ADDmitedly a rough couple of weeks – staying positive (longread)

Staying positive is hard. The hardest part for me is knowing that it’s not all up to me. A better part is knowing I’m getting help. I’ve been getting help from doctors even before I knew I have ADHD.

Just today I was lying in bed, remembering how awful it was just 2 years ago when it started. I got fired from my job as a statement from the new Operations Director because I was getting too chummy with the union’s committee at work. I had been living for two years in a country that felt like a big tub of water repelling little ol’ olive-oil drop that is me.

I remember how awful sleeping was, back then: I felt tired but I just lay in bed. You know how when you’re falling asleep, in your last moments of consciousness you feel your body getting heavier, sinking in and having that one last thought “This is it, I’m going … I’m delightfully sinking,weeeee…”; do you know that feeling as well as I do? Well, I didn’t have that feeling back then. I lay there, eyes closed, tired and yawning with my eyes closed. Yawning until my closed eyes stated getting teary from the exhaustion. Yawning. I didn’t fall asleep, I fell into unconsciousness. I know this because I know I was eventually not awake. I knew this because it was very violent when the alarm clock went off. When it went off, I woke up like something exploded. It was the only time when I knew what it was like feeling disoriented for a couple of seconds, panicking because I didn’t know where I was and what was going on.

The doctor helped. He got me to sleeping regularly in a short time. I moved away from Austria. I moved back to Germany where I felt welcome again. Like I can connect with people anywhere. It was hard making the change at first. Later, the meds helped. What helped the most, though, was not stopping. Because I didn’t stop, when I felt better, I found everything standing right where I left it – I didn’t have the overwhelming and positivity-cancelling feeling of having to pick up the slack.

Having a tendency for depression and anxiety – that was non-existent in my teens and explosive once I got to college – it’s long been one of my mottos: “keep doing stuff. Eventually, if you get to the point you’re happy, you have most of the work done already!” 

Back in April I got an old used bike from a co-worker. From trying to fix it alone to joining an internet Forum and meeting some nice helpful people, with all my ups and downs I ended up getting a 2nd hand bike on E-bay in end of July and, end of August, doing a Tour of about 45km (30 miles) with people I met on the forum. I felt like I was on my way to changing my life. I had also gotten a job offer I quite liked. From whining and complaining that I was lonely and bored during my phone calls with my best friend, I had something new to tell – ok, still feeling a bit lonely, but not bored. It felt like the things I’d been working hard on were finally paying off!

And then I went ahead, and right after the job interview, I crashed my bike. I crashed really hard. I finished my planned tour – crazy gal that I am – but at home, I realized that I needed a doctor. I still could muster enough courage to do a trial-day on my soon-to-be new workplace, but after that, the muscles started bitching and moaning that they were gonna clench up nice and tight to compensate for the fall. I got immobile. I tried my best to go for a walk one hour a day and try to go window shopping, not sit on my ass all day.

But I did sit longer than usual and combined with the new pill I had started a couple of months ago, my left leg cramped up first. Then it wouldn’t let go. Then the pain became unbearable and I couldn’t walk. I had had a DVT – a Deep Vein Thrombosis. I almost couldn’t believe it, because even though I’m obese, I’m not morbidly obese. I walk on a regular basis, I have very low cholesterol and it’s simply not a common thing at 33. It was the pill (that I started taking because of mind numbing pain when on my period) and the sitting. I’m going to be home a total of 6 weeks. I have to bandage and rebandage my left leg several times a day until my “tailor-made” compression stockings are done because I have to keep the leg compressed. The bandage makes it hard to walk normally.

I had to cancel my trip to my best friend: the plane ticket to go to her in France had been a gift from her, non-refundable and we had both looking forward to that trip for months now, mentioning it every week in our phone calls. Because of the DVT, my doc forbade it.

Hit another financial crisis: the little help I got from the state had to be renewed, and because I have a new job in two weeks, instead of saying I still get the money before I get the new job, they decided they can only decide it in December – after I have proven them that I still have a crappy job for two weeks and not so crappy job come mid-October. So after paying lots of medical bills (which are teeny tiny in Europe, but there was a lot of them and I don’t have much), I have no money to pay for my cell and my electricity, even after I asked family for money.

