That is not being genderist, it is the way my generation of women was raised. I guess that makes me a tenderist, because I really and truly honor how women are doing their best to overcome the limited, narrow and subservient ways we were raised to behave and the unsupported way we are supposed to think about ourselves. We are always supposed to put the needs and wants of other people first, often even relative strangers, complete strangers.
You know the drill. Plan family and friend meals around what those folk like to eat. Oh, more on eating later because that is what has pulled me from my writing funk today. So, we shop and cook for the preferences of other people nearly all of the time. Our homes are decorated...or not...according to what the family wants. All of that stuff, everything. I remember when I bought my first car as a married person, I had to insist on actually driving it and when we were finished and I had decided to buy it, the car salesperson, who had addressed only my husband (who was only there because I needed a ride to buy the darn car), said to him, "well, I guess that all that's left is for the little woman to pick the color."
That is pretty much how I have lived my life. It is also how I ended up in such a terrible and dangerous life. In the two years, since ending that other life, I have made a lot of progress to finding a way of living that works for me. And, on and on and excruciatingly further on. Rehashing all of this is a waste of energy that I need to start the work of now. An even more immediate now than my now-new life asks of me.
I am being encouraged to have a personal life, the kind where I would mostly do personal things with other persons. Currently I go to work at one gig two days each week, work at my paid job at least one day each week, and have two other volunteer gigs that use up one or two days each week.
That pretty much fills the week, which is what I have been doing, working and gigging the week away so that the day or two left over is for planning work/volunteer projects, gathering materials, tending the data and members at our medical sites, visiting my daughter and her guys, church, laundry, errands, food shopping and cooking. And, naps, which seem to be more important all the time.
Nowhere in there is any time for just being or spending time with friends or city activities, or even just walking down to the big water and grooving on nature and the nature of things. Tomorrow is the US Fourth of July thing and the city's long and noisy parade will pass my little home here. In the spirit of being more social, I may even go outside and sit on the porch with the people in the other flats to watch, chat and have a refreshing beverage. Gosh, I would really like to do that. Maybe that should be my official first step.
Tangled in with all of this resolve to find, pursue and establish a personal life, is the strong connection to how I look. People are mostly kind and would never say anything about how I am not, gosh, it is so hard to continue to think and write about how I look when I am supposed to be thinking positive thoughts and develop supportive beliefs and behaviors for myself, but the truth is that I am not attractive. I do not send sensitive souls gasping or running in fear, but I am not particularly feminine looking, and truth be told, just not attractive.
I certainly cannot change my physicality, but I it is in my very best interest to stop my default thinking about how ugly I am. Without massive amounts of plastic surgery or finding a way to return to a zygote (maybe even that is not early enough), I must concentrate on the aspects of self that I can affect.
I can lose weight, and I would like to do that by eating more appropriately for my body and using that to become more fit. Shedding excess tonnage should naturally follow, especially if I can find a way to exercise. Ah, exercise. Going to the gym is an exercise in itself, a sure way to humiliation, even if I am the only person who sees my exterior not-attractiveness, although I am sure that there will be plenty of others who will notice that right off. Factor in being so unfit, and I should be quite amusing.
So, cell phone and cane in hand, my plan is to walk. Firstly, around this small block, mostly because there is a nice bench halfway around where I can sit and groove on the big water for a while. Doing that will also support my desire to be out of the house/work/wherever and have to deal with how exposed that makes me feel. My mind tells me that that these feelings are a choice, but my experiences inform me that choosing to be out and about, to have that kind of personal exposure in a public place is not a choice that I am able to easily make.
That just totally sucks. Even with all of the progress and growth I have experienced, these sticking points, these blocks to living that I still have, that I still hang on to as though my life depended on it, are so distressing. Truth is that in that other life, my survival did rest on my abilities to stay as invisible and quiet as possible. But, that is all over and I often am pulled up short by my default reactions and behaviors that are holding me back. Totally sucks. Baby steps is a term that is increasingly frustrating to me, but I have to admit that taking these things and chipping away at them, stopping and asking me how I am feeling in the moment and what my options for affecting my feelings and the situation or circumstance might be. Sometimes I feel like I am shuffling my feet, staying as close to the ground as possible is all that I can manage. And, it occurs to me that I physically shuffling around was another part of living back then and trying to survive. What the hell. Could that be an insight? Lordy.
So, back to food. Eating healthier.
