Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Taiji

With age, hopefully, comes wisdom

 

but not when i first wake up.
All of this looks soooooo good.

I’ve been thinking lately about all the things I learned as a kid that are not relevant to me now. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to stick with the ideas related to health, mental and physical.

1. When and how I eat. If you’re around my age (late forties), I’m sure you were taught the four food groups, how much you should eat of each, that you should eat three square meals a day, and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that all of this is different now. Some of it is just science. There are now five groups (fruits and veggies got split up), and in the old days it was 4-4-3-2, that’s the way to eat for you (or something like that). I don’t remember which number goes with what group, but that was taught to me as a kid. Now, it’s ounces/cups per day, and the amount of each group has changed. I don’t have an issue with that. Things change over time.

When I should eat has always been a struggle for me. I don’t like to eat when I first awake, and usually it’s more than an hour after I get up before I’m even remotely hungry. In addition, I take a medication that requires that you don’t eat for an hour after you take it.

Side note: It would have been nice for my first doctor to tell me that when I was fourteen–which was when I first started having to take this med. He didn’t, though, and he was a bad doctor all around. Then again, he might have said it and I didn’t listen because I was overwhelmed with the new information and was exceedingly depressed at the time. Either way, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that my (new and great) doctor told me that I wasn’t supposed to take the medication with an hour of eating.

Anyway, I sometimes don’t eat for hours after I awake. It just depends. I have a history of eating disorders, so I’m trying to honor my body by eating only when I’m hungry. It doesn’t work all the time (or even most), but I’m working on it. As for the three square meals thing, I’ve found that I feel better if I eat a little bit several times a day rather than a lot three times a day. I think it makes more sense, too, to keep my hunger at a reasonable level, rather than have a feast or famine mentality. When I go out to eat, I never eat more than half, especially if I order an appetizer and/or dessert. I don’t like feeling stuffed, so it’s easier for me to eat many times a day.

I also have to take into account all my sensitivities. I’ve been gluten-free/dairy-free for almost two years, and I’m currently troubleshooting what else is wrong with me. Food-wise, I mean. I thought it was nuts, but now I’m finding it’s not. It might be hydrogenated oil? I’m not sure. I haven’t had a serious stomach issue in a week or two, which is nice, but I would like to pinpoint what made it happen.

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The pain of my weight

fuuuuuuck!
Itme begging for mercy.

Still having birthday thoughts (not thought about my birthday, but thoughts stemming from it being my birthday), and since today is Wellness day, let’s talk about health.

Currently, my back is giving me hell. Let me clarify: My back always gives me hell one way or the other. I store my tension in my back (and my shoulders), and I didn’t feel it for a few decades because I froze out my entire body. My taiji teacher has a saying that she got from her teacher–the first sign of relaxation is when you notice the tension. Most of us are so tense all the time, we don’t realize it any longer. We kinda block it out until something reminds us.

I’ve been working diligently on my back issues, and it’s much better than it used to be. However, I still had a problem in which I have a lower back spasm that came maybe a dozen times a week. It wasn’t too bad–it basically just caused me to clench up for a brief second, then it’d go away. I do a bunch of stretches every morning that are solely to help my back. They’ve kept the pain at bay–mostly.

Then, last night, I got up from the couch (I sit sideways so my legs are out in front of me. Shadow likes to perch on my legs as I type) and my back spasmed so hard, I screamed out loud. Not grunted. Not a ladylike yelp, but a full-body scream. Like I’m a cheerleader in a horror movie scream. I wasn’t *trying* to scream like that–it was ripped from the back of my throat. Every time I shifted, it would happen. I screamed so much, I scared my cat.

I don’t feel regular pain. I trained myself to block it out when I was a child. This pain was unblockable, and it was intense. I did not want to move at all because it hurt so much. When I was changing pants and standing on my right leg, the leg buckled as my back spasmed again. I almost fell to the ground but managed to stop in time. The pain was literally breathtaking, and I found myself moving much more slowly because I didn’t want to feel it again.

