I shopped for clothes, and I think I liked it. But I probably won't do it again. (Warning – this gets depressing.)
It's two weeks until we jet off to the wilds of Tasmania for a week, so I've been reviewing my wardrobe for suitable things to pack. There were some specific gaps that I needed to fill and today I went to do that. In person. Like, not on the internet. Specifically at the fat old lady chain called Millers. They're cheap, have generous sizing, and are generally inoffensive. The ability to dodge walking frames and ignore the curious smells of fellow shoppers is a necessary skill. Right now they happen to have a lot of nice prints (and many horrifying ones with sequins) and this former bastion of polyester currently stocks a good selection of items in cotton. I ended up with a couple of shirts and a couple more pairs of pants.
The main reason this shopping experience didn't crush my soul as it usually does is because I largely ignored the mirror in the dressing room. I used it to make sure that shirt buttons didn't bulge over my bust, but beyond that I just paid attention to whether or not I could move comfortably when clad. I did reject one top that technically sort-of fit but was so bizarrely cut there were extra bits bulging out where I can't imagine anyone would need extra bits, unless they were attempting to hide wings.
Ignoring the mirror saved me from the soul-destroying question inherent in every clothes shopping trip: Do I look good in this? I was thus saved from a uniform response of "No, you do not look good in this." I don't care what standard of beauty or self love or self acceptance or sheer bloody-minded positivity you or anyone might choose to bring to the table, but for me it's very simple: I hate my body. I hate it with a ferocious and bitter loathing. I hate it primarily for functional reasons, but over the years I've learned to hate it for aesthetic reasons too as the functional failures have taken their toll. So today it was nice to pretty much ignore all of that.
Nice. I grab the feeling of nice and cling to it with all my fading strength, because nice is about as nice as it gets. Through whatever combination of physical and mental illness and their respective medications this body of mine can no longer experience pleasure. If they can do it to lab rats, they can do it to me. My senses of smell and taste are blunted not quite to the point of uselessness--I can smell terrible things without much trouble—but nice smells and tastes are lost to me. With my tummy issues I can't even eat intensely-flavoured food, so really texture is mostly what I care about, and a rough sense of salt and sweet. That and the likely response of my digestive system to whatever I send down to it.
Physical contact is pain. It's always pain. Sometimes I'll accept the pain for the comfort that a hug or a caress can bring, but it's always a choice. There's no giving in to pleasure for me. My monthly highly-specialised gentle massage helps, but it requires concentration to get through it. What really annoys me is that I can't even enjoy vicarious pleasure – this champion of a carcass now interprets any form of arousal as horribly intense period pain. That really pisses me off.
Sound, light, movement, air, heat, cold, breathing, kissing, everything hurts.
I get occasional relief in the hydrotherapy pool, but only after I've been going continuously for several weeks. Any break in the schedule and I'm bumped back down again. It's worth the effort, but it takes a lot of work for occasional and fleeting rewards. There are no easy rewards in my life any more.
The thing I like most in the world is competence - I can still enjoy the skills of others. Sadly the fuckups of others are a problem so I have to be careful where I look. Not Canberra, obviously.
I'm quite worried about my continued lack of interest in pretty rocks. I'm enjoying other people's pictures, but find them more depressing than inspiring when it comes to picking up the camera again. Thanks brain. I need a plan.
I get occasional relief at night if I take my maximum bed time drug cocktail, because that makes everything just go away for a while, plus if I'm lucky I score a few minutes of near-giggly happiness before I get sleepy. But I can't do that every night because I need to manage both a range of side effects and the growth of tolerance. I worry a bit that some days I can't wait for night to fall because that's a good drug night and I know I'll get to escape for a while. Time to back away for a few days and suffer some terrible nights, because that's The Right Thing To Do. Every day and every night I need to make those calculations. (One of the worst side effects is depression! Isn't that hilarious?)
Yesterday I enjoyed the wild weather immensely for the first time since the storm last October that damaged the house. I felt the electricity in the air and felt more alive than I've felt in over a year (I believe that makes me some sort of frog zombie?). I felt glee and awe. I chortled at the magnificence of the lightning show, and was happily startled into swearing at unexpectedly bright flashes. I revelled in the deep vibrations of the roaring thunder, and imagined a fleet of spaceships taking off just over the horizon. That was good. That was great. But it was rare. I'm not planning to move to the tropics to try and repeat the experience any time soon. Today I ache with yesterday's efforts at standing still and looking up. Thanks body.
My body is a traitor, so I must clutch and claw at anything I can to keep mind and body intact. I fail often, then have to drag myself back up again and again. And again. And again. It never ends. I'm so very tired of having to do that. I want it to end. Can you blame me for wanting to fall asleep and stay there?
But I have some pants that fit now.
I have really cool red boots.
TribbleJ is showing signs of growing up.
Husband is amazing.
We're going to renovate the bathroom.
The next council pickup is in May, and decluttering is fun.
Swancon is in April and it's in a really good venue.
Tasmania has proper rocks in it.