today only: free shattered dreams

I am never going to be a flight attendant, and I am devastated.

Let’s back up a second. I never actually wanted to be a flight attendant – the thought of having to be nice to everyone even when they’re being horrible is why I work from home, alone, in the dark, without pants – but because I’ve specifically been told that I cannot do it .. well, now all I want to do is be a flight attendant. But that will never happen. Because I am never going to be a flight attendant.

We were several hours into our flight to Japan when I needed to pee. I untangled myself from all my cables, shuffled past a sleeping Ed, and headed up to the bathroom. It was in use, so I leaned my tired self against a wall next to the galley to hide the fact that I was doing the pee-pee dance.

I was probably staring blankly at my phone wishing I had internet access when I heard a voice to my left: “ooh, is that London?”

One of the flight attendants was doing galley things, and struck up a conversation about my tattoos. I showed her the skyline tattoo and those of Sasha and Cheddar. She marveled at the work Darci did on my arms, then commented “you know, I just love your hair. And your dress! The whole thing! *gestures at my everything*”. Her voice dropped to a conspirational whisper at this point: “You’ll never be a flight attendant, though.”

I didn’t have time to think about what she just said, as the bathroom finally became vacant and my bladder insisted upon being dealt with. When I had finished, she was nowhere to be seen; undoubtedly disabusing some small child of the dream of being a firefighter or astronaut.

I returned to my seat to think about what she said. Sure, she was very complimentary about my everything, but at what cost? The hopes and dreams I didn’t even know I had? It was like peeking at a whole new world, only to have the door slam shut in my face before I could take it all in. What good is my fun hair, epic cleavage, ridiculous wardrobe, and awesome tattoos if I can’t be a thing I don’t want to be? None. None good.

This could have been me:

BST

picture the exact opposite of this in every way, and that’s me

but now instead this is me:

LMG

again, think in opposites

with a lot of this:

no

EVERYTHING IS SIMPLY TERRIBLE.

aXm6303xjU

it’s the end of the world as we know it

.. and I’m really quite upset about it, thank you very much.

What started as a purely vanity-driven inquiry has turned into the actualization of my biggest fear. It sucks, for so many complicated, irrational, deep-seeded reasons. Let’s explore them!

I saw Dr. Online about some weird symptoms I’ve been having: thirst, a craving for salt, thinning hair, a second head growing out of my left knee. Nothing I found online told me exactly what kind of cancers I had, so it was time to ask an expert .. who didn’t have any answers, so she requested I have some blood work done.

The results came in the next day, and showed that I had too many blood – but nothing drastically alarming, or anything that would account for my symptoms. I was asked to follow up with Dr. Online (who was a man this time), who didn’t see anything unusual in my results .. so he requested a second blood test to see if my levels changed. He also requested a urine test, because peeing in a plastic cup is the most dignified thing you can do in a public washroom. Off I went.

I received a phone call from Dr. Online’s office the day after my tests. No big deal, they said, but you need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL DEFINITELY DIE. Okay then. Turns out one of my bloods was so off the chart I was in immediate danger of falling over all dead. That would seriously put a crimp in my day-to-day schedule, so I packed up a bunch of phone chargers and had Ed drive me to the Emergency Room, one of my least favourite places on earth.

There was a lot of waiting. Someone came around and took more blood (which I am running low on at this point). I peed in another cup – I am not getting any better at it, so I mostly just peed all over myself – and waited some more. Wait, wait, wait. Lots of waiting. Good times.

Eventually, a flesh doctor came in and delivered the news: I have diabetes. Not pre-diabetes or diabetes of the butt or kawaii diabetes, but full-on here’s-your-moustache Wilford Brimley diabeetus.

the internet is an interesting place. i didn’t have to search hard for this image.

So. That was the emergency, then: my blood sugar was in the Danger Zone. They kept asking me if I noticed myself peeing more than usual, which is entirely unhelpful – not only am I on medication that’s SUPPOSED to make me pee all the goddamn time, I have a tiny, tiny bladder. Pee frequency (peequency) is not something that would ever cause me any alarm. The other symptoms I’ve been having are so vague – headaches, grumpiness, lack of sleep, exhaustion – that they can be explained away by anything. I have headaches because I always forget to wear my glasses in front of the computer. I’m grumpy because I’m hormonal and people are jerks. I can’t sleep because I stay up way too late every night playing games on my phone, and I’m exhausted because I’m not getting enough sleep. I’m fiiiiine.

