Monday, October 19, 2015

Arms Wide Open...

With arms wide open Under the sunlight. Welcome to this place. I'll show you everything. With arms wide open. Now everything has changed. I'll show you love. I'll show you everything. With arms wide open. With arms wide open. –“Arms Wide Open” Creed

I do not have children. I will never have children. This is not to say that I would not have liked to be a mother. I would. I just think that it I was meant to have one, I would have had it by now. I suppose at 43, I am still physically able to have a child or that I could adopt one. However, the older I get, the less I feel as though it’s something I want to do.

Physically—let’s face it, I’ve had WLS and am planning on having extensive plastic surgery.  My obesity was like a noose around my neck, and I can’t run the risk of ever being like that again.

Fear—I hate myself for saying this. There is a part of me is that is really fearful of having a special needs child. I know that young women have special needs kids, and that that older mothers have perfectly healthy babies all the time.  Nonetheless, that is a real fear for me. 
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Selfishness—right now my life is my own. I do what I want, when I want and the way that I want.  If I were to be responsible for a child, my life and the way in which I live it would have to change. I value my personal time and personal space and think that maybe, I don’t want to share it with a small person who needs me all the time.

Finances—my financial situation is a delicate balancing act. At any moment, it could all come crashing down.  Adding a child to that situation would not help matters any.

When I stop and read the words I’ve written I feel a sense of shame.  All those reasons are things that I can over come, but I just don’t think I WANT to all that much. I’m ashamed that I don’t have the “stuff” to over come those obstacles.  I am certain that NOT having had a child will be the biggest regret of my life.

At the risk of sounding like someone who subscribes to the Back-seat-drivers-school-of-parenting, I am going to say this.  I am a live functioning person, with a certain level of intellect, empathy, logic, and good old common sense.  Sure, I’m not a parent but I know certain things for fact.  Here we go:

My girlfriend Nicole has a little boy with special needs. He doesn’t brush his teeth. He’s 5, almost 6.  That’s not ok. She speaks of “picking her battles” I’m not sure what battles she’s picking. He seems to run her and their house. He’s a super picky eater. (Lots of kids are, and he’s special needs. I get it) She lets him eats what he wants and leaves it at that. I don’t need to be parent to know that her kid should be brushing his teeth. I don’t need to be parent to know that his diet is horrible and that he is going to be malnourished and vitamin deficient if this goes on much longer. He also doesn’t take vitamins. He gets lots of services, Occupational Therapy included; I’ve asked if she’s talked to them about it. She has not. And has decided that she’ll just have him put to sleep and take him to the dentist. Umm, that seems like the wrong way to go. But whatever, I’m not a parent.

My boyfriend has a daughter who is 14.  She’s basically a good kid.  A little spoiled, but really, not bad at all and I like her.  There a few things with her that I don’t understand: 

1.     She REFUSES to bathe.  
Last summer we were away for a week and she took TWO showers.  This past summer she took ONE. Getting her to bathe is a BIG DEAL. He’s started giving her an allowance—the deal is the she unloads the dishwasher (I should be getting some of that money because I do that more than she does) and takes a bath ever other day. When I found this out I said “You PAY her for bathing?” His response: “Don’t judge me, I’m doing what I have to do.” There is lots of begging, and cajoling. I don’t need to be a parent to know that you need to wash your ass every fucking day. Her hair is positively disgusting. I remember once I was standing next to her and not only could I see how gross it was, the smell was appalling.  I had to tell him and when I did, he just looked really sad and said “I know”.  You know? You know? Get the fuck out of here, “you know”. Make her wash her ass and hair!!!!! If she doesn’t there will be some kind of hell to pay. 

2.     She refers to herself as a “CWG” (Common White Girl). 
Her father is Black and her mother is Latina.  At MOST she is biracial. I don’t need to a parent to know that her referring to herself as a “CWG” will bite her in the ass, HARD one day. She’s asking to get her feelings hurt. This is his fault and I’ve told him as such. 

3.     There are no consequences to her action or inaction. 
Recently she told her mother to get the “fuck” out of her room.  Did she get punished? Did she get in trouble? Nah… she got an iPhone 6plus the following week.