I have been a sobbing mess most days and though I have new ADHD meds, I think they’re working better, but I can’t even tell because well…. it’s an extraordinary situation right now. So it’s hard to stay positive. It’s hard because, although I kept moving, there is still some slack to pick up (the financial slack, that one wasn’t 100% my fault). It’s very hard because I realized, being single and having family and friends far away, that there is no one to help me on my day-to-day life. I’m not completely alone, but there just isn’t any kind of support in the type of mild sickness that almost knocks you off your feet but still leaves you some autonomy. And that sucks.

I had a bitter glimpse of what the future might be like for me despite my best efforts; a glimpse of how poor and inadequate even the best of my efforts are and it’s hard not to panick. It’s hard not to go bonkers. So I sometimes panick and sob. I think this is normal. I’m still thankful for some things.

I’m thankful for being the kind of person who can at least still truly enjoy some little things. In a while, I’m going to the supermarket on foot (can’t afford my bus ticket this week) to fetch a can of pineapples. Because I’m going to bake a one-person-version of a recipe from the french baking-book my best friend gave me for my birthday. And the sun is shining, so I’m gonna be listening to my music, strutting and smiling and happy for at least 5 minutes.

And 5 minutes in 24 hours isn’t much, but if it’s all I can get right now, I’ll gladly take it! Because that’s what staying positive is. It’s not ALWAYS being positive. It’s being able to acknowledge the good parts and marvel at them when they come unexpectedly; it’s being able not to poop all over it just because you feel like crawling in a corner and dying for the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day.

Well, gross exaggeration on the crawling and dying part, but you catch my drift? ;)


Turkish delight – Yeminet! (Longread)

I have been in financial dire straits for the past couple of months. Ironically, I seem to have put myself in this situation because, when I lost my job in January, I didn’t want to become unemployed for even a single day: I took the one thing I had in offer, which was a part-time. After a couple of months, I feel like I was taken hostage by my current employer and it’s my own fault, no less – I should’ve never signed such a fucking crappy working contract, but I so wanted to avoid unemployment…

I’ve made major cuts. I couldn’t, for the first time in years, afford to buy a ticket to visit my family in the summer: I had to ask a sister to buy me the plane ticket and used my online banking to set my account to pay her back, 55€ a month until August/September. My “splurge” for this month was a bottle of bike-chain oil and a 16€ seat for my crappy bike – biking on sunny days is still cost-free.

So when I came home two days ago, started loading my washing machine and a comb dropped fom above and fell in right through a crack beyond the washing-drum and beyond my reach, my blood froze in my veins. I will spare you the agonizing details of the misunderstandings that delayed the coming of the technician, later to be known as my guardian angel. I was nervous, panicky and got a knot in my stomach when he told me on the phone it was gonna cost me 70€ to retrieve the comb. This month I was to pay 80€ less rent because of overpaying last year, and I was happy. Suddenly, wham! 70€ are gone! I cannot get a fucking break, can I?

When I opened my door yesterday and a handsome 6’4” turkish man stood on my doorstep I was mostly in awe of his looks, but still, I just showed him to the washer, explained again what happened, and went back to skyping with my sis in the next room – dying to tell her what a tall drink of water was fixing my machine and not daring because, who know who understands MY native tongue? He called me and asked for a few items – a bowl, a piece of wire and a towel – and kept working. After a while he called me and had a good talk with me.

“Your heater is shot” he said “and this” he said pointing at the comb “this alone is gonna cost you… what had we agreed on? 70?”. I started panicking. “I can install a new heater, I have a used one in my car, but that’s going to make 95€ total. But it’s totally up to you, because I’m going to be honest, this machine is in very bad shape. It’s totally up to you”.

Cannot… get… a fucking…. break!

