Friday, September 21, 2012

Why I Drink, Swear and Eat Cake

Look, Here's The Thing:

I have a real problem with taking myself too seriously. Call it perfectionism, call it first born syndrome, call it Daddy issues: it all amounts to beat-to-shit fingernails. You could even whip out the newspaper and blame my astrology -- damn you, anal Virgo of criticism!

This is a trait that suits perfectly an industry where knowledge is power and the more you know, the crazier you are. Seriously, I know exactly what a trans fat molecule looks like and why it sucks for your cells; why the cholesterol myth is both fact and bullshit; the difference between gluten free, yeast free and wheat free -- and a thousand other things that could make a dictionary feel overwhelmed.

So wait, hold on, let me connect these two elements for you (not because you're stupid and can't understand what I'm getting at, but like I said, IT NEEDS TO PERFECTLY MAKE SENSE):

1) I have a tendency to obsess over what I'm doing and how I'm doing it; if it is right and how it could be better. This extends to my work habits, health habits, art habits, and people-associating habits. Sometimes known as "control issues" (pshaww).

2) I am surrounded by information at all times, from those wanting more of it from me to those trying to shove it down my throat (we in the industry call those reps). And there is NEVER too much information. There is NEVER a point when we say "wait, I know enough, thanks, I think I'm pretty healthy for now. I don't need to know how to prevent asthma in my goldfish. We both eat broccoli."

3) As a product of these two phenomena, it is very easy for me to turn this constant input of information against myself, to use it as a google maps for my life instead of, say, a handy atlas. And we all remember being screwed by google maps.

I began working in the alternative health world when I actually really did need help -- both physically and emotionally. But after reprograming myself to understand that peanut butter is not, in fact, a meal -- and I started feeling better -- I was able to take a step back and look at what out of this new well of information I actually needed and what was just overflow.

I see so many people who are new to taking care of themselves. I see so many of these people's crazy eyes spiral when they discover that there is a huge vat of information stored up within the history of human health and science to be consumed. I see all of these people freak out; I see all of these people plead for guidance and structure and more knowledge; I see the anxiety in every one of them when they realize there's no way they can ferment their own sauerkraut while whipping up a batch of kombucha to send in BPA-free containers with their kindergarteners to the first day of class and oh-my-god-they're-going-to-get-cancer-at-age-5. And I see them run to Wendy's when it gets too hard.

I'm not just talking about health here. I'm talking about all the things we spin our hamster wheels doing, that seem so very important to our survival but to be honest just shorten it. All I know from anything I've ever learned about myself and this world is that there's no way you're ever going to do it all right all the time. There's no way you're always going to eat organic, there's no way you're always going to be able to work full time and make 5-course allergen-free meals for your family and go to therapy and catch up on a hobby and read a book and garden all at the same time -- probably at that point you're just going to take a nap. You're never going to get to all your appointments on time when you're child is puking. All we can do is know what we know, and act on it in the best way we can. I'll never be someone that doesn't eat sugar, because it's so tasty and thinking about the sugar content in half a chocolate chip makes me nauseous. I'll never write, paint, work and maintain my relationships every single day. I'll never be perfect, because I have way better things to think about. Like clothes.

And that's why I drink, because there's nothing like a good glass of Gnarly Head after a long day. That's why I swear, because nothing is worth talking about if taken too seriously. And that's why I eat cake, because fur realz, what kind of sick world doesn't have cake?

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