I have friends who have children who don’t say hello. Doesn’t matter that Mom and Dad said to hello to April. They just don’t do it. I am all for not making your kid kiss me if they don’t want to. I was forced to kiss people and I hated it. Nothing worse then kissing a stranger who smells like coffee and Vicks Vapor rub or mothballs. But Goddamn… say hello---your parents are right there telling you that it’s ok. Anything else is rude as fuck.

I had a friend tell me once that her kid was “a little asshole” followed by a sigh and a confused laugh. Ummm that’s YOUR kid. The fact that he’s a “little asshole” is funny because?

Another friend posted a video of her daughter being a real smarty pants, down right nasty. The caption was “She doesn’t listen to me LOL” LOL? LOL? REALLY? Fuck. Outta here. You suck as a parent. 

colleague that I admire and respect admitted, proudly, that she was a "helicopter" parent.  She said if she hadn't been her kid wouldn't have gotten out of college. This kid got in trouble almost every year with something. Plagiarizing, drinking and hazing.  "I was able to get him out of every jam he got himself into". Your kid sounds like a tool.

My parents were terrible at making me feel good about myself. I grew up feeling like the love I received was conditional and that there was nothing all that special about me. In fact, not only was decidedly UN-SPECIAL, I was a tremendous disappointment.  My mother would often look at me tell me “We wasted our money on you”.  If were to call her on it now, she would say that she was only kidding.  Uh huh maybe, but that’s not what if felt like then. Interestingly enough, I now know that I am loved by my parents. However, when I needed to feel that way, I didn’t. Which is a bad thing. It affected my behavior and decision making. I’m still paying that price. So that sort of parenting is not the answer. Don’t be a dick to your kids. However…

What I am seeing now? Entitled, spoiled, rude, the whole world revolves around me, aren’t I special little bastards and I hate it. It makes me hate them but it really makes me hate the parents.

I work at a university and I have seen with my own two eyes what happens to these spoiled, entitled kids. They are disgusting to be around. I had a parent tell me that her kid shouldn’t take a class because  “He doesn’t like to write”. Oh bitch. WHAT? He’s in college. Maybe he should have gone to technical school---which is not a bad thing---I’m just suggesting that perhaps traditional college is not always for everyone. Because at this school? There is writing, which you have to do in order to graduate. What this parent doesn't realize is that she is doing her child a GRAVE disservice: http://www.lifezette.com/momzette/coddled-kids-crumble/

I’ve asked friends and relatives about the behavior of their children. I get the same response from just about everyone: “I pick my battles”. Followed by the look. The You-don’t-have-kids-so-you-couldn’t-know-my-struggle-look.

You got me. I don’t have kids. I have NOT A CLUE about the struggle of a parent. However, here’s what I DO know:
  •  You don’t brush your teeth? They will fall out. 
  • You don’t wash your ass and hair? They will stink. People will talk about you behind your back and eventually word will get back to you that you are the smelly kid. The “smelly kid” label is a label that sticks. Just ask Vicky Costello. She was the smelly kid of my youth. That label stuck with her till she left High School. No one knows what happened to her after that.
  • You refer to yourself as a race other than the one that you belong to? You will get found out and your feelings will get destroyed. 
  • You get your parents to pay your way through life? Eventually they won’t be able to and you’ll have to stand on your own 2 feet---and get what? You won’t be able to. 
As much as I wish that I had been a parent, a part of me is glad that I get to avoid all of this. I would HATE to think that I would have a kid that a professor would look at and think “I hate this little asshole” and that I was the one responsible for putting yet another little bitch or asshole out into the world.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

You've got the look, Part II

*We’re still listening to Prince and Sheena*

This issue of extreme artifice in women really has had me thinking. The issue of hair deserves its own space. Hence part, II.

The issue of natural hair vs. processed hair is polarizing in the Black community. I will admit to being shocked/sad/irritated/disappointed when I see Black women whose hair is relaxed. It almost seems like smoking. Oh you still do that? Really? Insert confused face here. I don't mean to suggest black women who relax their hair or rock fake hair don't like being black. However…

What DOES it mean when you can't look at yourself with the hair that grows from your head? What does it mean that you can't appreciate how fun and interesting your hair is? Full disclosure--- while my hair is "natural" I am currently blondish (hurtling at warp speed towards grey) which is decidedly unnatural. Mind you, I am sassy as hell, but decidedly unnatural.