After weeks of researching and reading and watching two films, I am going to banish refined carbohydrates from my life. Oh, the humanity. Not only do I buy food that give the most caloric and health benefit from what little I have to spend, but I really love to eat all kinds of breads and vegetable-source noodles (Asian, mostly), potatoes, beets and so much more, especially corn in all forms. I think I must be having popcorn and fruit for dinner more than several times each month. So easy and delicious to quickly cook/hydrate sweet potato or legume noodles and throw in some seafood or leftover vegetables or, more rarely, leftover meat. Oh, potato, I think that I will miss you most of all.
Still, this makes so much sense to me that I really have everything to gain by giving this my best effort. I am sitting down with my food budget today and tomorrow, pulling up the markets' web sites and planning...oh...my...god...here it come...wait for it...meals. Man. I will be meal planning because it is the only way that I can make sure that I spend my money properly.
What I do now is to take my food money, go to the markets and buy what is on sale. Easy, but what I can afford is all of the carbohydrates. That changes now. I have been reading that animal protein, you know, flesh, takes longer to digest, something I already know, and that I can get by on less food if most of it is flesh. I am hoping for the best, and if some other part of my budget has to be stretched, then so be it. I already eat tons of vegetables, with lots of greens, so no problem there, but eating so much protein means that I will have to cook every day, instead of having ingredients that I can quickly toss together into sandwiches, pull from the freezer for work lunches, or into a big pot that will feed me for most of the week.
Oh, I can still have a much soups as I want. Cool. I just have to substitute meat for the starchier vegetables, which will help a lot, as I can use much cheaper cuts of meat, as well as lots of cheap ground beef. Yay. As much as I love all those potatoes and other root vegetables, I am certain that I can still make satisfying and delicious soups every week. I am just filled with YAY!
The past two days have been an opportunity to funnel all of my new learning into the belief that I can do this, do it successfully and begin this part of my journey to better health, fitness and the desire to make the other changes to which my life is calling me. Yes, Life, here I am, willing to answer and follow, just kind of scared.
Thanks to the documentary I watched whilst at my daughter's on Monday, Hungry for Change ( http://www.hungryforchange.tv/ ). That was the cap on the past several weeks of intensive researching. You can watch the first 20 minutes for free and whilst you have to register, they do not ask for any personal or financial information, i.e. credit card info. I cannot remember the makers of the film, and too lazy to go back and look, but it was nice to see and hear from Christiane Northrup, one of my idols and wise elders, even though I think she is younger than I am.
This afternoon I read about Cereal Killers (on a forum site for simpler living that I like and respect very much). So, it was easy for me to follow the link and watch the film. Donal O'Neill does a nice job of explaining this. It is free for just until tomorrow, but if you can fit it in, it is totally and completely worth the hour you will spend at your computer. This is the film. It is on Mercola's web site, but watch it anyway, no matter how you feel about them.
Cereal Killers film: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/28/cereal-killers-movie.aspx?e_cid=20140628Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20140628Z1&et_cid=DM51229&et_rid=568842291
Cereal Killers trailer on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dON-fPp5Hy0
I have been reading books on healthier eating for at least the past six months. All roads seem to have been leading to eliminating refined carbohydrates as much as possible. Avoiding sugar, which is impossible if you rely on even partially processed foodstuffs, is also what I want to do. I use prepared and semi-prepared stuff because I am too exhausted to cook when I get home from all my gigs/jobs or when I have a day off. I like little fast food, but I do not hesitate to drive through someplace for a quick meal, even when I am on my way home, knowing that I will not cook anything and just make popcorn for dinner, especially if there is a wee can of pineapple to go along with it.
I have even thought about to returning to the twenty years I spent as a vegan and raw food eater. I like that way of eating, although it is not the best for my particular body, even with decent supplements. I am going to eat cleanly as I did on vegan/raw food plans, although the carbs are not going to be there.
Small increase in dark greens and other vegetables.
- I wish it was easier to get all of this without having to cook most of them. They can all be eaten raw, but as much as I like collard greens and Brussels sprouts, they are not so tasty unless cooked, not to mention much less gassy.
- Since I will not be buying so many heavily carb-ed foods, I can spend some of that on pre-washed and packaged salad and other greens.
- Frozen vegetables have been my back-up because I can have veggies that are out of season when I want to eat them, and frozen vegetables and fruits are often more nutritious than fresh where I live. We have a short growing season and I do not have a way to preserve any of the bounty we have for so few months.
- Not so important, and a good thing because I will buy fruit and then end up throwing it away when it gets too gross to eat, and yes, I do keep it that long, in the hope that I will actually not end up tossing all that money away.
- I do eat grapes and melon, but they are often outside of my budget, except at the end of summer. Berries are pretty much past their prime here, despite the slow ending of winter.
