Iron Will, Stone Skull

Friday, while we were puttering in the kitchen, Bridgette noted: “I. I am going to have a short glass of wine.”

This is not part of phase I of the South Beach Penance For Being Fat Diet. “Are you certain this is a good idea?”

“Yup. And I don’t care. If my insulin cycle rises and dives, I’m going to bed anyway, so it won’t change my eating patterns. Would you like a glass?”

I managed not to weep. Barely. My eyes, I am certain, shone with tears unshed, and my body quivered with frustrated need. I wouldn’t. It wasn’t phase I, and I wasn’t going to violate this goddammed piece of shit cult diet and its dogma guidelines. ‘Cause if I did, I would be weak and irresolute, and useless and scorned, and no one would love me and I would never be able to hold my head up in public and my cats would look for other people to give them scritchies because I would suck.

I related some of what I was thinking, in calm, measured tones. Mature. “No! Because I don’t do that and it isn’t part of phase I and I hate this diet.” Bridgette was obviously under more emotional stress than I knew, and broke down entirely.

After a few minutes she nudged me with her foot. “Are you done?” she asked mildly, sipping her wine. I blew my nose, nodding, and uncurled from my heap on the floor. “If this diet makes you this unhappy, why are you doing it? I don’t want you to be unhappy. What,” she asked, concern emanating from every expression and syllable, “is your fucking issue?”

I was mature and eloquent, every expression carrying volumes of meaning. I cannot repeat every nuance here, so I will summarize:

I got on this diet so we would have the same menu and I would be supportive of something that was important to you and important to me because I want what you want from this too and I can’t be supportive while eating icecream and cookies in front of you while you feast on celery and so I have to do phase I which I don’t need and don’t want and probably works and is stupid and I hate it but I was supposed to be supporting you and now you are having to pay more attention to supporting me so I’m a failure utterly and it’s just like failing Zelda and the kids because if I was half the husband I should have been I’d still be there taking the abuse —

At this point I heard myself (since the words were aloud) and drew up short. For me, saying “Zelda” is very like anyone else calling out “Hitler.” It carries certain negative associations, and indicates a basic instability of philosophy. Me discussing Zelda as victim of my actions is a sort of waving red flag, with rockets and wailing sirens. I spent the full tenth of a second required to assimilate my thought pattern, and the implications it carried. I said,”I’m going to have a beer.”

I got up, poured half a beer into a wineglass, and we had dinner. Phase I dinner. With sugar-free, non-fat dessert, which was yummy in spite of that. Actually, it was yummy, and sugar/fat had nothing to do with it being yummy. The world did not end. No lightning bolt smote me from on high. I had failed to respect the Word of South Beach as revealed by the prophet, Arthur Agatston, MD, and was none the worse for it.

In fact, I was better. Bridgette expressed pleasure at having me sane, happy, and returned to her from wherever I felt the need to take me when I left a petulant child as my doppleganger.

Saturday I adhered to Phase I until dinner, during which I had the other half of the beer. I was supportive all through the day, and whined not at all. And felt no need to.

So. What was my fucking issue?

I believe that I took up the diet against my wishes, not wanting it, not liking it, taking it up because by one of the vaguely alluded to rules in the back of my head, I was supposed to. And, since I hated it, I was angry at me for making me do it, and punished me by making it as hard as humanly possible for myself.

Who would it hurt if I have a cookie in the mid-afternoon? Is it better to wallow in my misery and become a drama-laced burden to anyone who has to speak to me? I say no, and not.

I am, ferchrissakes, running four days a week, going to the gym three, and eating almost nothing but Phase I foods. I am adhering to the program as much as I need to. I am adhering to the program more than I need to.

Supporting Bridgette is sharing her menu, not sabotaging her, and helping her not sabotage herself. Supporting Bridgette is not punishing her husband.

I dislike being an idiot. Perhaps I’ll grow out of it someday.

23 thoughts on “Iron Will, Stone Skull”

  1. Who would it hurt if I have a cookie in the mid-afternoon? Is it better to wallow in my misery and become a drama-laced burden to anyone who has to speak to me?

    Nobody and no. The only person who gets any satisfaction out of it is you, because you’re Being A Martyr. People who throw temper tantrums might express contriteness later, but really, they’re enjoying themselves enormously while they’re doing it. It’s essentially the same behavior. And as Lancelot said, nobody likes a fanatic. Not even a fanatic. đŸ™‚

    1. Yes, exactly. I strongly dislike this behavior, most particularly when I am the one doing the behaving. Hard to uphold the name ubermensch when I am showing all the defining characteristics of unter menschen.

      This keeps up, and I’ll have to accept “merely human” limitations and join the teeming masses of base humanity. [shudder]

      1. Silly. You don’t have to hold up that name. It’s in no danger of falling down.

        I’ve never understood your issue, either. But I don’t have to.

        …17 mile run last week, 20 this week coming up….
        Beer = useful calories

        If I say “Love you!” does that excuse what else I said?

        1. “I love you!” Doesn’t mean “I’m sorry!”

          No miles run. Not much walked. Lots biked and lots of air pummeled unto death. Oh! And I got to beat up a 7th grader! Every teacher’s dream come true, and it was perfectly legal and everything. (Okay, so we were both wearing kumite gear and pulling our punches being somewhat controled. Still!)

          1. Pummeling air is a quite vigorous workout. It beats the heck out of running (and 7th graders!) any day. Though running will make you even better at pummeling, in the long run.

          2. “I love you!” Doesn’t mean “I’m sorry!”

            Truer words were never spoken. That said, I have been known (during the course of a disagreeable discussion) to remind my partner, “By the way, I still love you.” And that has its uses (at least when dealing with hypersensitive sorts).

        2. “If I say “Love you!” does that excuse what else I said?”

          I have never known you to need excuse for anything you say. Astonishingly, given some of the things you say.

          For some reason I cannot explain (but could, undoubtedly, hold forth on for a thousand words or so) I tend to gather ’round me people who consistently fail to speak their lines correctly:

          Mnarra: [seeing the consequences of his actions] “Well. That was stupid.”
          Ed: [purses lips, nodding] “Yep.”
          Aberdeen: [patting arm] “Well…yes.”
          Bridgette: “Yes. Yes it was.”

          The list goes on. The correct line is, “No, not stupid. The merest vagary misjudged circumstance. It could have happened to anyone, you should think nothing of it.”

          But does anyone know their line? They do not. I am constantly prompting them, and they are constantly missing that line.

          1. “…For some reason I cannot explain (but could, undoubtedly, hold forth on for a thousand words or so)….”

            That is so beautiful and perfect: a Mark Knopfler note against the background of the ukuleles.

          2. It is good to be appreciated for what I am.

            “…a Mark Knopfler note against the background of the ukuleles.”

            I think that was beautiful. You may expect to see it plagiarized.

          3. yes, but, would you have it any other way? honestly, if we said what we were supposed to say, you wouldn’t get any better. besides, you don’t remember your lines too well either.

    1. [Hits boy in face with brick]

      Pardon? Couldn’t make out what you were saying. My tin ear must be acting up again.

      [eyes roll heavenward]

      Fine. Yes. You told me exactly — not just more-or-less, but EXACTLY — what I had to have a temper fit and a soul-dredge to conclude. You, in fact, told me so.

      …I need to stock larger bricks.

      1. see, you just need to listen to me more. if nothing else I pick up what you tell me, and spout it back at opportune times. re: ‘rather feel guilty for or regret not doing something?’
        if I’m saying something that doesn’t involve world conquest or which new random animal I want to own and domesticate for amusement, probably there’s sense in it you should at least think past.even if it’s outright wrong, it should still give you pause for introspection.

        sugar gliders, by the way. we need a couple. and maybe a little spring loaded thing to launch them with.

      1. I don’t expect to have enough focus to write a proper answer any time soon, sadly. But it’s interesting to me to compare your responses to Zelda’s insanity to your response to Bridgette relaxing the rules. More in person, if you like.

        *hugs*

        1. I would like.

          I have noticed, recently, that my reaction to deciding to do things that I really don’t want to do is to throw a temper fit. I’m still trying to identify the phenomena from the inside, so I can stop it before the temper fit. I’m sort of bored with being a martyr.

        2. …more thought reveals that if I wouldn’t decide to do things I don’t want to do, I wouldn’t have the opportunity for the temper fit.

          Hm.

  2. I think you need to realize that you do not have to sacrifice yourself to help others. Sometimes you can help without it being a sacrifice at all. I would imagine Bridgette would rather not have you in pain or suffering to help her. If you help her out of the love in your own heart and truly desire to help her, no matter what you have to eat, you will feel a lot better about what you are doing.

    See, in this day in age, they don’t throw us up on crosses and nail us in… we do that to ourselves well enough… the only problem with that is … we get frustrated when we finish nailing our left hand in and have no one to help us nail the right hand.

    Do not give everything you are to anyone, for then tomorrow you will have nothing to give them.

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