Fuckboys Over 40 – A Story

You said you weren’t a playboy.
But I guess that’s what they say.
I don’t deal with them too often, so I missed flags straight away.

We crossed paths overseas, in the “loveliest” of ways.
In a sea of Spanish speakers, your English cleared the haze.
No interpreter necessary; I felt comfortable to play.
Touch escalated quickly, as you sought to mark your prey.
Your hands up my shirt; the way your fingers strayed.
And “water on a rock” put your commitment on display.

Hours passed of tennis banter, hand in hand down empty streets.
Awkward silence never showed while the world whizzed by our feet.

“Lover of women.” “Translucent redheads are my type.”
Phrases that seemed innocuous, when I had you for the night.

There was no doubt I would kiss you; Chemistry a violent fire.
Our melded lips became a match.
My will burned with desire.
Your fingertips traced smolders down my flesh and took me higher.
You gazed into my eyes as if my being was a pyre.

“It feels nice to be wanted too.”
So I tried to make sure you knew.

And though we didn’t consummate, I saw you once more.
You spent time just to chat,
as if I was good company, as if sex wasn’t foremost,
though I was shiny out the wrap.

Before our time was up, I asked was this goodbye.
You promised that it wasn’t; that we’d reunite in time.
That you’d come visit my city, resume pleasurable sighs.

Perhaps I should have realized then, that it was just a line,
since as soon as we were separated, I was out of sight and mind.
I wondered why you didn’t even text unless I tried.
But when I called you out on it, you assured me it was fine.
“There’s no Internet here, so it takes me a long time, but I’m thinking of you darling.”
SOUNDED genuine and kind.
Till you took days to answer, disrespectful of my time.

“I’m not good with online communication.”
“I just don’t check my phone often.”

(WhatsApp and IG status updated though,
so that one’s purely grime).

This what you meant by let’s keep talking? I thought you wanted to know me.
So maybe if I went to YOU, impatiently re-ignited that chemistry brew,
maybe THEN you’d show me?

But thrice the universe said “Nope” and then sent forth a plague.
Solidifying her message to me: “Thou shalt not get laid.” (By him).

I thought this meant we should keep building,
until our inevitable reunion.

I genuinely showed interest in your day to day life.
But my name escaped you 4 months in (you claimed you found names trite).

You never asked anything about myself, though I longed to bond over dancing,
video games and nerdy things, and shared fitness passion.
But you just seemed more attuned to would-be bedroom action.
Though you reached out for favors to eyeball your work
and my mind felt appreciated; my heart went berserk.

So much in common you didn’t bother to notice.
“I’m emotionally distant and work is my focus.”
But every time I asked if you wanted to keep talking,
you always said yes, so I pumped the breaks on walking.

How could I not open my heart more and soften?
Okay, he did a gay short once; #actors do those often. (Yeah?)
He has a belly button piercing… well, his stomach’s taut and…

Why do I cry tears for being just an afterthought then?

You said your heart was once broken, that you were sensitive too.
Yet you’re unable to empathize with another in your shoes?

You said your heartbreak wasn’t crazy, though you wouldn’t indulge me.
But you’d indulge a public podcast, for the whole world to see
you’d like to hate-fuck your ex, and other wicked fantasies?

Tiptoed around my feelings, so as not to overwhelm you
but why hold on when you equated me to just a shell who
could easily be replaced by your revolving harem options
when all I wanted was to feel I was special in your clock and
instead you just saw fit to pull a vanish and just drop in
when you felt like I was worth your time, “Oh have a crumb, my OPTION.”

Because dance is the gift of seduction.
Acting, the gift of pretense.
Public speaking, when you can’t actually communicate personally?
A mask of fraudulence.
An inauthentic mirror of immoral decadence.

You log your sexual conquests on a spreadsheet.
I write poems of catharsis for emotional relief.

I showed my vulnerability and stripped bare,
only to realize I’m standing alone out there
and the hardest pill to swallow is…
After 5 months, you don’t care.

To say…
I could have contracted Covid and passed away
without your notice is fair.

