Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Wellness

Moving on up

badass asian chick with sword!
Shaolin Sword. Different, but still cool.

For the first time in two weeks, I feel like a semblance of myself. I said when I first started feeling punk that I’d rather have a few days of intense sickness and then get over it then to have something that lingers forever and ever. When I was first sick, it was a low-level, but pervasive exhaustion that sapped my will to do anything. Then, I had three days of concentrated crud, which, while it sucked, was bearable when I got marginally better the next day. Then, yesterday, Monday, I felt significantly better and went to taiji for the first time in weeks. We took it easy, and we did a little of the Sword Form, which always makes me feel better. I was careful not to overdo because I know myself. Like many people, when I start feeling better, I’d go hard at whatever I was doing and make myself sick again.

You’d think it’d be easy to tell myself, “Remember, just because you’re starting to feel better, it doesn’t mean you’re completely better.” Well, it’s easy to tell myself that, but it’s harder to truly embrace it. I’m a pretty low-energy person in the first place, but being sick makes me almost completely immobilized. When I finally can move without much exhaustion again, I want to go hog-wild (which for me means going to TWO places in one day rather than one).

I left taiji feeling a bit tired, but not excessively so. It felt good to go to class and stretch my limbs. It also felt good to see my teacher and classmate (there’s usually only the two of us on Mondays) after being absent for a few weeks. I still did my daily routine, but I learn so much in class that I don’t like to miss it. In addition, we’re going through the Sword Form with refinements and slight tweaks, and as I’ve said a million times, THE SWORD IS MY JAM. I love it with a passion unmatched for anything else. I would sleep with my sword if I could (well, no, I wouldn’t, but it’s always in my heart), and I could do sword for hours on end.

Why do I love it so? I can’t fully explain it, though I’ve thought about it more than once. I’ve told the story before of how once I ‘graduated’ from the Solo Form, my teacher mentioned the Sword Form. I vigorously said I didn’t want to learn weapons (oh, I was so young and naive back then), but she gently persisted. Finally, one day, she pressed her wooden sword in my hand, and as soon as I closed my fingers around the hilt, that was it. I was born to wield a blade, and I haven’t looked back since.

I know some of my classmates are envious of my Sword Form and how easily I learned it, but I can’t take any credit for it. It just came naturally to me, and I practice it frequently. I do something with the sword every day, and I practice the Sword Form about once a week. I understand my classmates being a bit jealous, but they don’t see how diligent I am with the Sword Form. I get a bit tired of having to play down my ability or biting my tongue from saying that I’m good because I practice. I mean, yes, I have natural talent. I’m not going to downplay that because it’s true. In addition, I’m good at learning stuff. Well, usually. When I’m not, then I don’t do that thing any longer. I’m not proud of it, and it’s not a good thing about me, but it’s the truth.

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Gonna make me sweat

The full crud hit me on Thursday, and I’ve been slogging through it ever since. I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday feeling like complete and utter shit. Today (Sunday), I woke up feeling a bit better, and I’m hoping it means that I’m on the tail end of this thing, or at least the legs of it. I’ve taken Excedrin Migraine (generic version) every day since then, and it’s helped stave off the incipient migraine.

Side note: I go back and forth about calling what I get migraines because there are a lot of people who are elitist about migraines. “Oh, you think that’s bad? I can’t get out of bed for three days and have to lie in complete darkness and stillness with a cold towel over my face the entire time.” “Migraine medication? How lucky that it works for you. It doesn’t help me at all.” I know there are a variety of migraines, but I’m still chary because I don’t want to have to listen to a harangue about why what I have isn’t a migraine. But, I know it is. I get nauseated, and everything starts turning gray. I feel as if I have a steel band closing around my forehead, and if I’m lucky to catch it in time with the Excedrin, then I’ll just feel the mild effects for a few hours as they slowly dissipate.

I haven’t been able to do much other than watch videos, go to Cubs, and play Monster Hunter World. I’m starting to get serious about the end game of MHW. I’ve allowed Nergigante to build up in my mind, and now I’ve freaked myself the fuck out. I still can’t get out of Dark Souls mode of thinking that each monster is a Boss (with a capital B), which means I dread each fight. It doesn’t matter that I don’t die against the monsters nearly as much as I die against the bosses in the Souls series–I still equate the two.

