Sunday, September 30, 2012

Leg-gravation!

The truly annoying thing about my thighs toning up is what this does to my running shorts.

People who know me well enough know that I wear Bermuda shorts because it drives me insane when my shorts bunch up on my thighs.

Wear tighter, indecent looking shorts? No thanks. I have hips and a tummy and other places that are not served by wearing shorts so tight they threaten to split the seams. I'm a tad more modest than that.

Anyway, I finally bought some shorts I could run in this summer. They're basically bike shorts, and they were not only a size 12 (hey, that's saying something for me), they had nice snug legs that clung to my thighs when I ran. They stayed in place. No bunching.

No more. The last week I've been fighting the bunch again. I don't think the shorts have stretched out -- I've looked for the signs of strained Spandex and not found any issues of wear. I just haven't worn them enough times yet.

My thighs are smaller. No denying it. And while that is cause for celebration in one respect, in the other it make for one aggravating running session.

It started with one leg always riding up. Now they are both riding up. I spend most of my time on the track angrily pulling them back down because if I don't, the bunched fabric will chafe my inner thighs until they are raw and bleeding. My family has seen this, and apparently it is a hilarious sight.

Hey, when I'm bleeding or otherwise injured, it's time to laugh and dance, I guess. Someone else rug-burns a toenail, and ambulances should be dispatched.

I wouldn't mind the shorts becoming too big in the leg, but I doubt the torso part has gotten smaller. Compression shorts. It may be time for them. At least I know they'll be tight in the legs. Question is, since the XL size I'm sure I need lists at size 10 and "everything above", will I be able to get my pelvis into them at all?

Childbearing hips? Oh yeah, got those. I was probably supposed to have several children, once upon a time. Seven of them, probably gem miners that would hang out with a black haired tomboy and a doofy name.

Passionate? Me?

Yesterday I was talking with a friend about my running.  He thinks I should start running half marathons; I think I should conquer 5ks first.  Anyway, I told him my planned progression to running halfs, and he said that it was good I was passionate about something.

Me?  Passionate about running?

Eh, it's more of a stubborn, dogged determination because a track coach I work with told me I couldn't run and I shouldn't run.  Actually told me it wasn't something I was capable of doing, and it wasn't in the spirit of a dare.

Oh no he didn't!  (Yes, he really did.)  It was like he was denying me permission to try.  Well, I didn't need his permission.  And about a month later I ran a 5k without any preparation whatsoever.  (My months of weightlifting at the gym don't really count as running prep.)  I didn't even understand that a little warm-up walk ahead of time would be wise.  Or a cool-down.  Or stretching.

I suppose I had some angels running along with me because I didn't get injured.  It was just incredibly difficult to do.  I felt like I was failing through the whole race, but at least I wasn't last, though I was close to it.  I didn't place in my age group and there aren't any photos of me having survived that run, but that's okay. It's par for the course when you don't have anybody there to cheer you on.  And I learned a lot about the mind-game I have to go through to keep going.

Planning to run more races is less about failing to win a race (never gonna happen) and more about me improving my time. It's something to do, pseudo-social.  I mean, there are other people there, but they aren't going to stand around chatting with me.  That's what their friends and family are there for. :)  This is just for me, and as long as I accept that, I won't be disappointed.

So, passionate?  No, not about running.  At least not in 2012.  Not sure I'm capable of being passionate about anything anymore.  The times I've been merely excited about something, there were always plenty of people ready to pour cold water on it.  Nobody wants to share my excitement about anything, and some people are just damn lazy.  They'd rather just lie there watching TV, after all.

What I've learned is this:  unless you are passionate about cheering someone else on, they don't want anything to do with you.  It's a good sign you don't belong in their life, or they would show some sign of life at your involvement.  They might perk up a bit when they see you.  When they don't, I always take it that I've failed, rather than they're just being a jerk.  Some part of me knows that's wrong, but when a person is used to being beaten down, they will always flinch at the threat of sudden contact.  Like retraining any animal, the impulse to recoil has to be exhausted by repeated affectionate touching.  Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to care about the effect they have on others anyway.

I suppose my passion has been trampled and exhausted, much as my trust has been.  If I had any hope of actually winning any part of a race, I might get passionate about that.  For now, I just want to finish with a better time. My body isn't the right shape for running fast anymore, so if I put any hope into winning, I'll end up disappointed.  Those days are gone.  On the other hand, if I can get to the point of running without asphyxiation, I might be able to shed a few pounds.  Expecting it to happen is foolish, but it might be a side effect.

At least my legs are starting to show that they can take it.  My shin splints are only troubling me as I am running, and that speaks volumes.  I have to be conscious of every step I take as I walk, jog, or run the entire time I am awake, and make sure I'm not walking on the outsides of my feet.  Why I got in that habit, I don't know.

But don't forget the t-shirt.  Races usually give you a t-shirt for pre-registering.  Not that it's a t-shirt appropriate for running in, or for wearing to work, or even attractive enough to wear in public, but at least I won't have to go topless for a day and I can probably wear it a couple of times before it is covered in little fuzzballs from the cheap fabric. Yayyy...

I'm running out of places to put my t-shirts.  I buy them at work, to support this or that charitable cause.  I get them for free, for donating blood.  I will likely get more for running a few races.  I buy them as souvenirs of the places I've traveled to.  Once every few years I get to go to a concert and buy the band's current tour T-shirt.

Maybe I'm just passionate about collecting cheap t-shirts.  That must be it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Creepy Pumpkin Creations

At the moment, I'm waiting for some whole wheat spaghetti to digest and give me some energy for my run later today.  I haven't been eating right on the weekends, and I was so dog-tired last night that I passed out without getting ready for bed.  I slept in my contacts.

And I had crazy dreams.  The most memorable one involved me moving away and getting a new job, which I ended up hating, in a new town.  (Have I ever loved a job that I moved away to get?  No.)  I was sharing an apartment with a completely bizarre toilet setup with some people I barely knew.  I think that was my brain trying to wake me up for a bathroom visit.  It didn't work.

I was in a world where nothing really worked right.  Actually, I think I've been a resident of that land for about the past decade.

Yes, of course I made it to the bathroom in time.  My dog took care of that wake-up call.  All I can say is that I've been tired all week, but I haven't had a chance to get a decent amount of sleep due to the anxiety around my evaluation.  Yeah, sure that's going to make me a better teacher.

I think that getting me some training and resources in the subject i'm teaching would do that.  But I was denied when I asked.  I was deliberately handicapped and then penalized for it. That's the absolute truth.