But the honesty of your true intentions could have spared me. (It’s called stringing).

Mixed signals are the devil, and your follower cannot read
where to step next in the dance when the leader doesn’t lead. (It’s called breadcrumbing).

But maybe it’s better to be the loser…

Because why choose cold and distant over caring and kind? And close-hearted aloofness over glowing warmth in brine.
And clinging to angry ex memories that keep you stagnant in time.

And anyway, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find
another slender, gaming badass, awesome locks ran down her spine,
with a chain around her belly,
and a heart as big as mine.

~Tael

Blackness Mirrored

I see you all, standing with us.

Mirroring our outrage, disgust and frustration. Those who have to be mindful of their skin tone every day. Those who have the privilege of forgetting their skin color.

Those who don’t see skin color at all.

Which camp are you?

I see my Blackness as part of my genetic make-up; an identity trait holding no more weight than my slim frame, flowing dreadlocks, love of music. But I don’t “experience” my skin tone. I share it. The unpopular minority that doesn’t immediately get offended if another race uses the term “nigga.” To me it’s an urban term; you know when it’s being used inappropriately and the intention of the one using it. You know.

You could be the self-hating Black kind like my ex-husband. Terrified to be associated with anything stereotypical, like Red Lobster, fried chicken and watermelon. Clinging to art and classical music, ties and blazers, to remind everyone “I’m not THAT kind of Black.”

While I seamlessly drift through all worlds at once; projects and spacious houses, Flatbush and Midtown, slang and literature.

Because allies are everywhere.

Internally, i’m not very mindful of my Blackness. Because I don’t “wear” it. I just…AM. But outside my bubble, discrimination continues. And when I watch the viral clips and videos, I FEEL it.

When a Black man needlessly gets shot, jogging in his neighborhood or relaxing in his OWN HOME, I get angry.  When a white woman calls the cops on a Black person for existing…calling her out for breaking the rules, waiting for a friend in an apartment building, barbecuing, playing golf…I get angry. When we’re being choked and cry out that we can’t breathe and it’s ignored, and we DIE, I get angry. When four cops need to pile on top of an unarmed Black mother in front of her child because apparently that force was necessary, I get angry. I wonder why, despite growing up in a blender of culture, after 33 years this insensitivity still exists in 2020. Like it’s been frozen and preserved, retaining all the same intensity as the Jim Crow era. I don’t understand racism. I grew up surrounded by blacks, whites, browns, tans, pales, caramels, butters, peanuts, olives, accents, hijabs, yarmulkes, jade stones and languages I did not understand.

I grew up around tolerance. Acceptance.

So I get ANGRY when I hear this bullshit is still happening. And I feel the collective rage. And I don’t NOT condone the looting. And the anarchy. And the chaos. The wild frustrated will to truly be free when you’ve been walking on eggshells the rest of the time. And the melting pot all over the nation feels it, and the unified support and disgust that these incidents keep occurring that non-Blacks are mirroring is a tearful embrace saying, “We got ya’ll.”

And I’m so proud. To everyone who stares down an armed cop to mirror our indignation in the name of our equality, I’m so proud. I want to absorb your courage.

I love you for marching for us.

And I love those unafraid to open dialogue about Blackness. So many of us are quick to lash out at ignorance. And while I fully understand the sentiment, discussion from both sides NEEDS to take place, not just condemnation.

It’s maddening that ignorance exists and some shit we think is obvious still needs to be TAUGHT to others. But we have to accept that we live in a world riddled with ignorance. And if someone is willing to address that ignorance within themselves, and actively seek guidance and understanding in an effort to rise above it, then that is courage as well, and we need to be willing to mentor and educate with a disciplined mind. On why that way of thinking is wrong. On why that sort of action is inappropriate or offensive. Poke enough holes through a closed mind that wants to be open, and ignorance can filter out like a sieve.

I will never be afraid to have that dialogue. Because it’s knowledge that defeats ignorance.

The incidents of injustice we keep seeing, can make you want to give in so badly to automatic hate.

