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All through my youth into adulthood — I was lucky to be spared the bad luck of suffering from serious health issues. Aside from the frequent bouts of malaria, which is basically the Nigerian version of a really bad flu — and the one time I returned from a birthday party with symptoms of typhoid fever — I have to admit that I’ve been extremely blessed.
That sort of changed after turning forty — and it happened so suddenly that I’ve actually been quite disappointed at how thorough I’ve been with checking off almost all of the unfortunate cliches.
From hazardous hormonal rages to the wear and tear that stems from over-zealous activities that now require a little more effort and less time — I’ve been forced to humble myself to the realization that my body no longer belongs to me.
There’s also the weight of being single, which isn’t necessarily a negative strike — except that aging makes it more challenging to convince yourself that that the present will surely evolve into the vision you had almost twenty years ago.
I’m back with my parents now — and in case you want to know why — you can read all about it here.
But the gist of it is that I had to get the hell outta of Los Angeles — because the second time around proved to be nightmarish. I was able to achieve the embarrassment of being responsible for the Oscar nominations fiasco — earlier this year — that gave Amy Adams and Tom Hanks a week of hell. And then later on — I almost got sued by an ex-employer for writing a piece that astutely expressed the disastrous climate of the job market.
But aside from the professional upheavals — there was also my emotional and physical challenges to content with — and my solution wasn’t at all helpful or even healthy. As depression sets in — you begin to welcome the freedom of not giving a shit about how you look or feel. My usually nutritious diet gave way to increased alcohol and cholesterol intake, which I paired with the benefits of having a medical marijuana card.
My need to escape the crippling effects of my intense allergy attacks that were more frequent — thanks to the consistent dry heat and zero moisture had given me permission to behave very badly. And after a horrid vaping session that painfully scorched my nostrils — I found myself sobering up to the realization that time was running out.
I needed to decide whether to live or continue to function like a corpse on steroids. I chose the battle to reclaim the person I knew I could be in the right environment, so I decided to make peace with my failed attempts at a TV career in La La Land and head back to the East Coast — into the disciplined lair of my parents.
It’s been about a month now — and the euphoria is wearing off as I contemplate how to make this situation a temporary one, while juggling assignments and the search for stability.
In the meantime — my waistline has improved and I’m finally able to fit into my favorite jeans without breaking a sweat. I don’t miss the glasses of red wine or the stash of cannabis that I relied on for spiritual guidance.
The only aspect of my life that still hovers with vengeance is the inability to breathe freely. There’s nothing more infuriating or disorganizing as having consistent nasal congestion that can’t be thwarted. I assumed that dropping all my bad habits would do the trick, but it seems I still have more to atone for — and believe me when I say that I’ve been paying dearly.
My nights are spent tossing and turning in the darkness with only pillows as comfort. At times I lay staring at the lights streaming against the walls and wonder if the lovers below us will have another go at it. The last time was quite prophetic and I almost joined in on their fun — but then the bathroom door made a noise — and I was transported back to the reality of living with mommy and daddy.
I had a really bad allergy episode recently — that inspired a visit to the hospital. I couldn’t continue my dependency on Claritin, Zyrtec, DayQuil and NyQuil — I needed to get to the bottom of my debilitating ailment or continue the wheezing exercises that were thankfully not driving me crazy enough to revisit the bottle.
Turns out that I will have to eventually see an allergist because even though I never had allergies in my younger days — the older days are dictating something very different. In the meantime — I was given antibiotics as a relief inducer and so when I got home — I gobbled up dinner and filled my mouth with the magic pills.
As the couch became my commanding center for the night — my parents asked the right questions and gave the attention that is typical of their roles — but there was something sorely missing.
I couldn’t help imagining how much better I would’ve felt if I had a loving boyfriend feting my mood and making sure that I knew how much he enjoyed catering to my well being. I saw him in the kitchen pottering about and walking back to me with a cup of hot chocolate, which he presents to me before sexily slithering under the covers to warm me up.
When the lights were out and the good nights were said — I pretended that I wasn’t boarding the bed alone. He was there already — and soon as I made my splash — his arms enveloped me in a reassuringly calming manner that slowly escalated to the one thing I truly needed in order to get my nostrils to air out.
I did end up feeling better later in the night without the strong embrace or the choreographed thrusts. But, it’s amazing how much you miss the attention of a lover who can comfort in ways that no one else can. Not even the two people who love you the most can compete with the tenderness and the climax that heals on impact.
When you’re sick, you absolutely need a lover and that’s a prescription worth filling for a lifetime.