Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

April 15, 2006

Illness and Indulgence

These past couple of days I've been building my site and having a Web orgy. I'm having way too much fun right now. I took the photo on yesterday's blog in the rain beneath a tree whose tiny white flowers floated down into a puddle. It reminded me of the stars in Rilke's poem.

My blog is like my own bedroom with a bay window where the whole world can look inside. It's intimate yet totally public. How is it I can say things on this blog that I wouldn't tell my best friend? Maybe I don't tell her because I don't think she has the time to take off from doing her graphic design work to listen.

It's quiet here, and quietness is comforting compared to the riot of noise and insanity that's going on in analog time, or even on forums. Here I can slow down and think and write out my thoughts. It's like a mini-writer's retreat that I can access 24/7. I have my journals and my Moleskine notebook all right, but they don't get read by anyone except me. Here I can write for others' eyes, but I'm in control of how things go. Whatever I put up on my blog is my decision. Where else in the world can I do that? I like having control of a little corner of the world that's all mine for a change, even if its only digital. I've never, ever felt in control of anything. But the insecurity of losing control is at the center of my life at every moment. I'll talk about that more later.

As an adoptee, I'm in extended mourning and forever searching. Mostly now that my reunion was such a disappointment, my search is to either find a way to come to terms with the indelible wound from being separated from my mother at birth or to live with the questions. The wound never goes away. It's an invisible, eternal secret. I don't look or act much different than anyone else. I function like an average person. I went to college, got married, had two daughters, and held sporadic jobs.

Like the polythemous moth (see Emerge-ncy) my career to become an English professor (yeah, right) never took off. Mainly because I spent my formative adult years in and out of hospitals with a debilitating illness. The medical establishment labeled it "JRA," or "juvenile rheumatoid arthrits", which I first acquired at the ripe old age of seventeen. To this day I think I gave it to myself because as a Catholic, I believed I could take on another's pain. I asked God to give me some of my amother's arthritis so that she wouldn't have to suffer so much. Be careful what you ask for. Within a year I got high fevers, excruciatingly swollen, red, painful joints, and an overall achiness that only felt better after I took Tylenol and codeine. I began to fall in love with the stuff, until the nausea made me so sick I spent one day walking in wretched circles to distract myself. The rigidly trained physicians told me I'd probably spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

After ten years of suffering I decided I'd had enough. I slapped my forehead and wondered why I hadn't thought of it before. I left JRA the same way I'd entered it. I asked for it to be taken away. Thanks to homeopathic medicine within two years I could actually hold my year-old baby in my arms to nurse her without fear of dropping her because my wrists hurt so badly. At any rate, the JRA coupled with a crippling lack of self confidence pretty much destroyed my career dream to get my doctorate and teach college-level English. Luckily, my superhero husband spent hours holding me while I shivered and sweated, took me to hot springs, turned me into a vegetarian and did whatever to see me through. So far he's still content to support my "polyphemous" life. I still have the frozen joints and some pain, but nothing compared to what it was. To make up for lost time, I dove into the goth scene in the 1990s big time. I produced Elegia: A Journey into the Gothic a (now folded) literary gothic zine that got a good review in the Hex Files and was listed in The Vampire Book and made a lot of connections on the Dark Side. I still fancy absinthe, although I've never drunk it (there's a supplier link on my sidebar, tee hee.)

The longest I've worked anywhere was for four and a half years...six months shy of being "vested" in the company. It was for a local daily newspaper typing briefs, company profiles, and calendar items for the business section. Oh whoopee. They did let me write stories, but since I wasn't a staff writer, I had little leverage.

I also worked a couple of years as a freelancer for a weekly, but after I counted my hours for travel and interviewing, for gasoline and writing the story, I figured I got about $5 an hour. Not enough to pay the bills.

So, now I'm a housewife and an online junkie. I'm teaching myself CSS and Photoshop, which probably won't be marketable by the time I master them because the digital world changes so fast, but one side of my brain loves it. The other side yearns to disappear into a natural setting because that's the only other place I feel calm and easy.

My weight fluctuates with the ebb and flow of my emotional weather. I love to take long walks with my lab mix dog, Kenya, who teaches me how to live with patience and attentiveness. That's a picture of her above, romping in the estuary.

Unfortunately I also like Toblerone chocolate and the most divine food on Earth, Chocolate Cherry Chip Soy Ice Cream from Trader Joe's. If I sit here and eat my soy ice cream and chocolate instead of walking and going to the gym, the rolls of adaposity magically accumulate overnight. Duh. So then I make myself stop buying those treats. I figure if they aren't around, then I eat fruit and stuff I'm supposed to eat and walk for an hour in the hills or at the beach with Kenya. I lose a little, then begin to lapse back into my chocolate addiction. Don't talk to me about diets. I've water fasted for two weeks, tried the Atkins, 40-30-30, and Fat Flush diets. It looks like I'm stuck where my genome-o-meter is set. I'm not fat, but sure could lose those last twenty pounds.


Blogger HeatherRainbow said...

I go through phases as well. Some good days, some bad. Everyone I know seems to have some form of RA or Fibromyalgia. Very common here in wny. Btw, I am back, and have access to phone books, etc and I could look up anything you wanted. email me if you need anything.



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