I had a conversation with one of my cousins about her hair and she straight up said to me that when her hair is not "done" i.e. is in need of a relaxer it has a negative effect on her morale. Listen; far be it from me to suggest that anyone, much less a relation of mine, to walk around with low morale because they think their hair is ragged. I just think that this issue of hair comes from a deeper place. It's challenging to determine what is a fashion statement or an expression of personal style vs. a sentiment of deep personal loathing.

I have a good friend who was deeply, deeply attached to hair that I can only describe as horrifying. Seriously. Worst. Shit. Ever. But she loved it. I told her repeatedly that she should wear her own hair, but I got excuse after excuse. Finally, after what we’ve both coined at the Weave Disaster of 2014 she finally started wearing her own hair. She looks amazing. Beautiful, natural, youthful and free. Another cousin (I'm loaded with them) in the past few years has gone backwards and embraced weavedom. It is shockingly bad and distracting. We're not close so I'll never be able to talk to her about it. But it makes me sad. Intelligent. Successful. Pretty. Hair, fucked.

Because I find this topic so interesting, I wrote a paper about it for a class I took. I learned more than I wanted to know about African skin bleaching, Asian eye “corrective”, the quest of the perfect, Latin American ass. It has been suggested that women of color are victims of attempting to achieve a White standard of beauty. The notion behind this theory is that White people are thought of as being smarter, more attractive, more successful etc. That via colonialism we (people of color) have embraced the idea that we are some how less than, that we are only worthy if we are as close to White as possible. Obviously there is no scientific way to prove this. However, just within my own culture I have seen evidence of this. When I was a little girl, people would compliment my mother because I had a “bel tet” (beautiful head of hair). Sure some would say I was well behaved or cute etc., but the hair was a huge selling point. I remember when I got older and started getting my hair done at salons, the women would tell me how “lucky” I was to have such “good” hair. I had a colleague (An African-American woman) say to me repeatedly “You have such a nice grade of hair”. Now, this is hair that I have and don’t know any thing else, however it has always made me uncomfortable to accept a compliment about the texture of my hair—if you like the style color etc. that’s one thing and I thank you. But the texture? That’s genetics. I guess you can thank master for creeping into my ancestor’s quarters.

Fucked up when you think about it isn’t it? But there it is.












Sunday, October 4, 2015

You've got the look, Part I

 
Look here...You got the look (you got the look).You must'a took (you must'a took)
A whole hour just to make up your face, baby. Closin' time, ugly lights, everybody's inspected (Everybody's inspected). But you are a natural beauty unaffected (Unaffected). Did I say an hour? My face is red, I stand corrected (I stand corrected). You've got the look. You've got the hook. You sho'nuf do be cookin' in my book. Your face is jammin'. Your body's heck-a-slammin'.  If love is good. Let's get to rammin'- "You got the look"- Prince

As my body has been changing I’ve been trying to figure out, not only, what my look is but also what makes me feel comfortable and pretty. What kind of clothes do I like? What should my hair look like? What’s my make up routine? I’ve spent or spend a lot of time thinking about that sort of thing. In the past I always felt relegated to a certain look. Now that I’m freer to shop around I feel as though I can really start to express myself. I’m still working on it. 

While I’m figuring it out, I’ve been studying the women I see around me. This has made me seriously wonder about some women. The lace front wig, weave, colored contact, face beat within an inch of their lives, high heeled every day all day, fake nailed, bitchy resting face type of women.  I also wonder about the women who don’t give a shit. Like do you not see that your sweater has a hole in it? Did you not notice that your pants have a mustard stain? When was the last time you combed your hair? To all of these women I ask “WHY”? Why do you care SO much and why don’t you care at all? Certainly there is a happy medium? 