It was a warning sign to me that I had to change the way I sit. Right now, I am sitting the proper way on the couch with both my feet on the ground. Shadow is sitting to the right of me, gently thumping his tail. He tried to sit on my chest, but he didn’t have as much purchase as he would if I were lying down. I don’t think he’s mad at me, but I feel guilty, anyway.

This morning, I woke up to the same spasms. They were quite as bad as they were last night, but still caused me to double over. I did the series of back-stretching I do every other day (because I don’t love it), and the pain went away. Not completely, but roughly 80% gone. It truly was a miracle, and now, I’m going to do these exercises every day. I may do them several times a day. It truly feels like a miracle. I was not looking forward to another day of spasming and crabbing my way along, and it feels good. I still have the smaller spasms, but I can deal with that. I’m determined to make changes so I’ll never have to feel that kind of pain again.

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Just fuck everything, but snow?!?

To no one’s surprise, I have a fucking cold. Warning: I will be fucking sweary in this post because I am so fucking sick and tired of being, well, sick and tired. A deep hacking cough, a stuffed nose that simultaneously feels as if it has pine needles jabbing into it from time to time. Add chest congestion to that, and you can understand why I’m irritated. Not just irritated, but downright pissed off. I have been sick on and off for the past few months, and every time I feel better, something else happens to me. It’s not as if I’m in the public all the time, a lot, or much at all. So why the hell am I getting sick? It’s a question for my doc the next time I go, which will be soon because I have to get my annual thyroid check for my meds.

Speaking of docs….Every year, I have to deal with my insurance, and I thought I set it last year so I wouldn’t have to do it again this year. I got a notice saying my insurance would end because I hadn’t re-enrolled, and I found an earlier letter with the re-enrollment form. I filled it out and sent it in with a brief explanation of what happened. I sent it in before the end of the month, and then this week, I got a notice that my insurance had ended last month. I thought about checking my mail today before I called the insurance office, but I didn’t because I’m lazy. I called, resigned to wait for over an hour as I had to do the other times I called them (this is a governmental office, so you know how that goes), but I got someone within five minutes. She told me there was nothing wrong with my insurance, and I had her double check and read it to me exactly to make sure. Afterwards, I went to check the mail because I was going out, anyway, and sure enough, there was my health plan letter. I had to laugh, but I’m relieved that it ended well.


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Checking in on my health

drink it all up!
Staying cozy and warm.

The vaunted snowstorm netted us a whopping three to four inches of snow. I’m not mad, really, just disappointed. However, I knew it wasn’t going to be eight to ten inches because we’ve consistently gotten less than has been predicted, so I’m not crushed as I would be otherwise. It’s lightly snowing now, and we’re supposed to get more snow during the big storm next week. Only a few more inches, but I’ll take it. We haven’t had snow hardly at all this winter.

As for the cold, it’s really fucking cold. Currently, the temp is ‘feels like’ -28. There is no feeling going on at that temp. That’s cold, even for me. I did have the window slightly rolled down when I ran to Cubs this morning, but it’s only three minutes from my house.

Fun fact: Some years ago, the windchill factor formula was tweaked so that it more accurately reflects how the wind feels on your skin. As a result, there will probably never be a -100 windchill again. We used to get them when I was a kid, and about ten years ago, I started wondering why I never saw -100 again. It tuns out that a new windchill factor was established in 2001, which was comforting to discover. It wasn’t just me this time!

Anyway, now I’m back at home, and taiji classes have been canceled due to the extreme cold. I had been considering going to the new class tonight (new to me, not to my teacher. She’s taking it over for her teacher), but even if the classes hadn’t been cancelled, I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not leaving the house for the rest of the day. I have my traveling mug of tea and my comfy throw over my legs. I’m hunkering down until this cold snap passes because it’s too cold even for me.

