Thursday, April 10, 2008

A dream I can relate to

Joanna Leeds is taking me to the BART station, which one is best? I guess it doesn't matter -- oh, wait, maybe 12th St is best because then I won't have to transfer. We drive past the entrances I'm familiar with, around the corner and across the highway and that's where we get off, except all of the terminals for buying tickets are instead dark areas for sex games -- video games, machines with sex aids like at a highway rest area, whack-a-mole type things with no moles -- and all of these drooling straight guys in rumpled suits wandering around, and somewhere Joanna Leeds, this is what she was looking for. I'm trying to find somewhere to buy a ticket, up a series of escalators that lead to rows and rows of soft drink vendors, maybe I should get a Coke -- I haven't had a Coke in a while, I'm trying to decide on the right type -- those big cups are too expensive, and the Coke is probably flat -- maybe Classic Coke in a can, I didn't realize they still made those. Although I guess it's classic. Then I figure if I'm going to get something with all that sugar, maybe it should be one of those pastries but I don't think I’d even enjoy them -- a corn muffin? Oh, no -- that would bring on my disastrous corn allergy, like my face has been sewn to my jaw -- and actually all of this probably contains corn syrup, and then as I'm waking up I'm thinking about what it means to take care of myself when a little bit of corn can ruin my life, don't even ask about a Coke really don't even ask. Yesterday I cut myself with a sheet of nori seaweed, or at least I think that's what happened -- the corner of my mouth got all red.

Socket said something to me recently about veganism: it's a dream I can relate to. A while back, I might've thought: why a dream? But of course it is a dream, the dream of creating a world where you can live without harming animals, I mean I've been vegan for 16 years but I'm quite aware that my shoes are made of a petroleum product, and made in China at that, my socks and t-shirts made of industrially-produced cotton with toxic dyes, boxers made in sweatshops, my vegetables are stored in plastic bags, the money from most of my bills goes to horrible corporations, whenever sits in my bank account is probably funding oil wars and on and on and on and on. So, the fact that I don't eat meat or use animal products, while it's something that I've done for 16 years, yes veganism is still a dream. It's an ethical choice that makes me feel better in some ways, but at this point I'm not sure how it does or doesn't affect my health, health is a dream I can relate to.

Whenever I'm doing my worst, I start thinking maybe I should try eating fish, just once to see how it makes me feel, since pretty much every health practitioner I've ever seen has recommended some form of flesh and as a vegan I know that's all a scam, but then sometimes I wonder if maybe I just tried it once. Maybe if it helped I could eat it once a week or once a month, would it help me heal? Would it give me more energy to do the work that's important to me, even if it felt like an awful compromise? Then I think about the fish, pulled out of the water with a hook or nets and then slammed to the ground writhing until something gives.

Sometimes I compromise my values and eat supplements that contain tiny amounts of dead animals, whether it's gelatin in a sleeping pill capsule or shellfish for chondroitin sulfate or maybe a few other things like that, none of which have ever helped. In my most desperate moments, I even plan out the restaurant where I'll go to eat fish, even though just the smell makes me sick I can't really imagine how I could do it. Acupuncturists always say beef broth to build your blood, the most recent one said even chicken broth what about matzoh ball soup? I used to love matzoh ball soup.

But I can never bring myself to try any of these things -- if my mind is disgusted on every level, how could my body react with anything but horror? Maybe a pill is what I think, a pill doesn't sound so scary. But pills never work for me.

Lately I've thought maybe eggs would help -- the protein, the fat, the enzymes -- free range eggs if I could find a farm that actually let the chickens roam around more or less free instead of just bigger cages. I imagine what the chickens think when their eggs are taken away, whether it's horrible and traumatic and they look around until they lay another and then that one's gone and that's the pattern of their life, looking around over and over again looking for something they'll never find. Sometimes that's how I feel.

What it comes down to is that I should be feeling better but obviously my body isn't able to process what I'm giving it in a way that actually nurtures me. From that time when nothing could matter except pain, childhood I had to survive. Some things stopped working, like my digestion, and other things raced on and on you know I mean my brain. Puberty and I stopped eating: I wanted control of my body. Sometimes I think that I need to eat so often now, pretty much constantly all day long and even right before bed I hate it but sometimes I think my body is still making up for those years when I didn't eat, those years when actually you need the most food because your body is growing. And even after, when I started eating again but I wouldn't touch anything with any oil at all -- maybe that's why I still can't digest oils, even the healthiest ones like flax or olive. If I can't bring myself to eat meat, maybe I can try an egg. I'm just looking for what is going to help me.

Joanna Leeds is someone who went to my high school, actually she went to the same school as me since at least fourth grade, maybe earlier. She was always one of the kids who were considered well-adjusted I guess, what they were adjusted to was the world the rest of us couldn't handle. She was preppy and aloof, but not as cruel as some of the other kids considered popular although whom they were popular with was really just each other. I don't remember having very many conversations with her, maybe a few more at the very end of high school when the kids who had never seemed to care about anything intellectual suddenly got pressured into overachiever status and suddenly Joanna Leeds was in AP Calculus and AP US History, the two highest-status AP courses at our school for whatever reason -- maybe because the principle taught AP US History it was the only class he taught, and maybe just because Calculus in high school seemed so ridiculous. Those of us who had been stigmatized for over a decade really, stigmatized because we were seen as smart and that wasn't considered well-adjusted, now he had to adjust to people like Joanna Leeds in our classes and she actually seemed smart we were disoriented.

I'm not sure what Joanna Leeds is doing in my dreams, or one dream at least, a dream about what to do when there are only salivating straight guys in rumpled suits and pastries and corporate sodas around, on the side of the highway, Joanna Leeds drops me off, she drops me off to take the BART back to San Francisco but I can't find any tickets.

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