Full disclosure. I am girly girl. Not the most girly of girls, but I am no ones “naturalista”. I wear make up every single day. I think that lips should be lined and filled in with red, or purple or brown or pink and sometimes nude, but not so nude that it looks like you aren’t actually wearing any lip color. Think nude plus. Nails- both finger and toes should be polished. Hedges should be trimmed. I get a full Brazilian every month, as well as an underarm wax—I don’t have any hair on my legs, or I would take care of that as well. Eyebrows (and I can not stress this enough) should be on fleek at all times. 

While I appreciate comfort, I also like pretty shoes. What I have learned is the pretty shoes are NOT comfortable and looking uncomfortable is not pretty. There is a never an occasion where the newborn baby calf walk is cute or acceptable. The newborn baby calf walk often happens when heels are too high or you just plain can’t walk in them. Oh what to do what to do? The solution is pretty simple. 1. When walking long distances, give in to the ugly yet comfortable shoe. I know, I know. But it’s really better for all parties involved. Trust me. 2. Cute shoes can be worn at work and at a function where there is mostly sitting. Perhaps the occasional walk to the buffet, ladies room or dance floor.  Do not attempt to walk across Miami International Airport in the cute shoes. 3. Know your limits. If your limit is a 3-4 inch heel, then that is your limit. I know. But all the practice in the world will not allow you look and feel comfortable in 5-6 inch stiletto. Mariah Carey looks ridiculous. Wendy Williams needs helping walking to and from her platform on her show (I’ve seen it with my own eyes). I think I’ve said enough.

Too much jiggle? Please, go be right with the Lord and get yourself a pair of Spanx. Since surgery I wear Spanx every day. EVERY DAY! I wear them under yoga pants. I’m not playing around. Kimmie K (not that we are trying to emulate her) wears two pairs at a time! Beyoncé wears them and her body is sick. I say all this to say that Spanx are your friend. Embrace that shit. Wow. I just went to church on the virtue of Spanx. (Note to discuss with therapist.) 

My objection is to the supreme artifice. I have seen YouTube videos of women who show you their makeup routine. By the end, they are a different person.  In the case of some of the Black women, they are a different shade all together. Clearly perpetuating the message that Beauty = being lighter? How much time are you spending beating your face? My make up routine is 11-13 minutes from start to finish. Yes, I timed it. That includes face washing and moisturizing. I like looking polished. I don’t like looking fake. Ok fine purple lips are kinda fake.  I know a woman whose daily routine is 30-40 mins. She looks good, I guess, but she also looks fake. Like you don’t want to hug her because some of her face will end up on your clothes.  I also wonder about the men who like women who look like that.  What are you thinking when you meet a woman with eyebrows that look as though they have been filled in with a sharpie and eyelashes like a giraffe?  

Perhaps I'm trying to unpackage something that's not really there. However, when I see an Asian woman with UN-asian eyes (and the thing is that it doesn’t really look not Asian, it looks like what you’ve done as an Asian person. Had surgery to in the attempt to look less ethnic) blonde hair and green contacts and it makes me pause. When I see black woman after black woman with the tell tale signs of skin bleaching or the bad fake hair, I feel it deeply.

What is it that you don't like about your self that makes you feel as though you need to alter your appearance in such an extreme manner? I'm not sure what to make of these women. I suppose I’m just wondering how, when, why and where women received the message that we can’t look like ourselves and still feel as though we are beautiful.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Man, I feel like a woman!

Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy, forget I'm a lady
Men's shirts, short skirts
Oh, oh, oh really go wild yeah, doin' it in style
Oh, oh, oh get in the action, feel the attraction
Color my hair, doing my nails
Oh, oh, oh I want to be free, do you what I dar
Man! I feel like a woman! -Shania Twain


I’ll admit it.  I am kind of high maintenance.  Not as high as some, but I do put in some work and though into the way that I look.  The older I get the more I think I need it---little gloss makes me feel womanly.  Let’s face it none of us are 20 anymore.  It takes work to feel as though I am looking my best.  When I’m home it’s not a big deal---I have all my stuff at my disposal.  However, when traveling it can become a bit of a hassle. I’ve got lotions, creams, and hair product and make up. I also am a woman who believes in costume changes and I tend to over pack.  It never fails, I go on vacation, over estimate what I need and end up not wearing/using some of the stuff I take with me.  I won’t lie, there is a part of me that doesn’t care, I like knowing that if I want and need is there if I need it. 

