Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I am Woman.

These last two-three weeks have been a weird emotional roller coaster for me. Not surprising since I had both PMS and an ear infection at the same time. Now, the thing about having mostly beaten my emotional overeating, I no longer have a convenient escape route or excuse to hide behind. And so, I had to run the full gamut of my recent emotions. Not only that, I am now seeing how much of a drama queen, and oh boy what a Diva, I am.

I became convinced that the lymph node swollen in my neck was lymphoma. Convinced. So we had days of hysterical crying jags about the unfairness of it all, now that I'd discovered how much I really do love myself, my life and everyone in it. More anger, more pouting, and a lot less eating thanks to the cortisone and antibiotic ear drops I'm taking. Miraculously the node started to go down, but not quickly enough for the likes of me. No, on day three (of seven to ten, mind you) I was sure that the drops weren't working, and you guessed it, because it WASN'T just a MERE ear infection I was SUFFERING from.

Keep those eyes rolling, it gets better.

Two days later, my period finished, and look, allofasudden I'd lost 6 lbs. Weight loss is another symptom, I pointed out to my husband, SEEseeSEE! And then, I found a hard pea-sized lump in my belly, around the area of my spleen. Holy Schnappin' Duck Turd, Batman, you shoulda seen the panic then. Poking around in my belly, we found more, many more. I made an appointment to go see MY doctor the day after she got back from holidays.

Blood pressure 122/76 up from 116/76 the week prior. (Stressed much? Me? Nah!) Oh and down four lbs on the doctor's scale to 222lbs, something I haven't weighed there in a very long time. Doc pokes and prods, and I “Ahhh” then breathe in and out like a fire-breathing dragon at the appropriate moments.

The ear infection had jumped sides, so instead of ceasing to use the drops and getting an unbroken nights sleep for the first time in nearly three weeks, I still had another week of the stuff to go. (Me and the lack of sleep, we don't play so well together.)

Then I gathered my courage and told the doc about the lump in my belly. We couldn't find it laying down, but when I stood up, yeah, there it was. Poking and prodding again and a”Hmmm” from the medical professional in the room almost had me in floods of tears, but I managed to control myself. “Nothing to get excited about,” was the comment. “It's smooth, and it's not near your spleen. It's nothing more than a cyst.”

Oh.

We'll keep an eye on it, and since I've got my long overdue yearly physical at the end of August, well, she gets to have another poke and a prod then.

Called my Mum the next day and talked to her about that and some of the other issues I've been dealing with recently, regarding past instances of unwanted male attention and forced intimacy. Apparently, she had those hard lumps too in her belly as well and they went away eventually.

Oh, really?

“Just go look at a piece of steak” said Mum. “You know the fat isn't all smooth, it's layered and swirly and marbled and you have the little lumps in it too.”

Oh. Yeah.

I also checked up a Reiki book I have. According to it; cysts are cause by hanging on to past hurts. Hmmm, we know anyone who's been doing much of that in recent years? And fat in the stomach area is fear of being denied nourishment.

What nourishment? I've always been able to have all the food I've wanted to eat, always.

Funny thing is I woke up yesterday morning with a bit of an epiphany. Something I'd said to Mum on the phone over the weekend had been nagging at my subconscious, but I'd been ignoring it completely. The whole, fingers in-the-ears-and-I'm-not-listening dealy, with extra focus on how I'm losing weight and a shitload of inches, so ergo I must really be sick and the doctor wouldn't know how to diagnose her way out of a paper bag. Yeah, that doctor, my favourite one who'd I'd practically salivated over the chance of having her getting her stethoscope on my problems. Irrational little Diva ain't I?

I hadn't updated my weight tracker software in awhile, so I decided to plug in yesterday's figures. 219lbs, something I haven't been in a very long time. And out of morbid curiosity I wanted to see just how many pounds I'd lost allofasudden, 'cause of being, you know, s.i.c.k. an' all. And what I saw shocked me. Since the 10th of June, I'd lost a ginormous 200gms. Yeah, that's right, half a pound.

Half a Fuckin' Pound, People!

During the six weeks since then though, I'd managed to hover back up and down between 222 and 225 lbs.

Why? Why the sudden climb back up to 220+ and why the sudden medical freak out again this month? Why was the fact that I'd bragged to my mum about not having to shave my legs or arms if I didn't want to sticking in the craw of my subconscious? Why the sudden refusal to do my Artist's Way's morning pages when they were helping so much?

{back of hand to forehead moment} Why? Why? Why? Oh Why?

Fear. Pure and simple fear. Okay, maybe not simple, but still fear. You see, I'm fast approaching one of my scariest deep and darks. Not the abuse, not the career, not any of the stuff I've already been kickin' and screamin' my way through working out--but the incontrovertible fact that I'm a woman.

I'm 30 and loathing that fact that I got my period and these tits and pissed off about why the hell can't I walk around with no top on when it's hot, dammit? So very much anger still, over a betrayal that happened twenty years ago!

