Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Falling Down

If you asked people about their greatest fears, people come up with some pretty exotic shit.

Snakes. Like how often do you actually get into a situation where there is a snake in your house? Under your pillow? - sorry, had to throw that in there, I have a friend with a really, really funny story involving a nagging wife, a fork and a bad dream.... He tells it better than I do, tho.

Spiders. Ok, spiders are kind of icky - although I am oddly fascinated by them and have tons of pictures on my cellphone of spiders that I've seen in weird places - but logically, we all know that spiders really aren't all that dangerous. In my whole life, I've been bitten by a spider... ONCE.

Of course, the "persons of size" group has a whole other category of fears that generally boil down to public humiliation. Sitting in a chair and having it collapse under you. Not fitting in a booth/roller coaster ride seat/airplane. Knocking over a shelf in a shop.

My fear?

Falling down.

I'm not talking about falling off the theoretical wagon. And I'm not talking about falling off a building kind of thing. I'm talking about tripping over the cat. Losing my balance on the stairs.

Typical, every day sort of tumbles that my child does fifty times a day.

There are a lot of things I can't/won't/don't do because I'm scared of falling. Utterly terrified.

Now, admittedly, my fear has some basis in reality. I've fallen, just walking down the street, and broken my elbow in three places. There was a actually a chip of bone that came OFF and was free-floating. Which could have involved all sorts of expensive and painful surgery if it didn't reattach during the healing process. It did, and I was spared a franken-arm to go with my franken-ankle. But it could have. I've had an arm in a cast for six weeks for walking into a tree. Sprained ankle taking a tumble in a kiddie pool. Two fractured wrists for falling off a horse. That's not to mention all the injuries I've gotten having something fall ON me. (At least I'm not my mother. She's had trees fall on her. MORE THAN ONCE! New joke, if a tree falls in the woods and there's no one around to hear it, will it fall on my mother?)

Part of my easily breakable state is because I took steroids. For years. For asthma complications, steroids are the go-to drug of choice by emergency room doctors. I spent better than nine years being on steroids more often than I was off them. Which did some majorly craptastic things to my bones, my immune system, my weight.

And then there's the part of me that seems to be perpetually clumsy. I have a near-permanent bruise on my left shoulder from my frequent habit of walking into the door frame in the kitchen. I have knocked myself out at least twice coming up under things like cash-register draws and wall-mounted antique telephones. (don't ask.) I am still astonished that my breakfront's door isn't broken (pun intended) from the number of times I've clipped myself on it.

And, honestly, part of it was that I was fat. Being fat, you're more likely to walk into something because there's just not enough room for you. You misjudge how far out your hip is. How far back your butt extends. I used to joke (self-hatingly, but still, joking) that my boobs came into the room a week before the rest of me. And there's all that pounds per square inch FORCE that being fat complicates. Climbing stairs, for instance, puts four pounds of pressure PER POUND that you are, on your knee. At my heaviest weight, that's 880 pounds of pressure I was putting on my knee. Imagine what that weight is like on your bones when you fall down. It takes eight pounds of pressure to break any bone in the human body. (and those are for normal-people bones, not weird old lady butter bones like mine!)

So, why am I talking about this today?

I fell down yesterday.

And not just a simple tripped over one of my daughter's toys fall.

I was outside. Racing my daughter on a scooter (she was running, I was using the scooter...) And I turned the corner too fast and clipped the edge of the sidewalk.

And aside from a slight bruised ego and a wet spot on the knee of my jeans, I was perfectly fine. I didn't even have those long moments where my heart rate is waaay too high and I feel faint and dizzy.

To me, that's impressive.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Takes a Little Time (Sometimes)

Well it may not be over by morning
And Rome wasn't build in a day
You can name that thing a thousand times
And it won't make it go away...

- Takes a little time, Amy Grant
You know, I've figured out my problem.

(I know, I know, I only have one?)

Seriously, y'all, bear with me. I had a bit of an epiphany the other day.

When I started all this, over two years ago now, I kept trying to remind myself that Happy wasn't guaranteed. I could get thin, and all that would mean is that I was thin. It doesn't mean I'm pretty. Or smart. Or confident. All it would mean is that I was thin. (er).

And still, I got here (no, I still don't really think I'm thin... I'm working on it. I'm definitely thinner. Normal-sized.) and expected to be happier. I expected to feel more confident, more energetic, sexier. Something.

And it still seems to be the same old me. Slightly older. A bit more fashion-conscious. (ok, and I've discovered something odd about myself. I like... shopping for shoes. And clothes. And hair accessories. Um... ok? This is me? Since when?) Now, I realize, going back and re-reading this blog, and other things I've written, done and said... that I am more confident. I am happier. But it was such a little bit at a time, I didn't really notice it was happening.

But see, here's the thing....

I'm stubborn. My dad likes to call it tenacity, but you may as well just call a spade a spade. It's pure bull-headedness.

I have not yet failed to accomplish anything I wanted to accomplish.

I wanted to quit smoking, and I did it. I started smoking when I was ten. years. old. Smoked on and off for 17 years. And quit. Cold turkey. Haven't picked up a cigarette in 12 years. Don't intend to ever do so again.

I wanted to lose weight. And I did it. You've all seen that.

I wanted to walk sixty miles. And I did that, too.

I wanted to organize my house, get my housework accomplished, and generally not feel like a slob. Mission accomplished.

So my problem?

I keep wondering why I haven't fixed everything else.

If I can do anything I set my mind to, why can't I do everything I set my mind to? Why, for that matter, can't I set my mind more often?

When I spell it out like that, even I can see how ridiculous it is.

Also... what the hell am I unhappy about? HONESTLY?

I have a wonderful husband (and I hate saying that, because it never sounds honest.... it sounds like a prelude to my saying "but..." And yet, it's true. He's pretty damn wonderful.) My child is not me, and that's ok. She's good at math, and has sticky points with reading. But she's very well behaved, enthusiastic about stuff in general, positively cheerful most of the time, and not particularly whiny. I get along with my parents, mostly. I love my step-parents. Most of the time. I'm friends with my relations, after seventeen years of NOT being friends with them. I even like some of them rather a lot. I get second looks in the grocery store. I've been whistled at in the street. (There needs to be a word for that feeling of being simultaneously creeped out and yet flattered at the same time, there really does.) I have enough money to pay the bills, buy some stuff I want, and yet not have everything I want. (Who really wants to have everything they want? I mean, if you have everything you want, you start wanting really complicated, world-domination sort of issues. And who wants that?) I have good friends. And even beyond my good friends, I have a wide circle of acquaintances. I'm comfortable with my life.

So what's my problem?

Today, I feel pretty damn good, actually. So... not much.

Maybe I should try being more aware of what I have and what I've done than worrying about those things I haven't fixed yet. There's still tomorrow, after all, and tomorrow is another day.