It’s hard for me to answer whether or not I’m still enjoying the game. I am, but there’s an accompanying sense of dread/resentment/obligation. There is just so much to do, and when I unlock additional quests, I’m more, “Oh, not more shit to do” rather than “Hell, yeah!”

It’s also hard for me to gauge how I’m doing because I only play solo. I’ve fainted maybe a total of a dozen times, and have failed a quest because of being carted three times twice (LR Diablos and LR Kirin, but as I have pointed out several times, one of the cartings on Kirin was because of a glitch/lag). I don’t think that’s so bad, but I don’t know because again, I don’t play with other people.


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Dragging through the mud

I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I–wait, that’s a lie. I get sick a lot. Or rather, I get sick in clumps. I may not be sick for months, but then I get sick, it lingers, I start getting better, I get sick again, and I can’t seem to drag myself out of it. During one epic episode, I had bronchitis for eight months. EIGHT MONTHS.

I got seven to eight hours of sleep last night, which is another reason I know I’m sick. I don’t sleep that much in one go unless I’m sick. I’m still exhausted, and I just want to sleep.

A little Monster Hunter: World talk. Just a little because I need to run to Cubs then go back to sleep. I took on the Pink Rathian with little problem except for her goddamn poison. I forgot to spec out for that (I can negate poison completely), and she got me three times with that goddamn tail of hers before I cut it off. Still. She wasn’t *that* much harder than the regular Low Rank Rathian (with whom I had very little problems), and my speculation is because I’ve fought so many goddamn dragons/wyverns in Dark Souls.

I’m back to wanting to master the Charge Blade again. Except, it’s going to take an appreciable amount of time in order to do so. I’m also back on the Insect Glaive train, having used it to totally dismantle the High Rank Tobi-Kadachi. Granted, he’s not that tough, but the Low Rank Tobi nearly wrecked my shit the first time I fought him. Anyway, I love the mobility and the range of the Insect Glaive and how easy it makes it to mount the monsters. I’m keeping it in my repertoire of viable weapons.

I just ran to Cubs and now I’m tired. I will cut this short and write more about MHW on Friday, the actual designated Fun/Video Games day. In the meantime, watch someone much better than I, Casey DeFreitas from IGN take on her most hated monster–Kirin.

General Housekeeping and ginger lemon honey tea

tzitzi ain't got nothing on me.
Did someone call for an Uber?

Hello. I am still sick with sinus issues, so I will not be posting anything of substance today. In addition, I was between phones late last week, which is why I didn’t post anything on Friday*. I’m thinking of doing an overhaul to my website in general, but it’s in the very nascent stages.

Just briefly: I made it to High Rank in Monster Hunter: World (finally!), and things have really opened up. I’m kind of overwhelmed by how much there is to do, and I wished I hadn’t wasted so much time in Low Rank. I fear I’m reaching burnout, and I’m only a third through the game.

That said, I really have to get out of the Dark Souls mindset of thinking that every monster I face is a boss. It’s not. I didn’t get carted once until Anjanath (Anjy), and I’ve only failed a quest by fainting three times twice. Once on Diablos (whom I call Derbler) and once on Kirin. The latter was horrid my first time because I brought the wrong Switch Axe to the fight. I mistakenly thought because he’s an Elder Dragon, he would be weak to dragon. He is not. Also, I glitched once at the precise time he was kicking me and got carted. If it weren’t for those two things, I would have had him.

After I failed the quest, I went back and maxed out my armor (yes, I had Level 3 Thunder Resistance already) and grabbed the proper Switch Axe (the one that does fire damage) and kicked some unicorn ass. That’s it. Actually, I bombed his ass into oblivion, and it felt good. I then watched someone else fight Kirin with a group of four, and I felt bad for Kirin. He’s a beast to fight, though, and he reminds me of the motherfucking ice area of DS II (DLC).

