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.