Friday, September 23, 2016

Indifferent gratitude?

This Mexico trip, while being incredibly conducive to the proliferation of my artistic expression, also served to make me aware of a shift in my personality.

It has been a fucked up road for me in terms of controling my self-esteem.
Considering the ridiculously extended period of time spent being told I was ugly... literally getting that shit beaten into me at times, it should come as no surprise that I'm pretty fucked up in the self-esteem department.
I don't understand why exactly I had people calling me ugly as a toddler... I see photos now and think I was quite adorable with my giant eyeballs and whatnot... but the fact that "ballooning" in third grade brought about the merciless fat-shaming for the next 15 years kind of makes sense in my head... I mean, as much sense as bullying and ostracizing the fucking shit out of a girl for YEARS just because she's larger than average can make. Those were my formative years... age five to 25 are goddamn IMPERATIVE in a human's development, who the fuck are we kidding? To think someone-- a gentle, timid girl-- spent those years completely abandoned and only approached to be belittled or shamed or... hurt... and having her grow into an even more timid, awkward, and downright FUCKED UP individual isn't so outlandish.

So I hear I'm ugly and get ignored, only get attention to get publicly humiliated or physically harmed, for roughly twenty years. I hear fat jokes, people oink and moo at me (or actually "Ew" me when I walk by... really... that sound fucks me up to this day... it's worse than getting punched in the stomach, seriously), guys completely ignore me (AND ONLY me) at social events like Quinceañeras and weddings (I might be the only girl from Hometown who never once got asked to dance during her entire adolescence. Today, I still don't get asked because I acquired the fame of "The girl who doesn't dance" as thought that was ever my choice-- to turn someone down), girls avoid associating with me in public because they find it easier to have nothing to do with the one girl guys mock OR ruthlessly ignore. Later in my adolescence guys do begin to talk to me... I am smart, witty, funny, knowledgeable about sports, cool, kind, considerate... I'm a homie... and only that.
I become thoroughly convinced I am the ugliest, stupidest, most disgusting person on the planet... the unworthiest, most-embarrassing creature alive.
THEN I lose weight. A lot of it. THEN I suddenly become worthy. Suddenly I am noticed. Suddenly people want to associate with me. Suddenly people are baffled by my rejection... "You didn't like me six months ago as a fat girl... I'm the same fucking human being on the inside... I am the same shy girl who begged to be noticed and comforted... why the fuck am I suddenly worthy because I dropped 80 pounds? You're telling me being FAT warrants that type of torture?!" It was THE WORST mindfucking of my life.
The suddenness in the change of treatment from others was too quick for me to adjust, for me to accept. 20 years of neglect and hurt... suddenly converting to laudations from others in a matter of six months. I was the kindest, gentlest girl I could be during my years of torment... I graduated on time with a biology degree, FIRST person in my family to graduate college... but dropping 80 pounds was WORTHIER to people than any of that shit.

I refused to accept the claims from others regarding my "newfound beauty." It wasn't me being humble or fishing for compliments... it was me genuinely NOT believing those who spent the majority of my life calling me "ugly."
After a few years, I found myself feeling guilty... arrogant... vain... conceited, whenever I thought positively about my appearance.
"Get over yourself, AnoMALIE."
I'd catch a glimpse of my high cheekbones, or how cool my thick lips looked in a certain shade of lipstick... or how huge and dark my bare eyelashes looked after a shower... and would stop myself cold in my tracks when the thought was positive.
"People PAY FOR THIS SHIT, AnoMALIE! AND YOU WERE BORN WITH IT! You lucky broad!... but... I mean... I'm still ugly... I mean... I can't make it work... and that's just some conceited-ass shit, idiot. Clearly you aren't pretty, or else guys would be all over you. Get over yourself," my conscience would wrestle.

Up until two months ago, I'd still blush WILDLY... activating coldsores... whenever ANYONE would allude to my "beauty." I'D FUCKING GET TEARY-EYED from the embarrassment of a compliment.