My boyfriend however is NOT high maintenance when it comes to his appearance.  He is bare bones—soap and deodorant sort of guy.  During the week he makes a modicum of effort and wears a fresh shirt and pants everyday, the weekend however he’ll wear the same tee shirt and shorts. I usually have to give him a nudge.  “Sugar—please enough with ratty shorts and tee.  He’ll give in eventually, but it is accompanied with a lot sighing and complaining.

Every year, for the past 20 years, my boyfriend and his family have rented a house in Cape May, NJ for a week.  Last year I went for the first time and he was annoyed at the amount of stuff I took. "Why do you need so much stuff?"  This year, we had an extra person in the car so he was on me about “packing light”. Pack light. Pack light.  Ok fine. I was ruthless with myself. I eliminated a bunch of stuff and it was hard.  Anyway, yours truly packs light and feels [relatively] good about it.  The plan was for me to drive up to his place and we would leave from there. I get to his place and notice the nice pants and shirt waiting to be packed.

Me: (Because I know my man) Why do you have real pants and a nice shirt out?
Him: Because of the dinner. (Looking scared and nervous)
Me: What dinner?
(His daughter looking at us back and forth because she knows what's about happen)
Him: I told you...?
Me: No you did not.
Him: I didn't?
Me: No.
Him: I'll take you shopping.
Me: Yeah you will.


Next time I’m packing what I want.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Passion...

…Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby
. Edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
 through the middle of my soul. 

At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
 and a freight train running through the
 middle of my head. 
Only you can cool my desire, 
I'm on fire… “I’m On Fire”- Bruce Springsteen

Recently I had a conversation with an old high school friend of mine. It’s really interesting when you look at someone whose life you think you wished you had---but then you talk to them about their life and you realize that but for certain circumstances, we all walk a similar path.

I am not married. Never been married. I have no children. I don’t own a home. I have always wished for marriage, children and home ownership. I feel sad and less than that I don’t have those things. That’s what we’re supposed to have right? Those are goals we’re supposed to strive for, right?

My girlfriend has been married for 16 years. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. She has a gorgeous, handsome, successful husband. She is beautiful, brilliant, extremely sought after and successful in her field. They have a lovely home in the right suburb, nestled in the right school district.  Of course they have children. Two.  A boy and girl—naturally.  Their kids are adorable, smart and talented.  They have a dog and a cat. She drives a Range Rover and he drives a Mercedes.  They go on fun and interesting vacations a few times a year. My friend is miserable. Hers is a life with no passion she says.  For at least 10 of the 16 years she has been married she has been carrying on an affair–or affairs-interludes.  She does not consider herself to be a person who has sexual addictions. She just feels as though there is something missing from her life. While we spoke she expressed her misery to me. She and her husband have plenty of money. He is not abusive or unkind. Yet, she is tragically sad and lonely. 

I don’t know the stressors of marriage or child rearing. But I understand the loneliness and sadness even while in a relationship. I think I’ve shared this before, but I often feel like a caged animal.  I am haunted by this overwhelming desire of wanting get up, get out and go.  I, often, dream of running away as fast and as far as I can. Leave everything behind me and finally live the life that I have always wanted.  Sounds good doesn’t it? Here’s the rub. I don’t know what I want or where to go or how to find it. I’m also a ‘fraidy cat.  I am afraid of everything.  I’m a toothless, clawless lioness.  There is a certain level of fierceness, but all the armor is gone.  What happens if I make a break for it? Worse yet what happens if I am successful? If I get out there, I’m done for.  Perhaps it is better for me to stay in my cage and just look at through the bars with longing.  Yeah, it’s better to stay in my cage where I know where everything is. Pathetic. 

I’m not sure why this conversation has troubled me so. Listening to my friend I felt pity. A certain level of understanding and a frankly a smattering of judgment. I want what you have! What you are taking for granted! Babies. A husband.  A pretty house. A decent salary. A car that doesn’t need all the work in the world. A job that I am good at and like.  But I get it. You can’t help it when you are unhappy. It just happens. It settles in and envelops you like a warm blanket. After a while you forget what it was like to NOT have the blanket. It’s just becomes part of what you wear every fucking day.


