Samba Fogo!

Oh my god! I did it! I’ve dreamed for years of somehow, someday, getting back in competitive dance shape – and miraculously knowing how to samba – so I could audition for Samba Fogo, our local pro Samba dance company.

A couple of months ago, a beginner’s workshop popped up in my Facebook feed, and I jumped on it. Next week is the last of the 5-wk. course, and I’m a natural! I’m up there with the Latin girls as best-in-beginner. The ladies I “compete” with are from the salsa tradition, so they struggle with falling back into that rhythm. I never had it, so I just samba! I don’t know how I know how to shake like that, but the only thing I need is time to get my speed up. (I still look plenty awkward, but it’s in me. It won’t be long!)

This weekend is the audition for “Ala,” the community performance extension of the dance company, which I knew nothing about. I’ll be out of town camping (in the snow!). Yesterday, after class, I overheard Lorin –¬† founder of Samba Fogo, our teacher, and winner of the 2018 Female Malandro competition at the International Samba Congress in LA – talking with another student about what to expect. I asked if she holds auditions every six months (It’s a six-month commitment), and mentioned being out of town for this one. She invited me to join without an audition!

I’m in Samba Fogo! I get everything I want!

I get half-off dance classes, and world class training. I mean, are you kidding me? What took me so long!? Why did I live halfway ’til I was halfway through? What is that?

No matter. I’ve begun. I’m so excited! My goal is to get this binge body off of me for the last time, and settle for it no more. I didn’t have it while I was biking, obviously, but I’m 30 lbs overweight since I got a car. Three years! Ridiculous!

I do count myself fortunate, inasmuch as I could be well over 200 lbs. with someone else’s metabolism. I joke that skinny was my superpower, and I lost it. But I didn’t, really. I regularly eat 4-5000 calories a day. My best friend didn’t believe me until she recorded my intake in FitDay and saw for herself. I have a freebie.

Unfortunately, I’ve used it to become skinny fat. I still struggle with diet. My cooking classes have been inconsistent, for different reasons, but I’m making slow progress. I’m getting there. I’m totally confident that I’ll get my kit down in the kitchen.

With dance back in my life, I’m reclaiming my body, my health, my joy, for good. I’m not going back. My main concern is my left big toe joint, but that’s another story (Fibro+), a bridge to cross another day. Dancing. ūüėČ

For the next 5 years, I’m going to practice healthy, responsible maintenance, and cruise into 50 looking like that hot shit with no right to be so high and tight, and HAPPY!

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And Then The Weekend Happened, Part 2

I’m so tired. I can’t even come home starving from rehearsal and hope to feed myself without a curse-laden verbal assault.

The whole family was home again. The adults had thrown away Jax’s remaining food (rancid and molding, left over for more than a month) and cleaned the fridge. His dishes were washed and draining, and they had moved on to laundry.

My food was still out sitting on the table. Why?

I opened the fridge. It was clean and turned all the way down to zero. Warm. Empty. Carrie hurriedly began to put my food back in the fridge. Jax was right behind her.

I asked him how long my food – milk and dairy – had been left out. An hour.

“An hour?”

Knock it the blank off, just a blanking hour, get the blank over it, get the blank out of here, we’re cleaning the blanking house, for blank sake, leave us the blank alone. And on and on and on until I left the kitchen.

I’d had a bowl of cereal 6 hours earlier, and danced for 4 hours. I’d forgotten my rehearsal snacks. I was shaking, I was so hungry. And he just launched into me, screaming and swearing. It’s illegal for a landlord to bar me free movement about the home I occupy, but the roommate loophole permits him to do anything. So he is.

I said simply, “It is not unreasonable for me to feel like you are wantonly destroying my property, because you are,” and went to my room.