Except I’m not fine, and now I have to go on even more medication and change my lifestyle and not eat delicious things. Also, I kind of hate myself and can’t get past the blame stage: this is all my fault because I am fat and gross and stupid.

Logically, I know better. There are other factors at risk: my age. My mother, who is the Canadian Diabetic. I’m an Aboriginal Hispanic South Asian Asian of African descent. I got them big ol’ depression, and that tiiiny little heart issue. I’m a fatty who really likes garlic bread. The only box left unchecked in the entire “you’re gonna die” list is giving birth to a big ass baby, and frankly I don’t remember what I do every single year – there could have been a big ass baby in there somewhere.

So, yeah. I was always at risk of diabetes, but it was still one of my biggest fears. I’m not so much worried about my health as I am deeply ashamed of myself and wanting to hide in the closet until everything goes away. That’ll work, right?

I’ve never been a big fan of myself, but this is .. something else. But why?

A Tragic Backstory

It’s been drilled into me since the age of 7 that the very worst thing I could ever be was fat. Then, as if to spite my mother, I was a fat child who was fat on purpose, just to make my mother look bad. You can’t love a fat child! No one would blame her if she gave me away. It didn’t matter what else I was – serial killer, bed wetter, space cowboy – as long as I was thin. But because I wasn’t thin, my other qualities didn’t matter. I haven’t been 7 for a very long time, but my mother’s words echo in the darkest corner of my mind and get louder every time I have a bad day. I’m fat, so nothing else about me amounts to a hill of beans. On my good days, I can acknowledge the positive – I can be cute, sometimes I am smart, I have a funny – but even then, underneath all of that, I am a disappointment because I am fat.

I have diabetes because I am a big fat lump who brought this on herself by sucking so hard as a person. The shame is clinging to me like plastic wrap. It’s suffocating. I can’t free myself, can’t see past the behemoth I’ve become. I’ve thrown my life away to be a statistic in US-Fucking-A Today. I deserve this.

I know better, I really do. If someone else shared this news, it would be met with sympathy and encouragement. Those don’t apply to me, though, because this is my fault.

What Comes Next?

I have a prescription to fill, and an appointment with my heart doctor tomorrow. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and need to stock the house with food I can actually eat. I had planned to clean out the pantry this weekend anyway, so I’ll toss out the snacks and carbs while I’m in there and replace them with .. I don’t know yet. Kale, I guess. Can’t wait.

I need to figure out my head and try to shake off the shame and guilt I feel. I won’t be telling my mom the news – I’m not really in the mood for an “I told you so” lecture. Keeping things from my mother is my standard MO; she doesn’t know about the heart failure (also my fault, obviously). I’m mostly really good at hiding my demons, but this particular one is not something I’ve faced before. This post is basically step one: admitting to myself (and, uh, the internet at large) that I have diabetes. The thought of sharing that – confessing it – to the world sort of makes me want to throw up and die, so I guess I’m on the right path.

Ugh. I really fucking hate kale.

stranger danger

I have pretty severe social anxiety. Meeting new people is my kryptonite; strangers are terrifying and rhyme with dangers for a reason.  They often have candy and vans with blackout windows, and according to the year 2000, every single person on the internet is a deranged sex pervert who wants to chop me up for some sweet Canadian stew. Pretty scary stuff, right? It only makes SENSE to be wary of people you’ve never met. Every one of them is chockfull of BAD DECISIONS.

I’ve been experiencing a low-grade panic attack for the last three days, and it’s getting worse. On Monday morning at 4am, I’ll be making my way to Orlando for a week of meetings. I’ll also be meeting my co-workers in meat space for the first time. We’re all staying in a couple of resort houses, so socializing will be done in a hot tub. And I’m the only woman.

So, let’s recap:

  • Flying to a country in political turmoil
  • With skin an indeterminate shade of brown
  • For work
  • To meet people for the first time
  • In a swamp
  • Filled with alligators
  • Staying in a house with 9 men I work with
  • That has a pool and a hot tub
  • So bathing suits are happening

I am legit terrified. People are scary. What if everyone hates me. What if I say really stupid things and people think I’m an idiot. What if I forget I can’t go in hot tubs and pass out and break my head open on tiles. What if Florida has no Diet Coke. What if crocodiles eat me. What if I get brave enough to put on my bathing suit and everyone laughs at me. What if people realize I have no idea what I’m doing at work and out me as a big faking faker who fakes. What if I didn’t pack enough cardigans. What if I forget my medication and revert to my original form.

