Poking the Finger

Wow. So that was low blood sugar. Not sure why, but I think that’s what happened the other night as well, both after exercising. Sigh. It’s so exhausting and scary to have blood sugar drop like that, especially when the kids were already in bed, so I had no one to check in with. I had graded tests with the girlchild helping me, and I wanted to get something art-related done, but I had exercised in between 7th and 8th period’s tests, and I was sitting there finishing the grading, trying to figure out why I was so dizzy. I was too shattered last night after the blood sugar dropped to do much of anything. It’s OK…I took care of it and it went back up to normal. But my bigger question is WHY…why now? What’s different? Who knows. I will log it and will bring it up with the doctor next time. I’ve had the diabetes under control really well for about 12 years now…I didn’t do anything different. And this was lower than I’ve ever had, unless I wasn’t eating or I was sick.

Oh wait. The Google says it could be hormones fluctuating with impending menopause. Wow. Really? So I could be dealing with this crazy for another year or so? Seriously? Sigh. Deep breaths. When the physical body is this out of control, it’s really hard to keep the mental body on an even keel.

Then this morning, I’m down on myself because I haven’t gotten any art stuff done in DAYS due to grades and being tired and fixing computers and grades and tired. There seems to be a pattern there. And yes, there’s no point in berating myself about what I didn’t get done. I just get more depressed when I feel like everything I do is just work and slog and clean and work and then do it all again. The art is what gets me out of bed and in a better mood. It’s necessary.

Yesterday was also girlchild’s pre-surgery appointment…she’s having two screws put into bones in her lower back next week. It was the first time we’ve seen a clear scan of the bones in her back and it was kind of a shock to see the two fractures…hell, no wonder she’s been in pain. So she’s going to have to spend at least one night in the hospital (which probably means I have to spend the night as well, which is fine). My work brain is trying to plan out in time in case I have to be out for more than three days (the worst-case scenario is that she’s out of school for 2 weeks, but we’re hoping for less than a week). Unfortunately, my parents are out of the country, so me and my ex will have to juggle work and the girlchild best we can. She’s convinced she will need no help; I’m on the more cautious side (let’s see…how can I move a bed into the prep room at school?). I warned my students…but there’s always chaos when teachers are out for more than a day. Plus I’m teaching DNA and non-science guest teachers are notoriously non-science-educated, so it’s got to be easy, yet engage the kids and give something that keeps them on task. Not an easy job. I can’t show movies for a week.

Suffice it to say that I have art on the menu tonight. I also need to go to the gym, though, so I’m going to have to hope the low blood sugar doesn’t hit again. Seriously, both times it’s been after I ate a healthy meal and exercised. Everything’s out of whack. Sigh. Back to poking the finger three times a day. My doctor gave me permission to stop a few years back because my blood sugar was so controlled. Guess my body is telling me something else. Got the message, bastard. Whatever. One more thing.

Wait. So This Is What You Want?

My brain betrayed me this morning. I kept waking up last night…a pattern now. I look at the phone; it tells me how much time is left. Either a sigh of relief or a sigh of suffering for not enough time. There were 30 minutes left. I can sleep for 30 minutes. Apparently, I can hit dream sleep in 30 minutes when I’m really tired. I woke to the alarm in the middle of a dream, the brain betraying me with what it wanted. I wrote this post title two months ago and then couldn’t write the post. I’m still not sure what post I was going to write for that; I just knew that it hurt. Today is a hurt day. Why? Who knows. The dream was what the brain wanted, and it took me a while to wake up enough to realize what it was saying and then again to realize that it wasn’t reality any more…but that it HAD been, but it took me a while to remember that it wasn’t any more. And in that little while, the brain felt happy. Ouch. I tried talking to the brain, reasoning with it, telling it how that wasn’t going to happen any more, listing all the logical reasons for giving up on what it wanted because it wasn’t healthy, and it just turned away, gave me that sad look, then said something about hope. And I stopped. Because that kind of hope? It’s gone. It’s not something that can be achieved any more. I tried to explain that, explain why it didn’t want what it thought it wanted, that the person didn’t really exist, that it had all been a lie, and it shook its head again, sad, crying quietly, and walked out the door, shoulders all hunched up. It wants what it wants. It wants the unicorn, the Yeti, the fire-breathing dragon. It wants magic and Santa Claus and benign ghosts watching over you. It wants love and hope and people who think about someone besides themselves (ironic, working in a middle school). It wants what it can’t have. It wants it to be different. I feel so bad for it…I want to follow it out the door, run after it and explain the world, reality, to it, but I know it’s not listening. Maybe I should just give it a hug. I have two students right now who hug me every day. One boy came to me two periods after he had me, shoelaces loose and all over the place, and said, “I forgot to get my hug.” Another boy had a sign. He had misspelled “desperate” (I don’t remember the whole sign…yes, I hugged him AFTER I told him there was a spelling issue). I can’t tell you how much those hugs save my life some days. It’s sad, so sad, to know that a hug from a 12-year-old is my salvation on a day like today. Some goofy kid needs a hug and writes a sign and that’s why I get out of bed and shower and go to school. And they don’t even know what it means, how screwed up I am, how much importance I place on that simple act of kindness. They don’t even know.

