So I’m sitting here waiting to get a call back from the CRNP from my cardiologist’s office. I turned in my halter monitor and it was received by the company on April 29th. Then I heard nothing.
And still nothing.
And then some more nothing.
Yesterday I got annoyed (the app said my doctor’s office should have gotten the report 2-3 days after my halter monitor arrived to the company on April 29th. Yesterday was May 11th. So I left a message last night in my portal for the CRNP, asking her what had happened to my halter monitor test…and what were the results.
Someone called my cell phone at about 1pm, but the caller ID said nothing so I didn’t answer. I rarely give out my cell number and I don’t answer unknown calls because they are usually crap. Unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be crap, it turned out to be the CRNP with my test results. Her voicemail left me with more questions than answers, so I called her back but she was on another call.
So now I wait.
The voicemail said the halter monitor caught “episodes” of Supraventricular tachycardia. Defined as heart rate above 100bpm at rest. Hub has had unresolvable episodes of SVTs, for which he had to get very bad medication either in an ambulance or at the hospital to resolve his SVTs. I’m assuming since my heart rate isn’t high (based on my cheap watch) on a regular basis, my SVTs resolve fairly quickly. SVTs are generally benign (just like PVCs – premature VENTRICULAR contractions) but can rarely be caused by other heart issues and/or some types of medications and also thyroid issues. I have been tested for thyroid problems my whole life because I’m fat. It always comes back normal, but doctors can’t seem to accept that I’m just fat and not thyroid-ish.
So I don’t know how many episodes over the three day test, and I don’t know how long each episode was. I assume they self-resolved, but…? The CNRP suggested looking into beta blockers, while also noting I am already ON a beta blocker (for migraines). She asked me to call back so we can discuss. I had 3-4 days of what I thought was PVCs…some days they seemed to be on and off repeatedly, some of the days there was one or two episodes over the whole day. Since that “week” of weirdness, I have felt nothing in the way of what I thought was PVC episodes.
I’m hoping the CRNP will suggest I go on as I am and just keep track of what’s happening. I don’t want to mess with my migraine meds while they are still working for me. If the SVTs are benign and I don’t need to worry about them, I’d like to stay as-is. If they recommend I do something, I will consider it. I have an echocardiogram scheduled in a couple of weeks, so maybe they will wait to see if that shows anything concerning before considering a medication change. I will finish this blog after I’ve spoken to her…
ETA: and she never called me back. Helpful…not. I used to love this cardiologist, but his office and CNRP are not high on my list. Arg.
I’m writing this blog a few days before shot #2 of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. By the time this posts, I should not only be done with the actual ouchie (the shot doesn’t actually hurt, but the term for it is too cute to not use), but I should also be done with any side effects or reactions.
Hub got his 2nd Moderna shot yesterday at lunchtime. A few hours later he had a small headache that he staved off with Advil. As the rest of the day wore on, he started getting body aches, which he also was able to manage with Advil. Before bed he took an Advil for the aches, and then again this morning for the same. His arm hurts a lot, but that also happened the first time for him. I hope the aches go away soon…I know people say the side effects don’t actually last too long, so we’ll see.
At the moment, I’m holed up in our “media room” which has no media but is an actual “room”. (ha ha). We expected to make it a full-on media room when we built the house…it has yet to come to pass. It’s mostly a room where the dogs sleep and we have a couple of recliners and old couches. We bought the recliners in expectation of the media room, but they just sit in here empty except when Hub has a work meeting and doesn’t feel like going upstairs to his office. So I’m in here, sitting in a recliner I HATE (it’s fake leather and is electric) hiding from our cleaning people. We stopped using them at the height of the pandemic and went about six months without them. It was fine, I’ve been feeling better and so keeping the house relatively clean wasn’t too bad. But man, we missed their deep clean of our bathrooms and our kitchen…and all the dog drool on the tile floors. When we felt comfortable enough, we started back on a regular schedule (they come every three weeks to do their excellent cleaning, and we keep the house in between) because it’s something we can afford to pay someone else to deal with. I don’t have to hurt myself cleaning the bathrooms or kitchen when they need scrubbing, Hub doesn’t have yet another chore on his list, and we are contributing to a small business and to keeping their employees paid. I know it sounds like a weird thing to think of, but we are able to afford to pay them (they are actually VERY reasonable with their rates) and we are putting money back into our community. I’m grateful to be able to do so.
