Pants can basically go fuck themselves. If something’s a little too tight or hits at the wrong spot, it’s worse than eating a pound of broccoli with a baked-beans chaser. Nothing will cause me to painfully inflate Goodyear-style like high-waisted denim, yet the low rise styles are equally bad because of the Ruptured Pillsbury Can effect. Those flattering, swoopy yoga pants have all been replaced by leggings, which almost always have thin elastic bands that dig into your belly oh and also they’re leggings. My ass is not in sausage-casing-display shape at the moment so no thanks, and ditto to fucking skinny jeans which I am SO. OVER.

There are now two choices: I can moisturize my feet with a thick oily lotion before I slide into bed, or I can wake up with hooves in the morning. Like actual hooves. Wildebeest hooves.

My knees have always sounded like they’re packed with ballbearings but now my elbows are joining the party. I was lowering myself into a noisy pushup at the gym the other day and the elderly lady next to me said, “Glucosamine, honey.”

The increasingly-frequent game of What’s That Skin Thing?

I was watching the cats playing in the sunroom and I found myself admiring the liquid grace of their movements. That was the exact phrase I thought of: Liquid grace. I’m a middle-aged lady with three cats, to whom I mentally assign NC-17 fanfic-sounding descriptives.

Do you need a tissue? Because I have some in my purse. A shitload of them, actually. They’re crumpled and dusty but they work just fine. I also have mints.

I saw one of those Facebook things the other day where you make a phrase out of the the color of your underwear and the last thing you ate, and my answer was “Beige Spinach.” I can’t remember if that was supposed to be my band name or my porn name, but either way it’s pretty tragic. I guess Beige Spinach, porn star, is probably worse, but on the plus side you know there’s at least one person out there whose ultra-specific kink would finally be fulfilled. (With liquid grace, he ran his tongue along her skin, which was neither milky white nor tan but somewhere in between…)

I used to wonder when I’d finally feel like a grownup. You know, someone worthy of the terrifying responsibility of, say, parenthood. But lately I’ve been finding comfort in the belief that while age brings experience and hopefully some wisdom, I think for the most part we never stop feeling like Space Dog.

About halfway through my rehab stay I absentmindedly grabbed a hot curling iron by the wrong end. The pain was instantaneous and all-encompassing, and was followed by a wave of self-hatred so fierce I leaned against the bathroom counter for support. You fuckup, I thought. You utter and complete piece of shit. You worthless loser. My hand throbbed and I just stood there looking at the reddening skin feeling like something had come loose inside of me. Some protective seal, ruptured. See what you get? See what you get?

I picked up my six-month chip recently. I have a little pile of them now: 24 hours, the Serenity Lane graduation coin, outpatient graduation, aluminum months differentiated by number and color. I don’t feel the way I used to, so raw and ashamed and loathsome. Every day I take another step, small movements but they add up.

Things are different, better, but the terrain is new and my confidence has been rebooted from scratch. My sponsor gave me a magnet that reads, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” which I kept for a few weeks before I decided that I didn’t like the idea of viewing my own comfort as a failure so I threw it away. Then I dug it back out of the trash because maybe the preachy magnet is right. Or maybe that’s just, like, the magnet’s opinion, man. I have no certainty about these things.

All I do know is that I have to keep walking towards forgiving and accepting myself. For all that I’ve done, for all that I am. I guess there’s no real finish line for this, just the hope that I’m going in the right direction.

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