Tag Archive | grief

I’m Not Fine That You’re Not Fine With Me Being Fine

“You say you’re fine, but you’re not fine.”

Those words have echoed in my mind for over a week now, uttered in regards to my emotional trauma and grief that I’ve been dealing with for the past few months… couple of years… few years…

I refuse to believe it.

As I get nearer to the nine-month mark of living with my friend, things are changing drastically. I’ve started a new job that seems to be more than temporary, and at the same time I’ve received a notice to vacate from my friend. I have a negative bank balance, and a cell phone bill that’s been unpaid for a couple of months. With all of this on my plate, somehow it all seems easy to deal with.

She mentioned to me that I’ve been dealing with trauma. I couldn’t believe that, as my idea of trauma is associated with having to be rushed to the hospital while in the back of an ambulance, it’s bloodshed and adrenaline at the same time, but it isn’t all the things that got me where I am now.

But, not one to just take anyone’s words at face value these days, I searched online for “emotional trauma,” and found there was such a thing. And when I was looking at the signs of emotional trauma, I noticed I had many of them. So it was true, I was dealing with emotional trauma. For how long? Well, I noticed the signs were more present after returning to New York State than before I left the state or even when I was in New Jersey. My worst anxiety came while I was running out of money up here, because I still had some money before but I managed to stretch it. I lost more around the time that my fiancé ended our relationship and all, compared to losing Mom but having the financial and emotional freedom to go and do whatever I wanted.

“No, you’ve had emotional trauma since your Mom passed away… no, since your Dad passed.”

No, I didn’t. I had grief.

When Dad passed, I still had Mom, I still had a roof over my head regardless of how much I failed in life. I still had food in my stomach, a bed to rest at night, and just enough clothes to wear no matter what the occasion. But I was awakened to the fact that, hey, my parents aren’t actually immortal, they can be taken from me no matter how young I am. I was 23 when I lost Dad, the ink on my driver’s license and associates degree just barely being dried by that time. But I told myself, I had reached my adult years and maybe I didn’t need a fatherly figure anymore.

I told Mom that if she remarried, I’d never call her new husband “Dad.” She replied that women don’t usually need to be with someone, that they can do fine on their own, that it’s the men who need to find someone to replace the lost love of their life. Within a year of her passing, she kinda dated again, if you want to call it that. She met some old male friends down in North Carolina, and stayed in the same house as one of them while she was down there. When she came back, she had war stories to tell about her time spent with this guy, and I feel like she appreciated her marriage to Dad even more after that experience.

Then after Mom passed, I grieved her passing as well. But I had dreams about each of my parents soon after their respective passings, with at least one dream having both parents together after Mom’s passing. They were packing the minivan for a road trip to some unknown destination, and I remember saying to them, “I can’t go with you.” I really feel like I saw them in my dream, not some mental projection based on my memories but rather their spirits. I feel like they were crossing over together, and I knew it wasn’t my time to go. Not that I’d want to go with them, even though I would have joined them, but they needed to catch up on lost time together.

And I’m fine with that.

I’m still fine with that.

But if you haven’t lost a parent, especially if you’ve had a good relationship with that parent, then you don’t know what it’s like. And my friend neither has the relationship I had with my parents, nor has she lost either of them.

Once you reach the acceptance stage of grief, once you’ve accepted that your parent has passed, you’ve managed to make peace with your new reality. However, I feel that you’re still allowed to react when Mother’s Day and Father’s Day come around, because it’s hard to ignore. As for people, I feel like people expect that you’re going to start crying on the inside when they accidentally mention your lost parent, or they will think you didn’t care for your lost parent if you don’t even talk about them anymore. I’d rather not let people tell you how you should feel. I mean, you should be able to talk about your parents after they’ve passed, end of sentence. If something you said or thought of makes you cry, you’re allowed to cry. If you remember something funny, you’re allowed to laugh. Talk about your parents, just do it, remember and embrace the good times as well as the not-so-good times.

In my opinion, you are always allowed to miss your parents after they’ve passed.

And you can still be fine about it, just the same.

What is “being fine?” You know what? That’s up to you. If you’re fine with not talking about your parents, you’re allowed. If you’re fine with not thinking of them, if possible, that’s on you. I will say, if you start hoarding your parent’s possessions, or you become agoraphobic because the outside world is going to trigger your memories, or you do something else that’s obviously not healthy, then you’re not fine by any means.

I didn’t keep everything from the house after moving out; I couldn’t. I did keep some of Mom’s clothes, as I could wear them and I thought I might. But I’ve been able to part with a few things that she held onto, even in the time since so many things went into dumpsters.

And I can talk about my parents. I don’t shy away from thinking about them. I usually don’t cry as I talk about them. That doesn’t mean that I won’t cry, and it’s not like I’m forbidding myself from doing so, it’s just that I don’t have a reason to cry.

But am I “not fine” at all? I guess, but not to the point where I need a safe space and coping mechanisms to deal with my thoughts. It’s not fine that I don’t have my best friend, my Mom, in my life anymore. It’s not fine that the two most important people to me won’t be at my wedding, if and when I get married, and I somehow have to adjust for their absence. But, I can adjust to the changes. Like, I don’t need a big wedding, I just need to marry someone who makes me happy, and I truly believe that’s what my parents would have preferred overall (especially if it’s tradition for them to foot the bill). And I need to find someone who wants me to call or send a text message to let them know I’m on my way back or that I’ve reached my destination safely, someone who cares that much about making sure I’m… that I’m fine.

So, I’m fine with the loss of my parents. I’m not fine with my current financial situation. But if I hadn’t lost either of my parents, I wouldn’t be having my current financial situation. That’s not to say I wish they weren’t gone, but instead, their absence forces me to try harder to keep what’s important to me, like having a roof over my head and all of those other basic needs.

But, I’m not fine that you’re not fine with the fact that I’m fine. I’m fine, and you should be fine with that, but if it’s not fine to you then you should be fine with doing something about it.



When You ARE The Elephant In The Room

My visit to a doctor over the weekend revealed a truth I didn’t want to think about, but now that I’m aware of it, I’m a little more conscious about it.

After I was asked to step on the scale to get my weight, I mentally chanted a wish for that weight to not be over a certain number. Unfortunately, my weight was over that number.

Thinking back on it, I’m disappointed in myself, in my apathy and all else.

Once upon a time, Japan Today had a forum, and it was similar to Reddit but frequented by trolls and shit-posters in addition to people who actually were intelligent and caring. I was probably an intelligent, caring shit-poster over there.

After I built up an addiction to playing Dance Dance Revolution in the comfort of my own home, I considered using it for weight loss by utilizing the floor mat. Because I was trying to lose weight, I wanted advice from others on what I should do, not to mention I wanted cheerleaders to encourage me. I started a thread on the Japan Today forums, vaguely tracking my weight and otherwise getting what I felt I needed for success.

Of course, I fell off the wagon.

My Dad passed away, and while the cause of death should have given me more encouragement, I was too caught up in grieving and figuring out how to navigate life without a paternal figure in my life.

Not to mention, at some point I just said to myself that I was happy as I was, that I loved my body and was going to accept it.

That was probably the most effort I put into losing my weight. In the time since then, I’ve gone back and forth between wanting to lose weight and accepting my body. Unfortunately, I didn’t do anything to maintain the weight I had at that time, and since then I’ve added about… oh, 50 pounds, give or take. Spread that out and I’ve gained about 5 pounds a year since I tried losing the weight I started with. I guess that’s not too bad, I mean, if you figure I probably gained more weight after losing my Mom, and then sat around being mostly unemployed for the past couple of years, I probably gained the most weight in recent times.

Wait, why am I saying “that’s not too bad?” That’s literally giving up on life, which I pretty much did do, I’ll admit. With my parents’ mortality confirmed, it signaled that I would die as well one day. So then, why did I need to care what I ate, or if I got any exercise?

Now the idea of going to Japan worries me. Japan has a Metabo Law which states that employees can’t be too overweight or the company will be fined. The country as a whole is rather health-conscious. And I would have to lose a lot of weight before I could ever fit into any clothes sold in Japan.

Just the same, going to Japan excites me. I feel like I’ll be away from processed foods that are cheap and easy to come by over here. Living in a city means walking everywhere, even if it’s just to and from the train station. The only way I could gain weight is if I do absolutely no exploration of the new world around me, and that would be wasting my time in Japan.

But I don’t have to weight… I mean, I don’t have to wait to go to Japan to start trying to change things. I just have to put a conscious effort into it and not back down.

Yes, there will be days when junk food will tempt me. I’ll have to decide if I want to avoid it, taste a small bit of it, or carpe diem and seize the entirety of what’s there.

The most important thing I need to do is to get in motion! I should probably do something more strenuous than just walking around, but walking is a start. I have a Zumba game and two Dance Central games for my Xbox 360, so that’s an indoor option if I feel so inclined.

As for monitoring my weight, I should probably do it only once a week. Back in the day, I was checking my weight every morning, and it added to my discouragement when I’d remain steady at a particular weight. If I check my weight less often, I might see results.

But I won’t follow any of those fitness encouragement accounts on social media. Those annoy me! I get it, whoever makes those must be on a runner’s high, and it must be the greatest feeling ever. But if you’re like me and won’t be running until things bounce and jiggle less than they do now, you just want encouragement for still trying.

I just have to wonder where I’m storing the extra weight. Unless my clothes fit more loosely, I do still fit into the same size I had in high school, when I was crowned the prom queen. Yes, a fat girl was the prom queen, I’m that awesome. But now I have to be more awesome and lose the weight.