WHAT IF.

I hate anxiety. It is a twat.

we are judging you

i done fucked up now

Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I completely fucked up booking routine airfare

I’m going to Orlando in March for a work event. I’ve never been to Florida, so I’m pretty stoked for a new adventure with alligators and crocodiles and David Caruso dramatically taking off sunglasses. Plus, I get to meet all my co-workers for the first time, so that won’t be stressful at all.

I was left in charge of booking my own flight to Florida because Canadian and passports and all sorts of complications. No problem, I literally book flights in my sleep – this will be simple. Fly in, go to a Waffle House, fly out. Simple!

Naturally, I had to go and make it extra complicated. I made several mistakes, a dozen or so wildly incorrect assumptions, a little of bit of hubris for good measure, and BAM I am stuck with a ticket that cost double what it should have and a whole lot of idiot guilt.

Let’s recap!

  • Find a flight that’ll work
  • Get approval
  • Wait two days to book the flight
  • Press buttons while asleep
  • Congratulations, you’re booked! oh and by the way the price went way up and it’s non refundable lol
  • Shiiiiiiit.
  • Also realize that my flight gives me 46 minutes to make my connection in Minneapolis
  • Call Expedia to sort this out
  • End up paying an additional $165 to increase my layover to 4 hours
  • Be annoyed
  • Sheepishly share flight info with team
  • Bosses freak out at how expensive I am
  • Feel terrible for being expensive
  • Start looking for ways to resolve this
  • Post to Facebook and get super helpful advice from people
  • Start researching
  • Realize I called Expedia 23 hours and 45 minutes from the time I booked my flight, so I should have been entitled to a refund on a 24-hour cancellation policy
  • Find two other important pieces of information saying a) Delta gives you until midnight the following day to get a full refund, regardless of where you purchased the ticket and b) the minimum connection time for an international flight into MSP is 1 hour, meaning I shouldn’t have been able to book a flight with a 46-minute connection time, meaning Expedia screwed up and definitely shouldn’t have charged me $165 to change the flight
  • Feel all Sherlock
  • Get my hair did
  • Submit a refund request directly with Delta
  • Call Expedia to be all “wtf dudes”
  • Get schooled:
    • Expedia’s flight cancellation policy is good until 11:30pm of the day you purchase your ticket, not 24 hours as is often assumed
    • Delta no longer honours the 24+ hour cancellation policy if you purchase the ticket from anywhere except Delta directly
    • I don’t go through customs in MSP, I go through in Vancouver – meaning the 46 minute connection time is perfectly valid, since it’s over the 40-minute MCT for that particular airport. This was a complete surprise to me, because my only frame of reference is the dozens of flights I’ve taken to and from Europe in the last five years – you ALWAYS go through customs when you land, so I assumed it was the same for the US. I haven’t flown into the US on purpose since .. 2007? It’s been a while.
  • I have two options: take the flight as is and enjoy the fine taste of the extra $165 I didn’t need to pay after all
  • Cancel the flight in exchange for a voucher that:
    • Can only be used by me
    • Must be used within 1 year
    • Is only good on Delta
  • I thought I could live with the latter option: I’d just rebook my flight to a more expense-report-friendly flight, and stash the rest to use later!
  • Hahahahaha no
  • If you use the voucher for a flight that is less than the amount of the voucher, you forfeit the remaining balance
  • AND Delta will charge you an extra $200 because using the voucher counts as a flight change
  • In theory, I could make that work .. but I have no idea where I’d go via Delta for that much money, and in the meantime I’d be out the original cost of the flight + the cost of the replacement flight. Either option means I’m losing a ton of money because of my fuck up.

So, this sucks. I feel terrible about it for multiple reasons: that I’m gonna get fired because I’m clearly super bad at Florida and/or at the very least get in trouble and people will be stern at me; because it was such a colossally stupid situation to get myself in; because I pride myself on the details and I fucked them up so laughably badly that I’m kicking myself with pointy boots; because it’s going to cost a ton of money that I didn’t need to spend; etc etc etc. Last night was a bad night. There were tears of frustration and quasi-illogical worry. I AM SAD.