So that’s the sad I woke up with this morning, and the image is still seared on my brain, the one thing it says it wants…like a little kid watching all the pre-Christmas toy commercials and picking out some piece of crap that will break two days later and needs 17 D batteries to run. As adults, we try to persuade the kids that those toys are worthless…we may even decide not to buy any of them, or we may look at a child’s wish list at Christmas, their hope to Santa for whatever goofy thing it is, and we may just fulfill that wish. I know we did with the girlchild many times, because she was always convinced that’s what she wanted, and being divorced parents, there is always a feeling of guilt that you already fucked it all up for them…and you have to make up for that. This year she wants nothing, she says. This year, I can’t even come up with anything big for her. This year, I don’t even think there will be money for a whole lot anyway. My brain is off having its own dreams and hopes and can’t focus on trying to guess the dreams and hopes of two teenagers. My money is paying for college application fees and test-reporting fees. Lots of them. Maybe they are just wishing mom were more present, less sad. I don’t know. They would never say that to me. What do I want? Me, not the brain? Because they’re separate? (betrayed) I just want to get through…through to the other side of whatever sad hell this is…through to another place. Like walking through a wormhole onto a tropical beach, drinks with umbrellas, a quiet but purposeful massage, some music, somewhere to dance and be present with some level of calm happiness. Leaving that part of the brain behind, the part that is so damaged and caught up in all this sad and grief. Just leave it.

Not to be. Must fix.

So as I keep going through this part of the meditation series, which is focused on wanting things to be different than what they are, realizing that’s what triggered this dream (I so rarely dream these days…I used to dream all the time), maybe Mr. Meditation will help me figure out how to persuade my brain to revise its wants to something that makes sense or that might actually be beneficial to both of us. I hope so, because this isn’t good for either of us. Mr. Meditation says it’s not a bad thing to want things to be different. It’s normal (holy god, I’m normal…). He wants me to pay attention to how often that happens (holy shit. Really? Not enough fingers.), so that I can eventually “develop a sense of ease with the way things are.” He’s into a sense of ease. When he puts it that way, I’m OK with it. I need that…to be at ease with my existence, because it’s too painful otherwise. At the end of each meditation, I am more calm and clear, but I am often still very very sad, despite all that. I can’t get out of it. It’s just there. Calm and clear sadness.

I was supposed to go to a new group meeting tonight, a book club. I got all the way to the place, and found out it had been canceled. If I hadn’t been rushing around, trying to get dinner made etc., I might have checked email and known before I left. As it was, I came back, bought the girlchild cookies (day 3 of tryouts, she’s made the first cut to varsity, but her back is an issue…imagine her lying on the kitchen floor crying and you’ll know why I bought her cookies), and listened to her read me Huckleberry Finn (no, I don’t know why she was reading it to me. It doesn’t matter.).

When I left, I almost turned back to get my sketchbook, but she said no, I needed to be sociable. She said I couldn’t take it. I got in the car and realized the sketchbook is my security blanket. I felt unsafe, unprotected. Drawing as protection? I often have it with me, just in case, even though I rarely pull it out…because then I have to deal with people watching me draw or asking me questions. Aargh. Just let me draw. It’s also a stress releaser…I can draw and let some of that nervousness and anxiety go…I don’t like being around new people and trying to figure out where to go and where to sit and how to act and whether I’m allowed to use swear words or not (seriously…I considered that on the hike last weekend). They’ve rescheduled…we’ll see. That week is a bit busier than this one was…actually, this one was supposed to be busy, but everything is moving around. All of a sudden there is space where there wasn’t before.

