I am a survivor, as should be well documented by my propensity to not die when people tell me to. I spent a good portion of every day, without consciously realizing it, assessing my surroundings for survival. This is not as bad as it used to be, but even so the moment I had extra money I bought things to survive on. All things I buy must have a purpose. I consider reading purposeful as I have all sorts of books in my ereader, and most are about survival. Pleasure is also important to survival. My solar charger fits all my electronic devices that aren’t wheelchairs. In fact I have a design for a wheelchair based on surviving without electricity.
I didn’t realize how much surviving ran me until today. I have had mini epiphanies before about small aspects of this survival mode I have never lived without, and I am further away from that bare bones mentality than I used to be. In fact I like to think on how I could survive things to be prepared. This has caused a few issues including hoarding tendencies. I can use this to survive. I wonder for a moment how many people who hoard are survivors stuck in a world that hasn’t hit the apocalypse yet. Like me.
I sat down to watch a reality TV show, The Colony. I made it through two episodes, but I was NOT okay. At first I thought it was the machismo that was displayed by the men while the women were relegated to cooking and laundry. Then I started to talk to M, my friend. M who has helped me to survive, and has seen me grow over many years. He is in so many ways the balance to me. That scares me too but I started to talk with him about where these survivors went wrong. They first and foremost ignored food and water for too long, I kept laughing as their shelter had things magically appearing and no one tried to eat the camera men. I would. I would refer to them as bacon and by the end of the first episode would have them wary about getting too close to me if I were to partake. Then again, reality tv shows are too scripted.
It was the lack of their realism that hit me. I looked at the actions of these men and women and not one was gearing towards actual survival. They know that this experiment will be over, and they are just playing along. They waited almost a week to go food hunting, water they did sooner but really, they waited too long. Their shelter is not secure. If there were real threats, they would be dead. In the world in which I would survive these people who spend their hours trying to restore privileges like electricity are lost.
I realized as I watched them eat more food in their survival mode than I do a day that I have a problem. I call my meals my rations. I get accessories for cellphones and MP3 players that could work without electricity. Music is my coping skill, and I value feeling happy. You survive better with joy. Some of this triggering brought images of hunger from my childhood. I felt a panic about all the food I cannot eat, the water I cannot drink. I cried.
I am crying again just thinking on the feelings. I live as if the world is ended now. I stock pile food. If my food is below a certain level in my fridge I stop eating. I have a problem. I am aware of this and have been to a degree but I had not seen the whole picture. Each item separated from itself was less of a worry than putting them together in one go. I will kill you and eat you to survive. I also spend too much time worrying about how to survive things. I know the best places to hole up in my community, I know that I would not want a lot of people with me but at most four, I know… what to do. Unequivocally, a lot of this is based on my life.
I am setting a goal. M and I discussed it and I am going to try to eat two meals EVERY day not just when I feel safe. So… seven days a week. I am up to snacking daily and eating a moderate meal. I am not going to let myself call my food rations anymore. I do this just mentally but it is what we think to ourselves that betrays our reality the most. I feel a bit sick even thinking about changing my food. Yet, what if I get stronger by leaving survival mode? I know too eating well BEFORE the End of Days would be the best way to survive. Going in stretched already mentally and physically thin is an issue.
I also understand why I have been in tears over Monster High Dolls. I have cried at night when I could not conceive of wanting them. They aren’t needed for survival. That’s my worry. I am looking at the toys and art I have, most of it predates my recent starvation triggers with the room and the year of stuff. The few bought after either have one still in a box just like it on my wall or are just in their box. The only action figures opened either predate my disability, are in a very small phase that lasted a week of mental security post disability, or are in their boxes in case I need to sell them later. Even Batman.
