Thursday, April 19, 2018

Food, Sex, and the Changing Tide of Self-Destruction.

The problem with being smart and self-destructive is that you know what your doing is self-destructive. You know your reasons are bad. You know you should change your course. You know that what you're doing is ruining you, and that you could, at any moment, totally combust.

But your reasons are still your reasons. So you stay the course.

We're all motivated by the same basic factors: Food. Money. Sex. Maybe love, if you're some kind of fucking idealist.

Me, right now? I'm not.

So it's basically food, money and sex. And the things that facilitate food, money and sex.

But when those things are in direct competition, which one wins?

It seems like I have the ability to starve myself for weeks on end to feel attractive. It seems like I have the ability to put on airs to strangers about the great, health-conscious reasons that I have for the decisions that I've made. And when it comes to fat and health, people will eat that bullshit right up, while they applaud you for not eating anything.

The truth is, I do not believe that hype that everyone else seems to buy into that being overweight is the worst thing you can do for your health. That being overweight or even mildly or moderately obese is all that bad for you. The reality is that the studies are unclear on this: for some things, there are clear negative correlations. For other factors, it may be healthier to be heavier.

What's not unclear is that it's bad for one's body to have a constantly fluctuating weight, and that some fucking enormous percentage of people who lose significant weight will gain it all back within 3-5 years. So there's a good argument to be made for making healthier decisions while staying fat.

When I started the diet program I'm in now, it was discovered that I am (was?) pre-diabetic. This diet-- a medically supervised "Very Low Calorie Diet"-- is supposed to be a very effective way to derail diabetes, maybe permanently. Maybe, because I made this choice, I will never become diabetic, like my father and his mother before him. And my other grandmother. And several cousins. And a second cousin who died of it, which is, like, something you NEVER hear about.

Maybe something genuinely healthy will come from my decision, and on some level, I won't have been bullshitting everyone around me. But the truth, when you get right down to this, is that that is not my reason.

I'm doing this because I wanted someone who didn't want me back.

The truth is, I didn't have the wherewithal to be body positive in the face of abject rejection. The truth is, I looked in the mirror, and I didn't find myself attractive anymore, either. And without that, I can't find anything in life sexy at all.

So sex trumped food for me, this time. And it's been trumping it for like ten weeks straight, now.

And that would be FINE. My reasons are my reasons. If all this was was an poorly motivated crash diet, well, at least I'm doing it the right way. At least I'm going through a doctor. At least I'm not popping random pills.

But that's not the whole story.

See, there's something about this fucking diet that's messing with my head. Badly. Something about blood sugar lows and highs, and not being able to keep it steady because I'm not eating enough in the course of the day. I thought it was lows, but in the midst of one of my episodes-- a moment where I feel suddenly, inconsolably self-destructive to the point of fearing for my own safety-- I happened to be near my parent's house. I had Dan, who was with me at the time, drop me off so I could test my sugar.

It wasn't low. It was high. I hadn't had more than 10 carbs in a meal for weeks on end, and I hadn't had any at all that day so far. But my blood sugar was high.

I obviously should have called my doctor pretty soon after that. But I've been overwhelmed by the complicated nature of my life, being all the more complicated by scheduling doctors visits and paying for labs and trying to figure out what it and is not covered by my insurance. Trying to figure out how to afford all of this while paying some huge portion of our income every week towards two kids in day care. Trying to figure out how to make time for it when I have none. And the feeling of...overwhelm? (There's a word a need, but, god, this blood sugar shit makes me stupid some times. I'm getting, like, REALLY bad at word searches, and this deeply disturbs me somehow.)  The feeling is compounded by the fact that...oh. I just made this point. The blood sugar stuff makes me stupid, therefore it's all harder.

See? I can't even write. I mean, I can write. I can write better than you fucking can, whoever you are. But I should be able to write MUCH better than you. So now you see the problem.

So I'm on a diet for bad reasons, and I can't get off of it for bad reasons which I am still smart enough to be aware are bad reasons, but not I'm not smart enough to just get off the diet. And maybe I would be-- smart enough that is-- if the diet didn't make me so stupid.

But probably not. Because we're motivated by food, and money, and sex. And maybe hate, if you're not an idealist.

And me? Right now? I'm not.

I think I might just hate myself.

I think I might just hate the fat bitch who looks back at me in the mirror with her bulbous nose and her soon-to-be-sagging skin. Her tiny eyes that sit back in her head like she's, I don't know, a cartoon rendered by an artist who draws all his characters as kind of fat and plain-looking.

The Far Side seems too mean, even for me, even for now. But is there a female equivalent of Ziggy? But less happy?