They’re taking as much pleasure from warming perishable food as they are from freezing me out. (Why hadn’t she put it away and how long had the fridge been clean before I got home?) It’s been 59 degrees in the house for 3 days, until last night, when it dropped to 58. They finally turned the heat on today, for themselves, but she was bundled in blankets and sheets the other day when they were all here, yet again. Why didn’t he turn it on then? I think they came over that time just to see how cold the drastic seasonal shift had left the house for me. They weren’t here long, to my relief.

Jax came home twice after that, alone, just in-and-out stops, to drop off/ pick up whatever. He knew how cold it was. He wouldn’t turn the heat on for me. Or for his fish, for whom he used to heat the house during the day while we were both at work, to keep their water temp stable. He’s willing to torture his own animals to make me pay.

For what? His inability to remove me legally? He chose my departure date! I secured my new home according to his plans. I didn’t do this by myself. Any of it. Trust a friend, risk my health, wait ’til October to leave a once-loving home. I do not understand.

He completely changed personalities once the marriage was official, and he’s completely taken the reins since, and great pleasure in it. I think he’s evil.

He followed me to my room, and barked mocking intentions through the door to replace my food, demanding a list of it. Look in the fridge, if your intent is anything other than bringing hate and fear to my one remaining safe place. It’s empty, except for the food I had perfectly planned to last one week. I told him to drop it and leave me alone, shielding myself from him with my bedroom door, as I opened the front door and left.

I ordered drive-through junk food and ate in the car, sobbing. I have nowhere to go! My friends all moved, and everyone else in my “urban family” is old and unavailable.

I’m so tired.

Only one more weekend. I won’t be alone. They won’t harass me in front of my movers.

I don’t understand. I just don’t understand. I was sick and abandoned when I was mad at him, and he has officially surpassed the length of time that I spent yelling at him for something he shared and abdicated responsibility for. I do not understand. I’ve done nothing to these people.

I’ve done everything I could to stay out of their way, and they’ve done their best to brutalize me all month. I can’t stop crying today. It hurts.

Shouldn’t he be happily newly wed? Why is he so obsessed with me? Shouldn’t being in love and un-alone make it more bearable to tolerate space with a woman you hate? And why are you here if you hate me so much? If not merely to aim for my suffering, for some form of bizarre vengeance, and otherwise for the pleasure of pure cruelty? Go home! She has an apartment! I hadn’t seen him for a month until they decided to tag-team me in this gross campaign to – what? – kill me?

What a sick, petty, small, ugly, mean man. What are they here for? Torture! What else? They’ve cleaned cupboards and a fridge, just a couple of hours work that could easily wait until my lease is through. He knows how clean I am. He knows I’m not leaving this place a mess. It’s not a bit about prepping their home. It’s about making me uncomfortable while I’m in it.

They’re calculating, horrible people, and they actually have themselves convinced they’re victims of an unreasonable woman.¬†You chose my departure date! How do you figure I have any control over this? My apartment is occupied until Sept. 30.

They’re here every weekend to party. WHY? I hadn’t seen Jax for a month, except for brief stop-ins.¬†What’s changed? Only their first decision as a married couple, to torture a vulnerable woman – not yet stable on her meds – as a “family.”

I’m so tired. I’m worn down, depressed, and tired.

****

I came home from my binge, in a running car for over an hour, and Jax had, in fact, replaced the milk and mayo (not yogurt, sour cream, or eggs). Why do it, if you’re just going to save face after? They didn’t think they’d get caught, I imagine. He wouldn’t have done a thing if I hadn’t taken a picture of it (ridiculed, of course). I’d come home with fresh veggies for a big, yummy hash with eggs that I’d been looking forward to all day, so I snapped a pic of the fridge before hiding in my room.
fridgeThey left me alone after I got home the second time. But then, I didn’t leave my room.

One week. One week.

My Body is Rejecting Yoga

I hit a wall on Tuesday. My feet seized up so badly I couldn’t do any of the balancing poses and, while the rest of my body didn’t feel pain, necessarily, it was weak. Everywhere. Tip to toes, depleted.

