i am going to be incoherent with y’all, perhaps only as someone in the throes of a detox can be.
i am five days into this sugar cleanse. apparently this part, exactly today, is the worst part? i am experiencing nausea, headaches, constant illogical hunger and serious shifts in my understanding of myself.
i have never really thought of myself as a sugar addict (and have felt deeply insulted by and sometimes hateful towards anyone who implied i was, and i’m sorry, ok?), mostly because sugar didn’t seem more necessary to me than bread, cheese, whiskey, wine and pizza. and i only turn to those things as an emotional comfort.
it just turns out all of those things are basically sugar. and i have been comforting myself daily, as a comfort to both negative and positive emotions. the absence of sugar is making it clear to me precisely when i turn to sugar to move through a moment. and it is often – even after years of yoga, meditation, weight watchers and raising my health awareness – to take the place of feeling something bad, or to enable feeling something good.
it’s simple, and it’s humbling.
i also think of myself as a relatively nice, good person. no angel, of course. but dependably calm, thoughtful, a pretty good listener, non-reactive. however, i am beginning to suspect that that nice person is just sugar.
over the past five days i have become the kind of person who both says, and feels like, ‘cranky mccrankypants’. i want to say the proof is in the butterscotch pudding, which i have been craving for two days, after a thirty year absence of it from my life.
this is harder than i thought it would be. i feel hormonal and distracted and foggy and unreasonable.
it is going to change soon. but i am floored by this experience, by the flooding in of feelings throughout my body, sensations that say i should go get some real dark sea salt chocolate, or order a pizza, or bake some bread, or just pour white sugar directly into my mouth.
i am at my sister’s house, which is a snowy rural farmhouse of joyful babies and a gorgeous dog and funny smart capable adults. and yet…
i have had murderous thoughts about the dog, who keeps inadvertently waking up the snotty sick babies (who take two hours to get to sleep) because he is a puppy and needs to pee, bark and jump simultaneously, all the time. every minute and second of the time. i yelled at him to be quiet, which he doesn’t understand. then i pet him with deep guilt, because this poor creature didn’t take my sugar away.
i gave candy to an innocent child who i love and do not want to develop a sugar addiction, for the sole purpose of getting it out of my sight and temptation. it was her valentine’s day candy (which, ugh, i am right now just so aware of the whole holiday-equals-sugar-binge cycle that we train into, societally!) and every time i walked by it, it was just blowing kisses at me and disrespecting my boundaries. so.
when this same child threw a fit about going outside because she is three and throws fits sometimes, i yelled at her to be quiet, and then held her guiltily, because i don’t yell at her even if she is yelling, and because this little one didn’t take my sugar away.
i cried while wiping off the table where the baby knocked over all of my drinks in rapid succession. she is a baby and wet is awesome to her.
i cried because so many feelings are coming up – i cried because i am furious about detroit and don’t know what to do other than write my stories and poems and it doesn’t feel like enough. i cried because of the way ta-nehisi coates writes about feeling so overwhelmed within an unjust system, and how that writing matters so much to me. but also because adrian broadway was another child killed by an adult. and the fact is that this nation of people who don’t know how to process our feelings are still allowed to arm ourselves. it is devastating, and i hate that it is allowed to be an argument with multiple sides when the collateral damage is so consistently those who cannot protect themselves.
but the root, a root, is that we have to learn to feel, and to turn what we are feeling into action that changes the conditions around us.
my core philosophy continues to be ‘transform myself to transform the world’, in the words of grace lee boggs. i know, i know that standing up for myself in the face of this itchy scratchy desirous insatiable longing, this addiction, is one revolutionary contribution to that greater human work.
so i keep eating the things i am allowed to eat, and feeling hungry, and feeling so much more than hungry.