I’ve previously alluded to my zombie condition, but I only alluded because, well, the explanation is really quite boring since I don’t actually eat brains.
I suffer from chronic hypoglycemia. See? Boring.
The way my dad tells the story of my diagnosis, it began when he spotted me in my car seat staring wide-eyed with dilated pupils toward the sun on a very bright day. He asked the doctor, “What the hell is wrong with our kid?” and found out that, among many other things, their kid has an overeager pancreas that shoots out way too much insulin. Pew pew! So lots of my childhood memories involve medicating with juice, having to carry a box of snacks with me to school, and waking up in the middle of the night with leg cramps that wouldn’t go away until after I’d eaten a banana and my mother had spent a while massaging my legs.
Among the joyous symptoms I experience in a state of low blood sugar are incoherent speech, drunken behavior (not the fun kind), clamminess and chills, headaches, nausea, shakiness, and dilated pupils. These days I have a blood glucose monitor but I fortunately don’t have to use it every day the way I did when I was a child. I carry glucose tablets on my key ring. I eat frequent, small meals. I don’t consume a lot of processed foods and sugar. I substitute lower glycemic index foods for higher ones to avoid peaks that lead to later crashes. I dose with juice or fruit when I’m feeling really unstable, then I follow it with a meal. I exercise regularly. And I know I’ll feel like complete caca whenever I’m sick, since illness typically magnifies the crash symptoms. My husband knows when I’m crashing and is very good at parting crowds to get me to the nearest food source. Or downing large animals for me to feast on, depending on my (or his?) mood.
I depend on my routines. Routines are my way of establishing a sense of calm and balance. I find comfort in stability and predictability. Are you catching on yet?
I like to start my weekdays off on the right foot, by settling in at the office before things get busy. After rolling in to the office I fire up my computer and Pandora, brew a mug of green tea, then catch up on e-mail. After determining that there aren’t any fires that need immediate fighting, I make my way back to the break room for breakfast. My breakfast routine is fairly predictable; if it’s not a boiled egg and some fruit it’s a glass of milk and a piece of toast. Looking to mix things up and be a bit wild and crazy, I recently introduced oatmeal to the rotation. I know; it was a bold move. This wasn’t just any oatmeal, though; it was a packet of oatmeal revolution. The day I first tried the oatmeal I marched eagerly to the break room ready to stir in some hot water and enjoy my breakfast, and here’s what I was met with:
Looks simple enough. I’m really excited about eating this oatmeal; I’m getting tired of boiled eggs.
The package says to “Try It!” so I’m going to fill to the top of the line with water. I think it’s daring me. Challenge accepted.
Strong dislikes, I haz them.
Ugg boots. Can we say unattractive? Maybe it’s because my feet grew to their adult size early in my life, but I’m decidedly against wearing any shoe that makes my foot look larger than it already is, especially if the trend is to pair them with mini skirts and wear them in summer. (Sweaty feet, no thank you!)
Grease, the musical. I’m fairly certain I had to dance to a Grease song in a grade school talent show, and I’m doing my best to even block that from my memory. My husband and I were recently hanging out at a karaoke bar and when he heard a Grease song he remarked with a frown, “That’s kinda rapey, don’t you think?” Yep, and all of my elementary school friends ran around singing it, every word, when we were young. No, please, don’t tell me more.
Justin Timberlake on the big screen. Nope.
jeggings. Can’t you just make up your mind and pick one or the other?
All Things Taco Bell. Ever heard of the sour cream sh*ts? That’s the Funland you go to after you eat anything off the Taco Bell menu.
Lime green + orange + white as a decorating palette. When I was a kid my family lived in an older neighborhood of older houses where all the bathrooms were decorated nearly floor to ceiling with tiles in gawdy colors like these, and any newcomers had to rip out the often cat urine stained shag carpet promptly upon arrival to the neighborhood. These colors pair nicely with a hideous Van Gogh sunflower painting and a handful of antidepressants.
Van Gogh’s sunflowers.
dresses with huge pockets. (Bonus suck points are awarded for wedding dresses with pockets.) Besides the fact that my pear shape means I don’t need to buy clothing that creates the illusion of fuller hips, I just don’t understand why women want to walk around with their hands in their pockets now. And that’s coming from someone who LOVES the opportunity to ditch carrying a purse so that I have my hands free. When I was a kid I was always told not to walk around with my hands in my pockets and that stayed with me, so when a beautiful woman walks by with her hands buried to mid-forearm in the folds of her dress she looks unkempt and I can’t help wondering what she’s got going on under all that fabric. Yeah, I said it. Stop playing around in there.
