Who am I (in a non-existential sort of way)?

Hidden amongst the recent chaos that’s my life – the Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times definitely applies – I had an anniversary. It’s been fours years since I started my blog, an odd and lovely accomplishment that, upon the thinking of today, threw some Barenaked Ladies into my brain.

It’s not the worst music earworm in the world (if you haven’t heard it, give a listen. It’s fantastic. Yay, Canada!).

My thanks to Tiara at Muted Mouthful for what’s coming next. “Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves” was a brilliant piece: as she pointed out, it’s possible the people who’ve joined me on my journey after that first, less than stellar post didn’t go back and read every essay I’ve written since the dawn of time.

(If you should find yourself so inspired, I ask that you pretend that, in the early years, I used proper punctuation and capitalization. I feel less e. e. cummings about myself in hindsight.)

So, following far too much ado, may I present…myself.

  • My name is Michelle. It’s technically my middle name; however, it’s the name I’ve always gone by, causing no end of problems for people who have to record information in databases or on forms. I’ve been known to get testy at the ignorance related to the inevitable “but what’s your real name?” My pronouns are “she/her,” though I can drift into a collective referential “our” on occasion. I keep that fact to myself, mostly: this is really the first overt share re: that fact: I’m sometimes we.
  • I tag myself as “Em” on social media, pulled from the first letter of my name, mainly to slow down the trolls I encounter when speaking truth to power.
  • I started this blog to write about my mental health and my recovery from my eating disorder (it’s my third blog, though the Blogger site was recently deleted. Rest in unretrievable pieces). My primary focus was bulimia; I wanted to shine a light on that aspect of eating disorders. Our invisibility is fatal, and blowing out your esophagus is a hell of a way to die. I write about other things, too, driven or inspired by the random thoughts and sentences that pop into my head.
Highest risk of suicide! Winning!
  • Referencing One Week again, it’s been two years and one month since I last threw up. For context, before my most recent inpatient treatment, I’d have one or two episodes of vomiting every day, and that had been true for decades. My lost teeth will confirm that throwing up between twenty and forty times a day takes a toll. It can also make you broke. And bankrupt.
  • I don’t yet own my brain, anorexia tempts me still, but I’m getting there.
  • I sort-of don’t believe, but also sort-of do, so I’m Gemini, year of the Rooster, numerologically an eight (life path) and four (birthday number/mental balance), and, according to Myers-Briggs (not terribly statistically valid), I’m that rare unicorn of INFJ (introversion, intuition, feeling, and judgement). I have to say, despite my skepticism, I wear my M-B categorization proudly. In the new and trendy enneagram field, I’m a four, which kind of rocks (I definitely printed the report: I laminated the M-B).
copyright: Quora
  •  I suffer with multiple mental illnesses. The list includes major (intractable) depressive disorder, the aforementioned eating disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (with a “fun” sub-axial OCD), PTSD, body dysmorphic disorder, and a hair-trigger temper which is probably not pathological, but I still blame God. [i]
  • I live and function, but it’s sometimes challenging: my life runs differently than the determinedly neurotypical. One of the issues of late is my inability to stay on task. It’s frustrating to hit eleven in the morning and realize you’ve started nine different things already.
  • I recently abandoned most of social media, save Twitter, where I focus on politics and the politics-adjacent, with an occasional photo now that I have the iPhone 11 with its seriously improved camera. I’m not a delight on Twitter: I can be downright rude to the far-right, and I genuinely don’t care.
copyright: me
  • I’m permanently disabled, not only because of the wonky brain but because of a congenital disability. [ii] Congenital hip dysplasia on the left, complicated by damage to my pelvis by a case of Legg-Calve-Perthes that occurred when I was around two years old. It disrupted the blood flow to the bones, causing damage during development and calcium acquisition (not to brag, but I also fractured my spine in the sacro-lumbar region twelve years back, further complicating things. Okay, it’s kind of a brag.) I receive the disability pension offered by the Canadian government but only recently applied to change my tax status and that retroactively. Fingers crossed for approval and a small pile of money.
  • Lastly, like Ms. Tiara W., despite the apparent contradiction, I’m a private person. I share guts on the blog quite regularly, yet much remains hidden. I’m an introvert to the core and slightly mistrustful regarding the rest of the human race. I’d feel bad about my cynicism, but I’ve earned it.

