raw around the edges

skyclouds
But it seemed to me that this was the way we all lived: full to the brim with gratitude and joy one day, wrecked on the rocks the next. Finding the balance between the two was the art and the salvation.

Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures

Well. He is home. For now. But that doesn’t mean things are perfect. In spite of how comforting his presence is (albeit tenuous), I am struggling so hard just to get back to baseline of feeling “normal.” Which is funny because I have never been nor will I ever be, normal, by anyone’s standards. I take my pill religiously. I am not angry, I am mainly just depressed. I think about everything over and over again. How I feel about things. I check it like you do when you lose a tooth and your tongue runs over the empty spot, you know it’s gone but you’re still checking anyway. Still there.

I was ready to quit my job and do anything else. Take a huge pay cut. (That did not pan out.) Then I remember, insurance. Pills. Doctors. Oh. I am a slave to my job for these things. It is funny how you know inside you have so much to offer and yet you spend all day saying “how can I assist you?” and it really feels like your soul is actually dying.

I used to be obsessed with makeup videos and fashion blogs. I was always wondering what I could buy next. I have stopped that cold. I have no real desire to experience any superficiality. I have not painted my nails in a week (although I will probably never stop wearing full face makeup just because that is me). I have been coming back to my favorite books by my favorite author, Elizabeth Berg. (Durable Goods, Joy School and True to Form.) They are fast reads I suppose but being in that world, and being back in that world I remember being in so many times and for so long is just about the only thing I find real solace in. Absolutely, within the last few weeks, those are the moments when I find peace. In those books. She writes so well it hurts. It is just so true to the heart, it just pulls at me, all the way back to my own thirteen year old self.

But what else.

Then I thought well, I’ll save up a bunch of money, and take the road trip I’ve always wanted. All the way to California, via Route 66 as much as I could. From coast to coast. Dip my toes in the Pacific like I have always wanted to. I have thought about it many times but listening to Lana Del Rey always makes me want to just drive forever and ever. I guess I always pictured myself sharing that experience with someone else (special) but maybe it should just be me, some cheap motels, bags of Cheetos, truck stop food, lots of mix CDs and the open road for miles and endless miles. I would be like Kerouac. Maybe it would inspire me. I got bright little flips of excitement thinking about it. Then I talked myself out of it, at least for the immediate future. Money, time. Oh, those traps.

So the battle begins. I keep choosing safety, and “safety” seems to be keeping me pushed inwards, against myself. I really want to break free.

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inspiring read: Unbearable Lightness

I have to confess, I didn’t know much about Portia de Rossi before reading her book, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain. Forgive the odd choice of word considering the subject matter, but I devoured it. (Usually it takes me a week or more to read a book, this was finished in a few days.) I remember when Portia came into stardom in 1998-1999 on Ally McBeal and seeing her in magazines and thinking she was exotic and beautiful (and stunningly thin). I never realized that at that time, anorexia and bulimia were literally eating her alive. In this brave memoir, Portia reveals in detail the bizarre and extreme methods by which she was able to drastically lose weight – at one point weighing in at only 82 pounds. She limited herself to 300 calories a day, and exercised compulsively for hours and hours on end.

Eating disorders aren’t exactly a new topic, but surely plenty of girls and women still suffer from them. I was surprised at the self-deprecation that seemed to fuel the story. Despite being a model and a successful TV actress at a young age, Portia never quite developed self-esteem when it came to her body, or learned healthy eating methods. On top of all of this, she was struggling internally with keeping her sexuality from the world. Before I read this book I just knew Portia was the beautiful wife of Ellen DeGeneres (who I like and admire a great deal). I learned that she made up her name, is from Australia, and a lot of intimate details about an undoubtedly horrific time in her life.

Portia is a good writer, an honest one. The story is brutal – but it’s not until you reach the end until you see the result of years of starvation and abuse put onto her body – lupus and osteoporosis to name a couple. My only real complaint is that she seemed to rush through the recovery portion of the story. The “book” ends when she finally gets diagnosed with anorexia. The recovery is abbreviated into 20 or so pages explaining that it was essentially “difficult,” and that her horse Mae helped her a lot, and her relationship with Ellen also saved her, which I think is romantic and sweet. Portia also claims to no longer diet or consciously exercising, electing to eat whatever she wants in abundance and staying active by walking her dog. She also speaks about accepting the body you have at your natural healthy weight, which I can relate to. I have never been overweight but I still struggle with body image and the desire to lose a few vanity pounds. (In my humble opinion, most people cannot afford to be overly passive about diet and exercise, but I guess someone who had an eating disorder has to be careful not to let the disorder grab hold of them again by becoming too restrictive.)

All in all – a great read, inspiring, wrenching, wonderful. I have a lot more respect for Portia after learning everything she went through, and how much happier and healthier she is now.