The Shrinking Woman

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I am shrinking. Have been for several months now. And, it’s getting a little embarrassing admitting to those who ask, “No, I’m not really doing anything.” Let me explain a little…

You see, I’ve had some, as I’ve been calling it, “Gastro-Intestinal Distress” for several months. Started with nausea… daily nausea. To the point I freaked out a bit and bought a sizable stash of cheap pregnancy tests. Nope. Not pregnant. The nausea remained and was joined by a general lack of appetite and mild pain. This came to peak, as my luck runs, the week of my birthday in mid-July. At that point, I was surviving off generic Ensure shakes and rice noodles in broth. Not cool.

Then began the battery of testing… Upper GI Scan with contrast, Abdominal Ultrasound… I was hoping for a tapeworm or a parasite as I already had a jar ready and a name chosen. My medical professionals assured me this was highly unlikely, albeit pretty humorous. Next up was a HIDA scan to check my gall bladder (I was prepared to place all blame on that little bastard and have it yanked out). Turns out, the little bastard was not the problem and continues to operate somewhat normally. Next, I had the pleasure of my very first colonoscopy… yay, me! Considering how nasty I’d been feeling, none of these diagnostic tests were the torture they sometimes sound like being. The torture part… well, that was hearing after each and every one that things are “normal”.

There I sat, crying in my car in the parking lot of one of our area’s best medical facilities… feeling crazy, still without answers, and wondering if the next thing to be said to me would be, “This may be all in your head.” My dear husband, in an effort to help, suggested I try an elimination diet. The family doc had mentioned her next idea was to send me for allergy testing anyway… testing she admitted may be inconclusive. I’m freaking out over the accumulation of medical bills at this point and pass on the allergist… start my elimination diet the next week.

So… turns out, my body is not so keen on fatty, greasy anything. Yeah, I know, that’s a BIG surprise, now isn’t it?! Additionally, it seemed that I was not too fond of high levels of gluten. I’m too cheap to let them go ahead and give me another expensive blood test to see if I actually have full-blown Celiac Disease (which I highly doubt I do), but realized I could feel better by steering clear of the stuff. I’ll admit it, I am not always 100% gluten free, but I am feeling better. Mostly.

The side effect of this GI journey has been some somewhat radical weight loss. In July, I was down 25 pounds. Recently, that number has drawn closer to 40 and has become quite noticeable to those around me. I still walk past mirrors and do a slight double-take… “Wha?! Is that ME?” And, I am still a bit weird about telling people how I got to this point. I found myself giving the very short answer recently, “I’ve been forced to make some pretty significant diet changes, but no, I am not sick.”

I can’t deny that I enjoy the attention it has brought on… never in my adult life do I remember being this size and although I despise how I got here, I do kinda like it. On the other hand, I feel guilty when complimented since I really didn’t have to do much to get here besides feel like crap for a few months.

So, folks… this why my writing had tapered off for awhile there. I was busy. Being nauseous and willingly poked and prodded. All in the name of trying to feel like myself again. And, now, here I am trying to come to terms with the “new me”.

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It’s been a minute.

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I haven’t been driven to write much lately. Actually, I have been driven, but other things in life have taken precedence… business trip, signing the kid up for kindergarten, getting the kid ready to start playing soccer.

This post was started in April… but it pretty much still rings true. I still haven’t found the drive to write, or better yet, to publicly publish my writing. I mean, there’s been a lot going on, as always. But, there’s been a lot going on that I’m not always comfortable throwing out there for everyone to read.

I resolve to fix this. Just not tonight.

So, this actually happened …

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Everyone knows about the new tattoo by now… it’s nearly a full week old. Healing quite nicely.

And it itches. It itches because it is healing, and that’s all good… but it was itching something fierce this afternoon while I attempted to shampoo my client’s hair.

Picture me rubbing my wrist like it’s on fire…

“It’s so pretty but it itches like FIRE!”

Voice from the other room says,

“That’s what she said.”

I start giggling. I snort. A little.

Client laughs.

Best timing ever.

Best alert tone ever.

My day is made.

I now have two tattoos.

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My first tattoo came to be in my early twenties… one of those things you do when you have more cash in hand than sense in your head. I don’t regret it, but I have often wished I had put a little more thought into the permanent image residing on my lower back.

That’s right, folks, I paid for a tramp stamp. Can you really blame me, though? I mean, it was paid for with money I won at a casino… you have to do something crazy with that kind of money, right?! And, that is another story for another time…

Back to this new tattoo… I had thought a lot about this one. Thought about it for several years only narrowing it down recently. First came the line work. The more I looked at it, the more I loved it. Placement was purposeful, the design means something specific to me.

My tattoo artist and friend had teased me for years about letting him work on me – I finally made it happen.

The first session was interesting. My friend and I have a lot of history together and I knew he was going to be pretty laid-back. I watched him working on adding color on someone else before he got to me – adding pink into a water lily design a man had on the top of his hand. Of course I had to ask the guy the same stupid question everyone does…. “Does it hurt?” But I was surprised at his answer. He gave a quick laugh and said, “Yeah, it hurts, it’s a damn needle. But you gotta think of it this way – it’s a hurt you deal with. Not really pain, just discomfort.” Then he adds that our mutual artist has a very light touch. Smiles all around.

Over my initial nerves, we get down to business. The artist works quickly, precisely. And the guy was right – I wouldn’t describe it as painful at all. I mean, I’ve had some pretty bad sunburns that seemed to hurt worse than this. Then, it happened….

That discomfort melted into something else. As he worked over the lines in the design I was no longer thinking about discomfort or pain but I was starting to feel something altogether different. It was a bit relaxing, like the rest of the world fell away. Therapeutic. And now I completely understand the expression “addicted to ink”.