But, I don’t want to be driven to hate.
Because hate is why we’re where we are now.

But if it makes you feel a little better, do it anyway. Get it out. Hate. Emote. Protest. Riot. Loot.

Teach.

~Tael

Unlearning: Discomfort = Love

Not too long ago, I asked my crush about a past relationship and he informed me that he didn’t want to go into detail about it. My first reaction was hurt; I wanted to connect and grow closer by learning about this part of his past and I almost felt shut out by it. But the logical part of my brain reasoned with me: why was I making this about myself? It had nothing to do with me. He just felt uncomfortable sharing it.

Boundaries.

Some time ago, my therapist (AND my boss haha) brought some very valuable information to light concerning my tenuous relationship with my mother; that our relationship lacked boundaries, which then translated into boundary-trampling in my other relationships. I put aside what made me uncomfortable in romantic relationships, and suffocated my partners’ limits, because my upbringing had taught me that discomfort equals love.

I want to say “in my family,” but maybe this wasn’t the case. Maybe it was just my mom in particular, who never took my personal mental comfort seriously. Sure, the normal PHYSICAL comforts were taken care of. But never my psyche.

She’d buy clog-shoes that felt uncomfortable on my feet, but insist I wear them because they were “fashionable.” She’d force me to wear a graduation dress that exposed far too much side-boob than my 13-year-old self was comfortable with. She’d demand that I hug so-and-so, despite my visible uneasiness, and call out that uneasiness as problematic because she didn’t understand it (or care to ask), putting me at war with my internal feelings.

We weren’t allowed to have boundaries as children, it seemed…because adults knew better what we should properly feel.

She’d drag me to the forefront of an audience to recite a pleasantry (knowing full well I hated being the center of attention) and stand idly by as her shadow as they asked me questions and she answered for me, until I had permission to flee. Or she’d shove me into a group of children at a gathering against my pleas and demand I make friends, where anxiety got the better of me and I’d break down and sob.

Once I reached adulthood, moved out and got my own job, apartment, and self-sufficiency, those habits never ended. She continued to pull me into the spotlight to show me off, cut me off to answer questions directed at me, and automatically make plans for me assuming it was a given I’d go along with them. Any time I expressed discomfort as an adult, manipulation tactics, guilt trips and gaslighting were used to coerce my submission.

Eventually, I resorted to ignoring her phone calls and texts most of the time, or preparing ironclad defenses like a lawyer as to why I couldn’t attend an event, simply because I was afraid to say “no” and the drama that would ensue as a result. But as an adult, why did I still need to live with this fear? Why couldn’t I ever say “Actually, I don’t feel like it,” or “I think that request is unfair, so no,” or “I feel uncomfortable,” without getting the 3rd degree for it and made to feel that my emotions were insubstantial somehow?

Always made to feel like a selfish person to choose yourself first, guilt became interweaved with the concept of “no,” and responsibility for everyone else’s feelings paramount to your own. And discomfort became a way of life; normal even. And boundaries ceased to exist between those who love each other and the more uncomfortable you feel, the stronger your bond and the higher your love must reach. Until distress spills over everywhere because you don’t even know what boundaries are anymore, or the source of your unhappiness.

But…you do know a state of constant discomfort doesn’t feel good, so you wonder…why would someone who loves me continue to put me in situations I don’t feel comfortable in, for their own satisfaction?

I don’t want to continue that cycle.

Unlearn that love.

~Tael

Demisexuality: It All Makes Sense Now

Nope, this is not a joke post; this is me taking my enlightenment very seriously. Because many see the definition of demisexuality and say it’s an unnecessary orientation that doesn’t NEED labeling, or duh, EVERYONE is this way, so you ain’t special, yah? But I have never so clearly understood my odd and largely sporadic sense of attraction that I’ve never been able to quite pin down until I explored this new label.

I’ve come across the term occasionally in the past few years. The first time I thought, yeah sounds like me. The second time I thought, hokay, I think I really am this thing. The third time, a few days ago, I thought, HOLY SHIT, THIS IS REAL.

