“Hey baby, I could be your drug; I could be your new addiction…”
Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
If, in light of recent atrocities, you find it gauche that I’d write about something as frivolous as my ongoing (and yet somehow still brand new) battle with sugar and shape, then this place is either somewhere you’d be better off very far away from, or somewhere you most definitely need to be.
If, in light of recent atrocities, you think for one second that I’m not disappointed in myself for my utter lack of rallying cry to unity in the face of horror, or the dissemination of a new and brilliant way for us all to connect in meaningful, active ways which somehow embetter the world, you don’t know me well enough yet.
If, in light of recent atrocities, there were any way I felt I could improve upon the rallying cries and suggestions for embetterment which have already been put Out There by others, which already exist to stir our collective hopes and galvanise us into action, I would most assuredly be doing that.
But…I feel at an utter loss, my brain swinging to and fro like a loose shutter on a stormy day, banging its empty fists against the insides of my skull, unable to put into words the enormity of all the Feels, all the Thinks, and all the maelstrom of trying to process the actions, the responses, the media circus, and the ways people are platforming off the back of such awfulness…
I suspect there are many of us at a loss. The pain of knowing such awful things happen, twinned with the further agony of knowing so many more awful things happen unbeknownst to us, is enough to render us speechless. We’re muted, waiting for the day we hear the ‘splash’, once whichever burden dropped into our soul has finished clanging off the sides on its way down.
I’ve seen such division. I’ve seen people decrying the racism which has been perpetuated in the wake of the Orlando shooting, and I’ve seen instances where those same people, moments later, have acted in utter hypocrisy. I’ve seen awful, endorsing words, shared in outrage to further proliferate the shock and hurt of those who stand baffled in the face of hatred. I’ve seen the stories used to corroborate long-held political stances, or cherry-picked to support whatever, and these reactions likewise leave me feeling incapable; unequal to the task of writing anything meaningful, which could in any way improve matters.
So I’m writing about sugar.
Specifically, the manner in which I’ve once again self-sabotaged and allowed myself to get flabbier than I’m happy with, and have ‘to hell with it’ed all the way nearly out of my clothes being able to fit. Oops!
There’s no point pretending I never liked sugar (though I’ve overcome former aversions to ice-cream (now veganised) and chocolate (preferably fair-trade, as well as vegan)) because let’s face it, it’s yummy and our brains are hard-wired to appreciate its quick-release energy. It’s one of those things we’re physiologically primed to enjoy, and that’s why, with an abundance of it readily available, so many of us struggle to resist.
I *used* to be ‘good’. I *used* to have it ‘under control’, but now I realise it’s been creeping in, insidiously, as I’ve hidden behind candy-coated blinkers, telling myself lies about how much it doesn’t matter, and how little effect it will really have.
Unfortunately for me, the cumulative effect is apparent to anyone with eyes to see my pudginess, and now I’m at the point of accepting empirical evidence, I’ve decided it’s time for it to go. For a month. With an accountability partner, because I know that on my own, I’m no good at sticking to Bright Ideas – I have a tendency to get bored halfway and just stop. And that’s just rubbish.
I’m taking back control (or re-establishing it) by axing biscuits, sweets, jam, fizzy drinks, and dried fruit (my particular Achilles heel (“because it’s healthy…“)) from my diet. I think it’s going to be hard work not to slip, because my palate is now used to the intense sweetness of these scrumptious things. And on the one hand, why shouldn’t it be? I’m fit and healthy; not super-skinny (or even close), but not FAt-fat, and some of what I fancy isn’t the end of the world. Heck, even if I get fatter, it’s not actually the end of the world, even though I might be grossly uncomfortable about it. I’ve learned that those who love me, will love me anyway, and that’s HUGE.
On the other hand, there’s the constant niggling feeling that I’m subconsciously undermining my current lack of ‘driven’ weight-loss-behaviour by letting myself get large, and I’m afraid to find out whether those behaviours would reassert themselves in their former, unmanageable form. I’m also afraid to find out that I’m trying to get them back, so I’m hoping to nip things in the bud by getting back to a place where I’m comfortable with how I look. And preferably a place where I’m comfortable in what I’m wearing!
It’s vanity. It’s frippery. It absolutely, in the grander scheme of things, doesn’t matter one jot.
And yet…here’s the thing:
It really, really does matter, enormously very much, because it’s something which connects.
My desire to unsugarify myself led to a new friendship with the blogger who has agreed to be my accountability partner for the next month. It’s sparked conversations with friends and colleagues. It’s inspired this blog-post, and I suspect will be mentioned again in future posts. It’s something I might share on social media, seeking responses. It’s a smallish yet significantish challenge, which will go some way to embettering my own world, and the world of my accountability partner.
It’s an instance where a small negative has led to a big positive, and a directly associated plethora of opportunities for engagement, interaction, and building bridges between.
It’s a tiny little sugar-sprinkled microcosm of what I hope will happen on a larger scale, preferably globally, if we all can wrangle it.
There are Big Bad Negatives out there, as we know – ones which outrage, destabilise, and harrow – but the flip-side is something Bigger and Better and more gloriously positive, with the potential to establish ENORMOUS progress on the embettering. I know – WE know – it’s there, because we’ve seen it:
Each time someone uses their voice against stigma;
Each time someone uses their actions to help;
Each time someone behaves with compassion;
Each time people open their minds with a view to understanding;
Each time bridges are built between people, and connections are founded, and friendships are strengthened;
Each time people stand in solidarity against any of the Big Bads, and say “This HURTS and it needs to be made different, and right, and Good,” we are demonstrating over and over and over, that we are stronger together, and united, CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
And each, teeny, weeny, tiny, almost-insignificant thought-which-leads-to-action-which-leads-to-change, COUNTS, because every time we shoulder the burden of our world and choose to love, anyway, we’re a step closer. Because #LoveWins.
So get yourselves out there, and do what it takes. Bring on the LOVE ❤