Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Uncontrollable - Part 2

I dropped my mat and water bottle on the bench like I had done a hundred times.  The effects of my workout were already apparent as I squatted down to open my locker.  My hand on the knob, I looked at the numbers, only there were none.  Not a single digit.  I sat and I waited.  Three, maybe four minutes later things come back into focus and I tried it again.

Veils of blurriness.  They're unpredictable.  Thankfully they're not an everyday thing.  They never last that long either. 

The first few times you experience something like this (veils of blurriness, flashes of light whatever) you almost don't believe they're real.  It's so abnormal that you start to think that maybe you're seeing things.  Maybe your minds playing tricks on you.  I know now that I experienced my first veil the afternoon I almost walked into traffic.  My first flash of light was in a dim stairwell at work. 

I'd give anything to go back to the way things use to be.  I think back to life before any of this happened.  I never once took my vision for granted.  When you have to fight as hard as I have to keep your eyesight, you just don't.

With that said, I NEVER for one second thought things would get any worse.  Things were stable for so long.  If I feared anything it was that I would at some point lose the ability to drive.  Going blind never crossed my mind. 

Maybe my mind was trying to protect me because the thought of going blind is real now and it scares the shit out of me. 

I've asked my doctors point blank if I'm going blind now and they tell me I'm not.  That I will probably never fully go blind.  I don't know if I believe them.  I don't know if I want to.  If I don't consider it a possibility now when will I ever begin to prepare myself?

That's it for today.  I want to thank you guys for your loving comments and messages.  It means so much to me to be able to get some of what's going on in my head out.  It's hard to open up to people in my everyday life right now.  They're worried about me enough already.  Some of these thoughts and stories would make them worry more and I really don't want that.  You're giving me a wonderful gift so from the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Uncontrollable- Part 1

I’ve lived my entire adult life believing that if I made all the right decisions, if I was responsible, if I worked hard, if I planned and I prepared that barring death, there really was nothing I couldn’t control,.  Every move calculated, every scenario worked out in my head.  Type A control freak all the way. 

I’m starting to realize now that for a long time I’ve been lucky, that’s all there is to it.  I always joke about the bullets I dodged in my college years.  How did I escape a DUI, pregnancy, arrest, teen marriage?  I didn't realize it until last year when Poochie died and Dar's sister got cancer, but that luck had extend well into my thirties.  Not to say that my hard work and good choices didn’t help me, but when it’s all said and done, there are so many things we have absolutely no control over. So many things we can’t plan for or foresee.  Things we don’t even think about.  These are the things I struggle with the most, the uncontrollable.
Since January 4th I’ve been in and out of doctor’s offices.  I’ve been completely fucked up, living in fear and feeling completely unsure of myself because of something that’s happened to me.  It makes me sick to my stomach and it brings tears to my eyes even writing those words, something that’s happened to me.  In my head, those words signify weakness and victimization.  There are no positive connotation.  I've conditioned myself into believing that things don't just happen to you. 
Let me backtrack.
Twenty fourteen was coming to an end!  Thank god!  A new year full of hope and promise.  An opportunity to right the wrong.  The bad juju from the previous year would somehow magically die on December 31st.  Four days into 2015 and BAM, I’m leaving work abruptly and am waiting in the waiting room at my eye doctors until they can see me. 
The night before I went to bed with tired eyes.  That's nothing new, I mean we all stare at our computers/phones/TV’s for far too long.  There were a few specs flying around my right eye that night but I brushed it off and went to sleep.  
If you haven't read this post, please read it now, Legally Blonde, I Mean Blind. 
The next day at around noon the spec reappeared, only this time it was huge.  I did what any normal person would do in this situation and I panicked.  I knew something wasn't right so I called D and then immediately drove myself to the doctors.  To give you an idea of just how huge this spec was, while driving myself to the doctor’s office I thought I hit a dog.  Thankfully I did not, but seriously that’s how big this thing was,

I won't bore you with all of the medical lingo but I will give you the gist of what's been going on.  All of our eyes are full of what's called "vitreous gel".  This gel helps our eyes keep their shape so that they don't collapse (scary).  Vitreous gel also helps hold our retinas in place, very important because if our retinas detach or tare and they're not treated immediately, we'll go blind.  The long and short is that in typical fashion my eyes are aging faster than normal and the vitreous gel started to separate from the back of my eye (posterior vitreous detachment) causing what is referred to as a vitreous floater.  I've also started to experiences flashes of light.  Imagine someone standing 6 inches from your face and taking pictures of your eye with a flash camera, fun. 

