At times I wonder why I left.
I ask myself if “exploring” could mean a Southie apartment with friends or “taking a chance” has to mean uprooting the familiar and planting yourself in the unknown.
At times I wonder why I left.
I ask myself if “exploring” could mean a Southie apartment with friends or “taking a chance” has to mean uprooting the familiar and planting yourself in the unknown.
There she was, sitting in La Colombe. Typing away on her marble-skinned MacBook wearing thick, square glasses. Ray Bans, perhaps. Thick, dark hair pulled back in a messy ponytail with a wool gray scarf draped around her neck sipping on what seems to be a cappuccino. Or maybe a latte. Cafe au lait? I’m not sure. Every few seconds she looks up from her screen and purses her lips, perhaps thinking about what to say next. I wonder what she’s writing about. Me, perhaps?
I roll out of bed at around 4:30am even after a 1:00am clock out at work a short 3.5 hours prior. My phone lies on my nightstand lit up with Nordstrom Rack emails, Tinder messages, and an option to hit “Sleep.”
Next step is usually a trip to the bathroom to washthe make up residue from my eyes I failed to get off properly the night before. I head to the kitchen next, snap the lid on the Keurig for coffee and crack two eggs for my omelette. Continue reading
“What the f*ck is wrong with me?” I cried as I laid in bed in excruciating pain at 4 in the morning. I wanted to call someone, anyone. The tears rolled down my face as my legs stiffened.
This was night number five.
I attempted to stand up to make the leg cramps subside, stumbling to the ground as soon as I tried.
I laid on the ground for a few minutes, feeling defeated and helpless just like the night before. I reached for my water beside me, chugging it in hopes of ameliorating the problem. Maybe dehydration was the problem. I just needed to drink more water and the leg cramps would go away. Yeah, sure.
“You need to stretch more and maybe take it easy on your legs, you’re always on them.”
“Eat more protein.”
“Drink more electrolytes.”
“Get more sleep.”
I became thirsty. Always thirsty. I assumed it was because my body was craving more water since I had made an effort to drink more to make the cramps go away. I filled a giant water bottle every night and placed it beside my bedside, knowing I would wake up with cotton mouth at some point in the middle of the night. However, it never satisfied me. Refilling it twice a night became habitual, just like my muscle aches.
Drink more water. Eat more protein.
I was eating right, perhaps even eating more than usual, but my weight was dropping at a rapid rate. At first it felt good. “I’m more active now,” I told myself. Constantly walking, always on my feet. This is great.
The more weight I lost, the weaker I felt. Spinning classes were no longer enjoyable, they were a feat to push through. A 10 pound weight was no longer something I lifted with ease, my arm would shake as I attempted to pick it up.
The legs that could once run a half marathon could hardly push through an 11 minute mile.
Drink more. Eat more. Sleep more.
My body was telling me to do all of these things, but I simply couldn’t. A gallon of water was hardly satisfying, neither was a giant slice of pizza. Walking to work was no longer enjoyable, it took too much energy out of me. I was growing increasingly irritable with people; anxiety became an integral part of my daily life.
For about a month, I accepted discomfort as a norm. Eventually I would feel better. This was just a weird phase.
Between starting a new job and working crazy hours all while still getting settled in a new city, I figured a trip home for Thanksgiving would be the cure-all to my problems. Although it would only be for a few days, I needed this mini vacation.
Reluctantly, I booked a doctor’s appointment with my PCP for Wednesday morning in Boston to see what was going on with me. Although, I had already diagnosed myself with hypothyroidism (thanks, WebMD). So, I walked into the doctor’s office fairly positive that I would be prescribed medication and I’d be back to feeling normal again. No biggie. Shit happens.
I began explaining all of my body issues to the nurse practitioner. “You poor thing!” she exclaimed. She asked me a bunch of questions trying to pinpoint what the problem could be, agreeing that hypothyroidism could possibly be the correct diagnosis.
Or maybe it wasn’t. However, I ignorantly disregarded all of the other possibilities she discussed with me. Whatever was wrong with me was a quick fix. WebMD had already told me (there was a small chance I had to get surgery, but that also wasn’t going to happen).
I had to get a series of blood tests done in the lab upstairs. I waited impatiently as my hair appointment was quickly approaching. Spending 2 hours at the doctors was not how I wanted to start my trip home. She injected the needles into my arm as I stared at my wrist watch. Get me out of here.
I eventually made it to the hair salon, and I was finally doing something that I wanted to do. The foils sat in my hair as I chatted away with my hairdresser, blushing as she commented on my weight loss, although I knew it wasn’t really something to be proud of.
