So, month 1 of 7FN is over, and I’ve tried to figure out what to say about it all and I’m not sure I know how. It was hard, it was good, and it wasn’t what I expected. Isn’t that always the case?
It was hard. Probably obvious, but still I’ll elaborate a little. I got bored and frustrated with my choices. I bought the cheap bag of rice from Sam’s which was a HUGE mistake, since simultaneously hated it and felt like I couldn’t give up on it. I found that I don’t really want to go to parties or work related events or even really talk to other people without food involved (Except you. Of course I always love to talk to you). I’m not great at cooking for other people when I can’t eat it. My kids didn’t really take the challenge of cooking for themselves well (shocking, I know). I really really really missed being able to have a glass of wine or a margarita.
It was good. I was reminded again and again of how much I use food and drink to soothe myself from life’s hurts, disappointments, and general busyness. Fasting is great for bringing things to the surface; I was forced to look at some things squarely that I usually just push away. I gained new empathy for people who will never have an ‘end of the month’ in sight – never a time where they will regain choices with food or drink. People who have had to say no for good because of addiction, or who have never had the choice in the first place, because of circumstance. Finally, I have gotten to know the little band of people who are in this with me much better: it’s amazing how shared deprivation will bring you closer.
It wasn’t what I expected. Really, I didn’t expect to have that hard of a time. Hilarious, I know. But listen, I’ve done food-related crazyish things before, and this time wasn’t going to be nearly so intense. After all, I would be actually eating food. As much as I wanted of it. As it turns out, I didn’t want it so much, especially once I’d eaten everything on my list a few times. On the flip side, I didn’t expect how much I did like certain parts of this month and want to keep in some way – for example, I’d like breakfasts and lunches to stay really simple, maybe even the same (except the rice. NOT RICE). Or the way that fasting keeps me in touch with myself – I think I will be keeping some part of that around for a good time to come. There’s a reason these things are disciplines, something you return to again and again.
In fact, I was reading Shauna Niequest’s new book Bread & Wine on my way to falling asleep last night when this quote hit me squarely between the eyes. It seems to apply to both the disciplines that I find myself coming back to, and the issues that they always seem to bring up:
I used to think that the goal was to get over things – to deal with them once and for all, to snap an issue closed like slamming a locker door, washing my hands of it forever and always. What I know now after all these years is that there are some things you don’t get over, some things you just make friends with at a certain point, because they’ve been following you around like a stray dog for years.
I like that idea.
And now we are already into month 2: clothing. More about that tomorrow. Frankly I don’t think I care what I wear as long as I can eat what I want…