Thursday was worse. My practice was beset by utterly ineffectual effort that… failed! I was straining, aching, sweating, shaking like a convulsion, worrying – “Am I injuring myself?” – and praying for the end of class. One step forward, 2 steps back, as they say. A most halting beginning.

3x/wk. proved too much to start, so for the remaining 2 weeks of my intro membership I’m content with 2x/wk. Then, I plan to join the studio and continue to stretch and breathe into the strength that will come. (I intentionally chose phrases other than “power through” or “push,” because my body is tired, working as hard as it can, and deserves love and patience.) I’m not as strong as I once was, and that’s okay. I don’t want to think in terms of force, which would hinder the process of growth, I think. I accept where I’m at and will continue to strive for my best.

I am scared, though. I entered Thursday’s class anxious for a repeat of the cramping of Tuesday, and got it. Worse.

Last week I lost 1 lb. This week, none. That’s okay, too. (Grrr.) 154, exactly. I binged today, for the first time this year. Three weeks is a long time for me. I feel pretty good about it. And I enjoyed my chips ‘n’ dip like an old friend. But I’m not even trying not to smoke anymore. Oops. (After the party Saturday…)

Oh! I haven’t even mentioned how much I love sunrise yoga! The studio is on the second floor of a downtown highrise, and the north and east walls aren’t walls, but windows! We start in the dark, yet, and watch the dawn sky change in color behind towering, snow-drenched mountains. I’m inspired.

I’m sewing, painting, creating. The drum I made last year with Marko got a makeover…¬†drum resize

… and a white elephant gift got a facelift. It used to say, “It’s OK to have emotional baggage as long as it’s pretty and it matches.” I say it’s okay to have emotional baggage as long as you’re creative with it.emotional baggage overhaul resize.jpg

Speaking of bad Mormons, I’m not one anymore. I got impatient waiting on the feedback that must necessarily come through the attorney’s office, since I forbade The Church to contact me, save through him. He’s backlogged with thousands of clients’ removal requests and letters of reply, so I called the Church directly and spoke with a very nice man named Dave in the Confidential Records Office, who told me I was no longer a member as of Dec. 7, 2015. ūüôā

I was baptized June 6, 1981, by my grandfather. That was one of the challenges of letting go, officially. Grandpa was enamored of me. I never felt such love. Invalidating ordinance work done by his hands, that he believed in, felt something like erasing him.

Dec. 7th was the Day of Infamy, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. My grandfather served in WWII, and died in 1999 at 74. Removing his blessing, I mourned him again.

It was the right thing to do, but there’s no question it was a death.

slc

Salt Lake City and The Wasatch Range

wasatch

Salt Lake in Winter

Skinny Was My Superpower

And I ate everything!

I learned that some girls in my school had what they called “The Christie’s Thigh Diet,” because my legs didn’t “splat” when I sat down in my cheerleading outfit.

So I ate more. To show off.

Well, 40+ happens to everyone, ha! I bought a car on September 1st and gained 19 lbs. in 4 months. (9 years on a bike, and damned proud!)

I am 5’6(-)” and 159.6 lbs! I think 5 lbs/mo. is healthy weightloss.¬†I’d like to reach 130 by Summer, and stay there this time.

When I got home from Spain last year I was 129 lbs. But, you know, being held captive and fed once a day will do that to you. I told my best friend that “The Brian and Chrissy [forced] Diet” was more effective than the one those girls named after me in high school, and at least one good thing had come from the trip.

But my visit triggered dormant PTSD, which¬†triggered a loooong binge, and I ate everything. I finally got it¬†under control after 6 months or so and held steady at 140-145, not minding if I did or didn’t lose weight.

So that’s what I’m doing this New Year’s. Diet and exercise, like everyone else.¬†I don’t mind being average. ūüôā

And quit smoking. (For good! 20 YEARS in May! Unacceptable.)

