Posts Tagged ‘endings’

High school romance, take one.

September 4, 2008

Jaysus Kee-rist.

The love-of-my-life-before-TMD, my first love, just friended me on Facebook. Of course I knew he existed in the Facebook world of things, because he was friends with some of my friends. I just swore to myself that no matter how badly I wanted to see his profile I would not friend him – and I wondered if he would friend me.

Of course, we can ignore me essentially asking my sister to copy and paste his profile into an email.

I listed us as having gone to high school together and skipped the ‘we dated’ option as I felt it might be a bit controversial. Especially as our last conversation was him saying he was worried he had turned me gay, and I lied and said I wasn’t. Not one of my proudest moments, but I think I still crazily thought we would get back together.

He’s a really great guy and it would be nice to send the occasional email, but don’t know if that will happen. I have decided that I am prettier than his wife, though, so that makes me happy. I won’t tell anyone (except you) that I immediately started looking through my own Facebook pictures to see if I looked monstrous or hot. I think I fall somewhere in between.

Crazy (again, a word I seem to keep repeating) that we stopped dating about twelve years ago. Old school, man, old school!

I’m glad he friended me first. This somehow makes up for the fact that he ripped my heart out, and I therefore ripped out the hearts of everyone else I dated – until TMD. I try to be gentle with hers.

Remembering.

August 22, 2008

My grandmother died three years ago this past Wednesday. I was just flipping through my old diary, and found something I wrote very soon after her death:

I guess the thing that’s hard is that life goes on. I mean, that’s the beautiful and correct idea, and also the way my grandma would have wanted it to be.

I’ve been thinking about life going on this week. About how I no longer feel full of razors and pain every time I say her name outloud, and about how I find myself surprised to be able to mention her life and death and just feel…okay.

I think feeling okay with feeling okay is the biggest challenge. The me of three years ago was in a dark place – the funeral would be tomorrow, TMD was still in this country, and I was just – broken. I would return to this country to lay on my couch for two months straight, never moving, not going into work, crying constantly.

It was my grandmother’s death that finally pushed me into therapy, but only once I had healed enough to be able to move. I wish I could hug my self then, but I think it would hurt the me of right now too much.

I miss you, Grandma.

Fifteen minutes – breast reduction the second.

July 12, 2008

Fifteen minutes of loving myself, my body, my breasts – why is it so much harder than fifteen minutes of painful memories, of stories I’ve told myself so many times they are bleached clean? I don’t think it’s because I have a hard time loving myself, though if I was my own therapist I might consider than hypothesis, refuse to drop it no matter how vigorously I protested.

I think it’s because the guilt I’d been feeling about my breasts was looming large, and I gave it a voice. Just speaking out can sometimes shrink things, excise the tumour. Hang on a minute…been reading a book and have a quote on this..

I remember that I spoke to her about the power of naming. What we cannot name, I said, we cannot talk about. When we give a name to something in our lives, we may empower that something, as when we call an itch love, or when we call our envy righteousness; or we may empower ourselves because now we can think about and talk about what is hurting us, we may come together with others who have felt this same pain, and thus we can begin to try to do something about it.  (Marge Piercy, He, She and It, page 66)

After writing that admission of the going-along-with nature of my breast reduction, I felt lighter. I stood in front of the mirror that evening, the black lace cupping my breasts, and as I pulled it off I felt an awe at my breasts. They are so beautiful, and they are mine. They have not been lessened by the surgery, but they have taken a long time to become mine. And they are the same, and different.

I wanted to come here to acknowledge all the things, great and small, that the surgery has offered me. Pretty bras, affordable bras, off-the-shelf bras. Breasts that are full and soft, but the exact right size for my body. Breasts that do not hang to my stomach, breasts that mainly stay in place when the pretty bras come off, except for the soft weight of time and maturation which offers them the shape of a woman.

My breasts are amazing, awesome. I look at myself with and without clothes, and they are one area I have no cause to find complaint with. I suppose that’s why I’ve felt bad, wondering what it meant to have breasts that were not the breasts I was born with. Though they were not shaped, were not changed in any fundamental way, though mass and weight was removed – what does that mean to my self? My body?

