Monday, August 25, 2014

Cassandra's Dream

After having an anxiety attack at work today, which lasted for a few hours in a fortunately low-grade manner, I was exhausted.  I came home with the intention of resting (not sleeping.. Just resting), because I hadn't slept but six hours last night.  I'm a needs-nine-hours person who only seems to manage that on the weekends.

Well, I must have gotten too still and cold because I fell asleep.  It wasn't that difficult to do, having been dizzy for most of the day, despite my attempts to maintain normal breathing. Edgy and nervous all day -- not good.  But also not stoppable, because I don't have medication to stop it.  If it's not over-the-counter, I try to stay away from it.  (Okay, I stay away from under-the-table stuff too.)

"Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence"

In my dream, I was wandering around trying to find someone... Anyone I knew. I finally stumbled across my sister's house (the ruins of the King Mansion downtown, in this dream) and started looking for her and my nephews.  This house was slowly collapsing all around them while they lived in it, and they didn't seem to notice.  Maybe they couldn't see what I was seeing.  

"In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence"

At some point I tried asking them where the bathroom was, and they didn't notice I was even there.  I wandered around looking for a bathroom, and every time I thought I had found one, something made it inoperable.  Either there was no water, or the toilet was broken into pieces.  Again, I wondered how they didn't notice such a human problem.  In my dream, I really needed to go to the bathroom. It just got worse and worse.

At some point I became upset and frustrated and decided to go outside.  There was a line of empty horse stalls against the street and a large, noisy crowd of people milling around in the street.  The entire neighborhood around the house was in ruins, as if it had been blown up a few years prior and nobody could rebuild it. 

"And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence"

Being a bit fearful of crowds, I decided to hide in a stall until they went away.  I wasn't sure if they were responsible for the destruction or if they were just unhappy at having to live among it.

I REALLY needed a bathroom by this point.  I peeked out and saw several filthy, ragged boys had brought out baby elephants to show the crowd, trying to entice people to follow them.  The whole show was a bit creepy, because I was wondering how they had gotten hold of such young elephants.  Were they being cruel to them? And why were three of those babies grey, while the other two had soft white fur with baby blue irregular spots?  

The freaky elephants scared me as much as their handlers did.  A very dirty and crazy talking woman came around the corner of the stall and told me I had to go with her to see the elephants. She didn't have many teeth, which showed every time she cackled about something.  She kept trying to tie my hands with a big rope tied to a stake that was covered in mud, straw, and guess what? Elephant manure.  (The air smelled like a petting zoo by then.) I told her to get away from me and she vanished.

By this time I could feel my heart racing and I went into one of the stalls and answered the screaming call of nature.  Dreaming about peeing... Isn't that the brain's desperate attempt to wake up an adult? It usually doesn't work on children, ending in wet sheets.  Lol

" "Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence"


("Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel)

Weirdly enough, I started hearing a song playing, like the credits of a movie.  It was a song that I didn't know the words to, but I knew the tune. "The Sound of Silence". I guess the expression "peeing like a racehorse" is accurate, because I did just that in that... Horse stall.  

At this point my brain must have desperately been trying to shake me awake, because I woke up so groggy I couldn't open my eyes very well. I'd only been asleep for half an hour, curled into a ball under the comforter, very cold, in a 73° house. (Digital thermostat). And... I had to go to the bathroom, pretty badly.  Heh heh... My legs were partially numb, so my staggering was pretty bad but I made it.

I woke up, went outside, and mowed the yard, listening to the newly downloaded song on my phone, on repeat, still feeling sad and scared by my dream.  I shoveled some dirt clods into a hole I've been trying to fill for 13 years, and a snake slithered quickly by.  I don't care for snakes, but it was a garter snake and it managed not to even startle me.  Nature doing business as usual.  

The elements of reality: my sister's house does have a horse barn.  I've been really bothered by the riots in Missouri and the President's refusal to handle anything other than his damn golf clubs. I'm afraid of the reported increase in terrorist activity lately.  I'm having anxiety attacks again.  I can't sleep well and I'm worn out all the time.  I'm worried about my dad.  His health and mine.  *sigh* another round of depression inbound.