This trip to Hometown, I experienced two instances which helped open my eyes to a possible shift in this fucked up, low (more like "nonexistent") self-esteem of mine.
On my third day, I went to the "city" to get my broken filling fixed (I was so furious a couple of weeks ago, I ground my teeth hard enough to break off one of my porcelain fillings). After the thirty-minute procedure, I proceeded to walk around the city with my parents as they did some shopping in various locations. Mom and I were fed up after about an hour of perusing through little shops in the city plaza, killing time as Dad had his boots shined.
Mom decided to grab some barbacoa tacos, while I sluggishly waited, standing next to her with my fucked up, swollen, numb mouth hidden from the general public who were enjoying their morning stroll in the plaza.
"Don't move your face... your right side is paralyzed... you will look crazy the moment you attempt speaking or even smiling... but don't look like a homicidal sociopath," I thought.
Originally, a chick was helping mom with her tacos. I looked away form the taco stand, searching for dad, and when I looked back at my mother, a young, green-eyed man was hastily making his way over to us, quickly asking mom what kind of beverage she would like.
"Uh... a... Coca-Cola," Mom said.
I couldn't help but smile, bringing a hand to my lips the moment I remembered about my half-paralyzed mouth. Mom had sworn-off soda before our trip, I bet her she wouldn't make it through this trip without a drink.
The guy looked over at me, holding out a chair, and invited me to please take a seat.
Fuck... I gotta talk...
I tried my hardest to "smize" (smile with one's eyes) a la Tyra Banks. I held out my left hand and shook it as a negative, immediately bringing that same hand to my lips when I felt a smile escaping as I thought about how dumb I must look with a half-limp smile.
I tried my best to gain my composure, and stood as... "nicely" as possible while my mom finished her tacos. I tried looking "nice" and not intimidating or angry as I stood without moving my mouth (that shit's hard when you're naturally scowling like I am. I need to overcompensate with a permanent smile so other don't think I'm ready to uppercut the shit out of them). I looked around and people-watched for about ten minutes, while listening to the green-eyed guy talk to his coworker about the upcoming dance he so desperately wanted to go to.
When Mom finished her tacos, I finally once again looked over at the young man and serenely watched as he pushed his female coworker out of the way in order to be the one who gave Mom her change. The guy fumbled with the coins for about thirty seconds, dropping and sorting through the 1's, 2's, and 5's, fucking up his math. The commotion made my sight shift to his hands, then to his blushing face.
"Here is your change. And pardon me for the fumbling... A guy gets... nervous," he said after giving Mom the correct change, smiling while briefly making eye-contact with me.
I smiled politely, softened my stance, and calmly walked away.
I did not blush with embarrassment, I did not roll my eyes in irritation.
I felt... sort of sorry for the guy... for letting my presence get to him. He was sweet, and not in the least bit vulgar in his behavior towards us... he was sweetly nervous.
Sweet kid... little does he know I'm damaged beyond repair, totally unworthy of the attention.
I'm dead inside. Well, no, it's more like... I felt tenderness for the kid, for still possessing that ability to feel for someone else at first sight. However, more importantly, his attention did not anger me, or embarrass me, or even flatter me... it just made me feel bad for him feeling I was something out of the ordinary. "Bless your heart!" sort of thing.
And I moved on. Calmly.

