Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Truth

"...and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

It's been nearly 3 weeks since I blogged, and as I sat down tonight, I thought about the excuses I could make to you, my loyal readers, that would seem plausible. And they came easily- "I was busy with the band", "the holiday took up all of my time", "I've been working extra hours". And while all of those things are true, none of them are the truth of why I haven't written.
I've avoided going down this road for a few reasons. One is to avoid the 'helpful suggestions' of the few passerby readers who haven't been here from the beginning and who want to make a judgement about 'what I should do'. Another is...I feel kinda stupid.

However, after a lot of thought, I realized that the importance of being open outweighs my own discomfort. I write songs so that hopefully someone else can gain something (empathy, clarity, solace) from my experiences. And so now I write this blog in the same hope.

A year ago I decided to lose weight. I thought, "I am ___ years old, and if I don't have the body that I want this year, well, then I might never". So I set about getting it. I cut back on calories. Way back. At the same time I added caffeine in larger amounts, to keep my energy up. I felt good. I said yes to every project and person that needed me. I started working out more. Added more caffeine. Stayed up later. Got up earlier. Cut calories again.

Eventually, I was drinking 90-120 ounces of caffeinated diet soda per day, and eating barely 1000 calories. I lost 16 pounds and nearly my life.

I started feeling my sore throat pretty early on, about 10 months ago. Then the mood swings. Then the exhaustion. To the point of falling asleep driving on the 101.

By the time I got to my present doctor, I had been through 6 doctors, approximately 17 blood tests and an MRI. She looked at all of them and slowly explained what I'd done. I'd basically pushed my body into an extreme state of organ exhaustion, with the result being that if things didn't change, and change soon, I would die.

And so I changed. No more caffeine. No more stress, as much as possible. A very restrictive diet that put good things in and kept bad things out. And a better mindset.

I'm recovering, and each day gets better. It's hard, though, not to be angry at myself for doing something so incredibly foolish and selfish.

I have an extreme personality. I never do anything halfway; I just go hellbent at 150 mph, and sometimes that's good, but a lot of times it's not. I'm smart- and I'm not saying this out of hubris, but I'm one of the smarter folks I know-and I did this.

So what have I learned?

Empathy. Not to be judgmental of the junkie huddled in the ladies room, because I'm really no better. So my drug comes in a 20-ounce bottle you can get at 7-11, that only makes it cheaper. The alcoholic may do crazy things drunk; when I was 'on the sauce', I wasn't myself, either. How much more when the bottle's glass?

Moderation. Everything, every person, every idea has a place in your life. Once you let a thing, a desire, a person go beyond the confines of that space and start taking over other spaces, you edge out good things, check and balances, colors and varieties. Life becomes grey.

My band has been supportive and sweet, and last Tuesday we had the best rehearsal we have had, maybe ever. The sound is dialed in, the connection is there between us all, and my head is clear. Rem told me I seem 1,000X better.

One day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time.

My incredible husband has been a rock. When I was told I had to rest I said "Rest? I can't rest! I've got 30 students!!"
And he said "Yes, you have 30 students- but you don't have 30 students TODAY. Do what you have to do today, and take it piece by piece."

So will I live? Decidedly so.
Am I wiser, better, healthier for it? Resoundingly so.
Would I do it again?
I would like to think not.

I've always believed there is something to be said for learning from others' mistakes and not necessarily needing to make them yourself. So if I convey nothing else tonight- be good to your body.
For your sake- and the sake of those around you.:)


MJ said...

you've got nothing to fear, cause you've got friends standing at your side.
Here and there.

Jason Hughes said...

Thank you for sharing your story...

Hopefully you will be an inspiration to others trapped in the same cycle...

I'm glad you found healing and life!