But anyway.... I'm in a slightly creative mood.  On the encouragement of my friendly art teacher colleague, I have decided to make some more of Scott Stoll's creepy pumpkins.  I know where I went wrong on the painting for the one that resides on my desk.  It was supposed to be black base, white dry-brush  then yellow and orange WASHES.

Last night I sat on my bed and turned junk-mail catalogues that were cluttering up my tiny kitchen into jack-o-lantern armatures.  I COULD go ahead and start making some newspaper pulp, but I think that the pickle buckets I have so handy will give the sculptures a permanent pickled smell.  No thanks, not even for the Halloween decorations I hold so dear. I think I need to start incorporating the use of a hot glue gun.  I get so frustrated waiting on paste to dry and hold my details in place.

Don't worry -- I've got this.  I figured out for myself how to do it when I was in the fourth grade and frustrated with my little school box.  The sides were torn and the top kept falling inward.  So I wadded up some tissue with glue and made a red 3d balloon on the top, added a string, and then I had a handle to pull the lid up.  I was in a red phase.  I also poured some red food coloring in the glue and turned mine pink.  My classmates were astounded.  Many years later, Elmer's starts selling colored glue.  Just remember, I did it first.  1980.  (And I was disappointed because I really wanted bloody red glue. LOL)

So I'm waiting for my pasta-carbs to turn into energy, and in the meantime, I still have a broken washer.  It's been about a month now.  Dad is going to order some parts that will come to the total of half the price of a new washer.  And I'll hope that after paying over $400, that will fix the problem.  If not, I know it'll become a case of "oh, but if that part ever actually DOES break, you'll have it handy.  In the meantime, you bought it for nothing because the washer still won't work."  And where shall I store these extra unnecessary parts (as usual) in my crackerbox of a house?

Not a freaking clue.

Have I mentioned that the much-lauded and anticipated (even by me) ios 6 has come close to bricking my iphone 4s?  I can't get messages on it.  Apps won't stay deleted.  My music disappears.  Reminders do not work.  Calls don't go through.  WiFi won't stay connected.  Cell signals that were available before are now nonexistent.  Too bad that it's the only functioning phone I have.  The one in my home is almost non-functioning.  I haven't heard it ring in years.  But I think it does work.  I activated a credit card with it last week.  *sigh*

I'm not exactly hyped up for my run.  How do I get to that place?  It's like I have no energy right now.  Hmmm.  Maybe some coffee?  It's been a couple of hours and I still feel sluggish.  I don't have long to get energy filled.  Usually my shins hurt too bad to enjoy the run, or I start gasping for air.  I don't need the added challenge of no steam to run on.  Maybe a little oatmeal?  I dunno. Oh wait... this might be a good time to try out one of those gooey energy blocks I've kept in my running bag.  It seems counterintuitive for me to be eating anything high calorie while I'm trying to lose weight by running, but I also understand that right now I'm in the process of learning to run for 30 minutes nonstop.  One challenge at a time.  Somewhere in the midst of this process, I may very well become able to run without gasping.  I hear that it happens when you keep running.  There's the one thing in my life I can look forward to at this point.

If I don't break a leg or tear something.  :)

An old friend (okay, an ex-boyfriend) wants me to run a half marathon with him in the springtime.  Thirteen miles?  Well... let me get past the point of being able to run a mile successfully first, and then I'll talk about running thirteen.  I want to.  But I don't know if I can do it that fast, unless pounds start melting off of me, thereby easing the pounding on my legs.

On the other hand, running is something I can do alone, without waiting for anyone else.  I just hate to be dragging in the back of the race participants.  I had to keep telling myself the first time I ran a race that it was okay to come in last because I was darn well going to finish, and it was the longest distance I'd ever run in my life.  Just doing it was an accomplishment.

Truly, the only fun part about running right now is watching the way my my leg muscles are changing.  Starting to get a little definition in my calves... and in my thighs, which is... fine.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Underpronation?

Last night I did get on the blessed football field to see if that would lessen the impact on my shins while running. Strangest thing happened... It made the outsides of my legs ache! I couldn't stand to stay on it long enough to really run. Too painful.

I ran and tried to make midfoot strikes. It hurt my shins. Again.

Sometime this morning I took stock of the way I was standing in the hall and realized that I was pressing my weight onto the outsides of my feet, horribly under pronating. I was barely letting my big toe and its under structure touch the floor as I walked. Could this be part of the problem that makes my feet ache all day, especially the fourth left metatarsal?

I started consciously trying to plant the inside of my foot down equally with my outside, and the pain lessened a little. It definitely felt different as I walked, down to the muscles in my calf reacting differently.

Hmm. Well, it's something to try. Maybe it will strengthen the right places if I stop my lazy walking and stance.

Ted Bundy.....ish

This morning I went to work and found a large rawhide bone sitting on the wall fronting the flowerbed. I am wary. I don't know if someone is trying to make friends with my dog or maybe offer him a poisoned treat. He does bark when strangers walk by. I'm bothered by the fact that someone came all the way up to my house in the early morning.

Just like last week with my new stalker. Ick. Man, just stay away, would ya? It makes my dog's vomiting incident yesterday morning even more suspicious now. I think I'll throw the bone in the trash.

I ran, anxiety filled, last night. There was one other person at the track with me, and it was a rather large man who seemed to be struggling with walking. Eh. Shades of Ted Bundy is what I was thinking. Fake an injury and then grab your victim while they are trying to help you. No thanks.

I think this is my warning to start going to the track an hour earlier while there is still some light. I doubt breathing in the damp chilly night air helped me anyway, because I was coughing and wheezing when I went home.

My dad kept looking at me funny while I coughed and even asked me if his cigarette was bothering me. I told him yes, truthfully, and broke out into another coughing fit, but he didn't put the cigarette out.

You've gotta have your priorities in life, I suppose. My need for clean air to breathe has never been as important as his "right" to smoke if he wants to. That much has been clear to me since my childhood. Therefore, I can't spend a lot of time with him, though I would like to. :(

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Plagued by Degenerates... Uh, degeneration

I'm running around town this weekend like the proverbial headless chicken. Yesterday I built a retaining wall for an overgrown flowerbed. I never did go run last night as I had planned because I went shopping out of town with my brother and subsequently ate a lot of shrimp. Mmmm. Yummy! I recommend the teriyaki as well as the Parmesan crusted shrimp. Heheh.