On the plus side, my hair is hella cute.

p1150126

i do not handle failure well

we are not amused

I leave for London in two days. Naturally, I woke up this morning with a painful chest cough. I’ve managed to avoid Ed’s mega-cold and all other seasonal ailments so far, but it seems fate was saving something special for me to launch at the worst possible time. Uncool, germs. Imma fight you.

Lately, I’ve been thirsty a lot and also craving salt. As part of my resolution to Adult Better, I’ve been drinking a lot of water. My heart medication (now there’s a phrase that makes you sound 80 years old) makes me pee 95 times a day, so I drink a lot of water to make sure I don’t get dehydrated. I still drink Diet Coke like it’s going out of style, but when I’m at home (which is 98% of the time because outside is cold and there are wolves) I’ll switch to water around noon and basically don’t stop drinking. That’s good, right? Water is life! Hydration is bliss! I’m a glowing, salad-laughing, yoga-pant-clad everywoman! Except .. well, like most other things in my life, I overdo it. I researched my symptoms, and according to the internet I’m all outta electrolytes (and also have 14 cancers). It all fits – the non-stop water craving, the salt lick I installed in my office, the severe and terrible muscle spasms I’ve experienced, the occasional nausea, etc. I am bad at water. I can’t even do healthy right.

I’m not about to start chugging Gatorade like I’m some sort of sponsored sport-man, so I guess this is one more thing I have to be aware of. I recently spoke to my heart doc to ask if I still had to take a mountain of meds each day (including my most-loathed medication, the Minty Shit Pill), and he wants me to keep on keeping on until at least June. When I get back from my travels, I’ll probably use Medeo to see if I can get some prescription-strength Tang or something, or at least have my kidneys checked to find out why they’re not pulling their weight around here.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to flush this stupid cough/sinus thing out of my system (by drinking tons of water). I am pretty choked about this new development, because I LEAVE IN TWO DAYS. Did I mention that in large enough letters yet? TWO DAYS. I don’t have TIME for this bullshit.

what time is it? NOT SICK TIME

what time is it? NOT SICK TIME

lonely in advance

I’m going to London next week, for two weeks. I’ll be working for half the trip, and exploring the city/revisiting favourites the rest of the time. As you can probably imagine, I am excited. I may already be packed, even. I could leave now!

As excited as I am (don’t let the lack of exclamation points fool you), I am presently allowing myself to wallow in the sads. I figure if I can get the sads out of the way now, when I’m in London I’ll have nothing but happy excited silly times because frankly that is what I do best.

Here’s why the sads: I’m going to be lonely in London. I’ve realized that while I love exploring and seeing things and experiencing Diet Coke in different time zones, it’s a thousand times better to do those things (and more) with someone else. I asked Ed if he would come with me for even part of this trip, and he didn’t want to – rumour has it he wants the alone time so he can have affairs – so I’m going to be all by my lonesome and that is making me sad. I am a selfish creature: I want to have excellent adventures, but I want to have someone to share them with. I have the “someone” part down, but he’s not interested in accompanying me (for a variety of reasons). I reluctantly get it – not everyone is cut out to hop on a plane for 9 hours to go to a repeat destination just because they weren’t kidding when they said they didn’t want to be in North America on inauguration day – but I’m still sad about it.

Clearly I’m just going to have to save more money between trips, and pay someone to be my travel friend.

Okay, off to be sad for a bit. I’ve got a few more days to be sad, and then I will make a list of Things I want to Do while Adventuring.

happy place

happy place

 

the 73 elephants in the room

First, the formalities: Happy New Year, everyone! 2016 was rough, and not all of us made it. I hope 2017 brings you nothing but happiness, love, and no pants!

Okay, hi. I set up several goals-not-resolutions for myself for 2017. Most of these are fairly obvious: travel more, don’t wear pants, continue not going A2M – but I’m also hoping to write more this year. I spent Q4 2016 in a dank haze, and I’m using the new year to throw off the shackles of apathy and get back into the game (the game in this case is more words on the internet). I’m off to a bad start, as I had excellent intentions of writing yesterday .. but by the time we got home from the traditional NYE party in Seattle, I was too tired to do more than be horizontal and weighed down by cats. It was lovely, but warm. 33 pounds of cat is a lot of potato.

