Angst Girl

Now With 25% More Angst!

Exercise

Gym

Let’s be clear about this: I HATE to exercise. Hate. It. I sweat a lot, I get out of breath easily, and it’s just not fun. That being said, I have a big European trip coming up in October and I’ve got to be able to fit my fat ass in the airline seats.

Before I had gastric bypass surgery, I was too heavy to move around very much so I lived a pretty sedentary life. That combined with a long recovery from surgery and it meant that my leg muscles atrophied and it is now difficult to walk or stand for very long. Even though I’ve lost about 160 pounds in the last year, I still struggle with leg weakness. I was in physical therapy for a while but insurance only covers that for a limited amount of time. So now I’m on my own to get motivated to get out there and walk to build my stamina and strengthen my leg muscles. Unfortunately, motivation is not my strong suit. And getting motivated to exercise? Forgetaboutit.

Once I build up some more stamina, I’m planning on joining Curves gym. I like the idea of working out with only women and I also like circuit training so it seems like a good fit for me. Then all I’ll have to do is get motivated to go to the gym! I would like to lose another 150 pounds before the trip but I know that’s a lofty goal. I’m going to shoot for it but won’t beat myself up if I don’t quite make it. One thing that’s working against me is hypothyroidism (my thyroid doesn’t secrete enough thyroid hormone). Even though I’m on replacement therapy (a daily pill), it’s still an uphill battle to lose weight because the thyroid plays a key role in metabolism.

I’ve pretty much plateaued at 360 pounds and I know that it’s going to take a lot of movement to get back on the losing train. The weather has finally kind of squared away here and we’ve had some nice days so I have no excuse to not get out and walk. And my darling fur baby, Daisy, needs some exercise, too. It’s currently 1:47 AM so I’m not going to go out and walk right now, but I have my shoes by the door ready for tomorrow!

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Self Worth

So I wrote this book and self-published it on Amazon (see the sidebar to the right). I enjoyed the writing process, even though it brought up some bad memories, and now it’s out there in the world. Of course I want people to read it and like it but I don’t have delusions that it will make it to the bestseller list or anything. That being said, I’m struggling a little with equating sales to success.

On Amazon I can see how many people have bought the book and Kindle versions. I check it every day. Every day! It’s certainly not because I think I’m going to get rich off it because I only make a little over $2.00 per sale. No, I think I’m looking for validation which is a tricky thing. It’s like with this blog. I want people to read it and leave a little comment and if that doesn’t happen I start second-guessing myself and my writing.

With both the blog and the book, I try not to equate readers with success but it’s difficult for me, someone who looks to others for self worth. I know I’m not supposed to do that and it’s something I struggle with every day. I’m working on caring less about what other people think of me but it’s definitely a work in progress.

But that still leaves me here, stalking Amazon.com and my blog, waiting for validation.

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The Nameless Blog Post

When I restarted this blog, I promised myself I would post on a regular basis so here I am. I’m not feeling particularly inspired, however, so I’ll just start and see where this leads. Want to come on my journey with me? Ok, let’s go!

I’m having trouble with iTunes and it’s really pissing me off. I opened the program the other day and about 98% of my music was gone. Poof! I imported all my music again only to have it disappear again the next day. I went to Apple support and they gave me a case ID and told me to call them. I called and the guy said he couldn’t help me that I would have to contact Apple store support. I explained that it wasn’t just the purchased music that disappeared, it was also the music I imported from all my CDs. He then offered to get me to tech support but said they would charge me $19 to troubleshoot it for me. What?! Why the hell would I pay money to have them troubleshoot their own fucking program? I didn’t make any changes to my computer recently and didn’t add any software so one can assume it’s a glitch with their program. Very frustrating. I imported all my music AGAIN so let’s see what happens next.

I just found again a blog that I used to enjoy reading and I’m so glad I did. Here’s the link to Kizz and Tell. I must warn you , however, that it is mature content. Kizz also writes another blog I follow: 117 Hudson. I also found another blog from my past, The Blue Door. You see, when I stopped writing this blog I also stopped visiting the blogs I used to read. Not really sure why, I just got a little tired of blogs for a while. It had nothing to do with their content because they’re both good writers, I just pooped out on them. But I found them again and I’m so glad I did. It’s like running into old friends.

