Gosh. These were quite the holidays. I'm home by myself and have been for the last several hours. That generally means that I'm getting a little misanthropic, so I thought I would follow the advice of the dippy experimental jazz flautist from the club last night and think about what I'm thankful for.
I'm thankful for the emotional complexity of my life and the space to savor it.
Once, I told Harreld that I had a love/hate relationship with my food poisoning. He laughed at me with that wonderful expression on his face he displayed when he thought I was being totally adorable because I was simply being myself and myself was completely different to who he would be in that situation. It's a very indulgent and slightly paternalistic look and I love it. But, back to the love/hate relationship with my food poisoning.
When I get food poisoning, which is probably only once or twice a year, I wake up in the middle of the night with an uncomfortable feeling in my gut. In my sleepy state, I gradually realize why I'm awake and then spend several minutes trying to recognize that uncomfortable feeling. Is it gas? Cramps? An undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato? Over the course of this sleepy consideration, an urgency in my gut grows and I realize that I need to run as fast as Cheetara, the fastest of the Thundercats, to sit on a toilet. Diarrhea ensues and I sit there limply for a little while. Just when I think I should be feeling a little better, I start to feel cold and almost immediately this switches to a hot so hot that all I can do is take off whatever underwear I have on and stretch out on the cold, cold tiles to sweat, stretching out to create as much surface area as possible touching the floor. It is a sharp-smelling sweat and sometimes I have to sit up quickly to dry heave once or twice but I always end up back on the tile, felling like death is sure to come for me soon. All of my animal instincts know that death is coming for me soon. But my mind knows that this is just a little food poisoning. I've been through this before and soon everything will be OK. Soon, I'll fall asleep on the tile, exhausted from the effort of expelling toxins but still having a little fever and pain that my mind wants to escape through sleep. I'll wake up cold, with grout marks on my cheek, but feeling a little better. After calling into work to tell them I'll be late, I fall asleep again in my bed and wake up around 10:00 feeling as if nothing had ever been wrong. In fact, because I've gotten to wake up naturally, without an alarm, it feels like birds are singing and the sun is shining bright. I'm not dead! But at that moment of lying on the tiles (it's not as much fun on linoleum), everything but my brain, which is still a little sleepy, believes that I'm going to die soon.
Hence the love/hate relationship with my food poisoning. I hate to sound like a real-men-don't-eat-quiche cliche but, it lets me know I'm alive! I feel similarly about my emotional upheaval from day-to-day. The days when I feel hurt and lonely make the days when everything feels exactly in the right place that much better. The hurt and lonely days are a little bit like salt or chili peppers or bitters. A little bit makes the dish or drink taste balanced and adds depth to the palette. All by themselves, they need to be spit out. So, at this stage of my life, I am thankful that my bad days are small enough that they only add complexity to my experience and do not overwhelm me. I'm sure that at some point in time, that will change and I will have to work actively to decrease the amount of pain in my life. But for now, I can handle it, and so I savor the experience.
Happy New Year!
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