Making Choices That Matter

Considering that I am running on two hours of sleep and keep shouting "WHAT!?" at my math homework (and it's not even due until Wednesday!) writing the blog entry about the big step I took today seemed like a good idea.

I've had a knee brace since my senior year of high school, so fall of 2005. I don't wear it nearly as often as I should because I'm horribly self conscious about it. Here's a picture of when I wore it in 2009:

It's rather obvious it's there. And even though I wore it under jeans, the bulge is obvious and yes, I got asked about it. I kept having to fix it after classes. Yes, awesome = sitting on a table in the math building fixing your knee brace as the other students are leaving. Yep. That's the awesome person you're talking to! ^_^

Thing is, it helps somewhat. And another thing is, I may need a new, more intrusive brace so I figure I might as well get re-used to the knee brace. It is hard, though.

I don't like drawing attention to myself. I sometimes feel that people see the crutches and not me, or that people see me as a cripple or a gimp (I hate those words T_T), and not a person. And I feel that adding a knee brace to that compounds it greatly. But it helps. My knee cracked far less today (my ankle made up for it) and the pain has lessened, although still intense.

I guess you're likely wondering what I have a knee brace to begin with. I played volleyball (I sucked. The one time I served the ball over the net the other team, who had played us before, was so shocked they didn't even move for the ball when it soared over the net. And I, being the ninth grade genius I was, didn't even realize it went over and I'd scored a point. Nevermind the insane cheering from our team.. I just thought they took pity on me and gave me another shot!) my ninth and tenth grade years. In ninth grade, I did a dive for the ball during a practice. Only upon my knee impacting the ground did I realize a critical detail: I'd forgotten to pull up my knee pads after the last bathroom break. Oops. Better yet, I played the rest of that season and the entire next season, plus two seasons of cheerleading on that knee. Even better I didn't see the doctor for it until my senior year. Not really my finest moment when I told him when I'd injured it. Ahem.

Nice Doctor Dude sent me to Other Doctor Guy as he was a sports medicine guy, fresh out of his fellowship (mmm, fresh blood! Seriously, I love doctors fresh out of their fellowships. They're on the up and up, and don't yet have the callous, cynical attitude some of the older doctors get. And plus, it's fun to be a medical mystery with them and baffle their young brains.). Ahem. I became a frequent customer between ODG and the clinic, because, well, to put it nicely, I'm a klutz. He wanted to get me a bubble suit and put me in a white, padded room (when I left in 2008 he told he to keep him updated on stuff. I forgot to. How weird would it be, almost 4 years later, to write him one?) and whatnot. I still remember the time when I was on underarm crutches, hyperextended in front of the clinic doors, and completely wiped out. Doctors, nurses, and patients: *panic panic panic* ODG; "Oh, it's only Angelique. Somehow I figured it would be you." GEE THANKS ODG.

Now that was a tangent if I ever saw one! Ahem. I was dx'ed with Patellofemoral pain syndrome . See how it says "malalignment of kneecap"? Means my kneecap snaps in and out of socket. And it hurts like hell. There's not a lot that can be done for my case, as the doctor's aren't big on doing surgery but they may look at it in the future if this keeps up. In fact, when I saw a doctor for a surgical consult in 2009, that's how I wound up finding out I needed back surgery because they realized "Oh hey, chica hasn't had back xrays in awhile. OH SNAP HER BACK LOOKS BAD THIS ISN'T GOOD." Yeah, that's pretty normal in my life.

I always hated the brace because it's big and clunky. And it's not fun to wear.. But I sucked it up and ponied up and wore it, like a big girl. I should do this about more things that are good for me. :)


You're beautiful, like a rainbow

One of my favourite commercials (more like a PSA)  has been the Dove - True Colors ad. I don't think it's been on television for a few years now. I remember it coming out my senior year of high school. That year sucked beyond measure, but that's a moot point.

Thing is? We all have things we don't like about ourselves. I struggle with my body image on a daily basis. It's a battle I constantly fight against myself.

