What to do about Magoo

I have a problem. I don’t like my best friend’s daughter.

She’s 2.

I feel kind of guilty writing this.  But only kind of.

Let me state my biases.  Most of my experiences are with youth ages 12-24.  When I first began doing youth development work it was in 2002 at Milton Hershey School.  I was 19.  The kids with whom I worked were 5-8 (ish).  Things went great.  We spent a lot of time laughing and just being silly.  I have no recollection of feeling this frustrated.

In fact, one of my favorite people in the entire world is 4 and I’ve loved him since before he was born.  He’s pretty awesome.  We would go for hikes, play soccer, play basketball, play “football,” and he’d help me cook some random meal in the kitchen.  I liked hanging out with him.  His parents weren’t too bad either.  😉

With this current issue she is the daughter of my best friend and her partner. Both were former roommates.  My best friend knows everything about me and we’ve been close since the moment we met performing theatre in Chicago.  It’s about 6 or 7 years since our first meeting and a lot has changed.  I live in another city. She lives in the same place. I’ve had several partners in this time, and she’s still with the same one.  Other than that, we’re still the same people.

Enter her child.

When I’m not around, her kid asks for me. We talk on the phone. She talks about me when I’m not there.  When she found out I was coming she was super excited and she looked forward to my being there. I was told this from her parents.  When I visit which has been several times over the course of her life.  Initially, she was SUPER loving.  I could hold her and she’d rest her head on my chest in the most adorable way possible.  I mean even her mom would be like, “Yeah, she doesn’t do that with me anymore.”

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This most recent visit she was excited to see me and was loving for a while.  The first night she fell and slammed her head on an end table REALLY hard and she opened up all her faucets and screamed. I held her and she cried.  Her mom was RIGHT next to her when it happened.  But, she held on to me and cried.  It was cool.  That was two days ago.

Five minutes ago her mom handed her to me and she started crying. She wanted mommy. She wanted daddy. It was the end of the world.  This kid doesn’t want to be held by me.  Please understand I’m an advocate for giving people space regardless of age.  We’re all people and should be able to set our own boundaries.  As a result, I don’t chase after her. I don’t try to pick her up all the time. I let her have her space.

She still cries when I hold her.

After a while, that shit hurts.  I told all of this to my friend.  I came to the conclusion that it’s super hard for me to get this from the offspring of my best friend.  I love her and her partner to death and its weird to not be embraced by another member of their family.  Shit, it’s hard not being embraced by people, let alone a 2 year old.  Unfortunately, my walls are up and I’m starting to take it personally.  Because it is.  She’s responding this way as a direct result of who I am.

This is so frustrating.  I’m at the point where I’m just going to back away from the kid and try to reconnect when she gets older.  Maybe she’ll reach out then with some shit like, “My parents suck and don’t understand me.” I’ll be like the aunt she can come and talk to when shit gets real.

For now, I’m over her.

I am a mouthbreather.

Initially, I wrote this entry in mid January.

How I’m feeling right now is proof that we are as much in charge of our health as our doctors. It is my doctor’s job to correctly diagnose my ailments. It is my job to understand my body well enough so I can tell when it’s ailing.

For the first time in over 15 years I am breathing clearly. If you don’t know me in person you may judge the previous statement hyperbolic. It’s not.

When I was older than five and younger than ten I visited a friend’s house. This friend owned what I presume was an orange Tabby cat…kitten. I loved that little sucker. I played with it. I cuddled it. I held it up to my eyes and made eye contact love with it. That is until my under lids broke out in hives, TLC’s waterfalls opened up and my adorable little throat began to close. My mother was called I said “I think I’m allergic to cats” and we went home. This is my earliest recollection of allergy symptoms. Traditional allergy symptoms that is.

In high school I was sent to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor for a skin allergy test. If you’ve never had that done let me explain. A nurse walks into the room with several trays which contain vials. In those vials are allergens. Wouldn’t it be neat if those vials were like vaccines and exposure meant prevention? It doesn’t. Exposure means diagnosis. The patient is pricked on their forearms approximately 46 times. Each prick contains a different allergen. If allergic your body responds with a bit of a hive and some redness…usually. Some responses are much more severe. Of the 46 pricks I had hives and redness on 44. Doctors mentioned allergy shots, medicine, saline sprays, the works. I thought my problem was solved.

For next decade I lived trying different medications and living the life I assumed was intended for me. In the morning I’d blow my nose like a bugle boy for 20 minutes. This matinal horn blowing would persist throughout the day. Throughout my life. I can go through a box of tissues in 3 days… during one of my better weeks. Many of my friends, most of whom don’t know one another have boxes of tissues waiting for me when I come to visit. It’s like our little joke. My nose is always stuffy and runny.