I had a connection with my grandmother through my breasts. I remember being a little girl and walking into her bathroom. She sat in a few inches of water, in that bathtub with the magical sliding glass doors that allowed me to create a whole space apart when I was a little older. My grandmother’s pubic hair was sparse, her body already that of an older woman. Her breasts coated her stomach, hid her stomach, were just the entire front of her body. She lifted a breast and rested it on her shoulder in order to wash her stomach. That image has stayed with me, though I must have only been about four or five when I witnessed this.

I will probably never have that experience, being in an aging body that has been mine for 89 years, taking for granted that my stomach is there, though I cannot see it. I wonder what pregnancy will do to my breasts, and I fear they may become smaller. I also fear them becoming larger. I wonder what stretch marks and pulled vaginal muscles and chapped nipples will be like. I want to hold a baby to my breasts, to allow her or him to get all the sustenance they need from my body – a miracle that my family never had. Bottles are all I ever considered, and now I am in this country with baby slings and breasts, handmade diapers and organic homemade foods.

My body will be changing again, and perhaps the key words are: my body. This is my body, this is the consequence, this is the sum of the years I have spent on this planet. I have made some choices, I have neglected to make others. I have gained weight, and lost weight. I have decided to have my breasts radically resized, simply by the omission of really thinking about what I was doing and making a conscious choice. My unconscious guided me to this place where I am right now, the afternoon sunlight shining across my hands. Shadows slide across the keyboard, dancing as my fingers shift and dance.

My breasts were what they were, then I had surgery. They grew back – not all the way, but most. I lost a lot of weight, and I lost a lot of breast mass again. This time it was an accident, to change my breasts as the result of changing my body. Once more my bra size changed, my body shifted, and once more it felt out of my control.

That’s been sixteen minutes. I’m surprised. This entry was to say that I could not fill six minutes this evening, let alone fifteen. Peace.

fifteen minutes preparation. (breast reduction, part one)

July 7, 2008

I may be unable to breastfeed, because when I was twenty years old I had a breast reduction. Most of my life I had allowed myself to be defined by my breasts – not on what other people said, though once I was in university my friends had plenty to say. No, I defined myself by having the biggest breasts. I don’t know what breasts meant to me then – being grown up, free, better than other people?

I was in third grade when I got my first bra; it was a B cup. The next bra I got was a D cup. And from there, they grew and grew. I grew and grew. I remember feeling fat, out of place, but when I look back on pictures of the younger me I am not fat. I see myself as an awkward, out of place, non-fat little girl. I didn’t feel little when I was twelve; I felt old, weary, wondering already if this was it. Unable to picture a place in life when I would be happy; unsure what happiness really was. None of that particularly bothered me. Because I had always been unhappy, I didn’t realise what ‘happy’ was.

I was content when I was alone, though. Free. When it was just me and the woods, or just me and my notebook, or just me and my toys. I played with toys for years past when I imagined other people did – just now, I stopped myself from writing ‘girls.’ I don’t think I felt like a girl. I didn’t want to kiss boys or wear make-up, and my first attempts at powder were an unmitigated disaster.

My one connection to the women’s world was my breasts.

I didn’t think of them as being unnaturally large until camp, when I was in university and in a world populated by forests and raunchy talk. I remember those breasts, my breasts; I once held a giant maglite under them. I have a picture of me with a milk carton neatly balancing on the top. Those breasts that hung to my waist, nipples way down at the bottom instead of up in the middle, where I thought nipples were supposed to be.

My breasts let me down in high school. No matter how the boys touched or kissed or sucked, my nipples remained flat. I would peek at other girls when I had the chance; at a camp reunion, the first time I saw another pair of breasts, I was shocked to see that the girl next to me had nipples that poked out. I always wondered if I felt like a Barbie – big breasts with no nipples, just a smooth softness. No boys complained. My best friend’s brother once gave me a great compliment on them, in the middle of the night, secret in our world on the couch.

He wrote me an insulting email last year, and I took it as a compliment. He spoke about those teen times when we fumbled and tried and then he would ignore me, he said they were his hottest fantasy and he thought of me still. I think that’s what I needed; I needed a boy to love me, to desire me, to want me. I was never the girl boys talked about, wondered about, competed for. Or at least I suspect I was not.