I’m up to tracking the old Rathian, and I’m not looking forward to it. I also still have to do the Power Couple (Rathian and Rathalos) and two other Rathians. That’s a shit-ton of Rathians, and I’m not sure I want to do it. I know the old Rathian turns into Pink Rathian, which is a higher level of Rathian. I probably should fight one or both of the other HR Rathians before taking her on, but, eh. I don’t know. I thought the HR Anjanath was going to be orders of magnitude harder, but she wasn’t.

Oh! Also, I’ve done almost everything solo so far, but I know I’m reaching the point where I probably won’t be able to do it any longer. I’ve been watching videos of people fighting the Elder Dragons (the real ones, not Kirin), and, yeah. Each fight is going to be epic. Also, I’ve come across Beetlejuice (real name Bazelgeuse) once, and he’s a dick. The Angry Pickle (Deviljho) was recently added in a patch, and I cannot wait to run into him (I can wait a very long time, thank you very much).

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Under (sinus) pressure

I’m still feeling punk. And, it’s still hasn’t fully hit, which is depressing me. I’m already feeling depressed because of my life, and I was going to get more into that this week, but I’ll save it for later. Let’s just say there isn’t one facet of my life in which I’m satisfied, and this could be a dangerous slope into chronic depression. Even though it’s been years since I’ve been there, I know it could happen at any time. I’ve had a low-grade depression for a few months now, which is bearable, but not desirable, honestly. Persistently being on the cusp of being sick doesn’t help. My sinuses are sore, I have a dry cough, and I have no energy.

So, this is your post for the day. Here is Queen and David Bowie doing Under Pressure (of course).

Rainy days and Mondays

I’m sick. I started feeling a tickle yesterday, and I was hoping it was just allergies. *spoiler* It wasn’t. Today, I woke up experiencing the full cruds, and it’s the worst. Honestly, I would rather be full-on sick for five days then feel crappy for weeks. It’s not bad enough to lay me out completely, but it’s enough to make me drag my flattish yellow ass all over the place.

I had to skip class yesterday because I just didn’t have the energy to drive myself there, and I didn’t want to infect my classmates with whatever incipient cold is brewing up inside of me. I probably would have benefited from the class, but it seemed like scaling a mountain to get there.

In addition, I’m having phone woes. My beloved Nexus 5X died on me two weeks ago. I got a Moto X4 to replace it, and it just died today. After I’ve had it for less than a week. Yeah, I’m not impressed by that. I’ll be returning it and getting a different phone.

So, yeah. I have the grumps today. That’s why I’m not doing a full post. Sorry about that. Here’s a video of Maru making pizza.

50 goals for turning 50

In taiji yesterday, a classmate was talking about celebrating her youngest stepdaughter’s birthday. She (the stepdaughter) turned 51, and my classmate said that ‘young’ is relative. She also mentioned that the stepdaughter made a crack about some old man, and her sister said that someone who had just turned 51 should be careful about calling someone old. It got me to thinking about turning 50 and how I’m not ready for it. I’m 47, and, yes, I know that’s closer to 45 than 50, but this birthday was really hard for me for some unfathomable reason. I don’t usually care about age, and I’m not upset about being 47 specifically. It’s just that it crept up on me, and I don’t know what happened to the last ten years. I’m nearing half a century on this planet, and I have nothing to show for it. It’s messing with my mind, and I think par of my current depression is because of this.

So. Resolutions.

1. Health. I’ve talked several times about not being happy about my weight. It’s not about health, though I’m sure that could be improved as well. It’s that I hate the way I look, and I want to do something about it. I thought giving up gluten and dairy would help, but it hasn’t. Probably because I started eating rice again which is SO GOOD but calorific. I haven’t eaten as much as of late, so that’s probably helpful. As much as I love rice (and I love it a lot because I’m Asian), it doesn’t really have any nutritional benefits. I’ve also cut out potato chips, added them back, and cut them out again. I’ve slowly added back fruit and veggies, and I cut down my caffeine intake by four-fifths.