On Tuesday one of my best friends wrote to me about juicing. It’s not abnormal for me to juice. I drink wonderful smoothies frequently. I bought a juicer a few months ago and it’s one of my favorite things. I thought it’d be neat if we did a juice fast together so I hopped on her juice train (that’s not a sexual thing is it?). I began my detox by eliminating most solid foods, drinking peppermint tea (which I do every day anyway), drinking water and taking some of the psyllium husk pills I made. It’s been difficult. My cravings have been pregnancy specific. “I want to eat an entire Panera Bread danish ring.” I haven’t succumb to those cravings though. Well, last night I had 4 dinner mints. For the most part I’ve been great. Mostly organic all plant-based fruits and veggies. As I’m writing this my head hurts a bit -I went without water for most of yesterday — my stomach is grumbling, but I feel bright.

I feel bright.

In Seattle the Sun is like crappy ex partner who comes around when they feel like it. I don’t think this feeling is attributed solely to the sun. In fact, I know it isn’t. I’ve been in Texas for almost 2 weeks and this is the first time I’m feeling this good. I’m obviously allergic to something I’ve been consuming. Disclaimer – I don’t eat like the average citizen of the United States. I eat mostly plant-based, whole grain, organic, local, homemade foods. I rarely eat meat when I do it’s shrimp or salmon whose origin I usually know. My dairy consumption consists of cheese, sour cream, and I don’t drink milk, but I do eat milk based yogurts, occasionally.

My body’s response to the lack of whatever that was, is astounding. If I remove it from my diet altogether I’ll be able to breathe through my nose. Say what? I’LL BE ABLE TO BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE. Heeeeyyy! In the communities in which I spent the majority of my time holistic naturally based health is never mentioned. Yes, I said never. The thought that I’ve lived this long suffering as I have is saddening. Look at how much power I have over my own body and lifestyle. Eating differently has changed my life. If only more people in my favorite communities had access to this knowledge as well.

UPDATE:I regularly read Staying Healthy with Nutrition . There’s large section devoted to allergies. I read it this morning and thought, “Allergies are a bitch.” Between the random ass triggers of stress, overexposure to chemicals, overintake of refined foods, temperature extremes, and exposure to genetically modified foods no wonder this girl lives her life in tissue boxes and saline rinses.

I’m sad that it’s taken me this long to learn the severe impact allergies can have on your life. This knowledge, however came at the perfect time.

Woofer

I am a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) pronounced “woofer.” That means I’m trained to provide medical care in remote situations. I’ve never had to use that training in any significant way. I’m of the mindset that preventative actions are the best form treatment. My students and I come to an understanding about behavioral expectations and things tend to turn out fine.

While living here with my grandad situations have presented themselves that required me to make decisions. This morning I heard him fall and sprung into action. He was bleeding from his mouth — he had caught his head on a wall corner as he fell and bitten his cheek badly. His eyes had glazed over as they commonly do an his verbalizations were incoherent. He was not there.

I performed a primary assessment and determined a course of action. He is now resting comfortably on the couch wearing my fingerless gloves. I wake him occasionally to take his vitals and get an overall update.

When this happened I wasn’t afraid or overwhelmed. I was succinct, direct and efficient. I followed my gut and it worked out. It felt good. The adrenaline is fading and my emotions are taking their place. Overall, I still feel clear.

This feeling of assuredness is peculiar, but helpful…

Control

There is none of that going on in my life right now.  The only thing I have control over is how cute my outfit looks and that’s because I dressed myself this morning. But aren’t we all one car accident away from not even being able to do that?  There was a 27 car pile up in Georgia yesterday. Damn.

Yes, I control some of my choices.  I chose to quit my job and move to a state whose politics are reliably anti-progress and whose history includes lynchings (don’t they all though?). I chose this life.  This life, however, is currently highlighting just how little control I have ever had over anything.

My grandad has moments where his entire body locks up and says, “You wanted to go this way? Ok. Cool. We got chu.  SIKE! You ain’t goin nowhere mutha fucka. You can just stand here till I make you fall.”

That’s messed up.

This is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a very long while.

I can’t control that’s he’s getting older and this will probably get worse.  My first job out of high school was working for Arden Courts as a caregiver.  It’s one thing to give care to a complete stranger.  It’s another to care for your grandfather in a clinical way. And I’m not even the one doing most of the care giving!  It’s hard just being here.  I sat across the table and watched him eat yesterday.  Tears fought their way to the front of my eyes.  I wouldn’t let myself cry because it’s unnecessary and kinda rude. –I’m looking him in the face and crying at the state of his life.  If someone did that to me I’d punch them in the throat.  — I’m mourning the man I knew and not celebrating his life as it has become.  He is still very funny and quite biting.

I cannot control my grandfather’s health. I cannot control my life or what happens to me.  I can, however, control “my response to it.”  I am learning a great deal by just changing how I respond.

Something I’m learning

There’s no Internet at the house and the nearest coffee shop is a 90 minute walk away. Future posts will be short.

I’m learning to sit and be quiet, to be small in silence, to let tears rise and not shed. I am remembering why I left. I am discovering the courage to stay.