I think I might hate the woman who goes to work every day and despairs that she's going to have to keep going to work every day, forever, for the rest of her life with no real end in sight. I think I might hate the woman who comes home from the job she hates to her two children, and can't muster any joy from being with them. I think I might hate the person who lost her dog, god, almost two years ago now, and never sat down to write a post here to grieve him. And went out to replace him too quickly, and now can't bring herself to love the new one. And now-- whether it's the cause or effect-- no longer finds dogs cute, or endearing, or appealing. Or babies. Or...anything, really.

When you stop taking joy in the things you once took joy in, when you stop having any reaction to things that are supposed to invoke some basic, instinctual human emotion, that's when you know it's getting bad. And, truth be told, that particular light started dimming for me a long time before I ever started this diet.

I think I might hate the person who doesn't want to speak to her friends because they wouldn't understand, who resents them for being happy and doesn't want to be in their space. I think I might hate the person who makes calculated decisions about her self-destruction-- texting some near-stranger in the middle of the night, for instance, confessing that she's out of her fucking mind and sitting in the parking lot of a newly-opened Dominos for no apparent reason except because she just had to leave her house and her husband with no explanation and go (a totally random example, I swear)-- because that's the best she can do. Because having some guy who knows me from The Thread Theater think I'm crazy is better than ramming my car into a tree or going for a walk at night on a dark path with no lights and risk being mugged or beaten or worse.

I told him, maybe I'll just go into Dominos and get some fucking cheesy bread, because that was just self-defeating, as opposed to dangerous. And because, fuck this diet, anyway. He told me that was a good idea.

So I went into the Dominos. It had just opened today, I think, and it was going to be open till midnight. And I smelled that delicious pizza smell, and I let myself imagine what it would be like to just say screw it all and get the cheesy bread I so desperately wanted.

And then I ordered wings. Plain wings. The sauce would have too many carbs.

It was the choice that was just self-flagellating enough. Just enough punishment for the fat bitch in the mirror. But calculated, nonetheless: I needed to eat something I needed to even out my blood sugar.

Somewhere, somewhere in there, I'm there. I'm fighting for myself. I'm fighting for what's left of me.

All 200 fucking pounds of it.

You know what? Scratch that. I'm clearly only fighting for about 170 of that.

It occurs to me now that maybe, somehow, that's the problem. I have declared war on part of myself. I want part of myself to stop existing. I have defeated something like 25 pounds of it so far, and I'm waging war on the rest, despite the civilian causalities piling up.

This is getting too meandering, even for my taste. I left the Dominos ten minutes before it closed because there's enough of me left to feel like it's not right to inconvenience the employees as I sit plucking away on the laptop I somehow happened to have with me while picking at the two wings I had left. I am sitting, now, in a nearby laundromat. It's open twenty-four hours a day, and I've found myself here often over the course of my life, when things were bad and I couldn't sleep and there was no where else to go. There's something comforting about it, I guess.

And I'm here. In this space in my mind where I am when I'm situated in front of a computer. I'm plucking away at my laptop trying to find what's left of me in the one place that's always somehow safe, the one place where I find myself when I am no where to be found. I'm here, on, because this is the work of my life, no matter how far I wander from it. I'm here because this is all I really am.

Sooooo....that's super.

I put on headphones to drown out the sound of Jimmy Fallon's show, which the other patron of the laundromat seemed to by watching. Maybe he works here. I don't know. I bought a box of tide from the machine so I could claim to be a paying customer, just in case.

Matchbox Twenty has come on the google play station that I am listening to, and that's as close to home as I'm likely going to get. So maybe it's time to actually go home.

Dan has not texted to see where I went, and he's likely in bed by now. He does this thing, sometimes, where he just doesn't worry. I don't love it. Worry is the way so many of the people in my life express caring, from my parents to my chosen obsessions to the Thread Theater guy who recommended the cheesey bread. He may be more worried than Dan.

There's a post that needs to happen where I start to break down my motivations, my compulsions, the way I use love and rejection like a drug, and the way I've started to use drugs like a drug, as well. There's a post that needs to happen where I put the effort into coming back to visit myself here. In this space, in this place where I always somehow find myself.

Not the laundromat, though. Homey though it may be.

There are posts that need to happen where I reconnect with the pieces I've lost, where I draw the lines between the love and the hate and the self-preservation and the poor decisions. The diets and the reasons and Matchbox Twenty songs, and now it's Counting Crows and MY GOD I love these songs, this emo shit from the nineties.

Where did she go? That girl who always wrote, and listened to stuff like this? Has she just been waiting here for me the whole time?

She must have bought a lot of Tide.

On with it.