Last year felt like it went so fast, but when I think back to this time last year it feels so far away. So since I didn’t blog things as they happened, I thought I’d have a little ‘what I did last year’ post, to remind myself that I actually did things.
I joined a gym and went to it a bunch. Frankly, it’s a pain in the arse and I resent it, but I was just not getting enough activity through incidental things. My area isn’t nice to walk in and it’s too far from work to bike, and I felt cranky and creaky and tired. The gym has helped, although I would still prefer to have a life where I didn’t just sit in front of a computer all the time, could ride or walk places, and didn’t have to go out of my way to ‘do exercise’ all the time. Maybe one day, but for now the gym is good.
I’ve also done other things about bodies and energy. At the start of the year I found a GP. 2012 was the year of teeth (a new dentist, a bunch of fillings and crowns and my wisdom teeth out, hoo boy I wish I could have afforded a dentist earlier) and 2013 was the year of… the rest? I haven’t had a regular GP since I lived with my parents, and it took a few tries but I found someone really lovely. I got a bunch of checkup tests and found that my vitamin D was WAY low, which didn’t surprise me much because I’ve had an increasingly hard time the last few winters with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I had another round of SAD over winter, despite massive amounts of supplements, but my levels are now finally above the suggested minimum.
I also worked out that I am sensitive to gluten… and maybe other things. I got tested and I’m not caeliac, thank goodness. But to take the test you have to eat a bunch of gluten for 6 weeks and it was a total nightmare. I’d been eating mostly gluten-free before that, trying to figure out what was going on, and eating it again confirmed that it is an issue for me. It makes me feel tired and sluggish and bloated and, worst of all, really thickheaded. Zero out of ten, would not recommend. Not eating gluten hasn’t been as difficult as I would have thought, especially since it makes me feel so awful that I don’t really have much desire to eat it. I do have the odd craving for something specific, which generally I satisfy if I really want it, because it seems like I can eat a small amount without the consequences being too dire. This year I really should get a couple more tests and maybe find myself an endocrinologist or something so I can work out what the actual issue is. One of my cousins appears to have the same or similar issues, and is going through that process now, so I’m going to pick her brains about it. But whether I get to that in the short term or long term, I feel much better than I had for a while.
I considered going on psych meds a couple of times and ended up waiting and seeing, which turned out fine, especially after – here’s another thing I did – I went part time. But it was really nice to have a GP who I can talk these things over with, who has my back and who listens to and trusts me. I feel like that shouldn’t be a thing to feel so grateful about – surely that should be the norm? But it isn’t, so I am grateful. I also started seeing a psychologist, which also took a couple of tries to get the right person, but it’s been very helpful in dealing with my mother. Although I did just find out that my psych is moving states so I will have to find a new person. I’m tempted to not bother because I only found out from ringing up to cancel an appointment because I don’t need it right now and it feels like a waste of time and money. But I really should, to have a backup person in case I need that.
Here’s another thing I did – I didn’t talk to my mother at all for a good six months. It was lovely. I’ve since had dinner with her a couple of times and it has been slightly tense but mostly fine. The power has shifted a bit, I think – and she’s on her best behaviour. We’ll see how long that lasts. Ideally I’d rather not cut her totally out of my life but I’m still not sure exactly why I wouldn’t. But whatever happens I feel like I’m actually making decisions thoughtfully and on purpose, not just reacting, which is a big deal.
As I said before, I went part time from the start of the financial year. I now work 4 days a week and it is glorious. My bank balance took a hit but given that I went down a tax bracket and have stopped having to do things like buy lunch all the time because I’m exhausted, I’ve barely noticed. It’s so lovely to have time to actually DO things. Last winter was pretty long and dark, and a big part of that is that I felt like I never had time or brain space to DO anything, so my whole life was just ‘get up, go to work, come home, do dishes, repeat’. And then I would feel guilty about that because plenty of people have more work and more dishes and less time but hey, that was how I felt. (I’ve also struggled with the classic stuff of thinking I was being lazy when I was really exhausted, which leads to its own demotivating cycle. Still working on that. So much social conditioning to be ‘productive’ all the time, which is very undermining really). Sorting out body stuff has helped – when I have the time I actually have the energy to do things. But actually making more time is an important part of that.
I’ve dealt with relationship stress. S has had a stressful year, with his eldest going through year 12 and a bunch of the regular dramas as well as some extra special ones. Combine that with him living an hour and a half drive away, being a single parent and working in a school where he is stressed out and exposed to all the most lovely germs of the year so that every time I saw him in the winter months he was exhausted and/or sick… well, it put stress on the relationship, as well as accentuating my feeling that I never DID anything. There were a couple of times we almost broke up, where we had weeks 0f very stressful discussion trying to make things better – the problem being that none of the issues were about him or me, they were all external. Hard to fix them when they are out of your power! We weathered family issues and renegotiated present and future arrangements. But we did weather them. Who knows what the future holds but we spent a bunch of quality time together over the holidays and we’ve both been working on balancing our lives to have time and attention for each other and for now it feels like we are in a really nice place.I’m hoping to hold onto that for at least a while after we are both back at work.
Our gift to each other for Christmas was zoo memberships, and we’ve gone a bunch of times as well as going to the museum, and exhibitions, and generally doing things.
The South Australian Museum has some excellent megafauna:
Not to mention excellent opalised fossils:
Also did you know that meerkats are hilarious
And quokkas are adorable
And some of them are very friendly.
I formed and strengthened friendships. Mostly, tbh, with the aid of the internet. Mid 2012 I joined an online forum made up of women who had formed friendships on a particular website, ostensibly to talk about fashion. We DO talk about fashion but I’d say more than 50% of the conversation is about feminism. And sex. Feminist sex. Those ladies have become more and more important to me, have been an incredible support network and a central part of my life. They send me cards and gifts and food and give me good advice and sympathy when I need it the most. <3 u, HFC. Also they have made me lift my selfie game like woah. I never took so many photos of myself – and it’s been very helpful for both my self esteem and my sense of personal style. It’s interesting to look back at photos of outfits I thought worked well but are just not doing it for me in retrospect, and vica versa. I feel a lot more well presented when I go out in the world, these days.
I also formed stronger bonds with my sister, one of my cousins, and some irl friends through our tumblrs. What a delight that has been. Because of tumblr, I started rewatching Star Trek ToS with my cousin. I’d seen most of it before and quite enjoyed it but HOLY WOAH I AM NOW OBSESSED. So that’s pretty great.
And of course, there were craft camps. It continues to be such a joy to know all of you, and to meet you, whether online or in person.
Here’s to more DOING in 2014, more friendships, more good things.
And more blogging (maybe?).