Woke up at 3 AM, got up to pee, staggered to and from the bathroom, crawled back into bed, fought with my pillow for 45 minutes and lost. Wound up in front of my computer too dazed and confused to face the World Wide Web, so I decided to blog. It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, and it feels strange, like I’m a contestant on Dancing With the Stars only I’m not a star and I can’t dance (oh wait, that’s actually everyone on Dancing With the Stars). It feels especially strange in the middle of the night with only the hum of my computer and an Edger Allen Poe ticking sound emanating from the house somewhere. And I’ve been away so long something has happened to the Word Press formatting so I’m typing in plain text with random code popping up when I try to italicize. What’s up with that?
Usually I’m pretty good with the sleep thing. Truth is, I kind of love to sleep. Thick, dreamy, bottomless sleep. For someone whose primary coping mechanism is escape, what’s not to love? I hate missing sleep. I feel cheated out of something that I can never get back. It’s not the same to tack on a few hours the next night or to take a nap. It’s like missing the middle of a movie – if you watch that part the next day you experience the movie in a completely different way than if you watched it from start to finish.
You hear a lot about our relationship with food. How we nourish or abuse or fret or sabotage or indulge or languish over food. Magazine articles, books, talk shows, and therapists tell us how to work on our relationship with food in the same way we work on our relationship with lovers or parents or children or co-workers. But rarely do we hear about our relationship with sleep. Sleep is our mistress. Oh, she gets some attention from the health gurus and the mattress salesmen. But she definitely takes a backseat to food. Personally I would like to break up with food and start seeing sleep. Start talking about her with my friends and family. Buy her sexy lingerie and take her away for the weekend. Marry her, make her mine, grow old with her by my side and die before she does. Yep, I want the whole enchilada (oh wait, that’s my relationship with food creeping in).
It’s 5 AM. The alarm is set for 6. I have to either shower and get on with the day or go back for a few stolen moments with sleep. What would you do?
I hate that buying groceries is stressful. Where exactly did these avocados come from? Should I pay $2 more for organic lemons? Why is there BHT in every box of cereal and what the hell is it, really? If there are 27 unpronounceable ingredients in this frozen veggie sausage can it be good for me? Canned beans or dried? Sugar free or fat-free or preservative free or high fructose corn syrup free? And the egg choices read like a New Hampshire license plate–Cage Free or Die. Then there’s the sodium content and the caffeine and the trans fats and the red dye and the white flour and the MSG. And God knows what’s in a Pringle or a Pizza Flavored Goldfish. And just what is a natural ingredient? Is it the B side of an Aretha Franklin single? Is it birthday suit natural? Is it what’s left after they put all that crap in my $5.00 loaf of bread to give me extra protein and vitamins and fiber, and then figure a way to process it out?
Food has gotten so complicated.
And it’s gotten political as well. If you eat red meat you’re an animal hater and if you don’t eat red meat you’re a communist. If you’re a vegan the vegetarians think you’re trying to one-up them and the carnivores think you belong to a cult. And holy crap, let’s not forget the gluten. If you eat gluten you probably have a serious psychological diagnosis to go along with it.
Trust me, I get it. I want to eat local and healthy and not get diabetes and reduce my urban footprint and my waistline and stop global warming too.
But it’s hard. Sometimes it makes me feel a little crazy. I never know what to eat so lately I just eat everything. I’ve always loved food, but I’m starting to resent it. I’m the kinda gal who can read cookbooks for pleasure, but I’m starting to resent them too. Eat This Not That, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, Clean Food. Tell me, who wants to eat dirty food?
Maybe I’m getting old and crabby, but I’ve read so much about food and nutrition that I’m overwhelmed. In some ways it’s like writing. I’ve read a lot about that too and I don’t think it’s getting me anywhere. But you can’t just stop eating. And there’s a lot of pressure to eat right. It’s the same with writing. As much as I would love to, on some subterranean level, I can’t stop trying to put stories on paper, trying to get it right.
So I muddle along. I have a feeling it gets better, but never easy. Some days the ingredients are perfect. Some days it’s nothing but heartburn.