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Because suddenly, patterns in my past dealings with attraction and heartbreak began to fall into place. Sure, most folks would LOVE an emotional connection with those they sleep with. But most can also still have sex without it easily. That’s why casual hookup culture is so prevalent and one-stands are common. But for what i’ll affectionately call the “demi” tribe, those are very difficult. I can only think of ONE time I may have been down for a hookup. Drunk at a party at college, grinding up on a guy who followed me to the bathroom when I got dizzy with the pretense of helping me get water, *may* have made out with me, and said “You know you want this,” as he placed my hand on his crotch. And I think I really DID want it, but I also had an off-campus boyfriend at the time so amidst my idiot party girl decisions, I knew I didn’t want to be a FULL cheater…? Anyway, it didn’t happen.

In grade school, you basically like who everybody else likes to fit in. The pop stars, basketball players, school jock heartbreaker, ohh squeal, hearts on your binder, he said hi to me in the hall blahblahblah. Once I left the realm of adolescence, I realized I didn’t have the same attraction to peeps as my peers did. When the girls around me would say “Oh, check out that hot guy over there,” I’d be the one squinting in the general direction like “Where? Where is he? Is that it?” And being severely underwhelmed.

Because it is EXTREMELY rare for me to experience on-sight physical attraction to someone, and I never knew why.

Whenever men hit on me, my initial reaction is suspicion. I don’t care how “conventionally attractive” they are (and I THINK I can usually spot a “conventionally attractive person” pretty good?). I have never thought “Damn he’s sexy, I’d love to hop on that.” More like “Why tf are you making me take my headphones out right now?” Attraction at first sight doesn’t exist for me.

When I do like someone, it’s because I’ve spent time with them. I’ve noticed their little quirks and chuckles. The cracks in their silly facade when they answer a question seriously. The mischievous glint when they parry back a witty comment without missing a beat. Or the eye contact they make as they watch you love their face burrowing between your thighs……………oops tangent! And it might take awhile to see these things unless they’re being completely natural with you off top. Which means demis often don’t know how we actually feel about the person until some time has passed.

It can be a chore if you’re really TRYING to find someone to connect with.

And it makes online dating an EXTREME hassle. Because you swipe incessantly, wondering if the person you COULD be *MAYBE* physically attracted to actually has the personality necessary to attract you for real since you still need BOTH. I’ve never been too sure of my “type” of men because I’ve been with a variety. I’ve even been with those I’ve only had the emotional connection with, but not the physical attraction. Because the connection was there, I was still able to sleep with them, but eventually I realized it wasn’t sustainable if every time I looked at them I thought WOOF.

So you’re cautious with your likes/matches because you’re trying to be sure there’s the best chance for a connection, but you’ll only REALLY know for sure if you meet them, probably like 3-5 times first, and if there’s still nothing there, go through the awkward “Oops, I’m just not feeling it,” “Wait, really, I thought we had a great time!” “Oh sure, it was nice but I don’t want to proceed sexually yet because your personality has not charmed the shit out of me, but should we try a few more times or just call it now before we waste any more energy??”

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Like dat.

But once you FINALLY overcome the GRIND of connecting emotionally and finding them adorable, the attraction mounts, and then the ATTACHMENT begins. Rapidly. And it can be hard to let go, because of how uncommon it is to feel the attraction in the first place. Which can cause a mess of feelings and tears and frustration if it doesn’t work out and trouble disconnecting because you WENT THROUGH ALL THIS WORK, and when’s the next time the STARS ARE GOING TO ALIGN to find this buildup AGAIN?? It’s exhausting. I can see why it’s classified smack in the middle of the sexual/asexual spectrum. Because demis may as well be nuns while that connection is missing. We’re just not INTERESTED.

But then comes the problem of when you ARE sexually wanting because the last connection didn’t work out, but finding emotional connection is sparse.

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Why are my friends like this?

