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I took this picture a few years ago, actually. I was going through some old photos and I came across this. I think it defines simple beautifully for me. I was in a phase of life where I was separated, in-house, from my ex, and I was learning how to do all sorts of things as myself, while still living under the same roof as the person I’d been married to. It was complicated. But I had the opportunity to bake a pie, and I did the simplest thing possible – I baked a frozen apple pie and snapped a blurry picture of it and served it to my kiddoes. It was simple, it was tasty, and it reminded me that I could do this thing, this coming out thing, this getting out on my own thing, this complicated thing I was doing.
Simple apple pie for a complicated life. It was awesome. It’s nice to look back on that time now, now that I’m out of it (haha, out, didja catch that?!). It’s nice to remember that I can be myself no matter what the external circumstances might be. It’s nice to remember that who I am does not change just because things around me might get complicated, or uncertain, or as in the last post, stuck. It’s nice to remember simple. And it’s nice to remember that it’s not just pie, it’s possibility. Pure and simple.
Back in late September, I took on an eating plan called Whole30. If you are interested in clean eating plans, Whole30 is something to look into as one option. Just g00gle around and you’ll find information. The basics of the plan are that you eat whole foods for 30 days (hence the name, natch). Meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, spices, selected oils/fats. Anything else, you just leave out. I did a Whole30 from late September to late October; another between Thanksgiving and Christmas; and a third that extended to 66 days starting December 31. So obviously, this particular eating plan works for me. I like the food, I like how I feel when I eat this way, and I am stronger, healthier (dropped two medications and 12 pounds), and a better singer.
After taking a couple of weeks to eat whatever I wanted following my Whole30/66, I wrote a reflection yesterday about how the experience has been and what’s coming:
It turns out that I’m a total hedonist. I did not know this! But the fact is that when I took on my first Whole30, I stuck with it because the food was SO delicious. I hated what I was eating before, I just didn’t know how to change it. So I was not in the position that many folks are in, where they have to give up their favorite foods and learn to enjoy other things. I was sick of what I was eating (and sick from what I was eating); and Whole30 foods were so incredibly delicious by comparison, that I actually looked forward to eating for the first time in forever! At the same time, I felt different every day – stronger, more focused, no more swelled-up ankles.
Anyway, what I have discovered in the last couple of weeks after my latest Whole30/66 is that there is very little that I have a desire to go back to. Most of what I ate before turned my stomach then, so it certainly turns my stomach to think about it now. So that’s easy. But there is one thing, just one thing, that I still love so much. I can’t find that it tastes bad to me yet. It takes a few days to feel bad from it. And it gives a zing of quick energy that makes me feel good right away. And I can’t really have the conversation about “will this make me healthier or not?” about this thing. My brain just kind of shorts out while I’m trying to talk to myself.
So I figured that a couple of things need to happen. One is that I need to acknowledge my Inner Hedonist and work toward finding healthy foods that taste better than my trigger food (because let’s face it, that’s what it is). I’m specifically NOT looking for a taste-alike substitute, but instead a delicious healthy replacement. I am realizing that this will take some time. I’m also realizing that when it comes to just this one trigger food (so far I have not encountered even one single other thing that I’m even attracted to much less eager to eat), I need to acknowledge that it is delicious and yet that it currently has a power over me that makes it so that I cannot choose not to consume it.
This leads to the second thing that needs to happen, which is that I need to remove this trigger food from my diet, allow myself to mourn its loss (because damn, I really love the stuff), and know that for the forseeable future this will indeed be a trigger. It may always be a trigger. But it won’t take 30 days, 66 days, or longer, to remove it as a trigger. I need to entirely remove it from contention as a food. The odd thing is that there are other foods containing the same ingredients, which I could probably eat with no trouble since they don’t trigger me to any sort of excessive eating behavior. I can just take them or leave them. It’s just this one thing.
Finally, since I have discovered that I have very little desire, at the moment, to eat as I did before (mostly potato chips and coffee!!!); and since I have discovered that what I do want to eat is not just a nice treat but a true trigger food; then I’m going to embark on a return to complete healthy eating again for a time. Since the only thing I’ll be changing is excising the trigger food from my world, formally committing to eating healthy will give me a way to do that.
It’s funny – I didn’t realize that I would only have ONE trigger food. I thought basically that The World Of Food would be like a field full of land mines waiting to blow up when I stepped on them. It turns out that this is very far from being the case. I love the food I eat now so much that sometimes I get a little teary-eyed (I made a roast beef a week or so ago that may or may not have been better than – you know… ) over how good it is compared to the crap I was eating before. But this one trigger food is like a focal point for All Possible Cravings or something!! Making my life so that it can’t intrude for a time while I contemplate exactly what that all means, will be a big help. At that point I will re-evaluate and examine my relationship with the trigger.
So I’m really really glad I recently gave myself permission to eat ANYTHING for a while. Over the last several months, I’ve had such hugely amazing results in my body, my eating, medications, ability to sing, my sleep (have I sung the praises of my sleep lately? It’s better than when I was a kid, for serious.). And until I stopped focusing on eating healthy and tried a few other things, I had no clue that there was just this one thing that stands in the doorway and screams at me until I give in. I think that what I’ve been calling love from this food is really abuse. ‘Cause this is not good food for me, not at all. Note that I haven’t named it. I don’t name it because while I know what my trigger is (obviously), the concept could be applied to any food or group of foods. And I don’t want to muddy the waters by suggesting it’s just this one thing – it could have been anything.
So here I go, eating well, feeling well, and enjoying life.
I have a big concert coming up this coming Saturday.
Friday, I’ll have a lead article in the local newspaper’s Arts and Entertainment section.
Tomorrow, my professional website is set to launch (stay tuned for details).
I’ve been publicizing the hell out of this concert.
My pianist is probably just landing right now, getting her rent car, and heading to the B&B where she and her partner are staying.
And, I’ll be working with Susan of 29 Black Street on the poster to advertise my next big show, set for the summer! (In between times, I’ll be singing on other people’s shows, which is fine with me!)
Also, I’m starting to contemplate what kind of Kickstarter project it would take to get some kind of EP recorded that I could promote through my new website.
I am happy when I am singing, or thinking about singing. And the huge, enormous breakthroughs in my sense of ethics, love, and ultimate worthiness that I’ve been writing about have given me a hope that hasn’t been there for a while.
Healthy, hopeful, and with high notes. It’s a nice feeling.