Practicing Zero Waste… In a Body With Zero

On an alternative plane of time and space, I see myself handwashing delicate handkerchiefs inherited from my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. The sun shines through them where they hang, and I smile. I blend almonds and water into milk; my face erect, my movements quick and determined. I spend an afternoon easefully popping into one store and another, stocking up on meat, and produce, and coffee, exploring cheerily with energy and gusto.

I see her — that other me — through the thin veil that barely separates us and the worlds in which we move

In both worlds, our spirits embrace the activities this Zero Waste Challenge brings:.

In that world, her body is whole. In my world, my body rails against the extra breath and blood this Challenge requires.It doesn’t hurt the muscles and joints in my arms and back to

Wringing handkerchiefs and lifting them to dry hurts the muscles and joints in my arms and back. The sound of almonds blending into milk and the dim light from the stove threaten a migraine I’ve been tempering for days. I can’t carry groceries — I spend day after day timidly moving from bed, and then falling back.

The other night in Connecticut, I almost blacked out in a store. Suddenly nauseous and feeling like all of the blood has drained from me, I dropped my intended purchases, called Muffin while heading out the door, and kept her on the line while I lay in my car, the world spinning until mom came to rescue me.

The next night, driving from one grocer’s to the next to find meat almost set off the same, until I gave in and bought a pound of grass-fed beef in plastic, knowing I’d have to fess up about the packaging, heading home before the world gave way.

The snail’s pace at which I wash, blend, or steep loose tea… the satisfaction of those intimate moments my soul enjoys… Well? That satisfaction has fallen lost right to the exhausted necessity of extra steps.

To blow my nose, I need…. To drink tea, I need…. To have enough groceries to make food, I need….

I have already discovered joys in this Challenge. These struggles don’t diminish them. I look forward to continued exploration. But I’m battling a unique string of weeks and days where my body needs…

My body needs

My body is…

A Challenge.

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