Vulnerable…

This was the word that popped into my head today when I was walking. I’m not feeling weak or fragile, as I had mislabelled myself, but rather “vulnerable”.

vul·ner·a·ble  ˈvəln(ə)rəbəl/
adjective: vulnerable
-susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.
synonyms: helpless, defenseless, powerless, impotent, weak, susceptible
    “he was scared and vulnerable”
-(of a person) in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect.

I’m finding my universe ironically cruel at the moment. I struggled so hard to pull myself off the eating disorder ledge this spring, not to mention a bout of deep depression. I cleaned up my diet, I upped my exercise. I was feeling really, REALLY good. And positive. And motivated.

Cut to my job slowly eroding underneath me, and my cash-flow all but disappearing, leaving me frustrated, and demotivated, and sadly with no choice but to essentially fall back into eating disorder mode. On the plus side, I’m really good at it. Really good at eating just enough to keep from passing out. Really good at staving off the hunger pangs. Or at least I thought I was…

I realized why I was so good at having an eating disorder all those years. I chose the one that allowed me to control my weight without actually starving. Yes, I “starved” myself with restricted eating, but there was always the payoff binge.  And I could still eat good food, just not a lot of it.

But when it is forced upon you, due to lack of funds, your choices become limited to whatever cash you have at hand, and whatever you can get for it. Let me tell you. Cash doesn’t go very far these days. And with a $50 bill to get me to the end of the month… well, you get the picture. But, I did find I had some money on my reloadable Visa card, eureka! $20 spare dollars! So off to the grocery store I went.

$20 bought me a dozen organic free range eggs, a box of organic spinach, 3 organic mushrooms, a jar of organic salsa and a pack of always maxi pads. (insult to injury is that I wasted money on pads for a period that hasn’t come because I am malnourished and stressed!)
Why organic?! you’re asking incredulously… well, if my only source of nutrients is going to come from these items, they better have some actual nutritional value. I learned the previous week that while 2 family size bags of potato chips for $5 might be a deal, when it is your sole food choice for dinner for a week, you don’t accomplish much.

So with this “windfall” of groceries my week looked like this:

Fall asleep by 3:30am if I’m lucky, get up at 11am…
Throw a handful of spinach into the blender with a scoop of protein powder (no bananas, they are a luxury item)
Choke down the chalky, flavourless green liquid. Pretend to be satiated.

Work for an hour on the job I do have. (that’s about all the billable hours I can eek out, as they have pretty much outsourced everything I do, and aren’t answering my emails)

Switch from watching The Chew at 1pm to watching The Social, as watching food being cooked physically hurts.

Spend the afternoon on job search portals, bookmarking jobs, getting  frustrated, feeling bad about myself, ending with a panic attack.

Stave off urge to go “run it off” as I will surely pass out about a block away due to lack of fuel in my system.

Wait as long as I can to make dinner (which is actually breakfast and lunch too) Saute half of one of my large mushrooms in the tiniest dab of butter (I had about an 8th of a stick left in my fridge to last all week) In another pan, lightly warm 2 fistfuls of spinach (but don’t cook too much, lest it disappear and provide ZERO satiation) Scramble 2 eggs (resist urge to add 3rd egg) with the mushroom, fold in some salsa and hot sauce. Sprinkle spinach with hemp hearts (cause It feels healthier and will add texture) Drink a large glass of water while this is happening, so dinner will feel like much more than it is.

Watch “prime time” tv on one of the three channels I get over the air,  hoping for something new and distracting.

Around 10pm, consider breaking my last $50 bill to go get something sweet from the grocery store. This would require getting dressed and mingling with humans. I decide it’s not worth it. I find a container with a bunch of Keg Mints. I eat one, slowly. It is ecstasy. But it reminds me of being at the Keg, and eating a beautiful meal, with a glass of red wine…

Decide I should write. Manage to jot down a bunch of article/essay ideas… try to expound on them… discover brain is like sillyputty and this effort is futile.

Watch the news. Get excited about all of the great things coming up and happening in my city. Realize I won’t be able to participate in or enjoy any of them.

