching and freaking out and I have a fan pointed at me because I think there might be a hot flash component, maybe? But I’m definitely dying.

Heart attack, maybe organ failure. You know how it is.

I went to the site I used to go to when having panic attacks, but it’s dead. Looks like the last post was a year ago, and the login no longer works and the forum posts are there but filled with database errors.

Fingers are numb, heart is pounding, dizzy, tense: the works. God, but I do hate me a panic attack!

Although the process of writing this post, together with Rainy Mood in another tab, has gotten me most of the way through. I think I’ll get up and move around now… maybe put the rest of the delicious but only partially-eaten tostada away, and then maybe curl up because now, between the open window and the fan, I’m really cold. Of course.

May your day be panic and anxiety free!

In which I rather complain a little.

It’s 29F outside. I cracked the windows while I tidied did the dishes and made the bed, and it can’t be over 73F in here, but I’m overheating! Very hot water just used to be very hot water; these days it’s like I’m being tortured and my hands turn red and swell up! Just doing the damned dishes!

Then there’s the times I’m suddenly freezing and need a blanket, though nothing’s changed in the past half hour. Temperature regulation: I barely seem to do it anymore! How weird is that!

I will probably die this summer. It’s impossible to keep this apartment much under 80F even with blackout curtains, because the building is made of brick and both windows face south and have no awnings. The entire external wall just radiates heat all fucking day long all summer long, and the AC unit verges on useless. Last year I was miserable. I don’t know what I’ll do this year. Sit in the bathtub in the dark with ice cubes, I suppose. Or spend all day every day in an air conditioned coffee shop at five bucks an hour.

And I’ve been on a diet for, what, two months now? No pizza, no pasta, no lattes. I’d kill for a bowl of black beans and brown rice, let alone a nuked tray of cheesy, creamy, carbolicous Stouffer’s® mac & cheese! I’ve had maybe six pieces of bread, and all of it was 100% whole grain! I’m being good! Where are the results!

Breakfast

I keep refried beans, which used to be a staple of my diet, as a treat. (I know I said that in my last post, but OMG seriously. Fucking beans.)

I’m living on omelets, vegetables, cheese, hard boiled eggs, tofu, and miso. Shredded cabbage really doesn’t substitute for hashed browns, no matter how hard you try to pretend it does, and spaghetti squash gets old real quick, even drowning in cream sauce or marinara and cheese. I’m completely bored of Boca burger lettuce wraps and mugs of broth.

Lunch

All this deprivation and I should be getting results, no? No. I’ve lost a couple inches off my waist, and my ankles don’t bloat as much during The Curse. That’s about it. My fat feels ever-so-slightly less firm, maybe. I see no visual evidence of success, and while I do feel better, I’d like to also look better if I could, please!

Last time I did low carb (well, as low carb as one can as a vegetarian), the inches fell off. Now, my physiology has decided this fatness bullshit is my set point, and I get the feeling I will never not have jowls again. I can barely stand to see myself reflected in anything.

And I’m not eating any sugar! Once a week I let myself sweeten my coffee with Equal. I’ll have a 5 oz. glass of Crystal Light, for fuck’s sake, if I’m craving a soda or fruit juice, and even then I usually dilute it with unsweetened iced tea. I had some sugar-free jello a couple weeks ago. You try eating under 40g of carbs as a vegetarian. It’s ridiculous. (And honestly, at this point, I’m not even really a vegetarian for moral reasons: I just cannot eat flesh. My jaw won’t do it. My stomach won’t do it. I’m just as likely to eat your face as I am a cow.)

They really aren’t kidding about it getting harder to lose weight as one ages. It’s not harder, though, it’s impossible! Gah!

In which I’m dieting.

Tired (again) of being fat and miserable. Dieting (again) in an effort to be less fat and less miserable.

As a vegetarian, I find it very difficult to do really low-carb, so I’m doing a combination of “as few carbs as possible” and calorie restriction.

Eating a lot of eggs, tofu, Boca burgers, olives, and nuts.

Diet jello or Crystal Light when I’m desperate for a “treat.”

CURRENT STATUS: Desperate for a bowl of fettuccine Alfredo. Or mac ‘n’ cheese. Seriously. WANT. So, so bad.

I’m in my third week. I’ve lost a few inches off my waist, have more energy, and feel better overall. My nighttime teeth-grinding and snoring seem to be reducing. I’m meditating daily and ticking off the boxes on my housewifery list with much less struggle. My laundry is done. My mood is much improved (although being off the phones at work while I’m on the 90-day chat pilot also helps).

But I’m still fat. My current hip measurement is forty-three inches, which is insane for a person with a 30″ inseam.

Being fat is miserable. Fatigue, bloating, back pain, low energy, and a pervasive feeling of dis-ease and discomfort.

But beans are a huge part of my usual diet, and I’m missing them. (I had half a cup of refried beans yesterday, but they’re high in carbs, and so are rationed. I miss them.)

Tofu is so boring. OMFG. I fry it in ghee with spices, and put it in broth or eat it with sriracha mayo for dip, but it’s so boring.

Fried tofu

One gets bored of eggs. And you can only eat a single can of tuna per week if you don’t want to over-mercury yourself… so getting enough protein is hard when you’re a lacto-ovo pescatarian-who-is-really-mostly-vegetarian.

But seriously: a huge plate of creamy, gooey noooooodles, with garlic French bread?! And a lovely, light salad? Am I right?!

Or a broccoli-cheddar pot pie with lots of gravy, or a baguette with brie!

Gah!

Oh, well. No refined carbs for me. I guess it’s more omelets.

Feta omelet