This type of... serene... resignation (to loneliness) was my response to all expressions of admiration from people.
A second instance of "blatant admiration" occurred the night of the big patron saint festivity, the 9th.
The evening is spent attending an hour-long mass dedicated to the Patron, and at the end everyone files out and down the hill, eats street food until the sun goes down (usually about an hour of fucking around to one's content, be it drinking tequila straight out the bottle until the world can't stop spinning, stuffing your face with cobs of corn or pancakes or churros or tacos or tortas or cotton candy, or playing various carnival games), then finds a good spot to watch three-hours-worth of live fireworks... really fucking intricate fireworks, set to live music.
View exiting the church.
That two-story house down there with the red "pop-outs" is my much-envied balcony seat.
Originally, I wasn't going to participate in the activities (except church, because I'm a fucking nun), but as I was exiting the church, a cousin whose house is at the foot of the hill (upon which the town's church is located) invited us to watch the fireworks from her roof.
Church on the hill, behind the pyrotechnic "trees"
This meant I would not have to mingle with the drunken crowd, and I'd have the best seats in town.
Just as the time approached for the lighting, rain started to pour, and everyone down below rushed below the stands and proceeded to shiver the night away, watching the workers struggle with the fireworks.
After perhaps half an hour of staring at the messed up fireworks display, I started to zone out. I sat in my chair, under my umbrella, gazing at nothing.
Never too rainy or windy to party.
Meanwhile, I live out my destiny to be the Mexican version of Quasimodo.
After another twenty minutes, I began to feel eyes on me. I felt a guy in a red shirt, standing below, at my periphery, intently staring at my face. The gaze felt hot on my face, but as calmly as I've never been, I looked over and made eye-contact with the culprit: Cos... my childhood friend... the little boy who always kept me company when I'd hang out at "el alamo" with the summer gang (don't get me wrong, those memories are without a doubt the happiest of my life, but not without its share of excruciatingly painful and sad... like when the girls of the group started turning into gorgeous teens and I only ballooned into a fatter, more pathetic nerd, and the girls proceeding to go out without me, disassociating with me so as to not scare away any boys). I love this kid, madly, but with no romantic feelings whatsoever. I love him for having a heart, and taking pity on me at a time when he was a sweet little kid, a 9-year-old with a platonic crush on a weird, funny, kind, chubby, (five-years) older girl who was mistreated by jackasses who failed to appreciate her strengths. When we'd play games that required a partner, and before there was time for me to stand alone for even five seconds, I was his go-to girl, this nine-year-old's first pick. He'd hug me, and sit next to me... and give me random little gifts that his nine-year-old little hands could find-- plastic bracelets, flowers, lightning bugs. This child saved me many, many tears.
He's now a 26-year-old honorably-discharged marine... with severe PTSD that he acquired during his two Afghanistan tours. Townspeople avoid him, because he's "weird" and doesn't talk... often says hello and randomly drifts off, walking away from everyone. He prefers to remain in solitude.
I've never been scared of him, never judged him. I've always loved and appreciated him.
However, this visit I had not seen him whatsoever (since he was not home the day I visited). Watching him watching me... felt... warm, but... cold. He stared, with the same kindness in his eyes with which he has greeted me since his childhood... that same level of admiration. His gaze did not leave my face for... what felt like an eternity (more like five minutes, because it lasted a song and a half). How do I know he was staring AT ME? I was the only person on the roof... everyone else was in the safety of the ground floor-- indoors. I made eye-contact with him for about five seconds, only to make sure I was the object of his cocked head. Once I saw I was indeed the object of his attention, I continued with my activities (filming one of the pyrotechnic "trees" which one of my family members ordered).
I was not being indifferent... I was just... being myself... my quiet self. No blushing, no irritation... just... quiet resignation.

There is certainly gratitude, but...  saudade... because it's undeniably kind of anyone to admire a wreck such as me the way they do, but sad that in no way do I deserve it or can "reward" them for it.
DO they even want to be "rewarded?"
Is indifference truly what I feel... now that I've typed all this shit out and finally analyze it for myself?

Gratitude... but... I don't understand what the big deal is... just carry on, my friend... carry on.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

gush

Back in Peru, Spence and Bone commented how we needed to find a way to bottle my resilient, stubborn drive and use it for the greater good of humanity (this came up after our hike which, again, I will eventually elaborate on. However, to summarize, I shocked everyone because I fucking murdered the trek, at times out-pacing the guides... because I'm a fucking beast... with long legs and a seemingly never-ending supply of ATP... and all because people infuriated me, that shit giving me the drive I needed to go forth and beat everyone... all of this solely because everyone underestimated me, which GREATLY pissed me off. "You're telling me you can do all this shit, go from 0 to 100 ONLY because people pissed you off? We need to bottle this shit, AnoMALIE, and use it for the greater good of humanity," to quote my companions).

Vegas seems to mute this quality of mine, this strange ability to go above and beyond expectation to rock the shit out of something.
I am so lackadaisical, and timid in my natural state here in Vegas, that even those closest to me become skeptical of my abilities. In turn, though I KNOW I can do some pretty cool shit, I begin to believe other people's skepticism... much to MY OWN--and ONLY my own--detriment.
However, the moment I go to Hometown, I'm suddenly rushed by so much ambition and motivation. I become a busy-bee... a busy, artistic bee.
I will read two or three books in a span of five days (here in Vegas, you'll probably catch me reading a three-page internet article once a month... at most), which this time around included a 19th century novel, a new release "young adult" novel, and a Spanish (Argentinian) compilation of 21 short stories (TWENTY-ONE SHORT STORIES. IN ARGENTINIAN colloquialism. The goddamn book was SO fucking enthralling, that I didn't quit half-way through the first story, but instead burned through the book in one day. Stories of love, horror, or death... goddamn magical. I had forgotten how much I fucking adore short stories, in whichever language they may be).
I will doodle sketches every morning. This ten day vacation saw me finish two sketches which had been left unfinished for three years... that's pretty fucking miraculous.
I will write. In a span of five days (which was the total of legitimately "free" days), I summed up 18 pages-worth of what I call "skeletons"... aka short story outlines... which... is kind of exciting.

