It was a bleak week, full of wintery discontent.
It was not a stoke-the-fire, lets-all-get-cozy-with-some-warm-comfort-food wintery kind of a week. You know, the kind that feels so good back around November/December, when we’re all settling in for the season of short days and long nights, and we pull out our woolly socks and our warm blankets and our hearty food.
It was grey February fading into bitter March bleak, and it pervaded everything.
Sometimes, I don’t know if it’s the season getting to us, or if we’re letting us get to the season, but it doesn’t really matter. Everything felt barren to me this week, both inside and out.
On Wednesday, I wrote a mostly light, kinda tongue-in-cheek post about giving up certain foods, but that was more about me trying to convince myself of something than it was me telling all of you how it really is.
Frankly, food (and a lot of other things) sucked this week.
I was planning to ignore all the food suckiness and show you pictures of the one eating highlight of the week, but I can’t because my data disk got corrupted and I lost all my pictures from that meal.
That’s just the kind of week it was.
Maybe you can use your imagination to picture a smoke-filled kitchen, hard vegetables that didn’t cook long enough, grumpy teens at the table, and undercooked steak. That would be what our week in food really looked like.
The enormity of things I need to learn and learn how to do was just getting me down, in spite of all the wonderful support I got from so many of you after I posted about my food issues last Friday.
Honestly, all of you were my only bright spot–and I don’t want to discount how brightly you burned, because you really, truly carried me through all the psychological effects of my first full week of gluten withdrawal. Until Thursday.
Thursday, the season changed.
No, it wasn’t the spring equinox. It was better.
It was sunshine. It was balmy air. Buds on branches. Kids outside, laughing in their driveways over nothing, giddy with the wonder of warmth after so many months of cold damp. It was all of that on a day that’s still officially winter.
And with all that light suffusing the world, I couldn’t help seeing all the buds of forthcoming blooms that friends have given me this week:
Attitudes to adopt, habits to form, lenses through which to view not just my diet, but my life:
“Me, I just rediscovered that coffee in any sort of regular consumption will bring on my migraines. I am not drinking any ( again) and have stopped drinking alcohol altogether for cancer and migraines. You know what? It is OK. Still a big gustatory world out there.”
“After a while you have your staples that are satisfying and you learn to carry a few options in your bag because the coffee shop probably isn’t going to have anything you can eat. You also learn your own tolerances and have serious relationships with food labels.”
“My son has moments in the grocery store where he feels very down, “why do I have to be gluten free?” which I try to counter with ‘Why do you have to be so coordinated? Have such gorgeous freckles? Be so flippin’ smart? Be faster than ME?’ etc.”
As Shauna Ahern writes on her blog, Gluten-Free Girl (recommended by several of you), “When I was diagnosed, I had a visceral understanding that I was now a self I had never been before.”
As I read her story of pain and diagnosis and healing, I started to cry.
I did again when I read many of the 415 responses to her request for others to share their symptoms and I saw myself over and over and over again.
They were not tears of sorrow that I have this thing, for all that I have to give up.
They were tears of sorrow for all the years of health I’ve unnecessarily lost.
They were tears of vindication: I am not a hypochondriac. It is not all in my head. The problems are real.
They were tears of rage that none of the many, many doctors I’ve seen over the years could help me, that I once again have had to be the one to bring the diagnosis to the table (as I did with endometriosis and fibromyalgia).
They were tears for feelings I’d never let come to the surface before–fear and anger and despair–because they were just too hard to fully bear when I’d lost my belief that I could do anything about them.
But mostly, they were tears of hope and relief. I will feel better and there’s something I can do. Finally. I will be a self I have never been before. And that means amazing things not just for me, but also for all the people in my life.
Today I can see that the turn from winter to spring doesn’t happen in one day.
It’s a gradual rebirth. For awhile, we live with both blossoms and bare sticks. We live with both blooming flowers and muddy patches of earth.
We live with both undercooked steak and a gluten-free banana muffin good as any of the best muffins I’ve ever eaten. In the same day.
Thursday was all warm sunshine, but today could well end with more cold rain.
Still, warmer days are coming. Sitting in the swing, sipping something cool, and nibbling on something good days.
I have a feeling they’ll be here sooner than I think.
We’ve got a full house of kiddos this weekend, which means we’ll be busy.
Yep, we’re still tackling the living/dining room one wall at a time.
And, I’ll be making some forays into new food, which I hope to tell you about next Friday. Until Monday, be well, love your people, and don’t forget to set your clocks forward. Spring ahead!