I was getting more and more nervous, made the guy repeat himself several times, swallowed dry a couple of times and I finally said “Well, thank you so much for your honesty, but 100€ is too much for that piece of junk. Sucks that I’m losing 70€, but if it’s this bad, best if I buy another second-hand piece of crap….” We then talked a while, I explained how I got the machine second had, got an offer from him but had to refuse because it was way over my price-range and he even agreed that if I could find cheaper junk with warranty (I can) that’s certainly better and he won’t even try to convince me otherwise. He gave me tons of tips on what to look for and how to haggle, where to look, so nice…. and then I gave him the 70€ and he looked awkwardly at the 50 and the 20 and stuck the 20€ in my way. I pulled back “No way! We agreed 70€, sucks to be me it’s true, but take it!” and he just said

“No, you take it, don’t you worry.” he said “I’ll get enough money anyway and I’m the owner of the company, so you go ahead and keep it.”

Well…. what can you say to that? I took the money, thanked him in a shakey voice, walked him out, listened to some more of his good tips, said thank you in a voice that was getting shakier and shakier, closed the door behind me and finally got back to my sister on skype. I sat down, the tears started rolling and I yelled “I’m so FUCKED! My washing machine is trashed! Look, he gave me 20€ back, so that’s something, huh? FUCK!” She then started her usual over-patronizing talk of “look, forget the money you owe me, we’ll deal some other time” because oh well, I’m not even going to get into how this kind of patronizing shit from my family might sound helpful but actually stunted my development as a tax-paying grownup. I wouldn’t hear it and told her so. I told her I’d find a way and she was getting the money, whether she liked it or not, I was just so hormonal and so upset that everything had to be such a fucking challenge in my life.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I told her “Wait up! It must be him, must’ve forgotten something”. I rubbed my red eyes dry and glanced at the washing machine on my way to the door, but couldn’t see any forgotten instruments. I opened the door and he stood there “Look, I was outside and I suddenly thought something up, I’m so silly! Can I come in?” I was uhm…. well… not totally dumbstruck, because I managed to say “sure!”

“It just hit me! Look, you were going to lose 70€ today, right? You were going to give me 70€.  You DID give them to me, and I gave you 20 back.  And you know, sometimes you need fresh air to have good ideas it seems and I’m thinking… I’m not going to try and convince you, if you say you’re buying another secondhand washer, do it. But if you want, you give me the 20€ back and I build this functioning  heater into your machine. Your washerwon’t hold forever, but you can save up for a new one!”

Uhhhh…. fuck yeah! Not only had he given me a 20€ discount on the previously agreed fee, he was giving me a 5€ discount on the heater and giving me LOADS of wiggle room! I was so grateful I stood the whole time there and chit-chatted with him – he wouldn’t take a cup of coffee and I later had to wonder if we have ramadan right now (we don’t). We talked about the state of things, both of us foreigners in Germany. His reasoning was that people should help each other out when they can, because you never know when it’s going to hit us and he added “It’s really hard when you’re on your own, I know. And as a woman, it must be even harder, right?” I didn’t quite know what to tell him. I felt like saying I never felt the impact, although I was never a man, so I can’t know. The truth is, I never really felt like I have it harder because I’m a woman, but it’s getting harder and harder to argue the opposite.

The guy was finally done, I gave him the 20€, I thanked him profusely and he said “Damn, why didn’t I think of it? You know, fresh air! But now I have a clean conscience and you can save up for another washer. Just go easy on this one, small loads, it should hold a while” I walked him out and surprisingly, my sis was still online. I got to tell her the story and the party pooper said “Clean conscience? He’d have a clean conscience if he put the new heat in for free, but like that….” – jesus fuck, if you ever wonder why I mostly sound this bitter on my blog, just think I grew up surrounded by comments like this!

If anything, I’m allways in awe of how some people will still ocasionally prove me that not all is lost and that I still should have hope. I’m still getting teary eyed when I think of it, and I suspect it will be years before I won’t feel moved by the kindness of this handsome stranger and if that ever comes to be, I’ll be very disapointed in myself.  This man was no less than a guardian angel to me yesterday.


