Assuming the position.

You know, I bitch a lot.

I didn’t corner the market on the Art of Bitchery, but I can roll with the best of them, and I even had a laminated “License to Bitch” once, long ago.

I don’t bitch as much as some people. No, my amount of bitching isn’t as over-the-top as some people I know, who have upped their game to a quantity-versus-quality scenario that simply qualifies them as not only uber-bitchy but also miserable. I prefer my level of bitchiness to suit the moment in such harmony as if I were pairing a wine with an entree. If there was a SUPER BITCHY HALL OF FAME I would like my name to be amongst those who were eloquent and measured with their bitch proficiency. You know, bitchy on the same, stellar level as Robert Plant or Mick Jagger or Elvis Presley in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I am legit bitchy, not dime store bitchy.

I was pathetic bitchy yesterday. This is something that, in the hazy, humid light of today, I am not proud of. I took bitchiness to a corner of the market where I rarely go because I don’t want to be that person who’s holding up a sign, asking for donations to her pity party. Yesterday, I looked like her and acted like her and today, I want to slap her.

I have been fighting with my eyes for a while now, just another item on a list growing longer of shit that is breaking in or on my body.  Yesterday, the grossly-overpriced, yet very qualified opthamalic surgeon informed me that I have severe dry eye disease and ocular nerve damage due to circumstances that actually  were within my control. Short version? I have cold urticaria, a sort of autoimmune disorder that causes me to be allergic to extreme temperature changes. I break out in hives when cold hits my warm body, or warm hits my cold body. I’ve lived with it for 17 years now. It’s really not a big deal, because while irritating as fuck, it is at least mostly controllable with proper medication. This is my skin I’m talking about, and on one, very scary occasion, it spread into my mouth and throat. Anaphylaxis isn’t fun.  It also should have clued me in that it’s not just my skin, but my system, but well…I’m a little slow, I guess. It never occured to me that it could travel into my eyes under extreme conditions like working in a 30° dairy cooler 6-7 hours a day. 

Go ahead. You can call me a dumb fuck. I have, many times, over the last few months. I took a job that was bad for my health. We all question, at one time or another, the wisdom of continuing with  some jobs we have done or do, but in this case, I didn’t think it through, and when the symptoms started, I continued to  not think it through. 

The lesson I learned the hard way? As much as I would like to insist that “You are only as old as you feel” the truth of the matter is that science hasn’t figured out a way to stop the effects of aging and even if my brain is saying “Go! Go! Go!” my body sometimes pleads, “Oh for fuck’s sake. Please, for the love of all that is holy, DON’T EVEN.” And this very wise advice extends to medical diagnostics that limit me in certain ways, 50 or not. Got it.

So, I felt really shitty yesterday. Losing some of my ability to see well, and knowing that it is permanent – well, it sucked. Knowing that I could have prevented it by not taking a job I hated from day 1 left a sour taste in my mouth. I can bitch all I want about how soulless Walmart is and the personal things I witnessed and experienced, but the truth is that I chose to be there out of some sense of supposed dignity. They offered me a little bit of power and a very tiny pay raise (Tiny. Oh-so Renaissance statue of a naked man with microscopic junk tiny) and I took that koolaid and drank it and asked for a refill. The fact that I came to my senses means very little right now. I swore that I wouldn’t, but some insignificant person in relation to me said, “Here, you’re good at this” and I was grateful for that validation and guess what? I fell for the con!

That’s what I am more ashamed of than the sadness at the fact that I now have a new medical condition to add to my list. And so I bitched in a pathetically whiny, pukey way and licked my wounds for a little while. This morning, I awoke with the realization that my bitch was not a quality bitch at all. It was quantity all the way, baby. And this is not how I roll.

It’s not life-threatening. It limits me a little, but I can work with it and make changes. It’s not cancer, or heart disease, or the end of the world. Yeah, it’s the end of a way that was, but hasn’t been, for a while now. So many people I know are sick, really sick, or caring for sick people, and I am sad to say that some people I know are actively in the process of dying, way before their time. I would cry for them, but I have no tears. That is sad, and darkly amusing. But certainly not worth the time it took me to bitch.

So, fuck that self-pitying bullshit! It is not a good color on me. It’s the pink of my emotions. I look like shit in pink. I will carry on, squinting in such a way that elevates my resting bitch face to Scarlett O’Hara status (or better yet, Melania Trump) and continue paint it black in a stellar, Mick Jagger way. Will I have to limit it? Yep. But it will be all about the quality from now on.

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