Which, by the way, was by far harder than giving up dairy and gluten. I was so logy and cranky, I could barely function. It was two weeks before I felt human again, but I’m still adjusting. I have one cup of tea/coffee a day and have completely given up pop. I had some while I was in Malta, but those were extenuating circumstances. I will have a glass occasionally if I’m dining out, but more often than not, I’ll stick to water.

Side note: I want pizza right now. I want it so bad, I can taste it. There are many tasty substitutes for many gluten and dairy foods, but gluten-free/dairy-free pizza just isn’t that tasty. A local pizza joint had a fall special a few years ago that had sausage and sauerkraut, and it was amazing. So delicious! Heavy as hell, yes, but I would eat it every day all day long. I have a feeling I’ll break soon and get one because I can’t stop thinking about it, but I don’t want to fall off the gf/df wagon. I did while in Malta, but again, it was extenuating circumstances. How the hell could I not try pasta in Malta? Especially pasta with cheese in it?

I need to start cooking. I’ve said it several times, but I’ve yet to do it. I’ve boiled gf macaroni and added spaghetti sauce to it, but that’s not exactly cooking, now is it? I should get a pressure cooker because it’s magical, but it seems like a lot to learn. I could be wrong and probably am, but that’s how it appears to me.

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Everything’s easier on the internet

a tangled web we weave.
Socially networking like a bawss.

I’m a heavy internet user, but I’m trying to lessen my time on social media. Why? It’s having a negative effect on my mental health. I realized that if I hopped on Twitter first thing in the morning, it would negatively affect my mood for the rest of the day. I now take Wednesday and Saturday off, and it makes me feel better. I’m thinking of adding Monday, but I haven’t done it yet.

I’ve noticed something about the online world vs. the real world. It’s much easier to be stuck in an echo chamber because you can tailor everything to your preferences. It’s not a bad thing because why would I want to see tweets from right-wingers all day long? Apparently, Jack (from Twitter) doesn’t agree and is considering messing with the algorithm so that you see tweets outside of your bubble, which, no, Jack. Just no. Look, I get the reason for thinking this is a good idea. Like I said, it’s easy to just hang out with people you agree with and for your opinions to harden into rigidity. However, the solution to that is not to force heinous tweeters on hapless users. While the idea is a good one, it’s too much of a benevolent dictatorship for me. Ideally, the user would have a healthy mix of tweeters she followed, but let’s face it–most people aren’t that self-aware.

It’s also easy to craft theories in your head that work perfectly but don’t stand the sniff test when taken out into the real world. It’s the academic fallacy in which you can talk about a subject with your friends/colleagues for hours, come to an agreement with them, then think everyone in the world thinks that way. I see way too many philosophical arguments that don’t have anything to do with real life, and it’s especially difficult to burst that bubble because we all have a bias for believing what we think is reality. I tested this during the 2012 election by randomly asking people in the real world (people I knew, not just strangers) who weren’t on Twitter what they thought of some hot Twitter topic, and they never knew what I was talking about. All my friends follow politics more than the norm, and they still didn’t know about the Twitter outrage of the day.

I see this all the time, especially on certain progressive sites, including one of the advice sites I frequent. There are buzzwords that get thrown out willy-nilly, and it only works if everyone agrees on the meaning of said words (or phrases), which, sadly, is often the case. I had a discussion with Ian the other night about how heuristics are important, and I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s true that they are important, but it’s also true that when heuristics become FACTS, it can be a problem. For example, the term ’emotional labor’ gets thrown around a lot these days. It started as a way to describe situations in the workplace in which the worker has to suppress her own emotions in order to do what needs to be done at work. A good example is retail. Colloquially, it’s come to mean managing the emotions in a relationship (any relationship, but most often romantic), and it’s often relegated to the woman in a heteronormative relationship. By the way, that’s another word that is more useful in academic settings–heteronormative.

