alexandra ewing is on the internet.

twenty-something philadelphia-area online diarist comes home in the midst of a total breakdown and eventually makes good, to an electrifying soundtrack of '60s power pop.

it's the feel-good movie of the summer.

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~ Saturday, June 29 ~
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Shame

It feels so indulgent to be up so late and to be talking about being up so late. I am tired, but not quite ready for sleep. My hands keep feeling my sides. I wonder, when I see the surgeon Monday morning, if he will even be able to tell where I am swollen. I can feel it, sharply, the raise of my flesh where it isn’t fat, but in the mirror, I am not so sure.

I am eating bananas, and pickles, and chicken doused in sriracha. Drinking water, and Coca-Cola. Evidence of the ill mentality impressed on women over the ages: my mother looks at me, moaning on the couch, in sympathy, but says happily, “But think of all the weight you’ll lose.” And I am no better, because I briefly find the thought comforting, before I long for red meat, and dairy, and chocolate, all over again.

I cried dragging myself out of bed yesterday, and soon after went into work to tell my manager I couldn’t manage this. I was so sure I would work through the weekend, before my Monday appointment, and then probably take my leave, but the only time I am not in pain is flat on my back, unmoving. I washed my sheets earlier and the act of making my bed left me exhausted, my face sweaty, my hands shaking. I can say my body is working hard, but I feel like I am wasting time. I feel guilty, in bed, when I could be at my minimum-wage job. I feel as thought I am wrong not to be there, slogging through it. Earlier in the week, the friend to whom I had mentioned shoplifting said, “I hope you don’t think that I judge you,” and we discussed it. I felt such overwhelming self-loathing, trying to explain that I know that she doesn’t, I just expect that anyone would. I am a bad friend, I told her. She just said, “No, you’re just insecure.” This extends to my co-workers: I am sure they rarely think of me at all, and if they do think of me, they are saying, “I hope she’s okay soon,” but part of me just assumes they are wondering, why is she lying in bed all day? Surely this job isn’t too laborious for her? She’s at home over this? Way to overreact.

My mother pointed out to me the care instructions from the emergency room I’d forgotten. “Bedrest until feeling better,” it said. And I will not feel better until I have surgery.

My antibiotics say that I may feel more suspicious. It’s a frustrating sentence: does it mean I may feel more suspicious of others, or that I may feel as though I am doing things more worthy of suspicion? I already do both, and it is hard to tell if it’s having any effect. On Thursday night I cried and apologized to my parents, my mother looking on bewildered, as I explained they must be so ashamed of me, as though this is something I did to myself. (I try so hard to accept myself but I am still the first person I know to blame my body, even when I know logically my fat likely has nothing to do with this.) Never mind that this apparently runs in my father’s side of the family and I never knew—I still felt so sure of my own guilt, as if I’d chosen to be complicit in illness. My mother just tutted, blamed my father’s genetics, and let her eyes go soft looking at me. I am so lucky to be so loved.

In the emergency room, I writhed on the bed, struggling to keep checking I had not accidentally ripped out the IV, and apologized to my mother the whole while that I was eating up her day off. When the doctor finally came to see me, she saw me rolling around and moaning and said, “And you say this is only a 5? Really?” I’m too afraid to choose incorrectly on the pain charts. I wasn’t crying—I didn’t feel like I could, and only now realized I was probably much too dehydrated to—so it felt like it couldn’t be anything more than a 5. And even now, I think, how can anyone choose incorrectly on a pain chart? Why do I have guilt over that? Except I remember twisting my ankle at state-funded arts camp and hobbling in pain all day before begging my RA for Tylenol that night, which she could not legally give me, which got the nurse involved, which led to my midnight ride to the emergency room, where I said the pain was a 7, and I had x-rays, and it wasn’t even broken, and I felt such guilt for dragging this poor woman along to the hospital in Erie, and the next day I wrote out on my livejournal

at midnight riding through the streets of a city i live on the outskirts of twentysomethings club hop and get in drunken fights the doors are locked pull into the parking garage and this car feels like a hearse there is a boy with an earache who keeps crying his mother and father are young and detached hop into a wheelchair and get pushed around lie down on the table is there any chance you’re pregnant take an x-ray take two more x-rays letting my leg hang over the slot for the foot because bending this feels registers as a seven on the one-to-ten chart of pain do you have her insurance can you sign your consent i am reading a book about einstein and time and there is a light that never goes out above my head fluorescent interrogation my parents are asleep closed eyes the steady hum of the flatline three rooms down “my ear doesn’t hurt anymore we can go home now” time is a circle says einstein time is a line time is a moment time lasts one day time is infinite blue floral hospital gown exposes my bra swallow tylenol 1000mg three tablets allergic to advil ankle throbbing and swollen dr. stuart brilliant sounds like a soap opera name there is a girl with a concussion and her step-brother and she is too young to be drinking in a short skirt a pink tank and a thong dry tongue there are curtains pulled over the doorways and there is an obgyn needed for delivery i am spying just heard the baby’s first scream and never saw its face does this hurt yes yes yes stop standard sprain you can go wobble getting off the bed hobble up the stairs into the hearse car time is a flatline.

The places your mind goes when you are up too late.

Tags: body issues fat up too late 3a
12 notes
  1. threesixfifteen said: I love you. I hope you’re okay! I have no idea what is going on but please know i am thinking of you.
  2. kerdea said: ohhhh honey. <3 <3 <3 oh god damn it. I hate this for you.
  3. alexandra-ewing posted this