Friends. *gasp!* The show was funny sometimes, but I never really got into it like the rest of, well, everyone my age did. And now I’m probably going to be banned from some of my social circles for admitting this openly. On that note I’ve never really been a big sitcom fan, but Friends still is the worst.
Westerns. Unless it’s Tombstone I’m not interested, and yes, at one point I was certain my new husband was going to divorce me as soon as he found this out about me. I think I see what he sees in them: Life was simple, justice was plain, and dudes were rugged and free. As a woman, not so great: My purpose would’ve been selling my “wares” or babymaking while trying to avoid being scalped when my cowboy husband was out cowboying. Yayyy.
I’ve just driven 1,400 miles listening to my mother complain because I haven’t let her take the wheel because she always drives under the speed limit and that drives me nuts. The backseat and all of the spare space between us in my old Camry is literally stuffed to the roof with the last of my belongings that didn’t go into the moving truck. The AC isn’t working very well, and it’s the middle of the summer. I’m tired of stopping for food, even, so I’m munching on dry oatmeal from a canister that I couldn’t justify tossing out when I emptied out my dorm apartment and packed everything up. We’ve seen sand, rocks, flat land, and about twenty million saguaro cacti, the godawful ugly plants that they are. On our first night when we stopped in an armpit of a town where the only nice hotel was booked up, we spent the entire night chasing bird-sized mosquitos around our hotel room all night.
I’m jittery about this new life I’m starting on my own with my Marine husband I’ve never before lived with, and my mom is jittery and a little bit excited about seeing her daughter fly so far from the nest. Also I’ve got about a gallon of McDonald’s coffee pumping through my veins so I’m just plain jittery.
By the time we reach the California state line we’re both more than a bit loopy. I’ve been testing my vocal ranges by singing rain songs for the last few hours, and my mom stopped laughing at that after the first five minutes she had to endure it. The saguaro cacti were mocking us, I’m certain of it.
So we’ve got this deployment thing down. We’ve had several years of practice of him being over there and me being here, and all that comes with both. We’re used to not being able to talk regularly, not being able to email regularly, and not being able to see one another. Whatever. So now that we’re doing this in the civilian world, things are easier. Deployments are shorter, he has a phone to use when he is able to call, and he’s no longer even remotely near the “action.” Life is good. So we’re separated for a little while, no big deal. No. Big. Deal.
OK, still a big deal.
B’s my person. He’s the one I go to when my irritable nature becomes apparent and I can no longer be nice to those around me. He calms my nerves, sets me right again, and then sends me back out into the world with a smile on my face. And though I’m not sure I believe it most times, he swears I do the very same for him. So what happens when your person isn’t around to do that? You might on occasion just turn horrible.
I turned horrible this week. I did not monitor my speech. I grew tired and cranky and I lashed out. I gave up by the end of it and shut the door to my office and cried in defeat. I threw up my hands, realizing there were a million things I would have fixed about myself, but feeling as though I didn’t have the strength to make them happen.
What’s worse, this happened to be one of those weeks when my reserve of patience ran out just as his did too, so we collided. And then we both broke down.
And now I’m exhausted. And vowing that next week will be better.
And I already know that it will. Not only will it be one week closer to seeing my husband again, but it will be new and fresh and full of opportunities for me to redeem myself for all the screwups of this week.
Chin up. One day, one week, one month at a time, that’s the only way to get through this.
I’ll be better tomorrow, I promise.
No, I’m not launching into the tale of the time I finally managed to freak B out during a shared showertime by dropping my voice a couple octaves and mumbling, “Hey cupcake, you dropped the soap” as he bent over to retrieve something. (Except in the real story I substituted the wrong baked good and said “muffin” instead of “cupcake.” And in the real story B really did jump a mile high.) Whoops, there’s that story. Now, moving on to the one I actually set out to tell.
I studied abroad in college, so for a while I lived in a dorm in Chambery, France. The accommodations were simple and everything was communal. As in, everyone on a hall shared a single bathroom. That’s two barely functioning toilets and two box-stall showers. And something like 20+ students from countries all over the world–most of them male and very excited about American women–shared each of these bathrooms. Whenever I was in my room alone I had to keep the door locked and still men would drop by all hours of the day and night, knocking on the door and whispering or singing in an attempt to get me to emerge from my room. (I wasn’t special; they did this to all of the American girls.)
The previous night I’d gotten back to my room late and I hadn’t had a chance to shower before collapsing into bed, so during our lunch break I’d decided to steal away for a bit. I came back to the sweltering hot dorm while all the other students in my class were preparing lunch, grabbed my shower supplies and made my way to an adjacent wing of the building since its bathroom was unoccupied, and la de da de da…