My big breasts did not win the boys over, and when I stepped into a world of women there seemed to be only two alternatives – giant, swaying breasts not confined in a bra, or tight, small, perfect breasts in or out of a bra. I was neither. My breasts were beautiful, and nippled, round and soft, full and womanly. I liked the way they looked, but worried about what my male roommate said were ‘baseball nipples.’ I began to carve a public identity out of my breasts; or rather, I allowed Chirp and other friends to do it for me.

I became the girl with the giant breasts. Maybe they were proof of who I was, who I would become, what my potential was. Maybe they were signs of everything that was going wrong. Maybe they were sexual, maybe they were fat, maybe.

Every year I saw a nice Jewish doctor for my cervical smear and breast exam. (Even now, I don’t like to give myself self-exams. The idea of pushing, pushing, trying to find a lump, repulses me.) My doctor was gentle, showing me how to relax my inner thighs, telling me her sister was gay, listening to me. The only bad thing she ever did was tell me I would have to pick – while either was okay, I had to like boys or girls. I could not like both. She made me angry, and I didn’t say anything.

I mentioned the pains – deep grooves from my underwires that never went away, that hurt all the time. Extreme back pain. An inability to sit at a table or desk without heaving my breasts onto the surface in order to give myself from support and ease the weight. Now I wonder if those things were true; even as I can see the red gashes, I wonder if I made them up. So strong are my guilt and doubt.

My doctor suggested that a breast reduction was something that might be able to help me. And because neither she nor the surgeon said I needed to lose weight first, because both agreed it was a good idea, because no one I knew said maybe it wasn’t, I did it. But mostly I had my breasts sized down in order to prove to myself that they were large in the first place. I remember holding the pillow on my lap during the drive to the hospital, wondering why I was doing this. Not believing I would do it.

Yet I did. Or rather, I allowed it to be done to me.

fifteen minutes up.

Thinking outloud.

June 13, 2008

Two people have commented on my abs. I so don’t have abs. I mean, I realise that somewhere everybody has them, but I don’t think mine are visible. Still, I do think my perception of my body is somewhat twisted. At any rate….

I bought something from an infomercial today. I have never done that before, and I feel a little bit like I am supposed to be a trashy housewife after all. I’ve been a secret Windsor Pilates infomercial watcher for years. In Disney World, back in Other Country, in this country. And I swear to God, all the manipulative little things they do – this is free, we’ll throw that in as well, AND we’ll knock half the price off. I was drooling by the time the thing was halfway through.

TMD and I talk about how I have lost the weight, and now I really need to tone up. I have no strength (which friends who have moved house with me can attest to), messed up joints, etc. My physiotherapist said the only way to improve my joints is to strengthen the muscles around the joints.

So, for the bargain price of £9.95, I’ve got a whole lotta Pilates coming my way. Here’s hoping it’s easy to cancel the ‘we’re gonna send you more shit every month’ thing. I’m excited about this.

Also, today is my last official day at Day Job – though of course I’ve been on annual leave all week. This means that New Job starts next Monday. I am nervous. No doubt there will be tears before bed on the Sunday evening.  Still, I’ve got my new shoes. Maybe that will make it less terrifying. I keep thinking that the fraudulent assumption that I’m a good counsellor is going to be blown wide open.

People all seem to think I’m just brilliant, and sometimes I agree with them. Most of the time, though, I just feel really, really new. Which I am, of course. Nowhere to go but up, hopefully.

Ooh – knock at the door.

Okay, was a guy delivering two sample tiles for the bathroom. One smooth, one bumpy. The next thing I know, he’s showing me all this different ways they can be affixed to the wall, different orientations, staggered, etc. Nice. Am I really a grown up?

My plans for a new bathroom would seem to suggest I am.

Still have not got the referral for surgery from my doctor. This has all got me thinking that TMD and I really need to invest in some private health insurance. My GP is the BEST doctor I have ever had – the standard of healthcare offered is the same as it would be if I was in the private health system in the country where I was born. And even she suggested that young couples invest in private insurance….and this little experience is making me think there is some deep wisdom in there.