The thing is? It doesn't matter that I walk with a limp or my knee snaps out of joint. It doesn't matter that my posture is awkward or I'm not a perfect weight. It doesn't matter because really, it's not much in the grand scheme of things. I doubt when my friends think of me they are thinking the same things I think when I look in the mirror (Gah, another blemish. Shit, my hair is a mess. Dammit, I look fat today. God, why don't my shoulders lie straight!). Instead, they think about the good things (and okay, maybe some of the annoying things like the fact they have to debate with me to get me to do things like, oh, eat) about my character.

It's hard to come to terms with the fact that while I belittle myself over my appearance, it's not what others do. And really, the things I hate so much are likely what others like. And I need to learn that it's not a big deal what's on the outside - that it's what's inside that really matters. And not fully inside, like my heart and my lungs (although I reckon those things are good as well) but the person I am deep within.

But I see your true colours shining through,
I see your true colours, and that's why I love you

(Wow, my nearly 3 am postings when I should be asleep are interesting. Curse you, insomnia!)


I'm still fighting to walk towards the light

Look, I find some of what you teach suspect
Because I'm used to relying on intellect, 
But I try to open up to what I don't know
Because reason says I should have died three years ago...
There's only us, there's only this
Forget regret, or life is yours to miss
No other road, no other way, no day but today

Let's be frank here: I'm not dying from AIDS. I don't know what it's like to have AIDS. I do know, however, what it's like to have a disease with no cure. There's no cure for my NF1. There's no cure for my PTSD - as best, I'll learn how to live with and manage the symptoms. And the same lies with my eating disorder - you're never fully in remission or fully healed from one. You learn how to live with and manage it. Maybe I'm wrong to believe that and it's a stumbling block. I don't know.

Which brings me to the topic of my post - eating disorders. I was diagnosed with ED-NOS about a year ago. At first, my eating disorder was about weight. I had a (freakishly low!) goal weight, that was downright dangerous with my height and frame. In some ways, I still do, even though I know it's an irrational weight. Thing is - my eating disorder is so much more than that.

It's comments I got when I was younger. It's about control. "Those who are suffering with this illness have a low self-esteem and often a tremendous need to control their surroundings and emotions" - somethingfishy.  Since I'm no longer cutting, it serves as a form of self-injury. Some days, just eating a snack is a struggle. It's not a struggle I'm proud of and it's something that I know I cannot overcome alone.

It's not that I want to be this way. Sure, I have a huge stubborn streak and I fear any type of change - even good change. It's that I don't know how to be any other way. I resist the change and continue to spiral into my self-sabotage.  It's hard, and it's scary, but I know that change is for the best.

I know there is a better answer out there. I know so many facts about eating disorders - that you don't have to be dangerously underweight to die or have serious health problems from one (I'm not even underweight), that it's not all about food and weight, that there is hope out there. But the thing is.... there is hope out there. I can overcome this, and one day will be able to say that I'm in recovery from my eating disorder. For each day I go on, each day I fight, each day I make the choice to even eat one bite... I'm one step closer to recovery. I'm one inch closer to overcoming this disorder. And I'm that much closer to being healthy again.

(I'm really sorry that this AMV is all anime pictures. All the others I found were "thinspiration" which is something that REALLY is triggering. But the song is too perfect to not use, so I found something not so bad)

She comes home from school too early,
and closes the door to her room
There's nothing inside her,
She's weak and she's tired
Of feeling like this... 


I'm walking impaired

Being disabled is really such a strange thing. This is a horribly bad picture of me, but you get the gist:

I feel that when people see the crutches, they cast a judgement. They they think I'm weak, that I'm not smart, that I'm deaf, that I'm dumb, that I'm mute (HA! I bet my friend wish at times), that something isn't right with me. I feel because I have a bad back, off-kilter balance, weak knee, and more that I'm somehow incomplete. That something isn't right with me.

And it's a horrible, horrible feeling. I wonder if I'm broken. I wonder if I can be fixed. I wonder what people think when they see me. And I wonder if I will ever live a day without pain. There is literally nothing they can do for my knee at this point in time. My back has been fused.My balance disorder has an unknown origin. As I get older, my NF will continue to progress and I will become more and more disabled. I may be able to achieve my two dreams: get a license and go overseas, but that will take more time and energy and effort than most people.

