Shiftless Layabout Gold-digging Bum

In the weight loss front: I’m down to 193 pounds, or 87.5kg, or 13.7 stone, or 0.0965 tons. For a total loss, so far, of 48 lbs. I’m not converting that.

Some other exciting life developments lately. Husband and I have decided it’s likely in my best interest to leave my job. I’m not thriving here. As I told him, I do not act like someone that wants to be here. And it shows, I am sure that my reputation here has been irrevocably damaged.

It’s both liberating and heart breaking. My company has been very, very good to me- they brought me out of poverty and into financial security. My husband and I now have a home we own free and clear. But I do not find I enjoy what I do anymore. I’ve spent nearly six years here.. and part of me feels horrible at throwing it away.

But not having a mortgage or any debt means.. Freedom. I could live off my savings for three years, if I wanted. Which I won’t. Freedom means I can now do whatever I want, for a little while at least. I could enjoy a leisurely few months off, and begin working part time somewhere. I could freelance my skills. Work half the year, be off the other half. Instead of a daily grind, I could work when and how I want.

I am, of course, preparing myself for a backlash from anyone reading this, or from anyone I know who finds out I left my job voluntarily. It’s likely to be negative. The great thing is, I don’t have to care. I know part of it is envy. “How dare you not work when I have to! How dare you not work when your spouse is working!” We’ve been wildly successful, more than I ever dreamed.. So suck it.

The terrors I had about becoming homeless seem farther and farther away every day, like ages 16-25 were just a bad dream.

The world.. Seems like my banana. Or my oyster. Whatever food item.

Of course, during my time off I have goals. I need to add structure to my life, since the structure of a formal work environment will be gone. I’ve already discussed them with DH, but I might as well flesh them out here.

  1. Learn to love mornings
    1. I’ve been a night owl most of my life. Consistency in rising and going to bed is non-existent. Part of that is some sort of inner rebellion at being forced to rise when told to. I’ve had a problem with this most of my life. But, on the few occasions I’ve got up before 9, other than being exceptionally groggy and irritable, it was nice. To hear the morning birds, see the sun rise, etcetera. So, let’s do it. Let’s start loving mornings.
  2. STRUCTURE STRUCTURE STRUCTURE. As my husband said,”You rack disciprine.” This is related to item 1, but item 1 is important enough to have its own item. I need to rise consistently at the same time every day. I need to shower. I need to brush my teeth. I need to eat breakfast, I need to prepare something simple for dinner. (Husband and I agreed, 4/7 days a week I can make dinner. Fine with me.) I need to adhere to a daily schedule, something that is.. REALLY difficult for me to manage.
  3. House stuff. There’s lots of little annoying things off about our house. Attic is in shambled. Too many possessions. Deck needs work. Landscaping. Fix all the things!
  4. Draw and write. For the love of glob, draw and write.
  5. Update my atrophied programming skills.
  6. Lastly, and most importantly, decompress!
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Finding a Middle Way

Maybe it’s because it’s Friday. But I’m having a good day.

I often feel a lot of insecurity and frustration at the social roles I am expected to take on, because of what body parts I was born with.

That side of me, seeking approval that will never come, says,”If you’re just more peppy, cheery, smiley with a painted face.. If you just accept your place.. If you just give in..” That is painful. To think that I could be accepted finally if I play the part that others want. That side of me is the crying little girl I was, still begging to be loved and wanted.

I have days where that side begins to win again. Today’s not that day.

I know that being predictable and nice to look at is what people want. The other side of me, the one that says,”People have value, and looks don’t factor into it” feels utter resentment. When that resentful part of me rules, I sometimes think that I could be trans. That since I don’t fit the mold, that I prefer everything about the other side, that if I could pass I could get approval while being happier, being myself without being constantly socially punished for the mismatch.

Yet either side can’t win. I’m not going to transition to male. But I’m not going to be a method actor as a woman, either. I can’t force people to reexamine their innate ideas of what a woman is. I can’t change human nature and social conditioning. People don’t try to understand their unconscious reactions to others, and often deny those reactions exist, because they don’t notice it happening. And I also know that even if I tried really hard to cater to what I’m supposed to be, I’d still be chasing that bump of approval. Even harder, I suspect, than before.