It speaks to the current hookup culture that waiting an ENTIRE WEEK to sleep with someone is seen as this crazy obstacle now. It should NOT be HARD WORK. Why, BACK IN MY DAY…you know what, FORGET IT. And who KNOWS if I’d even find your friend HOT ANYWAY., PROBABLY NOT, because I’M DEMI. *Bitterbitterbitterbitter.*

I remember when the term “sapiosexual” became popularized years ago. I also identify with that one, however, while I may be highly attracted to intelligent individuals (teach me, senpai!), I am also attracted to glasses, genuine smiles, nice eyes, sarcastic wit, skateboarders….there’s no term for each one (thankfully). You can be attracted to intelligence AND other things. But even if a guy had all that ish, and the connection was missing, it would still be a dead-end for me. I wouldn’t even WANT to still sleep with the unicorn man of my dreams just for kicks because he had all the things I ever wanted. If I couldn’t confide a deep dark secret with him, his penis was useless. The point is, demisexuals don’t WANT to be demisexuals lol. At least I sure don’t. Hooray, I’ve finally gained clarity on my orientation, but I don’t WANT to be this kind of different, horny and angry over it (horngry?).

I would love to “order up” a quick hookup on Tinder to soothe the raging fire in my loins (because I’m experiencing quite a drought) but I can’t just DO IT. I can’t just open myself up to (metaphorically and quite literally) to a person I haven’t spent time and laughed with, assessed their character, and grown to LIKE in some way. Without that connection, it’s just sex. And I don’t want JUST sex with some random “conventionally hot” person. I want something passionate and powerful, with a delicious natural build-up, where our speech was never-ending foreplay and our words were extensions of our tongues teasing our minds and flesh and each confident touch sent electric currents up our joints. And if that ain’t there, then what’s the point?

(I may be a bit of an overachiever). I don’t need “just sex.”

I have always been on a never-ending quest for human connection, sexual or no. I crave authenticity and realness, deep bonds with folks who resonate on the same vibe, honest emotion. I think we all know how hard it is to find on just a friendly level. Move it to the realm where it’s required for intimacy and it makes life that much harder for those who won’t settle for anyone less, in a world where casual is where it’s at and, let’s face it, PEOPLE STRAIGHT UP SUCK. One time I tried settling for less a few years ago and the dope couldn’t even be a proper FWB; I ended up being less satisfied than before. I’m accumulating a lot of “Don’t Settle” lessons at this stage in my life.

I guess the silver lining is that demisexuals are willing to wait for something more meaningful (not like our hearts really give us a choice), which means more meaningful sexual encounters WHEN WE DO FIND THEM, but what do you do in the meantime if you’re a demi who’s not finding anyone to connect with on that level, AND not settling?

Tough it out miserably with your vibrator in the meantime is the main suggestion I keep getting.

Damn my standards. But at least I know I’m not alone.

~Tael

What I Learned From A 21-Day Elimination Diet

(Not that much)

In my efforts to get closer to the solution of the chronic idiopathic constipation that’s been plaguing me for the past year, I’ve done a lot of shit (unfortunately only figuratively >.<). I’ve loaded up on fiber, (both supplemental and in fresh whole fruit and veggie smoothie form) which only exacerbated the condition. I’ve experimented with 8 glasses of water a day, undergone laxative clean-outs, visited separate gastroenterologists and collectively undergone an ultrasound, MRI and colonoscopy. I’ve chugged salt water/baking soda solutions, cupped warm tea with lemon in the mornings, and fasted. I’ve added every Top 20 “Foods That Make You Poop” on the Google searches to my diet. I’ve also tried eliminating certain known “trigger” categories for a week or so. Gluten, dairy, sugar, etc…But never at the same time. And I was asked the question, “Well, what if you didn’t remove them for long enough?” My thought-process (and what I’ve read from most Internet accounts) is once you get rid of the thing hindering your digestive process, you start to see results pretty quickly. Not like you’re-better-in-a-day quickly, but you DO see a noticeable change.

