What does a diagnosis mean?

An answer to all my problems?! Maybe.

But I just got diagnosed with PCOS. While I haven’t done an ultrasound, my bloodwork matches up with exactly what you’d expect to see.

It was a naturopath I just started working with who made the diagnosis, so I’ll be going on a natural route instead of pharmaceuticals. Please note I’m not dogging meds, I am on some for anxiety/depression. But I’m hoping this natural route will help to solve some underlying issues rather than cover up symptoms. I’ve ignored my body for so long, it’s time to listen to what she’s tried to tell me and to finally give her what she’s been asking for all along.

So I’m on about 9 supplements. I’m supposed to be changing my diet, which is, of course, proving harder than it sounds. Low carb, no gluten, no dairy. Seems like a recipe for a sad life, if you ask me… But if it means feeling better? A happy body? Less symptoms? Maybe it could be worth it.

Funny enough, the diagnosis didn’t come with a wave of relief that I expected. Instead, I faced mourning. I have several friends who also have PCOS, and I’ve seen their struggles. I’ve especially seen the fertility struggle. Not to mention, with the diagnosis comes the ways in which I’m supposed to manage things- namely diet. As I’ve already said, I’m not thrilled with idea. So far, I’ve been able to live life on my terms, more or less. Restrictions don’t exactly thrill me. Plus, there’s idea that this will be a lifelong thing to manage. It’ll never go away, it’ll be as good or as bad as I let it be. I’m the master of my fate.

Which I have been all along, but now it feels like– My behavior will directly affect my health. My decisions will correlate with my life. It sounds so obvious, and maybe this change is a part of growing older, as well, by this diagnosis has really hit me. I’m not 22 anymore. And I’m not healthy anymore. I now hold my body in my hands, with every food choice I make.

There’s also the upside– I know that it’s not all in my head. My collection of symptoms are valid and experienced by a group of women who experience similar things. I’ve found several online communities which I hope to deeply connect with about these experiences. I have a name for the reason. And I have the hope that with good decisions, I can help walk myself to a better future. One with more energy, better mental health, a healthy cycle, and perhaps a pregnancy someday.

It’s all up to me. It feels so obvious and so shocking at the same time.

Friday nights

On Friday nights, I like to get wild. This summer, some of my Friday nights have included smoking out by my friend’s pool and laying on a friend’s living room floor allowing my face to be licked by his dog. Please note my definition of wild may be, in fact, quite tame.

But by far, my most often “wild” behavior is going onto a streaming service and watching WHATEVER IS BEING PROMOTED, WITHOUT ANY PRIOR KNOWLEDGE. Sometimes, I even watch a MOVIE (I’m a tv gal, myself).

This past Friday, I went even crazier and watched three movies. In a row. Now, tv, I can binge on forever. Movies? I can do one. Maaayyybee two. But on a Friday night? After working all week? I’m tired. Quite frankly, I go to bed early on Fridays. But I took a chance. On THREE movies.

The first was Palm Springs. I’m an Andy Samberg fan. And now a Cristen Milloti fan (The Mother from How I Met Your Mother). It was seriously a good movie that you should watch. I’d recommend going in blind, if you can.  **Next sentence is a spoiler– i keep thinking to myself now “what if today was the day you had to live over and over?” and this is maybe going to change my life**

Next was Buffaloed, with Zoey Deutch, from The Politician. Both are current favorites. I’m not sure so much about the movie. I did enjoy it. And I realized I know nothing about taxidermy. I was determined to explore more, and in fact started on the backlog of Ologies podcast episodes I’d missed out on recently, and wouldn’t you know! A taxidermy episode! I’m listening now, in bite-sized chunks on the way to and from work. I won’t lie, I’m a little grossed out, a bit like I was the other morning while tearing into a giant steak. All the muscle and sinew and ligaments and fat and previous aliveness. But I’m learning about a thing that Buffaloed made me realize I didn’t know a damn thing about and also the taxidermist from the Ologies episode creates her stuff with animals who have died of natural causes. Or like, cars. So, not trophy kills. So I guess that’s ethical.

Lastly, I watched Where’d You Go, Bernadette? since I’ve been meaning to for a while; I loved the book. The movie wasn’t exactly like the book, which I get. Different mediums, different storytellers… My main takeaway was that I liked it, that it must be so hard to live with a truly creative person (who can hardly function in reality), and that Cate Blanchet’s cheekbones are pure art. Also maybe I want to go to Antarctica? I’ve never been able to say that before. But maybe I’ll follow Cate and her cheekbones anywhere…

What movies have you watched recently? Do you ever watch things blindly? How wild do you get on Friday nights?

