Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tummy Ache: Good-bye my Love

The first taste of you exploded on my tongue and from then on I knew my life would be different. But now that I must give you up, it is with much bitter sweetness. I thought we'd be together forever, that you would meet my children, but it's wrong to love something that makes you sick so good-bye. I will miss you. It's time to face the truth: one of the longest relationships I've had in my life, must now end.

Even as I threw out the menu to the Chinese food joint around the corner, I still had reservations. Not like you actually need a menu for a local Chinese restaurant because everyone always orders the same dish they always order. A few years ago mine was chicken and snap peas. Then came chicken string bean. Then came chicken fried rice. So no, I didn't need the menu in my house anymore. Just as you would cleanse your space of a toxic ex, I too needed to cleanse my house of any reminders that others in the world would be tonguing my love and I would not be.

See, I'm allergic to lots and lots, and lots of foods. One of them being soy. Another one of them being gluten. This definitely puts a damper on eating just about everything... but Chinese food? It's hard. You would need to order the chicken and vegetables steamed with no oil, spices, or starch, and quite frankly, I can make that for myself. That's not even Chinese food any longer.

Despite myself, I've tried off and on to pretend that I can still eat my chicken fried rice with success and not get sick. Let me tell you, denial sometimes feels like food poisoning. It's not rocket science: if you eat the damn thing you get sick. It's only a stupid entree, why was I having such a hard time giving it up?

Being Jewish, I was naturally raised to eat Chinese food with the best of them. Every week those little take-out boxes decorated our kitchen table like clockwork. Chinese food tasted like special family time, like eating in the living room while watching a movie. It tasted warm, as if my parents cared enough not to cook their own food for us(trust me, not cooking showed they cared.) It was something to look forward to. Something familiar. Something comforting. Chinese food became a part of me.

So subsequently giving up Chinese food felt like giving up a part of myself. It was my last way of feeling normal -pretending that my health was a-okay - and giving up being normal meant admitting that there was something wrong, knowing I must always be careful of getting sick every time I eat. The reality of it is heavy, and I just didn't want to face it. And as I dumped the rest of the fried rice which I couldn't stomach to eat, a part of me still wanted to play pretend. I wanted to be 9 years old and almost allergy free. I wanted to eat out of take-out pints with chopsticks and watch a VHS movie in my living room. I wanted to go back to a time when my body didn't cause me pain. Because yes, it's just Chinese food, but to me it's something I don't have control over no matter how much I try.

Oh well, guess I just have to perfect my sort of fried rice in sesame oil.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Head Aches: Which One of These Is Not Like the Other

And for $563 the answer is me.

When we're children, we are taught that we are all unique. We are all special. We are all different. How many of us take the time to explore the inherent irony that if we are all unique, special and different that we are in fact the same in that we are all similarly not the same. (I'll give you a minute for that one. I'm feeling especially reflective yet bitter today; consider this your last and only warning.)

So when we grow up to become typically dysfunctional turned functional with the aid of enough high-priced therapeutic counseling and/or various substances, why is it so surprising to your teachers, families, or anyone else who filled your head with this "march to the beat of your own drummer" crap, that you would turn out a little bit different than how they expected.

And yet, those who are "older" and "wiser" than you feel that because they've lived longer they know the key to all happiness in life, despite the fact that they might be miserable themselves. They're sure that if you chuck your different=difficult life, you would be much happier following paths that gave them just as many aches along the way. Ah, how convenient recollection can be when we only focus on the good things in our lives and the bad things in others. Judgemental much folks?

So the Baby Boomers think that us young folk are meandering. We're delusional. We're lazy. The fact that we go after our creative dreams and pursuits are cute. But then we reach that certain age when they turn on us after encouraging us all those years:

"You're (fill in a mid to late 20s-30s age here) years old. Maybe we should start discussing your career choices."

"But (fill in name of parent, relative or other sage), I've already got a career."

"You have a passion, and I love that about you, but you should really think about starting to get serious."

What's such an impossibility about being serious about a passion, about your passion? When did the dreamers start being the victims of all this bubble-bursting?

Of course, once the dreamer is raking in the dough for their passion, the sage then becomes very proud, very "I knew it all along that you were going to make it!"

Really? You don't say! Me thinks you should pick up the phone and call yourself 8 years ago when you were pitching me the lifestyle of a geology teacher (not that there's anything wrong with that; nothing but respect for teachers of all kind.)

Now reader, I know you're smart, and that you can tell this is just be bitchin about being confronted at another family gathering, or as I like to akin them to, the Salem Witch Trials. Round after round of accusations that I am in fact *gasp* a writer and *gasp* don't I agree that I'm wasting both my time and potential trying to *gasp* write instead of doing whatever it is I should be doing with my life. Isn't it true reader that I take *gasp* jobs that I may be *gasp* overqualified and under-appreciated for to subsidize my living conditions? Isn't it true that I have more of a focus on my career than on having babies, a husband, and a real career *GASP*.

