Done With My Graceless Heart

Yet again, it has been so long since I have written, that I have a hard time figuring out what I actually want to say… and how much or how little to talk about.

I even started THIS post two months ago, on the 5 year anniversary of my 12-hour-equals-8.5-pounds-of-weight-off-my-chest surgery. To be honest, I wonder if the writer’s block I have in general is the words that keep knocking around in my head. So as Lady Gaga says (in what I choose to believe is her best Mario Kart impression): “Here we go!”

I have a few posts that I should have posted, so here are the mini-themes.

#MeToo:

I don’t like to talk about what happened when I was in elementary school. The people who need to know, know. I resented my mom for several years for making me still have contact with a relative until I learned she didn’t know. And now it’s been long enough that I just block that it wasn’t OK. Much worse things have happened to other people. It was just a little showing things and touching things that made me uncomfortable.

But I think a lot of that comes from the messed up society we’re in.

Until five years ago in August, as soon as I hit puberty, true or not, I believed I had one defining physical characteristic. It was not my glowing smile. (Spoiler: it was my really big chest.)

So if I was brushed up against in the hall, it was probably my fault. When an anchor came from the network and instead of putting his hand on top of my shoulder for the picture I knew my mom would want to have, he wrapped it under my arm to cop a little feel, he didn’t mean it. They were just so there, how could he have missed it?

I am ashamed to admit, I know of one instance where I was even a part of the problem. A female colleague was suing for harassment after a particularly sleazy colleague grabbed her at work. It’s an involved story, but I ended up working every single holiday that year, in large part because she was no longer coming in and I’d already made the vacation schedule for Thanksgiving through New Years… and even if I didn’t say it out loud, I know I thought, “Dude, he grabbed your butt. What’s the big deal? Suck it up buttercup!”

I was young, and in TV News, and it was so pervasive, so EXPECTED, that I was more irritated that I had to work than sympathetic as I should have been. And there’s no excuse.

You Don’t Own Me:

I think that had to do, a lot, with why I started sobbing uncontrollably after watching two videos, one a memory from 5 years ago where I talked about how important it was to vote to keep things like access to Planned Parenthood available. Remember when Mitt Romney seemed scary — like he would limit access to things like basic health care for women? We told him then, “You Don’t Own Me!

And thinking how much harder it is to deal with today’s reality than I believe it would have been to deal with Romney as President, I was already tearing up. And when the 2016 DNC version of Fight Song came up on the YouTube sidebar, I shouldn’t have clicked.

But I did. And thank GOD I work from home because the floodgates opened. I have never been a pretty crier. It’s like I’m having an allergic reaction to my own face. I get puffy and red and there’s a lot of snot.

And as the song played, I sobbed like I have not sobbed in a long time, remembering how hopeful we all were just a year ago. And how painfully polarized we’ve become.

There was a period of several months when I was afraid to have contact with my father. He is proud that he registered as a member of the GOP for the first time in 40 years to vote for 45. And no matter how much I love him, the things he supports, taking away women’s healthcare, building a wall, the “fake news” vendetta, are so emotionally charged for me that I just can’t have some conversations.

And I know he blames me that I won’t talk to him about any of this, but I just can’t. Every time he starts to talk about politics, he rips into another belief that I thought he helped me come to, of what is right and what is wrong.

My hopeful, fighting spirit is so tired.

So back to the original post.

Confessions of a Fraud:

I spent a lot of time on the title of this post back when I started, but the bottom line is that I haven’t been writing because I didn’t want to admit to myself that I am not actually a ninja.

On one hand, I’ve been afraid to share because I don’t want people to rally around & say nice things. I’ll get to why in a minute, but since I’ve tried so hard to be honest about what I’m going through here, I feel like I should share. Like maybe it will help, but I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me.

I don’t know that I’m clinically depressed, but for more than a year I’ve been in a deep funk. Again, this is self-diagnosed, but I feel like I have a particularly insidious combination of things that aren’t actually diagnosed anyway. Survivor guilt, and imposter syndrome.

I’ve talked about my mom. And she is SO strong. She is still going through chemo. She is still fighting. But since my chemo experience was only a few months, and she’s going on six years, I feel SO GUILTY. I had this great community of people who rallied around me, and I got through it.

If I didn’t tell people, no one who met me today would know that I had cancer.

But the people who DO know, who HAVE known me… I’m pretty sure I’ve got you all snowed.

I posted a pic a couple of weeks ago of me getting my Breast Cancer Awareness Month treatment, and people again talked about how strong I am. So brave. Such a fighter.

Such bullshit.

I haven’t been able to post because I’m afraid you’ll all say it again, and it’s just not true.  So many people have been through so much worse. People I know and love, people I have never met. So who am I to complain?

I changed jobs from one that was not a great fit (terrific people, but I never felt like I could get my rhythm and the commute was awful) to one where I’m challenged but don’t always know what I’m doing. And I have the great advantage of working from home.

It’s terrific to save a couple of hours a day and be able to do things like pick my high school freshman up after XC practice a couple of days a week.

But when people ask how I’m doing, I laugh and tell them I’ve become a hermit.

I’m not kidding.

This summer was lovely, but I would tell myself I had to work, or it was too hot. So I never leave my office/guest room.

My son really needs to bulk up, and he likes ice cream, so we have to have ice cream.

It’s like I’ve decided to show off how much I hate my body, how I don’t deserve admiration, by going past my normal pill-bug mode and straight up hiding. I’m at my heaviest, likely least healthy, and trying to decide if I’ve hit rock bottom or I’m ready to bounce.

If you’ve been here before, you know I’ve dug myself out of these holes before. This one may feel deeper. Darker. And complete with a side of trying to parent a son through puberty.

And there may be some ugly tears, and reading through to remind myself that I said, smart, inspiring things sometimes. Even when they hard to believe. So I’m going to channel my inner Florence:

‘Cause I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oct 23, 2017

Me, today. No makeup, no filters. Warts and all.

3 thoughts on “Done With My Graceless Heart

  1. Real deal! The struggle to beat the “deep funk” is a real as beating the breast cancer! My wonderful witty friend, I couldn’t love you more! -Cheryl

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart. I have been working to show how I feel and not cover it up being the ‘nice lady’. So many instances of my parents working and not being around when I was young and not kept safe. I have never told anyone and it eats at me…and so I show it who’s boss and eat more. I love you I miss you.

  3. PS – I said this on FB, but to be clear here as well, although I am a hermit, last month I celebrated 25 years with the love of my life, and somehow I’m raising a 14-year-old who still told me he loves me when I drove him to the bus this morning. I am not alone.

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