So it’s finding a middle ground, that I have been striving for.

The middle ground is: stop giving a f*ck.

Perhaps a more polite term is “radical acceptance.” This is the way the world is. This is the way you are. It’s going to be harder for you, and there’s nothing you can do. It is out of your control. Be careful spending emotional energy on other people. They will probably not return it. Choose wisely who you invest in. In the event I ever find platonic friends who genuinely don’t care that I’m not too feminine, cherish them.

Don’t compromise. I’ve already decided that I’m not wearing dresses or skirts, ever again. That’s going to be tricky if I attend a wedding or any sort of traditional, highly gendered event. But I can make it work; I can wear a flow-y tunic and long cardigan, to mimic the clothing that people associate with these events. Well, except my Indian skirt. It’s long and black and flowing. It seems immune from my inner immediate “NOPE” reaction.

Don’t apologize. This is a hard one. I’ve been so socialized to avoid conflict of any kind.

Don’t act like there is something wrong with the way I look and dress. There are always going to be people who comment on that. It’s the nature of being female in an entitled world. Don’t apologize for existing the way you are. These people, they don’t care about you, just the missing makeup on your face.

Be firm. Always be your own advocate, because you can’t be sure if anyone else will. Be kind, be respectful, but don’t allow anyone to tear you down.

Be cautious and more reserved. I’ve always had problems with being too open to new people. Because I have a delusion that if people just understand me, they will treat me well, they will believe me, they will like me. This is due to relentless approval seeking. “Everyone could be my friend if I just try hard enough”, the little girl within whispers. I always feel disappointment and self-loathing when my effort is not returned. This continues to damage me, and it’s of my own doing. I need to build a small wall within, and be more careful who I allow to pass it. Not all walls are terrible. I always threw my energy into building bridges to others that they didn’t want to cross, or even notice. It’s okay if people don’t know you. It’s okay if they don’t like you. You are still okay. Still alive, still breathing.

I also need to understand the people I need to approve of me never will. My father won’t. My stepmother won’t. My mother, increasingly, won’t. I can’t continue to seek it from randoms. It doesn’t work. It will never work. That is how I know it must change.

It’s absolutely funny, when I look at it, that I pride myself on being self-sufficient and independent, when inside I am an utter mess of need for approval. Blogging has been helping me, slowly through the years, to dissect what went wrong and what toxic coping mechanisms need to be pruned away. I still have a long way to go. But it feels closer every day.

Possibilities

Just came back from a therapist’s appointment. The first one in a month, when usually they are bi-weekly. Not my therapist’s fault, he had to cancel the last one because he was sick.

I know it was out of his control, but I desperately wish last time’s appointment hadn’t been canceled. It was only a couple of days after my father’s entitlement-o-gram on Facebook. I could have really used his input, then. But that delayed input still was useful. Today’s session was super productive.

I relayed everything to the therapist, and brought up that I felt my only options were to send a no-contact letter or to talk to him, both with potentially disastrous consequences. During the conversation, we found a new middle way. Possibly having a mediated conversation, with a family therapist.

This might work. I need to sit down and talk about this with Husband. It could be difficult, since my husband is in deep favor of the no-contact letter. A great aspect of the mediated contact is that since it would be with a therapist, it will test just how much he wants me to be in his life. My father has always spoken derisively of anyone who needs therapy. There’s a big chance he will shy away from the notion of talking to a “shrink.” Him flat out rejecting it or not showing up at the appointment will tell me all I need to know.

Husband doesn’t necessarily understand all the dynamics at play here. Five and a half years of no contact have been semi-blissful. Watching the drama unfold from afar. But there is always the bad taste in my mouth. Carrying the weight of years of repressed emotions, of not having closure. Father would have to be on his best behavior in front of the therapist. And having a neutral person might give me the courage to not emotionally shut down.

I feel a bit more hopeful. I long to shut this chapter of my life, with or without him in it.

