Waking up

Today was sort of a bad one for a couple of reasons. First of all, I had work, which is beginning to grate on me a little and I wasn’t too happy to be there. Then, my legs swelled a little more than usual thanks to the 100+ degree heat that has smothered Baltimore these past few days, and because of the very salty dish of mussels I ate for dinner. After that, I went to my grandmother’s house, where my sister and I are spending the night. This isn’t a typical trip to grandma’s, though – she has Alzheimer’s, so it’s more like taking care of her and humoring her lapses with careful patience rather than enjoying a carefree visit with cookies and tea like when we were younger. So, so frustrating, but it’s a guilty kind of frustrating, which is a little worse.

But if all that wasn’t enough, I just found out a classmate of mine at college has passed away today. He was no one that I knew very well, but we had a couple of classes together, and the thought of the boy who sat behind me in Creative Nonfiction that sometimes kicked the back of my chair by accident is now dead is too surreal for me to handle right now. All those bad things about my day – work, the heat, my swelling, etc – suddenly seem mundane and unimportant. Everything has suddenly been pulled into perspective, and I see that life is fragile and fickle and uncertain; it’s not a right, but rather a privilege.

The way by which he died, from what I understand, was an accidental overdose. This resonates with me because I’m someone who uses harmful things to escape from my emotions, things that prove so, so unnecessary because it is putting my own mortality in jeopardy. I mean, I was recently denied coverage by my family’s health insurance because I’m too much of a liability – my eating disorder has ravaged me, left my body and mind too compromised. Being denied health insurance felt, to me, like I was being given up on. Like The Health Insurance had taken one look at me and said, “Nope, you’re a lost cause. We’re not even gonna touch this one.” I guess I did all that to myself, but it’s still hard to accept such responsibility. It’s hard to accept that my lifespan was shortened by my own hand, because I can’t be upset with anyone but myself for that, and I would so much rather have somebody else to blame.

Which brings me to the crux of the post: take care of yourself. You only have one life to live, and you better goddamn live it the best and most healthy and happy way that you can. You gotta take care of yourself, manage your health, be kind to those you love and especially those you don’t. You need to take time to make time for people, and for doing things that make you happy. Watch out for yourself. Don’t sabotage yourself, but rather embrace yourself, and accept yourself for all that you are. If there are things you don’t like, that’s fine, but be proactive and change them. Be all that you want to be. Be all that you can be. Don’t let your life pass you by. Live it so that if one day it is pulled abruptly from beneath your feet, you’re able to take comfort in the fact that you were happy. Those who love you will be able to be comforted by that, too.

I’m sorry if I sound a little manic; I think the passing of this classmate just triggered a lot of things for me. This… event… shook me awake, made me realize that the life that I do have should be spent in celebration and health, not self-loathing and self-sabotage.

I wish you all nothing but the best, and that you all treat yourselves and your bodies so, so well. Be present, live fully. Manage your lymphedema, indulge in what makes you happy, make time for loved ones, etc etc. You know the drill!

Much love, always.
xxox alexa

PS: Just a quick note – my garments finally arrived, and I am going in for my fitting on Monday. I will keep you all posted for sure!

Alexa is a writer, book hoarder, and cat enthusiast from Baltimore, MD. By day, she works in the marketing and communications department for a large health system; by night, she runs The Lymphie Life. Learn more about her here!

3 comments on “Waking up

  1. Well, Little Lady I see you’re living quite the interesting life. Yeah, those major changes like a birth or death or marriage do get us thinking don’t they? Sorry to hear about his death – a young person dying from an OD is always a terrible loss.
    Good luck with the garment fitting. I just ordered new Juzo this time getting “Strong” because the nice, comfortable Helastic with cotton doesn’t hold my leg well enough. I’m needing to wrap 3 days a week to keep it controlled. And I ordered thigh-high for the “good” right leg because it’s getting too difficult to care for without. Well, it might be because I took a wonderful three day backpack trip through Rocky Mountain National Park. Hiked over the Continental Divide at 12,600 feet through steep snowfields – one slip and you’re sliding 500 feet!). Saw 1 moose, 3 elk in velvet, 4 deer kept grazing around our camp (snow was still 4 feet deep in places), 1 marmot kept sauntering through camp 2 right past my leg – my friend said, “He sure likes you!” Called him the Gay Marmot. Oh, yeah, and on the last day hiking over the divide we saw a beautiful big horn sheep leaping across the tundra. Great trip. But in two days my legs were in trouble with major swelling. Much massage and wrapping and it’s under control. But I gotta get that better garment. Three weeks! Then we can compare our fits!

    Be good. Take care. Enjoy life. You’re great.

  2. Hang in there love <3

  3. Thank you both <3

    Sorry for the late comment – I read your comments as they come in, but am terrible about responding to them promptly. But thank you, thank you, all the same.

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