Advertisements

Muchness

More words…

Soon to come.

For a bit of a spell,

 I lost my muchness.

But… 

IT’S BACK!!!!

 

Advertisements

Since I stopped drinking…

Another part of my LENTEN observance involves drinking. Forty days and forty nights of alcohol abstinence.

Do I have a drinking problem? I don’t think so.

But…

Denial is difficult to overcome when nowadays the definition of alcoholism is so varied.

I have not had a glass of red/white wine, a vodka martini with three olives, double bourbon on the rocks in twenty-six days. Having two glasses of wine a night was a norm with the occasional martini/bourbon drink on the weekend. With the drinking, came the munching of cheese, salt, chocolate or whatever food complemented the drink at hand.

It has not been easy to not drink alcohol.

Social outings have diminished as most of the people I surround myself with drink. Then again, most of the people I surround myself with drink alcohol at bars. Social drinking is social drinking. We drink and socialize. Could we socialize without the drinking? Probably.

It has not been easy to not drink alcohol.

The glasses of wine I looked forward to after working an emotionally and physical shift are gone. Now I drink hot chocolate or chamomile or ginger tea. I no longer sit in front of the TV watching SVU re-runs, munching on bags of chips as Stabler and Benson solve a case. My class work is done on time and I actually retain the reading assignments.

Since I stopped drinking:20140331_072808 (2)

I have lost five pounds
Blood pressure reduced
Pulse is lower
Morning fog brain is gone
Active instead of sedentary-back to penguin running and registered to run a 5k in July
Junk food drastically cut down
Eating home food instead of ordering in
One restaurant outting-dinner with a diet coke
My glass is neither half-empty or half full-it is completely empty

What happens after forty days and nights of abstinence from alcohol? Will I return to old habits or is this experience a wake-up call towards better health.

It has not been easy to not drink alcohol.

2013

2013 arrived and was not greeted with the usual resolutions such as those made in 2012:

Lose weight

Limit alcohol intake

Penguin run – frequently and on a schedule

Living situation-Move out

Change job or get a better job with better location and better pay

images (2)

The resolutions of 2012 are now discarded. The New Year of 2013 came at midnight when the clock struck twelve and casted the resolutions of the old into an ‘unresolved’ imaginary bin stored in the back of my brain.

But, the consequence of making those resolutions in 2012 were severe:

Instead of losing weight I gained ten more pounds

Alcohol –a lil bit more instead of a lil bit less

Penguin run-what is that again?

Living situation-the move out turned into the barely living, drowning in frustration at my financial inability to move out

Same job and definitely no better location and no raise let alone a Christmas bonus

This year, with the new, New Year approaching, instead of the usual in my bed by 10pm sleep induced reception, I was awake. And no,  I did not watch the dreadful ball drop on TV for it triggers memories of a New Year’s past in which my butt was fondled and molested in the melee of a crowd gone wild while watching the old ball (sans the 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles)  drop live and in person in the pre-Giuliani Times Square.

But, this year there are no resolutions.

Attempting to construct resolutions for 2013 may be good in keeping with the spirit of the New Year thingy but if 2012’s resolution results are an indication of what will come, I think I’ll pass this year.  There’s no need to go through the ‘unresolved’ feelings of disappointment at not meeting impossible expectations. No point in shoving the disappointment into my brain where it will stagnate and fester turning into the unrequited resolve of the resolutions.  And no, the toxicity of that mess will not migrate to mi alma (my soul) for clutter and suffocation are not allowed to reside there, only torment, bliss and friction of every emotional kind.

Instead of resolutions, I welcome subtle and easy changes towards achieving goals.  Subtle, like breathing in and out and so easy as in not having to think too much about the process itself.

The subtle and easy changes require a difference each day in the way I think and do things. All things, from putting on my socks (left first instead of right) to the amount of pep milk (a little one day, a lot the next) in my coffee. I will take a slightly different route while walking the street, like walking on the opposite side of the streets I walk down.

My subtle and easy approach towards tackling larger goals will bring results.

Some of the goals I’ve set in motion involve learning and practicing meditation, consuming less meat and enrolling in a running program. Subtle and easy. Attending meditative classes, abstaining from meat until the weekends, running with a group instead of alone-just doing those little things which are subtle and so easy will lead me to obtainable goals. meditation 001

They Come Up Sometimes…

I entered the world at 11:48pm on January 11, wailing like a banshee within the sterile fluorescent lit delivery room at the now defunct Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. What triggered the wailing? Was it the forced expulsion from my warm human swim tank home of nine months or exploding hunger pangs stimulated by the first nasal draw of air?