Yes! It's true dammit! Fine, book me. Take me away for the rest of my days because I'm guilty of believing I should follow my passion until I just can't will myself to do so anymore.

I will tell any child, any grown-up, anyone who will listen, that they can do anything they want to do (with the exception that it neither harms themselves nor others). Herein lies the difference: when I say it, I'll believe it. I won't say it because you're supposed to. I won't say it in order to appease them. I know it's never too early or late for anything. I have so much faith in that concept that it makes it real.

However, I will leave out the part that no one else actually believes it. Kids especially should find out we've been falsely encouraging them all these years. After all, reality's a little too fractured of a fairy tale to swallow, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Head Aches: Traveling in an Anxious Economy-sunken Society without Travel-sized Perfume

I spent the better portion of an hour last night fearing that I wouldn't smell like springtime while traveling for an upcoming four day period. Don't get me wrong, of course my pheromones naturally cause me to smell like springtime after stepping off a red eye flight. I also don't sweat; I glow. And each morning when I awaken, I am fresh faced and don't have any of those pillow creases indented on my cheeks. Also, when I blow my nose, diamonds fall from my nostrils. See I'm inherently rich and beautiful, all problems solved. Go me!

Ah yes, back to reality...

I am thoroughly excited to break the monotony of the working week by embarking on a little familial get together, despite the fact that I will be cornered for not achieving the highly coveted "Mrs." status that I hear so much about-- over and over again. And this time, this trip, I refuse, I mean refuse, to check my luggage. Such an adamant stance can only be caused by the debacle that had me waiting for my luggage for 3 hours (!) the last time I traveled. And let's not forget the time before that, when the airline misplaced my luggage: "No, miss, it's not lost, we just can't find it." No, this time, I will control my own destiny. My bag is coming with me.

Being the law-abiding citizen I am, I proceeded to go on a very special journey to procure the 3 oz. or less of my liquid life that I could take with me. You know you have a liquid life too: shampoo, conditioner, lotions, moisturizers and various other products that a good little hygienic consumer uses everyday. Now, if I had to guess, I would say males have about 1/3 the liquid life that females have, so when the security measures tightened post 9-11 (and yes I still believe better safe than sorry) no guy was groaning about making up his carry on bag. No, all he needs is a travel toothpaste and maybe, just maybe, his travel shaving cream. Most guys I know don't care what kind of shampoo goes on their hair, or what kind of soap goes on their body so they can reap the benefits of the hotel mini cleansers. No, most men I know look forward to sleeping in a hotel where someone else will make the bed (okay that's gender neutral as I look forward to that too.) But when a woman decides to go carry on, the prep is almost as annoying as just giving in to baggage claim.

Take me: a regular maintenance, non-brand obsessed but product loyal female who needs a few basics to take me through my morning routine. I'm no slave to fashion, no slave to trend, but I have a few basic concerns: I want to be clean, I want to take care of my skin, and I want to smell like a pretty, pretty princess.

So even though it took me 3 days and 3 stores, I got my travel sized everything: toothpaste, hairspray, lotion, empty bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and oil, plastic bags to put them in so the TSA doesn't think my 1 oz of Dove Body Wash is posing nuclear threat, and -- oh wait. I need a travel sized bottle of fragrance. Something easy and light that I can just take and spritz on me so I feel like I'm still shower fresh at the end of the day.

Well for heaven's sake, why doesn't anybody sell a decently priced travel-sized fragrance anymore? I mean, aside from buying a sample kit from a department store, you really can't buy 3oz or less that doesn't smell like skanky 13 year old. Don't the stores want to support national security? Geez, how patriotic are you Liz Claiborne and your 5 oz bottles?

Okay, okay, so you can get 1 oz of perfume, but it's quality stuff and I just wanted to travel with a spritzer. Fine, you got me, I'm a cheap bastard. I just think that in an economy that's crumbling faster than a bad home-ec cookie, it would be nice to find the little things for little prices a little easier.

Isn't it funny when we try to travel lighter we end of traveling heavier? After all, stress weighs more than a carry-on, and you have to hold it on your shoulders. My stress doesn't come on wheels.

So by making my life easier, I'm actually making my life more difficult. I could just have packed a bag with all the crap I already have at home and checked the damn thing. I mean, what's really the point of making travel more of a hassle than it already is?

Oh well. The damage is done. But at least I know one thing: I'm coming home with my bag and I'm not dancing with the Devil that is the baggage carousel. At least, not this trip.