If you look closely, you probably have a floater or two.  Peek up at the sky or look at a white background, that's when they're most prominent.  The problem for me is that the vision in my left eye is so low that I rely very heavily on my right eye.  Anything in my sight line is incredibly distracting.  

In the last 4 months:
I haven't driven a car.
I've upped my eye meds which have left me feeling very sick.
I almost walked into traffic.  Thanks for the save M.
I've been swatting flies from my face only to realize that there's really no fly there.
I've cried myself to sleep.
I've been angry.
I've felt cheated.
I've isolated myself.
I've felt incredibly alone.
I've been shown unconditional love.
I've been told I'm strong and brave.
I've felt incredibly vulnerable.
I've seconded guessed all of my decisions when it comes to the treatment of my eye conditions.
I've called my doctors office in complete panic at least a dozen times.
I've sat in a dark house bothered by the light for weeks.
I inverted my computer screen and iphone so that I no longer had to stare at a white screen
Things have gotten better and then worse.

One last thought before I leave you today.  I promise there will be more to come but the subject matter is incredibly draining. 

So that final thought.  Over the course of the last 4 months there have been several time where I've experienced this false sense of acceptance.  Just when I think I'm out of the woods and adapting, it'll be time for another doctor's appointment or something new will arise (like the flashes of light).  It has never been lasting but I know deep, deep down that somehow someway everything is going to be ok.  With time I will find peace.

Thanks for reading.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me

Tap, tap, is this thing on?  Right now it feels like I'm on a big stage all alone with a bright spotlight shining on me.  This space feels so big.  It seems so empty, and it's absolutely silent.

It's pretty strange being here, but it's oddly comforting too.  It's been six weeks since I've sat in this chair, in front of this computer, typing on this keyboard.  I'm not sure exactly where to begin and as per usual my mind has a million different thoughts running through it. 

I guess we'll go back to August 4th.

August 4th was my one year blog anniversary.  I let it slip by without even a mention.  I didn't celebrate it or honor it like I should have.  Instead I felt jaded about blogging.  I felt burnt out in general.  I didn't plan on taking a break but looking back now it's very clear that things were not moving in a positive direction.

I've thought about this space a lot since my last post on August 7th.  Here's what I know.

I'm not done blogging.  I've gone back and forth a least a dozen times.  Should I stay or should I go?  Initially I didn't want to quit because a year is a long time to dedicate to something and then just stop.  That's not a good reason to keep going though and that won't sustain me long term. 

From there I thought f*ck it.  Towards the end this place felt like a noose around my neck.  It was one more thing to be responsible for.  One more deadline to meet.  The thought of letting this self-induced, self-created stress go felt amazing. 

It took a while but I eventually came to find myself thinking about the beginning.  Why did I start blogging in the first place? 

I started blogging because I needed to meet new people and to build new relationships.  In the beginning that happened very slowly, but organically.  Someone would reach out via email because they'd read something I wrote and they felt a connection (or vice-verse).  We'd write back and forth, privately.  We’d get to know each other outside of blog post comments.  Those relationships are the relationships that have continued in spite of the fact that this space has been quiet for 6 weeks.  There's substance there.  That's what I came for.  

There's always a flip side though.  For every 1 quality relationship there were 20 built on the "comment for a comment system".  Nobody talks about it, but it's no coincidence that on days I didn't leave comments, I didn't get any either.  And the comments themselves, they felt so lame.  One liners like "oh my gosh your purple shoes are so cute".  I'm not saying that every comment needs to be deep and profound because not every post is deep or profound.  What I am saying is that without the real connection (the getting to know you behind the scenes) it's just not enough.   

I will not allow myself to entertain "comment for a comment" relationships again.  That is not a productive use of my time.  I will spend time really getting to know the bloggers behind the blogs that I still love and read every day (even if I've been silent lately).

Aside from building relationships, I also started blogging because I wanted to write about life in your thirties without children.  I still believe my demographic is greatly underrepresented and while I haven't done much to change that, I plan on it. 

I wanted a hobby.  Hobby Shannon, not another full time job.  I need to learn the difference!  I'm going to work on that one :)

I wanted to explore and get to know myself better.  Expressing myself here has without question helped me to see myself more clearly.  I'm funny (sometimes), I'm loving, I'm smart, I have something to share.  In my day to day life I feel like I'm very aware of all of my behaviors.  I'm always the first to point out when I've done something wrong or when I've behaved poorly.  It's important to me that I never stop learning and growing as a person.  This space has shown me all the different sides of myself.