Sure, it’s pricey, but if something really bad ever happened we wouldn’t have to wait months and months for a procedure.

Okay. Bathrooms, insurance.

I’ll go now.

Buhbye.

Bit by bit.

June 7, 2008

Just sobbed my way through the shower, as a result of reading my leaving card.

Feeling better now.

First real weekend in the new place.

June 7, 2008

Last night was really terrific. I know that makes me sound like a 1950s character – golly gee, Chip, that was terrific. But it’s always nice to know that the people you like, like you too. Tons of people came to my leaving party, I got like 6,000 presents, a lovely huge card I haven’t fully read yet because I was a bit teary, and I was forced to make a speech. These are not normal happenings at a leaving party, and it made me realise how much of a part I am of that team. Or was? Am? Was?

My team leader also made a speech, and I must say – the second time in two days that a supervisor has said, ‘You are uniquely you.’ I’m starting to see a pattern, and I think I like it.

In a bizarre way, Day Job has/had just become my life. Not in an all consuming, passionate kind of way. More in a quiet, fun, this-is-what-I-do-with-my-days. I will miss those people dearly, though I do feel some of them are real friends. After the leaving do, TMD and I ended up at Epilady’s house – eating takeaway Chinese and talking about the game involving dice that Epilady and her boyfriend made up.

Ah.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve left yet. I suppose next week will be a bit funny, but the week after – when I start my new job – that’s when it will sink in. I have left Day Job at a very good time. Everything I love is in the process of changing rapidly into crapsville, since the new company is, well, A Big Bunch Of Whores. While I was on the verge of tears several times yesterday morning, that all ended in the afternoon when we all discovered that our mobile phones had all been switched off with no warning.

Now I get to keep the friends and ditch the paperwork. I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

Topic 2. Or, lessons in loving your life.

June 6, 2008

Yesterday I had my last supervision group with the women I’ve been working with for just over a year now. (More endings, anyone?)  My supervisor has been away for about five weeks, and so we’ve been having peer supervision.

(Supervision is when a counsellor brings their clinical work for discussion. This is within a small group – like three counsellors and one supervisor – or just one-to-one with a supervisor. Peer supervision is when counsellors offer ‘supervision’ to each other.)

I love my group, and thank god I do since I get the most wacked up things happening with clients. My supervisor came back yesterday, and I filled her in on a particular person I am seeing. I concluded with, ‘It’s just….surreal, yes, surreal.’

My supervisor leaned forward and said, ‘You engage very well with the surreal.’ This made me laugh, as I feel my entire life can sometimes be a surrealist painting, fucked up images that just don’t make sense floating by. I love it, you know. I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to engage with the surreal, quite frankly.

No, I can’t tell you what this particular sort of surreal is, as confidentiality is a biggie. But trust me, it’s good.

My supervisor went on to say, ‘Many counsellors choose to ignore surreal things that happen in or out of the room. They don’t know how to deal with it, are afraid of it, or just confused by it. I love that you actively engage with it, are so curious, and so open.’

I replied by saying I suspected I invite the surreal in, since I always seem to have a larger helping of it than other people in the consulting room.

Was sort of sad to say goodbye to that group, but will be seeing my supervisor twice more before I leave that counselling placement altogether. She wants to see how this case turns out, you see. I don’t blame her.

She also told me that I have brought a very strong energy to the group, and to preserve who I am and how open I am with questioning things in the future. She said that I am ‘uniquely me'; while I wasn’t entirely clear about specific things she was referring to, it felt nice to hear. I sometimes worry I am sliding downhill as a therapist, particularly without the constant input of learning that a class offers. I worry I am not good enough, that somehow I trick people into thinking I’m a fabulous (albeit very new) therapist.

Still, as long as the surreal continues and I can have a laugh about it, I suppose it’ll all be okay.

Who would have guessed?

June 6, 2008

I am so sad! Never in a million years would I have expected to feel on the verge of tears from leaving this job -

the job I almost quit on my first day before I even arrived

the job that almost led me to an actual breakdown during a particularly nasty three months

the job I once handed in my notice to as a result of the above

the job I spend all my time at looking for other jobs.