My phone rang, it was the doctor’s office. I knew the blood test results would come back later that day but I didn’t realize how fast it would be.
“Hi, is this Beth?”
The doctor spoke to me in panic. I listened intently as she began to explain my lab results. She said a lot, but all I heard was a single sentence that made my face turn pale.
“We believe that you have type 1 diabetes.”
They advised me to get to the ER, my blood sugar was dangerously high and I apparently was in diabetic ketoacidosis (I didn’t know what that was until I Googled it either).
She washed the foils out as I blankly stared at the ceiling. I literally didn’t know what to feel.
I drove myself to the ER, not really knowing how serious my condition was (looking back it was probably an awful idea to drive). I checked myself in as my phone was blowing up with questions from my parents and my sister. No one really knew what was happening. No one understood.
My life had quickly spun into a whirlwind yet I still felt blissfully unaware of the situation that I was currently in.
I parked my car outside of the ER of South Shore Hospital and walked inside with my belongings.
“For a blood sugar count of 700, you look pretty darn good,” the nurse at the front desk said to me. That number didn’t really mean anything to me. I politely smiled.
A normal blood sugar count is roughly 90-140.
I laid in the hospital bed waiting for my family to arrive. The tears still refused to fall, as confusion was the only emotion that I could really feel. They set me up on two IVs, one filled with insulin, the other filled with salt water. I watched Modern Family on mute as patients passed by my room. My nurse periodically came in and checked my blood sugar and my vitals, eventually I became numb to it all.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve to me.
I don’t remember the exact moment that it set in. Perhaps it was the 2am wake up call to prick my finger and check my blood sugar. Or maybe it was the third time I plead for food only to be told to wait until my insulin drip runs out. It may not have been an exact moment, but possibly a culmination of overwhelming events, conversations, and ‘I’m sorry’s.
You didn’t do anything to cause this. Type 1 and Type 2 aren’t the same. This is just a bump in the road. You can live with this. You’ll be OK, Beth. You’re a healthy person, this will be manageable for you.
I talked to dozens of different nurses, dietitians, and doctors. They periodically came into my room in the ICU, asking how I was doing, reassuring me that things were going to be OK. Saying this would soon become a “new normal.” Telling me that my life wouldn’t be any different, I’d just have to make some adjustments here and there. I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that all of these words went over my head.
But this was my life now.
I stared at the “Diabetes Management” book given me to by one of the dietitians. On the cover was two overweight elderly people. One was holding a tennis racket and the other was cutting vegetables. A fucking tennis racket and vegetables. Honestly? Be more irrelevant.
The first page read “What is Diabetes?” It was plastered with the symptoms that I had been ignoring for a month. I quickly shut the book and threw it back on the chair beside me.
I spent the entire week in the hospital. They were monitoring and perfecting insulin levels for the time being so I could make it back to DC safe and sound. My meals were carb controlled, and I was taught the basics of balancing proteins, carbs, and fats in a mini-diabetes boot camp.
At first they would inject my insulin for me. I would lift up my shirt and they punctured the needle into me–the physical pain was minimal, however, the mental pain is what hurt the most.
“Do you want to try doing it on your own?” She handed me over the insulin pen. I held it with shaky hands. The tears started to fall again.
This was my new normal.
I feel silly for mourning over this disease. My constant tears in the hospital didn’t seem warranted for. There are more people in this world in far worse shape than I am currently in.
It’s ok to be angry.
Diabetes was continually described to me as a “livable disease.” I was told I could still do what every other 22 year old does; that sooner or later it’ll just become an integral part of my life.
It’s not the technicalities of it that scare me. I don’t need to change my life all that much. The needles aren’t large, the finger pricks to test my blood sugar hardly feel like a pinch.
I stare at my plate, it no longer looks like food. It looks like carbs, fats, proteins; it looks like poison. I stare in my purse, it no longer looks like a black hole for my house keys. It looks like a safe haven for my diabetes kit.
My stomach is no longer skin, it’s a grid split into quadrants; quadrants that are meant to be punctured with a needle 4 times a day.
What scares me is failure. Low blood sugars when they should be higher. Exercising at the wrong time. Forgetting my glucose tabs when I’m in desperate need. Not knowing how to respond to people saying “eat this,” when I know I can’t. Pricking the same finger too many times. Running out of test strips.
I have more questions than I do answers. And that is what perhaps scares me the most.
I have a new normal, except, it’s not normal yet.