Family Dinnerganza

Tonight I’m having dinner with my paternal aunt and cousin. I haven’t seen them since May of last year, at my sister’s wedding. My husband met them for the first time at said wedding. They came over to sit at his table and were chatting happily with Hubby when dear old sperm-donor came and made them go sit with him.

Well, Pops won’t be here tonight to interfere. I’d like for my husband to get to know some of the few people in my life who’ve done right by me. I haven’t seen them one-on-one in so long, and it’ll be nice. Catch up on each other’s life, and maybe get some advice to deal with my father. Who, in tune with his narcissistic personality, insists my childhood was perfect and he never did anything to me. Of course he didn’t do anything, he let my step-mother do it.

Also, pro-tip to all parents: Constantly complaining about your children needing food and a roof over their head doesn’t make them more appreciative of you. It just makes them feel like a burden.

Husband wants me to send my father a no-contact letter via certified mail. I’m afraid of consequences from that. But my preferred method of letting them send fruitless Facebook messages to my “Other Messages” inbox that I can’t see, or sending messages to my mother, will only work for so long as well. As long as they think they can contact me somehow, they won’t resort to showing up randomly at my house or doing anything drastic. But like I said, the “let them futilely send messages I might see” tactic won’t work for much longer. No contact or stringing them along, they might both end up with the whole “show up at Queen Legbeard’s place” tactic.

Daddy dearest was told to stay off our property, though. So, maybe he’ll just hang out on my sidewalk and wait for me to get home. Or go to my work. Or something.

I wish they’d go away and stay away. My stepmother, my father. My life without them has been so much better. There is no way in hell I’m going to have some sort of tender bullshit “reunion” thing. Everything is always on their terms. They don’t listen to me, I’m not a person to them, just some sort of disobedient extension of themselves.

I wish I could get ferociously angry the way they do. Just scream and holler and say whatever, the way they do. If I detect even the slightest hint of conflict, I freeze up. My heart starts pounding. I feel like I’m 10 again, being screamed into the ground by an unstable beauty queen.

Man. I wish my therapy appointment wouldn’t have been canceled last week. I really could have used talking to a third party about this. I really just don’t know what to do.

If I choose not to send the no-contact letter, I’m going to probably have to deal with Daddy Dearest in some way. I’m going to have to stand up to him, even with my heart pounding and my soul melting inside of me. Part of me wants to. Part of me wants to be a firm adult against his childish pettiness and tired bleating about how he bought me Christmas presents when I was three. Stand my ground. But I don’t know if I can.

I hope Aunt and Cousin can help, even a little.

God, I wish I was an orphan.

Hats, Hair, Hijabs, Huzzah

Why don’t western women wear more hats?

Every time I’ve worn a hat or bandanna in the past, people comment on it. I suppose they think it’s a fashion thing. Maybe it is, to some degree. But mostly it’s because I don’t style my hair.

I sometimes think there’s more to it. There’s some level of discomfort with a woman who doesn’t show all of her hair, at least in western cultures.

When it comes to semi-compulsory covering of hair in other cultures, I waver back and forth between supporting it and not supporting it. I understand the desire to cover up hair. As someone with weak, thin hair, I wish I could cover it up at all times without comments from other people. There’s something people don’t think about: Wanting to not be judged on hair quality, and/or to not be sexualized. Some call it “modesty” but for me it’s not about being a good, demure, chaste woman. It’s about what you want to do, and the level of sexual attention you’re comfortable with.

I honestly feel that if you want to cover your hair and it empowers you, do it. It’s troubling that some are compelled to do it for approval in the eyes of religious, conservative cultures. (Of course, if not doing so endangers you…) If styling your hair empowers you, style your hair. I honestly wish people would care less.