I have been seriously trying to get out of this job from about six months in, and it has now been almost four years. But like the ending of many things, I am not thinking about the stress, admin, helpless feeling I get with homeless kids, or the new regime. I am thinking about the huge amounts of laughter on training days.

I’m thinking of extended lunches, angry/tearful phone calls with other people, indignant conversations at work where we right the wrongs of the world. I’m thinking about how I actually look forward to seeing most of the people I work with, and how much I will miss them. Fucking sad.

And courtesy of my counselling training, I am trying to fully acknmowledge and feel the sadness. This also explains why I am writing an email to a select group of people thanking them for having a big impact on my personal life. I am trying to be more emotionally honest and available, because sometimes it feels good to let people know you love them.

Susie homemaker strikes again.

June 5, 2008

I am so heading towards being a housewife who enjoys cleaning ceilings and blogging about it.

We just had our new washing machine delivered, and when the guy pulled the old one out, my vagina seizured at the sight of what was behind/under it. This includes broken glass. I knew the man had to disconnect all the old tubes and stuff, but I couldn’t help hover over him with a dustpan and broom.

Again, freaking out service people ….one day at a time.

Bathroom Dude is going to search for a new sink that will fit the gigantic sink we currently have. It’s a reasonably nice kitchen – but with a huge plastic dark green sink. I didn’t even know shit like that existed. I reckon with a new sink and the walls freshened up, we will have a kitchen we can be envious of. I’m totally in crazy-ville, counting rooms and placing invisible ticks alongside the ones we have completed.

Still, while we buy new bathrooms and sweep dusted glass, we are missing one fundamental thing: wardrobes. This country does not come with closets, and we do not own wardrobes. This means all our clothing is in the second bedroom – on bookshelves, in bags, on the floor. It’s very tasteful.

When I had my breast reduction surgery, I got very used to surgeons and trainees coming in to flick at my nipples (testing sensation), draw all over my boobs, take pictures, parade me around the room, etc. From that point on, I have never been squeamish about a medical professional looking at my boobs or, as Aussie calls the vaginal region, my clacker.

I think something similar is happening with all these people parading through the house. I just have stopped carrying that we have old oatmeal bowls full of water by the sink, towels hanging in the middle of the lounge, unpacked boxes everywhere, etc. It seems to not matter. I am pretending to be white trash and really enjoying it. I even wore fleece pants for the delivery this morning.

In the meantime, I have watered all our indoor plants, opened a selection of windows, and have the patio sliding doors as open as they will get. Today is the FIRST sunny day we’ve had since we moved in, and I intend to enjoy the next couple of hours. Just outside the door is a tiny concrete patio with black gating around it (Lynn, what is your flickr name? I cannot find you and there are pictures of the place on my account!!). Marmite has not figured out that she is allowed to step off the patio and through the bars.

In three years, she has never set foot on grass. She seems content to have the occasional sniff on the patio, but generally stays firmly planted indoors, with only her head hanging out, staring at things. She has utterly ignored the squirrels, which has baffled us. Surely if I was a cat, I’d be going hell for leather to get me some squirrel meat.

Still, I’m not a cat, so who knows. My morning plans are very cat-like, though. Stay in fleece and stay still. Perhaps go sit in the sun. Eat something. Maybe even nap.

I’m meeting Epilady for lunch (yay, delivery men who came early enough I did not have to cancel my plans!), and am feeling kind of sad that this is our last official lunch together as co-workers. She does live next door to my new job, but it won’t really be the same. I’m sad about them all: Epilady, Laptop Rampager, Confusing Sexuality Foreign Girl, Big Boobs and Big Brain, Vegan Nice Lady. I work with a lot of terrific people. One of them even got us Marmite (give it up for I’m So Cool I Don’t Drool, And Surprisingly Am Really Likeable girl).

Now, I think I’m going to take the 11:11 train into the city. This should give me enough time to pop into my doctor’s (across the street from where we are meeting for lunch; life can be so convinient sometimes) and HOPEFULLY they will have the referral and appointment phone number ready. Remodelling my groin landscape and my new house all at the same time. Who said I’m not motivated?


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