Beauty is so overrated…

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going to be a post condemning beauty in every sense of the word – not even a post condemning beauty in terms of appearences. I wax my stupid latin lady-moustache, I pluck around my eyebrows with a pair of tweezers going “ow ow ow!”, I clean and moisturize my face every night, I choose clothes that I find pretty and either make me look good, or at least not like a friggin’ shapeless potato bag. I’ll even wax my legs on occasion, though I don’t wear any shorts or skirts. Just because I like, once in a while, tp look down and see my very own smooth legs. I believe in the importance of being well groomed by your own standards. I think provides enough wiggle room for everyone.

But I have the tag “plus size” on my wordpress reader and everyday when I do my reading on the way to work, I see 90% of plus size related posts about wanting to be beautiful, wanting to be confident and wanting models to be plus sized, because they’re representing beauty standards. Now there are even models demanding that they not be called plus sized. My beef with the whole model situation is: models are not representing beauty standards.

The only thing I expect from a fashion show is to know the tendencies, colours and shapes of the next season

(if only so I can smirk and say “no way in hell….”)

But it doesn’t stop at plus size. I jump to the “freshly pressed” section and there I will find more than one message about beauty and beauty standards. Everyone is saying that you have to be beautiful to be successful;

or that society dictates you have to be beautiful;

or that skinny chicks are unhealthy and not real, fat is the real beauty, curves are beautiful;

or that fat chicks are promoting a dangerous life-style and they’re not really pretty;

or that disney is to blame for your low self-esteem;

or the patriarchal society (I already cringe at this fuckin’ word) is to blame for your self-esteem

(I still wonder how patriarchal a society can be, where I can’t remember the last time I heard white men say anything. If anyone is stoically taking one blow after the other without saying a word, it’s the white male. But that’s a whole other subject)

All I see is people fixated on beauty, like we’re all a bunch of hormonal teenagers. And I have to wonder how anyone so fixated in beauty standards still can expect to be taken seriously. About anything.

I see trans people – Biggotry in the name of tolerance

(this one is gonna be a long one, brace yourselves)

As far as I’m aware, I’ve only been in the presence of a transgender person, a woman, once in my life. I heard of her transgenderism from co-workers who were explaining to me that A. (a very arian man-whore who was in a commited relationship at the time – as far as his girlfriend knew) was trying to get laid with the new executive floor attendant (it took place at a hotel). They told me about A. trying to get laid with her (and her being very keen on his approaches) and this A. guy later being warned off by another co-worker who knew her when she was still a he. While I cannot for the life of me figure out why a horny guy would be put off by this when he obviously not only found her hot but also got the confirmation that she had a functioning vagina, I admit I laughed my ass off. Well, mind you, laughing my ass off when I heard about someone’s transgenderism, believe it or not, had me explaining to a bunch of white cis males (heeeere we go…), one of them quite homossexual too, that I wasn’t a biggot.

See, long story made short: a month before that, I had put up with a cook (let’s call him B.) in my patisserie who was celebrating his last day working at the hotel kitchen – that is, I enjoyed the presence of a man I considered to be very cute for several hours before he was gone from my life forever. Well,  he did so by bringing a case of 24 pints of beer to the workplace at noon and vowing not to leave before he and others had made the case empty (we ended up drunkenly sharing a cheeseburger sitting on the curb behind the hotel in a warm summer night, but I “digest”…). Well, while he was hiding his drunken state by me at the patisserie he blabbed a lot. He told me about the new lady who was exectuive floor attendant starting that day, and paraphrasing B.:

She is the most fucking beautiful woman I’ve ever seen! In my mind, I have a pretty well-shaped idea of how a woman should look like, and she is it!! I could’ve just run up to her and kiss her, if only I didn’t have a girlfriend!

The good news is, not all white cis males (*smirk*) are cheating manwhores. But the bad news is (and here is why I laughed so hard), the perfect woman for a guy I find very cute is almost 100% chizeled by the surgeon’s scalpel – and quite legitimately so. Well, that kinda leaves me screwed (or quite the opposite).