This isn’t just a generic “gonna write more, pinky swear” post – I actually have something to get off my (ample, fabulous) chest: internet, I have a problem. I have a problem with collections.

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately (because what else can you do when you are pinned down and also outside there is snow) and thinking about stuff – literally, as in all the stuff in my house. With the exception of the appliances, Ed, and myself, there is not a single one of anything in here: every single thing I own is multiplied far beyond what any one person actually needs. Now, some of this is basically a hobby: it’s fun to collect things and have awesome stuff everywhere you look. Most people have a collection of one or two things they’re really into: model cars, rare import CDs, human teeth, fancy spoons that are not meant to be used for snorting coke, etc. It’s fun! It’s a hobby! It’s a problem!

I do not regret any of my collections. Unfortunately, that’s the problem: I collect collections. If I like something, I have to have it ALL. I have to amass as much as possible of whatever it is that I like. It goes far beyond my Optimus Prime collection or my wall of pop culture figures, too. It’s literally everything, and it can be traced to a specific period in my life when I was really into that thing. Here are just a few of the things I have way too fucking much of because I was super into it and started a collection without being aware of what I was doing:

  • Yarn and Fabric: I went mad for knitting and sewing at two different periods in my life. I have a huge stash of fabric that I’ll probably never use now, because I don’t have anywhere to sew (or the patience, or the skill)
  • Cosmetics: when I decided to start wearing makeup, I binged. There is enough makeup in my bathroom to give an army of makeovers. It’s more than I’ll ever use in my lifetime, especially since my favourites keep evolving (and when I like a product, I stockpile it)
  • Lapel Pins: I like these right now, so I have dozens of them on my wall
  • Technology: I have a stack of tablets and devices on my desk. A literal stack. Why? Why do I have all these?
  • Nintendo DS Games: I used to buy almost every DS game that was released. There’s a large collection of games in a box in the living room.
  • Bags: Not just purses, either: small wallets, makeup bags, clutches – lots of them.
  • Hello Kitty phone charms: I have a lockbox full of these that probably number in the hundreds
  • LEGO: I have hundreds of minifigs, because I liked minifigs for a long time. Even now I still buy them, because I love blind items (and a small part of me really wants to have 17 different LEGO pirates on hand)
  • Wrap Bracelets: I only have two wrists. I probably didn’t need 25 of these.
  • Portable Batteries: I like always having power, so now I have power upon power upon fire hazards.

This is just the stuff I can see in my room; there’s more in the house. I have a lot of dresses. I don’t need to buy every pretty dress I see, but I do. Food? Yep. Remember my chocolate hoarding? That’s part of it. In fact, the food collecting is even more problematic, because it doesn’t get eaten. I’ve got a half dozen bars I brought home from the UK several trips ago in the freezer, just in case there’s a shortbread emergency. YOU NEVER KNOW (right mom?).

It’s kind of eye-opening to realize the extent of my problem. I’m sure it was obvious to others, but I’m kind of slow sometimes. And I hate to admit it, but I take after my mother in this. She doesn’t collect, but she’s a bargain hunter: if something is on sale, she’ll buy 80 of them because it was a good deal. Sometimes it’s handy to have that much toilet paper on hand, but when it starts piling up in the living room and blocking the TV, it’s probably a problem.

So, now that I know I have a problem and being pretty confident that I am not trying to now collect problems, what am I going to do about it?

This isn’t any sort of resolution or anything, because the first step in all of this is simply being aware of what I’m doing. I already know the why, so now we concentrate on stemming the tide. There are some things I can get rid of by donating or recycling. I’m not going to disassemble my collections, but I won’t be adding to them (or starting new ones) if I can help it. I’ll never be any sort of crazy minimalist, but I can at least make things easier to manage for myself (and probably relieve Ed of that 15-year-long headache he has when he thinks about all of the shit I own).

There’s a trendy Japanese method of decluttering that has you hold each item and, if it no longer brings you joy, discarding it. It’s a noble idea, but one that won’t work for me for several reasons:

  • Even if I hold each item for just one second to determine joy, the sheer volume of stuff in my house makes it a 50-year task
  • I’m ridiculous, and almost everything brings me joy
  • I would inevitably start discarding things that should probably be kept. “Property taxes do not bring me joy. Throw it out! I don’t like it when Ed wears pants. Out they go! The stove brings me no joy BE GONE!”

I can do this, though. Perhaps I will collect free space and empty drawers.