Good Day So Far

Today has been amazing. It started with some cuddles with Craig when he got home from his mid.

After that I jumped in the shower and enjoyed the steam and clean feel. Sometimes I don’t feel well enough to shower, so that made me happy.

Afterward I started some laundry, mopped the floors, did the dishes, took out the recycling, took out the trash, and ran the roomba.

I then did some photography experiments.

I used text and video to teach Angelica a lesson about volcanoes.

I spent time in a devotional.

Completely unrelated, I enjoyed part of a volume of erotic poetry.

Then, to top a perfect morning off, I got to spend time catching up with my friend L over the phone.

Such a successful morning! I hope to feel this good and be this productive the rest of the day.

Happy Fat Girl

Last summer I lost 50 pounds. Then the weight loss stalled. Gradually I got more and more sick of all the calorie restrictions. Sometimes I want chip and dip followed by cake for dessert. So sue me.

Gradually I loosened my rules – and the weight began pouring back over me like caramel on a sundae (now I want a sundae).

At this point I am not sure what direction to take things. If I go back to strictness and self control I can go back to the weight I was and then lower. Wearing smaller clothes is nice. The way people treat you when you are thinner is great.

At the same time, I really enjoy food and I miss eating what I want when I want. My husband likes me this way and doesn’t want me to diet. I diet to please our small society, but I like food. My husband loves me at this weight. Who am I trying to please?

At this point I am really on the fence. I might start dieting strictly again – 1000 calories a day or less. Painting can provide a distraction again to keep my hands busy. I have been painting this whole time anyway, but I could alter my focus. Set daily goals. Just drink water.

But I really want coke and pizza right now, my husband wants me, and I am happy. Not sure what to do.

Valentine’s Day

Today Craig took me to my fabric paradise! He bought me two kinds of sheer cloth to put over my camera as screens. I can’t wait to experiment with that idea! He also got me three pieces of regular cloth with spectacular designs. Rainbow birds, iridescent autumn leaves, and colorful test tubes and beakers. I will use them as backgrounds for different book photos, as painting backgrounds, as little images to add to mixed media stuff, and who knows what else!

We started our special Valentine’s date by going to Steak N’ Shake. Afterward we went to the mall, and then to Coldstone for dessert. It was a lovely day. We decided to do our special Valentine’s Day date today instead of on the actual holiday because of crowds. Occasionally we will go out on the 14th if we can go in the morning or early in the afternoon. It’s usually still crowded then but not as bad. But Valentine’s Day fell on a Thursday and our babysitter I was busy until about 3. We certainly didn’t want to deal with the crowd at that point. point. So we had a lovely day today now that the holiday is done.

However, we exchanged gifts on Valentine’s Day. Craig got me two beautiful Swarovski necklaces and a painting by a local artist. I got him an air fryer. He has been wanting one for awhile. I hope he really likes it. I was thrilled with what he gave me. All so lovely and romantic.

Dyslexia

We got Angelica’s scores and evaluation back. We don’t discuss it with the evaluator until Monday.

We were right to suspect dyslexia. I am sending a copy of the report to her tutor to keep her informed.

Now we just need to work with her. Her tutor has been using some of the Orton Gillingham methods and has had some success.

We continue to do Bible, science, history, and social studies as we go. Lots of good books and videos!

Pure Tiredness

I read Angelica an adorable story called, “Love Monster.” I saw it from across the aisle at Target and knew immediately that we had to have it. We sort of have a monster theme in our family, and this just looks like the cutest book.

Now I am so tired. The pain killer for my jaw is making me tired, and worst of all I am almost out of it. I am still laying that side of my face on a heating pad a lot to dull the pain.

Yesterday, though I was in pain and undoubtedly way too whiny about it, I got to hang out with my friend M and our kids got to play together. It was lovely.

More later. Half asleel.

Lost a Tooth, Lots of Screaming

Last night Craig and I went to the Spider-Man movie he wanted to see on a date. I bit into a Sour Patch Kid while the movie was going and I suddenly felt two hard things. My crown and piece of real tooth had just popped out of my mouth. The hole was so deep on one side that it went below my gum line. It was night and I had to find an emergency dentist to go to.