Running last night was probably not the best idea anyway. My shins were aching. Not the muscles though... Down by the bone. I read last night that the skeletal system is the last to adapt to running, and that it takes about a year for the bones to get accustomed to the pounding. So I guess this means that I have a long way to go, baby. At least until May before I can expect the pain to lighten up. Unless I count back from last Thanksgiving when I ran my first 5k? Hmm.... Okay, silly notion. I have to take it easy until the pain goes away. And that could conceivably take until May.

Sucks. But hey, people already mistakenly think this is the first time I will have to deal with chronic pain, so allow me to enlighten. It hurts when I walk, especially when I wake up in the morning. Not just the soles of my feet, but my hips as well, down deep in the joints. It's been going on for several years. For eleven years there has been the worsening numbness in my right thigh that has turned into an excruciating burning along the nerves. Fortunately, it's only 50% of the day -- while it is numb all of the time now, the pain only troubles me 50% of my waking hours, and it has only recently included my left leg.

Ah, I haven't told anyone yet that my "degenerative femoral nerve" problem has not only worsened over the last year -- it's spreading. The neurologist told me that if I lose weight, there is a small chance that it will help the problem. Or he can prescribe strong painkillers that will most definitely make me gain weight.

So I'm running. It might help me. I want to run again because I enjoyed it as a child. I might even accomplish some small achievement that will finally mean something to me. It'll make me feel better, somehow.

Today I bought more landscaping blocks and built another wall around a raised flowerbed. Also took a load of clothes to my father's to wash (my washer is broken) and got it back here with another load washing now.

And I'm still hurting, though I have to go run soon. At least with all the blocks I moved, I think I can count it as weightlifting. :). My elbows are killing me, and my hamstrings are a little sore, but I'm willing to give it all a try. Besides, if I run tonight, i'll earn a badge in my couch to 5k program. LOL

It's all about the gold stars, ya know. I never got enough of them. And I sure as heck don't get anything to shore up my morale these days. Intrinsic motivation it will have to be, just like always.

I did notice while I was outside feeling like I was building Stonehenge ("Building a 'henge are we? Fantastico!") that the creepy tenant next door has attached a framed photo of a horse... On the siding facing my bedroom. Yeah, that's right. He has nailed a picture onto the outside of the house. He's also put a tall skinny brown plastic vase with a few cheap plastic flowers in the middle of the front yard. Who does that? There is obviously something wrong... More than just bad taste. He ain't clicking on all cylinders and he's developed an unwelcome interest in me. Thursday morning he came knocking on my door before 7 am. Wth??

I didn't answer it. I've stopped answering the door when he knocks. Much the same as the other old guy on the other end of the street who wouldn't stop pestering me. He has a record for stalking. I was one more incident away from calling the cops when he stopped. Maybe it helped that I stopped driving past his house on the way home from work.

It really bothers me that these men more than 20 years my senior have always paid me too much attention. Of course when I was younger, the age gap was sometimes 30, 40, or even 50 years. Believe me, it's as bad as it sounds. Beyond 10 years, the idea of dating older men just creeps me out. (Younger too, for the record.)

Well at least the creepies are giving me fiction writing material.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Drink in Hand

I've decided that for the time being, I'm going to keep two rest days between my training runs. Still frustrated that I can't run every other day because of my shinsplints, every third day seems better than a one month timeout to heal my lower legs enough to walk again.

Walking is important. Walking without tears is absolutely a requirement for me. It seems really strange that I'm trying to improve my health by running, and it's causing more damage in the process.

Somehow I've got to get the calorie burning going faster so that I can lose enough weight to ease the strain on my legs. My inability to drop pounds has puzzled more than one doctor and I've even been told that in a concentration camp situation, I'd be the last survivor of starvation.

No, I'm not a cannibal! Lol Apparently I've got a very efficient response for basic survival.

Right now I'm training for a 5k, and trying to strengthen my shins as I do. They are obviously stressed by my running. I'm not sure if its my weight, my shoes, or my running surfaces. I wonder if anybody would freak out if I jumped off the track and onto that gorgeous grass carpeting the football field itself. I wonder how it would feel underfoot. Hmmm.

Hmm.

Though I don't actually want to carry a bottle of anything to drink while I run, there is the problem of choking on a bone-dry throat while I do. I've seen in British running magazines that they have water bottles with a hand grip through the middle. Yay. I could use one of those. Trying to hold a Gatorade bottle in my admittedly small hands is difficult. They're just too big to hold without cramping my hand.

Yep, I have to shop in the boys' department for snow gloves. Ladies' sizes are always too big for my hands.

Lacking a small water bottle anywhere that doesn't require a Batman utility belt to carry it, I will go back to using my Playpus collapsible bottles. At least with those I can fill them with maybe six ounces of water, enough to remoisten my throat and mouth, and not worry about sloshing. Plus, when they're empty I can squish them up into a pocket. One will squish down to the size of my actual grip while I hold it.

It'll work.

Honestly, I've thought Platypus bottles are the neatest thing since sliced bread for a solid decade now. :) Neeeeato!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Never Let Me Go

I watched Never Let Me Go again tonight, and it makes me begin to understand why the clones raised for their organs as "spare parts" never truly rebelled against their fates.

Well, they did, some of them. In their way. Asking in a humble near-whisper if they could receive a deferral for their organ donations *was* the only rebellion they could muster. They were never raised to have any real backbone or hope for any kind of a future for themselves.

They simply wait until they are called to be divested of their vital organs, like animals for slaughter. It's the only purpose they've ever known for their lives and they've always been isolated and separate from "real" people. They lacked even the simplest of parental figures, so when they appeal to the women who oversaw their lives, the tiniest scrap remembered about their personalities causes Tommy to give a shy grin which shows he has mistaken a perfunctory remembrance for actual affection for him.

Of course, he quickly finds out they are still regarded as "things" beneath consideration. Madame only sees at the last moment that Kathy and Tommy are indeed real people, not simply vessels for housing spare parts in a healthy and protected growing medium.

And she expresses her pity for the lesser creatures who are doomed to sleepwalk through their twilight lives, never allowed to be part of anything meaningful to them.

What's the point of rebellion when you already know your fate can't be altered, ultimately, and that it will only cause you anguish to try?

I continue to donate my blood, and I'm on the bone marrow registry, if anybody should ever match me and need it. My gut tells me I won't ever match anyone, much like the personality / dating profiles I've done. :). I'm just too odd. Unique to my own detriment. Somewhere, there's a joke in that.

