Monday, July 13, 2009

A dream

There must be some way to describe everything that’s going through my head, my head in his bed, without describing everything because everything is too much to describe. Crisis, mostly that’s what it is. Not a new crisis, just this crisis that is my health, not getting anywhere except I guess here, awake again in this cycle of hopelessness.

Right now I’m thinking about eggs, because I tried that thyroid hormone, one pill of the lowest dose dissolved in water and then just five drops of the liquid, which probably translates to about 1/200th of a pill, and immediately it made me wired and angry, my tongue doing that weird thing in my mouth like with speed and my stomach clenched tight. The next day I tried two drops, but it was still too much -- obviously it’s not the right thing.

I already told myself that if the thyroid hormone didn’t help, then I would try eggs, so then here I am in bed thinking about whether there’s any way to live ethically, and obviously the answer is no, there is no way to live ethically in the culture that exists now, in the US, in San Francisco -- but it is possible to try to live ethically.

I try to find organic, free-range eggs from a farm that doesn’t also slaughter the chickens, but I don’t think there is such a farm. I try to figure out whether free-range means anything, and it doesn’t. I get depressed just looking at all the details, and then I end up buying free-range eggs anyway -- they can’t be worse than the regular ones, right?

I’m starting to think of veganism as an ideology -- ideology is something I’ve always tried to avoid. In some ways I think it makes the most sense for me to talk about my ethical dilemmas with other vegans, right? But then the other day I could sense this person was implying that I’m some kind of dupe of the system, maybe a brainwashed bimbo believing the lies of the medical industrial complex, and I realized that I used to think the same thing about vegans who decided to try eggs or fish or whatever. Like, when someone would say oh I was vegan for two years but I just couldn’t get enough protein, or something like that, and I would maybe listen but inside I would think they just weren’t trying hard enough.

People always used to ask me: oh, how do you feel, do you feel better? I mean the ones who weren’t telling me to eat meat. And the truth is that no, for 17 years I’ve felt all different kinds of terrible, but of course before that I felt worse but that was before I escaped what I was supposed to be. I’ve always thought that I must feel better than I would otherwise, but, after 17 years, I’m just not sure anymore. Of course, there’s so much violence from childhood that I’m still trying to survive. Still, I feel like I need to try this experiment, this experiment of eating eggs or fish, just to see if it helps, because I’ve tried everything else. Absolutely everything, I mean if another person says to me: have you tried yoga? Or: have you tried therapy? Or: have you tried -- whatever -- fill-in-the-blank -- I’m just going to scream. I’m just going to scream, and never stop screaming, and then my throat will get so sore that I’ll never be able to eat anything again. Or speak. Sometimes that’s how I feel -- I look at people doing the simplest things and I think: I can’t believe she’s reading like that, on the bus. Or: I can’t believe that person is walking down the street with all those bags. I mean without pain.

A few months ago, I thought of writing a list of everything I’ve tried, but just starting this list made me so completely exhausted and overwhelmed.

I would say that, in its simplest form, there are two core parts to veganism. The first is that you don’t consume any animal products at all; that’s what I’ve done for 17 years. Everyone interprets this slightly differently, but the basic belief is the same. The other core belief is that you try to exist in a way that doesn’t participate in the slaughter or exploitation of animals. “Cruelty free” is a catchphrase that has emerged -- often, at least in San Francisco or places like it, this mostly means some form of “responsible consumerism,” which, of course, is still responsible for the mass degradation of the entire planet. Sometimes I feel like I’m abandoning myself if I let go of a dream I’ve struggled so hard to hold onto, and so I need to look at that dream.

I’m talking about veganism as an intrinsic part of a radical, anti-authoritarian, queer worldview, and it’s a beautiful dream, a dream I certainly don’t want to abandon. Maybe it’s the ideology that I need to discard, the part that makes me think I’m a horrible person for eating an egg.

And here I am, eating that egg, hard-boiled from a recipe I found online, since I can’t even remember how to hard-boil an egg. It’s hard to chew it -- I’m not exactly nauseous, but I’m kind of gagging. I feel this lift in my head, like everything in the room opens up for a minute and I’m kind of floating -- usually this indicates an allergy, soon my jaw will feel locked or I won’t be able to think. But it doesn’t go further: maybe it’s just a lift. I eat about half the egg, along with some collard greens, and then I already feel kind of full. My stomach doesn’t clench, there’s a little rumbling when I come back to the second half, and the whole time it’s like I’m chewing something alien, but my body doesn’t seem to reject it.


mandragora said...