So I had gastric bypass surgery a year ago and there are certain dietary restriction: no tomatoes (really it’s the seeds I can’t eat but have you ever tried removing the seeds from a slice of tomato? Not easy), no sugar, no bread, no rice, no pasta, no cucumber seeds (luckily those are much easier to remove), no deep fried foods, and no pop. I’m pretty good about sticking to the dietary requirements but I’ve had a craving for Chinese food for a while now so last night I went to the Eggroll House and ordered Ming’s beef. It’s the only dish I really like and it’s delicious. But it’s kind of fatty and is over rice so definitely not on the old diet. But I ate it anyway and I paid for it. I had VERY uncomfortable feelings in my gut and ended up vomiting a couple times. The vomiting wasn’t so bad because that alleviated the pain in my stomach, but that pain was a doozy. Although I really like it, I won’t be eating that again. It doesn’t taste good enough to put up with the side effects.

That’s about all from me for today. I ended up having a little more to say than I thought. Yuzzah!

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This and That

People

Yesterday I had a meeting with some people from a local dog rescue organization about writing a monthly newsletter for them. We met at 2:30 and were finished at about 4:00. How much of that time was spent talking about the newsletter? About 10 minutes at the most. I have a very low tolerance for people wasting my time and I don’t have much to go on as far as what they want for content. Grrr. It amazes me that they would turn over something that I consider fairly important to someone they don’t know. I mean, I know one of the people involved in the organization somewhat, but not that well. Not well enough for her to trust me with their newsletter in my opinion. I mean, I know I’ll do a good job because I know what my skills are. But they don’t know if I can write and if I have adequate grammar and proof-reading abilities. Amazing. [shakes head]

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On Friday I was informed by my pharmacy that my doctor wasn’t going to renew my thyroid medication because I needed to have a lab done first. Sigh. I’m on a schedule of having one lab done a year and I just had a lab done three months ago. Apparently they lost it because it’s not in their records. They did, however, find the lab I had done three months before that and it was a little out of whack. Nice to know that I’ve been on the wrong dose for six months. Generally speaking, I don’t like doctors or their nurses. I remember when you used to actually be able to talk directly to your doctor. Now it’s like getting into Fort Knox just to talk to the NURSE of the doctor. Very frustrating.

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A guy I sort of dated for a brief time decades ago (wow, I’m getting old) got in contact with me via Facebook over the weekend. He said he had thought about me from time to time over the years and wondered how I was doing. First of all, I was amazed he even remembered my name. Secondly, it surprised me that he thought about me. I mean, not that he had constant thoughts of me but to even have fleeting thoughts surprised me. It just goes to show how you can impact a person without even realizing it. I often sell myself short and assume I have no influence over the people around me. But this showed me that I can make a lasting impression, and a good one at that. I have a very nice memory of a picnic with him. We had some snacks and kissed and caressed each other. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time. I don’t really remember why we stopped seeing each other but it was nothing drastic. Just one of those things, I suppose.

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Well, I suppose I should get to work on the newsletter. I committed to getting the first issue out on April 15th. Not sure what the content is going to be, but I’m sure I’ll figure out something.

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Now for Something Completely Different

tattoos

 

First of all, spring has finally sprung around here! It was 69 (he, he) today and it’s supposed to be above 45 all week. Yippee! I’m actually not a big fan of spring because it smells like dirt, but this year it’s a welcome reprieve from winter.

With the nicer weather comes shorts and short sleeves so some of those expensive tattoos can be seen again. I have six tattoos currently, but am planning on getting one or two more this fall. You see, I’m taking a huge trip to Europe in October and I’m so excited I can hardly sit still. A friend and I will be flying into London then we’re transported to Oxford, England for a few days there. After that we drive to Paris where we spend a couple days. Then it’s on to Germany where we’ll board a boat and go sailing on the river through Germany for about seven days. We end up in Prague for four days and then we’ll fly home via Amsterdam. It’s sure to be an awesome trip! I’ve never been out of the US so this is quite an adventure for me. We are being very good about doing research and planning transportation and which sites we want to see. We are even paying for tickets for sites now so we won’t have the expense all at once.

One thing we’re planning on is getting tattoos on our last night in Prague. I’m going to get the Eiffel Tower on the top of my left foot and probably a little red, double-decker bus somewhere. My friend is not sure quite yet what she’s going to get. For me it was definitely true that once I got one tattoo, I wanted more and more. I try to be careful to not get too many that are readily seen because that can affect your ability to get a job. And my tattoos are mostly cartoons rather than scary or gory. I think it will be really cool to have a memento of the trip that I carry with me wherever I go.

 

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Privacy

When writing your life story, how much privacy do you owe to the other people who show up in your story? I included in my book a retelling of an incident of sexual abuse that occurred in my childhood. I did not name the abuser or tell what relation that person may or may not be to me. But anyone who knows me very well can probably tell who the abuser was. I thought long and hard about how much to write about the incident, but ultimately I decided it was not my job to protect him and writing about the abuse was an integral part of my story.