While I've had to withdraw my offer to have a baby for an unfortunate loved one, lacking the unfortunate loved one (thankfully they are still very blessed) and owing to my age, I'd still be willing to donate a kidney or part of my liver while I'm alive.

My secret behind trying to stay healthy is that I should keep my organs healthy so that whoever receives them can use them.

I signed my organ donor card a long time ago. My sister will honor my wish to be an organ donor. My father will not. These are the only things I am sure of.

I don't know why my father is so disturbed by the idea. He's never liked the idea of me donating blood either. I tried to explain it to him by saying that if I died in an accident, that parts of me would go on living instead of rotting uselessly in the ground. It's not conscious extended life or even limited immortality, it's just trying to help. And actually, most of the time I suspect that it's my only real purpose in life.

Providing spare parts. For the real people.




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rainy Run and a Slap

Almost. The sprinkling started, but ended right after I hit the track. Now it is raining in earnest.

Well, I suppose I was put in my place tonight. Huh. I sincerely hope there was alcohol fueling that brash attitude because it was a mean thing to say to me.

I did 2 1/2 miles tonight on the track, and had a 13:26 (not sure on the seconds exactly) mile in the middle. My shins still hurt, but I made more of an effort to run flat footed. Well that's what it is when you strike mid foot.

Used the foam roller and ice packs when I got home and I'm worn out. Good thing, because if I wasn't, I'd probably give in to the tears that are threatening over getting my feelings hurt. Guess I'll just swallow it down as usual until it all seeps like a low grade illness from my pores. Who really cares how I feel but me anyway? Bueller...? Bueller...?

On the brighter side, I bought 14 new tops last night at Goody's. Finally found one store with clothes I won't mind wearing in front of other people. My sister was trying to get me to buy a pretty nightgown at the first store, but I don't see any point to it.

(I don't shop much because I don't believe I deserve to have pretty things. More often than not, there aren't any pretty things out there for me anyway. )

I'm just not feeling brave enough to let anyone see me in something more revealing than a twinset. Not after the last time. That uneasy distantness that sprang up afterward has made me really insecure. I feel fat and ugly and annoying. *sigh*

I feel safer under my rock. It's familiar, though not comfortable or pretty and it's pretty lonely.

Started off my run with "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol because it made me think about "Gia". Think I'll listen to some old Duran Duran. Got a rare urge to hear "Lonely in Your Nightmare".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The voice; the end

So there it is. Everybody has a voice they listen to. Many are fortunate to have another person's voice to help them along. Others have only their inner voice which inevitably undermines their self worth.

I apologize to those I've burdened with my insecurities and I realize I should have kept it all bottled up. That inner voice let me know the reasons why, after all.

Of course I don't hear actual voices in my head. Even Jiminy Cricket is simply a symbol of conscience. My conscience just happens to detest me as much as everyone else.

Maybe the little monster will keep me moving tonight when I go to do my running. My shins hurt. My hamstring set is still really sore and dodgy. I don't know if it will be safe to do it tonight, but I've taken two rest days, and I don't want to waste any more time just because I'm hurting, when I can't tell the difference between startup soreness and true injury pain. My gut tells me to ignore the pain. I'll just have to see how badly I'm hurting tomorrow.

By the way, this is my lunchtime, if you're thinking of causing problems.

The voice, part 2

Something I've learned in the years I've spent working with children is this: there will be a voice they listen to, and if they are not provided with a strong, positive voice to listen to, they will listen to whatever voice provides the message that makes them feel they belong. Whether it is gang / criminal activity, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity... It doesn't matter to them if it is a deleterious influence -- they just want to belong, to be included. Kids usually have no problem finding someone to influence them. As adults, we are tasked with the responsibility of steering them to a voice that will build their character rather than tear them apart from the inside out. Being parental support for other people's children is draining, to say the least. And people are like car batteries... If there is no engine connection to cycle around and recharge that battery, why do you expect the battery to be able to power everything else indefinitely? Where is the supporting machinery?

Someone told me earlier that I should SMILE! Excuse me? Okay, I won't go there with a response, but you should know that today it is taking all my effort to keep my hands from visibly shaking. I don't take drugs for even the most stressful days (maybe I should), so telling me I should do something that is just intended to make them happier is just...

I'm giving it what little I have left not to cry in front of other people. I exiled my dog last night because I was so upset with him and myself. He's lucky it was just to the kitchen, because I considered leaving him outside all night. I didn't want to be alone, but I didn't want him destroying anything else while I was unconscious.

Waking up shaking all over did nothing to make the situation any better. I suppose "stressed" is a catch-all for being angry, hurt, and afraid all tangled up together. Things keep going wrong, so the anger stays. People turn their backs on me when I need them, so the hurt just grows. The fear is that I can't just shake it but I don't know how I'm going to deal with it. The people who say just smile and pretend its all happy happy... Seem to be shallow people to me. If nobody but you is capable of "real" feelings from your perspective, it shows that you are very self-centered. Maybe even sociopathic.

So do me a favor and tuck your callous coldness back in. Your true nature is showing. I'm not a puppet to grin and dance for your amusement. More like that small ugly dog that mean children like to kick. Even if the stop kicking, the dog will still be small and ugly.

Ignore me for a few months. Maybe my world will miraculously become a happy place. Yeah, just because I'm overdue for something solidly good to finally happen to me. I'll put that expectation of a miracle in the same place I stash my belief in the rest of the fairy tales. Work, sleep, work, sleep. That's what I've got to be so incredibly thankful for. I'm so.... Grateful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

That Still, Small Voice

Wouldn't it be helpful to sometimes have someone to confide in, to advise you? While not everyone has a Jiminy Cricket, possible reformed grifter turned child psychologist, on their shoulder, most people have at least one other person around who keeps them from being alone with their thoughts.

When there is no confidante to call upon in a dread state of darkness, the still, small voice keeps up a steady barrage to remind a person of all their insecurities and failures. It's a never ending siege and there is no cease-fire. At least other humans provide a distraction.

At least one friend says that my praying is stupid, because he doesn't believe in God. He hasn't answered my simple prayers for things to get better in my life, so I shouldn't be surprised that abject begging for help is ignored as well. I'm not one of those happy little people who have had things just fall gently into place in their lives, like ticking off the points of a list. It's an issue with me that despite almost always playing fairly by the rules, I've always lost.