I can see why I had such a freaky dream, but why bizarre elephants?  Elephants often symbolize wealth, but bizarre ones like I saw might mean fear of wealth acquired through loss.  

Isn't it funny that in high school I couldn't figure out literary symbols for the life of me, but it dream freaky things and I know what it's about.  After listening to the song, it seemed creepy.  It sounds like it's a warning against closing your mind to follow neon (false) prophets.  

So why did I think of Cassandra?  Well, to sum up her story, she could see the future but was cursed to never be believed.  Everyone said she was a weirdo, a drama queen, an insane person.  And then things became so much worse for her.  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra. Oddly enough, when I checked out the myth to make sure I remembered it correctly, I found a new detail.... about snakes. I didn't know that.  But when she died, she was sent to the Elysian Fields, so even though her life was a horror, it worked out in the end. 

*sigh*. I don't need the uneasiness of bad dreams right now.  


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Linseed Dragon

I've been feeling held back and frustrated all day (for no particular reason -- it's just a mood) and I started thinking about Azeroth again.  I played World of Warcraft for five years, until I had to stop playing.  It was mostly because of some friend betrayals, lies told, and the realization I wasn't having fun playing with things the way they were.  It made me see that instead of living my life, I was spending it adventuring through a rich, beautifully illustrated, and epic online gaming world.  

You know, it's funny that when I remember the areas of the game, I don't remember looking at a flat screen.  My memories are three dimensional, as if I were actually in the game itself.  Yes, it was that graphically impressive.  When you add to the fact that my imagination had always been filled with mythical creatures anyway, it felt like home there.  It was a place where I could accomplish things, and exert a little control over my goals.  

But I spent too many hours playing each day, until I resented having to leave the house and deal with real humans I couldn't challenge to a beating when they angered me. I stopped playing when I hadn't intended to, because the fun just died with nobody to talk to on my playing level.  It became monotony.  

I miss the magic.  That's what appealed to me the most.  All of the characters I chose to work hardest on were all magic casters: priests, mages (my favorite toon), warlocks.  I just couldn't get much into the hand-to-hand combat characters.  Maybe it was the pretty lights my toons made when they attacked something with magic.  

What kills me is seeing new expansions come out and wishing I could play them.  But I don't have time.  I don't want to sacrifice my time in my real life for that anymore.

So now I'm oil painting, and frustrated with my progress.  I see others finish paintings in a night, while I'm grinding away on a portrait for 4 months of classes. (Ok, I'm just jealous that they're so far ahead of me.) What makes me unhappy is this: my painting doesn't look precisely like the subject anymore, and I can't "get the darks darker" enough, because I don't understand why I have to.  Why do I have to make the darks darker than they were in my source photo? Why do I have to make his barely-there sparse whiskers into a Guy Fawkes black mustache? Huh? Why??  I'm painting that guy because I like the way he looks and I want to recreate him perfectly, not end up with someone so alien to me I want to slash him with my palette knife!

I'll never paint another portrait again if I'm expected to end up with something that doesn't look like the subject. A "likeness" means this to me: "Well, I couldn't get the painting to really look like your father, so I'll call this a "likeness" and pretend it's right."

When I was in fourth grade, I discovered Greek Mythology.  I spent hours in the school library researching them in the encyclopedias.  I drew and colored a picture of Pegasus.  Clash of the Titans was released and my thirst for mythological stories ran wild.

I know my painting teacher thinks I can't draw. (Clarification: she doesn't realize that I can.) I can, but just not well enough to make me happy.  (It embarrasses me when I make mistakes.). I'm just not good enough, and I can't pull images out of my head because they aren't sharp and precise in my limited visual imagination.  My imagination has become myopic.  

Or do I just lack source pictures?

Again, I never make the darks intense enough to please the art teachers I know.  I'm doing the best I can when it's all a huge improvisation for me, and I want it to be excellent..... Though it obviously isn't. Not yet.  I'm far from that level of skill.  Such is the lament of the beginner.

Practicing on a year of high school art will only take you so far.  I feel that because I don't understand the rationale behind much of what I'm doing, I can't do it well, and I certainly can't put it all together for myself.  Sometimes it feels like I'm painting by numbers, waiting for instructions on what to do next.  And then sometimes I just go by what my instinct is telling me, which looks great to everyone for a while, until suddenly my subject's nose is far too wide and I have to redo it, leaving a nose job painfully obvious to me on the canvas.  