Bodily Betrayal

My body has started taking me hostage. My anxiety is playing along.

For the past four years, around Autumn, I start getting dizzy and maybe even fully passing out. This year, it happened early– around August. I thought I was done for the year until last Friday, when it happened again. I was with a client, to make it extra scary and embarrassing. I went to Urgent Care, just to see what my vitals were, and everything was fine!

I took the next several days off, since it was the weekend anyways. But today started my workweek. Everything looks great, I should be making some good money this week. But my very first massage appointment, this morning at 10, and I was out again.

I don’t know if my anxiety is making it worse. I don’t know why I keep passing out. I don’t know what my body is trying to tell me, and to make it all worse– I don’t have health insurance AND I’m stressed out about money.

None of it is a good combination. I feel like my body is betraying me. Not that I’m great at treating her wonderfully, but somehow, she’s decided that enough is enough I guess.

I don’t have any point to this post except that I keep wanting to write, and I keep not being able to massage, which is my only source of income right now. And I think, too, if you’re out there, and your body is betraying you right now too– I hear you. I’m sitting on my couch, worrying about bills, questioning my life, wondering what is going to happen. And I hear you.

Lately

Something just whispered in me it’s time to create your own content. But I don’t really know what that means– except it’s time for me to write. I often feel inadequate– what do I have to say? Why add another voice to the collective? Isn’t someone else out there going to say it better?

Well, probably. To be honest. But I still feel a pull to write my own things. Post my own pictures. Fill up a space with my thoughts. Maybe engage with a few people along the way.

Recently, I’ve taken a food photography class (I’ll share photos and a writeup later), I took a quick trip up to Michigan to see dear friends, I bought a camera off of my roommate, I bought MORE cookbooks, I signed up for more classes, I have become obsessed with certain podcasts, and I passed out at work again.

This all sounds like a lot to brush over in a single paragraph. But I’ll plan on elaborating on them at later dates. Suffice to say, I have a lot percolating. Maybe a lot to say? Maybe I’ll realize that the more I say, the more I’ll have to say– that I won’t run out of words or ideas like my fears tell me I will.

Today, I’m taking it easy. I’ve had a rough few weeks. But also inspiring. I’m not beating myself up for taking a day off (she tells herself firmly). I’m listening to my body, because it’s been screaming. I’m sitting on the porch and petting my cats and thinking about what’s for dinner.

How is your Wednesday?

People love lists and checkmarks and boxes. They’re useful tools for organizing and sorting– which is great, when it comes to a to-do list. It feels a lot less great, though, when they’re trying to get you to fit on their list.

Or maybe they’re not pressuring you, they just don’t understand. 

It’s hard to be the person who is living a different life. There are certain milestones that people understand– you graduate high school, then college. Maybe grad school, maybe the workforce. You get engaged, you get married. You buy the house, you have a kid. This is how you do life. Unless it’s not.

I’m not exactly outside the box, but I am single at 31 in the Bible Belt. I’m not even a career girl– last year, I left my full time job to become a massage therapist. I’m applying for grad school currently. My life doesn’t really fit any molds that people usually understand.

I’ve felt left behind. Alone. Uncelebrated. I’ve put on a happy face (a real one!), I’ve bought baby shower gifts, I’ve drank to finished theses. But I’ve felt the lack of understanding from family, from friends, from acquaintances. I am easily labeled a “free spirit”– which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am a medicated ball of nerves! It’s just that every time I try to stuff myself into a pigeon hole, I feel really uncomfortable. I don’t fit. I’m scrunched and my legs start cramping.

So I picked a different lifestyle. One not a lot get. But I truly believe it’s the life I’m meant to live. It’s my timeline, my trajectory, my scenic route. I get to pick it.

And I’ve found the best people in my life are the ones who will celebrate the small things with me. They’ll wonder at the creation that is strawberries. They’ll high five me on a particularly lucrative week as an independent contractor. And they’ll drink with me to a submitted grad school application– even at 31.

 

Happy New Year- 31

This applies to no one but me, but my birthday was a little over a week ago. I’d like to think it’s a new year. I accomplished some stuff. I didn’t accomplish other stuff.

NOLA

I went on a trip to Hawaii. INCREDIBLE food, people, scenery, FOOD. Went with a lifelong friend from college. Packed for eight days in a single backpack! Personal growth.

I also went on a trip to New Orleans. I learned to make pie from Joy the Baker. I gained confidence to hand-make the crust. I had good and hard conversations with my best friend from middle/high school. I ate beignets. I re-learned a hard lesson about being over 30 and wearing the wrong shoes to walk around in.

I developed a new collection of cookbooks. Who knows why? I barely cook. But, oh— I dream.

