Monday, January 26, 2015

Blogging 2015: 131 down, 1884 to go

I'm officially day 5 of the juice fast, and I have to say it's been pretty easy.  That seems impossible considering how much I love to eat.  Here's my lunch bag from the last few nights.

Veggie goodness.

The salt cravings have subsided, which is a relief, because Sunday morning I really thought I was going to lose my mind.  I was fantasizing about salty popcorn. It was sexual. That shit is alarming.  What I have learned is that just because I'm a little hungry doesn't mean I need to EATALLTHETHINGSOMG.  I'm absolutely NOT going to starve, and my body is pretty decent at regulating my blood sugar when I'm not cramming food into my gaping maw constantly.  That's probably the biggest thing I've noticed (along with the salt thing)-that even though I've allowed myself to operate at "slightly hungry" for the last few days, I've never felt hypoglycemic.  Not once. Since mostly dumping grains two and a half years ago, my previous hypoglycemic issues mostly resolved. If I eat grain, I notice uneven blood sugar.  High highs and looooooow lows.  I've lost consciousness on at least 3 occasions in my adult life because of low blood sugar.  It's as though my pancreas senses food and shouts DIESUGARDIE and floods my body with insulin. It was particularly bad when I was pregnant. Now, it's been a while, but I still have a roll of Life Savers in my car. It's been 5 days on this juice fast and no uneven blood sugar. Not one episode.  My activity level is lower, but it's not as though I'm just lying on the floor staring at the ceiling. Good job, body!  Way to maintain homeostasis!

I managed to finish my silver socks.  The yarn actually has tensil fibers spun into it, so it's sparkly.  The pattern is interesting to look at, but it was tedious as hell to knit.  An easily memorized 4 row repeat...repeated ad nauseum.  Not mindless enough tune out, too mindless to hold my attention.  They look pretty fab with my pink hospital shoes, though.

No reason I can't be a little fabulous overnight.

I took the dog out for a quick 3 miler this afternoon.  She was a barely contained ball of energy and I figured she'd go fucking insane if I didn't run her a bit.  It was cold and snowing lightly, but overall not too bad.  I took a dogfie, but it is hopelessly blurry.  You'll get over it.

I had a facebook conversation with a friend last night regarding competition.  It got me thinking, and since this blog is basically the place where I dump all my crazy, I thought I'd dump my neuroses here for your reading pleasure.  The catalyst for the conversation was the Ice Bowl, which is a CrossFit competition put on by my gym (I was going to write "box" but the sentence structure makes that sound like it's in my vagina). My friend is planning to sign up and I expressed that she'd never catch me signing up for a CF comp.  Ever.  

Competition is a funny thing.  It brings out both the best and the worst in me.  For most of my life I was a textbook overachiever.  Focused.  Driven. Particularly in the academic arena.  You have a challenge? Bring it here so I can crush it. Give me an essay contest and I will win it. Administer a standardized test and I will fly through it at lightening speed and post the top score.  Give me a topic and I will give an award winning speech. You do not want to play Trivial Pursuit with me.  I will annihilate you.  Except the sports category.  The answer to all those questions is Arnold Palmer.  Don't judge.  That answer has won me the game twice.  In an academic competition I am in my element.  Give me a skill to learn, a subject to master, and I will do it with a single minded intensity that frightens me sometimes. That's the best in me. 

Sports?  That's a different animal. I have a hard time defining myself as an athlete, in spite of my recent track record. Yeah, I work out a lot.  I'm not good at it.  I broke my arm running in 4th grade.  I broke my leg running at rugby practice in my 20s.  I've broken teeth and bashed up my face falling down and cut up my hand and burned myself falling up.  I am a large giraffe like person with about as much grace as a drunken steer.  I've discovered that I cannot compete at sports.  It makes me miserable.  A lot of things come easy to me, but athletics is holyshitnotoneofthem. I have to work my ass off for every gain.  Every minute off my best mile, every 5 pound increase in my clean, every twist and stretch in a yoga pose comes at the cost of months of time and effort...and agonizing self doubt.  Because of this I have carefully cultivated an attitude of non-competition in my athletic endeavors.  Yes, I'd like to improve my half marathon time, but not because I want to be faster than other people.  I don't need to win prizes.  I want to increase my lifts because it's good for my bones and my metabolism and it feels amazing to hit a lift I couldn't do before.  I want to advance my yoga practice because it's good for my balance and flexibility and long term durability.  I carefully avoid comparing myself to other people in these activities, because comparison breeds self-loathing.  Competition is comparison amplified.  Maybe not for everyone, but certainly for me.  Comparison, one in which I will always come up short, sends me into a downward spiral.  I wonder why I do anything at all, since I can't compete with those around me.  It's stupid and counterproductive, but there it is.  The thought of competing, where my score is posted for the world to see my weakness, that makes me want to run and hide.  That's the worst in me. (Running doesn't really count here, as most races are hundreds to thousands of people and an individual score fairly vanishes.) Comparison is the thief of joy. 