So I was going to input grades, but then I thought…why? I’m not in the mood. I cried on the way over there, I cried on the way back, my SIL was talking to me and telling me she understood about something I was trying to explain, why hanging out with a bunch of married people right now just hurts, because it’s not that I want to be married…I just don’t want to go through this whole beginning relationship, developing relationship crap again. I don’t have the mental energy. I don’t trust anyone. At all. I don’t want to be a part of that world again. I don’t feel like I will ever fit into that, that I will ever be able to be in a relationship that works.

I know that’s negative thinking. So instead of doing grades, which honestly just shoves me back deep into negative mode, I decided to finish cutting out Wonder Under for the Celebrating Silver quilt. Art dispels some of that negative shit. Do art, not grading. Fabric saves lives.

I thought I had a whole yard left, because it was folded up on itself, but it turned out I didn’t even have a half yard left…

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The one on the right is all the trash and leftover pieces. I don’t throw it away until I make sure I didn’t drop some real live pieces in there (because I do). Plus I have some where the web is releasing from the paper, so I might need to redraw/recut those, so I just hold on to that box until they’re all ironed down.

I got the whole thing cut out in about 40 minutes…

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totaling 7 hours and 34 minutes for the whole quilt. Not bad. So just to give you an idea, I’m 24 hours into this quilt and I haven’t even touched fabric, unless you include choosing and washing the background fabric.

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It’s over 1200 pieces, but it doesn’t look like much in the box from the side.

Then I took just under an hour to sort all the pieces into boxes by hundreds…

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I love my light table…it’s so much easier to do this now than it used to be, when I did it on the floor. Can you see the dog? Top left, asleep on the couch. There’s a cat twining herself around my legs in this picture too.

It’ll take me about 12-13 hours to pick fabrics. I might start tomorrow night…if I’m not too tired. Not sure how much time I’ll have over the weekend, and part of next week, I’ll be out of town, so I can’t do fabric then, but I’m hoping to have all the fabrics picked by the end of my Thanksgiving Break…plus have the other quilt done too (which means I need to go thread shopping at some point. It doesn’t sound like much time, but it’s hard to just start and work straight through for that many hours. My brain gets tired. It’s coloring and recoloring the picture in my head, trying out colors up there before pulling them in person. There will be a lot of flesh colors in this quilt…with three bodies. I’ll probably pull those fairly early on, after I do the dirt. Do I really have to go to school tomorrow? I’d rather do this. There’s something almost exciting about starting to work with the fabric…it gets to be almost real now.

I had a ton of blood drawn this morning. I’ve seen the results. Mostly good. I think it’s funny that people ask me if my diabetes will go away now that I’ve lost so much weight. I was first diagnosed about 10 months after the divorce, when I weighed the least I had in years. I was pre-diabetic at 19, so I held it off until age 35. Now I weigh less even than I did at diagnosis, and no, it’s not gone. There’s no magic there. My pancreas is not behaving. Welcome to genetics. The thyroid also tends to be weight-based, but no, it’s not behaving either (hence my consistent chill, with a down comforter on the bed since mid-September, and this is Southern California, not Minnesota). So the diabetes meds get to stay. The thyroid meds too. Bastards. Doesn’t matter what I do. The doc told me the stress of the divorce accelerated the diabetes…but I had hoped my numbers would come down, and they didn’t. Others did, but not the diabetes numbers.

It’s disappointing, but not the end of the world. I’ve spent over 11 years dealing with the diabetes, so I will just keep on…keeping on. With the meds, with my brain, with art, with my life, whatever it looks like. I will keep on trying to make a new life, trying to find something akin to peace, maybe happiness, whatever that looks like, because I don’t remember, and the brain is just damn faulty at this point. What I want? It’s not worth thinking about right now. Less sad. Fewer tears. Health. Occasional sleep. I’m not asking for much.