It looks like I've managed to push more people away, as they've gotten to know me, and begun to seriously misunderstand me. It doesn't look like I'll ever be able to correct that mistake. Another loss. Another failure. I wish I could ignore me as easily as other people do. But I don't want to be a burden on anyone, any more than they want me there. I'm sorry. I just don't believe that my life's purpose was ever to rave over everyone else's happiness while I took care of their trash. I can't be their cheerleader.

The truth is that since I was a little girl, I was bothered by having to be alone so much. I was a regular little social chatterbox once. It's the sort of thing that changes when other children start forming their hateful little cliques just for the sadistic pleasure of other kids. No point in denying it... I see it every day. It doesn't stop at the threshold of adulthood, either. It just becomes more insidious and hidden.

It's no more appealing to be a loner now than it was back then. It's become more difficult to deal with, now that the still, small voice knows all and has sharp teeth to bite with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Truth on a Hamstring

I woke up yesterday morning with a strange sore place deep inside the place where my buttock and leg join. I'm not sure what to call it, or even where to call it because the discomfort was so hard to nail in one place. It felt weird, like a deep-set Charley horse had let go after a few hours.

Problem is, there was no charley horse to speak of. I just woke up with the weirdness. So last night, I went on to the track and did my do-over beginner's shuffle for a couple of low-impact breath training (very very slow jogging.).

I didn't hurt myself, and I made sure to stretch thoroughly and gently after each night's shuffled jog. Nothing was hurting after I ran.

Nothing.

Yesterday I woke up with a little soreness in my shins, but I'd expected that. My obliques were a little tender as well, because I was tightening my abs during my cool down walk.

And that weird pain in my butt. Lol. Somewhere deep inside at the top of my femur.

This morning that phantom cramp caused some internal numbness, however. Sometimes when I walked today, my whole leg folded under me. Walking became painful and difficult as well, because it seems that my entire hamstring from my pelvis to the back of my knee, is pulled too tight. It just isn't responding correctly when I try to make my leg pick up and move.

I don't know why. I didn't put any strain on it. I didn't feel a hint of a pull while I jogged so pathetically slowly.

More than once today I thought, great. You're going to end up losing your leg over this. Nightmares plagued me last night too. I could have attributed that to my very sad and lonely mood when I went to sleep (it still hasn't gone away), but my dreams took on an awful medical quality. I went to a doctor for something minor, and they held me there doing horrible tests until they told me I had some kind of cancer in my lower back that was causing all the problems with my leg.

For the record, I had nightmares as a child about suddenly losing my ability to walk, and I've never understood why. It blossomed into a phobia of elevators and of collapsing staircases before I realized it was an irrational dreamstate-only set of fears.

I'll admit that while awake, elevators still upset me, especially if they are small and rickety. I remember what happened in all *those* nightmares. I lugged some very heavy baggage up five floors in Florence rather than take a chance on the elevator. It made my breathing a little panicked just to consider it.

Obviously the useless legs dream scares me, but what a coincidence that I'm suddenly ... Having trouble walking.

So I've been trying to use tennis balls to get into the juncture where the problem is and my dog has taken up the challenge to steal all of those smelly new tennis balls from me. All tennis balls must belong to the dog. Check. I hope my physical therapy massage (I made a special appointment because I'm hoping it's just a cranky soft tissue thing) helps on Friday. If it doesn't, I guess I really will be going to a sports doctor and getting more x rays done of my legs. There wasn't a pretty picture last time, fifteen years ago.

Sometimes I think I'm making a futile attempt to stay ahead of the Grim Reaper. You know, the would-be heroine always stumbles when she might have otherwise gotten away from the killer. The runner always stumbles.

Happy Thought Missing

Tomorrow begins in five minutes. And I have no reason to look forward to it. Go to work an hour early. Get no break other than lunch, if that isn't attempted to be taken away again for a second day, and then work an extra hour and 45 minutes after hours. I managed to present myself in the worst possible light today, and the worst part is I was completely misunderstood.

Where oh where is a single happy thought to get me through the day?

I hope the day dawns brighter for you than it will for me.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Canning... Breakfast.

I was busy tonight after I returned from dinner with my father. I made all of my breakfasts for the week. Oatmeal!!

Cooked five servings of old fashioned oats with milk, in the microwave. It took about ten minutes. I just didn't want to stand over the stove, cuz I had stuff to do. Tomorrow I go to work an hour earlier and Tuesday I start working till 4:30 as well.

I thought having some things ready tonight would make things easier come pre-dawn when my alarm sounds, so I've got my clothes prepared as well.

As I was making five servings of my wake-up latte, I heard the sound of the hot oatmeal sealing itself into the canning jars with audible *pops*. Hahah. So I have indeed canned oatmeal.

But you know what I forgot? I forgot to put honey in the now six jars of oatmeal. Five servings made six jars. *sigh*. So I'll have a snack at some point. Right? As for the honey, I pulled out a former MiO bottle and put the honey in there so I'd have it in my lunch bag for morning. I plan to eat it at the football field.

Cardio Needed For Eluding Zombies

I had a conversation with a coworker last week which reminded me of a few of my goals -- running-type achievements. Of course by now you know that I can't sustain a flat-out speed run. Yet. I'll have to build up to that.

Ultimately, my aim is to run in a marathon. Someday. Realistically, it won't happen within a year. Probably not even in two years. I'll have to build up to that, just like any other sane person starting from zero would have to do.

Here is my intended training progression:

5k
10k
Half-marathon
Marathon
Warrior Dash / Zombie Run - interspersed just for fun

Obviously, I'm not likely to win any of these races. I probably won't even place in my age group unless it's a very small race. Finishing and improving my time gradually are my goals. And if that doesn't make me win, I could always carry a metal bar and kneecap the other runners as they pass me. Right? :D

I know that there is a Warrior Dash coming in a couple of weeks near Nashville, but as I've said, I'm recovering from shin splints and trying to retrain properly. I still don't have a coach, and I don't know how I would find one. On my own may be the best I can do. However, I don't think I'm in any kind of physical shape for the obstacles of the Warrior Dash, which looks to be similar to military basic training. :) Fun, but at this point, I'd just get hurt. Maybe I can do it next year.

Zombie Run? Well, for that one I will want speed, because it will really make me angry to get zombie-tagged. I want to at least be able to maintain my own actual running speed for that one. Currently I'm only able to shuffle at zombie-speed.