I quit Diet Pepsi in October! Hey!

I expect Salt Lake Power Yoga to bring me back to my athletic body¬†and relieve the newly unremitting pain of Fibromyalgia. (Since Spring, 2015 was spent in constant pain, with a week to 10 days off here and there. It was aching, exhausting, and extremely challenging to retain my signature enthusiasm. Before this year, I never considered medication. Now I’m studying.) (It seems awful. I really hope to keep it natural, and controlled.)

I have to say, I¬†hide¬†weight well. It’s pretty¬†evenly distributed. It’s like everything just puffed.¬†I got as much back fat as I did boobs but they fill an A cup now, so there’s that.

Oh, guess what else happened in 2015? Psoriasis. *sigh*

Coconut oil seems to help, but I’m still finding new patches¬†every so often (since November). I’m hoping to avoid¬†steroids or immune¬†suppressors.

I’ll continue djembe lessons and drum for dance classes. I’m joining a guitar class on the 13th. I’m anxious. That’s what began my journey with Fibro 4 years ago. Refamiliarizing myself with chords and frets, I developed pain in my left wrist until it seized up to the point of requiring a cortisone injection to move freely again without screaming agony that woke me up nights. Other joints joined in, but only the left big toe needed cortisone. None of those joints is 100% now, and that wrist is particularly moody, but not unbearable.

I have to try. I want to play and sing! I want to write shitty music.

Life is strange. I would have thought it untenable, my reality.¬†My body hurts. I’m tired and lack endurance. Aching like I do – worse and worse, in ever-new muscles and junctions,¬†then finding scaly patches of goddamned skin that spread and won’t go away – is very¬†frustrating. And I like my life. Huh. tough

Everyone has something. Some people have lots of somethings.

Okay.

Hope you’re rollin’ with it and having a good time, too.
Blessings in 2016.blessing

Confronting My Molester

I don’t know if it was necessary. I don’t know if it did anything for me.

I’m still overwhelmed by the coincidence that brought me to the moment I felt it was time to accuse him. I felt like… well, hell, I’ve always nominated myself the one to speak for any disenfranchised “us” I’ve decided I belong to.

I started dating a guy a month ago who¬†immediately read my blog. He got to the part where I mentioned having been molested by the neighbor, and knew him by name! I got sick. I haven’t said that name in 30 years. “How do you know?!” I learned that I had not been a fluke, as I believed. I thought that I just happened to get caught up in it because, as the best friend of the sister he was sexually abusing, I was in the home.

No. He targeted the entire neighborhood. In fact, he raped some of the young girls, including the ex-wife of this guy. She had been a childhood playmate of mine.

I was outraged. The first thing I did was call my sister and make sure she had not been victimized, as well. No, praise God, but not for lack of trying.

Then I wondered, why have I never sought him out? Everyone’s on Facebook. Sure enough, there he was, with his schmuck smiling face, boasting of his son’s military service. I typed a rapid-fire message and sent it before I could chicken out. Normally, I try to withhold words at a time of intense emotion, but he deserves no such sparing and I deserve to accuse my attacker. Panicked at the moment I hit “Enter,” I scrolled back to read what I could not suck back from the ether… to learn that he had contacted me 4 years earlier in a breezy message that went to a junk inbox I never noticed. He was casually wondering if I could put him in touch with my brother, as though nothing ever happened! I FLIPPED and wrote again, then blocked him.

I don’t feel any different. Was it necessary? It feels so strange to come from the trauma with Christine in Spain, wrestling with why I didn’t leave sooner and grieving because I know the answer: I was perfectly groomed not to. I went into a place of survival, where the little girl in precisely that circumstance couldn’t leave. And she had to find a way to love the person attacking her. I feel as though I’m recovering from my childhood all over again.