A true friend indeed never envy you, rather feels genuinely happy for you! Otherwise, how can be someone deserving to be called best friend when you define it as competition?

So I don't compete.  I'll happily cheer on any friend, and be as happy about his or her accomplishments as I would be about my own.  It takes courage to compete, and that's a brand of courage I don't have.  It's okay, though.  I am courageous in other ways.   

This time of year, this week in particular is difficult for me.  In 2009 I was 13 weeks pregnant with what would have been our second child.  On 1/19 (my mother's birthday), my daughter had a seizure after a viral illness that landed her in the hospital.  She was 18 months old, and I slept on a cot next to the cage she slept in for seizure precautions. My husband was home, sick with the same illness my daughter had and I had to choose who to care for.  I thought it was the longest night of my life.  I was wrong.  On 1/21 (my sister's birthday) I went back to work.  Something went wrong that afternoon.  I started bleeding.  Since I work in the hospital where my doctor is, I went straight over to OB to be handed the news that my pregnancy was over.  I went back to work, then home that night to wait it out.  I began hemorrhaging in the wee hours of the morning.  I googled miscarriage, I fretted and waited, then finally called the triage RN and drove myself to the ER at 4am, alone.  I lost consciousness on the table about 30 minutes later in an expanding pool of blood and awoke in Major Trauma 1 to a dozen nurses and doctors rushing around me.  I remember the sound of the suction and feeling very, very cold as they pumped saline into my arm.  I lost our child in blood and tears on 1/22.  
I remember that child every day.

In 2012, my father passed away on 1/27 after a short stint with pancreatic cancer.  Standing watch at his bedside was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  It is difficult to express what it is to witness the last moments of a person's life.  I've come to realize over the past few years that not many people have the experience of being with their loved ones until the very end.  Death comes suddenly for many people. I don't know which would be better, honestly.  I know I'd rather a quick death for myself personally, but for the survivors...I don't know.  I don't know if "having time to say good-bye" is all it's cracked up to be, because it was pretty fucking agonizing.  

So January is a tough month.  The last couple of weeks are littered with emotional landmines.  I guess that's okay...keep it localized to one time frame and then move on.  I'm good at compartmentalizing.  It's one of my superpowers.  I can put anything into a box on a mind-shelf.  

This was long and kind of a downer.  If you stuck it out, you'll likely need a drink now.  

Welcome to my crazy!  I think I'll have a juice to wash it down.


  1. Amy, your blog brought me to tears. Our stores are very similar in so many ways. We lost our first, Anna, to stillbirth at 27 weeks. In October. Mom died in October, too. Plus, comparison is the thief of MY joy, and I wish I had the courage and the "I don't give a shit" attitude about how I would appear coming in LAST in EVERY single Ice Bowl WOD, but I don't; I care too much about being the best and that's a stupid thing to care about when you aren't, never were, and never will be. Perspective, I guess.
    Anyway, you'r a great writer. You have a voice that's easy to connect to and I want to encourage you to keep writing. I know we have different understandings of God and eternity; I respect you a TON and I will always remember your kindness to my mother and I while she battled, as short of a battle it was.
    Cheers. I do need a drink, now.

  2. Oh, Jamie, I'm sorry for your losses. I doubt you would be last in anything, but I understand the fear.

    I respect your faith, and though our viewpoints are different, you've never judged me and I appreciate that.

    Here's to joy without comparison. Have a drink for me!