That Don’t Impress Me Much

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” ― Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

I have never felt beautiful.

Even as a little girl, I remember standing in front of a mirror, in a bathing suit (I might have been 6 or 7), I thought I was fat and ugly. Yes, that young. Guess what? I wasn’t. I was told as an adult that I was a beautiful little girl. I never felt it.

As a teen, I would wear clothes that were too big. I was 5’1″ and all of 105 – 110 lbs. I was not a big teen. I thought I looked massive. I wasn’t impressive. I’d spent most of my young life being bullied, maybe that was part of it. Teen life involved me drinking, smoking, and finding a group of friends who loved me (and still do!!!). But I was shy, and overwhelmed in groups. My marks were average, I was always told I could do better.

Enter adulthood, I worked jobs I loved. I worked at a small country store with a lunch counter, I worked at a club (bar). I went to university. I adulted, as they say now. But I was also drunk – a lot (never at work or school). I’m pretty sure I was what is termed a functional alcoholic. When I drank, I drank hard. I can no longer drink more than one or two drinks as I get panic attacks.

Everything in that time would impress me. Cars, guys, smart people, everything. I even finished my degree, then got a second one! Then I got married.

I won’t go into my first marriage. A year after we split, I developed MS that was believed to be stress induced (he was not a good person).

I was on my own with two young kids for a while, then I met my current husband. What impressed me about him? He became my friend first. His family all loved him genuinely. He loved (loves) my kids.

I’m so much older now. My second husband and I had a child together, bringing our family fully together. I should be completely happy.

Depression, anxiety, my weight, and so much more has made me numb. I’m having a hard time keeping contact with friends. I’m a hermit. Covid didn’t help, I’m more reclusive than ever. Nothing really impresses me anymore. I put on a smile and act impressed, but everything is just meh.

My joy is in my garden. Snuggling my kids. Spending time with my husband. being close to my pets.

What does impress me? When I see people who genuinely want to help others with no strings. Rescuers who do it over and over again, in spite of the hurt and pain it can bring because the joy is so worth it. Those who put others first because they love how it feels, not what it can bring them. I could go on.

I’m tired. I’m sure this is coming through. I’m drained mentally and physically. I want to be impressed. I want life back.

Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much

The Best Of You

“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they’re ok, then it’s you.” ― Rita Mae Brown

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day #BellLetsTalk. I’m normally pretty open about my mental health with family and friends. Pretty sure I’ve mentioned it here more than a few times.

I’ve had trauma, but so have others. That doesn’t diminish my experiences or anyone else’s.

I’ve had struggles, but so have others. That doesn’t diminish my battles or anyone else’s.

I have health conditions, but so do others. That doesn’t diminish how it impacts me or how others deal with their own.

I have struggled mentally from all of it, others do as well, some don’t. That’s ok. Everyone copes with things in different ways. Some chose to push it aside and trudge on. Some wallow in it, bathing in the anguish and despair. Some face it head on, the train wreck entering the station and continuing on. I could go on.

Since today is a day to talk mental health, I’ll share mine. Since I was young, I’ve always struggled with anxiety and self-perception. I worried constantly about what others thought of me, I was bullied which made it worse. I do have generalized anxiety disorder. My old family doctor thought my MS impacted it and made it worse.

I remember little me, about six years old, looking in a mirror. I was wearing a one piece bathing suit. I thought I was fat. SIX YEARS OLD I thought I was fat. I wasn’t. I was actually quite tiny when I was young. So, in case you haven’t guessed – yes, I have body dismorphia.

When you are in chronic pain, or have a chronic health condition, and trauma, depression is usually what comes along. Yes, I have clinical depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (basically, I’m more depressed in the winter months). I lot of people think of depression as being stuck in a bed and not going anywhere. That’s not always how it looks though. I’m functional. I work a full-time job. I have children, I have pets. Some think I have too many pets, my psychiatrist says otherwise. They get me moving, they depend on me. They don’t judge me.

The older I have gotten, the less I like going to stores. I do have a bit of agoraphobia. I hate crowds, I’m noise sensitive, I get irritated very fast. Due to my MS, I get overheated really fast which then triggers my anxiety. Oh, there’s ADHD in there too.

With all of that, I’m still here. I’m still fighting, I struggle to make sure my family gets the best of me. I struggle with my personal identity, what I love doing, what am I passionate about (seriously, what am I passionate about?). I used to have a plan. Doesn’t everyone start with a plan? Life had other ideas, other paths and I’ve been a traveler wandering where ever it takes me.

So today, and everyday, be open with who you are. Be honest about your struggles and successes. Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it. If someone tells you they think you are struggling, maybe take that seriously and see if you are.

Whatever you do, always make sure you are giving yourself the best of what you can.

Foo Fighters – The Best of You

Here Comes The Sun

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

Summer has hit the ground running, and so have I. I’ve been keeping a secret – I’ve finally managed to start losing weight (in a healthy way) AND have energy! Yes, I still have MS fatigue, but I am motivated. I want to move constantly, even when in pain.

My yard is not large, but I love it. I have worked on the gardens there, worked on the plants, cleaning up old growth, overgrown vine, pear trees that were left to run with no one to tend them. A beautiful rose bush left to be scraggly and gnarled were cut back last year and are growing in a lush, full green. I can’t wait to see them bloom. There was a lilac bush left to grow into a gnarled, ragged tree. I trimmed it far back as well; the new green is full and gorgeous.

There was a raised garden bed left to overgrow, the only decent remnants were chives and mint left wild and full. Those beds have been tilled under, the chives moved (though ants remain in them, so they await replanting). A new, smaller, garden was tilled (all work by me) with new plants to start.

