Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A Good Quitter

There’s no holding me back! Yesterday, with Jay and his truck’s help, I got three 8-foot fence panels into my yard, and I hired Darrell (who did so much work here for me when I moved to Pinecone Park) to finish the work I started—the last of the fence plus a gate into Merrill’s and Leo’s yard. Woo hoo!

Sheba is in poor shape, so there was only one walk yesterday. I spent the day reading, watering and chillin’. Wendy, a neighbour I barely know, brought me some delicious cookies! I love Gabriola! 

I came here to get away from the noise of the city I loved and lived in my whole life: Vancouver. I was a proud citizen, but I emerged from my “breakdown,” into a world that powerfully over-stimulated me. 

Then I got Fred, Ethel and Sheba, the loves of my life. Nails #1, #2 and #3. And landscaped a large yard. #4 And I settled down to live with a very challenging (psychologically as well as functional) speech disorder. #5. And seizures. #6. And now, #7, cardio-friendly lifestyle adjustments, each nail holding me here where it feels safe and nurturing. If I’m going to be nailed to my home, I couldn’t have chosen in a better one. 

I remember the day I quit smoking: I had just bought a brand-new package of cigarettes from a corner store in Madrid. I was with a friend and when I came out of the store, we were waiting to cross a major street and we stood beside a lamppost that had a little litter basket attached to it.

I opened the cellophane and then the silver paper and threw them into the basket. And then, out of the blue, as though from my subconscious, I spontaneously threw the whole package away. I have personal discipline down pat; I never smoked another cigarette. That was 55 years ago.

I have voracious appetites, but, just like that, I can quit one. Most recently: Sugar. I lost 49 pounds in the Fall/Winter of 2020. And I stopped a heavy and long-term habit of marijuana smoking in December 2020. And now, I’ve quit a constant over-the-top 30-year addiction to Diet Coke.

All these stops were spontaneous—all were a force ignited by a subconscious but welcome spark. It was not of cerebral inspiration. Snap. I can do that! I feel free.

I also feel like I’m 35, and my speech was startlingly good with Dwight and Bruce yesterday when they called. I sleep fewer hours each day and I have ambition again. My brain is awake again, for the past few years it’s been drowsy. 

Dwight and Bruce called last night. I apologized to both of them for my behavior. I told them they were talking to someone I don’t want to be. My voice was full-on back, but I hated it. I hated what I was saying. I have an alter ego who brings an imaginary cigarette to my mouth, says something bitchy and then exhales dramatically. I have channeled my disenchantments into a bitch-within who smokes and speaks snidely for me. 

I don’t mind the smoking bitch but I don’t like the “performer” persona who can take me over. When I’m “performing” I don’t listen; I just wait for an opportunity to negatively riff humorously (or so I think) off what the person I’m with has said. I feel the performer is back because of the energy boost of my pacemaker. The last five years have been primarily beautiful, even with the speech and seizures. I was never the ‘performer,’ just occasionally the smoking bitch—and nobody seems to mind her. She just punches out short one-liners. The performer is relentless and suddenly back.

I’m going to try not to be that person who I was last night. My mission is to control the beast

Sheba is showing some signs of improvement. I am giving her antibiotics. 

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