Finally, in the spirit of asking questions (I always forget: this doesn’t mean I’m uninterested or incurious, merely that I often fail to come up with questions I like):

  • Do you have a real, non-blogging name you’d like to share?
  • What do you like about “From Famine to Feast” (and doesn’t asking that make my heart drop: I hate vulnerability)?
  • What do you wish more people knew about you (for me, it’s that I usually know what I’m talking about. As Sherlock says, things would go faster if people assume I’m correct (no arrogance there))?
  • What do you do for fun (I recently signed up for Disney+)?
  • What do you admire most about yourself (I don’t like this one, it makes me uncomfortable)?

Back in black: I’m blonde these days.
I had to share. I need the props.

[i] I say “suffer with,” but Grammarly and Word want me to say “suffer from.” They’re wrong.

[ii] I had originally written “birth defect,” but the term is apparently outdated and borderline offensive. I don’t mind it, and I own it, but, whatever.

By Em

I like writing. Words help me unpack my thoughts so that things start to make sense. Once I have both myself and the universe figured out, I plan to take up macrame. "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing, and learn as you go." E. L. Doctorow

19 comments

  1. I didn’t know that birth defect was a bad word (okay, words). It’s hard to keep up with these things.

    At one point, I decided I wanted to go by my middle name (Leia), but I kept forgetting, so I gave up on that fairly quickly.

    I like the From Famine to Feast twist on from feast to famine. And I like that your blog is real. I find shiny rainbowy pretend-hunky-dory a turnoff. Give me real, life-is-shit-sometimes any day of the week.

    It’s weird to think of admiring myself, because I think of admiring as looking up to, and I’m on my own level, so what’s to look up to? I like that my brain is curious and always wants to know more stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two bits of name info: I love Leia, it’s beautiful, but I hear you. Changing one’s name is hard.

      I’m glad you like the tongue in cheek name. Naming things is hard: my daughter left my grandson unnamed for six weeks 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is my first visit to your blog, Ms. Em, and I must say that I love your wicked sense of humor! Congratulations on your sobriety date! (I consider “sober” a varied definition word, and sobriety from [fill in the blank] just one of sobriety’s wondrously odd forms. From alcohol to nail biting, I say, count it all!) I look forward to being one of your new followers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, and for such a delightful and much-appreciated comment. I consider myself sober as well, though if I do manage to extend it to the unfortunately accurate nail-biting, the celebrating will be profound.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel you, My Dear Lady. For me, the last hurdle will be letting go of nicotine… but at this point, I’ve given up alcohol, drugs and sex (though that last one has not really been a willing sacrifice). As such, anyone who dares to come between me and my cigarettes is risking that they’ll receive a good throttling. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The corner of my lips curled upwards in a smile a bit when I saw your questions. I actually wondered earlier today if maybe my comments on your page are too much. What I mean by that is that I often share what’s going on with me (pertaining to the topic of your post), and I’m not sure if that’s something that’s OK with you, especially when everything just seems to be falling in your life. Just let me know if OK to share my stuff or if you’d prefer for me to listen only.

    What I like about this blog of yours is the vulnerability and the openness. I like the honesty, but also the pinches of humor – showing the reader that you don’t take yourself too seriously but that you are rather objective and self-aware, which I much appreciate.

    Can I borrow what you said about wishing what others would know about you? You’ve put my thoughts into words so perfectly. It’s not that people don’t believe me it’s that they think that I say things because I see it fit. No. That’s actually what the reality of the situation is! (And I don’t mean philosophical topics here.)

    For fun? Of course, I want to say read and write, but I feel like this question asks for something more. I like to LIVE for fun. Most days I’m alive. Well, scratch that. So far, all of the days to date I’ve been alive. What I mean is that I live, but when I have some free time and general freedom, I like to LIVE. I drive around, I get a drink, a climb a mountain – things like that.

    What do I admire most about myself? A part of me, like you, is uncomfortable with ‘boasting’ about my attributes. Another part of me wonders what it means when I admire something not many others seem to admire. I’m rather proud of my morals, hard work, etc., but I often dislike those qualities as they make my life more difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your comments. Feel totally free to comment and share: I like the discussions 💖

      One of the great things about this post has been the confirmation that my humour usually makes it through. I worry about that some times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s hard when you have objective vision and people challenge it. It’s a frustration, but then again, it’s probably also a gift. No returns, but still…

        I think living life, grabbing it and embracing it is a wonderful definition of fun.

        Morals and ethics can make things challenging. They seem to not be in favour these days, at least if you aren’t willing to make them elastically flexible. I’m glad there’s another one out there 😊

        Like

  4. First time coming across your blog and I love this post so much. As one currently in recovery from bulimia as well as other mental issues made me feel less alone. Your sense of humor is amazing💓

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you ☺️. I come from dryly funny people, but I like to think the bulimia honed it. You have to find some light in the darkness of that particular hellscape.

    Like

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