It all comes down to a deep distrust of doing anything even slightly different. Perhaps the white western discomfort comes from not knowing why in particular someone covers their hair. Are they a devout member of a spooky, scary non-white religion or culture? Do they just like having non-styled hair? Do they, gasp, have thin or no hair? This person might be different in ways I’m not immediately comfortable with because of some scrap of cloth on their head, ohhh boyyy. /s

Personally, I’m going to start wearing hats in day to day life again. I have fairly short hair, so I’ve got a socially semi-unacceptable hair style to begin with, hats are just the cherry on top. I stopped wearing them back in the day because Husband would always ask me why I was wearing a hat or bandanna, like something was wrong with it. I’m becoming more bold with my choices, and being more flippant is what I’m aspiring to.

“Because I like it” is all I need to say. Or, to comfort and assure people that I do in fact have hair, take it off and say,”Take a good look, here’s my hair. Great, isn’t it?” And then put the hat back on.

It’s kind of nuts to have to deal with this at all.

Blood is Thinner than Water

I discovered a new subreddit a few days ago called r/justnofamily. I had been familiar with r/justnomil, which is a sub supporting people with abusive mother-in-laws. But r/justnofamily feels like.. the right place for me.

I keep encountering people who don’t get it. Why you would cut off family. Family is everything, family is your blood, etcetera. I guess those people either had good, loving, supportive families or they accept their own abusive relationships.

I’m 32 years old. I’ve been VLC (very little contact) with my father and stepmother for about 5.5 years now. The triggering event was when my father goaded my vulnerable 17 year old sister into self-harm that sent her to the hospital. He loves control. He threatened to never let her see her loving, supportive boyfriend ever again. He threatened to dump her beloved cat in the boonies. It’s not the first time. His go-to is to try to take away anything you love, simply because you do not submit to and revere him. At this time, my stepmother’s descent into addiction was at its height, and my sister was essentially a slave, doing the housework, caring for their four dogs, and picking her passed-out mother up off the floor. When she expressed ideas about moving out and going to school, he made sure to tell her she and her boyfriend would never amount to anything and that they’d be on welfare.

I can honestly count, on one hand, the number of times he’s complimented or expressed any pride in me. Each time stands out, since it’s so rare. I can only assume it’s the same for her.

The crazy thing is that neither he nor my stepmother have any idea why I cut them off. My stepmother thinks it’s because she put me in drill team (cheerleading but with dancing) when I was younger. I just have to laugh, because otherwise I’d go insane.

The subreddit, r/justnofamily, has many stories of people who stood up and set boundaries with their horrible families. How wonderful, to see people who were firm and unmoved around their immature, narcissistic, screaming and unhinged relatives. I tend to retreat inside myself and shut down emotionally when screamed at. It’s the result of being relentlessly treated this way as a child. I didn’t know how to cope with it then, and I don’t know how to cope with it now.

But these stories give me hope that someday, I can.

Weirdo

I’ve been pondering today about my life choices, and why I’ve made them.

It occurs to me that I’ve selected most of them because I don’t fit in. I never have.

Being raised as a burden, as something other, has certainly shaped who I am as a person.

I was never very receptive to beauty and fashion, mainly because those who were pushing it on me treated me like a freak.

Rather than give in and beautify myself, as a young and older teen, I rejected most of it. I dabbled for some time, feeling that pressure to at least pretend to be interested, but never consistently. Now I’ve mostly given it up. I’ve always felt anxiety that I didn’t do what I was supposed to, as a woman. Countering that is an internal resistance to the notion people who didn’t care about me could force me to do what they wanted. What I wanted never mattered.

Because I never fit in, felt wanted or that I belonged, I found refuge in things many women discard as they enter adulthood, or were never interested in at all. Books, comic books, cartoons, writing, the internet. They were havens for me.

I subconsciously chose to go into computer science because while I thought maybe I had a chance to fit in somewhere, with other people who shared my interests, while making an income that would give me the power to make my own choices in life. My body, my appearance have never been a currency I could make my way with.

I chose a field where my looks wouldn’t matter as much. Having a healthy interest in the field helped as well.

A lot of women who start STEM degrees don’t finish them or don’t stay in the field long, especially computer science. I read what I can online about this phenomena, and while it’s complex, one thing stands out time and time again. Women who have left the field describe a difficult environment with few other women and some sexist or borderline shunning behavior from some or many of the men they work with. Not a lack of interest in the field, or lack of ability, but a lack of support and an environment somewhat hostile to their presence.

