What I Need to Remember: Love is Real

Time CapsuleTen years ago one of my best friends from high school and I created a time capsule. Last year as I was going through boxed things at my parents’ house in Louisville, Kentucky, I came across an envelope with “June 17, 2015” written on the front. I took it back with me to DC.

But I was nervous to discover what my 18-year-old self thought my future would hold. So as I went running this morning, I reflected on how 10 years ago I was with my best friend sitting on a bench near the park by her apartment complex and writing down our lives. We wrote about what we thought mattered most and what we thought we wanted to preserve for our 28-year-old selves.

So when I returned from my run, I turned the envelope over in my hands, but I couldn’t open it. Did I think I would be married by now? Did I think I would have that bestselling novel? Did I think I would be living in some foreign country? I decided it would be best to wait to open the envelope until the end of the day when I could have a glass of wine in hand and sleep on it if need be.

Twelve hours later, I opened that envelope and the first thing I read made me cry. At the top of the piece of loose-leaf above Time Capsule (because even at 18, I was an organized freak), I had written the following (in what seemed like a last minute addition):

What I Need to Remember: Love Is Real.

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It’s hard to live when you don’t trust your body, and no matter what you do, it continues to disappoint you.

Today I found out I may have another autoimmune disease. I was notified by email of my recent lab results. And a short note from my doctor: you have ______. Here are my medication and dosage recommendations.

No call. No explanation. No consultation. All I had was one abnormal test result and potentially another incurable disease that meant I would have to take a pill every day for the rest of my life.

It’s not so bad. It’s manageable. They all said the same thing when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes six years ago. Is this how I’m rewarded? Continue reading

Eden: Back to Where I Started

On the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Georgetown, I walk along the pavement, staying close to the right so that bikers and runners may pass. I hear a shuffling of leaves to my right and see something white zip through the branches. I immediately grasp my key ring and two apartment keys tighter even though I am surrounded by several bikers and walkers. I search for a male lurking in the trees but see nothing. I begin my run again.

I’ve felt an ache to run for two days now. I don’t know where it came from. I have to admit I was scared to take the trail after hearing the horrid stories of women being raped, but my coworker assured me as long as I run during the day or evening when it’s crowded, I should be safe. In the 10 years I’ve been running, I’ve never feared for my safety, but I’ve always carried a few keys with me in case I needed them as defense weapons, and I always keep my music at a low volume.

But today with a storm pending, I knew it would be a perfect opportunity for a run. With my 10-minute commute, it doesn’t take me long to arrive home and change my clothes. And then I’m out the door in a hot pink shirt and black shorts. I should probably carry my CGM with me and maybe some glucose tablets, too. But I don’t plan to be gone long, and my blood sugar is steady at 125. I drank some juice just in case. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Bait

Briston set up the traps months ago, baiting the mice with pinches of peanut butter.

“It’s best to leave the peanut butter on before setting the trap,” he said, “that way the mouse gets use to it and doesn’t expect the snap.”

We had just moved into a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a rowhouse in downtown Baltimore. Even though we’d been dating for two and a half years, more than half of that was long distance. Once I graduated with my MFA, Briston made the move from Orlando to Baltimore to give the relationship a real shot.

“That’s fine,” I told him, referring to the mouse trap, “as long as I don’t have to clean it up.”

Two years prior when I lived in a basement apartment north of the city, I had my first encounter with a mouse. He scared me when I turned on my bedroom light, and he ran out from under my bed.

A few days later I was sitting in the living area on the flower-printed couch, donated by a previous tenant, reading a book. I had set a similar peanut butter trap, at the suggestion of my roommate.

It was 9pm, and he scurried out from behind my bookcase against the wall across from me. He sniffed around my TV stand and ignored the peanut butter. Then disappeared down the hall. I didn’t scream or fret. As much as I don’t like living with other things, I live under the philosophy, “if you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you.” Continue reading

The Same Route Twice

Sometimes, I wonder how much more my body can take. At some point, I’m just on auto-pilot, and at the end of my 16-hour day, I’m surprised I’m still functioning, considering I’m one of those people who tries not to take the same route twice (for safety reasons and to mix it up a bit).

Today is one of those days. In addition to physical stress, I am overwhelmed by a whirl of emotions, a reaction to pending changes in my life. I’m preparing to move (again); helping other friends prepare to move; finding new friends and some desperately needed R&R while working for a promotion at the first job I’ve ever cared for. Some may say I’m 27 – this is normal.

But with the additional management of a chronic disease, changes in insurance status, filing claims, switching doctors, acquiring new scripts for that coveted 90-day supply, it’s a wonder I accomplish anything. And as a side note, what’s the point in having an FSA debit card if I have to submit receipts, explanation of benefits, etc. every time I use it?

Rewind 10 years…

I sit on the swing set of a small park near my best friend’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. As the sun fades, the crickets come out. I love their sound as long as I don’t have to step near their ugly brown spotted bodies that used to roam our basement and give me daymares.

My best friend Maria and I agreed to meet here one evening in June, the summer before we left for college. She would stay in Louisville. I was destined two hours north for Cincinnati.

We met freshman year of high school waiting for our moms to pick us up outside the new building to our all-girls school. We started talking about politics and cultural events. We philosophized about life and love and by the end of the year, we had become best friends. Continue reading