“I have a faint cold fear, thrills through my veins / That almost freezes up the heat of life…”
That’s one of Juliet’s lines from Romeo and Juliet, and it’s been popping up in my head a lot, lately. So I wax Shakespearean when the world turns on its side a bit–what about it?
Right now it’s because I literally have chills coursing under my skin, through my bloodstream, setting hairs on end, making my heart race, unsettling me. I don’t know how to define this feeling: not quite anxiety, or depression, or full-on apathy, or woe, or anger. It’s a bit of everything and nothing. Another week of waves. Of not quite understanding the world or my place in it. Of feeling triumphant and then depleted. Of being offered something loving and then not quite receiving it.
But wait, this is supposed to be about sugar.
NO SUGAR WEEK TWO
If you forgot about what this is about, read this for a recap of week one.
Day 8: Friday, November 11th: Evidently the Gilmore Girls are right! You can survive on coffee, coffee, coffee! Plus an apple, and a quart of chicken soup (I make killer chicken soup so this time of year the freezer is stocked. Pun intended – yay, I made a joke, the world hasn’t ended.). Oh, and lots of water.
But I got work done. And friends and random conversation with an acquaintance reminded me that portions of the population are still amazing. And writing feels good. And in two days I’m taking a whole day off. The first in two weeks. Yesssssss.
Days 9- 11: I am pathetically defeated by the common cold. I take Nyquil and Airborne and therefore do eat some sugar. I do not give in and drink hot toddies, as I am THISCLOSE to doing because my throat is on fire. I am sick and sad, but I have my writers group and the company of friends. I spend my big day off on Sunday in bed with a migraine–dark, dog, and Hulu, basically. I go to the radio show Monday. But before then, shit gets really low. I post about it
But before then, shit gets really low. I post about it here.
Day 12: On Friday I’m gonna be on someone else’s podcast talking about going off of sugar (!!!!). So in pondering their questions, I will admit that today I weighed myself and I’ve lost 4.5 pounds. But I don’t think I can blame that on the sugar as much as I can blame that on not really eating since I have a cold and am stressed and haven’t bought groceries and don’t feel like eating and am just NOT REALLY IN THE MOOD FOR FOOD. And it’s not REAL weight loss. I’ll gain it back when I start eating meals again. But I have to say that as far as numbers go, yes. I’ve technically lost poundage.
Day 13, Wednesday: I question and write WILL ALL OF THIS BE WORTH IT?
Because I’m in this now. I’m stubborn, and when I say I’ll do something, I do it. The other day, I listened to the Love Bites episode that aired the day before I started the social media cleanse that launched this whole project, where I told Ben, “I can do anything for forty days.” When he asked me how I wouldn’t cheat, I told him I wouldn’t cheat because I wouldn’t cheat. And I haven’t cheated! Not intentionally, anyway. Things like the lemonade have happened. But now I’m five months in. I’m gonna finish this thing, because I’ve started it, and what a waste of an opportunity it would be to give up on myself. But really… I hope something more than just wisdom comes from this. Because to be wiser and even more self-aware… but not happier.
Do I need to take myself less seriously?
Day 14: I know if my mom reads this, or Muffin [the codename for my soul mate sister of a best friend], the following won’t please them: I’ve lost 7 pounds in about two weeks. It’s not because I cut sugar and alcohol from my diet. It’s because I’m not eating enough, and I know it. But I’m stressed out. My body doesn’t WANT food.
Between work, feeling sick, the election, the stupid dating disappointments, money stress, THE ELECTION, not knowing IF ANYTHING MATTERS BECAUSE OF ALL OF THIS, and basically feeling okay and then horrid and then laughing and then feeling despondent and then feeling thankful and then feeling… nothing… I just don’t really need food right now.
I should probably explain to anyone who stumbles upon this journal thing that weight loss / gain can be a bit…different… for those of us with long-term illness. It’s not just about wanting or needing to lose or gain a few extra pounds. We’re often not in control of what we can or cannot eat, or if we can or cannot exercise. Weight is more often correlated directly with symptoms, medications, and side effects. It can be an emotional / mental struggle, as you can drop weight dangerously while sick and get complimented on how you look (while you’re struggling with the worst pain of your life), or don’t change anything about your lifestyle and then gain weight because of something related to your health. I wrote about this for BUST magazine and am continuing to interview women working through this for future pieces.
So I’m watching myself, as I don’t eat, and see the numbers drop. I’m keeping myself in check to make sure my motivation doesn’t turn into something unhealthy–I’ve got Dr. Kleifield from the article saying “check your motivation” running through my brain–but I think I’m okay, for now. So I hope mom and Muffin will understand.
And I’m drinking chicken broth. And last night I had some veggies and hummus and French fries. I am eating. I’m totally fine. Just simplifying on all fronts feels right, right now.
Broth. Coffee. Water. Enough solid food to get by. Quiet. Solitude. Work. Sleep.
Conclusions: This past week had me taking a hard look at the idea of comfort. My days often feel like rollercoasters of attention and emotion: When you freelance, you jump between projects and bosses and skills and different fires to put out. At any given time, I’m pitching, writing, editing, invoicing, designing, booking, organizing, researching…. Sometimes I feel value in my work, and sometimes I feel like I have no talent and should not ever attempt to put pen to paper again because my thoughts and the way I organize words into sentences will never move anyone to think or feel or do anything.
And that’s just my job. So when the rest of my life feels out of sync, too… well…
Quick fixes of sugar and social media and alcohol and emotional intimacy and sex and buying pretty things can help. But am I truly satisfied with them? That’s a question I asked a friend Thursday night, when we compared when we’ve felt the happiest to what we had at that time: the jobs, relationships, apartments, etc. Can I be happy with what I have, but still not feel satisfied? Can I be satisfied with what I have, but still not feel happy?
Can I be one without the other? Can they live in harmony inside of me?