- Flesh. I sort of like it, but mostly only if I can cover it with potatoes. Yeah.
- I have been thinking about this, and I know that I can continue to afford chicken parts from the discount markets, stock up on a few packages of fish when they are on sale, and buy ground beef, probably most every week.
- I can adapt all of my soup favorites to use meat instead of the root vegetables I prefer. I am already missing them, and wish that I had made potato, kale and hot sausage soup on Sunday instead of taking that nap. Nice nap, though. Do not really regret time spent on that nap.
- Truth is that, despite what I just wrote above, I do not like meat all that much. I have problems with the taste, texture and how animals will be dying by the herds, flocks and gaggles for me now.
- I can still have bacon, which surprises me. Even in the best of times, it is too expensive, so I will just have to see.
- I like eggs, but they do not like me. If I eat an egg in any form, I shortly experience significant southern hemisphere distress. The darn things go right through me, just as though they were still in the shell and rolling down the water slide at the park. I am thinking that, since I was able to eat them a year ago, that I might be able to gradually add them back into my menus a little at a time. I could try hard boiling them and see if that is any better.
- Beans, pulses, legumes and the like are too carby to keep eating. Same thing for brown rice, which is really only marginally more nutritious than white rice anyway. I am already missing like crazy chickpeas/garbanzos and hummus; lentils; black eye peas. Oh, god, no more beans and smoked hocks or turkey legs. Still can have greens with them, but still...
- Good-bye grains. No more wheat or rye, or even spelt. What is breakfast going to be without steel cut oats and molasses? Pretty darn grim, that's what.
- Alas, same thing for dairy, although all I eat is sour cream, crema, the occasional queso fresca and key lime yogurt. I will not miss cheese because it does the same number on me as eggs. Well, except for the yearly creamed tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches when I get that one, miserable, disgusting upper-respiratory that keeps visiting without invitation.
- I guess I can continue to eat most nuts, especially Brazil, walnuts and macadamias. I guess almonds are out; I will have to check that because I always carry raw almonds with me, and they are able to get nice almond oil out of them, so maybe they are still good to go.
- I have to have food with me on at least four days each week.
- I can make salads and top them with leftover meat.
- I can still have home-made salsa on stuff. Wish I could say the same about sour cream.
And, as I think about it, this really is something I can do. It certainly is going to support how I care for my diabetes. All in all, it should be relatively painless and I am guessing that my craving and love-love-love of my current favorite meals will lessen over time, and I will be more comfortable eating well. Oh, well.
I will be going through all of the foods that no longer serve me, boxing them up and taking them to the shelter with me on Saturday. Then, after work I will be going to market to buy a fat hen, and maybe some ground beef. Perhaps that huge bag of chicken wings. But, no potatoes, chipped or otherwise. I have to think about what I should be eating instead of what I will be missing, for at least the near future.
As I am figuring my funds availability, this should not be the financial hardship I first thought. So, I will be fine, and more fit, somewhat more healthy and there might even be public exercise, i.e. that free gym membership that remains unused, in my not too distant future.
Future. Nice word. I never think of anything future related. Tough habit to break and all that jazz. But, it occurs to me that I may very well have a much brighter personal future than I could expect to have if I keep on eating and living and not having any kind of personal life the way I now do.
Now-new life, look out. Changes, they are a commin'.
Two more things. My daughter is still unreachable in any dialogue or change in some of her behaviors towards me. I continue to swallow it up, waiting for her to stop this crap. She made it clear that she is behaving particularly benevolent in inviting me up there, and for now I am willing to go along with the fantasy that she is not resenting me all the damn time. It is my fantasy, too, that something will happen, in the realm of nice. Besides, seeing her and loving on her and all the guys is the most important thing in my life, so it is all good.
The other thing is that my cell phone was out of range to use the date for which I pay too much, being such a crappy consumer lately, so I went to my Wi-Fi thing and a location blinked on my screen and just as quickly blinked off, and it had FBI in the name.
Now, I am guessing that the FBI most likely would not use those three letters in its network connection name, but it was interesting. I mentioned it to my daughter and son-in-law, as we were sitting in the living room, conversating (yes) before heading off to bed, and he said that was indeed interesting (he speaks like the engineer he is) and my sweet girl replied that she is not surprised, because of some of the things she researches on the Internet.
Now, she is writing more these days, and the Internet is the best ever, of all history, way to research anything, and she does have widely ranging interests (being a Republican and all that), and it was a fun addition to our conversation.
Third thing is that I had a great time with the little guys, and I am not going to share any more about that, as I am not feeling like defending myself. Again. :)