And now here’s my molester. I can’t face it all at once! How do other people process their foundational injuries and move on, meaningfully and successfully? I try so hard. I mean to rise above it every goddamn day. I just keep falling back into it, as though it’s happening now. If others are visited from time to time by the shaky beginning that formed them, it’s the exception in functional, happy lives. For me, it’s the exception to be well. It never lasts.

I’m so tired. I’m so confused. I want so desperately to believe that this confluence of early-life traumas is a poetic, timely event designed to help me at last to put my past to bed. I’m sad to know that it’s really all just random. It happened. It’s done.

And then Sunday came. I’m reeling anew.

Since Jeffrey’s death in 2011 I’ve been wrestling with shame and guilt for verbally abusing him during the lowest days of the heroin addiction that killed him. We were roommates. It was awful. I’ve made peace with the fact that I was fully triggered, and even the sanest person would lose it, but not quite at the level I did. Words are weapons, and he got my worst. I abused his parents, too. They came into my home, in what felt very much like an ambush, to accuse me of stealing from Jeff through the utilities. (How do you figure? Half is half.) It’s amazing how addicts can convince themselves of anything to get the money they need for a fix. It was more amazing, and beyond insulting, that his parents believed him and challenged me to prove my innocence, which I refused to do (though I kept meticulous records and made copies for Jeffrey that I explained, and he agreed to, EVERY MONTH). With more than a few extra words – surprise – I told them to go to hell. Well, really, I told them they were killing him. And then he died.

Sunday, his brother and I were headed to the drum circle when his folks pulled up to deliver fresh garden veggies. I haven’t seen them since that day 4 years ago. They couldn’t see me in the car, but I was moved to act and terrified to do so. I had to apologize. I knew through the grapevine that they’d forgiven me. I’m not surprised. Jeffrey was the most forgiving person I’ve ever known; it came from someplace. But I needed to ask for it, and simply to tell them how very sorry I am for contributing to his suffering and theirs. So I did. I was loved and held, and I … feel terrible.

Why EVERYTHING? Why all at once? I suppose I will put this behind me. Even if we don’t consciously put the past behind us, that’s where it goes. But I feel like I’m drowning in regret and failure, while yet knowing I’m doing better than I ever have before. Why don’t I feel good about it?

I’ve had a headache for weeks. I’m exhausted, though neither sleep-deprived nor sleeping too much. I can’t sit with a book. My food addiction is out of control. My eyelashes are getting more and more sparse. (How can it be psychological when they hurt?) I’m irritable and weepy. I’m not coping well.

Thank god for drumming. It’s my happy place right now. Thank you, angels.

***

TO THE SEXUAL PREDATOR OF MY YOUTH:

July 14, 2014

“I just found out I’m not the only girl in the neighborhood you molested. You made the rounds victimizing everyone! You are a sick, violent pervert who traumatized precious young girls. You fundamentally changed us. You robbed us of our innocence. You raped us. All my life, I thought it was a fluke, that you got out of control with your sister and I just happened to be injured because she was my best friend and I was in your house. But you sought us out. You went out of your way to pursue us, to degrade and mock us, and force us to gratify your twisted sexual appetites. In truth, you know as well as I do that the rage it took to perpetrate your crimes was born of your own impotence and weakness. You’re a disgusting loser who has to act out on children in order to feel empowered. That hasn’t changed. Til you die, you’ll be a child molester and rapist. I don’t know how you live with yourself, and I don’t care. I’ve long-since been rid of you, but I found out just hours ago that I wasn’t the only one. You can never make up for what you did to us. You can never restore what you took. I finally decided to reach out and identify you to your face. I see you. I know who you are. You’re a fraud and a liar. You’re a rapist and pedophile. When you take the Sacrament, you are spitting in the face of God, who made me and all of your victims. Shame on you.”

and then…

“oh my god! are you insane? i just saw that you contacted me years ago asking after my brother, as though nothing ever happened! how are you not HUMILIATED? how do you look in the mirror? how do you not kill yourself? i couldn’t live with the burden of being the monster you are. you’re sick. don’t contact me again. I have the right to speak. you do not.”

