(You can’t make lemonade if life won’t hand you lemons…)
My face was literally buried in my hands.
“Are you laughing or crying?” asked my new Dietitian with a confused expression.
She clearly couldn’t tell.
And I clearly couldn’t tell her.
“I don’t know!” I responded meekly. (Because that’s who I am, meek and mild.)
Just moments earlier this chic had obliterated every reason I had for living.
Maybe that’s a tad dramatic. But seriously, it would be quicker to give you a list of things she’s now allowing me to eat. So let’s start there. The list is as follows:
Those might possibly be the three things I hate most in the world. The Holy Trinity of Yuk. My interest in H2O is limited to the molecules I’m swimming in or soaking in. And I’ve never been interested in fruits or vegetables – for any purpose. It’s 100% a trust issue.
Allow me to explain…
My life has always been crazy and chaotic. Change and inconsistency have been my only constant. As such, I must absolutely insist upon dependability in my food options. I hate it when you eat a vegetable or a piece of fruit you really enjoy and then go back for more and it doesn’t taste the EXACT SAME as it did before. Organic foods simply can not be trusted.
Now, consider the humble Oreo, Cheeto or Dorito. These highly processed foods can be counted on for reliability and consistency. They taste EXACTLY THE SAME today as they did in 1971. Ditto Coca-Cola and M&Ms. You get the general idea. Their manufacturers never deviate from the recipe.
After she was done triggering all my emotional responses to her sadistic dietary restrictions, this lady had the audacity to ask me,
“Aren’t you excited to begin a lifelong commitment to healthy eating habits?”
I assured her that I most certainly WAS NOT. After complimenting me on my “refreshing honesty” and “unexpected candor,” she proceeded to take me off of sugar, gluten, dairy, chicken, tea and lemons.
I explained to her that I haven’t been living under a rock lo these 50+ years. I’m aware of this thing she’s chosen to dedicate her own life to called “nutrition.” I am a bonafide mother of 5 after all. It’s not like I’ve never been exposed or introduced to the concept of healthy eating. It’s just not for me. I opted out.
I raised all my children blissfully on pizza, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. And not the yellow box…the blue box. That’s the one MY family could afford. Where you add milk to the neon powder and the kiddos’ lips glowed-in-the-dark all evening. The powdery residue served a dual purpose, making it easier to see the little stinkers at night.
And everyone turned out okay. More than okay. A-okay. I’ve got their ACT scores to prove it. The only one suffering is me. I’ve got the migraines. And this doctor thinks it might be gluten. Or dairy. Or sugar. Or chicken. Or lemons.
Well hell…maybe that tracks. Life has certainly handed me some lemons. But I’ve always been one to whip up a big sugary batch of lemonade. Because that’s how I roll. In fact, I’m such a good sport in life that one of my daughters actually accused me of being a “Toxic Optimist!” And trust me, she did not mean it as a compliment, but being a Toxic Optimist, I went right on ahead and took it as one.
“Is that even a thing?” I asked skeptically.
“Hell yeah!” She assured me. And it can be a perilous approach to life apparently. I rolled my eyes (a trick I learned from her) and flippantly dismissed her warning, telling her to see if they can get that etched on my tombstone when they bury me. It can be my epitaph. Something like: “Here lies Leslie Blanchard – Toxic Optimist”
I’m more than willing to take my chances with the perils and pitfalls of Toxic Optimism. But what now? How can I be expected to make lemonade when life will no longer hand me lemons? Or even sugar for that matter?
I’ve often quipped that I have the diet of a 9 year old boy. A huge insult to 9 year old boys everywhere. That very same keenly observant daughter that lives to label me, amended my disclaimer the other day, suggesting that I actually have the diet of “an unsupervised 9 year old boy!”
She’s not wrong.
But she certainly is wrong about the “Toxic Optimism.” I’m not one bit optimistic about these new dietary constraints. In fact, I’m pretty damn pessimistic.
There’s no way I’ll survive very long on fruits, vegetables and water.
I’m going to need whomever it is that etches tombstones in my area to get started on mine sooner, rather than later. And it’s gonna be pretty wordy. “Here lies Leslie Blanchard. When life gave her lemons, she made lemonade…when life took away her lemons..AND HER SUGAR…she immediately succumbed to “Toxic Pessimism.”
They’ve taken almost everything good in life away from me, surely I can be indulged a wordy tombstone?