My rejection of breast milk confirmed the forced expulsion as the incentive for the wail. Food and I were not initially destined to bond so easily. I wanted nothing to do with it and only succumbed to the formula bottle after hours of belly rub coaxing.

Mom’s strict pregnancy diet resulted in low pregnancy weight gain for her and I assumed in some way I as a fetus was affected. My eating habits were cemented in the womb. I emerged into the world with an eating disorder while mom quickly dropped to her pre-pregnancy weight of 125 lbs.

I refused to eat during the formative years of 1-7 and inherited the middle name of “fussy eater”.  Processed food  gained favour with my taste buds in time but Lipton Tea with Pep milk (condense milk in a can) and spoonfulls of Domino sugar became my staple. Lipton tea in the morning, in the afternoon, but not before bed for the sugar and caffeine highs by then had run their course and no sense refueling while the Sandman cometh.   

Mom could not get me to eat.

Breakfast was the biggest battle, as I abhorred the usual milk and corn flake cereal unless it was loaded with mounds of white sugar. Occasionally, Frosted Flakes would appear on the table-I guess my Domino consumption turned into an expensive habit. I won on ‘Food Wars’ on a continuous basis until Mom started to think.

“Elenita, turn off the TV and eat your cereal.”

“Where’s the sugar?”

“We don’t have any left.”

“I can’t eat it then.”

“Bubie, come here I have something very important to tell you. You’re old enough to know this and it’s important to know.”

“Sure mommy, what is it? Did J***y do something again? I saw her do it. She did it on purpose too.”

“Oh no Elenita, this is about the worms.”

“In the backyard?”

“No, in the stomach.”

“What?!!!!”

“Little one, did you know worms live in your stomach?”

“Really?”

“Oh yes. Did you ever wonder why your stomach growls? It’s the worms!  And when your stomach growls they are telling you they are hungry.”

“Mommy, is that true?”

“Oh yes. And you know what happens if you don’t feed them?”

“No, what happens?”

“Well if you don’t feed them they will crawl up your stomach to your throat and choke you!”

My eating disorder miraculously disappeared.

Food was no longer a problem. Forget refined sugar. I ate my Kellogg’s corn flakes and milk without it. I was ‘food reborn’.

In time my food taste became refined. Chef Boyardee, Spam, Vienna sausages, pizza, hot dogs, bologna, went into my mouth while broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peas and just about any vegetable that grew in dirt, went behind the apartment’s steam radiators. Going to the bathroom with a mouthful of food to spit into the toilet was so cliché and easily sabotaged by an older sibling’s squealing. Disposing of unwanted food behind the radiators was my dirty little secret, my statement of protest, which worked well, until the rotten decomposed ordour summoned all of Brooklyn’s roaches to dinner which led to mom’s discovery.

To say Mom was amused would be inappropriate. She was perplexed and unsure what the crime warranted in terms of punishment. The brown belt on the legs would have been severe. While thinking through her options, she sought relief by informing everyone in the immediate family of my crimes against vegetables. Of course, she didn’t realize the family’s laughter and ridicule for a month would be sufficient punishment in itself.

Eventually the need to punish faded as did my dirty little secret as the memory of the food behind the radiator became a constant source of laughter especially around Thanksgiving.

 

 

Foods we once ate…and in some cases continue to do so

Oh, food the family ate, back in the day before the pyramid guide and nutrition hysteria.

Here’s a sample of what was:

Curried Lamb-made with the cheap curry found in A&P

Curried chicken with Perdue Chicken before chickens were put on a so-called healthy grain diet

Curried beef-I guess at this point curry put on just about anything

Carolina white rice smothered in Heinz ketchup or was it Heinz ketchup with a dash of rice?

Devil’s Underwood spread on Wonder bread

Chef Boyardee-spaghetti and meatballs or ravioliEgg salad-saturated in mayo- the Hellman’s kind

Uneeda biscuit crushed and placed in a bowl with milk added

Beer with pep milk and sugar- I found this combination quite strange-maybe it’s a Jamaican thing

Olive loaf and spiced ham on Wonder bread, lathered in mayo-the Hellman’s kind

 

Oxtails in gravy with Lima beans

Pigs feet with white beans in sauce

Scotch bonnet peppers pickled in vinegar

Bread pudding

Fried cakes (Johnny cakes) with ketchup

Whole wheat bread lathered with mayonnaise, American cheese and tomatoes

White bread toasted, buttered and sprinkled with sugar

Raisin bread, lathered with mayo-the Hellman’s kind, American cheese and tomatoes

Canned sardines in tomatoes sauce with a side of Carolina white rice

Canned sardines in oil on top of Saltine crackers

Liver, fried and smothered with onions

Cow foot (YUCK!)

