mea culpa

Wow! How easy it is to get out of the way of blogging – and not to return for A-G-E-S.

The busy-ness of the business of PhD training is cause enough to forgo my visit to the keyboard. This semester is kicking my ass. Literally. Kicking it. I’m taking two methods classes with one professor. I’ve been waiting to take a course with her since landing in Knoxy and, whew!, I’m not disappointed. She teaches a a fairly high level, expects us to think logically and apply theory/logic/skills on the spot, and she takes no prisoners with her grading. Holy hell. I’m writing 1-2 assignments for her a week; assignments that take me hours as they’re outside my wheelhouse of LGBTQ health, measurement, and chronic disease. I’m LOVING it. But, the reading, thinking, and writing is taking a LOT of brain space and time. There are only so many hours. I’m also involved with three research projects, 4 manuscripts (1 being published, 1 under review, 2 being written) and there are at least 5 more manuscripts coming down the pike over the next 6-9 months. These project I also ADORE; they’re LIFEBLOOD. Seriously. I leave school after long hours and with much joy and appreciation for what I’m doing. And, there are only so many hours in a day and so many brain cells in my head. They’ve been going to writing and not to blogging.

And then there’s the rest of life, which I’m not going to talk about today. Partly that’s because I’m not sure what I can/should say. Yes, I know it’s my year of #AudaciousRisk and I’m throwing “should” out the window (or at least working to), but considering the ramifications of my personal life writing before I put them out into the world is extra important right now because other people are intimately involved. This semester has included chronic post-surgical pain and multiple doctors visits/procedures to not avail. It’s included the beginnings of complicated financial and divorce paperwork. It’s included grieving and ending and attempting to begin again. Sleepless nights, long conversations, anxiety, and some resolution. It’s been a LOT and I’m not sure how and how much to share. So, that’s all I’m going to say for now.

Finally, coping. Coping. Yes, that’s been a struggle this semester. The chronic pain doesn’t ease with Tylenol nor Meloxicam/Ibuprofen/Naproxen (whatever I’m taking on said day). Heat gives me enough relax to fall asleep most nights (if exhaustion is taking care of it).

Wine helps me loosen and simultaneously stresses me out. Because, lord, I can drink wine like water. I’ve known that for years, but especially since 2012. And having wine to deal with pain makes me worried about drinking. It’s been easier not to eat, but then I get tired. Eating doesn’t seem to make it better nor worse. Mostly I like the feel of being empty. I’m not binge eating anymore,  but restriction comes naturally. Another flashpoint for me – bulimia and food restriction and feeling in control. Exercise is easy some days – and helpful – yet on others it makes the pain flare so hard that the tears fall without effort. So, then there’s wine. Wine. Food restriction. Exercise. The trifecta of my coping, my fear, and my shame.

It may be this experience with coping that’s kept me from blogging the most. I’m not great at being cagey any more. For over a decade I’ve been laying out my life in various iterations across multiple blogs: From A Big Lass Weighs In and my story of eating disorders and weight loss, to Dangerous Opportunity and my life post-redundancy and through to the transition to UTK, and now, my PhD existence told through Eat Cake for Breakfast.  There have been many years of truthtelling. Storytelling. Radical honesty.

Honestly, I’m not ready to talk about my struggles with pain. With coping. With fear. With shame. I’m not ready because I don’t know if I’m ready to change the coping. Because the pain…well….the pain isn’t lessening (physically nor psychically) and I’m doing the best I can.

Honestly, the best I can isn’t the best I want to be.

So yes. It’s easy to leave blogging and not return for ages. There are things I want to write about: Experiences I’m having beyond the coping-fear-shame cycle and beyond the home life. Mostly, they’re about school. But, to write them, I have to acknowledge that other parts of my life are happening too. This isn’t a glossy, rose-tinted glasses blog. It’s my life. So, I guess you know now that it’s tough: 2017 came in like a roaring lion. But, I am tough; perhaps, because I am vulnerable. And sometime, I’ll be ready to write about all those vulnerabilities… but not today. Not today.


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