There's a time and a place for setting a goal and charging headfirst towards it. I will always love a challenge, and that can be a great thing. But when you find yourself lost and adrift in the absence of said challenge--when your two polarized modes of fitness are training with Olympic dedication and binge watching Netflix wondering what's the point of it all--then you know something is out of whack.
Recently, a friend who had a baby last week reached out to me with some concerns that I recognized all too well from my own postpartum experiences. It got me thinking about how key facts of the first week postpartum hadn’t made it onto my radar before I had Eleanor, and how much of a relief it was to read articles like this and this and realize that I was totally normal and not alone.
My niece, bless her, said to me recently that when she thinks of the perfect couple, she thinks of me and my husband. Morg's 12 and her parents are going through a divorce, so she should be forgiven for this erroneous perception of relationships. She has a long time ahead watching me and her Uncle Fester and thinking, "Holy shitballs, please don't let me turn out like them."
The exact moment that I became aware that my actions had a direct effect on the environment occurred on or around Earth Day 1996, when my fourth-grade teacher had us this PSA video about water conservation, which shows a little boy letting the faucet run while he brushes his teeth on the right side of the screen and a pond rapidly draining on the left, threatening to beach the fish that lives there until he calls the boy on the phone and tells him to maybe stop being such a thoughtless asshat and turn the water off.
Hi, I'm Jamie, and I'm a fixer. No, like a fixer. I will insert myself into every aspect of your decision-making process to tell you how you should do something even if you're not even thinking about how what you're doing might need to be done a different way. For years, I called this "helping." Because who doesn't feel super motivated when her mother nags her in that condescending, know-it-all voice?
To all of this work, both personal and professional, I brought a Puritanical belief that I was creating spiritual value for myself through labor. It became my primary love language--I showed God love by being the first to volunteer at the homeless shelter on Thanksgiving. I showed my roommate love by doing her half of the dishes without being asked. I showed my boyfriend love through elaborate handmade gifts. And when people complimented my work or told me I did a good job, I felt love in return.
[My] guilt was compounded by the fact that, not only was I a woman, but I was a cavernously hungry one. Voraciously, consumingly hungry. For food, for sex, for attention, for everything. My needs felt overwhelming, and my body was suddenly terrifying to me in both its existence and its want. My body had become a problem to be solved.
I am a grass is greener kind of woman. My husband, who will generally sing my praises as long as it's not about money, will tell you that this is my fatal character flaw. You and I can both order dinner a restaurant known for its delicious tacos, and I will look at your tacos and wish that they were my tacos.
I never in a million years thought that I would get to a place where I felt fine about ditching sugar and grains, and doing so has been my most significant takeaway from Whole30. I've been addicted--emotionally and chemically--to sugar for as long as I can remember, and daily cycles of cravings and crashes ruled my life until a month ago.
This week, I answer a reader's letter about what was hard, amazing, impossible in early recovery. When I think back to those early months, I see myself as a raw nerve thrumming with the agony of exposure. By the time I'd made an actual decision to abstain, I'd been on the path toward sobriety for at least 5 years. I just didn't know it.
Sugar cravings have all but vanished, and I'm starting to find so many more things to do with my nights than stuff my face - write, take a bath, do a craft, listen to a record. All of these things alleviate the stress that I've been numbing with snacks, but in a way that's so much healthier for me mentally and physically.
A golf-ball size chunk of soured milk plopped into my bowl, splashing milk all over me and the table. I would stink like rotted milk for the rest of the day as we sat in the ER, my sore throat actually strep. My mother looked at me, at the hunk of cheese in my cereal. She collapsed at the table and sobbed, a keening that made me feel complicit in the milk's souring and my strep throat.