I'm beginning to hate my lack of understanding of oil painting.  I won't emulate Boris Vallejo for many years at this rate.  And I would, truthfully, be embarrassed if my classmates knew I want to paint dragons, flying horses, and mythical heroes.  

The last time I worked on a fantasy subject was in college.  It was going to be a bulletin board set of St. George and the Dragon.  I never finished, but because I never really got to teach the literature I loved, the unfinished dragon and hero were irrelevant.  

*sigh* I'm fighting a dragon composed of linseed oil and pigment.  

I should probably have something to paint at home, but I don't have a decent tabletop easel.  (Although I do have the most expensive crap one that Wal-Mart sells, perfect for my next bonfire!)

I'm afraid to set foot into my studio, for fear of failure.  *sigh*. I guess I'm going to have to sneak up on myself to do it.  A few minutes of revamping the room a day, then an easel.... 

Surely some success at something would make me feel better?  I just have such a limited amount of time each day, and so many things I have to do.  Fix food, do all the yard work and cleaning, spend a couple of hours at the gym, wash clothes.  Nap.  Because I'm tired all the time, and in a lot of pain to boot, which is worsened by sitting and standing.  Lying flat is just about the only relief I get (and that's partial, at best), but I try not to say anything, because I'm accused of being negative too much.  

Hey hey, let me give you some hip labral tears and see if you can say how happy you are.  

I didn't think so.  Distract me from my pain, and I won't mention how unhappy it makes me to hurt like this, all day, every day.  

I need to get better at painting, and I need it to happen now.  I need the knowledge... I'm just not sure how to get it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fat Bitch Talk

Now that I've had my day ruined....

I decided last night that I was going to stop trying to starve myself into losing weight. (I'm not referring to my juicing.  Just the "eat a meal occasionally but not regularly because you're afraid of every bite" approach I fell into once again. Juicing made me feel healthy, but right now I don't have time or energy to shop and prepare juices.) It doesn't work, most especially on me.  

Here's what this week's phone call touting Nutri System has done to me:

I'm in tears, because I can't stand pointless criticism over something I can't control and never could.  When I was a skinny teenager, I was criticized over my protruding hipbones.  I have wide "childbearing" hips.  They had zero fat on them back then.  No amount of starvation would have given me the hips of a boy.  

I do not know what to say to shut down the loudest critic I've ever had.  I'm really overwhelmed with all the horrible things I'm thinking and feeling right now, not the least of which is that I can't respond at all, because what if it's the last conversation I ever have with him?  I don't want to live guilt-filled forever because I finally stood up for myself with someone who still guilt-trips me for one angry scene over twenty years ago.  I really have enough to handle as it is, and I'm not currently doing too well with that.

Want an example? It's almost 2 pm and I have managed not to eat anything since I woke up, several hours ago.  I haven't finished the cup of coffee I started drinking over two hours ago.  I'm nauseated.  And now...  Well, with the control-freak putting a metaphorical chokehold on my ability to get on with my day, all I can do is try to keep this from turning into a full-scale anxiety attack.  

I started the day researching healthy meals I could make ahead and freeze, so that even when I'm pressed for time, I can still eat properly.  Check my Pinterest boards and you can see for yourself. I even learned that I can put my food in a smaller dish inside my slow cooker to avoid buying a smaller slow cooker just to avoid burning stuff in smaller portions.  

Now I'm sitting here shut down with my lizard brain shouting at me, "Food is the enemy! Don't eat it!"  

Oh my God, how can I buy groceries and cook with all that hanging over my head today?  It really is easier to just refuse to eat.  

Yet... I'm going to make a batch of breakfast burritos today, to freeze, and one other dinner time meal. It's a start.  A tiny start.

No, I'm not going to eat Nutri System garbage, if for no other reason than to prove that nobody is going to tell me what to do with my body, and nobody will take credit for "saving me".  If you want that ego boost, head to Africa and start saving away.  

And if you dare to buy it for me, this puppet is going to sever the strings and go away.  

