So, I locked myself out of my apartment last Sunday. It felt extra dumb actually because I am quite the key neurotic. I always know where they are and every time I step outside, to throw trash for instance, I usually just unlock everything and leave the door open. I know, so safe, right. Anyway, that’s not the worst part. I locked myself out of my apartment last Sunday in nothing but an old sarong and my rattiest bikini. Sure, I had my goggles and kickboard with me. I even had a book (Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching Beyond Facts by Lynn Erickson) but, no keys. No phone. No Ipad. No mask to cover my face with.
I was like…wtf. How the hell am I going to get back in there now?
I proceeded to blame the cat.
It was his fault, for stealthily zooming out the door, the moment I opened it. The plan was simple: go for a quick morning swim before leaving for the noon Sunday service. But, fail. Because my hands were full, I thought I had everything I needed, so I quickly closed the door behind me once schizophrenic Mr. Marsellus Wallace rushed back in. I glanced at everything I had in my hands and realized that, gah! I was keyless and too indecently dressed to walk to the nearest neighbor in Makati for my spare keys. It was truly a sumkinofva loser moment especially since it never happens to me.
Well, except for this one time…
It was the day Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment. I was getting ready for work when I heard the news. I was so upset, I grabbed my one million bags, stepped out of my apartment and realized I had left my keys in the little dish by the couch, where they usually were. It was 6:45 in the morning. I remember not wanting to be late for school. I also remember thinking, how the hell am I going to get to school when my car keys are attached to my house keys? I scrambled to look for spares in all the pockets of my one million bags. Nothing. So, I called my then boyfriend’s house to ask if he could bring his keys to my place. His mom from Crazyytown answered the phone and said he already left for work. In the end, I took a cab to where he was (the driveway of his office building) and borrowed his keys. I can’t remember now if I went home to get my car, if I proceeded to work or if I made it on time. I am also not really sure anymore why Heath Ledger’s death upset me that much. What I do remember was the way this now ex-boyfriend looked at me that frantic morning. I was in the backseat of a cab saying a quick hello, reaching out for his keys, when he gave me this vacuous look. One that should have told me he had already become a complete stranger. That beneath the empty stare was a suffering soul filled to the brim with anger, resentment, immaturity and despair. That the love that defined him was perhaps, long gone. It took two more years before I let that relationship end. But I should have known then, at that moment, that it was already over.
Anyway, what I ended up doing last Sunday was go to my building lobby in my ratty bikini and old sarong and called my mom’s house from the building landline. It was not pretty but I survived. The lobby guards were sympathetic and they didn’t stare at my out-of -bed bad hair. It was also quite early, so there were not too many lurkers hanging out. Turned out that my mom’s driver, who was usually off on Sundays, was doing some work for her that day. Yay! So, after swimming and reading for an hour and half in the pool area at my building’s roof deck, my mom’s spare keys arrived. I felt relief and gratitude at the same time. I also remember thinking about what would/could happen if I was already somewhere else in the world and I didn’t have my mom to run to for times like these. Ack! But that’s for another blog entry. Anyway, in the end, life went on. I turned the key, stepped into my apartment, hugged the fat cat and thought of Heath Ledger.
grateful slice: the things we remember and access to spare keys (thanks, mom!)
Sometimes, but more often these days, I imagine a moment like this one:
Doctor’s office, one afternoon, tests done, consultation ongoing
Me: What do you mean? That’s it. That’s what’s been causing these massive headaches all along?
Dr.: Yes. That’s it.
Me: So if we remove (insert obstruction here) from (insert any body part here), I’ll never get another migraine again?
Dr.: Yes. That is correct.
Me: I’ll never have another debilitating day, wasted away spent in bed, in the dark, with absolute quiet and ice packs all over my face?
Dr.: This is the idea, yes.
Me: I’ll never have to feel like a fat nail is being hammered into one side of my head, sometimes, my eye?
Dr.: Um, yes, I mean, no, no more nails.
Me: I’ll never have to pray that I wake up without the throbbing, pulsating pain that no medicine and only time can melt away?
Me: No more folding like a director’s chair, or squirming from feeling like your skull is being squished by two elepantes and squinting in agony from natural light or tickling my throat to vomit like a bulimic to release pressure from the capillaries or veins or whatever is ready to burst from stress or fatigue or lack of sleep or cheese or chocolate or red wine?
Dr.: Really? Two elepantes? But yes, all that over and done with. You can get on with your life, elephant and migraine free.
Me: Wow! That’s awesome. I should have consulted with you ages ago. Circa 1970-something when I was, like, five years old. Thanks, doc.
fade to black, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. She wakes up from her dream.