It's a hallowing feeling, knowing that I'm only 24, yet already destined to live a life of pain. I will likely never know what it's  like to be fully pain free, only how to better manage and control the pain. I will never know what it's like to do so many things that so many people take for granted. I don't know what it's like to not have a laundry list of disorders, or to make sure every place I go is somehow handicap accessible. I will likely never know what it's like to have a child, as the disorder would not only harm me, it would harm the baby. I get so angry. I get so frustrated. And I wonder why God chose me to walk this path. I get frustrated that over the course of a year I see more doctors and specialists than most people see in their entire lives.

I'm told that God must have a special plan for me, that He must know something. Perhaps he does. But it doesn't change how angry I am that I was made this way. That my life is consumed with appointments to just try and give me a normal life, something others take for granted. That in addition to the physical ailments, I was cursed with PTSD and ED-NOS (coming soon in a blog entry near you about those).

I wonder if it would be easier if I had a family support structure, that when I'm up in pain at 5:30 in the morning, crying because I can't sleep because my back kills and I can't move my leg, if that would make it better. Or if it's better that I often suffer silently, so that others don't know, don't worry, don't have the chance to care.

It's funny the thoughts that run through my head - even though I know most of them are purely irrational. I wonder how much the pain fogs them.


Didn't your father ever tell you that? Didn't he?

"I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us. Didn't your father ever tell you that? Didn't he?" 

No, Sara, he didn't. He didn't.


Instead let there be a flood of justice

You turned your back on the homeless
And the ones that don't fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games
There's blood on your hands

Instead let there be a flood of justice

An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show



First of all, allow me to state my opinion on prayer in schools. This view has gotten me shunned and flamed by other Christians, but I actually do not support prayer in public schools. I am fine with events such as See You At The Pole. I have nothing against the Federation of Christian Athletes. But you know what? A prayer mural has no place in a public school. In the public school system, it should be a safe place for all. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist... it should be a safe haven for all.

And really? The public education's goal and purpose is to educate the child. MY child. Their job is not to teach my children about faith in God and religion. Christian teachers? Fine! Wonderful! They want to talk about their religion outside of the classroom and interact with my child? Sweet! But in the class room? Not cool. It's not that person's job to be shepherding my kid's faith.

You know who's job that is? That's MY job, my FAMILY'S job, my CHRUCH'S job. We should not place that job in the hands of a public school. I am fine with my children learning about different religions even as a part of World History as knowing the religion and how faith impacted that era of history is often critical to the events. But prayer in public schools? Keep it out.

That aside, let's look at the manner. We live in a culture, in a world, where we are told to stand out for what we believe. I can't count the number of times in high school I was urged to "stand for what is right." To speak out for what I believed. This is what Jessica did. And what happened? She was cruelly bullied!

This is what gives Christians a bad name. Thing is? These teenagers are likely hearing this at home. It's what their parents believe. And frankly, it rings of the Westboro Baptist Church. (Good grief, the church's URL is godhatesfags.com? Way to promote love there, mate!). These are NOT what true Christians are.

I often believe that these people are naturally hateful, and are looking for something to blame it on. Something they can use to help themselves not seem so hateful. After all, if we candy-coat and sugar-frost it with religion, it doesn't seem so bad, now does it? But because people do things like this, it paints all Christians with a tainted paintbrush.

If these people want to witness to this girl? There's other ways to do it! Talk to her about why she wanted the mural taken down. Be respectful to her. Listen to her views, and tastefully state yours. But telling her Satan is going to rape her? That you're doing a holocaust to atheists? Tell me, how does that promote your cause? It makes you look like a righteous idiot. Christianity boils down to a doctrine of love, and this is NOT what you are promoting. You disagree with her courageous, right choice? Fine, you have the right to that. Jessica, however, has the right to feel safe in her school. She hasn't come back to the school? THE POOR GIRL IS FEARING FOR HER LIFE!

And really? If you're telling her that "God is going to fuck your ass" why are you serving that kind of God? That's not remotely the kind of God that I want to serve nor IS it the God I serve. If you want people to rot in hell, I suggest you examine yourself more closely and read your Bible better. I suggest you see how Jesus responded to the Pharisees. And I suggest you examine yourself deeply because you are NOT promoting the Gospel that is promoted in Scripture.