I haven’t bought any new books over the years, I have more rechargeable batteries on hand at all times fully charged than most people ever need. Though I could use them all, I ration them too. Just in case. I have four flashlights, two that will travel with me, and I have been saving up for a solar charger. I also have first aid kits everywhere. I am so ready for an emergency that sometimes I sit here when nothing needs to be done and visualize my plan of escape in my house in case of X disaster forcing me out. Where would I go? Would I have time to grab my wheelchair charger? If not how will I get around after the battery dies? I am still going to work on that solar powered chair design but, that is so I can become a wealthy woman in a mansion.
In fact there is more. In my mind when I imagine having money I don’t buy a house, a car, a boat and all the trappings of wealth. I buy a computer that is reliable, I buy a house that is in a secure location or if it’s a better day it is built to my specifications, and I marry M. We then can live forever on my money but both still work. I understand my anger at the man who lamented no coffee, the man who spent a day finding coffee on the show, and everyone being jubilant over a bean being smushed and boiled. Their goals at restoring privileges I do not even concieve of is a concern. I am afraid for myself.
I cannot conceptualize a world where there is enough food, water (Sprite), shelter, and where things are replaceable. This has come up several times recently. As I consider moving, I am faced with culling things that are replaceable to others but the cost stalls me. My bed is fine, but to move it will cost me 1000 dollars. To replace it? Less. So why is it that I am afraid to move because I would have to get a bed that isn’t jury rigged? My bed is in need of replacement if I move. No choice, yet just in case there is no more, I want to haul it across the country. This is just an example. Everything is that way. In fact I have cried more in the last few days over the ideas of having new things than I knew I could.
I have never lived with enough. My first apartment, I never unpacked my things because I didn’t believe I could stay there. This is a trait that is multi generational. This is terrifying to me all the more. I come from a family of hoarders. I come from a family that is so trapped up in the cycle of abuse that we starve ourselves and think we aren’t just in case there is never any more food.
So here is my plan. This takes care of two issues.
At Walmart I am to buy something completely useless on the first. Not shoes, clothing, bags, make up or anything that I actually need. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just useless and something I desire.
Tomorrow I am going to lay out a meal plan, setting a menu of food. I am going to make a check list. At the end of the week, if I have eaten every meal and snack planned, I am going to get a gold star on the proverbial chart. After ten gold stars I get a prize. After the restocking I also get a monster high doll. I am not allowed to buy anymore toys that I keep in their packages. I may even get to a point where I can unbox my action figures. Most of them anyway. The ones where I bought two just so I could play with them can stay in their boxes. I am going to move and when I move, I am going to get a nice bed, that doesn’t have broken supports that are held up by a homemade set up. The bed is safe but that is because I know how to survive.
I know surviving isn’t a BAD thing. The problem is when I am so busy trying to survive an apocalypse that hasn’t happened yet that I forget to live. i forget that being happy is important to survival. I know that eating daily is important and I have always struggled. i know that my family is a pitiful mass of humanity and my baby sister (she is not pitiful but is awesome despite them) and they hurt like this. I am going to escape the pain by facing it.
I am afraid of seeing this for what it is, generational sickness. This is a product of how I was raised and of my fears based on being homeless, hungry, and all of the times I have not had enough. This is the Aha moment and perhaps facing these issues will improve my quality of life. I have had some start on this already, recently M the carer commented that I only buy staples for food and so we made a very large amount of fudge. I am eating some of that fudge now as a reminder that the world did not end because I made something delicious to eat out of pleasure.
I secretly hope that I can maybe consume more fruits than before or some of my food allergies decrease if my body is not strained. I don’t know yet. Maybe the spontaneous tissue tears that are starting up are a result of this too, because there is no cause. Yes I am eating, but am I eating enough? No. Ineed to eat at least TWO meals a day. The goal is three. What if my eating breakfast makes me physically ill because my body just hasn’t learned how to eat that much food yet?
What if I feel so good and am so happy the world explodes into a Happypocalypse of joy where I really am okay? Scarily, there is pink involved in this image in my head. Horrid horrid pink.