March 29, 2012

Women, Poetry & Ploughshares

On the heels of the VIDA count, I'm offering a little love to the fabulousness of women poets by way of blog posts; not at this blog, however. I'm very honored to be guest-blogging once a week at Ploughshares this spring and summer.

Which means, you know, that Fish Head Soup may be a somewhat more neglected than usual. Perhaps not. It's possible I will be so inspired by the women I celebrate over there that I'll have more than ever to say over here.

One is always allowed her fantasies.

March 28, 2012

Living in the Pink

Several people have asked me when I'm going to start eating sugar again. I could say, "I dream I'm eating sugar every night," which is true. Last night I dreamed it was summer, and I had the windows rolled down in my car, the wind in my hair, and I was sipping sweet tea with lemon through a straw. When I realized I was drinking sugar, I decided it was just too delicious to stop.

"I don't know," is my standard reply.

I imagine there will come a time when I'll stop dreaming of sugar, and then I'll know it's ok to eat it. Or maybe I'll be able to picture having a platter of some crunchy sweet confection in the house and not want to eat every last morsel in one go. That may never happen. My friend Sparkle Fairy says it won't. However, I continue to hold out hope.

Another friend, Rocky Mountain Runner, says it took her a year to banish the addiction, and even then she allowed herself one dessert every three months lest it became a Hydra.

I'm not comfortable with not knowing. I think I make quick decisions because the muddle of indecision is so uncomfortable for me. I'd rather make a poor decision and deal with the consequences later-- which, come to think of it, is probably how my daughter was conceived. Thankfully, she turned out OK, and I learned at least one important lesson.

I was plodding along in my sugarlessness, and then we had a wonderful sermon at church about peaceful eating, which made me want to give up meat. I don't think there could be anything as difficult for me as giving up sugar. I never dream of salt, for instance, or gnawing on a chicken bone. I haven't eaten meat in a week.

I've gone meat-free before. I was horrified to learn that a two pound roast creates pollution equal to 150 miles of driving time, and gave it up for a while, but then I slipped, ate some pepperoni (what is pepperoni?) and felt so guilty about it I fell off the chuck wagon. Recently, though, a good friend said of my sugary desires, "Recovery is not perfection, it's progress." I think it applies to meat as well.

I've decided to live in meat limbo. I'm not going to call myself a vegetarian because I may have a local, grass-fed, organic burger one day. Maybe tomorrow. I'm going to commit to progress, not perfection.

This living in the blurry areas is all very new for me as I tend to create strict rules for myself. I was thinking that it's sort of like living in a gray area, but that's too depressing, and I've had enough melancholy for one lifetime, so I'm going with pink: not the red of failure, not the white halo of perfection. Just pink.

Another wise woman (my mother-in-law, whom I'll call Microscopic Mama, because she works with the tools, and not because of her petite stature) once said, "When you're uncomfortable, it means you're growing."

I must be growing a lot. And at the same time shrinking, as I've lost a pant size.