Anyway, now, people are throwing emotional labor out there to mean anything from having to deal with someone else’s feelings to having to set boundaries and a half dozen of other things that may be tangentially related, but not actually emotional labor. Another one is the word toxic to describe a situation. I’ve seen it used in situations which have negative aspects, say, the hubby doesn’t do the dishes every night, but isn’t necessarily bad in and of itself (he does the laundry, takes care of the children half the time, makes a decent living, remembers anniversaries, listens to his wife, etc.), and I think it dilutes the term when it’s used so loosely.
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The (mental) journey from fat to fit

oh, how i wish.
Like this, but not as hot.

I was talking with Ian yesterday about how anxiety works because we’ve both experienced it in our lives. Still do, but to a lesser degree. We were talking about how worrying about all this stupid shit that you can’t really do anything about is a way to not focus on things that are actually a problem in your life, but that you don’t want to deal with. I mentioned trying to eat better–

Side note: We both realized in Malta that we were fatter than we felt comfortable with. Air France has really short seat belts probably because the French hate everything and everyone (joke/not a joke. Will never return to Charles de Gaulle), and I could barely click it. Once we were cleared, I took it off and didn’t put it back on until we were landing. In Malta, I felt even worse because I couldn’t walk for ten minutes without getting tired. Yes, part of it was the heat, but it’s also that I’m not in great shape. Anyway, back to my narrative.

I said that I wanted to eat better, but I’m not doing anything about it. Ian quickly exclaimed that I had done a lot. I paused to really think about it because he was right. I cut out gluten and dairy a year and three months ago, and that was the start of an arduous journey. Giving up wheat and dairy was surprisingly easy especially as there are so many tasty alternatives these days, and I don’t miss anything. Well, except cheese. I miss cheese a lot. And dumplings. And pizza. It’s OK, though. *sigh*

I’m also adding back in fruits and veggies. I ate a ton when I was a kid because my mom made me. It won’t surprise you to find out that I rebelled as an adult by not eating any at all. I really was cutting off my nose to spite my own face because I like most fruits and several vegetables. I eat an orange a day, and veggies in the deli food I get from the co-op. I try to eat at least one other fruit a day to get my five in.

Next up, I have cut way back on my caffeine. I drank up to sixty ounces of it a day (yes, I know that’s not how caffeine is measured, but it’s how I view it), and now I’m at eight or less (most days). Meaning, I went from five-ish cups to one. I’ve mostly stopped drinking coffee, substituting tea in its place. Currently, I’m giving up chips and other nibbles which for some reason I started eating again after I gave it up the last time. I find that it’s means I’m less anxious and jittery, which is a net positive. I don’t even miss my Diet Coke. I had a few while I was in Malta and when I’m eating out, and to be honest, it tastes weird to me now. So, yes. I’ve made big changes. I eat better overall now than I did a year-and-a-half ago. And yet, I still have so far to go.

Let me be clear. I hate the way I look. When I glance in the mirror and see all the roundness, I flinch. I look monstrous and grotesque to my eyes, especially my face and my belly. I’m not the biggest I’ve ever been, but it certainly feels that way. I had thought when I cut out dairy and gluten, I would naturally lose some weight. I didn’t. I think it’s because of the aforementioned delicious substitutes that are readily available these days that I didn’t really feel the pinch. And (and now we’re getting to the meat of the post) it’s because I don’t cook.

*sigh*

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Frailty, thy name is humidity

gorgeous humidity.
Beautiful, but deadly.

I am back from my week of fun in the sun, emphasis on sun. I went to Malta, Gozo more specifically, with my family and Ian, and it was an experience unlike any other. First of all, I have to get the elephant in the room out of the way.

The heat. More to the point, the heat and the humidity. It’s the summer in Gozo, and it’s the worst of the worst. More than one Gozitan commented that we had come to the island at the wrong time while looking as cool as a cucumber as I sweated a river down my body. My mom’s sandplay association had a conference and why they chose Malta during sweat o’clock time, I’ll never know.

Here’s the absolute worst part–we were staying at a Jesuit retreat center. That’s not the bad part–they were wonderful people. Very kindhearted and generous, which I’ll get to in a minute. The retreat center had no air conditioning. I repeat, the retreat center had no air. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I HATE the heat. Hate it with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. Anything over sixty makes me cranky, and when it hits eighty, I’m a right bitch. In Gozo, the average temperature while we were there was high eighties with an 80% humidity. There were two large fans in the bedrooms, but all it did was move the hot air around. Ian and I kept the windows open (one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom), but it didn’t help much, either.