Only time I noticed a significant digestive change was when I started a Manuka honey, black seed oil, mastic gum combo to fight what I THOUGHT might be H. Pylori, although I was later tested and confirmed to NOT have it. After the colonoscopy, which came back A-OK, and while waiting for the test results from my naturopath (doctors GALORE was my strategy) I thought, what next? My bestie had recently raved about the magical healing powers of celery juice, and urged me to give that a shot. Like for a month. And I’m like, where tf am I going to get celery juice every day for a month? Do I like…MAKE it? Do I have to buy a juicer?? The Internet (no connection to the band) told me you could simply blend the stuff and strain it through a nut-milk bag. Okay cool. Time to try this new thing to add to my exhaustive list of tried things. Especially since all these bloggers swore celery juice sent them stampeding to the bathroom with its diuretic effect. I needed that.

But then, since I can’t half-ass anything, I decided, what if I did something ELSE during this period to make it more effective? Since I’d tried eliminating one food one week, another food another week, in the past, why not do ’em ALL AT THE SAME TIME and  TORTURE MYSELF EVEN MORE?

Because true healing is rough, right? And most nutritionists will say everything you eat nowadays is bad if it’s not vegetables. Everything will cause cancer. White bread? Cancer. Meat? AWFUL. Whole grains? They’re bad now. Non-organic fruits and vegetables? How dare you. Sugar? The holy grail of unhealthiness. Hell they’re even suggesting that we limit fruit now. Foods not immediately shipped to you from the local farmer McGregor’s pastures can cause brain fog and people are really seeking out these functional medicine docs and paying the $800-initial-visit and $300-follow-up-visits (that aren’t covered by health insurance) because with the brain fog, they “just don’t feel quite right.”

This is what we’re going to the doctor for now. Brain fog. Headaches. Dizziness. Although if you have all 3 of those on a regular basis, I’d be concerned if you didn’t get a CAT scan first for tumors before assuming it’s the pesticides on your apples from Key Food.

Negative bacteria is running rampant disrupting our gut microbiomes and we need to starve them out by abandoning anything delicious that we hold dear, and our bodies weren’t meant to process all the foods we eat now because Darwinian adaptation doesn’t really exist, and if you take antibiotics or eat one false thing you absolutely destroy your gut flora and all you’ve worked up to achieving it and set yourself back 1,000 steps. So no ice cream cones with your kiddies, slice of pizza with your sister, or a box of shared fries with your date. Even if it’s once in awhile.

Well then, let’s have it and see if it fixes me?

I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar for 21 days. Supposedly the 3 biggest inflammatory offenders. I had already been tested for Celiac’s, but had heard you could have a negative test and still be intolerant. Since I tend to be active (yeah, this ain’t no couch-potato constipation we’re talking about), I couldn’t COMPLETELY give up starch so I allowed for the two naturally non-gluten ones: rice and potatoes (which I’ve recently learned is actually a veggie!). Excluding rice, I gave up grains, because apparently there’s some belief going around that whole grains are now the devil. I gave up eggs because they’re kinda dairy, kinda not, and some people have problems with them. Some sites advocated giving up nightshades (which includes potatoes) but I don’t eat nightshades on the regular enough to have a need to eliminate them. No caffeine or alcohol (which induces a pretty good colon cleanout from my experience with liquor, but okay), but that was a non-issue. No processed foods or junk of any kind, which I don’t normally eat like that anyway. I skated the questionable line between beans/legumes vs no beans/legumes because they’re not part of my regular diet. I initially cut out nuts and seeds for the first week and a half or so as well, because the Internet says it’s good to, before remembering the last time I had nuts or seeds was years ago, so those definitely weren’t causing my issue. Also I was starving and needed something else to snack on besides fruit.

Yes. I was hungry. Sure there’s all these WONDERFUL VEGGIES TO INDULGE IN to replace the awful, terrible, no-good foods that you miss, but let’s get real. I ate and ate the safe foods, couldn’t tell if I was full or hungry or what for the first week. I determined that this was only because my body was craving the things I loved but couldn’t have. It cried out for more “yummies” even though it was full already. My cookies and snacks were stashed in a high cabinet where I couldn’t see them. My whey protein shakes went on hiatus. I eliminated fruit juice, and dutifully chopped up my celery stalks every morning. I added teaspoons of acacia fiber to ensure I was still getting soluble fiber.