Maybe it is impossible to live entirely ethically, any ideal is most likely impossible, but I think the important thing is to keep trying, and to keep fighting, because it is something worth fighting for. I don't know, that's just what I tell myself.

CaroleMcDonnell said...

please, please, please try the watercure. It helps me a lot. 1/8 of sea salt in a quart of water. And drink about four quarts a day. I tend to sleep better when I do that. Granted there's all that mental hypervigilance and some forays into chocolate and caffeine is such a no-no...but try it. Love you. One day at a time. Our lives may not be perfect but it's all we have for the nonce. And we can always hold our heads high and say, "Trust me, you can go through a heck of a lot of sleeplessness and pain and still live." That gives hope to some folks. :-) -C

CaroleMcDonnell said...

PS: And if you can, try to sit outside in the hot sun. At least two hours. If you go to a restaurant, stay near the sun when you're inside. And move your computer to the spot in the room where the sun can beat down on you. It really helps. I HATE sitting in the sun but it does work. With the water drinking. -C

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, things like 'curelty free' and 'free range' aren't actually regulated (or at least, very little), so that can really mean anything. Most farms that are large enough to be selling eggs to say, whole foods, probably aren't going to bother being actually free range. They might give the chickens a very small window of time where they could leave if they want to, but are too scared to and call that free range.

I have heard all sorts of goofy stories of things folks call free range.

Do you have farmers markets in your area? You usually have a better chance of those eggs being more 'free range' than things bought in large stores.

I feel like I am being too negative. I want to be positive.

A positive thing is that I have a few friends who raise chickens just for eggs, so if you come visit, you can eat a fresh egg right from the chickens cloaca, if you want!

I can just imagine it now. You with a tiny net, following the one chicken that you had your eye on, just waiting for it to drop its precious load. We would all say "Oh that Mattilda! What a city gal!"

Long story short, it sounds like your egg didn't treat you too badly, so you should eat them. I'm pretty sure you can't have chickens in your apartment (and they are terribly messy, you wouldn't want them!) and you can only eat what you can get, so you should do that. That was an awful ending. Sorry.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Mandragora, absolutely -- I agree!

Carole, thanks for the advice -- I'm sure I drink 4 quarts of water a day, but not usually with sea salt -- I guess I could try it... I do sit on the fire escape in the sun, but two hours?! I'm not sure I could do that...

Thissouthernfaggot, yes yes -- free range is complete bullshit, more or less -- that's absolutely true, no need to hide that :)

Hmmm, chasing a chicken with a net... I'm not sure about that one... what a city gal, indeed!

But oh no, unfortunately the egg didn't treat me as well as I initially thought, oh no oh no oh no! More later...

Love love love --

Anonymous said...

Well, I must admit that suggesting you chase a chicken with a tiny, egg sized net would mostly be for my personal enjoyment. But thats how we have fun!

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Well, I'm all for fantasy :)

Love --

matty said...

No one really ever fully understands -- much less knows -- how another feels. But, your writing as always rung so deep in me. I relate.

...forgetting how to boil an egg.

...or how to walk. (that happened to me at the beach the other day -- yet i was walking?)

I'm so lucky to have access to insurance and have been approved for disability because i'm fairly useless at the moment. ...have been now for close to two years.

Anyway, thus far -- for me. The therapy is working better than anything related to the physicological. spelling?

Are you able to see a doctor to check your thyroid? I had a friend who had to have her's removed. Seems to have changed her life.

About a year ago everything was checked inside of me and nothing is wrong -- everything is "right" ...and as warped as it sounds -- I think I was wishing something physical was wrong so I could find an easy way to address. ...but, it appears to be my past attacking me over and over again.

regarding food --- I don't think we can trust anything told to us about what we eat anymore.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Matty, yes yes I've checked my thyroid -- that's why the medication was suggested, but unfortunately I'm too sensitive for the medication to help, dammit!

"About a year ago everything was checked inside of me and nothing is wrong -- everything is "right" ...and as warped as it sounds -- I think I was wishing something physical was wrong so I could find an easy way to address." Well, honey, I can certainly relate to that!!! That's what I was hoping with the thyroid, but oh well...

And, "I don't think we can trust anything told to us about what we eat anymore." True enough!

Thanks so much for the support and understanding...

Love --