I admired the line work for a few weeks, considering several ideas for the color. Changed my mind a couple times, but eventually I figured that I wanted all the colors in there – every color on the color wheel. After all, the symbols are create, express, and transform – all integral actions in art. Seemed perfectly fitting.

Our second session was a bit funnier. Instead of getting started right off, my artist friend and I headed out to grab some lunch. It’s Mardi Gras, so he insisted we grub from a local bar – crawfish and a poor boy for him, jambalaya for me. While we waited, I saw a few guys in skirts (okay, they were kilts), ran into a relative, and even got some beads (no boobies flashed, just my winning smile).

We head back with lunch and extras to share with the other guys at the tattoo studio. I feel a little special that they welcomed me into their “office” to share lunch, talk shop, and make crude jokes. The highlight for me was my phone ringing… the ringtone was Metallica’s Unforgiven. One of the artists snapped around and looked, gave me the “man nod” of approval. Yeah, I think that means I’m cool with the gang.

Well, color placement decided and eight colors of ink ready, we were set to go. I felt almost giddy. This session involved filling in the color and he was using a different tattoo needle – essentially several needles. Honestly, this little goodie looked like the tines of two forks on top of each other. Yep, a little nervous over that…

Then he began. Blue. Then purple. Again, light touch and only slightly uncomfortable. And then it happened again… everything just fell away. The background noise of the studio faded, I relaxed into an odd state of zen that I just can’t quite articulate. Before too long, he was finished. It seemed so quick, so fleeting.

Now, I’m not in any hurry to get a full sleeve or anything, but I am certainly surprised that the act of piercing my skin repeatedly to fill it with ink was so damn relaxing. My artist friend teases me a little… he thinks I may have masochistic leanings. I slug him in the arm, then give him a hug. I can think of worse things to be I guess…

And there I go again…

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Often times when I can’t get to sleep, I find myself scrolling though headlines reading all kinds of things.

Jennifer Lawrence says something awesome… again.

Paula Patton and Robin Thicke seperate. Gee, that was a real surprise.

The GOP’s Sham Denunciation of Ted Nugent.

Yeah. All kinds of stuff – I read till my eyes cross and I think I can finally go to sleep. But then I find a headline that sparks something… what is that I feel deep in my chest? Oh, hell no, it’s my OPINION!

So, I decided after reading this article that sparked my opinion that I’d share it (gasp) on Facebook. If nothing else, it’s going to start a shit storm in the morning. Really, my first goal was to inspire some intelligent conversation about the article I shared, but I know how this is going down. Same way it always does on Facebook. I’m gonna piss a lot of people off sharing my opinion.

So, here’s to opinions… and perhaps a fair night’s sleep dreaming of ways to tell people how I refuse to apologize for having independent thoughts and opinions.

UPDATED:

Wow. Boy, was I ever surprised this morning… in the best way. Sharing that article actually DID inspire intelligent conversation, several of my friends shared with me how they are introducing religion to their children. It was refreshing. Amazing. And a welcome change.

It sure is great to see.

Here kitty, kitty.

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I think it’s our side of town’s recycling pick-up… head out the door with a Kohl’s bag packed full.

Out the door and around the corner of the house. Something caught my eye… Ooooh! Here kitty, kitty…. one of a few strays I’ve been seeing off and on from behind the barn must have wandered out.

In with the recycling, drop the bin lid. Oh shit.

That kitty’s tail is straight up. Oh shit.

That’s not a cat.

 

Well, I was going to shower anyway.

And this is why I really need to wear my glasses at night.

 

Morning, you can kiss my booty.

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It is a well known fact that I am not a morning person. In fact, it is so well known that when I offer a morning appointment to my hair clients they often ask, “are you SURE, honey?” I freely admit my aversions to early AM… but I can say that I really rock 11am – 2pm.

This particular morning found me getting up on the wrong side of the bed, both figuratively and literally. Grumbling, I made my way downstairs to get the mini ready for school. As fate would have it, my husband has the week off due to the extreme weather and was trying to be helpful getting both his girls on the road. What did I greet that poor man with? A scowl, maybe a growl, as I stomped downstairs desperately seeking my much loved kitchen gadget, my french press coffee maker. Still growling under my breath, I realize I am even too grouchy to make any coffee… morning, you’re a hag.

Fortunately for all those who had to be around me, after dropping the mini off at preschool I made my way to get my morning jolt a.k.a. attitude adjustment. And, that’s when the day started to turn around… dramatically.

While having a lazy breakfast at the local Denny’s, I ran into a high school classmate I hadn’t seen in several years. The most wonderful thing about running into a friend like that is despite the length of time we’d not seen each other, we always pick right back up as if we’d seen one another yesterday. It certainly didn’t hurt me that this friend told me I looked fantastic (the scowl was fading). This friend has always been great at making me feel good about being me… and totally not in a creepy way. Well, most of the time.

And the day just kept getting better… I made a stop on my way to work for flowers. I used to go once a week to get my floral fix – something I did in lieu of smoking cigarettes. If you’ve been around me the past few months, you’d already know I continue to struggle with giving those little bastards up. As always, the manager of the flower shop set me up with a gorgeous bundle of fresh cut beauty. But, as I waited, they got a FedEx delivery… and as fate would have it, that delivery man was also a long-missed friend I hadn’t seen in years! I got a bear hug, caught up a bit, and another compliment. Really, these guys in my life sure know how to make a girl feel pretty. I think I’ll declare FedEx as my preferred shipper now…

So, morning can kiss my booty but mid afternoon gets an enthusiastic high-five.