I couldn’t sleep in the heat. It was oppressive. I know that phrase is overused, but it was true. I never knew how much I took for granted that nighttime would bring about a cool and much-needed breeze. I love my air and pay fealty to it, but I reasoned I could live without it. I have. My air was broken at the beginning of this summer, right when we had a few days of 100 degrees. It was actually broken since last year, but the AC company told me to wait to fix it until April of this year so the warranty would last longer. Well, not longer, but you know what I mean. In April, we had a 1 1/2 – 2 feet snowstorm, so the last thing I was thinking about was my air conditioner.

Anyway, I suffered through it wearing as little as possible and blasting a big box fan right in my face. I moved as little as possible, and it was relief once the heat broke. My air was fixed a few weeks later, and I haven’t looked back yet. Naively, I thought if I could deal with that, then I could deal with Malta.

I could not have been more wrong.

The heat hit like a Mack truck the second I stepped on that island. It surrounded me like a shroud and grew incrementally tighter every second I was there. From the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep, it wrapped around me like a blanket and wouldn’t let go. Breakfast was at 8 a.m., lunch was at 12:30 p.m., and dinner was at 7:30 p.m. We got there last Tuesday, I want to say afternoon? It’s hard to remember because time was so convoluted in Malta. Anyway, my heart sank when I realized there was no A/C, but I naively thought I’d be able to deal with it on some level.

That’s a lie. I knew I would have trouble with the heat. I’m a wimp when it comes to heat–there’s no getting around it. I can’t even deal with Minnesota heat which is bush league in comparison to what I experienced in Gozo. I’d lay down in the heat around midnight, drenched in sweat, feeling miserable as I waited for sleep to find me. I had one fan blowing directly on my face, but it didn’t help. I was miserable and pissed off, but trying not to wallow in it–or my stench.

Sleep was not my friend during those nights. I’d sleep for maybe an hour or two, and then I’d wake up hot and sweaty. To make matters work, I didn’t fully understand how the toilet worked, and I have a thing about public toilets anyway, so by the fourth or fifth night, I was pretty much avoiding the bathroom in the bedroom and using the one in the center itself. Ian and I got into a fight over the toilet in our bathroom, and it’s in a large part because both of us were sleep-deprived and majorly cranky. I felt like everything was working my last nerve, and I had to actively hold back from snapping.

Ian and I would go out to smoke at three or four in the morning, and it would be minimally cooler. It was actually cooler outside the rooms than in, but, again, it was a matter of degrees. As in less than five. We’d stay outside as long as possible, and then return to the stifling room. We’d both try to sleep, but it was nearly impossible. My sleep is shit in general, but in Malta, it got even worse. It hit Ian even harder than me, and I don’t think either of us got more than three hours of sleep at a time.

We’d wake up around six or so and then swan around miserably until breakfast. I have to give the retreat center props for having gluten-free cereal and bread (from my favorite maker, Schar) and vegetable milk, even though I don’t know what exactly it’s made of. Breakfast was  gluten-free flakes and vegetable milk, a banana, gluten-free bread with three slices of ham. Coffee or tea, orange juice, and water. Another smoke, and then life on the bay.

This is one of the ways the men at the retreat center were so wonderful. The director drove my father, Ian, and me to Xlendi Bay the morning after we arrived and picked us up a few hours later. He did that the next day as well. On the third day of the conference, he was busy, but he had one of the fathers drive us instead. Xlendi Bay became our second home, and, yes, it’s a tourist haven, but it’s gorgeous, and the water was crystal clear and cool. I loved wading in it, feeling the buoyancy keeping me bobbing. I had to be careful because of the rocks, but it was such a breath of fresh air–pun intended. Plus, there was a breeze that kept the air from being stifling.