I’m supposed to like a certain type of guy. I have constructed this ideal man in my mind who shapes my taste in guys. He differentiates the right guys from the totally wrong ones. Ideally, he would be the perfect mix of smart, adventurous, confident, cute, friendly, blah blah blah.
Let’s call this “ideal man” Tom.
If you’re an avid reader of my blog, you’ve noticed that my love life is a rollercoaster that is fun to watch (or read) from afar, but when you’re actually on it–well actually, that’s kind of fun too.
That being said, to the surprise of no one, I have yet to find a Tom.
I’m an active participant of the casual dating scene, but it’s not something that I try to hide. I’d like to think that I’m in the process of finding my “Tom” but I’m beginning to wonder if my Tom exists, or maybe I’m focusing too much of my time on finding Tom when there’s a perfectly good Justin right in front of my eyes.
At one point a couple of years ago I was fairly positive I found Tom, and I convinced myself that we were made for each other. But then I went abroad for 6 months and came home to find that the Tom who I thought I wanted completely changed.
I didn’t want that Tom. I wanted a different Tom.
My life is all over the place. Not in a bad way, but I’m always looking forward to the next big thing. I set my sights on the future that I often forget to live in the present which can sometimes be shitty, but that’s just where I’m at in life. Does this mindset affect my dating habits? Possibly, but I don’t think I’m ready to slow down.
I was seeing this guy in the beginning of the summer. On paper, he was everything that I thought I was looking for. The “whatever” relationship we were invested in didn’t require any overthinking on my part. He wanted to talk to me, he wanted to see me, he wanted to be with me. He was kind, smart, cute, and provided me with more attention than any guy that I had been with in a long time.
In theory, I should have wanted him back…but I didn’t.
When I ended things with him, I went back and forth with myself several times thinking, “Is this really what I want?” Like, I had finally found a guy that was seemingly everything a girl could want but I just couldn’t get myself to emotionally invest myself. Should I have to justify that?
In more ways than one, this guy possessed a lot of the attributes that Tom does. Like I said, he was kind, honest, and an all around amazing person. So wtf was wrong with me? Nothing, actually.
Simply put, I just didn’t fall for the nice guy. It was fairly easy to justify being honest with myself rather than holding onto something simply because he was nice and gave me attention.
Then, this other guy came around. Let’s call him the “wrong guy.” (Like I said, my love life is sort of hard to keep up with).
The way we met was bizarre and totally random. I received a direct message on Instagram (yes that’s actually a thing) with the message “I’m intrigued.” He had stumbled upon my blog therefore directing him to my other social media pages and before I knew it I was getting asked out for drinks via Insta DM.
I had never seen this guy before, but he seemed normal. From the Boston area, college grad, fairly attractive, etc. There was just one problem: our “circle of people” was connected in more ways than one for all the wrong reasons—ya feel me?
One minute we were messaging back and forth (still Instagram DM) and the next minute I was caught in the middle of drama that had erupted in 10 minutes flat. You know that old “eight degrees of separation” rule? Well, my life is like 2 degrees.
Regardless, he was still interested in hanging out but at that point I had quickly lost interest. I hadn’t even been talking to the guy for more than 2 hours and I had already gotten more than one “warnings” about him and was in the middle of a drama-fest I wanted no part of.
He definitely wasn’t a Tom…or so that what I had been hearing.
He soon became just another Insta follower and a miniscule piece of my past that was a funny story (or blog post) to tell. That time I got asked out on Instagram, lmao.
This guy started popping out of nowhere for the period of a month or so. I would receive random invites to grab drinks for which I would deny time and time again.
One afternoon, for the first time in my life, I was sitting in South Station eating lunch. I sat there in solitude, enjoying my Au Bon Pain coffee and salad from Panera listening to some acoustic mix on Spotify. My eyes wandered around a little bit, enjoying the people-watching scene.
It was him, Instagram guy was sitting the table directly next to me (again, can’t make this shit up). I watched him snap a picture of me out of the corner of my eye and I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculous situation that I was currently in. Who the f*ck is this guy?
I had assumed the Snapchat read “Lol sitting next to Insta blog girl.~”
This guy who was once so irrelevant suddenly became so relevant in the most random of ways and I awkwardly became more intrigued to find out more about him…because like, how? Just, how?
One thing–or rejection–led to another and I reluctantly agreed to grab drinks with him (my text literally read “Fine.”). Because, why not? Judging from his social media pages I honestly thought he would be a giant d-bag…but I was pleasantly surprised.
We hung out a couple times and before I knew it we were splitting a bottle of wine on a rooftop apartment in the North End. And then I started to like him…shit.