Unfortunately, I’m fighting off the crud. I feel on the cusp of being sick, which is worse than actually being sick. When I’m sick, I’m just dealing with being sick. I don’t really think of much else. When I’m maybe about to get sick, I can’t do anything to stop it, and it makes me pissed off. I don’t go out into public that often except to the grocery store, which, come to think of it, is a terrible place to go if you’re trying not to be sick.

It actually makes me angry that I can’t stop myself from getting sick. I’m drinking all the tea, including immunity-boosting tea in addition to my usual honey, ginger, lemon tea. I’m doing my taiji routine every morning (including stretching), which is a half hour. When I first started taiji, I didn’t practice at home at all. In fact, I was resentful of the idea that I should practice. I don’t know why. I was a bitter, negative, and deeply depressed person when I started taking taiji classes. I’m still depressed and negative, but not nearly as much as I used to be.

When I first started practicing taiji at home, I did it for two minutes. The first section of the Solo Form, and even that was begrudging. I slowly started adding to my morning regime, and now, I’m up to a half hour of stretching and taiji. It doesn’t even feel like anything most of the time. My taiji teacher says an hour a day is the most I should do, and I don’t have to do it in one session. Looking back, I can’t believe how much I resented having to do even two minutes of it every day.

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The consequence of not reacting

where did my head go?
I’ve lost my head over this.

I’m going to start out this post talking about Dark Souls because one, I love the series and will talk about it whenever I can. Two, I had a realization today about why I’m shit at parrying (in Dark Souls), and I wanted to muse on it a bit. Yes, it falls into the Wellness category because it’s  about mental health manifesting in a physical way.

Brief primer: Due to a traumatic childhood, I have an extremely high pain tolerance. I’ve mentioned this in the past that when we do chin na (joint lock) techniques on each other in taiji class, I have to be very conscious about when it’s reasonable to tap out rather than do it when I actually feel pain. In the beginning, I could only practice with my teacher because she didn’t trust that I wouldn’t get hurt else-wise. Part of that is natural flexibility in certain ways, like I can yank my thumb towards my wrist without even flinching when others jump after a little tweak. Most of it, however, was me training myself not to react to anything because I would get yelled at as a kid if I let one iota of a negative emotion show.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why I don’t talk about my depression much with anyone or I downplay it. I was either told I wasn’t feeling it when I was a kid, ignored, or scolded about it. When my mother actually did something about it, dragging me to a therapist when I was fourteen, it was at a local very religious school, and he had nothing for me. Yeah, it was a man, which only added to the problem.

I was also heavily bullied in school, and my mother gave me the age-old useless advice of ignoring it because that always works so well. The only two times I got a bully to back off (and both girls for what it’s worth) was the time I cried when a much older girl was bullying me. Her face immediately changed, and she complimented my hair and never bothered me again.  This was when I was six, and the only thing I took away from that experience was that it was so embarrassing to cry in front of someone else. Much later, I realized she was probably in a not-great home situation herself, but six-year-old me couldn’t understand why a teenager would want to be so mean to her.

The second incident was in high school. There was a girl (and I still remember her name) who used to pick on me every day in science class. I want to say physics, but that detail is fuzzy. My stomach would twist in knots every time I walked into the classroom because I knew the second I stepped into the room, she would be on me. Why? Who knows? Probably because I was easy to target as an outsider (fat, Asian, smart, and not knowledgeable about American culture at all). Remember, I was also deeply depressed at this time and probably had anxiety, although I didn’t realize that I had anxiety until much later, and the last thing I needed was some bitch picking on me in class.

I snapped. One day, she started in on her usual bullshit. I grabbed her hair, yanked it back, and told her if she ever bothered me again, I would fucking kill her. She blustered something about me thinking I was so big, but I didn’t. I was just fucking tired of her picking on me every goddamn day and no one doing anything about it. She never bothered me after that, and you would think the lesson I learned from that incident was that a bully doesn’t like to be bullied, but no. I was mortified at how I acted, even though I was pushed into it.

That’s part of the problem of constantly put down–you believe it’s what you deserve, and if you stand up for yourself (the general you), it feels wrong, even if the result is positive. It’s a vicious cycle, and it keeps someone who is downtrodden firmly under other people’s feet.