The new garden bed.
Old bed tilled under

I’ll need to take more photos of the front and full back. The branches you see around the perimeter where the trimings from the overgrown trees that I turned into a fence like structure. I absolutely love the feel of it all. My only complaint – ANTS! There are ants everywhere.

The sun has brought light back into my life – literally and figuratively. I want to be outside. I want to dig my toes into the ground and squish the soil. I want my hands to be soiled from the work I’ve down. I want the rabbits to come play, and the birds to come feed.

Here comes the sun, and I’m going to worship it every day that I can.

The Beetles – Here Comes The Sun

Exhausted

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

I love to laugh.

Lately my MS has reared it’s ugly head and pain radiates in various areas of my body. I’m exhausted mentally, physically…emotionally.

I’m exhausted from worrying about how my children are. How can I not be a burden to them?

I’m exhausted from worrying about my husband. He has Parkinson’s, I don’t want to make him worse.

I’m exhausted from forcing myself day in and day out to sit at a desk. I HAVE to be the bread winner. I’m the only one able to work full-time.

I’m exhausted from fighting for help for my son. He’s 17; we adopted him young, but it didn’t protect him from the in-utero alcohol and drug use. Now he’s paying the price for someone else’s folly.

I’m exhausted from fighting for my daughter. She’s almost 19; she’s fought through so much emotional trauma. She’s finally conquered high school and on her way to college.

I’m exhausted from worrying about my youngest son. He’s 5; he starts this school this year and I wish with all I am that I could wrap him in a warm blanket of hugs and hold him tight to me away from the upcoming onslaught of expectations and rigidity.

I’m exhausted from trying to maintain our house. Selling it has been both the worse and best thing for us…if only it would sell…

On Friday, I meet a bariatric team in hopes of getting a much needed surgery to help me in my health journey. I have no fear in this, only hope. Hope that all this exhaustion will be worth it. Hope that I will once again find some health and joy.

Hope that I will laugh without pain and not in spite of pain. Hope that I will no longer feel so exhausted.

Foo Fighters – Exhausted

Unpretty

“I wish could tie you up in my shoes
Make you feel unpretty too
I was told I was beautiful
But what does that mean to you
Look into the mirror who’s inside there
The one with the long hair
Same old me again today (yeah)

My outsides look cool
My insides are blue
Every time I think I’m through
It’s because of you
I’ve tried different ways
But it’s all the same
At the end of the day
I have myself to blame
I’m just trippin’

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty
(Yeah) I’ll make you feel unpretty too

Never insecure until I met you
Now I’m bein’ stupid
I used to be so cute to me
Just a little bit skinny
Why do I look to all these things
To keep you happy
Maybe get rid of you and then I’ll get back to me (hey)

My outsides look cool
My insides are blue
Every time I think I’m through
It’s because of you
I’ve tried different ways but it’s all the same
At the end of the day I have myself to blame
Believe I’m just trippin’ yeah

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty
I’ll make you feel unpretty too

I’ll make you feel unpretty

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make”

-Writer/s: Francine Vicki Golde, Dennis Lambert, Dallas L. Austin, Duane S. Hitchings, Tionne Tenese Watkins. Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

It’s funny how so much external and internal ‘junk’ can make us feel. I’ve always had low self-esteem. Why did I quote the whole song? Because, after all this time, it still rings true.

I’m always telling my friends that I have a laundry list of plastic surgery I would get if I could afford to. Liposuction, tummy tuck, butt lift, breasts reduction/lift (actually, that one is more medical since I have arthritis in my back), arm and thigh tucks, get that damn turkey neck gone. Yes, that really is my list. Oh, and electrolysis so I can permanent get rid of the hair I hate.

I can in all honestly say that I don’t like myself – probably detest myself. Everyone says that in order to really love, you need to love yourself first. If that were true, I would never love anything – but it’s not. I love my children. I love my husband. I love my family, my pets, my friends. I just don’t love myself and I really can’t see how I could.

Is that sad? I don’t think so – I think it’s realistic. I’m not one who resorts to such types realism often but in this case, it is a must. My MS has in a way made it worse. My inability to lose weight, to focus, to sleep well. My inability to even go for a decent walk without needing to rest for days afterwards. My inability to do things others take for granted – it all impacts my self-image. I full and well know it is an image of my creation. No one can see me the way I do. It’s been formulated over 44 years of horrid self-talk, bullying, verbal, mental and other forms of abuse.

Have I sought therapy? Yes, many times over. I’m tired of the platitudes that truly do nothing for me. I’ve tried all the exercises, I’ve tried journalling, I’ve tried meditation, I’ve quite literally tried it all. The biggest issue – if you can’t focus all of those things are for naught.

I love this song. To me, the other person in the song is just me on the inside. It’s two sides of the same coin – feeling like you look amazing only to have those inner voices tell you how much shit you are and that you are only fooling yourself. I’m sure it was written about a person who is thinking a significant other who is abusive; but to me it’s about self-abuse, self-denigration.

I’ve stopped wearing make-up, it takes too long. I’ve stopped trying to look stylish – I feel like I look like an old bat even trying. My social life is limited and I prefer hiding in my cave (home). I try to force myself out, but I always feel like my family is embarrassed to be with me in public even when logically I know they aren’t. I never wanted to be that fat mom. I never wanted to be that stupid person. More and more that’s exactly how I feel. My friends used to tease me over my jokes as I often thought the funny ones involved puns and large words and double entendres. Now, I’m lucky if I can remember how to spell, let alone get the jokes I used to love.

I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling unpretty. I’m tired of feeling stupid. I’m tired of never being enough. I’m just tired.

TLC – Unpretty