Just beneath the surface of normal

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Well This is Embarrassing

I’m so bored today that I’ve actually run out of internet.

After a few obsessive refreshes of Facebook and Pinterest, I kind of started to remember that I have a blog. A blog that I haven’t posted to since July. Sorry about that. To be fair, in part it was because I’ve lost three people since then – two to suicide (please, please talk to someone if you’re considering it) and one to a really aggressive cancer, and there’s just no way to talk clearly about any of that with a whole lot of humor. It’s sad and it hurts and that’s really time consuming. Though sometime soon I do want to tell you about Ann, who taught me how to die with joy and grace even when cancer is eating you alive.

In other excuse news, my kid is now a senior in high school. This means lots of test prep and college applications and hand wringing about the future and endless, endless reviewing of essays, which I’ve actually enjoyed because it’s a wonderful insight into her sense of herself (also because I’d love to see her start her own blog). As long as I don’t think about the giant empty-nest cliff looming in front of me in June, I can really just enjoy the fruits of my labor. My offspring is ready to leave the nest. She’s self-sufficient, intelligent, funny, both curious and skeptical, and is probably going to end up UN Secretary General or something someday. She’s more emotionally developed than I was at twice her age, and has none of the traumas or struggles that stunt so many young people, so just going to school and focusing isn’t the colossal effort it was when I was seventeen. She doesn’t really need my boundaries anymore; she’s learned to set her own for herself, and most of the time she does it well. She knows who she is and what she needs. It’s awesome. And terrifying because somehow it’s almost over and that seemed impossible this time seventeen years ago. Mostly I’m reminded of when she was born and I just looked at her and marveled over what we’d made. I’m doing that a lot again these days, but with the added bonus of all that she’s made of herself in the time between.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out what the hell happened to me last spring, because the only answer I got was “well, all of your tests came back normal so there must be nothing wrong with you”. The muscles in my legs still get sore and tired way too easily. I finally saw an integrative doctor in September who ran five thousand dollars worth of blood tests. Want to know what that looks like?

I didn't even get any cookies and juice

I suspect my doctor is a vampire and I actually provided shooters for some kind of party.

As long as she was draining me of blood, she also decided to suck all of the joy out of my life by removing all the food from my diet in the name of “allergy elimination”. No gluten, corn, soy, eggs, dairy, red meat, pork, sugar, chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol, y’all. If you’re keeping score at home, that means I’m pretty much eating veggies, beans, rice, and chicken. And I’m doing all my cooking myself. And I can’t have ketchup. Or hot sauce. Or mayonnaise. Or anything else with vinegar in it, because white vinegar is made from corn or wheat. Or chocolate – did I mention I can’t have chocolate? As you can imagine, this has deadened my soul.

On one hand, the eczema on my face cleared up and I’ve lost a few pounds and I made it through Halloween without eating a single piece of candy for the first time in my entire life. On the other hand, I got excited today because I get to reintroduce soy and see what happens and I got all swoony over drinking soy milk. Which may be the single saddest sentence I’ve ever uttered. Well, except maybe “I’ve learned to like carob,” or “I’m figuring out how to make decent non-dairy cheeses.” Also, “sweet Jesus do I miss caffeine.”

It’s like I’ve been caught up in the world’s most irritating eating disorder, wherein I have to obsess over everything that goes into my mouth, and be that asshole in the restaurant that asks, “does this have any gluten, corn, soy, or dairy in it?” and get treated to the perfectly legitimate “why did you even come here? Just make your freak food at home and leave me alone” eyebrow.

foiled again

The chef says it’s dairy and gluten free, ma’am.

But it takes so much time to cook all this special crap for myself (not to mention the hundreds of dollars in special ingredients like vanilla extract that hasn’t been made in corn liquor and truckloads of raw cashews to substitute for all things creamy) that I had to give up a budding gym habit that was actually working to dedicate more time to food prep. For the first week I had recurring nightmares about discovering taboo ingredients in my food and having to start all over and go even longer without my vices. And this is why you don’t give obsessive people highly-restricted diets to follow unsupervised.

There comes a point, though, when the restrictions cease to make sense, when you’re looking at the yeses and nos and ranting noisily about how absurd it is to be allowed highly processed, high-fructose agave nectar, but not honey or maple syrup, and everyone in the house is giving you the side-eye because you seriously need to learn to pick your battles, that maybe it’s time to admit that you could stand to chill the fuck out. Which you could do very easily with a nice glass of wine that you’re not supposed to have, but instead you have to be distracted and grumbly and get all excited about the potential re-integration of soy, and so what do you have left? Deep breathing?

And this is what I’ve been sparing you for the past five months. You’re welcome.