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Let’s talk about health, baby

the best is a combination of all of the above.
All the bad and none of the good.

Hello. I have sinus problems. It is no fun. I think it’s allergies, but I am not not sure. I woke up feeling as if ice picks are being smashed up my nostrils. By the way, I think I know why I’ve had two migraines and the beginning of the third in the past two weeks is because of the lemonade lite I bought that has Stevia. Now, it’s not one of the listed side effects, but it’s the only thing that has changed in my diet, and I haven’t had a full migraine for about a decade.

I had a taiji classmate who asked me how to tell if a headache is a migraine, and my immediate response was that you would know if you had a migraine. Correction, that’s if you get the headache part of it. My taiji teacher doesn’t, and I’ve learned that’s a type of migraine, albeit rare. You get all the accompanying symptoms without the actual headache. That sounds wacky to me, but it’s apparently a thing.

For me, I can tell because the world goes gray. Or rather, everything starts losing color and feels dull. In addition, stimuli hurts even more than usual (I have sensory issues in general), and I find myself wincing at the least bit of light. When I say hurt, I mean physically. The light hurts my eyeballs, and sounds hurt my ears. It’s as if I have no sensory filter, and everything scores a direct and palpable hit.

If I’m lucky and I catch it right in the beginning, I can pop two Excedrin Migraine (or the generic equivalent), deal with a lowkey headache, and go about my life. If I don’t catch it in time, however, it’s a completely different matter. I will say that I’m still lucky because I can at least function when I have a migraine, albeit at a much less productive pace. I have to turn off all the lights and if I’m watching a video, I have to keep the sound extremely low. I can still write/work, but I have to take more breaks, and my brain runs at a slower pace. The full migraine lasts roughly twenty-four hours, and the chemtrails last for another twenty-four hours or so.

Sinus issues are a different matter. This time, it’s not a sinus headache. It’s my nose feeling as if I’ve snorted a handful of pine needles into it. Again, it’s as if I have no filters, and I can feel everything more intensely than I otherwise would. My nose is also stuffy, and my ears are scabby. I have a cough that comes and goes as it pleases. My body is aching, but that could also be because of some changes my teacher is making to our stance in taiji. It takes more effort, though it’s supposed to be better for you in the long run.

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My life is one long Groundhog Day

The night before the new classes, I was hit with a migraine. I didn’t catch it in time, which I think is a shorter window these days. I’m also not sure my Excedrin Migraine (generic) pills are enough any longer. That would be a shame as it used to be I could pop two if I caught it in time, suffer through a low-level headache for an hour (and maybe some nausea), then I was fine. For the last three instances (in two weeks!), I didn’t catch two in time, and the one I did, it the pills didn’t have the same effect. It took longer to work, and the pain was more intense.

I’ve written before that I’m relatively lucky when it comes to migraines because I can still do work even though I’m not as productive as long as I take plenty of breaks. I think it’s because I have a very high pain tolerance, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it. On the other hand, it’s possible if I completely rested while I had the migraine, it might not last over twenty-four hours.

I just went to the grocery store, and I knew in an instant my migraine wasn’t over. It’s a gray and gloomy day, but there is sun. I winced as it hit my eyes*, and the bright lights in the grocery store made me nausea. I had to press my lips together several times even though I don’t throw up in general,** and I got out of there as quickly as possible. I hate nausea and dizziness. I would much rather have a backache or even a headache rather than nausea and dizziness–or my eyes hurting. It’s the weirdest feeling. It’s like the lenses of my eyes aren’t even there, and the sun rays are boring into my pupils.

Anyway, migraines suck. I don’t know why they’re popping more lately, but I need to figure it out. I hate having a whole day and a half (or two or more) wiped out because of them, and I haven’t had a full migraine in quite some time. I experience many of the triggers for migraines. Lack of sleep, stress, and depression are on the list. Also, certain smells, foods, and even sunlight can be triggers as well. That’s basically my whole life right there. The only one I am mostly clear of is the food trigger. I don’t consume caffeine any longer (which has been hellish, let me tell you); I don’t drink; and I don’t eat cheese any longer, either. Those are the biggest migraine triggers food-wise.