Do some more job searching (cause hey, what else does one do at 1am?) realize nothing new has been posted.

Boot up Pinterest. Like and pin awesome motivational sayings, funny/offensive comics, and recipes for an hour. Realize this is a useless task.
Shut down computer and go to bed.

Lay in bed and play solitaire on my iphone until I nod off and hit myself in the face. Fall asleep by 3:30am…

Wake up after a night of restless sleep and weird dreams.

Start all over again.

I repeat this day, verbatim, all week.

Today is now Saturday. I woke up at 8am. This made me angry.
Why? Because I was starving hungry. Which didn’t make sense to me as I had discovered I had a package of gluten-free pancake mix last night, and made myself pancakes at 10:30pm cause I was really hungry, and knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. So really, I SHOULDN’T have been hungry when I woke up. But there I was, STARVING, stomach angrily growling, and I knew if I started to fuel myself so early, the day would be unbearable.
Also, since I don’t have any money to do … well… anything, that just meant more time to fill.

So I got up and peed and fed Wally, then went back to bed.

I checked my usual social media sites on my phone, read through my emails, mostly subscriptions (I rarely get one from an actual human these days), played with Wally for a bit, then forced myself to fall asleep. I literally curled up in the fetal position and pulled the covers over my head to block out the beautiful sunny day… sad really.

I woke up at noon… not quite as hungry. My plan had worked!

I decided since I hadn’t left my apartment since Tuesday night, I should probably at least go for a walk and absorb some Vitamin D and fresh air.

I got dressed, packed my laptop in my messenger bag, along with my camera, choked down my chalky protein shake. (todays had a scoop of hemp hearts and a spoonful of coconut oil… still tasted like shit, but it’s now 5pm and I’m not hungry, so I guess it’s working)

I decided instead of just meandering around my neighbourhood, that I would walk downtown and take pictures of the rainbow flags emblazoned on the windows, and flying from all the flag poles for World Pride, hoping that maybe there will be a free concert of some sort at Dundas square or City Hall (it’s Jazz fest this week along with World Pride)

I made it as far as Yonge/Bloor before I ran out of steam and felt overheated and weak, so I decided to stop for a coffee at Starbucks. (before you judge, I still had some cash on my card, so I treated myself. And if you drink it there, you can get a refill, so I bought the small one, and refilled, saving a little money in the transaction) Plus, I had been composing this in my head while walking, and figured the sooner I wrote it all down, the more likely it was that I would actually do it.

There is something about flopping into an oversized leather chair in a coffee shop with random music playing, surrounded by strangers, that is conducive to writing for me. It’s my muse if you will.

Now why would I write this tale of woe down you ask? What could it possibly serve to my readers? Well, truthfully it’s not for you. (though if you too are going through something similar, and find yourself relating to it and grateful to not be alone in your struggle, then woohoo! Welcome to the “What the fuck is going on with my life right now!?” club!)

No, I wrote this for me.
I wrote it not out of pity or to feel sorry for myself, but rather as a point of reference so that in a week or a month or a year from now, when I’m struggling again (god forbid) and I’m feeling weak and like I can’t do it, I can look back on this post and realize how fucking strong and resilient I actually am, and how even at my most vulnerable I managed to somehow put on some clothes, leave my apartment and face the world, with a smile and hope for tomorrow.

Footnote: The universe saw fit to remind me just now that it could always be worse.

I could be the fellow who just plonked down beside me. He was in earlier. I noticed him because he came in, went to the counter, came back with nothing, sat and fidgeted for a while, then left. He came back, this time, with leaves all over the back of his t-shirt. (clearly he had a nap somewhere in nature) He went towards the counter, but return towards the front of the store too quickly to have done a transaction. He plonked into the chair next to me, where I noticed he was concealing a sandwich under his newspaper. Clearly he had lifted it. He “read” his section of newspaper, while discreetly eating half of his sandwich. He is now napping. He reeks of alcohol. My instinct is to pay for his sandwich in a means of paying it forward. Of course I can’t do this today,  but I have done it many times in the past however. Perhaps that was enough for the universe to afford me to still have a roof over my head, and enough money that I’m not resorting to stealing my meals.

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