Stress makes me gain weight.  
I become very stressed when certain people try to control my health.
Therefore, making every conversation an opportunity to criticism my weight, is, in fact, making me gain weight.

I was able to lose weight when nobody was interfering.  

How about loving me for who I am?  Which is -- a person who has been so extremely tolerant of the narcissistic attacks that I haven't come back at my attacker but once in my life?  And why? Because I don't want to hurt them with what I could say.  I've held myself back from retaliations since I was a little girl for fear of causing lasting pain to someone else.  

I suppose it's time for a personality change.  Want to call me a bitch?  Fine.

I'm going to make sure I live up to it.  You've got it coming.

My tears will dry.  I'll stop shaking and dry-heaving.  I'll get on with my day.  

But I won't forget.  I never really forget important things.




Saturday, August 9, 2014

Malnutrition

Okay, I guess it's time for me to do something that has me scared to death:

Start eating again, regularly.  

I'm scared I'll start gaining massive amounts of weight when I do, of course.  However, I've gained some back while I've been starving myself, and I can't quite get into my juicing properly because I'm so damn tired all the time.

Example: I finally got a full night's sleep last night, and I've been worn out all day, despite taking my B vitamins and a double dose of B-12.  The past two weeks, I haven't gotten a full night's sleep, and I haven't slept well when I was in bed.

It hit me the other day when I tried to figure out the last time I had eaten a real serving of decent meat. (Meaning, not the sprinkles found on a yummy Alvino's pizza.)  I'm pretty sure that it was in Paris, almost two months ago.  ...Not that I really enjoyed the chicken there.  Irish food was actually more to my taste, though I've been daydreaming about Cornish pasties ever since.

Nothing I eat really seems to help my energy levels, though it does stop the hunger pangs.  I haven't been eating any real food, because I've been too tired to get in the kitchen and cook, then have leftovers annoy me for days afterward.  

I've been getting dizzy several times a day, and everything hurts.  I'm sure someone will tell me, there you go being negative again, but it's more of a confession than a whine.  I've been trying to hide that my nerve pain and numbness have spread, and all of my joints are aching constantly.  It wouldn't do any good to tell anyone anyway.  Everyday people don't care and doctors only want to look at one problem at a time, promising to look at other injuries after they fix this one... And it's been over a year of treatment without any improvement in my hips, while all the time I've been nursing a gluteal tear, untreated. 

(Note: I watched Ravenous last night.  I've seen it before, but this time I recognized the expression on Capt. Boyd's face as he sat there in front of a bowl of cannibal's stew, not wanting to eat, bleeding to death, eyes rolling up uncontrollably in his head.  He would rather have died than deal with his guilt for eating, but he had to stop the psycho ringleading the whole circus.  Resignation and horror for what he was doing.)

So why tell anyone how much I'm hurting? It won't do any good.

And the malnutrition? Well, it's not the first time I've walked through that minefield.  It's not like meals consisting of one food I hated, such as cooked turnip greens, and nothing else, were exactly nutritionally balanced.  Certainly doesn't seem appropriate for a growing child in a middle class family which isn't having money problems.  

I suppose what I need to do is some major meal prep on the weekends, then crock pot cooking through the week.  But here's what I've run into.  All those crock pot recipes say to set the cooker on low for 4-6 hours. If I do that, won't my food be burned by the time I get home from work? It's happened before! I cooked some steel-cut oats overnight, following a recipe I'd found online, and I awoke to burned oats. 

Who the heck burns oats in a slow cooker?  I started with plenty of liquid! It was a blackened, crunchy mess by morning.  

It seems that you have to be cooking for a huge crowd to avoid every recipe over cooking.  Because there is just me, I really don't want to cook six or eight servings of anything that will nag me for a week.  And honestly, none of the recipes I've seen look tempting to me.  Another confession: I'm a bit clueless about how to buy cuts of meat, having been unable to afford it for all these years.  

But I'm a good cook.  Ha ha ha. Seems contradictory, doesn't it?  I suppose I'd better try, because I just haven't felt well lately. 

Still, I'm scared to eat regular meals.  I know it's bordering on being an eating disorder, but don't you have to at least be "successful" at it for it to be an eating disorder?  Is it really anorexia if you're not thin?  Apologies to those who have suffered it, but I really don't know the answer to that.