SPAM slices, fried with eggs over easy

What foods did you or your family eat?

Self-medication or “What’s your vice?”

Self-medication as Wikipedia states is a term used to describe the use of drugs (including alcohol) or other self-soothing forms of behavior to treat untreated and often undiagnosed mental distress, stress and anxiety.”

At the mental health facility where I work part time, clients who suffer from various mental health issues abuse their antidepressant medications. As the abuse turns to recreational use, the dosage needed to dull the emotional or physical pain exceeds the psychiatrist’s recommendation.  Of course, the term self-medication applies to anyone who abuses prescription meds in order to self soothe. Seroquel, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Prozac- whatever-the euphoric high these meds can produce is worth the abuse.

Self-medication does not exclude alcohol or pain killers. The bingers, everydayers, the necessary one drink a day to the one bottle a dayers, the wine or beer consumers to the hard-core whiskey and ryers, gin and tequila without the lime on the siders-alcohol is accessible and cheaper than antidepressant meds. Of course there’s, Vicodin, Codeine, Percocet, Hydrocodone, 10mg, 50mg, 500mg or one tablet or two and taken sometimes with an alcoholic chaser and so readily prescribed when sustaining an injury or as post surgical candy.

Okay. Self-medication is bad.

Is it?

What about self-soothing?

There are those who indulge in self-soothing forms of behaviour without the use of psychotropic drugs. Such as, the super athletes’ addiction to endorphins and the caffeine junky who consumes six cups of coffee a day so their internal body cruise control can fly quickly through time. In addition, let us not forget the foodie who grabs snacks of the most comforting kind during all commercial breaks while chasing it down with Coke a Cola (the carbonated sugar drink not the white powder) because a relationship fizzled (just like the Coke). Or, the female chocoholic who downs a 12 piece assorted box of Godiva’s in fifteen minutes because of PMS. Caffeine, endorphins, sugar-the acceptable kinds of comfort foods or exercise, all, legal, accessible and coveted.

There is harm in overindulgence of the self-soothing kind. Obesity, physical ailments and injuries, diabetes, high blood pressure may arise from too much self-soothing while abuse, self-loathing ,self-medication can come from too little.

Too much of a bad thing is not good and too much of a good thing is bad. The goal of self-medication and self-soothing is to numb the pain, which makes everything that will be, okay. Appearances are misleading with the pain, the stress, the anxiety, the paranoia-yes this can go on-of everyday life which at times are unbearable to handle but can exist comfortably under  grey clouds of distortion infused by the vice (s) of our choice.

So, what’s your vice?

Today

Today is the day I regain my body back.

The body, my body was kidnapped three years ago by the stress of two shoulder operations, the disintegration of yet another career and a family member’s illness. Once in isolation and infused with depression and chemical toxins, the body, my body, sought refuge and comfort in food.  Not just any old food but food of the most dangerous kind: White Castle burgers with onion rings, Pringle’s ultra stack, Jones’ sausages, and French bread pizza with pepperoni, Press’s version of the Cuban sandwich as well as the cheese and black bean dip with multi grain taco chips downed with fresh Margherita’s at the local Tex-Mex restaurant.

My body, the body descended into a madness of the most unfavorable kind: erratic blood pressure readings, thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies and the dreaded numbers from the doctor’s scale for which I arguably state is out of whack. Crack is whack and so is that damn scale that reveals the truth behind the cover-ups that no longer justify the existence of my muffin top middle supported by thunder thighs of cellulite.

The Ann Taylor Loft and J.Jill clothing of days gone by sit in my closet refusing to be cast away into the large plastic bin of discarded clothes in the basement. I long, they long to be back on the body, my body that I’ve neglected and allowed to fall off the food wagon into an abyss of false food gratification binges.

Today is the day I regain my body back.

The jogging is progressing-finally made it to 35 minutes! But the amount of calories consumed overshadows the amount exercised off and a different approach is necessary in order to get my body to where it needs to be, weight and health wise.

So today, I begin.

To begin is to acknowledge I have an unhealthy choice of foods to eat disorder.  I own it, I do. The albatross will no longer circle above my head as I waddle down the street for I have armed myself with a just released book from Amazon that unleashes the diet secrets of all French women.  All, French, women? Imagine that. “White Castle burgers and a side of onion rings will touch my lips no more!”

So today, this morning, I began.

%d bloggers like this: