If I hadn’t been drinking on a relatively empty stomache, I doubt I would have posted this. But booze makes me ballsy, so you can only imagine how cocky I feel after eating lunch at 4 and nothing since… but the three glasses of wine certainly help. So, hi. I’m Steff, I blog, and let’s ignore my shame. Have at this, then. Sigh. It’s Russian-novelist long. Next time we’ll explore the appeal of brevity. For now, tho…
I am, as they say in the vernacular, having a moment.
A heady moment, at that.
I was watching some semi-lame yet cool true crime reenactment on the History Channel when the narrator began telling the tale of how the criminals behind the notorious North Hollywood Shootout had taken booze mixed with Phenobarbital before they set out upon their heist.
And I remembered this foggy old conversation with my mother about how I was on Phenobarbital as a kid when I had epic grand mal seizures nearly every day. I was hardcore epileptic as a child. I’ve never written about this before. My mother insisted I stop taking Phenobarbital when she learned it apparently fucked with one’s hormones.
Wow. Wow. I’ve never really thought about it before. The epilepsy. Much of my childhood is a blur. I remember this one time, and it’s really fucking weird, actually… again, something I’ve never before spoken or written of, but I can remember this third person memory… I remember looking down upon myself, my mother, and my father, all three of us on the old formal red velvet sofa in the sitting room, me either with another of my 104+ fevers, or another grand mal seizure. Both my parents were so obviously scared and totally there for me, holding me and talking about when the hospital should come into the picture, and how I was so precarious that a trip might not be the wisest choice right then. And I remember it from a looking-down-on-me perspective. I dunno what that says to you, but I know I just got the chills.
Fuck, man. Whew. Looking down on myself. That’s taken two ways: the nearly-dead out-of-body way, and the hate-thyself kinda way. I’d have to say this one occasion was a little of each. Let’s ignore the first and think of the second. I’ve lived my whole life more or less consumed by my insecurities. I’m always hyperconscious of myself and my being, y’know? I’m tired of the hyperconsciousness. It’s so over. Now if I can just wrap my head around that.
I’ve always tried to have the I’m Fine appearance, but the reality is that I’ve spent my life allowing myself to be sort of defined by the problems of my childhood. Grand mal epilepsy, severe hearing loss, constant ear aches, and when I was younger I even had a speech impediment. (Now, though, I’m told I have Radio Voice. Hey, practice makes perfect. Just ask James Earl Jones.)
I’ve mentioned recently how I’ve quit my job. The job has been interfering with my after-hours life. I alluded in one posting to my recent lack of desire to write and how I could no longer abide that lack of passion I was feeling for the one thing I once most loved to do: writing. Yeah, that’s one reason.
The irony is, I loved this job. There’s so much to love about it. I was good at it; that is, until I stopped writing. Once I’m not writing, so much of myself falls away from me. I get sloppy, negative, and unfocused. Writing, as Jerry Maguire might say, completes me. It is me. I don’t give a fuck whether others love my writing (okay, I do) but I know that I’m a better person when I’m writing well. (Or as what I perceive to be “well”.) I’m empathetic, passionate, articulate, infused with joie de vivre, and even have a magnetism about me. It’s rare, though, that I write as well as I aspire to do, so it’s also rare that I maximize any of the qualities I’ve just mentioned. Now, however, I seem to be in one of my rare golden times, and I’m fucking loving it.
Nonetheless, I’ve quit my job. The reasons are multiple. Another of them is that I’ve stopped exercising. No swimming, no Pilates, no cycling, no hiking. Nothing. I’m so drained at the end of each day that it’s all I can do to sit on the couch, watch TV, and not fall asleep before 10.
No fucking way to live.
So. I’ve quit. Turned that page. Now I go back to the unstable, unfulfilling, but strangely awesome television job of captioning (i.e. : subtitling) , where my hours are my choosing, sometimes even my days, and the job is routine and manageable… and anti-social, so my mind bubbles over, and when I come home, I blow my proverbial top and write an hour or two. Hey, I’ve built a couple good blogs out of it, y’know?
But, man, did I disgress.
Back to the hard topic, though: I was a serious epileptic as a kid. I was diagnosed early with a rare kidney disorder and had bi-annual visits with the foremost kidney specialist in Western Canada back then. Every six months, a visit with the good doctor at Children’s Hospital. A battery of tests were run on me every time. Blood tests were practically weekly. I had a rare disorder and wound up documented in medical journals as “the kid that could”. I was in the hospital for a prolonged stay when they were about to take a kidney out – it was clinically dead and filling with fluids it couldn’t pump out. Bad things were happening. I was prescribed Bactrim*. Presto! Magic! I went into remission.
My kidney cleared up, so too did my epilepsy, as well as my chronic bronchitis and my ear aches. But the battle with the evils had turned me into a lazy kid. I could never handle activity before that, and never discovered the joys of being active, and my body grew accustomed to sloth. Thus the Pillsbury Era began. Poke my belly and I giggle still. Exercise hurts. Sometimes this is good. But back then? Well. That’s another story.
Here’s a tangent for you: One day, I found myself in my mid-teens, hanging out at UBC, getting tested by geneticists. Turns out my kidneys and ears were a result of my father’s genes. One of the interns working in my lab, testing me, made the off-hand comment that “it would be interesting to see what [my] kids turned out like”. Someone later commented that it would be interesting if I would allow for testing of my child’s genes if ever I was to become impregnated. I’m 33, about to hit 34, and I’m childless. I intend to remain this way. I have no idea if that intern’s comment has impacted my desire to (not) have kids. Probably.
It’s interesting, though. I’m sitting here in my jammies, nursing a glass of wine under the golden tint of my Moroccan lantern, and thinking about how we know how bad pop/soda is to us today, but back in 1981, when I was 8 and visiting my aunt in Toronto, we didn’t know. She let me drink several pops each day when I was there over a few weeks, when we knew how bad my kidneys were, and by the time I got back to Vancouver, I’d gained 20 lbs and started becoming lethargic and depressed. Not to mention fat.
Which I am to this day, and have become increasingly more so since beginning this job I’ve been working the last six months and just quit. I’ve gained 7 lbs since my last physical, and probably 17 since my low point this past year. Not cool. Not sitting well with me. Not acceptable. Not going to continue.
I have a plan in place. Something to work towards. Hence quitting the job.
Long story long? Expect a lot of very, very introspective posts in the coming months. When one suppresses themselves for too long, it’s only fitting they should explode under pressure. I guess I’ve just got a lot to say after not saying much worth saying for far too long. Things are about to get interesting. And I’m digging it.
Tonight’s posting is brought to you in part by The North Hollywood Shootout and David Bowie.
*Drug used to fight infections, bronchitis, ear aches, et al.
PS: There is MORE to the story behind why I’ve quit! I’m saving the juiciest for last! Yes, you must STILL turn in! Doh! Tease! Tag! You’re it.