Hometown inspires me, when I'm not even looking to be inspired... I just go to unwind from the pent up aggression and anxiety I acquire here in the States, and come out of it with all sorts of creative trinkets, so to speak. While I do suffer from sadness out there... and I do cry nearly every day at least once... I cannot control my creative impulses. The tears are usually not provoked, they just randomly occur... even when people have been nothing but kind to me... or even when I've had a guy or two compliment me... I STILL find myself quietly crying as I sit in the living room of my house... or drinking my sleepy-time tea before bed (the walls of my Mexican home are painted pastel pink, pastel peach, and electric yellow... AND STILL, I'll cry because the fucking colors will elicit a childhood memory-- happy OR sad). I'll cry, then go off and do some shit like burn through a book, doodle, or scribble some words.
There's hardly any interference from the outside world, since any bit of rain causes the television signal to go out... and there is no wireless signal for phones... so I am left to my own devices when it comes to entertainment or even human interaction. Wanna talk to someone? Go outside and physically look for someone. Want to hear some news? Drive half an hour to the nearest "city" and visit an internet cafe.

So... I have all of this potential... and I have zero ability to harness it and manipulate to my liking... no clue how to control it. Just like my creepy ability to sense when someone close to me is going to die (or have one of their loved ones die), but no knowledge as to how to pinpoint WHO is going to die, I can go off and be a prolific "artist" but not whenever I want to... and there's always that strange side effect of going about, hiding in dark corners, crying my eyes out.

This shit feels like donating blood... where the life is literally drained out of you for the greater good, but you spend a while fainting all over the place as your body tries to recuperate.

This is all disjointed, isn't it? Like, what's my fucking point?
Basically, I'm hemorrhaging creativity and there's so much shit going on, I don't know where to point the gushing lifeforce before I'm drained and back to my catatonic, boring phase that lasts godknowshowlong.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Saudade

"Write, you fucking animal!" my mind screams at me.
The manner in which life switches shit up on me is ridiculous... it honestly goes from lackadaisical days of (calm) monotony to sudden fucking explosions in my face.
Seems like anytime I decide to take a break, wether for mental health, or physical health... it winds up being a bad idea because life gets crazy and my more comical or interesting posts have to get tossed aside because someone is dying or fighting or... destroying someone's life.

I'm back from Hometown... sick as fuck, AGAIN, but fuck it, I'll write.

This break was sudden. My brother came to town after finishing his two-year Athens post, on the 23rd of August... or something close to that.
He brought his Greek friend with him... who drove me insane because he was the most stereotypical Greek man-- misogynist AS FUCK. I wound up giving up my side of the house, so the dudes could feel comfortable and whatnot (I'm too goddamn considerate). Once my brother left on his ten-day cross-country drive (showing his Greek friend around this wonderful country), I returned to my side of the house to see the fucked up mess the guys left behind. To keep it short, I'll just say I was barfing while scrubbing snot off the walls of my shower (if you blow snot-rockets, let it be known I fucking HATE your deplorable, disgusting ass... you fucking inconsiderate animal).
ANYWAY, while my brother was in Vegas, his conversations with family members encouraged him to go to Hometown, despite being heavily frowned upon-- uh, almost illegal-- by the State Department. SO, on a whim, with exactly four days before the date, we decided to drive down to Hometown, and have my brother meet us down there by air.
SOOOOO... in four days, it was decided that we would all be going to Hometown for the Patron Saint festivities.
Fast Forward to the night prior to my departure, and you have me receiving that text from my friend, my adoptive brother (I have a few of them, but he may have been the first). That text fucked. me. up.
His mom is the one who received the terrible news... and I fucking love that lady... like, she's one of my all time favorite adults... fucking BEAUTIFULLY sarcastic, but also so loving and caring, it fucking hurts (this soul has been trampled in the most traumatic way... how can she still cary so much kindness in her heart?).
The shell-shock followed me for about four days, it had me clinging to my parents like a newborn baby.

Mexico was a welcomed breeze of serenity... with the ever-present saudade that place elicits in me.
The place is greener than EVER, with cascades of water everywhere (probably commonplace back when the Spaniards "discovered" it in the 1500's, and why they named it after the Basque country... totally not what it has looked like these last 30 years). I'd wake up to a sweet view of morning fog rising from the enlarged river, and went to bed to the sound of a rushing river... or raindrops-- there was hardly a night where my nostrils weren't treated to Hometown's enchanting petrichor.