Apparently what happened is this. When the dentist put my crown on a couple of years ago, he put it on top of a cavity. The dentist last night said, you have a cavity, and at first I thought that he meant the real tooth that was around the edge and was exposed to food and air. I thought I just hadn’t brushed it well enough. In actuality he said, the cavity was in the middle of the tooth and was sealed in by the crown. He said that the dentist who put the crown in put it on top of decaying tooth. They didn’t take care of a cavity that was in there. They just put a crown on a tooth that was decaying. Finally the tooth became so decayed and weak that it couldn’t hold the crown on anymore or the growth around it. So it just came off. The dentist who put my crown on stuck it on top of a cavity and the tooth was just rotting under there day by day ever since. He said every last bit was rotted inside all the way down to the very thinnest bottom layer. It was not salvageable at all. He had to extract it. Some of it was so soft, but some of it was extremely brittle and he was jerking on and pressing on and yanking my jaw so much that I thought he might dislocate it.

When he was going at it with the drill the stench was horrendous. I know that you usually smell burning bone when they have to drill into your teeth like that. I’ve had cavities before, and a root canal, so of course this was not my first time smelling burning tooth. But there was another horrible smelling thing that made it hard to breathe. I asked what it was and they said it was the smell of the bacteria in the cavity. The rot. I could have passed out. It was horrendous.

The whole thing was hard. To start with I have a fear of the injection needles that they use to put the novocaine in. It’s been getting worse and worse over the years. I had Klonopin with me and I took some to help with the anxiety and fear. It did help, but I was still so panicked that I screamed during all the injections. When it was done and I managed to calm down and breathe I told him I was glad I at least had the Klonopin because that helped. They raised their eyebrows and said really? But it would have been worse if I hadn’t had the Klonopin. I was trying to scream quietly, since Angelica was in the waiting room with Craig at that point and I don’t want her to develop a fear of the dentist. But apparently she did hear some of the screaming even though I was way in the back. I think I’ve reached the point where when I make normal dental appointments I need to go to one of those places that will put you under. That’s going to be expensive. But I took double klonopin and I was still hyperventilating and screaming. Last night though there just wasn’t an option to wait find one of those dentists who puts people under though. The hole was bad and it had to be plugged immediately. They put a bone graft in to hold me over until I go to an oral surgeon after I do some healing.

I have to get an implant tooth. I’m really dreading this. It will happen over the next few months. And I know that for that procedure at least he said that they cannot put me out because sometimes when they drill to screw the fake tooth in they accidentally drill into the nerve that runs along the jaw, so they need you to be awake so that if they hit the nerve you can raise your hand and yell so that they don’t drill any further. But to make you at least a little less miserable they do give you Novocain and part of your mouth, which means at the very least one more time I have to have one of those needles come at me. My heart is absolutely racing at the thought. Part of it of course is the pain. I’m a sissy wimp and when they stick that needle all the way in down deep and you feel it hit, that really hurts. Plus I am considered hard to numb, so they have to stick a lot of needles and most of the time and inject a lot of the novocaine before I am numb enough for them to do what they need to do. But part of it is not the pain at all. It’s just the absolute Panic of seeing the needle there and knowing it is there and feeling a piece of metal being inserted into me like that. Part of it really isn’t the pain it’s just what’s going on. It’s the act of having a needle inserted into me. If they could get rid of the pain that would help, but I would probably still be doing some screaming and panicking just because of what’s going on. It’s an injection. Injections give me panic attacks.

Not a great night. But I am grateful to my husband for all his care. We got home late and he was out at 11:30 picking up my pain medicine and antibiotic. He made me comfortable with a warm pad. He woke me up for my medicines. When I couldn’t sleep for a long time to begin with because of the pain he just held me. I remember moaning and crying. It was a rough night. And somewhere in the middle of all that he found the time to clean my ankle brace for me because it really needed to be cleaned before I could wear it again and in the midst of pain drugs and pain and exhaustion I wasn’t up to the task of cleaning it. He was up so late that he went to bed at 3 this afternoon to prepare for his morning shift. I am trying to take the pain medicine on time so that I don’t lapse. I love Craig. I am thankful for him.

Incredible Cloth Planet

Our wonderful babysitter came today to take care of Angelica and give me a break. I used the day creatively, and I have discovered a new favorite place.

I decided to look up local fabric stores because I wanted a transparent fabric to use as a screen over my camera lens. It’s probably a silly idea but I really want to experiment with some different things and that’s one of the things I want to try. I found a local store on the other end of town and I decided to give it a shot. The place was magical! Fabric prints I had never even imagined. Beautiful buttons. Sequins and other embellishments. Sheer curtains that I can use a screens. Solid cloth that will make excellent backgrounds for still life and book photos. I cannot sew or quilt but this place was Heaven.

I wanted to buy a few things to bring back to the house and play around with, but it is a store owned by an older couple. I was wandering down the aisles in joyful shock when the old gentleman came and said that they had shut down their computers and we’re closing so did I need anything. I went out to the car and found out it was 15 minutes before they were supposed to close. They just decided to close up shop early! I will have to go back. I’ve never seen such an amazing fabric collection. I am used to big chain stores. This out does those by a long shot.