While it would be lovely to believe there might be someone to cheer for me at the finish, I know it won't happen. That's for other people. I wish for me too, but apparently I'm an ogre or a ghoul or something equally offensive. There was someone nagging at me to run at the finish line of my first race, but I almost flipped them off and I didn't comply. I was already running on empty at the time, because I wasn't prepared for the race.

But I ran anyway. :). Sometimes you have to keep running the races even when you know you are destined to lose.

And there is the consolation that even by losing, I'm still miles ahead of the ones who never get up and try.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Run Redone

I just came back from my first attempt to run in a month. I've been reading up on the running considerations for my particular demographic and once I moved past my absolute fear of failure this evening, I got moving again.

What I had to keep in mind:

I'm prone to shin splints, so I had to find a softer surface than the asphalt I was on before. Then I was told there is such a place - the high school I attended, just a few minutes from my house. A quarter of a million dollars spent on this synthetic racetrack, and if it solves my problem with training shin splints, I'll consider it worth every penny. It felt slightly spongy to walk on, so I can imagine it absorbs a bit of the shock from running.

Being over 40, I can't *really* run yet. I learned that I should jog or "shuffle" instead of running until I can't go any further. Stop worrying about speed and distance and just condition my muscles for the task first. Maybe I won't get completely sidelined by dual injuries if I take it easy. Shuffling was easy enough. It still raised my heart rate and I'm supposed to merely be working toward 30 minutes of nonstop running.

The crazy thing is that my time shuffling was slightly better than my 5k time in the race. Lol

I was breathing wrong before. I'd always been told to inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth. The problem is that not enough air comes into the nose to sustain a runner. The proper way to breathe is through mouth and nose simultaneously. When I tried it this way, for the first time I didn't do the panicked breathing that makes me feel like I am suffocating. So I'm learning how to breathe again.

I worked hard to keep my arms up even while I walked, alternating with my feet. Left foot and right arm go forward together, and vice versa. I'll admit it was a little bit confusing at first. I had to think "left" and imagine I was going to reach out with my right elbow as my left foot came forward. It helped.

My usual fears surfaced when I got there. Fear I'd know someone there. Fear hat the track would be crowded and I'd get laughed at. Fear that I would get hurt. Fear that I wouldn't be able to breathe.

(This comes from never having been properly trained for either the physical aspect or the mental aspect of running, and I could have easily gotten that if I'd been allowed to participate in track like I'd wanted. It is truly a lingering resentment.)

Thankfully, it was a beautifully cool night that I love autumn for providing. I just wish 68 degree evenings could happen year round, and I wouldn't end up wheezing asthmatically at the end of my runs. I've been wheezing for years and haven't done anything about it. It only got bad in the summer heat.

I'm really thankful for a small taste of success tonight. It seemed best to restart my couch to 5 k program at the beginning, and I was absolutely astonished at the end of each 1 minute running segment because it came sooner than I expected. I hope my good fortune continues, because I feel great tonight. :).

I want to run in some more races, not that I'll place in any of them -- I just want to accomplish something. I've been feeling like a failure at everything lately. Running a few races would give me something to do that won't require anybody else's presence. I'm used to that. Not that I've ever liked my forced solitude.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sleepwalking & Self Mutilation

I haven't slept much this week. This afternoon I managed to take a five hour nap when I came home from work, and I'm starting to feel human once again.

Because I've been having trouble sleeping, I've been using an app on my phone to monitor my sleep movements. I've had several periods that show I'm moving around a lot and awake, yet I don't remember waking up at all.

However, I wake up with a sore forehead, feeling bruised.

All day Tuesday my forehead was really tender up by my hairline, and by the end of the day I realized I had a burn mark, as I'd I had tried to curl my bangs and had gotten the curling iron too close to my face.

Now if I had burned myself while I was getting ready for work, I would definitely have noticed. According to my chart, I was awake and moving around from 4:15-4:30 that morning. I don't remember that. Yet I have the burn to show that something happened. Somebody was trying to clumsily curl my bangs... At the roots. LOL.

Well then. There's that.

It comes as no surprise to me that I have been sleepwalking. My movement charts show that there are some unusual segments of waking movement in the wee hours of the mornings, and I generally sleep through the night. However, I have been really stressed this week and I've had a lot on my mind, not all of which was work-related.

If the personal stuff would just give me some peace, it would enable me to handle the work stuff. Just goes to show you that you can work hard to remain a good person and you're still never going to have the life you want.

It's just too bad. Maybe it's simply a test of faith under pressure.

Anyway, it defies logic that the more tired a person is, the more likely they are to sleepwalk. I've been building up a sleep deficit over an entire week. No matter how tired I've been, I haven't been able to take so much as a nap all week. I've even taken melatonin at night to make me drowsy. It worked a couple of times.

But I didn't stay asleep. Not really asleep. It's that "unfinished business" thing, I suppose. If I were to die I'd probably come back as a ghost and haunt someplace. Fortunately, I haven't been able to find anything sharp in my nightly wanderings. Who knows what I'd do with a blade?

Good thing I don't get so far as driving. If I sleepwalked my way into a bar, I'd probably try to solve my problem of loneliness with my hair all messed up. I'm not sure I'd trust my own judgment asleep, considering what a lousy judge of character I've always been while awake! I always want to believe the best about men I'm interested in, but if I fall for them they usually turn out to be no damn good.

Anyway... I do take steps to ensure my nocturnal wanderings from overtiredness are limited in scope. I keep the bedroom door locked, and it is difficult to open even when it is unlocked. (My own fault. I took the knob off when painting and never got it back on right.) I should wake up when I'm struggling to open it, yes? No. Lol. I suppose it makes no impression on me whatsoever when I'm vividly dreaming that I'm awake in the daylight. At least the door to the house is deadbolted with a key. That'll slow me down. It'll slow down a burglar too. No breaking the window to reach in and turn the lock.

You ain't got no key, you ain't unlocking the door. Lol. By the time the glass breaks, I'll be nearby with my phone, talking to 911, waiting in the dark with a big knife. Go ahead and stick your hand in my house. I dare you. Hahaha. ;)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Return of the County Fair

The county fair is here, and with it comes a mixture of memories from my childhood.