I wonder what is going to happen to my friend. Will she get caught? What will happen if she does? What happens when she stops being hot, sexy and beautiful? She doesn’t seem to have any plans of fixing her marriage. Currently her plan is to fly across the country and visit her high school boyfriend, because she’s got something in store for him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Veronica: Aging Grandmothers

Veronica sits in her favorite chair and sits very quiet and still. And if they call her name that they never get right and they don’t then nobody else will. But she used to have a carefree mind of her  own, with a devilish look in her eye, saying You can call me anything you like, but my name is Veronica sits in her favorite chair and sits very quiet and still. And if they call her name that they never get right and they don’t then nobody else will. But she used to have a carefree mind of her  own, with a devilish look in her eye, saying You can call me anything you like, but my name is Veronica. -Veronica, Elvis Costello 

Aging Grandmothers: 

One of my main reasons for coming to Haiti, was to see my grandmother, who I adore completely.  While I love her, I should be clear and tell you that she was never the warm and fuzzy type. She was always opinionated, cantankerous and if I am to be honest, sort of strange. Unlike my grandfather, she was down right anti-social. She never had any friends and rarely left her home. I’ll bet today, she’d be diagnosed with some kind of phobia.  Her entire reason for being was my grandfather, their children and grand children.

I last saw her 2 years ago for her 90th birthday. Yes, I noticed that she had slowed down. However, she was still herself and in top form.  Two years later, my grandmother is no longer in top form.  She can’t quite put her finger on who I am.  She knows that I’m the person in the photo that hangs on the wall. She’s knows that I used to be fat, but she can’t seem to fix it in her mind that I’m April. It is a dagger in my heart. Last year one of my cousins told me that she had to remind our grandmother who she was. I remember thinking two things: A. That can’t happen to me. (I don’t know why I thought that—I just did) B. If that does happen to me I’ll be beside myself.  Well, it DID happened and I am beside myself. I’m the 3rd grandchild of 20 total. Since I grew up in the United States, she didn’t see me as often as the rest of the kids. I spent every summer the occasional Christmas with them.  Although the love was not demonstrative, I knew that I was loved.  She knew my favorite foods and often had them on hand. When I was a little girl she knew the way I liked my hair best.  She knew when my birthday was.  Now can’t put her finger on who I am and it breaks my heart.  I am salty that she knows my other cousins and brother, but is foggy about who I am. Please, spare me your logical thinking. “You don’t live in Haiti”. (My brother did for a while and most of my other cousins do as well) I know all that. But this this bothers me quite a bit.  My brother has said that he thinks that not only is she 92, but I’ve changed quite a bit. I’ve lost weight and changed my hair. While I know all that, I do not think that I am unrecognizable. (More on that another time)  


I know it’s not her fault. She doesn't want to forget. But her mind, her strength and faculties are leaving her. There is nothing that she or anyone of us who love her can do about it.  She has lived a long life and seen some things.  Maybe I’m just sad that her time is limited. She’s tired and misses her husband. In the 10 or so years since my grandfather’s death she goes the the cemetery every 8th of the month. She talks to him and keeps him up to date with what’s happening with us. Lately, she has taken to asking him when he’s coming to get her.  I realize that this normal progression. I just wanted her to be of sound mind and body until she just peacefully went to sleep one day.  I HATE what is happening to her. Not just because I’m sure she’s frustrated, but because it hurts me so badly to see her deteriorate so. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Changed My Way of Living: La Réaction

I’ve got to change my of living, ‘cause troubles all that I can see. I gotta change my way of living, Lord trouble’s all that I can see. My life is in such a mess, there ain’t no one to blame but me. -Change my Way of Living, The Allman Brothers

La Reaction-Weight Loss

Predictably, my weight loss has been a topic of conversation. I knew that it would be. But it has been a surreal experience. It would seem as though my family doesn’t know what to DO with me. I have been fat my entire life. While they seem happy for me, I no longer fit into the box they had for me. (Shrugs). I’ve gotten a lot of the usual—Don’t get too skinny.  Are you sure you don’t want more food?  No, eat something else.  My internal answers are often as follows: Fuck you. No, thanks I’ve had enough. Fuck you again.  The staff at my grandmothers seem to be praying for my recovery. No, I’m not sick, but they are praying none the less.  I mean prayers are always welcomed, so thanks? (Again, April shrugs)