Veering wildly to another topic. The one YouTube series I watch consistently is the Prepare to Try lads. Well, it used to be. They were a group of three lads from IGN who started this as a lark. Apparently, Krupa (Daniel Krupa, who loves the Soulsborne series) floated the idea before the release of Dark Souls III of having a newbie (Rory Powers) play through the original Dark Souls with him, Krupa, as the guide/loremaster. Gav (Gavin Murphy) was along for the bants (banter. He drives the banter bus). I found it way after they did it, and I gobbled up the whole thing. I bingewatched the original series plus the Dark Souls III series.  They’ve done a bunch of one-offs as well as Bloodborne, and I was excited when they finally announced they were doing Dark Souls II (which Krupa hates. I think it’s a very good game, though not a great Souls game). This was in November of last year, then they said it was being put off until February of this year because reasons.


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Getting older and not necessarily wiser

taiwanese tai chi sculpture!
I don’t want to be made of stone.

I woke up yesterday to an incipient migraine and immediately popped two Excedrin Migraine (generic) in hopes to stave it off. It didn’t pop into a full migraine for the rest of the day, but it also didn’t dissipate after an hour as it normally does. I am still dealing with it now, but at a very low level. This is new to me. In the past, either I caught it and it went away in an hour or I didn’t. I mentioned it to my taiji teacher yesterday, and she said that unfortunately, our bodies get brittler as we get older. This is true. When I was in college, I could get by (barely) on three to four hours of sleep. In my late twenties, I could go out all night and bounce back (mostly) after four hours of sleep. Now, I could go out all night, but it would take me three days to return to normal.

Speaking of sleep. I used to get four hours a night. On the regular. Thanks to taiji, I’ve slowly added to that. Now, I’m up to six hours on average a night. That’s epic for me. I keep hearing how terrible it is if you don’t get eight hours a night, and I always want to shout, “Yeah, I know, but what the fuck do I do about it?” They never talk about that, do they? They only talk about how important eight hours of sleep is, and by the way, people used to sleep in four-hour chunks rather than one stretch of eight. That seems way more reasonable to me than sleeping eight hours in one stretch.

The only time I can sleep for eight hours (or even seven-and-a-half) is when I’m sick. Which has been a lot in the past few years. It makes me wonder if my body gets sick for the sole purpose of getting more sleep. I know I’m really sick if I actually manage to get nine hours. One time, I got ten hours! TEN HOURS. I can’t even with that. That’s like, luxury. I hear from friends who get eight to nine hours regularly and who love sleep, and I’m so envious. I don’t know what it’s like, and I can’t even imagine it. I wrote a whole novel about confronting Morpheus, for fuck’s sake.

Sleep is something that I’ve given up trying to improve consciously because I’ve poured so much energy into it for no benefit. I’ve tried ::deep breath:: melatonin, hot beverages, hot baths, valerian, lavender (found out I was allergic to it while taking a bath in it. Not a good way to find out), sleep deprivation, sleeping pills (can’t wake up from them, even if I only take a fourth of a pill), dream catchers, and other things I can’t remember. None of it worked, and it only left me more frustrated than ever. Taiji is the only thing that has helped, and it’s taken a long time. An added two hours of sleep over ten years of taiji. That means I should reach eight hours a night in another ten years!

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A new year and a newer me

look at my toofs!
So tired. Must sleep.

It’s the end of the year, so inevitably, thoughts turn to the next year and how I’m going to do things differently. Even though I am not a bit believer in holidays or ritualistic endeavors, there is something about the end of the year that makes me somber about time passing. Not as somber as my birthday, but somber nonetheless. This year has kinda sucked for me, mostly because of my own depression. There are external factors as well, but I do not want to go into those for this post. For now, I want to focus on my health, especially since it’s been so bad this year. A couple months sick, a few weeks not sick, then back to being sick. All of it lasting the past four months or so.