I am so pleased to have found some place new that I like to go, and I got some pictures while I was there. That isn’t the only creative thing I did though. I tried out a park on the north side of town that is supposed to have beautiful ponds and beautiful views. I got a few good pictures, but the north side of town is still coated in snow and driving through the park just wasn’t safe. I couldn’t even figure out where the ponds were. I’m happy for the few photos I got but I am definitely going to have to come back in better weather. That was too rough to be driving around in. Snow, ice, mud, gravel. Nothing paved.

While at home I decided to start altering photographs that I have had printed. I’ve been using watercolor and alcohol ink. I might use some acrylic paints or a lighter later this week. I’ve been altering them and then scanning them to my phone. I don’t know if any of them are turning out well but it’s interesting to do.

Overwhelmed

I took Angelica to speech this morning. Now we are at tutoring. I cannot take one more thing. I almost cried in front of Angelica’s speech therapist and the office ladies because they said I might need to take Angelica back to a primary care doctor to get her OT referral to go through. The idea of one more place to go and more people to deal with is just so much right now.

On top of that the UMW newsletter needs to get run today. I couldn’t even finish the document myself. I had a panic attack. Craig is taking me to church to run all the copies today when he gets home from work. I feel a huge weight on my chest just thinking of the machines and all the reams of paper and the noise.

To make matters worse, J, the nice lady who takes care of the mailing, wants to show up to meet me. We still haven’t met. I really want to meet her. We have spoken on the phone before and she sounded lovely. I have been meaning to ask her out to lunch to get to know her. But the idea of socializing with a stranger, of having to see yet another person…more pressure. I thought I would maybe be well enough today to make it work, but when I started crying at the speech therapy office because I was told I would have to get in touch with a doctor’s office I began to question that.

I don’t want to be rude but I cannot handle anything else right now.

It is so important to be involved at church. We should all commit ourselves and our time. But when I volunteered to be editor I was in a medication combination that worked (for the first time in my life) and I had the hope it would keep working. Yet here I am with the February issue due and it makes me cry. Craig is helping me, but in a few months his work schedule changes and I won’t have help. I am panicking. This is the worst I have ever been when the Torch is due, but this is not the first time I have struggled with depression or mania or anxiety and I have needed to put an issue out.

It is a sign of inner strength to do the work and get a good issue out regardless of how I feel or if my meds are working. I need to rise to the occasion. I am just so afraid I will be without Craig’s help and they won’t get an issue out because I won’t be functional. There is no one to help me. No one at church does this but me. Sometimes it is hard to take one more thing – another responsibility, another place to be. I have all I can handle to get Angelica to her appointments and last week I couldn’t do that. Thank God Craig had some days off last week.

I need to visit my lady who is homebound.

I want to go home and curl up. I can’t. My day is nowhere near done. I want to serve God. I need to be reliable. But I am as a building that has been demolished, and all these responsibilities are taking away whatever bricks and glass I was salvaging.

Wonderful Date

Craig is a wonderful romantic. Our babysitter is back in town now, and Craig designed a lovely date for us. We started off by going to this cute little French restaurant that we like in Old Colorado City. The cheese fondue with the wonderful French bread is to die for, and the cheesecake is sublime. After that Craig surprised me by taking me to the art gallery. He knows that’s my favorite place to be, that and the bookstore. So after we went to the art gallery he took me to a used bookstore I had never gone to before. Although I like ordering new books off of Amazon, or going to Barnes & Noble, used book stores are really cool because you can find some interesting things for good prices. He bought me four new books. One is called Unequal Childhoods, and it’s a sociology book profiling kids from different families and how they turn out differently based on upbringing and their place in society. Then he bought me The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and her other book The Golden Vein, or something like that. And then there’s a nice book with profiles of each woman in the Bible including those who are unnamed.

After that we went to a few stores to shop for some new glassware as some of mine has recently been broken. Unfortunately I didn’t find anything I liked so I’m probably going to have to try my luck online. But it was fun to go shopping with Craig just the same. I even got to run into Staples really quickly. I love office supply stores! They are just wonderful! All the organizers, pens, folders, special books, notebooks, Etc.