It never bothered me that there weren’t a lot of women in my field. Fewer people to judge me on my appearance. Most men I’ve worked with in the past are a little baffled by my plain looks and strange less-feminine demeanor, but many of them have mentally changed gears from thinking of me as “woman” to “coworker.” Which I prefer.

Well, until this contract I’m working on now. Never have I felt the force of exclusion based on appearance and sex that I have now. My team lead, who is the sole reservoir of knowledge about the project, acts like he is afraid of me. I have never felt afraid about asking questions before, until this project. If a male coworker asks a question, he needs the information to do his job. If I ask a question, my entire ability to do my job is suspect.

My seemingly permanent outsider status is probably why I continue to smoke cigarettes. That’s another indicator that you’re an outsider. I am already one, so why not? How many coworkers have commented “smoking is bad for you” or given me looks as I’ve encountered them while smoking? I guess this marker of outsider status also suits me. It fits with what I’ve encountered most of my life.

I say that I’m okay with it. I say that I’m getting better with accepting it. But there is always a part of me that craves the platonic acceptance I’ve never really had. I am lonely, and it hurts. I’ve had pity friendships before, back when I was too unaware to realize what the basis of the friendship really was. I’ve had acquaintances who I mistook for friends, because of my close proximity to who their actual friend was. There is a cold, sad truth to this world I’ve finally let myself acknowledge. If you don’t look or act the part, people are just nice. They are just pleasant. But they don’t care about you.

All I can do is keep going. All I can do is keep moving. I know that if I dropped everything, started being a “good” woman, the chances are extremely high that things would stay the same. And I wouldn’t be happier. Maybe I would feel a better connection to others of my gender? Who can say. It seems like a huge amount of effort for a uncertain result.

Maybe I would feel “beautiful”? I’ve never felt that before. I don’t know what it feels like, or if that would make me happy. It’s a feeling I’d have to chase every day, with powders and straighteners and hairspray.

Most days now, I feel fine about myself. I feel more at peace with my course in life. I will probably always crave acceptance, but I know I can live without it. And I know that no one owns me.

Giving

Today, I did something for someone else. I paid off their electric bill anonymously.

Said person is a cancer researcher. She’s on a rainbow assortment of pills for spine problems and bipolar disorder. Her car is on its last legs, and she just moved herself, physical problems and all, to a new apartment. Being a cancer researcher is apparently not glamorous or high paying, at least when you’re starting out. I’ve been watching her troubles on Facebook for a while and just decided to do something. I’m lucky that I have gotten to a place in life with no mortgage or debt, and $300 is basically nothing at this point.

Earlier in the week, I donated $100 to my half-sister’s foster cat medical bills, anonymously.

A month or so ago, I donated $50 to my friend’s charity event for their son with spina bifida.

A few months before that I donated $10 to a Facebook friend I have never met in person.

I guess that’s where my comfort with donating started.

I have been a bit of a miser previously. The looming shadows of poverty from my past still affect my mind. You can’t donate any money, you need this money, they whisper. What if everything comes crumbling down, and that $X you donated could have prevented it? Kind of absurd, when logically thought about. But there’s nothing logical or right about what poverty does to your mind in the long term.

About fifteen years ago, age 17 and living with my mother, my friends and I used Livejournal almost exclusively. I would vent a lot about the troubles we were facing. Utility bills are all behind and on the brink of being shut off. Applied for food stamps over a month ago and we’re still waiting. No money for food now. No car. No hope.

At the time, we were all teenage girls. Though I was certainly the most down and out of all of them at the time, they didn’t have a lot of spare money either.

Then I received a $20 gift card in the mail for a local grocery store. Anonymously.

At the time, I went nuts with happiness. $20 seemed like so much then. My mom and I went to the grocery store and bought all we could with it.

I didn’t know for years who sent that card, until a few years back the subject came up, and one of my friends said they sent it. I have an enduring fondness and respect for this friend, for doing what she did, though she and I have never been extremely close. The thought that someone was thinking about me, that my words of distress weren’t just disappearing into the ether, that gave me such a boost at the time.