I have come to the conclusion that much of it is probably allergies. From my research, I have learned that allergy symptoms can seem a lot like cold symptoms. In addition, when one has as bad allergies as I do, it exhausts the immune system, thereby making it easier to catch colds. Right now, I’m still coughing and my nose is alternating between stuffy and runny. My ears are crusted over, and my throat is scratchy from time to time. I also have gobs of goo in my throat that make it hard to swallow.

This post is about the ways I’m going to try to better my health in the new year. First, a doctor’s appointment to get everything tested. Allergies because I haven’t had it done in a while (because the testing is so unpleasant. All those pricks swelling up and me feeling as if I can’t breathe. It is no fun at all). If that doesn’t bring up anything, then other testing. Maybe a sleep test because, yeah, me and sleep still aren’t friends.

I was listening to NPR, and they had Matthew Walker on again. He is a sleep scientist and a professor in neurology and psychology. He’s an enthusiastic proponent of sleep (and he has a lovely British accent. He talks about the negatives of sleep deprivation and the positives of getting enough sleep (at least eight hours a night). Which is fine and dandy, but what he doesn’t say is how to get eight hours of sleep a night. It’s frustrating as hell because I have tried almost everything under the sun, and the only time I’m able to get eight hours a night is when I’m sick.

I’ve written before how I existed on four hours of sleep a night for many years. Decades, even. And, yeah, I know that driving while sleep-deprived is worse than driving while drunk, but if I only drove when I was fully rested, I wouldn’t drive at all. With the help of taiji, I am currently up to six/six-and-a-half hours of sleep a night. Sometimes five, but mostly six. I would love for the dear doctor to tell me how the hell I’m supposed to get the other two to three hours.

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Sleeping and sickness

So, this is me right now:

Except, I’m not a furry alien, I don’t have a box of tissues or hideous pajamas, and I forgot to pick up cough syrup/cough drops when I was at the grocery store yesterday.

Speaking of, they’ve started the Christmas music this last weekend, and hearing it immediately sets my teeth on edge. It didn’t help that they played ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ while I was there because I’m sick of the controversy. Is it a rape song? Is it a girl-power song? I don’t know, nor do I particularly care. It’s a BAD song is my main issue. It’s fucking insipid, and even without the controversy, it’s worthy of being banned on triteness alone. Yes, yes, yes, different time, different context, blah, blah, blah. I don’t give a shit. It’s an irritatingly syrupy song, and I would be too happy never to hear it again.

Let’s be real, though. I would be happy not to hear any Christmas song ever again, except, of course, ‘O Holy Night’, and even for that, I don’t have much enthusiasm this year.  But! I will include a glorious version by Mariah Carey.

Her voice gives me chills. I know it’s fashionable to slag on her for her diva ways and her crazy life, but she can flat-out sing. Also, I don’t like the fact that I think some of the criticism of her is gendered in a ‘bitches be cray’ sort of way. At any rate, I could listen to this version of ‘O Holy Night’ twenty times in a row and not get sick of it.

So. I’m back to bronchial shit this time (with a dash of sinus thrown in). My nose is alternating between runny and stuffy. My throat is sore. I’m coughing, which doesn’t help the sore throat. I get the chills, which just makes me angry. I don’t get cold, so having that as an indication of sickness feels like a kick to the face. I’m also getting hot flashes (not that kind, though those, too). I’m not getting more sleep, though, which is how I know it’s not the flu-like crap I’ve been getting recently. My ears are crusted over (first one then the other), and I’m parked on my couch with Shadow warming my legs.

I’ve been doing my taiji morning routine, and it’s probably the only thing that’s keeping me from getting even sicker. I have to say that the stretches I’ve been including have worked miracles on my back, so I’m thankful for that. I have almost no back pain, and the pain in my right thigh (numbness alternating with flashes of searing pain) has slowly become ameliorated with my diligence. I’m trying not to rush through them just to do them, but it’s hard not to just do them by rote.

