Thursday, September 24, 2009

Anti-whining - there must be more to talk about

I've been in major self scrutiny mode for the last few posts, and I'm getting a little weary of my own psychowackobabble. That's actually a clinical term, by the way. Coined by this nurse who is currently OD-ing on her aforementioned navel contemplation. It ain't happenen' today. I feel pretty good. My evening last night wasn't as food free as I would have liked, but my new lower size jeans fit fine this morning, and after several hours at work are actually getting that baggy look, so there really is nothing to rag about.

What's on my mind is that I love blogging. Actually I love writing and always have. I was a diary keeper when I was in elementary school. I had a quilted pink diary with a lock and key so no one had access to "the vault", if you know what I mean. I didn't want some fly by night reading about my crush on Scott Sestak or Billy Shafer and broadcasting it to the whole student body of Madeira Beach Elementary School. Interestingly, I had some pretty painful experiences in elementary, but they never made it into the diary. Things like falling out of favor of Kathy Cornwell, the most popular girl ever who grew a daunting set of boobs at least a year before any of the rest of us.

What happened... I was walking in the cafeteria with my plate of spaghetti, tossed salad and apple crisp, when I tripped over someone's shoe and dumped the whole tray of food directly onto Kathy's white pleated blouse and her perfectly coiffed hair. She was majorly irritated (you know I did this deliberately in hopes of pissing off Miss Perfect and sealing my fate as a geeky freak, for pete's sake) and ceased talking to me for many days; predictably all the other girls in the class followed her Queen Bee Ass lead. I apologized profusely and assured her it was an accident, but she wasn't having it. So I spent some very lonely days in 4th grade feeling like "Zip - the What Is It" , exiled from friends and foes alike. I remember that incident like it happened yesterday. That's what utter humiliation does. It leaves a mark that can never quite be sanded away, no matter how fabulous I've become as a 56 year old cool broad.

In junior high I slacked off the diary-ing as I searched for purpose and placement among the 7th and 8th graders who all seemed much more in-the-know than I was. They all seemed uber savvy and sure of themselves. Me, not so much. But I found my niche and a circle of friends that were neither in crowd nor out crowd, and my need to write it all down disappeared. I fared the remaining years of grade school mostly intact.

My return to the pen didn't happen until I was 23, shortly after my mom died. My dad had died when I was 11, leaving only child moi with mom for the next 12 years. In that time I'd graduated, become a nurse, and actually left my nursing job for several months to care for my mom when she was dying of cancer. I temporarily moved 3 hours away from my long term boyfriend with whom I was living to spend this time with my mother, and I've always been grateful I did. It was gut-wrenching and hard at a thousand levels; but it was the right thing to do at a time in my life when doing the right thing wasn't my default setting. After she died and I returned to my life, it took about 3 months for me to begin to lose it as I realized that I was truly alone in the world (no sibs, no grands) other than my boyfriend of several years who'd never told me he loved me (though he did when I started trying to explain my unraveling self to him). I became anxious, fearful, depressed and unhappy. Work was the only place I felt like myself - capable, competent, real.

I walked in off the street to a mental health center in Gainesville, Florida and started seeing a counselor who assured me I was sane and definitely on schedule for a sort of breakdown, given what my young self had been through. And she suggested I journal. I did...and it became the most amazing therapeutic tool for me. I could write down every thought, feeling, fear. I could rage at life, God, the boyfriend, myself. Proper punctuation, spelling and grammar didn't matter, though to this day I find it hard to suspend those high school English elements. (I even text grammatically and in "proper form"!) Journaling really helped me move through the murk of grief and existential lonliness that enveloped me.

I've loved writing ever since. I wish that back in those elementary days it occurred to me to write about the painful stuff as well as the fluff. Maybe it could have helped me sort out some of my pre-teen angst. But in those days I only wanted to go "on record" in the most positive light.

Writing has had a place in my life always...I'm a legendary letter writer and am saddened that old fashioned letter writing is a dying art. Nothing compares to walking out to your snail mail box and finding a nice thick envelope, hand addressed, from a friend or relative. It is a treasure to be savored and enjoyed over and over. But email works pretty well as a means of staying connected, and it doesn't require scrounging through my kitchen drawer looking for a freaking stamp.

So blogging and reading other blogs is a great fit for me. I'm endlessly blown away by the amazing creativity of people in general, but bloggers in particular. There are a lot of smart funny people out there! (I just proofed that line and had initially written "furry" people - there are probably some of them, also.) I had a few fitful starts at blogging, but discovering the weightloss and health community as a resource for myself has given me the courage to throw my own hat into the ring. It took years for me to be more comfortable using a keyboard than a yellow legal pad with a black Bic pen, but at last I've found my platform for creativity that doesn't require a trip to the local yarn store. I love that stuff too, but all I need for this are fingers and a keyboard. Happy me!


  1. I'm glad that you are writing this blog! You have a tremendous way with words and have great introspection. I'm sorry for the losses in your life. I have never been a long term journal writer. I was always worried someone would find it and know all the secret feelings I had about them. (And I have a LOT of secret feelings about people..I'm an analyzer and even a lot of the things my best friends in the world annoy the heck out of me!) I'm glad for your blog! Keep writing!

  2. Hi Leslie.

    I'm so sad that you went through so much loss at a young age. I lost my mother at 20 years old so I think it's amazing that you managed to hold yourself together through such aloneness. I almost fell apart at that time in my life too. I dealt with it by having a 4 year mentally abusive relationship - not such a great solution! I think your journaling is definitely the better idea. You were lucky to see that counselor. I wish I'd had that kind of advice at that time.

    And this public journaling is serving you well I think in dealing with the current problem.

    I think I'm more in the furry category than the funny one!

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx

  3. I love to read your blog. Keep it up. I am not a writer. I think of things I want to say but while writing nothing comes to me.Reading everyones blogs helps me alot . You and my other bloggers friends is what keeps me sane. Thanks.

  4. Hi Leslie!

    Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world and for the kind words.

    I look forward to getting to know more about you and watch your progress!

    P.S. I bet there are some furry folks out there LOL