However, since the pandemic, they have new restrictions in place to keep their staff healthy and to keep us healthy. We are not allowed to be in the same space as them, and they wear booties and gloves and facemasks to clean. Since this room is the easiest to close off and easy to keep clean, this is where I hide while they are working. We have changed out this room for another so we didn’t have to pay them any less and we still get our full clean. Generally we don’t have them clean the whole house because there are some rooms that really get no use. Instead of cleaning this room they have been alternating cleaning two of the upstairs bathrooms. We have a hall bath that Hub uses occasionally when he’s in his office (it’s next door), and we also have a bathroom in the guest bedroom–which rarely gets used. However we have used it to bathe the dogs on occasion. Why am I telling you all this? NO CLUE.
Back to my post…so this morning as we’re preparing for the cleaning people to come (picking up stuff sitting around so they don’t have to move our junk around), I asked Hub if he thought one day soon we wouldn’t have to hide while they are cleaning (he goes in the basement with the dogs). I said in 2 weeks he and I would be fully vaccinated, but the owner of the cleaning company has not told us if her staff is fully vaccinated. Don’t you think that would be a big announcement for her to make? She has not said anything yet, so I’m assuming they are not quite all fully vaccinated. I mean, I’m fine to hang out in here while they are cleaning, but at some point I’m hoping to feel more normal and be able to move about the house while they are here.
I had lots of nerves before the first shot. I expect I will also have lots of nerves before the second, because this is the one with after-effects. The first one I was worried about a reaction to the shot…this one I am worrying about how bad the side effects will be. Lots of people in my migraine support group had bad migraine attacks and some had vertigo attacks. I am prone to both, so feeling distressed that I might have to deal with either or both. Of course lots of people in the support group also had light, few, or no side effects at all. I keep telling myself that I will manage whatever it is, and hopefully it will be short-lived, but…ugh. I just want it to be over with so I don’t have to keep thinking about it.
SOON! Hope you are on your way to be vaccinated as well.
There are many times when I am very happy that I have an anonymous blog. It’s not that I want to say bad things about other people, it’s that I want to be able to share very personal things when I need to. It often helps me to write things out, and who knows maybe someone else is dealing with something similar…it helps to know you’re not alone.
I’ve been learning to meditate on my younger self. I have few memories of my youth–pre- middle school–and no clue why. I have memories that have been given to me by others, but first-hand in-person memories are few and far between. When my therapist first heard me say this, we have a very long discussion about trauma…she was concerned I had some past trauma that was being blocked. But we were never able to suss it out, and after several different attempts she felt confident that there was no hidden major trauma lurking in my younger years. It’s likely I had “mini” traumas that I had going along (like being bullied in school) that my mind decided wasn’t important for my adult living. But losing those “mini” trauma memories also meant losing a lot of my formative growing up years/lessons. My therapist (“T”) has been using forms of meditation to connect with her own younger selves to work on her own issues, and she has encouraged me to try to do the same. Maybe my younger me can help me deal with some of my present issues.
I have not had much success “speaking” to my younger self. For many years of my therapy I kind of put this idea aside as too “woo-woo” for me. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. My fallback is writing, but even writing didn’t seem to work for me. I have, however, been able to use writing more recently to address some of my on-going issues. I’ll share that another time.
So I started meditating when I’ve been ready to go to sleep. And as I meditated, I’ve tried to build my “safe place” in my younger years, which was my bedroom. I don’t “picture” things the way other people do, but I can bring up the memory of my childhood bedroom. I build the room in my head, writing up the details of the small and very pink space. Then I build a picture of what I looked like at younger ages, and I just start thinking about questions I have about my youth. And as I meditate, I find answers coming to me as if I am actually having a conversation with that young person. I’ve done this a couple of times and I didn’t always get useful/helpful responses.
