Saturday, May 5, 2018

Learning to Be Hungry, and Other Life Lessons


An interesting side effect of the Whole Life Challenge is that there is NO mindless snacking — you always have to think about what you're eating and whether it's Compliant (or if it's Non-Compliant but worth taking a point or two). And when I get really busy, as I have been for the past week, it is sometimes easier simply not to eat.

Which is unheard of for me. I hate, fear, and loathe being hungry!!!! But I've been having a nonfat Greek yogurt for breakfast and an apple and a handful of nuts for lunch while I work work work (and drink water water water), and sister, if you think that's enough to sustain an almost 300-pound woman, I am ready to laugh in your face.

But I've been doing it.

And I've also lost about 20 pounds since November (as has Mimosa). Fit-Bit says that isn't fast enough, she wants us losing at least a pound a week, so we'll see if my new Spartan eating habits will make her happy (or if I can sustain them). I also know that what I'm doing is the opposite of the strategy "breakfast like a king, dine like a pauper," but what can you do.

This morning I was down to 282. Mind you, I had a bath last night (post-bath weight is always artificially lower by a pound or so) and I know that this is still a HUGE weight, but — it's progress! I was happy. And I celebrated by taking a three-mile walk this morning with Good Neighbor Anne.

I don't love doing my exercise walk with people; I'd rather walk as fast as I can and not expend energy on talking. But I haven't seen my pal in so long, and we have so much to catch up on! Each of us are dealing with our personal Trifecta of Crazy: we each have a crazy mom and daughter, she has a crazy sister, and I have a crazy former BF. Much to share and commiserate over! We walked and talked, and I panted a lot. It was great.

I've been thinking a lot about friendship these past few weeks, as my longest friendship just abruptly ended — and also as I'm preparing for a trip to the Pacific Northwest, which will involve seeing many family members and friends, both old and new.

Planning these outings has been such an interesting experience. As I've gotten older, I try hard not to hold other people to my own standards; I believe that I set a very high standard for myself in many areas, and it's ridiculous to expect other people to hit a needlessly high bar. So, one of my challenges, always, is to determine what's a reasonable expectation for my friends.

(You've heard me go on about party guests before — for example, I think it's reasonable to expect someone to bring their own bowl or plate for serving their potluck item and not just plunk down a bag o' chips on the hostess's beautiful table . . . and so on.)

In the case of my upcoming trip to places I've never been, I think it's reasonable to expect the locals to suggest a restaurant or other venue for a meeting place.

And yet, and yet . . . of the seven get-togethers I am having with family and friends, I have chosen the venue for five of them. Me, the person who doesn't live there, who knows nothing about good local places (both food-wise and comfortable-group-meeting-place-wise), and is choosing blindly from the Internet.

I think of the many intimate dinners and larger group parties I have hosted for visitors — many of whom have stayed in my home — and I reflect on the fact that not one of these West Coast folks has invited me to their house.

Honestly, I don't take any of it personally — I believe that people generally do the best they can — but it does give me pause. Is this an area where my standards and expectations for how one treats a visitor are completely off the rails?? I didn't think so — but I don't know.

(One of my seven get-togethers was a surprise: Someone I know slightly just wrote, saying, "I would ADORE to meet you, but I can't be there on the date you're meeting everyone else. Any chance you'd be free for dinner the night before, at this time? I suggest this restaurant [name and address]. Let me know." I almost forwarded her note to everyone else, to say SEE? SEE? THIS is how you welcome a visitor!!!! But I did not. And yet, I'm writing it here and some of those folks may well read my blog — que sera sera. I stand by every word.)

The recent bizarre blow-up with my oldest friend made me think about some of my other "friendship expectations," which can pretty much be summed up in one sentence:
(Which, as I read it now, might be confusing — I will certainly befriend the celibate! How about: BE AN ADULT, FOR FUCK'S SAKE ?)

My former friend is sad and pouty because she no longer feels like my number-one super-best all-time BFF, and it took every ounce of self-possession I had not to scream at her OH MY GOD ARE WE TWELVE??? Yes, ranking my besties used to be one of my favorite activities — in high school. But I am now 55. I do not rank my friends.

(In two separate conversations, I announced this to Writer Jenny and to Brunie. Jenny's response: "You don't??" I said, "OK, sure, you're #7." Brunie's response: "Except that I'm first, right? but you don't rank everyone after me?" Ha ha ha, my friends are so funny.)

But that's kind of my point: my friends are so funny. They are so smart. They are good and interesting and wonderful in so many different ways, and I appreciate all of them for who they are and what they bring to my life, on so many different levels.

Zanny often apologizes for not sending birthday cards, and I always reassure her that (a) I don't care, and (b) I don't need her to be the friend who sends birthday cards. She plays so many other friendship roles in my life — no one is a more fervent (bossy) advocate for my writing (not even Writer Jenny, my all-time bossiest friend!) (in a good way) — and that is all that's important.

I read these great words somewhere:
Relationships should be reciprocal but they are never mirror images. You give, you receive, but you may not give and receive the same things. Some people are good at life events and rituals and gift-giving; others give practical support or emotional intimacy. Ask for what you need, but in general let your friends play to their strengths.
The main problem for me with my newly ended friendship is that it wasn't reciprocal at all — my friend took and took and gave very little.

Her M.O. when she's upset with me about something is to go silent, and her silence can last for months. And then I dance around her, begging to know what I've done and how I can get back into her good graces.

I have said and said and said: This has to stop. You have to tell me what you're mad about, ideally in the moment, when I can do something about it. But to no avail.

So . . . that's it. She has gone silent again, after sending me a letter officially ending our friendship. And while I am reeling . . . maybe it's not such a bad thing. It has not been a good, fulfilling friendship for more than 10 years now. Mrs. Cynicletary encourages me to think of the whole situation as a really fucked-up gift, and that is what I'm trying to do.

(Wow — downer post, huh?)

I think I will stop here. I just finished my chores and colored my hair — and there are more useful things I could do, of course, but instead I think I will drink a champagne cocktail and watch The Handmaid's Tale while my hair dries. Useful things can wait till tomorrow.

Which is another day!

Lady C

1 comment:

  1. This was so interesting! I was just thinking about my friendships yesterday and the one thing that all my "best" friends have in common is that they are emotionally honest. They don't pretend everything is great when it is not, and they don't bitch about things that aren't real. I mean, they have to be funny and quick minded, too... but honesty is job one!
    And I like knowing that there is such a thing as not being the friend who sends birthday cards, because that is surely me!