The festivities were quite subdued due to two deaths in town... and as previously mentioned in older posts, Hometown funerals gut the fuck out of anyone with its achaic traditions (the different styles of tolling the bells for a death is haunting. The sound resonates through the entire town for about ten undisrupted minutes each time). The nine days of festivities (actually, it's more like 12) passed by without much drunken debauchery from the men, unlike the ridiculously frustrating disaster from last year.

So... things were mellow... and melancholy. I had the break I didn't know I needed, and my sadness was quiet and calm, rather than the chaotic frenzy it can sometimes be.
Though I arrived home sick as all hell, I was not sick at all in Hometown. My sickness was only lightheadedness after vomiting my brains out at the start of the trip (though violence down there is basically down to zero now, I still find myself nervous out of my mind when I think of driving though that sierra in the dark. While they seem to be venerated in the states with all the fucking shows, real life narcos are goddamn motherfucking terrifying and hardly as amusing as the Netflix shit).

Now to pick up on where I left off with real life... where does a girl even start?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Deserve to know

Greatly underestimated how fucking horrible this feels...

This year has no qualms dethroning past "worst year ever"s...


On my way to Hometown... And I've been crying every other hour as I recall this text from last night.

I said I wasn't the one having the shit time this year, but it's not any easier having to sit here and watch everyone else's world violently burn to the ground.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Y a esta edad...

*Real Life Alert. Travel stories next time*

Growing up wasn't, and still IS NOT, easy.

As is the case for many people, music has always been my escape when things get a little too difficult.
I'll quickly give people my list of top songs... but usually leave one song out, because it is too revealing of my feelings... of my life... of how the cards have fallen for me.
It embarrasses me, to be quite frank.
I see the person's expression change the moment I drop the song title-- their look of curiosity turn to that of... pity-- and I quickly change the subject.

I first listened to this song as a kid, and cried my eyes out... to think someone could ever feel like this.
Years passed before I heard the song again, this time I was in High School... seventeen years old... and I cried even worse... because now I identified with the lyrics.

A mis dieciséis, anhelaba tanto un amor que no llego.
Siempre lo espere-- todos mis amigos se encontraban en la misma situación.
Y después yo vi como iban cambiando su manera de vivir...
Todos con sú amor; cada uno de ellos muy sonrientes, muy felices-- menos yo.
Y la soledad cada vez mas triste, mas obscura, yo vivi.
Y a esa edad, todos preguntaban los motivos, yo solía siempre decir:
Yo no nací para amar. Nadie nació para mi. Tan solo fui un loco soñador nomas.
Yo no nací para amar. Nadie nació para mi. Mis sueños nunca se volvieron realidad.

As the years have transpired, I have become even more identified by the song... to perfection (well, technically, this was about his feelings as a homosexual man in a Macho society. I am a quiet, shy, ex-obese girl with incredibly shitty luck in a very shallow world. It's surprising how fucking similar that can get).

Siempre lo busque, pero nunca pude encontrar ese amor...
Siempre lo espere, y en todas partes que esperaba, ese amor nunca llego.
Hoy mi soledad, cada vez mas triste y obscura pueden ver.
Hoy, en esta edad, aun me preguntan mis amigos, y es muy triste responder...

And something in my heart tells me it will hold true forever.

Yo no nací para amar. Nadie nació para mi. Tan solo fui un loco soñador nomas.
Yo no nací para amar. Nadie nació para mi. 
Mis sueños no se realizaron... yo no nací para amar.

Juan Gabriel wrote a song for every occasion.
I have so many songs as favorites that belong to this man. The way he manipulated the Spanish language was gorgeous... and hit so many emotional buttons on what I thought was a dead heart. He sang my hurt-- La Muerte del Palomo, La Diferencia, Asi Fue, Hasta Que Te Conoci, Te Sigo Amando, Amor Eterno (the goddamned BEAUTY of this horrifyingly heartbreaking song is unparalleled), De Mi Enamorate, Te Lo Pido Porfavor... TO NAME A FEW, have always been my go tos when I feel broken and I freely disclose those to others.
But there is that ONE song... that ONE song I keep to myself... THE song that speaks to me on a level that no other does.
Yo No Nací Para Amar... that one, that one is for my eyes only.

At sixteen, I yearned so much for a love that never came...
I always waited for it-- all of my friends were in the same situation.
Then I watched as they changed their way of life...
All of them with their loves; all of them so smiley, so happy-- all but me.
And the loneliness-- each time sadder, darker-- I experienced.
And at that age, everyone asked the reasons, I tended to always respond:
I was not born to love. Nobody was born for me. I was always just a crazy dreamer.
I was not born to love. Nobody was born for me. My dreams never came true.