That younger version of me seemed sullen and uninterested in sharing, but one of the times it seemed like she was telling me that it was more that she more feeling sad and lonely. I spent a lot of my time alone as a child, and my feeling about it was because I didn’t really want to be with other people. But when I asked her why she felt lonely, she said she didn’t want to be alone. So I asked why she didn’t try to be with other people–siblings, friends, cousins–and she said she was afraid to be rejected, so in order to not be hurt by rejection, she chose to be alone. It was easier to reject others before they could reject her.
It was so sad. I always felt like I just hated to be with people. I was incredibly shy as a child, and I figured that the shyness made everything painful and therefore I was really just born an introvert. I still believe I am an introvert–it’s so ingrained in me–and I still am shy and don’t like talking with strangers or being in front of a group. But I also see that I do try to push people away before they can hurt me or push me away themselves. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life being hurt by others, just reinforcing the desire to keep others at a distance. People who I love have abandoned me over and over again throughout my life, why then would I trust anyone outside my “love” circle to not abandon or reject me?
Two nights ago, I was having an especially bad night. Every time I managed to fall asleep, I had a terrible nightmare. I woke up at one point, feeling so terrorized that I actually woke Hub and asked him if HE was ok. He was in my nightmare and I thought someone was physically attacking us in our bed. He said he was okay and what was going on? I told him that it was just nightmare after nightmare, every time I closed my eyes. He asked if it would help if he held me for a while–which was very sweet–and the first thing that came into my head was that I didn’t want to be held if he was just going to end up falling asleep and leaving me alone…again. It was 4:30 in the morning, I had woken him from a dead sleep, and I was only thinking about how I would feel rejected and abandoned if he fell asleep while trying to make me feel better by holding me.
On one hand…this is kind of an issue with him. If we’re not talking (and even sometimes if we are) or doing other things while holding each other in bed, he falls asleep. If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed he had narcolepsy. He doesn’t, he’s been checked. But I hate when he wants to cuddle and then just…falls asleep. I end up feeling lonely and rejected and like I wasn’t worth his time. So I rejected him before he could potentially (based on past experiences) abandon and therefore reject me.
I was eternally polite when I said “no, but thank you for offering” at 4:30 in the morning. And then I spent the next hour thinking about how I had just performed that “reject them before they reject me” play. I’m not even sure he remembers having the interaction that night…he didn’t bring it up and neither have I.
It’s a conversation I intend to have, because I do think it explains some of my actions a little better. And I intend to work on not doing that, because I don’t want to spend my life running from things because I might be rejected…for whatever the reason.
I have also tried meditating again to contact my younger self. I haven’t had too much success recently, but I will keep trying. Just in case I have something important to learn from me.
About two years ago, my neurologist added propranolol (a beta blocker for lowering blood pressure) to my cocktail for my migraine attacks. It was also added because the original medication I was on (nortriptyline) was causing my heart rate to go up a bit at rest. The propranolol has brought down my heart rate, regulated my blood pressure (which wasn’t terribly high, but was on the top end of normal), and helped my migraine attacks…and it does give me some feeling of calm for my anxiety, since it lowers my heart rate. I used to be in the 80s at rest, I’m now in the low 60s at rest.
An incidental result of being on the propranolol? My PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) all but disappeared. For almost the full two years, I would maybe get a PVC here or there, in times of stress or anxiety. Prior to the propranolol, they would be kind of regular…I had forgotten what it felt like to have them happen multiple times in a day. Multiple times in an hour. Multiple times within a few minutes. It’s irritating, anxiety-inducing, and it makes me lose my breath and cough so my throat is always irritated.
Saturday Hub and I went to do some trail hiking so we could go back to the rapids we visited over our anniversary. It was overcast, barely 60 degrees, and very comfortable. We did our hike, we hung out, walked a bit to some areas we hadn’t seen before, then made our way back to our car. Then we ran some errands and went home. I knew I was a bit dehydrated, but otherwise I actually felt fine. Even my legs were okay, which was surprising considering the hills we were taking on the trail. Sunday I also felt okay, although now I could feel the muscles in my calves kind of complaining. We ran a few more errands in the morning, but then we were hanging out and resting most of the day.
