#18 Reason not to Drink: method writing
Method acting is a way actors access the thoughts and emotions of the characters they’re playing. Method writing is the same thing. What if I wanted to write a sober character in one of my novels? How could I access the thoughts and emotions of a sober person while experiencing the joy and comfort of drinking delicious beers? While I have no actual intention of writing completely sober characters any more than I have the intention of writing alcoholic characters, this is a valuable exercise to expand the colors in my crayon basket. Now when I need to access what it feels like to BE a teetotaler I will be able to draw on all the raw
irritation satisfaction and discomfort well being and Friday boredom zen-like indifference to festive beverages that I previously wouldn’t have been able to FEEL in my bones and make REAL on the page. Now it will be in my power to make YOU feel it too.
#19 Reason not to Drink: my green and white striped XL shirt
In the world of weight loss and weight gain there is this popular idea that you shouldn’t hang onto your “skinny” clothes because it’s just going to depress you and help you FAIL at reaching your goals and will serve as a sad reminder of how you used to be in horrifying contrast to what you’ve become. I disagree with this. I haven’t held onto things I wore when I was really thin. I’ll never be really thin again and that’s not what I care about or want anyway. However, I have kept all my favorite clothes from when I was a regular sized person. I wore XL and looked great. I had a waist and wore stripes and felt good. That’s what I want. That XL looks tiny to me now. That’s what becoming obese does to you. I know people who are proud of being size 4 and that’s great that that number means something to you. I know people who will not feel good about themselves until they are out of the Large sizes and down to the mediums and smalls and invisible sizes. Not me. Look at that shirt. It’s so small. The fact that I’ve kept it all these years is to prove that I have not lost hope, that I have never stopped believing that at some point I will turn things around and get back to the clothes I love wearing. I miss wearing my striped T’s so much. Yah, I know. I could wear them now. I shouldn’t care about wearing stripes at any size. I just don’t feel right or good in them. Even if I could find this kind of stripe in my size. Generally in my size they’re all bejeweled or beaded or covered in weird-ass decoupage-style printing and made of creepy fabrics.
I will wear that shirt again.
It is the closest I can come to religious-style faith.
As I’ve reached #19 reason not to drink I am realizing that it’s going to be very hard to come up with 90 reasons. I think it’s going to end up being a lot of jewelry and shirts I want to wear and stupid little nothings. I’ve already used up about 80% of the big reasons I have for not drinking for 90 days. Ah well, it’s okay.
Something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days is this head-space I’ve sunk into and how I find myself wanting to jump into the television to become a fictional character on Fringe (maybe one of the people who doesn’t die at the beginning of every episode) or into a book, but only my favorite ones. I find I don’t want to waste my time on fiction that disappoints me or stresses me out because I’m already spending enough evening time struggling to get into that calm happy place that I no longer have. It has occurred to me that as a fiction writer I should be able to immerse myself in a different place any time I want. I shouldn’t have to depend on other people’s fictional worlds to give me the happiness and comfort I need. I’ve thought that maybe I should go get on my laptop and write some fiction. Write what I wish I was experiencing. Write the space I want to be in. But then the weight of having to make Cricket and Grey follow the path it needs to take makes me stop. So I rewatch another episode of Fringe and worry about what I will watch when I’ve rewatched the whole series.
Artists sketch in their sketchbooks. I know because I’m married to one. They sketch ideas and what they see and sometimes they just doodle and the doodle becomes something more. Writers do this too, usually, writing in a journal or a blog. I do this all the time to empty my head. But I don’t sketch fictional characters or scenes that aren’t part of the big project I’m working on. But why not? Why not do small vignettes? Why can’t I just sketch out small scenes without it having to go anywhere in particular? I don’t have to share it with anyone. I don’t have to take it seriously. Why don’t I do it? The last time I did it it turned into a whole novel (Jane Doe) that remains unfinished. It doesn’t have to turn into anything. I make up my own rules. I always have. So I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this. I can rewrite the same scene over and over and over again if I want. Not to polish it for a book but simply to continue to be in the middle of it. Long-form poetry.
In other news, I’ve lost 6 lbs in 18 days. I put it on facebook but I need to record it here too. I had 113lbs to lose and now I *only* have 107lbs to lose.
Yesterday I got take out from my favorite Mexican take out place. I got my usual plat of cheese enchiladas, beans, and rice. I always eat the beans and rice on tortilla chips first and eat the enchiladas last. This time I took a few bites of the enchiladas and it was too cheesy for me. I am not evolved enough to not eat them anyway, so I did. Then I felt too full and not good. Like I’d had way too much cheese. These are words I don’t understand. This is an experience that is new and almost frightening.
Too much cheese?!
I wasn’t kidding when I said I naturally eat a lot less when I’m not drinking. But I have never understood the concept of “too much cheese”. Until now. My friend Sarah thinks it may be my body being wise. I don’t know. I do know I haven’t had enough vegetables this week. I’m craving them but not making them. (Out of laziness, really, it’s been a real funk of a week.) This coming week needs to be full of steamed vegetables. I’ve been wanting to cut down on cheese but hadn’t had the will to do it. Maybe it’s because I’m consuming other dairy in the form of half and half in my tea? It’s all useless speculation. It doesn’t really matter. Over-thinking food in this way is irritating. More vegetables is all I need to focus on now because I’m craving them. And smaller portions. Not because that’s how to lose weight (though it is) but because I don’t need as much food now. I’m getting fuller faster because I don’t have any alcohol to soak up with it.
One last thing. I have been unwilling to find alternative relief to my discomfort and I continue to feel unwilling. It isn’t that there’s nothing satisfying to replace alcohol with or that there’s nothing else I could come to look forward to. I’m not entirely sure why I am so unwilling to find new things to enjoy and look forward to. I think part of it is that I don’t want to let myself feel comfortable. A little self punishment perhaps? Or maybe it’s just that I need to be in this place of discomfort because I need to really live it for a while in order to prevent myself from getting to this place ever again. I think I have to work through some of my anger about having mental illness. I think what’s going on is that I don’t want to mask the raw unpleasantness I’m experiencing – this return to how my head was before I drank enough beer to settle it down and keep it calm. I think this is an important part of this whole experience. Like going through the seven steps of grieving. Or going through the 12 steps of AA. This is my version. With my rules. I need to live in this place for a while. Until it either resolves itself or until I’m ready to work towards resolution. Being completely raw and unmedicated makes me a danger to myself so this here, this state is as raw as it’s safe to be. Whatever the actual reason is, I am not ready to “fix” it or change it.
My friend Nicole has mentioned seeking sedative-like effects from herbs. Hops came to mind. Bitter bitter hops. Hops are one of the key ingredients in beer and what contributes to its satisfying bite. Long long ago, when I lived alone on Hyde street and was getting really witchy, I used to make a hops, peppermint, and honey tea to help me with insomnia. It wasn’t very effective but it was calming. When I’m ready to find other things to drink and look forward to – I may try using hops in a few different ways and see what comes of it. Not a lot of other herbs have had a sedative action for me but I will consult my herbal books and see what other things I may want to experiment with. I am interested in making bitters – but this takes some alcohol. They are meant to be taken in very small quantities – enough to soak a sugar cube, for example. So I may allow myself home made bitters if it seems like a good idea. I do plan on buying Angostura bitters this weekend. That’s made with alcohol too. But you use only a few drops per glass so I will not be counting that as having an alcoholic drink any more than I would consider taking an herbal tincture the same thing as having an alcoholic drink. We’ll see. I will look into it and I will consider it.
I make up my own rules because this is my own adventure.