I always looked for it, but I could never find that love...
I always waited for it, and every place I waited, that love never came.
Today my loneliness, each time sadder and darker, you can see.
Today, at this age, my friends still ask me, and it's so sad to respond...
I was not born to love. Nobody was born for me. I was always just a crazy dreamer.
I was not born to love. Nobody was born for me.
My dreams never came true... I wasn't born to love.


The voice that harmoniously expressed what I so often feel, is silent forever.
Thank you for making me feel a little less lonely during my shittiest of moments.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

4

I was good... at least, I thought I was.
I was almost done with my jog, when I finally lost my composure, and ruined my streak of "Days Without Crying." The song's lyrics struck my heart... and I lost it.
If you go away, as I know you must
There'll be nothing left in the world to trust
Just an empty room, full of empty space
Like the empty look I see on your face
I'd have been the shadow of your dog
If I thought it might have kept me by your side
If you go away, if you go away
If you go away, please, don't go away

I ugly cried.
I sobbed... I almost toppled off the treadmill because my tears were blinding me.

My brain betrayed me, and flashed an image of Baby Tyson, wrapped in a towel after bathing him... I was holding him tight to keep him from shivering... he was impossibly cute and vulnerable and perfect...
... and the mental image fucking destroyed me.

I've been extremely absent minded these last few days... dreading today.
There has been nothing but bad news in my life-- again, not concerning ME or MY health, but damn near everyone in my life. Cancer is... fucking infiltrating my circle... and it has been so hard to keep hearing a new person tell me they've been diagnosed. Yesterday was just the latest diagnosis... and I couldn't even sleep from the sadness.

Please don't go away...

I guess it all just... became too much.

My abandonment issues are so bad right now... the thought of Tyson being gone for four years now gave me the final push needed to cry everything out.

... Not being able to hug him is the worst.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cliff Hanger

(Been working on this on and off since the first week of June. ...Life.)

Damn, this change in altitude beat my ass.
It's not that I had difficulty adjusting to the sudden spike in altitude, but coming back down has made my brain feel like it was left in the clouds.
However, I am back to 100, coherent enough to continue discussing this Peru adventure.

And in quite possibly the best segue ever, let's talk about health.

I was scared out of my mind as I prepared for this trip. I thought I'd be a nervous wreck in the airport, but there was so much bullshit to wade through once AT the airport, I barely made my gate in time to board.
Nerves once again began to enter my system upon arrival to Panama City. Everything up until that point had been a complete mess, I felt unwilling to test the boundaries of my luck, so I stuck around the airport... just shooting the shit with other passengers, listening to some very fucking shallow and ignorant conversations (little did I know I'd only hear more of this entitled bullshit throughout my trip).
BUT I SURVIVED.
I met up with my two travel buddies and all was well. I listened to these well-travelled, adventure nuts (I mean that positively, no shade)... hiking aficionadas... and they let me know that while the hike would be difficult, it would be manageable. They came to the conclusion that Bone would most likely be leading because she's speedy, Spence would be last because she felt so out of shape, and therefore, I'd be in the middle... because I'd just pick up on everyone else's cues.
And I was cool with that assessment... because the only "hiking preparation" I did was my weekly treadmill stroll where I'd walk as long as my CandyCrush lives permitted (usually about three miles. I'm a fucking Candy Crush savage).

This is where I kick myself in the ass for not following my personal TOP travel rule:
Travel with those of a similar fitness level.

I have observed, repeatedly, that travel SUCKS BALLS when I go about it with someone who is drastically below my fitness level. When I'm too fit for my companion, I spend my days frustrated as fuck because of the slow pace I'm forced to follow. I will be a fucking caged lion-- aggressive and resentful as shit towards EVERYONE.
For the most part, I'm fast paced, as much as EVERYONE cares to NOT believe this. I can take down the fittest little bastard out there... because I can go for extremely long periods of time without eating OR drinking thanks to my ghetto, anorexic start in life (from 6th grade up until college, I never ate breakfast OR lunch. I'd fast my way through school. Always. Elementary school I'd only have lunch, except for 4th grade, when I couldn't even do that because of those horrible girls who'd kick my ass every day. Good fucking times, growing up). I have a difficult time identifying my "hungry" signal... so I will plow through my day without having a bite to eat for an ungodly amount of time. This, I've noticed, will bring down even the most physically fit brute of my clan... because they're fucking normal and never starved themselves for a decade or so... also, the healthy, fit folk's energy will start to wane because their muscles will start to demand fuel. I have my fat storages all over my body... I'll be fuckin' goooood. It's like watching my biochem book come to life.
I READ THIS WOULD HAPPEN! OMG! HOW EXCITING!