I feel so grateful to have a husband like Craig. He supports me in everything. He always shows that he loves, desires, and respects me. He surprises me with little gifts that I like. He goes out of his way to make me happy. When we moved to Colorado and I had a hard time because I was lonely and in a new environment, he went out of his way to create a home for me. He bought church pews for me to make the formal living room complete. He bought us a brand new bedroom set with all the features I could ever dream of. He bought me a vanity. He bought a shoe tree for the hall to keep our jackets and shoes in one place. He has bought me beautiful lamps and other things that really make me feel at home. Now he has bought me a new sofa as of last month. He bought me beautiful blue rugs for the floor. There’s more that I’m not even naming. He knew that I missed home and missed the wonderful little house that we built in North Carolina. So he went out of his way to make our home in Colorado perfect for me, and he has. I am so joyous in my home every way. I am so pleased with my lovely home. It makes me tremendously happy. It’s decorated how I want, and it’s comfortable for me and I think for the whole family. It has a lot of personality in it and no shortage of wonderful things. My husband is so good to me.

Our date was so nice. I’ve been having a hard time lately, which I have been fixing by taking a double dose of my meds. I was so grateful that I perked up enough to be able to go on a date. Craig always knows how to cheer me up. It’s wonderful that we’ve been married more than six years and honestly it’s still like we got married yesterday. The spark is still there. Sometimes literally. There’s a lot of static electricity around here, so when we kiss there’s usually a little bit of a zap. I still feel like a newlywed. We know each other better now, although we knew each other pretty well then. We’ve built a life together and had a child together and had so many experiences together. All of those things change a person. But we’ve grown together rather than apart, and I’m so grateful.

After going without dates for a while it felt really good to get back in the swing of things. Usually we try to go on dates at least fairly often, but with the Christmas holidays and then with our wonderful babysitter being gone for 2 weeks after that there just wasn’t really much time. Now we want to get back to our somewhat regular dates.

My handsome, loving, patient, kind man.

Does Weight Loss Make You Happy?

I am on Instagram more often than I should be. And everywhere I turn there is some girl posting before and after pictures. The before picture is usually of some cute chubby girl with her kids or even a very heavy girl smiling with her husband. The after photo shows a very slim girl, usually in very tight clothing or just a sports bra, talking about how wild her success has been. Most of the time they are selling weight loss products or coaching services. As you read their captions you will find that when they were fat they were absolutely miserable. They had no energy for themselves or their families. Their lives were unfulfilling. They were disappointments to themselves. They failed at everything in life. Then they started hitting the gym or buying special supplements or becoming a Beachbody Coach or what have you. Now their lives are valuable and worth living, they are better mothers to their children, they are no longer failures, and they are proud of themselves. They lost 25 or 50 or 100 lb and it’s the best thing they ever did.

As my weight fluctuates I question this narrative. I lost 50 lb last year. Let me tell you, it didn’t make me any happier. I got that brief zing of pride whenever I posted a picture of myself in a smaller dress. I suppose that when you live in a society that values thinness so highly it’s natural although not right to feel that little zing. From that perspective I understand all these girls posting their weight loss photos on Instagram. But my life has been no happier. The thing is, my life wasn’t miserable before. I was already a good mother with energy for my child. I do wish I was a more energetic person in general, but losing 50 lbs didn’t make me more energetic. I didn’t feel like a failure when I weighed over 200 lb. Not usually. And when I did have moments where maybe I looked over my life and felt like I could have done more or been doing more, it had nothing to do with the fact that I was fat. My life was extremely fulfilling. I had my family and my writing.

If losing 50 pounds was the best thing I’ve ever done, then maybe I really should reconsider my life and what I’ve done with it. After losing 50 lbs I can honestly say I’m the same person living the same life. If anything I have been less happy since losing the weight. Wearing smaller clothes is nice for sure. It gives you way more options when you go shopping, and what girl doesn’t want that? But all the good things in my life that were there before are still here, thank God, and the negative things are still here also. I don’t really feel proud of losing the weight. And in fact if it hadn’t been for all the societal pressure I felt to do it I never would have lost it. I was fine with myself and my husband was happy with me. And now that I have lost the weight I am under tremendous pressure to at least maintain it and honestly to lose more weight. It’s frustrating. I miss eating. This is not fun. I try to remember that the benefits outweigh the negatives, but sometimes they honestly don’t.