Later in the evening, after dinner, I was crocheting a blanket I’m making for a family member. I was in bed with the blanket spread out (it’s huge, y’all), concentrating on a piece of the pattern, and …flubba-pause-dubba.
Back to the pattern, counting to make sure I’m doing the right stitch in the right order. More PVCs come on, like every 30 seconds or so. I’m irritated at the interruption, but not yet anxious about it. It’s just a couple…only been a few minutes. It’ll probably go away.
Nope. There they are again. Multiple times in a minute, but not technically one right after another. Feels like my heart is skipping every other beat or so. Ugh. Not anxious yet, but starting to wonder why this popped up out of the blue. It’s been so long, why is it happening now? Am I dehydrated from the hike the previous day? They continue and I get nervous. It’s Sunday night, there’s no one to call, and really no reason as I KNOW that my PVCs are benign. I lived with them for many many years, but I had become accustomed to NOT having them. I’d forgotten what it really felt like to live with them. I start wondering if I can get my propranolol increased to make them go away again.
I warn my husband what’s happening, then tell him I’m going to take a klonopin so that I can try to sleep. I’m hoping it knocks me out enough to not feel the PVCs. Fortunately, it actually works.
Monday morning, the PVCs are going as soon as I wake up. Same as the night before…multiple in a minute. I cough and get up to start my day. Within an hour I’m mildly anxious and very irritated, so I call my cardiologist’s office to make an appointment. I am hoping to talk him into increasing my propranolol. I have enjoyed living my life without the PVCs. I’m expecting to wait a week or two to get an appointment, but they can see me the next day. I ask Hub to change his work schedule so he can drive me and he readily agrees. He’s a good man.
Monday I have the PVCs all morning. I take my propranolol with lunch and…the PVCs go away. I am drinking water as much as possible, in case it’s dehydration causing the PVCs. I hate drinking a lot of water, it makes my stomach hurt, but if it makes the flubba-dubba’s go away, I’ll take the stomach discomfort. But shortly before dinner the PVCs come back. The propranolol didn’t really help and neither did the extra water. Nuts.
My appointment was first thing this morning, and in the end I didn’t even get to see the cardiologist. I really like him, but apparently he was overbooked. His Physician’s Assistant came in to see me after the nurse did my routine EKG. She explained he was still in with another patient and if she could just get started, we could move the appointment along. I agreed and we talked about what was happening. She kept calling the PVCs “palpitations”, as if they might be something OTHER than PVCs. I told her I’d had them for years, the cardiologist knew about it (and saw them on a holter monitor I’d worn for 24 hours a few years ago), and they’d gone away with my propranolol. She did her exam, then told my EKG was the same “kind of off” waves that I’d had in previous EKGs. No change, good news, did I really need to see the cardiologist? I said no, but I was hoping to figure out how to make these PVCs go away again, as they really interrupt my daily living. Of course, I hadn’t had a PVC yet that morning, but…
So she set me up with another heart monitor, but these new fangled devices are small, adhere right to your chest, and don’t have any wires. After the first 24 hours you can even shower with them. The old ones connected with multiple wires and you had to haul a big pack around with you. The monitor is on as we speak, for three days, and she ordered blood work and an echocardiogram. I did the blood work before I left the building (the labcorp we use regularly is right down the hall), scheduled my echo for the end of MAY (first opening–YEESH), and headed home with my fancy contraption.
So far today (it’s nearing dinner time IRL), not one single solitary damn PVC. I’m supposed to push a button on the machine when I get a PVC and then record it in an app. NOT ONE PVC ALL DAY. I mean, yeah, that’s good news. But the doctor’s going to think I’m a hypochondriac. sigh
Here’s the old style:
So here I am, all bionic and stuff, just waiting for the PVCs. Hanging out here, not flubba-skip-dubba’ing. Hopefully I can sleep okay with it…and it doesn’t try to come off. The PA wanted to do a week and I had made a noise (cuz I was picturing the old unit), but she settled with three days. When I’m done, I just put the whole thing into a pre-paid box and ship it off to the manufacturer. They print out reports and send them back to my doctor for review.