Ok, so with that preface, let's continue with the Peru trip.
Let's move on to Spence, the "out of shape girl" (in her own words)... but Jesus Christ, more like "the injured girl."
Before the hike, we had been walking around Cusco for a few days, becoming acclimated to the altitude. I was good... I wasn't even suffering from shortness of breath. The natives were surprised, constantly warning me that while I may have felt great the first and second day, the third day would be the real test-- they were correct.
I was feeling great! My companions? They were hammered with massive headaches, fainting, and barfing all over the place. We went out to purchase altitude sickness pills, and they started to take their dosages. I pranced around Cusco, pushing my lungs to see how much activity they could handle (I was slightly scared, because I've suffered from cardiac arrhythmia since birth... neither side of my family has a good ticker).
So I was the freak of nature, while my company was getting scared. Our last dinner before the hike (which was by far, hands down THE BEST meal of my trip, top five EVER in my life), Spence came clean with her health issue.
"So, I really didn't train for this trip... I came down with plantar fasciitis... so I found training nearly impossible," she said.
We were all silent.
"Well... I broke my foot like two years ago... and it still acts up once in a while, so I'm not too excited about how my feet may react to five days of hiking," I tried to commiserate with her.

We packed our  bags (good god, the drama on this subject. I'm a night packer, they are early-morning packers. This caused so much fucking discord among us, I still feel my intestines twist with rage), went to bed, and the following morning (5:30AM), we were picked up to start the first day of the hike.
Within the first five minutes of the hike, I realized my CamelBak had a leak-- my left side was slowly becoming wet with each step I took. Instead of getting upset, I laughed... because the water was acting as a coolant, since the heat was so intense, my shirt would never get beyond moist before it was dried by the sun. The ONLY downside was that the fucking CamelBak was heavy as shit.
Anyway, there I was, the newbie hiker, at the end of the line, waiting on Spence, who was dead last. I figured someone had to stay close to the girl, in case she injured herself or... suffered a medical emergency... it was the fucking morally correct thing to do, I tell you!
Bone moved ahead with the group (we were three groups, each group with no more than 15 people. My personal group had 13. At the end of the day, all three groups would rest at the same camp ground. In total, we were about 50 people), group which was growing increasingly frustrated with the incredibly slow pace of Spence (I was lumped with Spence because I was waiting for her... and since the group wasn't aware of HER injury, they automatically assumed I had something to do with it too. I mean, I'm no tiny lady... I am fucking enormous, and if I've learned anything in my life, it's that my body type is QUICKLY underestimated/dismissed as FAT, slow, and useless).
Each day, we'd have two breaks-- lunch time around noon, and resting time at camp at the end of our day, around 6PM. Our first day, due to the unprecedented SNAIL pace of Spence, EVERYONE took the lunch break for about an hour and a half. Upon our arrival (Spence, Bone, and I. YES, that's how far behind we were. I definitely do not blame those kids for being pissed at us), they picked up their shit and jetted for our camp site of the day. Spence, Bone, and I had TWO minutes of break time... a time I had been looking forward to because I REALLY needed to shit (TMI? Too bad).
I don't know if everyone is like this, but the moment you keep me from emptying my bowels, I will fucking resent you... and use every last bit of self-restraint to not choke you to death.
I. Was. FURIOUS.
I was angry at Bone and Spence for dragging me back, angry at the group for being angry at us, and angry at the hiking guide for not allowing us to use the fucking toilet.
I was being considerate of my injured teammate, I felt it unfair to punish me in such a way. It's one thing to keep me from shitting after sitting around the house for hours, but hours of hiking... your goddamn bowels move... they move a lot.
So... at around 11AM, the group was moving towards our first campsite, my group of friends were busy taking selfies at the ass end of the group... and I was angrily stomping up the mountains (hiking boots, while being lifesavers, are HEAVY AS FUCK), wishing the worst on everyone for not allowing me time to shit like a civilized human being.
Angrily stoping through up this fucking beast.
So we keep hiking. Within five minutes of continuing with this hike (I believe I said this happened within the first half hour of the hike, but in reality, I meant first five minutes of "THE hike" aka, the rough, real part, away from civilization), I see a body drop like a fucking sack of potatoes. I believe I discussed this traumatic sequence of events in the previous post.
I saw a blue shirt plunge past the bushes and the group gasp. This is where I cry, as I speed up to join the group to see who the fuck just killed themselves.