There is this pervasive stereotype about fat people that their lives revolve around food. Well I don’t speak for everybody obviously, but I can honestly tell you that when I was fat my life didn’t revolve around food at all. When I wanted it I had it and I just didn’t give it a second thought. I didn’t run around from hour to hour thinking about food. Since starting the diet however, food is all I think about. Part of this is simply because whenever you can’t have something or you’re not supposed to think about it, it’s automatically what you think about. Part of it’s because I have to go hungry. And when you’re hungry you think about food. And part of it is because maintaining a strict diet requires a lot of thought. You get up in the morning and want to reach for a granola bar. But then you have to think about the fact that you can’t and what will happen to you on the scale if you do. You sit down to have pizza for lunch with your husband and you can’t dig in. Instead you have to get on MyFitnessPal and calculate the number of calories from a slice of pizza and the number of calories from your drink and add that up and sit there and think about the fact that you won’t be able to have very much, or anything at all, for dinner once you have this pizza lunch with your husband. Your husband spends good money thinking up a nice date to a good restaurant and when you get there you have to focus on the salad or make sure you don’t eat more than a quarter or half of the food that you’re given. It’s disappointing because you want food and you’re supposed to be out having fun, and of course it’s an utter waste of money if you sit there pretending to be some natural waif and just leave the food on your plate. They don’t give you a discount for the uneaten food. The truth is, unless you’re one of those people who’s extremely athletic and loves the gym, and you genuinely love things like salad and yogurt, in order to lose weight you are going to have to think an awful lot about food. Especially to lose as much weight as I have. And realistically if you are one of those athletic, gym loving people who genuinely enjoys a plate of celery you probably wouldn’t be fat to begin with.

This is where maintaining your weight comes in. But seriously, it’s miserable. Maybe I need to give it more time. I don’t know. But I have not reached the point where I naturally only want one slice of pizza. Maybe this is a self control issue. I guess you could look at it that way. When I was younger and had an eating disorder I was very good at restricting calories. I had the problem I am currently having, which is that all I could think about was food, but I was so strict and regimented. And then later in my twenties when I healed at least somewhat I ate whatever I wanted. Moderation is not my strong suit with my personality. I just hate having to be so aware of what I eat. It takes up headspace. I would rather be thinking about art or poetry or even imagining outer space than thinking about the calorie content of a slice of toast. On top of that, between the meds I am on and some other medical issues and what have you, I have found that unless I keep at or very close to 1,000 calories a day I gain weight. I don’t even maintain weight. I actually gain weight. At first the payoff for this, smaller clothing, seemed worth the effort. But sometimes it just feels like a bunch of crap. If I can get to a point where eating very little is a natural state for me then maybe that will be different. But it hasn’t come yet and it has been months. I don’t want to be 80 years old and look back over my life and realize I spent 50% of my time thinking about what food I could or could not eat.

It doesn’t help that I never lost weight for myself, truly. I put on a dress that was too tight and I felt bad that it was too tight because I knew that I was already at a dress size that everybody and their brother would tell me I shouldn’t be. But since I was happy with my life and myself I didn’t honestly start my weight-loss journey, and everybody calls losing weight a journey for some reason, for myself. I did it so that other people would be okay with me. I did it so that other people would think I was attractive, although my husband already thought I was hot and thought the diet was pointless. I did it to avoid the judgment of family members and friends. I did it so that when I walk through the mall I could hold my head high because I would look much closer to what people considered conventionally attractive and socially acceptable. I am not on this so-called journey for me. If no other people in the world existed I really wouldn’t give a f*** what my dress size was. I do it for other people and that makes it much harder to stick with. It’s not something I enjoy or that I feel like I’m truly benefiting from. Like I said, wearing smaller clothes does make shopping way easier and way more fun. But I only buy clothing a few times a year. And if I explored more sites that have plus size clothing and I liked them, and other people wouldn’t give me a hard time or look at me like I’m some sort of alien, I really wouldn’t care. I’m giving up food that I like and giving a completely boring subject so much head space so that other people are okay with me. People that either should be okay with me anyway because in theory they should love me, or people I don’t even know. I am seriously concerned with what random men, and some very judgemental women, think about what I look like. I’m not banging any of them, obviously since I’m married and also attempting to try to follow the Bible, and yet I’m concerned with whether or not they think I look bangable. I’m trying to please a society that I know is twisted and that I tend to look down upon. Why do I care about what these people think? What have they done for me lately?

I am trying to stick with the diet for now. And even make improvements. It’s just really hard to do something when you’re not doing it for yourself. Even when you change something about yourself for someone you love it’s difficult. It’s a lot easier than doing it for people you don’t have a relationship with, but even when people do something to change themselves for someone they love it’s pretty hard. The best thing to give yourself good odds of succeeding in whatever it you’re trying to change is to care about it yourself. I’m trying to learn to care about it. At what point will this be something that I really want to do for myself? How do I get to a place where I’m doing this for me? What do I get out of this other than the approval of others? When do I reach a point where I enjoy this, or if I don’t enjoy it it becomes as natural as breathing? The only reason I care about being a smaller dress size is because I want the approval of other people. I’m afraid sometimes that to make this work for the long-term I’m going to have to find a reason to do it myself. But I cannot find one single significant thing, and only one minor thing, in my entire life that has been improved by this diet.