I’m also having menstrual frustrations. Quick backstory. I’m used to getting my period three or four times a year. Yes, I checked with my doctor, and as long as I get it twice a year, it’s fine. I get it for one light day, followed by one relatively heavy day, then one light day and maybe one day of spotting. I didn’t like never knowing when I was going to get my period, but other than that, I had no complaints. The only time I had a regular period was when I was consistently having sex (for obvious reasons). In the past year or so, as I near menopause (I’m in peri-menopause), my period has become more regular, in a sense. I started getting it more often (boo), but with the same heaviness (yay), and in the past six months or so, it’s gone from once every forty-five days to once every thirty days to once every twenty-five days. This month, however, it’s back to at least thirty-five days (still haven’t gotten it yet). When I’m sick, the last thing I need to do is worry about when I’m going to bleed.

You know the other sucky part about being sick? How much mind space it consumes. It’s hard not to think about it when I’m coughing up a lung until my chest hurts and my throat is raw, when my nose is bleeding from all the blowing, and when I’m fretfully picking at the scabs in my ears. It’s the worst when I’m out and about, and I start hacking. I want to reassure people I’m not contagious (though I don’t know for sure. I’m just assuming. My bronchial crap is never contagious). I’m pretty sure I look miserable and haggard as well. Though, funny story. I went to SA to buy a pack of cigs (and, yes, I’m aware of the irony), and the cashier said, “Bear with me, but I need to see your ID because of a recent policy change.” I asked what the policy change was, not in a nasty way, but just because I was curious. I’d never had to show ID for cigarettes before. She said that they were carding anyone who looked under forty, which tickled me. I looked like shit in my sweats and sweatshirt, hair pulled back in a sloppy bun, and she still subtracted nearly a decade from my age!

I don’t do NY’s resolutions, but I have three goals for next year.

One: not burn myself with tea in a particularly stupid way. I have a travel mug I love that by bestie gave to me one Christmas. It says, “YOU CAN NOT IMAGINE THE IMMENSITY OF THE FUCK I DO NOT GIVE’ on it in all caps, and she knows me too well. Anyway, I fill it with boiling tea, then I put it in the spot on my couch where the cushions all meet (there’s kind of a divot there), and for the most part, I secure it firmly. Three times this past year, however, it’s fallen over and spilled tea onto me. I’ve done this twice, and I’ve spilled it on my arm a third time (other arm) because I was trying to hold the traveling mug in the crook of my left arm. Since I drink boiling hot water, I got second-degree burns each time. NO, MINNA, NO! BAD MINNA!

Two: find out what the fuck is wrong with my immune system. I can’t do this much longer. I feel as if I’m sick more often than not, and while I would hate if this was me for the rest of my life, I would rather know than not. Then I could deal with it (or not) rather than just wondering what the fuck is wrong with me. There’s a healthy amount of shame involved as well because I keep thinking it’s probably in my head. I mean, it literally is in my head (sinus, bronchial issues), but I’m not making it up. The next time I go in for my annual checkup (have to do it for my thyroid issues), I’m going to ask for an allergy workup. I think some of this might be allergies since I’m allergic to everything.

Three: stop smoking. I smoke between 1 and 2 cigarettes a day (half a cig in the morning, a fourth of a cig every now and again throughout the day), and while my own doctor told me it was no big deal (this was two docs ago, and my current doc gave me the obligatory ‘you could quit easily, you know’), it’s definitely not something that is good for me or my bronchial system–which already sucks. I’ve been trying to cut down, but it’s been slow-going. It’s become such a habit for me. I think it might be easier for me to quit cold turkey because once I make a decision like that, I stick to it (as I’ve said, the plus side to OCD). We shall see. I’ll try cutting down for now, and if that doesn’t work–cutting it out completely. I’m already sick, cranky, irritable, and miserable, so why not just do it?