I hope my friend feels the same way.

Doing something because it makes you feel good and makes someone else feel better and thought of isn’t bad. Someone I used to be close to said you don’t have to try to be a good person, you just are. I know that person is full of sh*t now, because many of us have to try. Most of us aren’t born with ideal circumstances, we often have to overcome our circumstances. Some of us have to unlearn what our upbringings taught us. Does that mean we are bad people? I don’t have time for that kind of simplistic black and white thinking.

I sometimes waffle back and forth from thinking, “why invest in others if they don’t care about me and think I’m weird”, to “be the change you want to see in the world.”

I feel as though I’m moving gradually towards a state where I feel less resentment, and more acceptance.

I’m excited for when my friend realizes her electrical bill is $0. I hope she posts about it on Facebook, but it’s okay if she doesn’t. I will feel good about it with or without that validation.

Return to Keto-La (Diet and life update)

So, as of this morning I’m back down to 204. Finally.

That 5 day stretch of non-keto eating back at the end of January really messed me up.

I didn’t help myself much by returning to old habits after going back to keto post-break. You won’t lose weight, even on keto, if you spend three hours snacking continuously on meat and nuts while your ass is on the couch watching Planet Earth II.

I really felt my motivation slacken to the point of considering, what the hell. Just eat carbs again, you’re not losing anything.

In the last couple of days, the wind returned to the weight loss sails. I’ve been making an effort to try to conquer my end-of-the-night binging tendencies. Last night I almost did it again, but managed to overcome it by talking it out with my husband. I settled on a single sugar-free butterscotch candy and water.

Oh man. Last night I also made the discovery that I need to find some sort of weight loss buddy. My husband is a man of appetite, and he likes women with appetite. He let me talk out my desire to binge, but looked noticeably uncomfortable. I pried a bit, and he told me that he likes it when I talk about wanting to eat food. But I was talking about it in a negative way, and that messed with his head.

It’s not really his fault, he’s just wired that way. Something about how his parents tried restricting his food when he was entering puberty, and wires got crossed in his head. Food is very much related to sexuality for him.

Soo… Talking to him to try to get through an urge to binge isn’t going to be a good long-term strategy. I mean, he’ll listen, it just clashes horribly with his hardwired pro-binging attitude. It causes him cognitive dissonance, but overall he’s a self-aware person, not one of those sociopath feeder creeps that don’t care about women.

As for me, it’s so innocent when I complain about wanting to eat. I’m not wired that way at all, and his proclivities are a bit alien. I have a perfectly healthy/unhealthy shame about overeating. Doesn’t mean the urge goes away. Learning how to distract myself during these crave periods is the best way to deal with it.

A boost to my return to weight loss is that I’ve found a better calorie tracker. I’ve become fed-up (lol) with MyPlate and MyFitnessPal. I’m tired of incorrect product listings that I can’t change, and difficulty in seeing net carbs. So I did some research and found a site/app called Carb Manager which is pretty fantastic, does everything I want. I’ll shill for that site for free because I like it. 😀

Otherwise.. It’s starting to warm up where I live. That means endless rain and grey days, where the ground turns to sodden muddy gunk. There’s a flipping flood watch for my county and many others. So, I’ve been doing a lot of housework, working a campaign to de-clutter my office and free up floor space. I was able to place the gigantic cat litter box under my office desk after I moved what was under there to a space I freed up in my cube organizer. I cleaned up and removed some of what was in the office closet as well. The giant stack of crappy old writings has been halved; I still have more to scan but that stack has been sitting on my desk for more than a year, and I’m feeling good about what I’ve got done. Once everything is scanned I’ll burn my childhood/teen/early adulthood scribblings in a glorious cringey bonfire.

So, mental health is more or less better. I think I’m at the halfway point of accepting that I may always be an outsider to people. There are many many people that will never get me, or relate to me, or think of me as a person with feelings, and though it hurts I’m finding my way. I’m getting better at being unapologetically weird, in my own particular way that harms no one.

Onward to Onederland.