“Breakfast” didn’t exist anymore, it became leftover-safe-foods-from-last-night. The entire first week I focused on foods not commonly in my rotation like lamb, ground turkey, sweet potatoes, applesauce, spinach. Weekends I stayed close to home because I couldn’t even eat at someone else’s house and I wouldn’t be able to grab something “quick” from outside. At one point my stove broke and needed to be replaced, so thank god for emergency Chipotle (burrito bowl without the burrito, rice, beans, chicken, COMPLIANT). I berated my boyfriend for attempting to surprise me with Japanese restaurant reservations during this period, because eating out was impossible, unless we were going to JustSalads, minus any dressing or toppings. And I hate salads.

Midway through the diet, results from my naturopath came in. No dysbiosis. No helicobactor pylori or other sinister bacteria. No candida overgrowth. No parasites. No heavy metals in my blood. Nothing to indicate that I had a leaky gut or disrupted microbiome or that my diet beforehand had contributed in any sense to my condition. Nothing to confirm these fancy new diagnoses that warrant giving up pleasurable eating. But I had started this elimination diet, so I was committed to finishing it.

Two weeks in I did notice my bloating was beginning to subside. I also decided to switch back off of Miralax to magnesium supplementation instead because I hate the concept of having to stay on Miralax indefinitely. Was it the diet? Or was it the incorporation of resistant starch, the celery juicing, or finally caving and using ab machines at the gym; something I’d avoided for all my years of gymming on the basis that if I did full body workouts, I didn’t need to isolate abs.

Once I got off the Miralax, shit did get harder again (every pun intended here).

My cravings did subside…all up until maybe 5 days before the impending diet’s end. Then they came back full force, as if they could tell I’d be able to indulge soon enough. Additionally, my stools returned to little rabbit balls, even WORSE than before I’d begun the diet. :/ Eliminating grains and relying strictly on increased veggies was not healing me.

For a colonoscopy, you’re required to have a clear liquid-only diet for the entire day before the procedure. Then the night before, you take a powerful laxative to clear out all the nothing you’ve been eating (drinking?), so you can waltz in zombified the next day, lay down on the cot, have the IV inserted, and….oh shit it’s over and the nurse is giving you popcorn and apple juice in the recovery room (god damn I miss popcorn and apple juice right now). I went home that day and ordered two large pasta dishes from Seamless. Because that is what restriction can do to you.

As I write this, I crave pizza, burgers, and bullshit bodega snacks I usually don’t even notice. Shit I never even give a passing THOUGHT on a normal basis because my diet doesn’t usually consist of these things. Bagels. Wendy’s Frostys and Checker’s shakes. Lays chips and a Coke like I used to have as an after-school snack in high school (cause characters in older YA novels always had that damn snack). An ice cream with sprinkles off the truck whose jingle New Yorkers are pretty much immune to at this point. I missed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and buttered toast. This diet prompted cravings in shit I’d eat once every few months if that. Chocolate bars that I can never finish in one sitting, and usually only encounter around Halloween. My dreams involved deli cold-cut sandwiches, tortilla chips, and waffles drenched in syrup.

They say when you do an elimination diet, it’s supposed to teach you about your relationship with food. I’ve learned nothing from it besides the reinforcement that my soul is much better suited to moderation than restriction. I like snacks. I get sugar cravings. But sometimes I can go days without cookies because I DON’T always crave them. I drink 100% juice but when I pour myself a cup I pour about 8 ounces maybe, and struggle to finish it. My cousins have always made fun of me for making a 16 oz bottle of soda last for 2 days. If I get an ice cream cup, it’s always a SMALL because I know what I can finish and what I can’t.