Yep, you read that right. I got my first shot on the 4th of April. I accidentally found appointments available online and I booked one before I could think too much about it (Hub already had his first shot by then). Of course as soon as I booked it (and it was confirmed along with the 2nd appointment 4 weeks out–which I will talk about further into the post), I started getting anxious. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had this kind of anxiety…I’ve been doing so much better so the automatic anxiety felt a bit unfamiliar. I texted my doctor cousin (she’s an allergist and she also has some mild anxiety issues surrounding her own health so she gets me) and told her I was kind of freaking out about having a reaction to the shot. This beautiful woman started “texting” me down off the proverbial ledge. She was explaining about the research on reactions to the shots (Moderna and Pfizer specifically) and said most of the severe reactions were happening with people who have issues with PEG (Polyethylene glycol, which is what Miralax is). I take Miralax regularly for my stomach issues, so she said if I was tolerating that (especially on a regular basis!) than I should not have any severe reactions to the shot. Along the way she also told me that even with severe allergies, when they do a challenge to the allergy they keep people under supervision for an hour. She suggested I stay at the pharmacy for a minimum of half an hour and a maximum of 60 minutes. I love that woman.
So came the day (I booked 2 days in advance, so I didn’t have to wait long) and Hub drove me to the pharmacy about 20 minutes away. I went inside, checked in, then stood away from all the other people waiting (physical distance!). As it turns out, I had about a 20 minute wait past my appointment time. Standing there, I was able to hear other people checking in for their shots and at least one other person had the exact same time for their appointment as mine. Weird, but okay. The pharmacist called me in, asked if I wanted left or right arm, then offered to “count down from three” for the shot. I said I didn’t think I needed that because my anxiety was more about an allergic reaction than the actual shot. He frowned and asked if I had had severe reactions to vaccines before and I said no. I said it was just a kind of phobia, so he nodded and said “hang around after your shot for at least 20 minutes, then you should be good to go.” He was very nice, did the shot (didn’t feel a damn thing) and sent me out to the waiting area.
We stayed for about 20 minutes. I was nervous and my pulse was up, but I didn’t feel any problems. Normally I would be near to hyperventilating with fear so at least I know I was managing my anxiety okay. I texted with my doctor cousin and my brother (who was scheduled for 2 days later at the same location) and kept a conversation going with Hub. Then we picked up a bottle of water (for me) and 3 Reese’s peanut butter eggs (for Hub) and we left. I was okay for most of the afternoon and evening but by bedtime I was WIPED OUT. I usually turn everything off around 11pm, but this time I was lights out around 9. I did take 2 tylenol in anticipation of arm pain overnight, but it didn’t help…I felt the mild bruising every time I woke up.
I slept really crappy (not new for me) and when I woke up the next morning I knew my arm hurt like a mo’fo’. I couldn’t lift it past my shoulder height and it felt very badly bruised anytime I moved or used it for anything. It was manageable if I didn’t use that arm. It’s the 6th today and when I woke up this morning my arm felt fine. I had really no other issues except fatigue (which is lingering today), so I call that an easy go.
When I booked my first appointment, the pharmacy system automatically set up my second appointment for 4 weeks out. I assumed by that I was getting the Moderna shot (as has most of my family) since Moderna is 4 weeks out and Pfizer is 3 weeks out. When I got to the pharmacy, there were signs on their pharmacy window area saying Pfizer. When I checked in I mentioned to the clerk that I thought it was Moderna because of the time-frame for the second shot. She said yeah, they were getting that misunderstanding a lot because they are scheduling the Pfizer for 4 weeks out and I said “that’s no right” and she told me that technically you can get the second shot anytime between 3-6 weeks and it has the same effectiveness. Um, ok.
