Tuesday, December 11, 2007

207.8

I went to get my stitches checked yesterday by the nice doctor who sewed me up and told me to wash my hair with my hand in a baggie. She said everything was looking fine, and the baseball sized lump on my shoulder from an allergic reaction to my tetanus shot wasn't a big deal, and that I was cleared to do pretty much everything at work that I wanted to except lift heavy boxes and, you know, rub my other fingers against sharp metal trashcans.

As I was walking out I mentioned briefly that I teach music, and so I spend a lot of time playing piano and guitar and drums and various other forms of instruments where my fingers come into repeated contact with other surfaces. The doctor stopped, frowned, and then revised her "cleared for work" list to say I could do everything except play piano, guitar, drums, type a lot, or allow others to squeeze or press my left hand or finger, which basically translates into IS FULLY CLEARED FOR WORK EXCEPT FOR THE PART OF WORK WHERE SHE ACTUALLY DOES HER JOB. So, drinking coffee and picking the dead leaves off my desk plant? Check and check. Now where's my paycheck?

She also added that I can't do any physical activity that involves putting weight or pressure on my finger, which also rules out the kickboxing/weights/yoga exercising I've been doing, so my week is amounting to a whole lot of nothing in terms of activity. Still, I wanted to write, so I decided to focus on a non-scale victory type thing that I'm still currently kind of feeling out right now.

Since I can't play the piano for a week and the rest of my permitted activity revolves around sitting and using up oxygen, I decided to spend all this downtime finishing up some composition projects I'd been working on over the last couple of years. The one I wanted was saved as an attachment in my old email archive, so I had to do some serious digging to finally locate it. While I was browsing the contents of this particular inbox, I ran a set of emailed conversations a friend and I had conducted around July of 2006. This is the one "friend" from that one angsty past entry which was my epilogue to the Year of Angst during which I regularly beat myself up for not being good enough for him or anyone else. Now that I'm older, and less angsty, and have a voluntary retirement account, the mention of which I believe can make even the most raving idiot seem like they're wise and perceptive, I can honestly say I'm not only past the bad parts of that experience, but I'm kind of grateful for it, because it forced me to change a few things about myself that were pretty weak and kind of pathetic.

It was funny, as I read through our exchanges, because I felt the same sense of twitterpation reading the compliments, and the teasing, and the "Gosh, I adore you so much...I just wish you looked as great below the neck" comments as I did a year and a half ago. What made the difference this time, though, was that I saw the comments for what they were: pleasant, endearing, but ultimately empty little nothings that all had the same qualifications attached to them. I cringed every time I read my own simpering, and how I justified his own abhorrent behavior for him by saying it was biological and I totally understood because I knew how ugly I felt, so I could only imagine how ugly I looked to him.

And obviously, if you used to be doormat and you're not so much of one anymore, there's going to be this huge WTF moment where your past behaviors are revealed in the glory of your own hindsight. It's not pretty, realizing I was kind of a spineless loser, and I wonder if I had managed to acquire that particular set of self-confidence and assertiveness sooner in my life, if I'd even be writing a blog about body image and weight loss now. I'm pretty stoked, actually, to be able to look at those past emails and roll my eyes, because knowing that I shouldn't have been treated that way means I've grown a pair, and that I'm not afraid to use them when I think I deserve better. I like that about myself.

7 comments:

Jarrett Meyer said...

I'm glad to read that there's been an attitude improvement. Though I'm sorry that you can't play piano. A musician myself, I understand what not being about to play means.

Luna Bella said...

Ooh! Sorry about your finger. That's gotta be no fun. I hope you'll be back to the music shortly.

And congrats on the changes you're perceiving! Isn't it cool when you find some hard evidence of the ways that you've evolved? Having grown a pair is a mighty fine thing. Though I suspect you always had 'em and just needed to learn how to use 'em.

Lori said...

I really have been thinking about this post. For me, I'm always too quick to see my general spinelessness and I add that sin to the list of sins I pile up about myself. I'm still working on it myself. Some days are good, some are not. You've really come a long way from that conversation and I'm so happy you can see it. The trick is to sustain it and nourish it so you don't lose a pair.

Erin said...

I am glad you have grown and realized you deserve better treatment, I look back some times at what I put up with myself and am amazed at that person. I don't get angry about it anymore, just sad. For me it was more my social standing (we were poor) than my weight though that did factor in, it may not make it any easier but I commiserate.
I hope your finger heals soon because your posts are always worth reading. Oh and also just so you just feel better, I'm not entirely selfish.

Abba said...

You can always make me laugh. Hope you are having a great week. And thanks for checking on me while I was away.

Anne M. said...

Good lord, woman, you did such a number on yourself - and here you are, all self confident and assertive and seeing yourself with clarity and humor. Nope, not a loser at all.

Lori said...

Merry Christmas, Erin! I hope you're not in the bad weather zone....