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.‚ÄĚ – William Faulkner

I’m working through it, presently.

Drawing on Strength

I’m in it, struggling through very painful days. I’m hurting, crying so hard, so much, for so long, that I’m almost angry knowing I will, as always, recover again. I don’t want to. I want to curl up. I want to be done with it. I’m over it! I’m in it.

I was encouraged to find a quote today by Albert Camus, another sojourner sufferer in the ebb and flow of getting back up.

“In the midst of hate, I found there was within me an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was within me an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was within me an invincible calm. I realized through it all that in the middle of winter, I finally found that within me there lies an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there‚Äôs something stronger ‚Äď something better, pushing right back.” ‚Äď Albert Camus

Fine as I know I will be, I’m not now. My best friend has been asking me to get trauma counseling. I keep hoping I don’t need it. What can they say that I haven’t learned, read, or tried? What can they advise that I’m not doing? I’m sitting honestly with discomfort, feeling it, looking at it, and getting up. I’m taking time for myself, but not isolating. I’m feeling joy, too, which is something I’ve not been able to do during other depressions.

Nevertheless, troubling self-destructive behaviors have taken firm hold. I’m smoking again. I’m bingeing. I’m back to my baseline: feeling not just worthless, but wholly unworthy. And last night, trichotillomania made its return to the stage, or my eyelashes, as the case may be. Luckily, I stopped myself before pulling my eyes completely bald, as I did – including brows! – in March 1997, before my most earnest suicide attempt on April Fool’s Day. I’m not suicidal now, but I’m not handling my shit. Nothing a little eyeliner can’t mask. But it’s time to call in reinforcements.

I start bi-weekly therapy next week. I’m also in Music Therapy, of course. This djembe workshop was inspired. I’m so glad I threw financial caution to the wind in time to pound some of this out each week.

Yesterday was particularly difficult. I cried for most of it. Wailing, sobbing tears on and off all day. I didn’t want to go to class, but I spent $120 on this thing! I’m not throwin’ that away! So get on my bike, I did, and whadya know but I found myself laughing and communing and healing inside a rhythmic trance, and laughing again that this really is therapy. Then Quinn, seeing me make a mistake and carry on, said – midbeat, without a blunder – “You know the difference between a professional and an amateur?” I raised my eyebrows, missing another beat and continuing with the next.

“Recovery time.”

Yeah. I can do this. I am doing this. progress

Love/Hate/Fear/Yum

I have Binge Eating Disorder. It’s a real thing, and even skinny girls can have it. In high school I used to joke when peers would comment on how I eat and how much, “I’m half bulimic. I forget to purge.” Later, it would devolve into secret eating and shame eating, and the amount is always increasing, just like cocaine.

It’s tougher than other addictions. You can stop going to the bar, or lose your dealer’s number. There’s also some derision in Overeaters Anonymous and other support groups toward those of us who inherited the metabolism to hide this affliction. (I only thank God for it! What a horrible thing to pay with your physical appearance as well as your emotions.)

I’m afraid of food. I’m obsessed with it. I often feel crippled by the inability to even shop for myself. I hate to cook, and I’m bombarded every moment by thoughts of junk food. I crave sodium, and chase it with sugar.

Today, I made a breakthrough in my endeavor to find simple, successful, easy, quick recipes that I love.

Hooray for Quinoa Patties! The only unhealthy ingredient is 1/4 c. parmesan but since I ate an entire bag of chips with an entire jar of dip yesterday (preceded by 2 Burger King Original Chicken Sandwiches), I’m gonna take this as a giant win for Team Christie, whose motto is, “She’s Awesome! She Loves Herself! She Deserves Someone To Love and Be Loved By! She’s Nourished and Strong and Able to Live, Play, Do, Seek, Find!”

No, really. You should see the cheer.
positive attitude about food