Underneath my yellow skin

Facing half a century with bewilderment

I’m turning fifty in a year and a few months.

Let me repeat. I’m turning 50 in a year and a few months.

Sorry, but my brain won’t get past that.

Where the hell did my late thirties and forties go? I know it’s trite to say that time flies and bemoan the loss of years, but it’s hard to believe that I’ve been on this earth for nearly half a century.

Honestly, I thought I would be dead by this age. I didn’t think I would make it out of my thirties, and for a while, I was fixated on the idea that I would die at age 55. My mom was 55 at the time, and it just seemed like that would be my time to go. I was…26 at the time? I think that’s right. Anyway, 55 seemed like a lifetime away, and now, of course, it seems disturbingly close.

I rarely look in the mirror, and when I do, I’m like, “Who the hell is this?” I’ve already had one person ask me with great trepidation if I were a senior (at a co-op on the day they gave senior discounts), but I’ve also had someone who thought I was at least ten years younger than I was. And, with my hair reversing the gray, maybe I’m a weird version of Benjamin Button.

It’s weird when I look back on my life and what I thought it would be like. Well, to be honest, I didn’t think it’d be like anything because I could not imagine a future. When I was a teen, I assumed I’d get married and have kids because that’s what you were supposed to do. I also assumed I’d have some kind of office job because that, too, was what I was supposed to do. Furthermore, I would go to church every Sunday even though I didn’t believe, and I would live a quiet and desperate life.


Did I want to do any of that? No. Did I feel I had any choice? No. It was impressed upon me both explicitly and implicitly that I was to go to college, find a husband, and then have at least two children. While having a good job. Which I would presumably quit when I had children or somehow juggle the two of them. None of that sounded like a good time to me, but I just assumed that I *had* to do it. Just as I *had* to get my driver’s license. And I *had* to play an instrument. And I *had* to play a variety of sports. And I *had* to go to summer school every year. I will say I don’t mind the sports and instrument so much decades later, and I’m reluctantly glad I have my driver’s license, but college? I really wish I could have taken at least a year off to really think about what I wanted to do with my life rather than spending an absurd amount of money to stumble around doing what I was *supposed* to do. Would I have chosen to get my psych degree if I could do it over? I probably would have because it’s still a lifelong interest, but I would have immediately followed up with grad school (in psych) because a BA is, quite frankly, useless.

I have many grandiose plans that I would like to accomplish by the time I’m 50. Let me just list them, no matter how ridiculous they are. One is to lose a hundred pounds. It’s doable, but I have many complex emotions about weight and the losing thereof. In short, the only way I know how to do it is by purging, radically counting calories, exercising for several hours a day, and becoming obsessively afraid of every morsel I put in my mouth. That’s not really a great way of doing things, and I don’t know how to go about losing weight in a healthy manner. The last time I was sure I was doing it healthily, and it slid into ED territory.

I have fourteen months until my 50th. That’s 7.5 pounds a month, which is roughly 2 pounds a week. that would have been doable in my twenties. In fact, I lost 2 pounds a week steadily, even though it took more and more effort as I lost the weight. No, I’m not going to say what I did because that’s part of my issue–getting wrapped up in the specifics as a way to keep the feeling going. The first time I lost a ton of weight in a really unhealthy way, I was talking about my ‘recovery’ with my junior counselor who had also had an eating disorder in her past, and while we were couching it in terms of what we used to do, we were getting off on that shit.

So, yeah. I can’t count calories. I can’t weigh myself. I *might* be able to use a tape measure, but last time that just became my substitute for the scale because I know that a half inch is roughly 2.5 pounds. It’s making me anxious just to think about it. I know the solution is not to measure at all except by how clothes fit, but the other side of my personality is that I need concrete numbers in order to feel grounded. It’s a way to mark that I’m actually doing anything. I don’t think that in and of itself is a bad thing, but combined with my obsessive nature, it can be hell.

To make matters worse, I’m starting the ‘add back’ part of my elimination diet. I tried garlic two days ago, and while it did not send me racing to the bathroom, it did make me feel bloated. I’ll try again, but I’m wary that paying this much attention to what I’m eating might send me back down the road to disordered eating. Yes, it’s for health reasons this time, but that doesn’t mean my brain might not slide in some ‘hey, maybe you could try not being so disgustingly fat’ into the conversation.

Part of the problem is that I’ve been so goddamn sick for the last three or four years, I’m pretty much just eating whatever I can that isn’t going to squirt out the other end. That includes a lot of meat and potato chips. I had given the latter up, but it’s something I can actually eat. As for the former, unless it’s in a weird marinade, meat is good to go. I probably should figure out my food issues before trying to lose a great amount of weight. But I feel like a beached whale. I will fully admit that I want to lose weight strictly for aesthetic reasons. Yes, I know it’s might also be good for my health to a certain extent, but I don’t give a shit about that.

Sigh.

Setting that aside with great difficulty, let’s move on to large goal part two. Which is actually related to the first goal. Figuring out what the fuck is wrong with my health. I am just so tired of being sick. So. Freaking. Sick.

Side Note: When my niece wanted to take a year off after high school in order to figure out what she wanted to do, I was the only one who supported her. It’s one of the biggest regrets I’ve had in my regret-filled life–that I didn’t push back on my parents pushing me to go to college. What a waste of money and time.

Anyway, my health is shit. I’ve been sick more than I’ve been healthy, and it takes so much to get through my day to day. I have to get my thyroid checked in a month (it’s annual, and it’s another kettle of fish because I need to find a new doctor), and I might as well get a physical at the same time. I would like to know what the hell is wrong with me, but I’m not sure I trust American doctors to figure it out. I’ve dealt with ignorance from doctors for most of my life, including being overdosed with meds because my doctor didn’t realize that Asian women do not need as big a dose a white dude. The first time a shrink prescribed sleeping pills was a horror show, and it was the first step to realizing that I had to be very careful with meds.

I have so much more to say, but I’m trying to keep posts to under 2,000 words. If I tackle the next grandiose plan I have, it’s going to go over that mark. I’ll leave this post for now and return to the topic in the future.

Leave a reply