Day 15 - Bored as Fuck
Sometimes, trying to live a life where you do the right thing can start feeling like one big session at the sink brushing your teeth.
I used to do things I thought of as bad or wrong or dirty or dangerous as a way to relieve some of the pressure of trying to be good. Can a person die of goodness? Of going to church or temple or track practice every Sunday morning? Of only saying nice things? Of only kissing or having sex with your significant other? Of never flipping off a tailgater? Of only buying what you can afford? Of only eating organic fruits, vegetables, and fish and meats? Of walking every day for at least 30 minutes? Of never inhaling?
Recently, my barometer for the need to release is when I start craving two pieces of monster sausage pizza and a beer. The thing is, the pizza is delicious, and I order two slices not because I need two—for they are huge and one fills me up—but because I want to be bad when I go to the pizza place. I want to fuck myself up a little. Get spinny on beer that I don’t even like that much. I want to feel my intestines slam to a standstill when faced with the barely chewed volleyball of crust and cheese and meat.
I want to take myself out of the routine of my life and stop the presses.
Feeling bad is a way to slow everything down.
It has worked all my life. I learned as a child that the way to slow myself down was to eat brownie or cookie batter until the world started to spin and I had to lie down on the living room floor and wait to feel better. It was a time out. A brief way to bow out of the game. A way to make it so I could not think. A way to block feelings I wasn’t sure how to handle because all I could feel was the body-mind shock of whatever I had eaten or done.
There was always the hangover, of course. Moodiness. Depression. The need for more sugar to bring me out of the doldrums. It seemed a fair price to pay for the temporary relief. Fair as in inevitable.
When I went to New York to write You Don’t Look Adopted, that behavior of mine started to change. I needed to be on top of my game because I needed my brain to work. I had a limited number of days to get this book done, and I didn’t want to spend the time face down on the carpet, waiting to be able to think clearly. This is when I started seeing how generous to myself it was to feel good.
The cool thing about my time in New York was that I was behaving badly in my life only it felt really, really good. I had given up what I was supposed to do, have a job, to be there for friends and family, blah blah blah and I’d basically run away to write something that would more likely than not cost more than it ever earned. What I was doing wasn’t responsible. It was risky behavior.
I was doing the thing my mother hadn’t done when she was my age. She’d stayed at home and had followed the rules, but I’d read her journals after she died, and it was clear to me that doing what you think you are supposed to even when you feel like a bird in a cage is a dangerous way to live.
What let me finally act out was that I believed deep in my soul I was living in service to what I thought was my deepest purpose: to write a book about being adopted. I also didn’t feel like I had a choice anymore, and that was why I called the trip Write or Die. It seemed I had gone through every trick in my bag, and the only thing I had left was to go off and face my dream. I was pretty sure I would not survive. People aren’t supposed to be able to live their dreams. That’s why they are called dreams and not reality, right?
I was not bored for one second those 93 days in New York, and I fantasize about that place now the way one would a lover.
If you’ve been following me on Dr. Mark’s eating plan, and if you’re feeling strong and energetic in your body, but if your mind is starting to tell you that what you need most is alcohol or pizza or a hot fudge sundae made with Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream, start thinking about things you want to do but are afraid of doing. Things that other people might not want you to do. Things that you keep putting off.
What are you not doing?
I’m not wearing dresses. I’m not planting a garden. I’m not taking two hours to cook myself a special meal. I’m not wearing headphones while I walk and singing out loud to the music in public. I’m not taking cello lessons. I’m not going to a dance club. (Are they even called that anymore?) I’m not writing a novel. I’m not going to church every Sunday. I’m not going to yoga. I’m not going swimming.
And I’m just getting started on all the things I’m not doing that would give me a charge to do. I’m pretty sure if I were sweaty and dancing and rocking out to awesome music, I wouldn’t be thinking about feeding myself to a stupor with a hot fudge sundae, and if I were fantasizing about a Jim Dandy, then I’d probably go get one because maybe that is what my body and soul really, really wanted to play at this party we dumb down and call life.
I’d love to hear the things you aren’t doing that might make you feel excited to be in your own skin.
We can do them together.
See you tomorrow.