I applaud the court's decision. I am thrilled that the police are taking the threats seriously. I am disgusted and sickened by the students doing this in the name of religion, because it's not what Jesus is about. And above all, I pray that Jessica finds peace in the midst of this. I pray that she has a supportive family who is helping her through this. And I hope that these students see how badly they are tarnishing the name of Christianity and get a life.


I live to make him proud

He died on 3 July 1975. He was 57 years old. And he is still one of the most important men in my life. Perhaps "still" isn't the best word to use, because I was born almost 12 years after he died and I never met him. I've never heard his voice. But I believe with all my heart that he's watching over me, and that he even visits the Rainbow Bridge to take care of my doggies. And he's the man that I live to make proud. I'm told he always wanted a daughter, and I often wondered if he had lived to see me born how my life would have been different. I'm told I would have been spoiled rotten, so perhaps it's for the best. I still wonder.

I'm told I have a bit of his temper. I wonder what other personality traits I share with him. I imagine he was rather sarcastic, and I, shockingly enough, am fluent in sarcasm. I wonder if he liked pathetic puns. I wonder if he was easily amused. I wonder if I look like him. From the few pictures I've seen, I can see some of his facial features in me, but perhaps that's just wishful thinking.

I may have never met him. I never will meet him, not in this life at least. But I have to wonder, does he look out for me? Does he send little messages from wherever he is? And does he love me as much as I love him? Does he see any of his little quirks in me? Does he see any of his wife in me?

Nevertheless, I live to make the man I never met proud. I live to be the girl that he says "Yeah, you see that beautiful brunette? That's MY granddaughter, and I'm proud of her."


It's a brand new day and the sun is high

I was kind of lame and didn't even make it until midnight for the first time in several years. Um, oops. Oh well. I hope that lameness doesn't last into the new year. ;)

I like to reflect on New Years, and what all went down in the previous year. I transferred out of a school that was a living hell for me and I had back surgery. People I loved died. My mom, whom I have virtually no contact with, got diagnosed with a form of cancer. I had many health struggles and many friendship difficulties. I got my official eating disorder DX. I've been fighting my insurance. So much has hit the fan this year.

I made new friends, made other friendships stronger, and lost some friendships. But I did learn many things this past year:

1. To quote the Fray: "Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same."
2. Sometimes, we have to man up (woman up) and do what is emotionally painful and has dire consequences, just because it's the right thing.
3. We shouldn't let petty fights end friendships that one were once beautiful, because life is fragile and we don't know when that person will die. Petty fights aren't worth being immature over.
4. I'm learning more about cooking gluten free food. Sometimes it tastes awesome and I make seconds, other times it tastes awful and I have to choke it down. ;)
5. Sometimes, taking a scary plunge into a new horizon is the best possible choice.

Old stuff: some old NYE/New Year's Day Posts:

December 31, 2005:
"2005. It's almost over.

I'm filled with memories by it. Some good, some bad. This year is one to remember, for sure. My entire life changed this year. Everything changed. Is there a better hope for next year? Is there a better life next year? I hope so.

I mean, this year, I turned 18. Of course, it wasn't the best birthday, I can only hope my birthday in 2006 will be better. I changed schools, I moved, so much changed.

Will two thousand and six be better?"

January 1, 2006:

"Sometimes I wish it was easier. I wish I could just trust in God. I wish I could just love Him, but I don't know that I can. I don't know what I want with my life anymore.

I don't know what I want to do. I don't know where I want to turn. I don't know where I want to go. I don't know what to do with all these feelings bubbling up inside of me.

I don't know what to do with this bitterness. I don't know what to do with this hatred. I don't know what to do with this pain, what to turn it into, what to channel it to.

I don't know what to do with this feeling of not being good enough. I don't know what to do with thse memories. I can't just shove them aside, after all.

I don't know what to do with the past. I don't know what to do with it. I know I need to learn from it, but I don't know what to do with it. I just don't know anything anymore.

I don't know where I need to turn. I don't know what I need to do. I just know..that I need help."

2012, please don't suck.

Dear 2012,
Please kick my ass and make up for all the crapiness I dumped.
Love, 2011.