I also lost a good 7 pounds on this diet, an unfortunate side-effect that many would cheer for, but a lamentation for someone who has always had trouble putting on weight and whose main goal of gymming is gains. They say elimination diets are not meant to be long term (Thank GOD, but jeebus look at some of the lengths on SCD and GAPs), and there’s some interweb arguments against them. That it’s not good to just eat the same ish all the time since before the advent of Whole Foods, humans didn’t have access to fresh kale and asparagus year round and our diets rotated around what crops were in season, and what resources were available. That continuously eating the same foods can lead to food intolerances (even though that’s EXACTLY what you’re doing on an elimination diet, doubling down on the shit you CAN eat, which you’re not supposed to do, so Catch-22?), or that avoiding foods can LEAD to building intolerances based on its avoidance! That nutritional deficiencies can come into play if you’re not properly replacing things you’re giving up like grains with different sources of the same nutrients.

And then there’s the pyschological aspect, that plants (haha) the notion that you’ve messed up by eating a “bad food” like a Pavlovian response. It creates an unnecessary stress factor when really, food should be inviting and one of our basic human indulgences. Hell my chiropractor was even against oatmeal because he believes all carbs are awful.

By the completion of the diet, my constipation wasn’t cured, my life wasn’t changed and I didn’t feel full of energy and superpowered like my chiro said I would be. My skin didn’t get clearer (although I had no real acne to begin with), I hadn’t been experiencing BRAIN FOG, or stomach pains, or headaches or dizziness or anything besides a slower gut before this to feel improvement for. My stomach did feel lighter, sure, but between Days 12-17, I felt bouts of lethargy which made me wonder if I was lacking in some nutrient I’d inadvertently cut out. By Day 18 I was so sick of potatoes and rice as a side that I started forgoing it, still bored with the meat and veggie options, but simply eating out of necessity just because my body needed it, and not out of any sense of satisfaction.

Food no longer made me happy.

My belief is that food needs some kind of balance. Being unable to eat at your mom’s house because the beans were cooked in butter or travel to far from your home-prepared safe food sources (guys, I didn’t even leave the borough of Manhattan) is a very militant and unhealthy relationship for myself to have with something that once gave me pleasure. And constant worrying over whether you’re consuming enough water if you’re not thirsty, to counterbalance your increased fiber definitely spiked my anxiety (I’m FULL but am I getting ENOUGH ahhhh!). I longed for the days where I didn’t have to THINK, but I also longed for a clear sign of improvement that I never got on this diet.

My reintroduction period has begun and it’s a bit more complicated than it seems. I haven’t binged through all the foods I’ve missed because you have to reintroduce just that eliminated group in its isolated form. So no pizza, because there’s gluten AND dairy, and same goes for other favorite delectables, like garlic bread, ice cream, cheeseburgers, cake, etc…For sugar i’ve reintroduced honey and juice, and dairy, milk, butter and cheese, to eliminate any possible reactions to these subsets before moving to gluten where I can have a bowl of cereal again, or a peanut butter sandwich….and COOKIES. When I reach dairy, since I had already done sugar, I was at least able to bring back Ensures (got a lotta weight recoup to work on), gluten free protein bars, ice cream, and chocolate milk. So the home stretch is even longer than one would think, but necessary to make sure you have no reactions to any “triggers” added back in from each group, which I fully expect to NOT have, as this diet has not revealed food intolerances. I ponder to at least take something away from this experience; some nuggets of acquired wisdom:

  1. I WILL continue to celery juice since I still think this can be beneficial.
  2. Resistant starch did seem to help out so i’ll continue to incorporate that one for awhile as well.
  3. I shouldn’t be afraid to eat more (chronic constipation can definitely subconsciously plant an avoidance to food, and less food is not the answer here).
  4. The Internet, with all its abundance of holistic/anecdotal/underground knowledge, can still get it wrong, and is rife with contradiction. Just like doctors.

I survived, and I’m glad I got this shit out the way before the delicious summertime scents take over. I proceed to move forward, this time with the exact opposite diet: low fiber, high calorie. I plan to compare how both make me feel.

Wonder which one will come out on top?

~Tael