If you’ve been watching or reading the news, you might have already realized I went to a Walgreen’s to get my shot. They have been reported repeatedly to the CDC as not scheduling their Pfizer shots appropriately. Walgreen’s says they will fix that in their system “sometime this week”, but no help for those of us already scheduled. I called Walgreen’s this morning and after getting a message saying their COVID line is busy, they disconnected the call. WTF. So I tried to go in via chat on their website…and after a 30 minute wait the representative offered me appointments 2 days after my current 2nd shot appointment. Double WTF. I told them I wanted my shot 3 weeks out just as the CDC has instructed and they said “can’t help you, this is all we have”. So I said I would be reporting them to the CDC and they said “thank you! have a nice day” and disconnected me.
I see all the guidance that says it’s fine to get the Pfizer 4 weeks out instead of 3 weeks out, but I want it over with. And I want what the studies …studied! I will try again to reschedule in a few days, and then probably again in a few days even though it probably won’t help. We’ll see.
I know the second shot is the whopper, so I’m going to expect to feel poorly and be ready to manage it.
My Dad is fully vaccinated, Hub is 1/2 way, B1 is 1/2 way, and now I’m 1/2 way! B3 and his fiancee will be 1/2 way on Thursday (also Moderna). I’m the only one getting Pfizer.
Recently I wrote a post on my non-anonymous facebook page about seeking to appreciate my body and how it has held and carried me for my whole life. I posed the question to others about when was the last time they thought or spoke harshly about their body…and the last time they said or thought something positive about their body. In a surprise response, one of my younger cousins told me that she had been unhappy with her body since the birth of her last child. I could understand even without being a mother, and I also felt sad for this bright and beautiful woman.
My cousin is a brilliant and compassionate doctor, mother, spouse, child, and cousin. I’m sure she is also an amazing friend. Growing up I remember her always being petite and china-doll like (with amazing curly hair!). I was always the giant overweight kid and I hated standing next to her…I felt even bigger and clumsier. As we both grew up, she matured into a lovely and very slender young woman…and she proved just how bright she is. Her path to being a doctor was a long one–as is the way–and her persistence and drive was clear. I admire the hell out of her and find myself lucky to count her as family. She has helped me and my immediate family many times during medical crises and issues. She always makes herself available to support and counsel and advise us, even though she is not technically a doctor to any of us.
I have seen over the years how she has changed physically–as we all have–and what I have seen is a tall, beautifully proportionate and curvy woman. To my mind, she is not in any way overweight. Period.
In response to her comment on my post, I told her I understood her feelings. I told her I loved her and that I thought she was amazing and beautiful. I know from my own experiences that hearing that from someone else isn’t the same as feeling that way about myself.
Over the weekend we had a family zoom to catch up with our families. Parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, kids of cousins, nieces and nephews…etc. Aged from 79 to newborn. As we were catching up, I saw my cousin attending to her daughter and answering a questions about COVID, and I thought to myself, “Goodness, she looks so beautiful tonight!” I texted her privately and said as much, that in addition to her big beautiful brain she looked so lovely. She had straightened her hair and was wearing a very flattering outfit. I wanted her to know what I thought. I watched her respond to the buzz on her phone and read my text. She made a little face and responded that her daughter had wanted them to have matching “straight” hair for the day, and I told her like mother like daughter, they both looked very pretty.
Prior to COVID, I would be out and about and I tried to offer random acts of kindness by speaking personally to people I came across. I love those shoes! Your nails are so cute! That coat is awesome! Your hair is so pretty! It’s kind of amazing how you can affect someone’s day–even someone you don’t know–with a small compliment.
We have less contact with people these days but the same applies, even over zoom or teams or google meet…if you see something, say something. Reach out, make a connection with a human being. Offer kindness when you are able.
I’m sure I’m not the only one, but the tragedy at the grocery store in Colorado is weighing on me. I go nowhere but the grocery store these days–thanks COVID–and I never would have considered that a shooting could happen at a grocery store. I know it sounds ridiculous, but who would think that someone would walk into a grocery store with a gun, let alone actually use it.
It’s beyond my comprehension. I was watching a news channel when the information starting coming in, so I was seeing the information coming out as it happened. It was overwhelming seeing it, overwhelming watch it, and so incredibly disappointing to know that our congress has done nothing to fix our gun issues. Disappointing to know everyone would be yakking about this but doing nothing. We are just at a wall with our government.