When I was a toddler, we lived within a two minute walk of the fairgrounds. We could see the lights and hear the sounds from our front yard. I remember seeing my mother and (I think) her sister walk away, headed for the fair. She promised she would take me another time, and that she would be back soon. I wasn't more than three, but I remember that it sounded like fun, and I wasn't allowed to have it. Worse than that was the longing for my mother... I just didn't want her to leave me behind. I wanted my mommy to pick me up and take me with her, but she waved as she walked away. That year she came home with a gigantic pink stuffed dog that she still had years after the divorce. It was a dopey looking dog, and it had bristly fake fur, but I still wanted to play with it. It was hers, though. Never going to be mine. Like all little kids, I thought all toys should belong to me. :)

Several years later, my mother gave me a pin she'd had since she was a little girl. A pink jeweled enamel cat with a silly long neck. I pinned the treasured cat on the pocket of my jeans to keep from losing my money, but toward the end of the day, I realized that I had lost her beloved pin. She had told me to keep it until I had a little girl to give it to, and I lost it in a place that is now part of a cemetery. I never told her I lost her pin. Maybe someone found it, and they had a little girl to give it to. I never did. And thinking about losing the pin only freshens the memory of losing my mother. For all i will ever know, the pin may be forever jumbled into the dirt of someone's grave in Fairview Cemetery.

My dad loved dragging me through the haunted houses that would open with every fair. He claims he was curing me of my fear of the dark, but sometimes I thought he got a kick out of scaring me.

Perhaps he meant well the time he literally dragged me up the steps of one of those spook houses, and I bloodied my knee, yet he forced me to go through there with him, crying and bleeding. The carnie who was operating the haunted house told him he would give him his tickets back because I was hurt, but my father said he was going to MAKE me go through it, and I'd better stop my crying or he was going to "give me something to cry about," a favorite expression of his.

Yeah... Empathy wasn't one of his strong points back then, for sure. Bleeding and crying? Oh, you'd better stifle it fast because he didn't want to hear it.

Still, I do have a couple of good memories of Dad at the fair with us. Waiting patiently for us to get our fill of riding the kiddie cars. Rocking the ferris wheel seat while we were stuck at the top. Taking us by his employer's booth (Sylvania) in the civics building to have our picture made with him. I remember the picture well. He was kneeling, with me on his knee and my sister standing on the other side. We were all grinning like crazy people. My sister and I were wearing matching halter top and shorts sets and lips that were so red that was obvious we had been eating red snow cones.

All I can say is this: the haunted house trek must have been AFTER that photo, and I'm obviously still holding onto some fearful resentment after all these years. Lol.

I think he bought us cotton candy to eat on the walk home. By this time, we lived in a new neighborhood on the opposite side of the fairgrounds, still within walking distance.

It's strange to think that even now, eating cotton candy makes me feel safe and happy, because it reminds me of the best parts of Dad taking us to the fair.

Still, I haven't forgotten the time my brother was forced to take us to the fair. He played a game until he won a pair of handcuffs, and then cuffed his two little sisters together to tow along behind him. Well, I can't blame him. He was a teenager and it must have been a drag to be stuck chaperoning two little girls on Fair Day off from school. LOL

Why haven't I been to the fair in many years? It makes me sad. I think of the future that fell by the wayside into the past, without ever happening. And I don't want to go by myself. Simple as all that. The county fair is a place to go *with* someone, which I am sadly lacking. Oh well. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Not Home

I need a couch. Yep, I truly do. I used to have a couch, which I bought from someone who was about to throw it away, until I could find furniture that appealed to me. Nothing really did. When I found something I liked, I discovered that my dog had taken to marking all of the furniture as his. I'm hesitant to buy anything else he could ruin. But what's the other option, live like this until he's dead, ten years from now? I'm rather co-dependent -- I need my dog. He stays.

If you're one of those people about to suggest I start abusing an eight pound dog with separation anxiety, you'd better not tell me, unless you want me to mark you as evil. Let me guess, you beat your children to potty-train them, didn't you? Well, I've taken enough beatings in my life that I just don't want to bully anyone else like that, so keep THAT opinion to yourself. Life hasn't worked out for him either. He's just as depressed as I am. Maybe it's the company he's keeping.

So, what happened to the couch? Well, someone got a divorce and lost their furniture in it, so I loaned them my couch and old bed. Temporarily. For three years now. And since then I've had nowhere to sit except the floor, on the rare occasion when I have company. Nobody wants to sit right next to you on a love seat. It's a little too close for comfort, and you can't look at them anyway.

I'd pen my dog in the kitchen all day, but I loaned my pen to someone and they haven't returned it. I've asked. It's all I can do.

My living room is really too small for more than a couch and maybe a chair. And a bigger tv mounted on the wall. Let's face it - the good tv is in my bedroom, so that's where I spend all of my time.

I need bookshelves too. Serious bookshelves that didn't come from a local cheap store or as someone else's castoff. "It'll look great in your house because I'm ready to throw it in the trash (and your house is worthless anyway)."

Gee, thanks for the charity. I could have called Goodwill for warmer thoughts.

There's just not enough space in this house for a modern family to live. It's ill-configured, from the lack of a laundry room to not so much as a linen closet, to the kitchen without counter space that includes a path-blocker within three feet of the entrance.

I've already redesigned the whole thing to make more sense, but really, it wouldn't be worth the hassle or cost to pay someone to remodel it, unless I actually WANTED to stay here forever. I don't.

If I ordered some new living room furniture, it would take about three weeks for it to arrive, during which I could paint the room, repairing the cracks and holes left by the shoring up of my ceiling. That steel beam is a bitch to paint, no matter what I was told. I've tried to paint it, but nothing really does the trick. I need a new front door, because mine has cracked in the heat. (Nobody ever told me there were special rules about painting a wood door.)

Punch me in the arm repeatedly until I either bruise or cry, and I'm supposed to toughen up and take it like a man, but maintenance of a house is supposed to be something I just absorbed from the atmosphere without anyone to teach me. Oh yeah, I'm smart enough to just *know* these things... Or I'm a disappointment.

If I could move all of my heavy bedroom furniture by myself, I could shift some of it into the bedroom while I paint in here too. It needs to be done. I'm fairly certain I've been looking at primer for the last 11 years.

I have been met with some of the most idiotic logic regarding my house.

Close in the carport! You don't really need anywhere to park your car, store the lawnmower, put the rake, hoe, broom, or any of that stuff! (Then what? It becomes a second living room or just one massive kitchen / laundry room?) Stupid.

Turn the third bedroom into a formal dining room! Why? Think a two bedroom house will be worth more than a three bedroom house?

Okay, turn it into a giant laundry / utility room! Well, while I don't currently have any place to take care of laundry, that room isn't rigged for water or the electrical connections necessary for a washer / dryer. And where would I store and use my art materials? How about sewing? Painting? Scrapbooking? The offered solution was that I throw all of that stuff away because I don't need any hobbies to occupy all of my spare time. I should devote more time to watching tv.

