loss

Some nights I get on the train and my mind is so busy and my thoughts are so rapid-fire that I wish more than anything I had my laptop with me and could just start writing.

Sometimes I’m so angry I can’t calm myself — everything sets me off.  Losing service at Suburban station (as though that never happened in the past … like, every day), the woman who seems to be strolling for enjoyment in the middle of the sidewalk/train platform/staircase, my assistant who seems to never run out of the same questions to ask me (repeatedly) on my way out the door.  That I have answered numerous times in the past.

Sometimes i’m introspective and just want to get my thoughts on paper so I don’t lose them …

Sometimes I’m nostalgic, or sad or bursting with elation and joy.  Sometimes I’m feeling clever or witty.

Today, I felt defeated.  Defeated by an insurmountable to-do list that I have little to no assistance with (the job title of ‘assistant’ used above is for lack of a better word … she doesn’t really assist me very much when it counts).  Defeated by an online card registration, defeated by bills I can’t pay, defeated by time.  Defeated by a boss who is so compelled to build everyone else’s self-confidence and ego that he does so to my detriment.  Defeated by Septa and the fact that both trains I was on today stopped –for seemingly no reason — for over 30 minutes each way.  Defeated by everything.

And it made me sad, angry, introspective … disconnected.  I stood on the train platform listening to ‘All of Me’ by John Legend on repeat, with the anxious feeling that I needed to do something, and felt on the verge of tears for a solid ten minutes.

I am not weak.  I am not obtuse.  I am not silly, or flippant.  I’m sharp, and well-spoken and have walked through the fires of hell- by myself -and emerged on the other side.  I’ve fallen and been broken and I’ve picked myself up and fixed myself.  I’ve been humiliated and kept my head held high.  I’ve worked indescribably hard for the things I have.  I’m tired of apologizing for that.  I’m tired of being made to feel bad for who I am.  For the way I choose to live my life.  For my amazing relationship with my husband.  For being capable of doing my job.  I seriously … and I mean SERIOUSLY … am tired of being punished for being good at what I do.

And as I sat here, typing furiously, my husband picked a P!nk song to play on our Sonos.  And I began to sob uncontrollably.  Because she is the strongest, baddest, most amazing artist.  And everything suddenly feels a little better.

memory lane

Friendship is a weird thing.

It’s been on my mind recently — I’ve reconnected with some old friends and been transported back to different times in my life, when I was a different person.  And I have marveled that in fact, I have some lovely friends.  People who have done extraordinary things with their lives, accomplished amazing feats.  Are the epitome of joy and wonder and beauty.

And it has sort of made me reflect on all sorts of people who drifted in and out of my life.

Friendship changes as you age.  As I have become more comfortable in my skin, and feel more secure in who I am — I don’t completely love having ‘friends’ who seem to think less of me than I think of myself.  And weeding those people out, making those decisions — it’s really hard.  There could be a possibility that I’m a terrible friend, which is why I look around and I only have a few good relationships.  But … maybe I just feel less of a need to surround myself with people …. Thoughts ….

I have to spend every second of every day with myself, and I don’t know that it’s all that healthy to have friendships with people who don’t respect me, respect my life choices, or respect my spaces.

I can say without hesitation that I have a handful of people in my life who are just really good eggs.  I couldn’t say a bad word about them if I tried (and I have zero desire to try).  I feel blessed to have them in my life, to share stories and memories with them from time to time.  And I have friends who are more like … habits?  People who are in my life because of circumstance more than choice.  It’s hard when you realize that — when something occurs and all of a sudden, things seem more clear than they’d ever seemed before.

Like I said.  Friendship is a weird thing.

bad words

Honestly, I think using the word ‘diet’ is self-defeating.

I don’t know why it’s been on my mind recently, but it has, and I felt compelled to share my thoughts.  Dieting — thinking it, saying it, attempting to do it …. well, I think it’s self-flagellation.

I have never been a big fan — and I am not a small human being.  I am not the girl who could eat chicken wings and deep dish pizza and drink with the boys and wake up looking like I spent hours in the gym.  I have never looked like I spent hours in the gym, and I have never very seriously dieted.  I sort of feel as though life should be enjoyed as much as we can enjoy it — and eating good food and drinking good wine help boost the enjoyment.  Water and crunchy raw veggies do not.