For all the good I've seen, it's terrifying to see just how moody I am.  I was raised by a mother who suffers from mental illness so I'm constantly accessing myself looking for signs that I too might be plagued.  I spent a day rereading every post I'd ever written (143).  Then I reread them all again.  From happy, joyous and grateful, to overwhelmed, angry and sad.  Seeing the good sides of yourself is amazing, but seeing the ugly.  YIKES!  Worse though is knowing that you've shared those parts of yourself with the internet.  What was I thinking???  Why can't I be more censored? 

After feeling completely horrified I again started to think about why I was here to begin with.  Sharing the ugly parts of yourself on the internet for all to see is absolutely crazy, but it's also incredibly rewarding.  I’ve found a community of people who read this shit and still think I'm an amazing person.  I mean talk about complete acceptance.    

I wish I could hide the not so pretty sides and show you all only the beautiful parts of myself, but that’s just not in my makeup.  My hope is that this crystal clear picture of myself will help me make some necessary changes.  Without this space, I wouldn’t have that opportunity.

I wanted to be creative and to challenge myself.  Done and done.  I love being held accountable by this space.  I love the 101 in 1001 challenge. 

I guess what I'm trying to say here in a very long winded and roundabout way is that my absence here has given me time to think about whether or not I've gotten enough from this space in the last year to make it a part of my life for another.  After a lot of back and forth my answer is yes.  For all the bad, there is twice as much good and with a few tweaks I think year two will be even better. 
I've missed you and I'm coming back for more.  Hope you're all well.  Lots of love.  XO Shannon

Thursday, August 7, 2014

San Francisco, They'll Be No Pictures Of The Golden Gate Bridge Here!

What I learned in San Francisco:

1. I will never live in San Francisco, what was I thinking?
2. I need more weekends with amazing girls like my Yo.
3. Good food is everything!
4. Tarot card readings are a complete joke.  Direct quote "seriously, that's it".
5. I'm a terrible singer.  Despite that little fact I can't shake my undying need to sing karaoke!

Two blissful nights at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, home of the famous Top Of The Mark.  What an amazing hotel!  The staff was great (even at midnight when we were on a mad hunt for carbs after what I'm sure was one too many cocktails #noshame).  I pulled the trigger and upgraded us to club level which was so worth it.  Snacks, breakfast, cocktails before dinner, yes please.  We felt safe which after walking through the Tenderloin (read the crime section) on accident was everything.  Thank you Mark Hopkins for being such a great home coming.

I had a bit of a trek from the Powell Street Bart station.  Taxi service was a joke for a city as large as San Francisco, but I finally made my way up California St. to the hotel where Yoli had a bottle of wine waiting.  More drinks in the club lounge and then dinner at Farallon.

Oysters, one of my all time favorites.  These were so fresh.  
I love dinning with people who aren't afraid to try new things.  Yoli's octopus which was delicious.
Summer bean salad
My lemonfish which I'm pretty sure I could eat day after day.  Sooo good.

My only real request this trip was that we find a karaoke bar.  I haven't sang karaoke in years and I was dying to step back in time for a song.  Nothings changed, I still can't sing, but I'm sure glad I did it!

Remember me mentioning two girls looking for carbs at midnight?  Well we ended up at Lori's Diner for malts, fried food and salad!!!!  What is it about a night of drinking and walking the streets that make me want chicken fingers and fries?

I was totally impressed with our ability to be up and out of the room the next day after not getting to bed until after 1AM #rally!

We had a bit of a scare on our way to the SOMA food truck park.  Think used needles on the sidewalk from the previous nights escapades.  We never made it to the food trucks but rather spent the afternoon in the first safe neighborhood we found.  God bless you Mission District.

Post-breakfast and pre-lunch empanadas

In our efforts to avoid the "hood" we took the bus back from Mission to 5th Street and then walked up to Chinatown

More eating, more drinking and then dinner at Michael Mina.

Abalone for the first time ever, so good.
My perfectly cooked lamb

Saturday was an early night, smacks and movies in the room.  Sunday was more exploring or rather me on a quest to find the Longchamp store :)

Success, and what I'm sure will be the first of many of these little babies.
I had the best time and am so looking forward to girls weekend 2015 in Portland.