His crude jokes and lack of emotions made me wonder why I actually felt a connection. In more ways than one, he was the “wrong guy.” He’s the guy that everyone warns you about, the one that you hate to give the satisfaction of the sending the first text to, but you do anyways–because who the hell knows?
I couldn’t explain the connection, but I kind of liked it that way. I liked the “wrong guy,” and I was totally OK with it. And plus, I knew I was moving away…so why not?
I know what you’re thinking. The classic “all nice guys finish last and girls are idiots” story. Well, if we’re being technical, I didn’t dump nice guy for wrong guy…I just felt a stronger chemistry with wrong guy. Does that make me an idiot? Maybe.
For the time being, I’ll probably continue to choose a Luke instead of a Tom, choose the thrill of the chase over not having to chase at all. I won’t blame you for my decisions, and I won’t ask you to pick up the pieces. You may think I’m stupid to have let the “good guy” go, but what if he just wasn’t good for me?
As much as I think I know what I want, I really have no idea. However, I’d rather choose the wrong guy and learn from it than settle for the nice guy simply because he’s nice.
Or maybe Tom is who I think I want, but a Kevin is who I’m meant to be with. I don’t know, but I’m having fun trying to figure it out.
I sat on the Red Line, my legs crouched up on the seat, sunglasses resting on top of my head. My back rested on the metal next to the end-chair and the germ infested hand bar. While seemingly uncomfortable, I was quite cozy with a book in hand.
The loud noise of the train made it hard for me to hear the Ed Sheeran playlist that played through my worn-out headphones, and each stop I looked up to ensure I didn’t miss my own. The T today wasn’t so bad. I was enjoying the silent vacancy of my train car.
“Next stop, Downtown Crossing.”
The train came to a screeching halt, and the empty car began to fill. I was no longer one of 3 others. I removed my backpack from the seat next to me, placed my legs back down on the ground. I had quickly lost interest in my book, my focus shifted onto the strangers than had began to fill the seats.
I looked to my right, a young couple in their mid 20’s sat down. The man had a long beard, the woman wore hiking boots with her hair tied back in a tight bun. She fondled his ear, whispering something that I probably didn’t want to hear, followed by silent laughter. My stomach turned and I looked across from me. A couple with scraggly hair, both wearing purple sweatshirts and ripped jeans. Her legs were sprawled over his lap while his arm rested around her back, desperately attempting to cuddle on the small metal chairs of the Red Line.
Gross. I thought to myself.
Next to the purple sweatshirt couple sat yet…another couple. They held hands, both dressed in business attire. I imagined they were the type of couple to leave their separate offices to meet up for lunch dates on the park outside of South Station (probably bought from one of the 100 food trucks). His hand rested on her lap, low-key PDA however it still screamed “She’s mine.”
“So, are you single?” I heard.
I didn’t know where the voice came from, as the train was quite populated by the time we reached Park St. I looked up from my seat and saw a man staring down at me. He had slick backed hair with an expensive looking suit. His leather briefcase brushed up against my leg as I glanced up at him. I took my headphones out and said, “Sorry, what?” even though I had totally heard his question.
“I can’t help but notice that you’re looking at all of these couples. So, I’m just assuming that you’re single.”
I was taken aback by this statement, unsure of how to react. Was he insulting me? Was he hitting on me? Or was he simply making an observation that was totally on point? I felt awkward, and I could feel my face turning red.
“Haha, um, ya I’m single,” I replied.
“Me too, and staring at these other couples is making me feel way more single than usual,” he laughed.
I had to agree. I’m content with being single, and I have enjoyed the freedoms that come along with being alone this past year. However, staring at all of these happy couples made me question if I actually enjoy being single or I just try to convince myself to avoid the emotional turmoil that comes with the feeling of loneliness.
This man told me his name, and we chatted for the rest of our T ride. He told me how much he truly hated PDA on public transport and basically snarked at the couples who were participating in it. I respectfully nodded, although it didn’t bother me all too much. I was suddenly curious about his relationship past.
“Did you just get dumped or something?” It came out like word vomit.
“Haha, um, yeah…How can you tell?”
“You seem to be a little bitter,” I inquired.
So here we were, two single people on a relationship-infested train car chatting about our dysfunctional love lives. It was oddly comforting venting to a complete stranger, and I could tell he felt the same. We were both surrounded by reminders of past lovers, and confiding in each other made it easier to cope with the fact that we were most certainly the minority on the Red Line that Saturday afternoon.
The train arrived at my stop, and I stood up and said, “Well, this is my stop. It was really nice meeting you, good luck with everything,” followed by a flirty smile.
