When I was 18, I was on a deck that collapsed at a party. I fell ten feet and snapped my left femur in half.
Back then (approximately 1898999 years ago) PTSD was not a thing. For those of you who live under a rock, PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I didn’t know it at the time, but all of those times after the accident that I would shake, cry, and feel nauseous every time I got near a wooden deck that meant I was suffering from PTSD.
Over the years my PTSD has manifested in newer and more ridiculous ways. For example – I struggle immensely at county fairs. You see – those rides are OLD. OLDER THAN ME. Older than LPP. That’s really, really, really old. And they were designed when Americans weren’t big, fat pigs. So back then if you filled a ride up with people, they were thinner. So the ride could withstand it. But now, we stuff big fatties on these rides. Kids and adults alike. And I don’t understand how the old ride can withstand the change in weight. To me, it’s tremendously heavier. To me, that ride is like, 98 years old. To me, it’s a nightmare.
My throat gets tight. I can’t breathe. I can feel it coming on. The lights are bright and the music is loud – overwhelming my senses. My eyes fill with tears. They are filling right now because as I write this, I’m feeling it all over again. I don’t tell my kids. They don’t know. I act like I’m about to sneeze. I can’t look up. I can’t look at the lines of heavy, heavy people waiting to squeeze onto the ride. Stressing it to the limit.
I’m not sure what I think will happen next. I don’t even go that far in my panic. I can only focus in the moment.
Maybe this is what might happen.
This happens to me in lots of other situations too. If the music is too loud and I'm in an upstairs bar - I will become convinced the screws will rattle out of their spots in the walls and the floor will fall. In an elevator - I look at the weight limit and then will mentally add the passengers estimated weights in my head. I do this wrong because I'm terrible at math. I end up calculating that each individual weighs approximately 250lbs more than they do. On airplanes I just cannot understand how planes can hold overweight people and their huge luggage. And my huge luggage - packed with heavy shoes (I love shoes). Once while on a tall shuttle bus I lost my marbles because the driver packed so many people on it that when we hit a curve everyone fell to the side.
And then there's our trampoline. When you have four sons a trampoline is a necessity. In fact, I think everyone should have one because American kids are too fat.
Anywhooo - Our four boys together collectively weigh probably 300lbs. That’s not very much. But when you have PTSD it doesn’t matter, because you’re reaction isn’t normal. It isn’t rational. So the other day I was in the kitchen and I leave my window open so I can hear the kids and I can also see them. LPP was in our office (which is actually the dining room, and it’s right next to kitchen). I look away from trampoline and then I hear new voices in the back yard. I look out the window and in addition to my four skinny boys jumping - I see three girls. One little skinny one and two tall, very overweight girls.
It happens instantly. I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I unreasonably assume that each girl has now added entirely too much weight to the trampoline. In my irrational brain – something horrible is going to happen. In real life – the trampoline can hold that weight and more. In real life – if they did fall – it would be like 3 feet. Everyone would be okay. But I can’t think rational thoughts when I am like this. I don’t know how. All I can feel is sheer panic that something bad is going to happen.
I fell apart. I frantically called LPP into the kitchen. What’s funny about this story is what I said in my panic state. “LPP!” I said breathing heavily, with my hand on my tightening chest. “There are too many fat kids on the trampoline! You have to do something. Please do something.”
Now, LPP knows not to laugh at these ridiculous requests. I only understand it’s irrational AFTER I calm down. In the moment, this is the most real thing to me. It’s all I can see.
I repeated myself. “There are too many fat kids on that trampoline! You have to go out there and only let two boys and a fat kid on at one time. Hurry!! GET THE FAT KIDS OFF THE TRAMPOLINE!”
Isn’t that terrible? Those poor kids. LPP did go out there and limit the number of kids on the trampoline and when I could finally breathe again, we laughed about what I said in my panic state.
Something bad is going to happen to this fat cat on the tiny trampoline. I just know it.
We hit the county fair last night – but I was ready for it. And for some reason there was a limited amount of chubby folks there. VERY UNUSUAL for Tennessee! We grow fat people here because there is literally a fried chicken fast food place on every corner.
I also drank a HUGE glass of wine before going. So with less beer bellies and the numbing effect of a giant glass of wine, I was able to stay in control and focus on paying approximately $689.78 for my kids to play games where they won the following:
A 6 inch tall red pepper stuffed animal that had a mustache
A 6 inch tall stuffed banana
An 8x10 framed photo of Bob Marley
A 4 foot tall blow up pickle (this was actually in the trashcan but the Secret Service saw it. He could NOT BELIEVE someone would throw a perfectly good blow up pickle away!)
A $100 bill pillow
Yes – it’s a lot of money for a bunch of crap. That amount could likely feed a family of 10 in Yugoslavia three meals a day for ten years. Does Yugoslavia still exist? Isn’t it called Japan now? People in Japan are teeny, right?
Do they have trampolines?
This looks FUN!