In the Shadow of the Mountain

I ordered a pizza with real cheese yesterday. I’ve given up being vegan. Mostly it’s because I thought that by being vegan, I would avoid all those horrible health challenges that arise as I get older. Well, that turned out to be a crock of shit. I am all but blind in my left eye and waiting for a call for surgery to try and correct it. I feel like I’ve been betrayed by my body. Or maybe that I’ve let my body down by not eating healthy enough. I’m not sure which is which. I am asking myself: Why bother eating healthy, organic food anymore?

It’s been hard to keep going.

Waiting for the Shoe to Drop

Waiting is never easy – especially when there is so much riding on it like the continuation of your life…or not. It may be that my life will never be the same again. The other eye has an anomaly on it as well. It could be that I go blind. I look around at the house and think about what I could do to help ensure it sells for top dollar. Back porch? Front window? Get rid of a lot of stuff for sure. Well, I guess I won’t need my books anymore. Or my TV!

I Can’t See You

My ordeal began shortly after I went back to working on a computer screen again. I thought my eyesight had just done its usual deterioration in the 14 months I’d been gone, as it has done almost every year since I was eight years old. I made an appointment. The optometrist grew alarmed when he saw my eye scans and had me sit for another. Then he made me wait as he called the ophthalmologist. The consensus is: I have a macular hole in my left eye.

Most of the time surgery can correct your vision, but not always.

The reality is: I can no longer see much with my contacts in and I’m forced to wear my glasses at work. Most of the time, if I want to read anything, I have to remove them entirely and bring whatever I’m looking at very close to my one good eye.

Riding the Rails

I’ve been trying to eat well since 1983 when I first became a vegetarian. Now I’ve had years of poor eating – usually when I was single and going out drinking and dancing as much as I could. Also when I was broke and couldn’t afford to do much more than eat the “mistakes” at whatever restaurant I worked at.

Since I became pregnant in 1989, I’ve eaten well about 70% of the time, with periods of self-starvation to try to be thin alternating with periods of binge eating when I was lonely or sad. It’s been a roller coaster for sure with me fighting my body most of my adult life.

Enough With the Diet Culture!

I finally gave up dieting about six years ago. Got off the roller coaster to see what would happen. My daughter calls it, “going all-in.” I gained a lot of weight during Covid, when I was stressed and unhappy but it has been coming off slowly now, as my mood has lifted. I try to eat what I want to eat. Usually veggies and hummus, salads with seeds, nuts, or berries on top, tofu or beans, toast with nut butter, homemade soups, stews, or rice bowls, and potatoes in any form, cooked any way except scalloped. (What a way to ruin a good potato!)

For me, eating well means lots of fresh vegetables and fruit in season as well as good quality protein and whole grains, with as much of it organic as I can afford. My cravings for salty snacks or comfort food happen whenever I have an emotional disappointment. So I eat well about 80-85% of the time.

Or I did before my eye broke.

Why Me?!

Now I am on a downward spiral of feeling sorry for myself bullshit. It’s the worst. I really hate it when I get like this so I’ve been hiding in my house a lot. It’s just too hard to put on a happy clown face when I feel so sad. So bloody disappointed in myself.

What a loser! Think of all the things I could have eaten over the years! If I knew I’d end up on the dark side of the mountain in ill health, I’d have had the ice cream not only with whipped cream but also with a maras-fucking-chino cherry on top! Red dye be damned!

But I didn’t let myself. Well, unless no one was looking. I used to sneak “bad” food during periods of mental craziness although even that was mostly homemade. At least I’m honest in my binges now. Look at me spiral down to such a low level! What’s next? Eating every meal at Mickey D’s?

That’s the thing that really pisses me off about most vegans and vegetarians – they think McDonald’s food tastes terrible. I don’t. I literally LOVE their fish burgers and fries. (Why I Recommend MacDonald’s For Valentine’s Day)

Giving that up has been really, really tough for me. Yet I’ve done it for years.

Still my eyesight fails me.

Who Am I?

I’ve had to go deep into my psyche to figure out why or if I should continue trying to eat healthy. Why bother? Do I still want to do it? Is it only to be able to say, at 84, that I have one fewer wrinkle in my wrinkly face? Who really cares, especially if you can no longer look in a mirror. Maybe it helps the planet with methane reduction or carbon sequestration – although I question whether the practices that go into creating some of the weird ingredients in vegan products like “beyond meat” aren’t just as destructive.

Is it so that I can feel I’m really helping my body to be healthier? Well, that’s out. I’m just as sick and diseased as anyone now.

First, Do NO Harm

Mostly it’s so that I can feel better knowing as few people and animals as possible were harmed by my food choices. Besides the animals I’ve saved over the years from an absolutely horrifying life and death, I know I’ve helped out small farmers. I’ve supported families by paying more for their vegetables. Even large farmers have benefitted because the workers have not been exposed to terrible chemicals while they plant, work in the fields, or harvest organic produce.

This is not very important to the world at large but for me, it’s absolutely crucial. I just couldn’t enjoy a food if I thought about an animal or a person suffering for my pleasure. Most of the time, this is enough to keep me going. I fall down, I get back up. I just have to, that’s all.

Chubby Whumba

So that’s what I will do. After my whining and my crying about the unfairness of it all, I will stand up again and recommit to eating kindly. If I am to become blind, I’ll sell my books, my house, my car, and my bike. I’ll quit my job, learn brail and start collecting my favourite books again. Maybe I’ll find a small apartment and learn to do things without seeing, like feeding my cats. As if they’d let me stay in bed wallowing!

I am taking comfort in the words of Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf. When asked which was worse, she said that being deaf was worse. This surprises people. She explained that being blind cuts you off from the world but being deaf cuts you off from other people.

Please come over and take me out to hear live music every now and again, OK?

Or maybe just have a cup of tea and tell me how young I look for my age….


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *