Losing It for Lent

I grew up Catholic. Decades later, I would find a new home in a Baptist church: being among more people of color, particularly younger ones, moved me in a different way. I had the bells, the sermons, the dance ministry, Communion…and Lent.

I have been trying to stick the landing for Lent since grade school. Give up something. Make a sacrifice that could never begin to match that of Jesus’s. Make it big, or make it small, but make it. I know two friends offhand who are scary good at making these commitments. They think on it, find something they freakin’ love—chocolate, liquor, sex, the Internet—and boom, it’s done. Gone till that fateful Sunday. They struggle, it’s not easy—it shouldn’t be—but every year they name something they’re celebrating with post-Lent.

pizzaThey’ve learned not to ask me about my sacrifice, even if I’ve loudly proclaimed it to keep myself honest. This is so, so kind of them, because as with New Year’s resolutions, I usually clock in about 72 hours before I bail out HARD, feasting on whatever will get me through. One year I “gave up” ice cream… I could hear Häagen-Dazs laughing at me within two days. Another year I gave up chocolate… because I don’t like chocolate. I’m pretty ridiculous.

With this in mind, I decided to try a different approach this year. Although not a sacrifice per se, believe me when I say I’m depriving myself of something that I’m used to getting daily, possibly hourly. Something that deeply feeds me. How I wish it were chocolate… Alas…

For Lent, I’ll be silencing my inner critic. All the way—help me, Lord—through Easter. It’s just the Friday after Ash Wednesday but so far, so good. Good, but hard. Harder than ice cream. Harder than Facebook (no really), harder than DVR. Harder than sex by a mile (shut up!).

Now, I know we all have moments of doubt, or have sh*tty days, are maybe having a quarter-life crisis where we’re contemplating saying eff it & joining the Peace Corps. My critic? Is a BEAST. A monster, in the most unchill sense of the word. Like last week: spur of the moment, I experimented and decided for one full day I would “think positively” (which my inner critic noted with supreme sarcasm; what kinda hippie was I trying to be?).

The result was pretty gruesome. I woke up and thought it was too early to be up & I needed a few more hours. Not a snooze button: I needed hours. Damn, did I have to go out? The weather was a mess (if I’m honest, I can find cracks in the weather index at the height of spring). My shower takes too long to heat up. I hate the painting on my wall; it’s cheap and looks cheaper. Was I hungry? Why wasn’t I hungry? I can never find my shoes and this is somehow symptomatic of my life to date. And on. I better not slip on these stairs; everyone knows how klutzy I am. Ugh, this dude on the corner is a disaster. Is his life as awful as mine? Let me do a visual inventory to compare. Nope, he’s talking to a girlfriend; points off for me, single on Valentine’s.

Continue reading “Losing It for Lent”

Me: 1. Big Pharma: 0. Hair care industry: .5

So I wrote a while back about a new Rx–effective and nondrowsy–that cost $700 for a self-paying patient. It’s been sitting at my local, non-chain pharmacy collecting dust for months. A recent wrench in my back (first I couldn’t bend over, instead forcing myself to do awkward Playboy Bunny squats every time I dropped something) has spread into my neck, so that I now have to turn my entire upper body like an early-era Terminator to look around. This made me desperate & I went to the pharmacy to piece together how much of this script I could afford for this crisis. 6? 10 pills? At this point I’d donate an egg to sit upright comfortably.

As the pharmacist empathized with the absurdity of the price and went to investigate, his assistant (with lovely new single twists) chatted me up about my hair, my products, why she’s shedding, what kind of scarf to sleep in; I’ve had similar conversations with bus drivers, women on the train, on line at the grocery store.  It’s not offensive to me & at this point I have set answers for most questions.

Big_Pharma_(Jacky_Law_book)The pharmacist appeared again, incensed. I steeled myself for horrifying news. “This is already a generic,” he said in disbelief. “So why the brand name?” I asked. Apparently, if a dosage doesn’t exist in a generic, you can create a new dosage and market it as something brand new. For $700. After a quick check with my doc, the generic was approved…for $45. [correction: $35.] “These companies and their money,” the pharmacist said, shaking his head. “We’ll work it out for you,” the assistant said comfortingly.

Big Pharma, you are ridiculous. More importantly, I love my pharmacy (which picks up and delivers, btw). Another reason to get to know your local businesses.

And as for my hair convo: Cantu, yes; Shea Moisture, no; if you can splurge, Jane Carter or Miss Jessie’s; wear a silk scarf; don’t twist edges too tightly (or don’t twist at all and slick back); try bigger twists if too much shedding is happening with tiny twists; be generous with the conditioner; and go for trims!

OK, back to work. Have a good one.

Sleepless in Clinton Hill

despair tired
I haven’t slept properly in four days. Eh, Thanksgiving gluttony, what are you gonna do? My belly is pissed, regardless.

So where was I? Right, weird, jacked-up sleep schedule. Occasional insomnia hits us all–I think? But life as a consultant… I’m either DVR’ing till 3 am, waking up at 11 am, or just laying on my back trying not to scream WHYYYYY? I was relieved to hear that adults need 7-8 hours a night. For those who can live on 5, I salute you.

So what to do about this? Thoughts went immediately to Sominex, which made me feel like I’d taken a good hit of Walt’s blue meth. Next stop? The good ol’ primary doctor, who whispered the magic word: Ambien. Yeah, great remedy. For about six days. And you know that long list of side effects for medications you laugh at on commercials? I did too, until I woke up one morning covered in pretzel crumbs. And when did I devour said snack? Couldn’t tell you, because I was sleep eating. Why couldn’t I be sleep treadmilling? Sleep stomach crunching? Instead, I’m stuck with the image of myself doing the slow Walking Dead slump to my fridge at 4 am to eat cold prosciutto out the pack.

So no more unnatural sleep for me. Rock bottom was that last morning I woke up with a spoon stuck to my face and the remnants of a Haagen-Dazs container in a pool I directly stepped in.

Fine. People sleep normally all the time, I figured. A few days of tossing and turning and then back to 7 hours. Blissful, seductive 7 hours. Not a problem.