Thursday, 22 October 2015

Black Dog Quits Sugar

If I were to listen to the voice that is constantly telling me what is wrong with me, and if I were to pick one to focus on it would be consistency. 

If I were to listen to it all the time and hear all the faults I'd probably just climb under a rock and never reappear. But when it comes to consistency, I think it's on to something. 

Who else is guilty of this? 

I'm going to lose weight 

I'm going to learn a new language

I'm going to learn an instrument

I'm going to wake up an hour early every day and go for a run

I'm going to write a diary every day

I'm going to write the novel I've been dreaming of

I am going to spend more time with family

I am....

...going to make lists of things I'm going to do my entire life until I die. But I didn't put die on the list so HOW CAN I DIE? It's not on the list. 

Ideas. That's my problem. Okay, so if I was to listen to the voice that daily tells me what is wrong with me and pick two things, I'd pick consistency and ideas. Too many ideas. 

Ha! You scoff, that's not a problem. Alack, alas, by Jove, be my witness, it is. Much like the sentence that preceded this one, I had so many ideas and ways to voice that idea that I could go on and on and on thinking about how to start and by the time I had started a brand new idea would have stolen my attention. My inconsistent attention. 

Oh hi there idea, you're mighty fine looking, you're like Prince Harry in a hard hat, why - I could stare at you all day. And that is what I shall do. No, wait, the Elijah Wood of ideas has entered my peripheral and he's so small and perfectly formed and decent. Sorry Harry, but ultimately, I don't think I want to be a Princess, I want to roam and explore and be all musical and WAIT - is that the Ben Howard of ideas singing to me? What a pretty tune he weaves. I shall sit and listen until the sun goes down and then maybe I'll write something. 

What were we talking about? 

Oh, yes, weight gain. You see, if I was to listen to the voice that tells me everything that's wrong with me every day and pick three things to focus on, they would be consistency, ideas and fat. 

I'm fat with ideas, I'm fat with food, I'm fat without exercise and I am inconsistent or as the voice prefers, lazy. 

If I don't see the fat that seemingly keeps growing on my arms, legs, hips, face (WHY THE FACE?! Save at least the face - COME ON!) change after one day of exercise and or diet, then, well, I move onto the next idea. 

One cake won't make a difference, heck, not eating it yesterday didn't make a difference, so why will eating it today make a difference? 

Oh shut up future, no one wants to know you yet. You, you're filled with failures and lost dreams and worst of all, hope. I won't stare at your bright light because I am besieged by ideas and plans and fat right now, today, here, now. You can't help me with your promise of something else, you're too far away. 

If I'm honest, I don't much like the idea of hiding under a rock and so I will strike a deal with the critique in my head and agree that from now on, all we talk about are those three faults. I'm not having more. Shove them. Shove them right where that rock hiding place is and walk away. 

But if we are to have a dialogue about all this then, to use my own fault against me, we're going to have to be consistent. This is an idea. It's been an idea for a while. One I've flirted with and put back down and left behind for fancier ideas. But I keep coming back to it and now here it is, on one knee, promising that this will be really really hard work but all the best things are. That together, we are stronger. That if my hands weren't so fat it would be putting a diamond on my finger. I hate diamonds. I knew this idea was shit! It doesn't even know that I hate diamonds. 

Okay, sorry, idea, you were saying...

I know you're really scared of commitment and routine freaks you out and familiarity is damn right terrifying and trying means maybe failing and failing means nothing, it means nothing at all. You fail, you start again, you move on. But not trying, not starting, not committing to one single thing means staring in the mirror and seeing real failure. Seeing all the things you hate about yourself staring right back. Seeing your own fear and it's ugly. 

The idea takes my hand in his, we're both crying now, "do you, Miss Smith, promise to walk this path with me. To write even when you feel terrible. To stick with me through thick, thin, fat and terrible. To be consistent in your effort, especially when you fall. To stop searching for an idea and to do, to do this one idea?"

"I do."

And so begins: ladies and gentlemen who struggle with the black dog, who have gained weight, who feel stuck in a rut, who want to be healthier, here begins 'Black Dog quits sugar'. In which I spend a year trying to get healthy, give up the white beast and see if I'm consistent I can actually lose weight as a happy side effect. But more importantly, if I can stay with an idea, battle my own doubts, stare in the mirror and keep going, even if I don't like what stares back and consistently write about it all. 

I would like to add as a footnote that the idea and I had this conversation over two days and on two different beaches. It was so romantic, so it was...

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