And now here’s my beef: although I’m not a hipster, I used the term “cis” ironically as I wrote this. I don’t have a problem with any kind of sexual orientation (whereas, as you can see, I frown upon promiscuity, but no one is perfect), I don’t have a problem with transsexuals, and as far as I could tell, a whole bunch of oh-so-mean white cis males don’t have a problem with it either (even if I found the rationalizations from one of them about why a transgender woman is the perfect girlfriend fucking pathetic, but hey…). But the age of cis and trans as come and woe us! We are so unspecial and such biggots being cis!

Here’s the deal: I see people using the terms cis as an insult and trans as something everyone is forced to accept, no questions askedthis is the reverse copy of straight biggots.

I see people calling themselves trans or claiming to have children/family who are trans and accusing “cis” people (like me) of not knowing, not being able to ever know what it’s like, becuase we are cis and only know our point of view. If I can’t comprehend trans people, trans people can’t comprehend me or any other cis person! This is not negotiable! Either we all acknowledge each other as sensient beings capable of empathizing with others, or we all mutually respect the fact that we will never fully know what the other side is like!

I see trans people (and other related people I’ve mentioned) classifying their hardship as harder than the hardship of other minorities – up to the extent of putting the gays and the african-american (because fuck all other black people, right?) in the same level of social hardship. Every single group of people has hardships, bullshit expected from them by this group, by that group, by society, you name it – including the white cis male, both the straight and the gay ones, who you so joyously include in the same category. If you some day decide to look past your belly button, maybe you will come to realize this.

I am sick and tired of biggotry in the name of tolerance and I will have none of that.

Dear fellows formerly known as the fat-chicks of the world…

…aka plus-sizes. I have a very high BMI and wear an US size 26 (EU54). Now let me show you something.

Here is self-loathing.

Here is adoring yourself.

Look how much friggin’ room there is inbetween! Look at it!! It might have been wider if not for the menus on the right, etc., but you get the picture. Now, having said that, here’s my take on this situation.

Some time ago, someone came up with the ridiculous notion that models aren’t coat-hangers to display clothes on a runway and that they’re supposed to be pretty. But they are not supposed to be pretty, they’re not the main focus of a runway show, the clothes are. But around the same time that teenagers started describing their teenager peers as “societey”, the ridiculous notion that models should be a role-modeld to anyone rather than a twig for one-size-fits-all-couture somehow seems to have clung to the other boogey-man: the “mass media”.

In a time where bad-parenting is a constant accusation and teachers are to blame if the kids just won’t learn anything, somehow these emaciated total strangers are made responsible for the self-esteem of the women in general (but men are tough. They’re never insecure, f*** ’em! Let’s make it all about women again. We’re the 50% minority)

And I, as a fat woman, am expected to hate these models as if they had tied me to the chair and force-fed me like a foie gras goose. Well, screw you, that’s what I have got to say that. People who say beauty comes in all shapes and sizes are usually more than happy to disregard any slender-shape as unnatractive, unhealthy garbage. I hate both that notion and the notion that, gosh darn it, you just have to be beautiful! Because f*** inner values!

No, beauty comes first! Those models were right all along, they just had the wrong size! Hmmm…. No thanks.

Those skinny teenagers making duckface and taking selfies in front of the mirror look ridiculous, but somehow, a fat adult woman making pouty faces and taking selfies in front of the mirror was just what this world was missing! Let’s make it aaaaall about appearences! Well, I’m all for being sexy and feeling ok in your skin, but this is ridiculous! Are we willing to focus on looks this much?

I’d love to dress up a bit more (spare a dime, sister?), and I truly am thankful for the few plus-sized models showing up. This means the companies are finally noticing how much money they can make off of us plus-sizes (you thought the fashion industry was changing their views about beauty? Seriously?) and that is finally ensuring that there are more and more high-quality plus-sized clothing available every day!I  do check plus-size fashion blogs, but I refuse to parade around like a vain kid, especially on the internet. Beauty is a part of my life, but it is ONE part, and not even the biggest. I’m not vain.