(The bottom line of all this is "Don't bother me.")

So... The list of tasks before me is ever-increasing, just to keep me from hating the place where I live every time I pass through it.

Replace all the kitchen cabinets because they're just stupid.
Paint all the knotty pine walls because they are dark orange and ugly.
Put in a range against the wall because nobody needs a separate stovetop in their walking path which puts drawers in an inaccessible corner.
Get a tiny kitchen table.
Put in countertops and drawers because.
Paint the living room. There's always a crazy amount of prep work in this house. This time I'm not sanding mis-attached wallpaper border off the primer it was superglued to (It was easy to tell when nothing would remove it) and then sanding and repriming the entire room, I'll be filling in massive gaps between the crown molding and Sheetrock.

Buy living room furniture.

Funny how none of this list makes me want to jump up and get to WORK. Gee, doesn't that sound fun? Lol :) For what, anyway? Nobody comes here voluntarily except for two family members.

When the list is a million miles long, where do you begin? Maybe you just pray for a strong enough wind to blow the pecan tree onto the house so that it has to be remodeled anyway. Yeah, I hate this house. It's not home. It's a to-do list.

I do like this couch though:



 Note: This is not a good opportunity to unload your old couch.  I can afford to buy whatever new one I'd like.  I just don't like the buying process.  Or the painting to match process.  Or the moving-in and all the preparations required.  Or worrying how to keep my dog from ever raising that leg on the couch.  Thanks so much for your well-intentioned charity, but I got this. Easily.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Shallowness and the Darkness

Rather than whine about the situation which kept me home in bed all day a couple of days ago, fasting, I'll talk about something completely shallow instead.

Sometimes you've just gotta prove to the world that you can be just as shallow as they are! No, of course it won't make certain people accept me and I still won't be invited to any shallow gatherings, but I must assert myself that I can be shallow too.

Oh, the fasting? How can a hypoglycemic (but shallow! Don't forget that!) woman fast for 24 hours? Don't ask me. I just decided to eat nothing. I stayed in bed, sleeping and drinking nothing but water. I got up to let my dog out a couple of times, and of course to go to the bathroom, but stayed in the quiet darkness the rest of the time.

And I thought. Which is a bad thing. Quiet time alone with my thoughts leaves a lot of time to torment myself.

So shallow it is.

Last night, because I have such a grand social life for someone who has always been single, I did my nails. The bright red I had put on last weekend was still intact, but my nails had grown too long.

Ha ha. Get that? Other people can't get theirs to grow, and mine grow so long now that they interfere with my ability to type. Most of them were past quarter-inch length beyond my fingertips. And frankly, outside of my wonderment that they have grown rabidly without breaking off since I returned to the States two months ago, I thought they were starting to look a little bit scary. True, I was fascinated to see just how long they would grow, but some get longer faster than others, and the disparity was starting to bug me.

There were also breaks that needed to be repaired down below -- just until they get long enough to cut the broken place beyond the fingertip. (Because it's painful for WEEKS when a nail breaks down deep in the nail bed.) I use pieces of tea bag paper and clear nail polish for the glue. It works. There's one secret for you.

The secret to getting them polished without smudging or waiting hours for the whole manicure to dry and harden is in the polish. First I start with Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails" in clear as a base coat. Three reasons. First, to smooth out any repairs I had to make. Second, to strengthen my nails underneath. Third, to protect my nails from being stained by the colored polish. Since that stuff smudges like anything else and has a long dry time, I put Sally Hansen InstaDry Top Coat on it. And in about a minute, the polish has hardened. Without it, it takes hours.

Then I put the polish on. InstaDry polish in whatever color, then more InstaDry top coat. During the course of the week, there was inevitably some wear and tear at the tips as I typed, so I added more coats. It looked nice, but... Taking off that many layers of polish was a royal pain last night. Two of my nail beds looked like they were peeling in protest of all the acetone. I'll buy gentler stuff once this is used up. I had several bottles when I started.

The polish is what strengthens nails. That, and a crazy amount of B vitamins that I take to combat fatigue.

I had to cut and file most of my nails to make them more conservative. You'd think that long nails would be greatest for scratching, but the thicker the tips are, the harder it is to get a nice sharp scratch from them. I gave myself a massive bruise on my leg instead of satisfying a minor itchy place. :(

Still, they remain long, just reasonably so. It's not like I'm trying to set a record. I've satisfied my curiosity that they will keep growing past the length of attractiveness. Lol So, while someone might admire my pretty nails, they will never say my hands are pretty.

Today my polish is a sparkly vibrant Vols orange, which reminds me of my brother's motorbike helmet that lived in our hall closet for much of my childhood. I barely remember the bike itself, but I remember spending lots of time gazing into the sparkly orange of that helmet, as if it were a crystal ball about to reveal the future to me.

I wasn't supposed to even open the door of that hall closet, but on summer days when we were home all day without adult supervision, I would sit in the bottom of the closet, surrounded by the scent of coats from a past family life I didn't remember, and read my brother's comic books that were stashed in a black plastic milk crate. The Richie Rich comics were my favorites. :) All the coats hanging around me were like a big fluffy hug.

Many of my summer days were spent in the bottom of that dark closet, squished in by the long heavy coats that made it hard to breathe at times, with just a flashlight to read by. Kind of dispels the theory that I was scared of the dark, doesn't it? I think it more likely that my father got a kick out of sending me into dark places and then deliberately doing things to terrify me while I was helpless. He certainly laughed enough when he had finished terrorizing me.

Personally I don't think that announcing "No kid of mine's gonna be scared of the dark!" is a good reason to send a very little girl (who was already experiencing some very real terror in life) into your own personal haunted house in total darkness. Call me crazy, but I tend to believe it leads to worse fears and resentment. Oh, for the child. For the instigating adult, it's a well deserved laugh at the expense of the weak. And if the adult feels the slightest bit guilty, they can easily erase their torment-in-the-guise-of-protection with one halfhearted and distant hug, and a very sarcastic tone of "aww you poor baby!"

Hugs were one thing I never got much of as a kid, but I wanted anyway. They just weren't ever affectionate people. Too bad for me. Still, hugs become a source of alienation and distrust when delivered grudgingly, as guilt alleviation, and with a sarcastically phrased pseudo-apology. I still like them, but with certain people I wonder what their ulterior motive is, and if I should brace for a knife in my back.