I saw the littlest of the group, T, was down at the bottom of the mountain, five meters below us, assuring us all she was ok. Her man, Dave, was pacing back and forth, clearly worried and saying "T, I told you not to walk so close to the edge."
(T fell because she took the outside edge of a cement barrier used to divert the brook we were following. Naturally, it made a cascade on the curve of the mountain. The rock T chose to jump over--instead of carefully climbing over the cement barriers, hugging the inside of the curve-- was wet and slick, resting on the outer edge of the barrier/moutain. She slipped and tumbled down the rocky mountain side, to the next cliff which was five meters below)
Our even tinier tour guide, Will (He was about five feet tall... no joke), scrambled to the bottom and helped push T to the top.
The group was urged to continue with the hike along the babbling brook we were to follow to our camping site. Will stayed with T and Dave, providing first aid to little T and her scratched left thumb, while the rest of us continued with our trek.
After about two hours of hiking quietly, the rain started to pour. This was where T and Dave caught up to us, then passed us. I looked behind me and hardly saw Spence in her hot-pink vest WAY THE FUCK behind us... and I threw my morals out the window.
Fuck this shit. I'm cold, everything's wet, my boots are sticking to the mud, everyone's impatiently waiting for us... and I REALLY need to take a shit. FUCK waiting on people.
I fucking gunned it and walked towards my goal-- the end of this fucking brook.
When I thought my hike was over, what appeared to be a flat trek toward a blue tin barn... I was met by rocky hills... rocky, muddy hills. This is where I almost cried of frustration.
At my absolute worst... most homicidal I have ever been,
and will probably ever be.
"WHEN IS THIS GOING TO END?!" I almost broke down.
This is where I see Will walking up to me, and he tells me I just have one more hill to climb, and that when I get to camp, I should tell Washington the cook to start serving dinner.
Exhausted, pissed off, and with tears building, I reached camp.
Bone and Spence had yet to show up, and the rest of the group glared at me as I entered the hut.
"Are the other two girls and Will close?" asked Veronica, the second tour guide.
"Yeah, told me to tell... Washington? that he could start serving dinner... that they were close enough," I said.
I took off my drenched back pack and tossed it towards the other bags. I grabbed my walking sticks (goddamn poles are life savers) and tossed those muddy bastards on top of my bag.
Like the disheveled asshole I was, I glared at the rest of the group, already having a great time with their personal discussions at the far end of the table.
The promised land.
It's gorgeous. And has a toilet.
I sat down at the other end of the table and tried to control my trembling legs... and tried even harder to keep from breaking into sobs. I realized I was hungry... but I also really wanted to go to the bathroom. Just as I was trying to make a choice between waiting for my food in the company of these hostile backpackers, or storming out of the shelter in the middle of the rainstorm, in search for a fucking toilet, in came Bone... this fucking... never-ending ray of sunshine... as though she had just stepped off a cruise ship.
The hostile group increased their negative vibes to an insufferable level, and I decided I had enough. I went in search for a toilet, and quit giving a damn about the rest of the group... let Bone take care of that shit.
After hauling ass through mud, I found the very clean toilets.
I almost cried from the relief I felt (obviously, I did a lot of "almost" crying. Even when I find myself completely alone, I still find it hard to release my tears because I know the moment I let them out, all hell is going to break loose and controlling me will be damn near impossible for a few hours).
Upon my return to the dinner table, I noticed everyone was in better spirits, siping on their coca tea and munching on some popcorn. I served myself a cup of coca tea... and all was well with the world.
I sat in a somewhat catatonic state... drinking my hot tea... not giving a shit to say a fucking word... and waited for my food.
After meal time, we were walked to our tents, were we each chose/settled (as was my case, because I was the last one to "choose" my tent, which obviously, doesn't involve much "choosing").
The group was to make a "quick" hike up to a lake, but considering the mental exhaustion, I chose not to participate. Spence was physically incapacitated, so she was unable to partake in the lake hike, and Bone had no desire to go "alone."

***
Considering it is now mid-July, I'll stop right here... clearly where I never intended to end when I began typing this... but if I don't post now, I probably never will.
There will probably be two more parts... because this fucking five day hike had so much bullshit to it, on all aspects, "Health" being only one of them... and I promise it has a somewhat redeeming end... and there will be less commentary on my bowel movements.