With a migraine
It’s true. I’m one of the lucky ones afflicted with these skull crushing, debilitating, oppressive headaches from hell. I started having them at a very young age and they have not left my life since. Nothing helped. Not surviving cancer, discovering yoga, seeing three, no four, neurologists, changing my bras, simplifying my life, not drinking red wine — none of these things stood a chance against the wrath of the one sided, clawing pain, drilling in between your eyes headache. As a kid they would arrive often because of hunger and my not eating on time. But as an adult, it has evolved into a completely different beast all together. It comes from nowhere, arrives uninvited, and like a malicious stalker in heat, goes for the kill and won’t leave until you surrender to the pain, wrapped in a blanket, flat in the dark, praying that when you wake up, it’s gone. In the meantime, one side of your head feels like raw meat being pounded by Thor’s meat malet and nothing gives you comfort — not the many grandmother menthol things, not the ice packs, not the cold AC, not the quiet, not even the tears pooling in your ducts, which slowly roll down your cheek, onto your pillow. You do feel grateful for the darkness. But you can’t move. You can’t open your eyes. You whisper gibberish to no one, to the air maybe, for the pain to please end. You nurse your attacker as it demands all your attention. You ignore all text messages, all kinds of ringing because lifting your lids means suffering and usually, if you are a good girl, you wake up hours later and it is gone. Poof.
Is it genetic? I don’t think so. My dad never gets them and my mom, well she says and I quote her, “I have no idea what you mean when you say you are suffering from these/this headache/s…I’ve never had them, don’t know what it feels like at all.” No fail. This is what she says. All the time. What triggers them? Different things – food, stress, self-loathing, fatigue, lack of sleep, over thinking/over analysis, looking at a computer screen for too long, not writing, procrastinating and yeah, stress. Sometimes, when deadlines or workshops come up, I know a migraine will hit me smack in the face but those are just self fulfilled prophecies.
Anyway, they come and go. Months I am lucky, they don’t come at all. But these days, since I arrived from the beach, they have paid me a visit almost everyday. Sometimes when I wake up, other times, right in the middle of a conversation, in the middle of the day. So far, I have wasted a good week put together if I add up all the days hit by this debilitating condition. I am at my wits’ end and frankly, am tired of the oppression, the powerlessness, the wasted time and the mystery behind why I get them at all, and why I have been getting them so often these days. Which brings me to why I imagined that doctor scene recently again and over and over again. I am praying for a cure. A way out. I want to stand up to this bully but I don’t know how. And yes, the frustration of having migraines, is well, giving me more migraines. Sigh.
I wish I had an upbeat ending for this post but I don’t. I think until a doctor tells me that all he has to do is “remove (insert obstruction here) from (insert any body part here)” then the upbeat ending might be possible. Until then, I will have to imagine/dream up that awesome moment in the doctor’s office and well, suspend my disbelief.
Thanks for listening.
grateful slice: writing and to everyone who gets these headaches…you are not alone!
After dealing with the same nausea, dizziness and migraine from Hades, and after fighting it to the death, I decided to get off the lemonade diet a little short of Day 3. It was just not going well with my system. I kept on vomiting and just couldn’t function at work. So for the sake of my health and the kids, I ate some soup and crackers and called it a day. Pride kills. So as much as this cleanse has challenged and pushed me, it has also humbled me. I accept that my body is damaged goods and just can’t take cayenne pepper, lemons and maple syrup. I’ll never understand it as I watch @maimailim and C handle the cleanse like pros. And that’s okay. It wasn’t the hunger that made me accept the truth, I am not questioning my willpower…it was the hurling and the migraines that made my eyeballs want to pop out and good friends with their concern that finally made me say, okay, it’s time to stop. Sigh.
grateful slice: knowing when to stop something toxic and for the best of reasons…
I kept a straight face while verbal diarrhea oozed out of your mouth. The crap you were saying reeked. It smelled of condescension, ignorance and misplaced superiority. It was like being in that disgusting crapper scene in Slumdog Millionaire. Swimming in your shitty arguments and righteous assertions, I couldn’t believe the excrement that was coming out of your pie hole.
I kept a straight face. I didn’t wince at the stench. I didn’t flinch at your arrogance. I didn’t dignify your comments by mudslinging. So on the outside, I would have made Lady Gaga proud.
Inside of me though, was a different story.
What I really wanted to do was squeeze the puss you call a brain out of your head through your ear like an irritating zit that won’t go away.
I wanted to throw a poisonous ninja star in between your eyes, mid crap-filled sentence.
Or do Pai Mei’s five point palm exploding heart technique right when you least expected it.
I wanted to whapack you where it hurts with an arnis stick and just go Jet Li-slash-Chuck Norris on your sorry ass.
Anything to make your douche-bag discourse stop once and for all.
I wanted to pretty much, bash your face in while you blahblahed ala Peanuts teacher/adult
while I kept a straight face.
I am sure it’s possible there’s a holding place for people like me, right by the gates of heaven. They won’t let me in until I can let these angry thoughts go. And until then, I’d have to watch all the fluffy, angelic, non-fattening fun from outside the pearly gates.
I suppose, just as long as you’re not there with me in that holding area, it’ll be fine in the meantime, because man, seriously, when you open your mouth to speak, it’s like raising the lid of a septic tank filled with dead bodies in rigor mortis.
So please shut up. I don’t think I can take any more of your misguided ideas of the situation, us and me.
And you would be doing all of us and the world a huge favor if you’d just shut your pie hole of uselessness.
grateful slice: looking forward to the promise of forgiveness. And looking back at this post in the future and having no clue who it’s about.