As only a fat person can tell you, when you are overweight, especially if the rest of your family is not, there is a barrage of “helpful” suggestions. Pleas for weight loss. “Tough” love, etc. Now that I finally have done what it seems the world was after me to do, there is this feeling that I am doing harm to myself.  My reaction: Oh please. Take many seats and leave me alone.  And if you are wondering, YEP I am planning on loosing more weight. Uh uh. How many pounds you ask? 30. Uh huh. No, it’s not too much, fuck you very much. If it sounds as though I am angry, it is because I am. I did this for me and I’m happy I did it. I am resentful that I am being questioned about my weight loss.  

My sister friend E (who is also Haitian and is familiar with the madness that comes along with being Haitian) said to me before my trip, that I should just prepare myself for the barrage and accept it. She suggested that I that I should say that I was done with the weight loss. She is a much better person than I. I can’t help it. I am, or can be, argumentative. Here is the thing. I don’t think I should have to sensor myself. While I won’t go up to people and announce to them that I plan I loosing 30 more pounds, I don’t think I should have to keep a truth that I am not ashamed of to myself. Jury is still out on that one. 

When I was planning my surgery I told a handful of people. And I was very choosy about who I told and when I told them. My brother knew I was planning it about 4 months before I had it. The closer I got to the date, the more he asked me to tell our parents. Finally 2 weeks before, he straight up told me that he couldn’t (wouldn’t) keep my secret and told me to tell them. I opted to tell them exactly one week before. (I wanted to tell them the day before but my boyfriend but the smack down on that).

In telling my parents about WLS, I made it clear that I did not want them to tell people.  My father was affronted by this.  When my mothers back was turned I whispered to him “It’s not for you, it’s Mom.” He nodded sagely, knowingly, like a man who’s been married for over 40 years and knows his wife and said “Mommy is a whole other story”.  I give my mother a list of people she was NOT allowed to tell. The list was long and specific. Basically she was allowed to tell my father (who already knew) and her son (who also already knew).  My mother did not keep my confidence and told, at least, one of my aunts. When I found this out last year I was beyond angry. I was on fire. She was on vacation when I realized it. I spent the day tracking her down and gave her a tongue lashing. I forbade her to discuss it further.  Talk about a waste of breath.  Everybody, including my grandmothers housekeeper, knows. I give up.  My mother cannot keep a confidence. I won’t share with her anything that I don’t want broadcast to the whole world. Too bad. Lesson learned.

I’m not embarrassed about having had WLS.  I just didn’t want the judgement that come along with it. Because people will and do judge. Hell, I judge it from time to time. I didn’t want to have to explain it to anyone. There are things that we do that we just do them for ourselves. The more I think about it, the more I wish that I had either told everyone right away or had told no one at all. Ah well. Too late for all that. I'll just live with it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Somebody Get Me A Doctor: A Pox On The House of April

Somebody get me a doctor. You better call up the ambulance I'm, deep in shock. Overloaded baby, I can hardly walk. Somebody get me a doctor (Ooh!) Somebody get me a doctor. How’s my health you ask? Well let me tell you… Somebody Get Me A Doctor; Van Halen

A pox on the house of April:

Common Colds and Ear infections: Before coming to Haiti, I had been battling a cold, given to me by my boyfriend. That cold decided to morph into something else.  Thusly, I came down with an ear infection to end all ear infections. I truly felt as though my ear was rupturing or that maybe my brain was going to start pouring out of my ears. I wasn’t really sure. So that sucked.