Sort of.

Over two years ago I was diagnosed with the not-very-joyful autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.  When you are first diagnosed with something that big the amount of information that seems to constantly steam-roll you (imagine sitting in the ocean and just getting pummeled in the face repeatedly with medium to aggressive-sized waves) never ends.  Looking back, I can see fairly clearly the stages of denial and acceptance I went through regarding it.  First — I’m not changing anything, I am going to just live a happy life and everything will be okay.  Second — I reject everything you are telling me (you with experience and years of trial and error and knowledge -pwaf).  Third — I hate everyone and no one can possibly understand how hard this is, how unfair this is.  Fourth — I’m tired.  I’m so tired, and I just want to give up.  I miss my life.  Fifth — This medicine … works?  Sixth — Modifying my diet…. works?  Seventh — I remember life like this … it’s a little different, but it’s familiar.  Eighth — What other little tweaks can I make to make life a little easier and a little more normal?  Ninth — Oh.  That’s what you were talking about.  Ah. Gotcha.  No, you were right. My bad.

So that’s how I’ve found myself — at the young age of thirty-five — knowing a lot more about nutrition than I ever wanted to know.  I mean, yes, I think it’s wildly trendy right now because we, as a society, have crested the top of the hill, and as we collectively gazed downward, realized that many of the wonderful advances we’d marveled at were actually doing untold damage to the environment and our insides and we should probably address that stat.

But nutrition is a minefield, and I say that with a completely straight face.  So-and-So over here says one thing, and has reams of evidence supporting it, and we all enthusiastically jump on the train because who could possibly refute all.that.evidence? 

Oh, well, since you asked, Mr. Blah Blah over here has stacks and stacks of control groups and study groups and spreadsheets of evidence showing that So-and-So’s premise is a bust.

Everyone, off the train.

It’s exhausting. Seriously.  I cannot keep up.  And I really really don’t want to.  It’s a lot of work, it’s expensive, and I’m not sure I can feel any sort of difference.  And when you have MS — you feel everything.  Trust me.

So two and a half years into my MS journey (sidenote: that’s a train I wish I could get off — sigh– but that’s another story) I have armed myself with knowledge, some hand-picked opinions, and my amazing husband (there isn’t anyone better).

And I’ve made the proactive choice that I will never attempt to diet ever again.  I mean it.  I wasn’t very good at it in the first place (and who really wants to pursue things they aren’t amazing at or at least love? Not this little duck, I can tell you).

Here are my thoughts about life, and eating and all that jazz.  And it’s not complicated — in fact, I think it’s pretty simple.  But I like talking/writing, so that is why you have been subjected to my ramblings pre-point.

Eat whole foods.  Listen to your body.  Don’t overindulge in anything.  Don’t restrict things.

It’s a little harder than it sounds in practice, because we all love a good cookie or milkshake, or that really insane coffee drink (which stopped being coffee after the first step). But I’ve found that even when I want to eat a block of cheese, soft bread and butter and a huge glass of red wine… I remember how it’s made me feel in the past.  And then all of a sudden, a little bit of the shine dims.

Think about the things you enjoy, think about the way you want to live.  You want to enjoy each day, be present, have energy.  Putting value into those things helps to curb the cravings for not-so-great behavior.  Everything sounds like a good idea at.the.time.   And sometimes, it’s important to follow those urges, ride the bull, do the shot.

But life is about moderation and more importantly, balance. I think sky diving might be super wild one day. I can’t wait to go to Milan in February. But I also like my couch, and a good book or movie.  I like keeping the balance of fun and exciting and comfortable.  I think that idea, that principal, can be applied to every decision in life.

And food should be no exception.  Make choices to eat well every day.  Eat until you feel full.  Eat slowly so you enjoy each taste, each bite.  But don’t diet.  Because it takes all the fun out.  All of a sudden that’s all you’re thinking about.  What you can’t have, what’s banned.  I think it’s better to focus on what you enjoy.  Focus on the fun of cooking.

Anyway.  That’s my rant on dieting. Happy Saturday and Labor Day weekend all!