Sunday’s USA Today crossword features shades of blue. Appropriate, because I am feeling cobalt, indigo, azure, sky, baby, teal and several others since going back to Weight Watchers three weeks ago (my fourth trip to the scales is tomorrow).
The first week I was just anxious — how was I going to figure out the nifty WW phone app? How was I going to reward myself if the reward couldn’t be food? The blues hove to sometime last week.
My drug of choice — food, specifically sugar — is severely limited, at least compared to what I was wolfing down in the short time it took me to pack on 20 pounds after my December hip surgery. As I remember it, quitting three daily packs of Marlboros (Sept. 29, 1979, but who’s keeping track?) was easier. Because then I could eat, eat, eat, and it was approved behavior. Anything, after all, is better than smoking.
I’m currently reading Richard Engel’s new “And then all Hell Broke Loose” about his 20 years as a war correspondent in the Middle East. Even without that, I realize this is a First World complaint: “I’ve eaten too much and I want to keep on doing it.”
My family’s healthy. Stoic the Vast agreed to let me foster another kitten. We have a pretty good idea of where our next paychecks will come from. I’m finally getting the small screened porch I’ve wanted for 28 years. So why this gnawing, empty sadness, even with all the “baby” carrots and apples I can consume? I’ve got some ideas, including my notion that this is why people, especially women of a certain age, shop compulsively. Or gamble or drink (except that has calories).
I had at least one child at home for more than 40 years. Now they’re hundreds of driving miles away, and none of us has money to fly thither and yon. Our grandchildren are there, too. Everybody’s doing fine without us, and I haven’t found satisfactory alternatives to parenting.
One of my dearest friends (10 hours drive away) had a birthday this week and spoke on Facebook of enjoying her “life of purpose.” I don’t have a like purpose for myself, and even if I did, it would be a minimum of a 35-minute drive away. Each way. Everyone who comes here loves our “beautiful view,” but with hardly any people on that landscape, that view curdles to loneliness, self-pity and navel-gazing.
So I’m gazing at the scales every morning when I leap? — no, crawl — out of bed. Five-point-two pounds in first two weeks. Don’t really have a feel for tomorrow’s weigh-in.
Weight Watchers is considerably less Byzantine than in its previous incarnations. There’s not as much weighing (of food) and measuring since the organization’s gone to a points system; there’s a very positive emphasis on healthy foods (almost all fruits and vegetables are freebies) and exercise. We’re encouraged to take our measurements when we first join and then wait a month to repeat.
But I want gratification NOW!! Five minutes ago!! I don’t want to be down in the dumps and explore down there. I want to blame my upbringing for everything. I want, I want, I want. Chocolate. As big as my head. The drugged-out haze I get from binge-ing on carbs or computer solitaire. Everybody on Facebook is having more fun than I am, and they’re all better-looking with cuter clothes.
I realize I have no picture in my mind of what I could look like without the 50-plus pounds I’d like to get rid of. I have to really work to do things that are really good for me. Why is that? I’m not worth taking care of?
Well, as all 12-steppers are encouraged to repeat, I only have to get through today. And then tomorrow I can start all over again. And as one of literature’s favorite narcissists liked to tell herself repeatedly: I’ll think about that tomorrow.
She also said she’d never be hungry again after eating those dirty vegetables from Tara’s garden. I’m hungry, but it’s not for food. When I figure out what it is for, this may get easier.