Everything in my life seems to be perpetually falling apart. I'm not sure if it has always been that way or if it is just since we moved to St. Louis. Probably the latter. I recently read through some of my first blog, from the year we spent living in Nicaragua when I was doing my dissertation research, and I realized that I actually used to be a happy person. What happened? Hyperemesis. Finishing my dissertation but then walking away from the thing I'd spent 8 years working towards. Our Urbana house explosion. St. Louis.
But mainly St. Louis. It is easier to blame this on a place.
For about the first four months we lived here, things were okay. It was exciting to have a job, and my coworkers were nice. I no longer spent every minute of the day completely terrified that something would happen to Rob and I would have no way to support my child. But then we had that house thing happen in Urbana, and everything got really awful for a while. St. Louis no longer seemed promising. Nothing seemed promising.
I began, either consciously or subconsciously, to look for an Exit Strategy.
The form that my grief took was to write a book. Just do it. The thing that everybody in my life has spent my entire life telling me to Just Do.
I don't know what I was hoping to accomplish. I didn't necessarily think of money as being the goal, but it would have been nice if we could have both quit our jobs and picked up and moved to Eugene, OR. Why Eugene? Because it is a place (I am told) that is so liberal, Rob and I would be considered "just right of center." It seems pretty good compared to Missouri.
The book didn't pan out. Maybe I can write and I just don't have what it takes to succeed the publishing industry. Or maybe I can't even write. It's really hard to say.
I'm exhausted. I just can't put any more energy into it.
A couple of weeks ago, the NGO I was loosely involved with when I did my research in Nicaragua contacted me and asked if I would teach a primatological field course during the winter session this year. At first I said there was no way.
But then I took a good look around me and saw how much I don't belong in St. Louis. I emailed them back and said I'd move heaven and earth to do it.
It would have involved planning and designing the course during the nights and weekends, then maxing out on all my vacation days for the entire year to take off enough time to go down there and teach it. Rob was going to come with me and bring Will, of course. I started getting excited for Will to learn Spanish. To be wild and free and swim in Lake Nicaragua and watch monkeys with me in the forest.
It was only going to be 3 weeks, but maybe that would be enough. Just enough of an exit to give me the energy to keep on doing this for a little bit more. Maybe I could get a trumpet for Eduardo and bring it to him. He wants to go to a university in Rivas and study music. He wants to start his own mariachi band.
But then the whole thing fell through. These things happen. I got the news while I was at work, and I had to close my office door for a while.
It wouldn't be quite so bad if I thought I was going to be able to go to Fuego y Agua with Rob in February. Oh yes, he's running it again. But when I tossed out the idea to my coworkers, there was some grimacing. It would have been much easier to have me gone, even for 3 weeks, over semester break. Taking a whole week off in February, during the semester, is problematic for everyone. They put up with it last year for me. It was kind of a one-shot thing.
Eduardo isn't getting the money I send him every month. I'd worked out this deal. It seemed okay, but that fell through too. He emailed me and told me the money didn't matter to him. He'll always think of us as his North American family. Of me as his Mama Meli.
And meanwhile, I'm still stuck in St. Louis. Not sure what I'm doing here.
I decided I needed to pull myself together. To put in one last ditch attempt to stop feeling toxic in my own skin.
And now is the point at which I actually begin writing about what I intended to when I began this post.
Yes. You read that right. Juice.
For a really long time, I'd been thinking about getting a juicer and doing a juice fast. I mean, I'm a vegan, so it's kind of the next step-- right? I finally took the plunge and did it. Well, at least I bought the juicer. It's a nice one. A Breville Compact that I got refurbished for only $69. And I bought the fruits and vegetables, a ton of them. They didn't even all fit in the fridge.
I was so excited. I just wanted to feel clean and clear-headed. But what I found out is that I don't actually like juice.
In particular, I don't like green juice, which is the juice you're supposed to rely on while fasting. It all goes back to kale. The first food that made me sick when I had hyperemesis. I still can't eat it. One of my main motives for buying the juicer was that I thought I'd be able to consume kale if it were in juice form. The texture is what bothers me, not the taste so much, or so I thought.
It turns out, it is the taste that bothers me. And juiced kale tastes about as good as, well, you'd imagine.
Of course you mix it with other things (like celery, cucumbers, apples, etc), but that just makes the other things taste bad.
About 22 hours into the juice fast, I was on the floor writhing in nausea, and I thought, okay, this is not working. Most people who juice fast probably don't have such strong aversions to kale, and they probably aren't running 5 miles a day in preparation for some as of yet undecided ultra marathon.
So I gave it up. My last ditch attempt to get my shit together. I'm not sure where to go from here.
On the plus side, I've gotten Will to drink fun things like carrot-mango-orange juice. I'd been hoping to sneak some leafy greens in him this way, but the kid knows better than to try anything that contains kale.
I've got no more Exit Strategies up my sleeve. So, I run. At some point on this blog I think I said that I run because I need the feeling of pushing myself into a deep, dark, scary place and then finding my way out. But maybe that's not really why I do it, at least not all the time. Maybe I run like this because I can't really run away.
Thanks for reading.