“You too, Beth. Just keep in mind–someday you’ll be one of the couples on this train, I promise.”
I left the T and began the walk to work. I had never considered myself “bitter” to happy couples. Cute Instagram posts don’t make me cringe, and seeing a kiss goodbye on the street doesn’t make my skin crawl. My dysfunctional love life makes for great blog posts, and going on dates with different guys is exciting. I like being single. But, do I want to be in a relationship? I’m not sure. I hadn’t really thought about it until that Saturday afternoon on the T.
When we see reminders of what we used to be someone, it’s natural to feel bitter. It’s natural to wonder when it’s going to be you, when you’ll be worth it enough to someone. It’s natural to wonder if you genuinely love being single, or if your forced to deal with it because you don’t have any other choice but to accept it.
I don’t know if I’m ready to be one of those couples on the T, I don’t know if I’m ready for lunch dates at South Station or public transportation PDA. Perhaps I’m too selfish to settle at the moment, or perhaps I’m just avoiding the idea of a relationship that is seemingly so far out of reach.
Thanks, Tony, for making the label “single on the subway” not so bad. You’re a cool dude.
13.4 miles, a 16 minute drive on a Sunday morning (45+ minutes any other day). 11 stops on the Red Line to Park St., a $4.20 roundtrip CharlieCard fare. I don’t know the ins and outs of a Southie neighborhood and I won’t tell you to “pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd,” simply because I pronounce all of my R’s.
I may not live in Boston, but I am from Boston.
I grew up climbing the ginormous jungle gym in the Children’s Museum. My mom would tell my sister and I, “I’ll meet you on the third floor.” I’d stay right behind my older sister as she guided me through the ropes and tunnels, eventually locking eyes with her once again a couple of stories up.
The ride on 93 North was defined by the gas tank striped with various colors and Big Dig billboards. I used to get car sick, so when we would get stuck in traffic, my parents would always tell me, “There’s the tank! We’re almost there!”
On the Red Line, I was always told to “hold on.” I never listened, and I would try to balance on my own despite the crowds and sudden movements of the train. This habit died hard when my 6 year old self wiped out onto a random man’s lap. He laughed it off, but I don’t think a day has gone by since then where I don’t hold on to the germ infested bars of the T.
Since my childhood years, Boston has come to mean more than a 200,000 pound fish tank and bronze duck statues in the Common. It has come mean more than hoping to catch a foul ball at Fenway to show off to my friends at school the next day or NSYNC concerts at the Fleet Center. It has turned into moments that you simply can’t capture. I can’t tell you what it feels like to spend summers cruising on the Harbor and watching the sunset reflect off of the Financial District until you actually do.
I can’t tell you what it feels like to be a part of such a strong community until you actually are.
April 15, 2013 was a day that turned our worlds around. Things happened that we couldn’t quite grasp onto in the same way that we could a Stanley Cup win. We didn’t know how to understand it, simply because it was a poor man’s attempt to destroy everything that this city has come to stand for. He attempted to destroy our community and pride, and succeeded in destroying some people’s lives.
It was then when I understood why I tell people why I’m from Boston, even if I don’t live there. Boston has given me a sense of community, a sense of pride, and most importantly, a sense of who I am and where I’d like to be. The outreach of the community, the strength and perseverance of the victims’ and their families all gave meaning to the power of this city that has been such an integral part of my life for so long.
Marathon Monday is a momentous event in the city of Boston. It’s one that we celebrate other’s hard-work and accomplishments while simultaneously celebrating the strong community that we reside in. It’s day to remember where our pride stems from, why we are willing to spend that $7.25 on beer at Fenway. Most importantly, it’s a day to reflect on why you tell people you’re from Boston.
This post is an ode to the people of Boston. To the police officers, fire department, the complete stranger that bought my coffee at Simon’s on Mass Ave last summer. It’s for the people who ran in the marathon today, and a post to remember the victims of the 2013 Marathon. This post is for to the people who has made this city certainly one to miss as I plan the next chapter of my life post-grad.
The words “Thank You” don’t seem to be enough, but it’s all my QWERTY keyboard will allow. So, thank you, Boston. Thanks for teaching me how to be strong, how to grow from difficult situations rather than letting myself perish. Thanks for the countless memories, the photographs of me in front of the Green Monster, the restaurants in the North End that make for a great first date. Thanks for making me feel apart of something greater than my 30,000 person suburb.
Thanks for being you.
Here are some inspiring links that are totally worth checking out:
Rest in Peace to the 2013 Marathon victims and my thoughts are with you and your families during this time. You are truly an inspiration to all of us.