Week one. Month one. Seven days in.
I have a lot on my mind. Some of it isn’t super flattering, but in the interest of full disclosure and just plain honesty, I’m going to share it.
I have these three amazing children. Each is different and special and unique. Each is a shining bright beacon of hope and joy to me. Full of promise and potential and all the good things the world has to offer. I have a pretty fantastic husband, too.
And me? I spend a lot of time frustrated and irritated and raising my voice. Not all the time. Not most the time. But too much time. Sometimes I want to crawl under my desk and curl into a ball and beg to be left alone, to be given the room to breathe.
That isn’t easy to admit. I’m in tears right now.
I love my children with a fiery passion I didn’t even know existed before seventeen years ago when a midwife put a long, skinny baby on my belly and she looked up at me with huge chocolate-colored eyes that knew me.
Until a sweet boy opened blue eyes and I swear to you smiled at me five minutes after I pushed him out of my body.
Until, after the longest 9 months any woman has ever endured, an amazing dimple-chinned little girl announced herself with a lusty cry. I had no idea. I really didn’t.
And that dimple-chinned girl’s daddy? He’s the love of my life. He’s my rock. He makes me laugh on a daily basis, and works so hard for us.
But the honest truth about my life is that I spend most of it so tired I can hardly function, let alone fully appreciate the people I don’t even know how I got lucky enough to have around me. Exhaustion so deep that even ten or twelve hours of sleep doesn’t lift it. Fatigue so pure and true that the first time it lifted I was shocked. I had no idea that I didn’t have to feel the way I had most of my life.
And I’m tired because my body can not tolerate the grain that is so wholesome that its waving amber stalks are a symbol of America. There are irritating, irksome symptoms of this intolerance. Like spending my life with a nearly constant belly ache. Like dry itchy skin, hair that falls out in handfuls, a weird tongue coating, bruised circles under my eyes, and swollen feet. No fun, for sure.
But I can live with all of them.
It’s the fatigue. The bone-deep, nauseating, exhaustion that makes me feel like I’m living my whole life with the weight of the world tied to my back. Knowing that I won’t enjoy things like I should if they happen after 3 p.m., because that’s when the tired catches up with me and hits me over the head with a Louisville Slugger. Working all day and coming home with no patience, no engery, barely holding back tears because I don’t want to play or cook or read another book–I want to get vertical and maybe never sit up again.
Having so many ideas, so many goals and dreams and desires–and a body that won’t cooperate. A foggy mind that can’t process things the way it should. Wanting so much, and not being able to follow through before I run out of gas.
That is what gluten does to me.
Today was day seven without gluten. I’m still tired. The fatigue hasn’t lifted yet. But I can feel it loosening it’s hold. I woke up this morning and didn’t feel like dying at the thought of getting out of bed. Instead of turning off at 3 p.m., my body and brain made it to about 6:30. I had some energy after work to make dinner, read Green Eggs and Ham, listen to the latest in the Drama of College Prep Math, and help with a biology assignment.
I have to go to Elko tomorrow. It’s a three hour drive, a five hour training session, and then a night alone in a hotel. Elko is a considerably larger town than the one I live in. A small city, really. Big grocery stores with bulk bins and organic produce. A real book store. Thrift shops. A night alone in a hotel with a laptop and my novel on a zip drive. Oh My.
But I know beyond a doubt that by the time my training class is over, I will not have the will to do anything more than collapse in a strange bed, switch on HBO, and fall into a deep, snoring sleep.
Sometimes I want to stomp my feet on the floor and scream that it isn’t fair.
This is ridiculous! I want to feel good! I want the veil of gluten-intolerance to lift RIGHT NOW. Right now.
A tantrum won’t help. It might eat up the little bit of real energy that seven days gluten-free has given me. So I won’t. I won’t.
I’m worried that I haven’t dug out all the sources of gluten in my diet. I should feel better than this by now. Is it my period? Have I gotten crumbs from some peanut-butter-and-grape-jam sandwich I made for Ruby? Maybe I did a mindless taste-test on the spaghetti I made Kevin and the kids on Monday, or licked my fingers after mixing up some cornbread batter on Wednesday.
Next week will be better. Next week I’ll wake up one day and not want to cry when I look at the clock and realize I have to get out of bed. Next week this fatigue that has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember will lift. It happened the other times I went gluten-free. I woke up one morning and felt like someone had recharged my batteries. It was delicious.
Today UPS delivered a copy of Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food that Loves Me Back and How You Can Too by Shauna James Ahern to review for you. If you’ve never seen Shauna’s Gluten-Free Girl blog, you’re in for a treat. It reads like a love letter to food. Maybe on day seven she felt like I do, but today a few years in, she makes gluten-intolerance seem like a blessing that made her see food in a whole new light. I’m very excited to read her book.
I haven’t made much progress on any of my other January goals. Work was insane this week. The other counselor quit, as I’ve mentioned before, and I already had a full-schedule of my own clients this week when she did. Stress is making me grit my teeth at night, and my jaw, ears, and molars are screaming in protest. I hope that this overnight will help me to relax. Something has to give.
I had big plans for how much writing I was going to get done this week. Yeah. Um. No way. I don’t have the energy to write. By the time I’m done with work, I don’t have a creative gray cell left. But I will. I will. I know it. I did make $75 from Demand Studios. I also got a royalty check for my short story Ena’s Fire. (I really need to link to my books. I will next week, promise.) $19.20. But still. That means ten people read my story. Ten strangers unrelated to me.
I got all my transcripts and references in to Goddard College, and my application is in line for consideration for admitance. I want this so badly, I can taste it. And I want to feel good by April so that I can take full advantage of every minute of the residency. I don’t want to spend even a nano-second in a gluten-inspired funk.
I will complete some goals this weekend. An Elko grocery store is having a big stock-up sale, specifically peanut butter for $1 a jar. In our little local store peanut butter is $3.25 for 16 ounces of store brand peanut butter. The best it goes on sale for is $2.25. A case of 12 for $12 is a nice deal, and I plan to buy a year’s supply (3 cases.) That takes care of my goal of spending $20 on stock-up for the month quite nicely. I’m also going to buy a case or two of 24 cans of oranges for $7.
I also plan on calling my friend Carol.
I plan to spend some time on Sunday decluttering my living room.
Thanks for listening to my blubbering. I will feel better soon. I will. I know it.