Food Poisoning: My Aunt and Uncle have a beach house and that’s where we went to ring in the new year. New Year’s eve there was an amazing dinner. I made sure not to over eat or to mix to many things.  Before going to bed (after midnight 1/1/15) I made, what can only be described as a colossal error in judgement, and had 2 oysters. In hindsight, they likely had been there for a few hours and I do recall noticing that they were sitting a puddle of water were the ice had been. But-fuck it, I’m on vacation and had them anyway. So you can imagine what happened next. At about 2 am my new teeny tiny stomach decided to take out its anger and frustration out on me. Thus started horrifying diarrhea and projectile vomiting on and off all night and through-out the next day. While I felt better that day, I didn’t eat anything and wasn’t feeling all that great. Which leads us to the following night/morning (1/2/15).

Head injuries and midnight runs to the hospital: Here’s what I remember; I remember waking up to go to the bathroom (Remember my stomach was still pissed at me) next thing I remember is my aunt and cousin standing over me calling my name. I’m pretty sure I got slapped, hard, a few times. I remember thinking that my nose was bleeding and I said as much when they were trying to get me up. My aunt took me to bathroom and told me that it was my head and not my nose. Full disclosure, I freaked out when saw all the blood—but my stomach was still annoyed and I said so to my aunt/cousin.  Someone, I’m not sure who, escorted me back to the bowl. I was in bad, bad shape kids.

Picture this. Me, a grown woman of 42, sitting on the toilet, dizzy as hell, bowels ravaging with an audience.  An audience? Yes. An audience. 2 Aunts one of whom was praying out loud. I think the Hail Mary, 1 (hysterical) mother, 1 (panicked) father, 1 Uncle, 2 cousins, 1 housekeeper, 1 cousin-in-law and I think someone else. My dad picked up a wrapped sanitary napkin and starting furiously fanning me with it, like a man possessed.  When he realized that wasn’t working—maybe because I was looking at him like he was stupid, he got a fan. Out came the—get ready for this cause it’s a good one—the smelling salts. Yes kids. Smelling salts. Smelling salts were followed by a demitasse (cause we’re fancy) of sugar water.

The mad mob of Haitians, force the sugar water, which was really more a simple syrup if you ask me, down my throat.  I will grudgingly admit that this helped perk me up some and I’m was feeling a bit more like myself. This is when I realized that I needed to, you know, take care of business (i.e. wipe my ass). Here’s the breakdown:
Me: I have to wipe.  (No one makes a move) So I say it again, louder and en francis.
Me: I have wipe myself.
Everyone: OK so go ahead.
Me: NO. I need some privacy. They reluctantly leave the bathroom, expect for my aunt.
Me: Ummm you need to go.
Aunt: Oh.
She actually didn’t leave, but just barely, turned her back. I had very little fight in me and figured that was the best I was going to get. I took care of what I needed to and got up to move towards the sink.
Aunt: What are you doing?
Me: Washing my hands.
Aunt: Oh (But somehow giving me the impression that she wished that I was less concerned about washing my hands.)
Uncle: (In the background) April’s feeling better. She’s being smart again.

While I was battling for some semblance of pride, a decision was made to take me to the hospital.
Me: I need to put a bra on.
Everyone: NO you don’t. Let’s go.

So off I go, tits bouncing and swinging. In the car: My mother, my cousin, her husband and the dude who works for my family. First stop Urgent care. Fail. Urgent care closed. Next stop hospital in next town. Cousin-in-law driving like a lunatic.
Me: You drive to fast and you’re on the wrong side of the road.
CIL: Sorry. (But not really listening to me at all)
We get to the hospital and usual happens. My mother—teacher by trade, not a medical professional, pulling a Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment telling the nurse that I need an IV.
Me: I don't need an IV.
Mom: Yes you do.
Me: (Defeated) OK then.
Nurse, maybe just to shut my mom up gives me an IV—which after about 15 mins, even though I hate to admit it, helps me feel better.

Hop, skip jump, got a few stitches, some pain killers, antibiotics and back home I went.  More embarrassed than anything.


For the rest of the trip my family have been force feeding me Gatorade (think those fois gras ducks) and asking me to eat. In the entire history of my existence no one has begged me to eat. EVER.

I’ll tell you this, it touched me to see my mother cry when telling the story. I do, however, feel like every time she tells it, I get closer to being in a coma. My family loves me and they were concerned. I get it.

While I am feeling better, I don’t quite feel myself and have an appointment to see the doctor this week.