I started a new church group. We’re going through a 3 workbook series talking about God and our lives and laughing and talking serious and honestly, drinking a lot of beer. Amen.

I went through a rough slump. And I do mean rough. I began clawing my way back out around January. Hawaii and the sunshine helped. Friends helped. Netflix helped. Honestly.

I quit my office job to do massage full time. This was a good move.

I applied for Grad School. Recently. Like… a week ago. I’m anxious, to be honest.

I’ve heard the message over and over about connecting with your body. I’m learning. I try to stretch more often. I’ve signed myself and my sister up for 3 5ks this summer. I haven’t started training.

I’ve eaten an awful lot of cake. And loved every piece.

I got a roommate! I don’t live alone for the first time in SEVEN years.

I have doubted myself. And believed in myself. I’ve found strength in the music of Lizzo. She’s teaching me how to be a bad bitch. I need the lessons. I will learn.

Things I’ve recently Googled

Yesterday was a long day, made longer by staying up late to finish a book (yay!) Today was a restful day and not one of any deep contemplation. Church was nice, I ate leftover curry, and me and the kitties napped. I thought about skipping the blog today, but that would not bode well for the rest of my challenge, so here I am with a thing of little substance. A glimpse into my google history:

  1. Movie times to 2 different theaters– I recognized none of the titles except of one playing at 9:55pm. What.
  2. Ebola vs. E. coli– they sound alike but wreck you in different ways
  3. Bodies in Barrels podcast– True crime love
  4. Exit West– to make sure I spelled the author’s name correctly (Mohsin Hamid)
  5. Taylor Swift– I’m undecided about her as a person, but she makes really catchy music!
  6. Gyms near me– ugh.
  7. Opening a  Roth IRA– these past 2 reek of New Years Resolutions, huh?

 

What’s your most recent Google? Do you dare?

Attitude is everything

During my childhood, I was frequently called out for my attitude. Through my actions, my words, and DEFINITELY my face, you could see every vile thought I was thinking. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it was the 90s. My instructions were to change my attitude, but there were no strategies given. So, I mostly just learned how to hide the attitude.

Then along came depression and anxiety, which I didn’t have words for a the time, but I knew how they made me think and feel. (Spoiler: not fantastic). But years of dealing with these and learning how to cope, I also learned a few things about improving my thoughts, and therefore, my attitude (in general, or towards something specific).

I say all this to say… this week SUCKED, business-wise. I had 3 massages all week, until today. Today I had 4 back to back. This is not unusual for Saturdays, but to be honest, I’m usually not thrilled about it. I know I’m going to have to talk to so many people. I know I’m going to end the day tired and sore. I spend even Friday night dreading it.

This week, I tried a different tack. Because this week was so slow, I barely made any money. So when I saw the 4 appointments, I got excited! I got READY! I knew this was the way I make money and provide for myself (and my cats, let’s be honest).

I just finished up my day. I’m tired, but amazingly, not exhausted. I’m not sore. I had a great day. Because I went in with a different attitude, I had a much better day than I normally anticipate. Hooray for great days and making money and better attitudes!

What are you dreading? How can you change how you’re feeling about it?

Connections

I’m weird in probably many ways. But in particular, this: I love meeting new people. I love small talk. I love small talk that grows into big talk.

I used to be really terrible or terrified to talk with people, but years of working in customer service (waiting tables, barista-ing, retail, etc…) gave me plenty of practice. Plus, growing up I watched my dad, who was/is a great conversationalist. And his trick was this– ask questions. Don’t interrogate, but ask. Be interested. Listen. Develop more questions. Because what subject is everyone’s best known? Themselves.

I’ve been told I’m the “world’s worst introvert” because I can strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. I talk to people in line at the grocery, at coffee shops, just about anywhere I go. I also rarely put on headphones because I feel like it’ll impede getting to talk to someone new.

Today I got to meet a new person that may become a part of my life. If they don’t, I still have a lovely afternoon where I learned about a different faith; I met a person with a lot of dreams, one who is experiencing some very tough decisions for a young person to make. I loved hearing their story. I loved giving small bits of advice (do it. have the adventure.) I loved connecting with someone I knew very little about before today.

I don’t know, there’s something very comforting and connecting in getting to hear someone’s story. It makes me feel part of something bigger. It reminds me that there are so many lives to live. You remember that your experience is so different from anyone else’s… and yet– so much alike. I’m one of seven million and my story is my own, but my struggles and pain don’t isolate me, they connect me with people. My experiences can help someone else. My smile and questions can put someone at ease. Can help them remember they’re connected, too.

What about you? Do you hate small talk? Do you wear headphones? Have you ever met anyone on a plane?