When I wrote about the abuse I was careful to relay the facts as I recall them and my own feelings. I did not try to explain his actions or assign feelings to him. That is HIS story, not mine. I was not going to vilify him but I wasn’t going to sugar-coat it either. I had no reason to name him so I didn’t. But it was important to me to include the abuse in my book because it is one element that created the person I am today. I have struggled with the aftermath of the abuse for my entire life and to leave that out of a memoir would mean leaving out a large chunk of the story.

I found out from a relative that he read an excerpt of my book online. That’s all he said. I quickly went to Amazon.com to see what exactly is included in the excerpt they chose for the site. There is a reference to the abuse on the website. My guess is he’s NOT going to buy the book. But I wonder what he thinks of it all? Does he see himself as a victim now that his secret is kind of out in the open? Has he even admitted to himself that I was writing about him?

I’ve never been able to confront my abuser. We have a somewhat hesitant relationship that is sustained solely by birthday and Christmas cards and I have no desire to be any closer to him than that. I am afraid to talk to him about this and, I suspect, for us it’s better left unsaid. But I could not write a memoir without writing about the abuse. How he chooses to react to it is his concern, not mine.

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Kind Hearted Woman

I watched a documentary on PBS Monday and Tuesday entitled “Kind Hearted Woman” which followed a Native American family for two years. The family consisted of the mother, a preteen girl, and a boy a couple years younger than the daughter. It was a particularly difficult time in their lives because the mother just got out of rehab for alcohol abuse and she was fighting her ex-husband for custody of the children.

The mother had suffered from sexual and physical abuse in her childhood and she was determined to get a degree in social work so that she could help families and children who are facing the same difficulties. It was a very difficult documentary to watch because she talked openly about her struggles. The worst part, however, was when the daughter told her mother that her father had touched her inappropriately. This was all caught on camera. First I thought she was such a strong girl to tell her mother with all the camera crew people in the room. Then I started getting angry that the mother even put her in that situation. Not that the mother could know what was going to happen in the future when she agreed to appear in the film, but couldn’t she have seen where the conversation was heading and kicked out the camera crew?

The more I think about the film, the more angry I get at the mother for putting the children through the added drama of a camera crew following them around. Their world was still spinning from being separated from their mother while she was in rehab. They were still trying to get used to the whole divorce situation. The mother had also been in a relationship with a man who had beat her and her daughter, especially, was traumatized by that. Why would it occur to you, with all this going on, to agree to let a documentary film crew follow you around for two years? It just seemed a cruel thing to do to your young children. To be fair, the children didn’t seem to be too fazed by the ever-present cameras but it still had to put some strange stress on them.

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Writing

It’s taken me years to write my book. I would work on it for a little while then put it away for a very long time. When I started it I was still in the deep throes of depression so motivation was difficult for me. Now that I’m on the proper medication, it was easier for me to stay motivated and get it finished. It was difficult, however, to revisit those times.

My mother asked me if the book was difficult to write since it dealt with so many bad times in my life. I did cry while writing parts of the book and, because depression messes with your memory, it was even difficult to recall the order of events. But overall it was a catharsis and I’m so glad I did it even if it’s not widely read.

The final chapter was the best for me to write because it allowed me to take stock of where I’m at and how far I’ve come. I’m a better person today than in my past and it was important for me to acknowledge that. I’m still a work in progress, of course, as we all are but I have to give myself credit for living through what I have and coming out stronger on the other side.

I took a creative memoir course in graduate school and that’s where I really started getting excited about finishing my book. It took many years after that to actually finish it but it’s where I started to get positive feedback about my writing. I highly recommend sitting down and writing out your life story. It doesn’t have to be good and you don’t have to make it public if you don’t want to. But the act of writing down your experiences and history really can help you take stock of your life and your character. It highlights your strengths and accomplishments and also shows where there can be improvement. If you do want to publish the book, it’s very easy to do it on Amazon.com and you still retain the rights so if it’s a blockbuster and a traditional publisher wants to buy it that is still an option.

I don’t expect a large number of people to read my book but I hope that it can help those who do read it. When I was really depressed I read a book, You Are Not Alone, that really helped me because it allowed me to see that others had some of the same experiences and feelings I did. It is a collection of short personal glimpses into their experiences with mental illnesses. I found kindred spirits in people I didn’t even know and it helped me to feel a little more “normal.” I highly recommend the book for people who are suffering from mental illness and the people who love them. I would be very happy if my book did even half as much for someone else as You Are Not Alone did for me.

So sit down and write your story. It doesn’t have to be in the form of a book. Start a journal if that is more comfortable. I was never good at committing to regular writing so sitting down and writing it all out at once was a better path for me. Even if writing isn’t your thing, I encourage you to use it as a way to reflect on your life and also look to the future.

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