What I loved most about the bay was seeing a plethora of people from all around the world–or more accurately, from all around Europe. There were people of all shapes and sizes, and none of them were self-conscious about their bodies. I saw older and large women who were rocking bikinis and bathing suits with confidence, not giving a damn about the cellulite on their thighs or upper arms. They didn’t give a thought about how their bodies appeared to others–which was so mind-blowing to see. I’m so used to American women (me included) being obsessed with what is wrong with our bodies, and even if it was an illusion, I loved seeing women who just didn’t give a damn.

Related note: Right before going to Malta, I went shopping to look for a bathing suit at Target. I had little hope of finding one because bathing suits are not made for women like me. But, I tried on a two-piece that was made by a company specifically for plus-sized women, and to my surprise, it did not make me want to cry when I saw it on myself.

In Gozo, I saw a women similar to my size wearing a swimsuit that was similar to mine except it was bright blue and flowery while mine was black–natch. The top had a camisole-like base with flowing drapes over it. There was cleavage shown, but still had support. The bottom had boy shorts with drapes over it as well. I didn’t feel uncomfortable in it, but mostly because of how comfortable everyone else was around me. On a related note, there were so many beautiful people–but not in the conventional way. They all looked like they lived hard and joyfully, and I had to stop myself from staring more than once. It’s why I like European flicks–the actors look real. Haggardly beautiful, but real.

After a refreshing morning at Xlendi Bay, it was lunch time. It was usually some kind of pasta followed by meat, potatoes, and veggies. Then, dessert or fruit. I tried to stay strong, but I broke. I had to eat the pasta because I was famished. Another thing I didn’t realize is how used to eating whenever I want I’d gotten. I don’t like to eat three times a day–I prefer to graze. In Malta, I felt I had to stuff myself when I had the chance because I wouldn’t eat again for a long stretch of time. On the other hand, I was so hot, I rarely felt like eating. It was a weird situation.

Dinner was vegetable soup, then meat, potatoes and veggies, and then wine. The first day of food was great. By the last night, I think everyone was a bit sick of the same thing. Oh, there was bread for every meal as well, but I couldn’t eat any of that. The pasta I had was good, but it wreaked havoc on my system. I stopped eating it after three days with just a pang of regret.

The last day we were in Gozo, Ian and I begged off the planned tour despite persistent urging from my mother (because I fucking hate tours. I hate crowds of people. I hate people telling me what to do or where to go. And, to be honest, I wanted the time away from my family. After breakfast, Ian and I walked into the town center with the explicit plan to visit the shopping mall and the citadel. There would be air conditioning in the shopping mall, we reasoned. Oh, how wrong we were. It wasn’t really a shopping mall, but merely a collection of shops for tourist with an occasional blast of air, but not A/C per se. I was dying at this point, but it was our last day in Gozo, and I didn’t want to waste it.

Walking to the citadel was painful; I’m not going to lie. I was gasping, though I tried to keep it quiet, and my extremities were tingling. My right thigh was numbing in pain–and this thigh has been a problem for the past six months or so. My dad has a lot of pain in his thighs in a similar way to what I’ve been experiencing, and it’s turned out to be serious. I’m not a doctor, but my interpretation is compressed vertebrae. There’s talk of an operation. The citadel was very interesting, but I was seriously hurting by the time we got there. I overheard a mother asking her daughter in concern if the daughter was OK, and the daughter nodded, but her face was dangerously flushed. I hope she’s OK, but it heartened me to know I wasn’t the only one who was having such difficulties with the climate.

I had a fish stew that was fucking amazing. But, no air until the cab we hailed to go back to the retreat center. I know we overpaid, but I didn’t care by that point. I would have paid five times the amount for five minutes of cold. It showed me how weak my flesh was and how willing I was to do anything to get out of that remorseless heat. I said to Ian that it started to feel malevolent, as if the heat was personally targeting me. Yes, I know it’s not true, but it really felt malicious by the third night I couldn’t fucking sleep. We slept with the door open during the day which helped, but it felt weird to do that at night. I don’t know why, but sleeping with the door closed was nearly impossible.

I have much more to say, but this is getting long. I’ll wrap it up here and pick it up at a later time.