Cold Fever

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Captive wolf standing in the snow behind a fence

Sometimes, when I’m warm and just come in from the sun and wind, the cold feels damp, like it’s leeching the life from me. If I come in from the sun, wet from rain or swimming, I feel sapped. Other times, when the heat is coming from inside me, radiating out, suffocating, the cold is a relief. It takes the burden from me, usually cool and smooth or cold and biting, like ice.

I associate that internal heat, the radiating heat, with high blood sugar and bad food choices. I associate that internal burning reaching out from my solar plexus, sometimes accompanied by heart burn, with brain fog. I remember hours at the office, feeling drunk, woozy, and sleepy, trying to keep my eyes open and my ass in the chair. My eyes red as sweet tears gather in the corners of my eyes, and my cheeks pink, looking charming or embarrassed, colorful, at least.

My skin all over feeling like a hot blacktop midday, no end in sight, the light warped by the infrared inches from the surface. Then, I would wish and crave the cold, alternately shrinking from the shock in contrast to my high temperature and welcoming the relief. As the engulfing wave of heat subsided, I would cry from frustration, and those tears would clear my head of the fog. If only I radiated passion and energy the way I radiated that heat. Though sometimes, I know I did, maybe still do.

My husband radiates heat. He’s always trying to control it with the A/C. I encourage ice packs since that cold won’t weigh on me, and it’s more sustainable, I think. I remember when I first started the supplements to help with my blood sugar, when suddenly, the heat was gone. I was life without heat, cold like a vampire, Team Edward instead of Team Jacob for sure. My husband’s always been Team Jacob, but I tell him you can’t argue with soulmates.

Now, there is safety in that cold. When I’m cold, I know I’m losing weight because I don’t have energy to spare on an aura of heat. I’m no longer a passionate, burning, exhausted, confused being always on the verge of tears or gobbling the wrong foods. Now, I’m cool, collected, well-rested, a fucking Zen Master.

Hot, passionate me is bursting out of her clothes, always wrestling with a muffin top and what clothes to wear and even her hair looks worse. Like Francine, I’m a stranger in paradise, lost in my body, exploding out of my clothes. Unrecognizable to myself, after years of rejecting this self.

The calm, collected, cool version of me had clothes that hang from her body like a supermodel, like she’s an artful hanger instead of a berry hidden under fabric, about to pop. Cold, relaxed me can see her knuckle bones. Her fingers are thinner (though still short and stubby, just like her Hobbit toes). She smiles more, because that’s when I began to smile again, when I remembered happiness, and those first months’ glimpse of it makes the everyday struggle for contentment and calm seem pale and drab by comparison.

Cool me, cool for the first time in her life, literally and figuratively, felt very mortal. Her body was different. There was a gap between her thighs that made her seem more real, perhaps because I’d been denying and cursing their constant friction my entire life, especially that time in AstroWorld when I rubbed them raw by walking the park in short-shorts after a summer rain. Drenched, the blue jean shorts was worse on my sweaty thighs than I’d ever experienced before.

Cool me did not have this problem. She shrank in my clothes. They began to fall off her. She wore belts, using notches far down their length. You could see her skull under her skin. She looked a bit like a cancer patient for a while. I felt so mortal, with a new face. But oh, the joy of being able to cross her legs! How she seemed so much bendier in yoga class! She could lift her body weight with her arms–she could do a pull-up, and a chin-up. Three–she could do three chin-ups!

I still see her and feel her. She was what was left when many of these parts I’d been denying for so long were burned away–cooled away, really.

I thought being skinny would be the pinnacle of my life. Yes, she looked good. But I’ll tell you a secret–she didn’t feel that good. That girl still struggled with blood sugar problems. She was still insecure. Her problems didn’t just go away. They were still there, still a perfect fit, just like her new clothes. So, I’m trying to learn to live with them.

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