Archive for June, 2010

I’ve been very emotional for over a week now, while also battling a roiling black cloud of depression that is sucking every erg of life out of me. Yes, being a female heading into the Crone stage of life already makes me emotional, and I am a diagnosed depressive, so you’re probably wondering how this last week has been any different than usual. Well, crying when people win on a game show is a bit more than I usually do. And wishing there was room under the bed for me to curl up next to the hiding cat doesn’t generally happen, either. Though I’ve often thought he had a good idea.

No, the truth of the matter is that I’m in a particularly vicious down cycle. Even well-maintained functional depressives still have cycles, but with the joys of modern pharmaceuticals, such cycles are usually far less than while un-medicated. And while often I have no clue why I’m heading into the abyss, this time I think I know all too well what’s going on…

I’m frakkin’ angry.

Steven Wright once said “Depression is merely anger without the enthusiasm.” A brilliant observation, from one who probably knows the truth all too well himself. It took me a while to figure it out, but I did finally manage to come to some understanding of my emotional issues. I’m angry about:

➢ Not finding a job
➢ Not losing weight
➢ Not working enough on my novel
➢ Congress and their partisan games-playing on my dime
➢ The State Budget Crisis Yet Again!
➢ It’s blinkin’ too sunny outside
➢ My dog’s really old and will probably die soon
➢ Mouthy special interest groups
➢ Gay marriage being outlawed
➢ Texas re-writing history in their text books
➢ Fundamentalists (of any denomination)
➢ Extremists (of any denomination)
➢ Terrorists (foreign & domestic)
➢ Faulty sprinkler heads, dry tracts of yard, two drunken neighbors, and a black crow in a dead tree…

And that’s just the highlights.

The problem with most of these issues is there isn’t anyone I can really yell at about any of it. My lack of self discipline is my own problem, which leads to internalizing most of it. Anger silently turned inward is depression. Those things that aren’t in my control, that aren’t my fault, well, I just have to be angry about those, ‘cause there ain’t shit I can do about them otherwise.

So in looking at those items on my list that I have direct control over (losing weight, writing), I finally found the core truth: fear. Some people might think it was the fear of failure, but the truth is, it’s the fear of success.

There is a part of me that wants to be thinner, wants to be a successful writer, but there is a larger part of me that is afraid of what those changes will bring. I like my solitude. I like going through the world largely unnoticed. I like living my life without the weight of other’s expectations upon me. My size lets me wander through life unbothered because so many people just think I’m a big, dumb woman with nothing much more to offer (Oh, the conversations I’ve heard just because of that!). Sitting at the computer pretending to write on the novel lets me have the dream without the responsibility. Success brings change. Change brings fear. Fear brings anger. And there we are back at Steven Wright’s simple but poignant truth.

But being angry and afraid isn’t any way to live, so I went back to an old, favorite philosopher for reinforcements:

Frank Herbert, Dune
The Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Maybe if I say that three times and click my heels, I’ll find my way back to myself.

© 2010 Cheri K. Endsley. All Rights Reserved.

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There is a large section of the human population that has no realistic concept of how to dress themselves.  And I’m not referring to those developmentally challenged individuals who actually have real medical reasons why they have that difficulty, but to so-called “normal,” every day people.  After recently watching a veritable parade of some of the choices made by these people, I fear for our future as a species.

My husband and I are historical re-enactors on the weekends, focusing on the European Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Over Memorial Day weekend, we camped with some 3,000 of our closest friends at a county park east of San Diego.  The point is to create the atmosphere of a faire or market akin to what might have happened during the height of the Age of Chivalry.  We dress, eat, camp, dance, and everything else in the manner of our chosen time period, with the emphasis on creating as historically accurate reproductions as possible.  Apparently, some people didn’t get the memo.

While sitting at our camp on a main thoroughfare, we were witness to some of the most astonishing and, sadly, disgusting displays of bad fashion we had ever seen.  There were many Jack Sparrow-esque pirate types and their slave girls, which, while perhaps entertaining on the big screen, are not accurate or timely for what we were trying to do.  There were also the bondage babes, black leather, chains and leashes proudly displayed despite being completely inappropriate for the situation.  And the mini-skirted Roman soldier/Pirate wench that bent over to show off her itty-bitty thong.  But what I found most offensive were the numerous people who insisted on wearing the tightest, skimpiest, shortest pieces of clothing on bodies that had no right to be exposed to the light of day.

Perhaps the real reason the burqa was invented, but that’s another discussion.

Somewhere along the line, these people have disconnected from reality as to what they see in the mirror.  I look in the mirror and see a middle-aged fat woman who shouldn’t be wearing a navel-baring I Dream of Jeannie belly dancing outfit.  Sadly, others didn’t get the same message.  The number of women who squeezed their ample selves into over-flowing bodices and hip-hugger pantaloons while great rolls of flesh jiggled, exposed, around their middles was mind-boggling.  My favorite was a woman who appeared to be older than me, with thinning, fly-away hair and the creased face of someone who’s smoked and drank most of her life, wearing a gypsy-girl-style top that barely covered her assets and a wispy skirt that showed the crack of her ass.  In between was a great bulge of fat that had gargantuan stretch marks (not at all recent) all over it.  And she was walking like she was one hot sexy momma.

And I lost count of the burly guys that walked by without a shirt, exposing their glow-in-the-dark white selves and their nine-months-pregnant-with-quintuplets beer bellies to the world.  Six packs can be shown off, not kegs.

In the medical field, there is a condition called body dysmorphic disorder, which is often related to anorexia or bulimia, but can also be its own problem.  People who suffer from this disorder are overly focused on a perceived defect in their physical features, and often pursue extreme measures to try and “fix” the flaw.  To the innocent observer, those perceived flaws are often minor or unremarkable, but the sufferer, for whatever reason, has made it a major crisis in their lives.  The bottom line is, they don’t see in the mirror what the rest of us see and I wonder if those people parading past us on a warm holiday weekend might not just have a version of this same condition.  Only, their vision has told them what they see is fabulous and they just have to show it off to the world.  The true irony to all this is, those same people would look at pictures of strangers of nearly identical shape and dress and find them to be in need of extreme therapy.  How strange the human psyche is.

So here are some guidelines:  only flat bellies get to see the light of day; monumental cleavage is only good for scaring children and small dogs; tattoos you got when you were 120lbs. should be covered when you’re 200lbs.; and unless you want to end the day radioactive red, you’d better cover all that fish-belly white skin.  Oh, and spandex can only be worn by Victoria’s Secret models, because anything larger than those poor, skinny, underfed things will only cause the rest of us to go blind.

And if you need a reality check, or just to reassure yourself that I’m not just making this stuff up, go to http://www.peopleofwalmart.com.  All I can say after that is:  Be Afraid!

© 2010   Cheri K. Endsley.  All Rights Reserved.

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