This is a picture of Matt when we first started dating.
He looks so young. He’s only 27 years old in this picture.
December 2000

I’m reading Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr right now. And I’m having a such strong emotional response. I’m only on page seven, and Kris Carr is describing her back story, and I’m thinking, “That’s me! And that’s me! All of this is me!” I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer, but this part is all me:

Because my diet had been based on what to eat to stay slim for the cameras, I had no idea how to be healthy. I’d spend endless energy weighing my food and counting calories and fat grams. Meals were planned around convenience, auditions, and cocktail hour. My mantra: Unwrap, nuke, GO! Vegetables were far too elegant and way too time consuming to buy and make at home. Fake foods encased in plastic or cardboard were time-effective and cheap. The multisyllabic poisons on the label didn’t scare me. I figured, “If it was dangerous they would never sell it to me. Doesn’t the FDA ban the bad stuff?” Besides, all I cared about was the promise on the package. “Look great and lose weight while still enjoying this sensible cake.” I could eat this crap and my ass would be teeny-weeny. Hallelujah!

The early signs and symptoms were obvious, but I couldn’t see them for what they were: a toxic lifestyle and environment that was causing physical and emotional stress. I had a bunch of chronic health problems, including zits, colds, chest infections, allergies, depression (Prozac and wine helped that), bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, acid reflux, yeast infections, and fatigue–all distress signals from an imbalanced body. Yet rather than dealing with the real issues of the tissue, I’d often compound the problem by tossing drugs down my gullet. Over time, the symptoms worsened until they became unbearable.

Next step: Whole Foods, my new pharmacy. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. I would race around the store frantically filling shopping carts with books, videos, supplements, powders, potions, and every piece of organic produce I could get my hands on. Kale? Okay! It was dark green and leafy, so it must be good for me. Yet in the back of my mind I wondered what the heck I’d do with this scary-looking weed.

I almost cried reading this passage. My health and my personal environment are so out of control. I’m not centered. I’m not grounded. I’m not whole. And I’m certainly not happy. I’m stressed and sad and drowning.

And I feel so old. I’m 42. I feel like I’ve squandered half of my life on bad health, stress and sadness. But that’s not actually true. I had “Teflon youth” (to use Kris Carr’s words) to protect me when I was younger from our society’s poisonous foods plus I was into sports. I was very healthy through my twenties. But in my thirties, I lost the protection of youth and I had children and became a stay-at-home mom. People don’t realize how very difficult the SAHM gig is. It’s isolating, stressful, lonely and your dreams and your ego get put away in a box under the bed as the children take center stage. You become a shadow in so many ways. And this has been my world for the last six years. The first year was amazing because I had just become a mom and I was so excited and happy, so let’s not count that one. So for the past five years, I’ve been unhappy and unhealthy.

And my family and friends who love me and want to help me have wonderful suggestions of getting back out into the world and reconnecting, perhaps taking a college course or getting involved in club that revolves around one of my hobbies. And those are great ideas. But I think the very foundation of my self has cracked, and that has to be fixed. I live in a very cluttered house, and I’m very very unhealthy. If I wasn’t so terribly unhealthy, I don’t think I would have had such a strong reaction to Kris Carr’s words.

Sadness always seems to eventually lead to realization and then to action. So even though sadness can hurt, I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

February 24th, 2011 | Health, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 2 Comments -