I hated having to wear a surfboard under my leotard as a gymnast.
I hated having to wear a bra.
I hated the fact that all of a sudden running hurt.
I hated the fact that men, and women, began to look at me differently.
I hated that I looked different. Where was my familiar body?
I hated the pain of my menstrual cramps that four Panadol didn't even touch. (All praise the Naprogesic I found in high school.)
I hated that it was now undeniable that even if I was a tomboy...I was still a girl.

All this ranting and raving and drama over my health has been a way to deny that yes I am getting healthier; yes I am losing weight, for real; yes I am regaining my feminine shape; and yes I'm finally ready to dig up and examine one of the major reasons I'm overweight.

My ten year old self was disappointed to learn that she was a girl, in truth, and no amount of strength training at gymnastics, no amount of football or any of the other rough and tumble sports, or tagging along after her older male cousins at family gatherings would change that fact. And slowly, but surely, all the double standards that still exist in this supposedly enlightened era began to creep into my soul. My ten year old self saw something that she didn't want to believe, and so tried her best to break out of the mold that society has set for people of the feminine persuasion.

At ten, I was a defeated feminist. And I've been turning my anger at that fact inward ever since, instead of outward, where it belongs.

Yesterday I began to celebrate one facet of my femininity, instead of being afraid and angry about it. I shaved my shapely legs. I left the underarms alone because I stink less with the hair there doing its job. I went and bought some groovy blue nail polish and some decals to stick on. I went to get my haircut, but the salon was closed.

On the way home I went and bought a snack pack of fried chicken and a whole bunch of stuff to munch on. When in fact I'd wanted sushi for lunch. The chicken and chips weren't even nice, but I ate them. The small bag of Gardetto's was, but I kept eating way beyond the point I'd had enough. Half way through I realised I was angry, but not yet why. I acknowledged the anger, but kept munching the crunchy goodness.

Got home and straight away thought about putting on to cook two packs of the ramen/2minnoodles that I'd bought, even though I had a headache from what I'd just consumed. I even went as far as putting on the pot of water to boil. May as well keep going since I'm already feeling like shit, was my rationale.

Then, I stopped. There I was punishing myself again for something that wasn't my fault. It hit me—the salon was CLOSED. And that made me angry. How dare they interfere with my girly day! After I'd surrendered to my womanliness! How dare THEY? And here I was stuffing MY face? Get a grip woman!

So, I did. I went and took some ibuprofen, and sat down to do my nails. The ramen stayed uneaten. At least until nearly midnight when I was finally hungry, but couldn't think what else to eat. I had one packet and went to bed. Woke up at 4:30 in a panic while Alaskaboy was getting ready for work because my throat was so very dry and I had a dry cough and oh crap, I must be reacting to the ear drops because I've been taking them for so long!

Cue panic stations again.

No...how about I had home made chicken tortillas for breakfast, fried chicken and chips for lunch, a whole bag of Gardetto's, and then ramen for late meal? And last night was drier than the night before, and I hadn't drunk enough water, and ooh lookie I had a bit of reflux from the crap I'd eaten. Can anyone say dehydrated?

Emotionally, in so many ways, I'm still that ten year old girl. I don't like this scared panicky person I've become. But, I guess it's just another part of the cycle of learning to deal with my life and my emotions without the numbing comfort of food to hide behind. All I can do is go through my emotions, feel them and learn from them as they occur. Oh, and I still have the fear of unwanted male attention, but at least I'm working on through the fear, instead of cowering before it! (More on that later, this post is already long enough.)

I'm again reading When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies and I can't get that awful Helen Reddy song out of my head. I'm still a little fearful, especially about how strong I can become if all my energy is focused on living my life instead of on dieting, but I'm not in denial anymore. I am a woman, and it's not something to denigrate, but in fact celebrate.

4 Nibbles:

Marshmallow said...

I'd like to be able to come up with something insightful and compassionate and intelligent in response to that post, but the first thing that comes to mind is CALM DOWN!

And zomg, fear of unwanted male attention. I'm getting that now. Though they tend to be from old, skanky men. UGH! I wonder if I'm getting a bit too hawt for my own good :-S

Kada said...

LOL I expect I will calm down, I've just gotta feel this panic that I've been blocking for umpteen years. This isn't about how I'm currently feeling, honest. It's about long buried stuff.

Too hot for one's own good...That's partly what the not shaving legs and becoming fat was about, playing down my femininity so I'd be safe. Safe from unwanted attention. Skanky men, both young and old. I've been thinking back on it and every time I got unsolicited gawks, I'd whack on another ten lbs or so.
Now that padding's coming off and I feel that there's no more protection. Not that there was in the first place, it was all psychological anyway. They still gawked, I could pretend it was because they were disgusted, instead of attracted.

Ahh good ol' mind games!

San said...

man that is a lot to think about! i'm sort of glad the only reason i am o/w is cause i love food and eat too much of it and don't exercise as much as i should!

take care
x

Kada said...

And I'm sorta glad that there's other kinds of overeaters than emotional ones. Not everyone has to go digging through their soul to lose weight.

I'm hoping that once I DO get all this sorted out though, that my eating problems will be resolved for good. {fingers crossed}