I have started this post three or four times, and yet I can’t put down in words what I want to say.
I’m going to take a break from posting. I need to figure out where I am and how I’m doing. There’s just too much for me to try to absorb and still post the mush in my brain.
Does this sound familiar to you? As a kid we were always encouraged to go greet adults (not even just relatives) with hugs and kisses. It was like we were offending them if we didn’t greet close friends and family with exuberant hugs and kisses.
I’ve been slowly making my way through “Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger” by Soraya Chemaly. There are a number of parts of the book that have changed the way I think, and changed the way I look at things that have happened in my life. Those moments when you feel something isn’t quite right. As a kid we can’t be expected to understand these feelings, we should be able to trust the adults in our life to watch out for us. I’m not sure that the adults in my life were neglecting me or not watching out for me, I just think it was a different time and we weren’t as aware of the things that can affect a child and/or affect their future life.
I had an uncle–who has since passed over 10 years ago–who always hugged me hard and kissed me on the lips. He wore smelly cologne and I always felt overwhelmed by him and his affection. I don’t have any concerns that he was looking to do anything inappropriate, he was just an old generation that felt that children should show their respect and affection with physical greetings. Today during my therapy I realized out loud that this person (who was married into my family) had left me feeling some distaste of big hugs and being smothered with affection. I often tell my husband that I feel overwhelmed by his affection (also a big man, but in a different way) and now I wonder if this is a result of my relationship with my uncle.
I have several nieces and nephews between Hub’s family and my own. Although I will hug my mother-in-law, I never require or ask that the kids hug me or kiss me hello, or hug or kiss me goodbye. I never require or ask that of any of the children in our families. I always tell the parents not to force their kids to greet me in any way other than what is comfortable for the kids. I have been more than adamant about this with B3 and his daughter, not even 18 months old. I am so close with B3 that I feel so strongly about supporting her and helping her learn to be better than I was. And I feel strongly about wanting more for her than I had. Reading “Rage Becomes Her” has really made me understand that we as a society ask for things from children that we should not. Oftentimes these things are asked disproportionately of girls because girls should be kind and polite and sweet and smile for you and please you and never speak up and never be angry because angry is ugly and no one will want you if you’re ugly. I still find myself falling almost automatically into these categories to the detriment of my mental health.
I mentioned in a previous post that my father made fun of me while I was there helping him and the visiting nurse was checking him over. I nearly left the room, but stopped myself. I was there for a reason and I was staying to make sure he was taken care of. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t speak up. I sat there like a polite young woman, taking notes and seeing to my father’s post-surgery needs. Inside I was angry, but like millions of other girls, I was taught that angry is ugly and I don’t want to be ugly and I don’t want to NOT be wanted. I stifled my anger and did my duty, and only later did I allow myself to feel the anger. Later, when I was alone, when I could be as angry and as ugly as I wanted.
When I was talking about this with my therapist today, she asked me to do a body check (bio-location) when I was thinking about that moment…when my father made fun of me. Immediately I recognized the tightness in my throat. I didn’t speak up for myself. What else, she asked me.My shoulders and my neck, they felt hard as a rock. Tense, taut, like I was pulling a cart behind me with a yoke over my shoulders, lugging the feelings of shame and anger and unfulfilled confrontation. I have been learning to stand up for myself with my brothers and with my husband, and I thought I had been doing the same with my father. I have done it here and there, but still there are times I let myself down and allow him to make me feel small again. I feel like that little girl who never got what she needed from her father. I feel small and insignificant. I hate it.
The good news is, I’m getting better at telling him that what he has done or said is not okay with me. This is hard…T says there are tentacles in this relationship that reach back through my whole life. Following and releasing those tentacles take patience, work, and persistence. I can see and celebrate the times I untangle those tentacles…and I can give myself some compassion for those times that I don’t stand up the way I want to. Sadly, there will be more times for me to do this better…and there is always the comprehension that there won’t always be times to do it better.