All it Takes is a Reason

When I was in elementary school, going to McDonalds for dinner was only second to a trip to Disney World. I have more than one significant memory from childhood that revolves around a trip to McDonalds. More than the day I gathered all of my loose change in a yellow net sock and waved it in front of my mother's face as a silent plea to "PLEEEASE let us go to the grand opening of the new McDonalds at the top of the neighborhood because everyone from school will be there and my third grade imagination is unable to comprehend that the $6.58 I have gathered in my sock will not help our financial situation or that you might already have dinner planned or how I will survive tomorrow's day at school if I don't make an appearance!", is the day of the drive thru surprise. It was just another round through the new McDonalds drive thru until my mom's tan station wagon rounded the corner and there stood a woman who was preparing herself to change the world as I knew it. My mother slowed down and rolled down the window. Never before had we received this kind of attention at the drive through. "Welcome to McDonalds. Can I introduce you to the newest item on our menu?" As I slipped the glimmering, golden nugget off of the toothpick and onto my tongue, I smiled with delight. A soft, boneless piece of chicken coated in breading and deep fried to perfection. At this moment I knew I would never again order a hamburger. And for at least ten more years, I didn't. And why would you when you have the opportunity to dip deep fried meat into honey or ketchup.

It turns out that years of choosing the McNugget over salads and grilled chicken have caught up with me. Since I turned 25, I have been struggling to stay awake and carry on stimulating conversations. It is as though that week of July 11, 2002 my body said, "Enough is enough! You have mistreated me for far too long! We are finished!" I can still remember the moment the fried food empire that my body had become came crashing down around me. My roommate was out of town and asked me to make sure her cat was fed in her absence. These were the days prior to my stint living with a cat named Burp who had a personal mission to ruin my life, so I was happy to oblige. Burp's owner decided after year one that her feline friend was more likely to receive a one way train ticket to Uzbekistan than he was to receive three square meals a day from me. But before Burp, there was Pepper. Sweet Pepper. Aside from her odd tendency to practice Brittany Spears routines when Alana was not home, Pepper was a good cat. She never played her music too loud, even when she was practicing a routine. Most of the time she just sat quietly in her whicker rocking chair and knitted us all sweaters to wear. My only real complaint is that she refused to learn how to knit me a hat. But even that is understandable. Cats don't have opposable thumbs and hats are tricky. Burp, on the other hand used to be an Arab Dictator named Habib. That being said, I really should not blame him for his habit of watching me undress. He had a trained ear. As the zipper of my jeans came down, he would tear through the house and into my bedroom to watch the show. Are you catching onto my strange habit of personifying cats? This is a habit that is reserved for cats alone.

But back to the McNugget girl and the slow decomposition of my health. I stood in the basement two days before my 25th birthday. I noticed that ants had gathered around Pepper's cat food. Not just ants. Ants. Big, fat, "A Bug's Life" sort of ants. And I burst into tears. Sobbing in the basement over ants in the cat food. From that point forward, I have felt tired and easily agitated. That was nearly four years ago. I have not totally allowed these symptoms to run rampant. I have tried talking to doctors about it. But finding a straightforward answer to a murky question is not a fair expectation. So I when I failed to receive quick and easy answers, I avoided and adapted.

Then along came Herb. Not exactly a knight in shining armor or a fairy godmother with a magic wand. That would be fabulous, but we try to stay away from "saving" each other. Despite his lack of fairy dust, he is a wonderful cheerleader. He wants me to be healthy. And now that I have somebody to take care of and eventually raise children with, I want to be healthy. It matters now. It is amazing how easily we can avoid something until we have a big enough reason to approach it. Making a lifelong commitment to Herb motivated me to make sure I have a long life to commit. In effort to turn this McDonalds train around, we went to the doctor last week to try and get some consistent, solid help. It was scary. Sometimes, I would rather not know what is going on. It helps me stay in denial. What is it about having someone on your team that helps your find the courage to ask the hard questions? It won't change the answers, but it makes them easier to carry. I am thankful.


Blogger peanutgallery said...

I know what you mean charjer... eating healthy is so important. In fact I just finished eating Rice pudding & Peanut M&Ms for lunch. I may add a hamburger, no bun of course... my body can't handle that crap.

12:08 PM, March 08, 2006  

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