November 22, 2011

Aspartame & Other Drugs.

Clockwise: Sewing! Garp! Me! Hattie! 
Around my birthday, I wrote about 5 goals, most all of which had to do with wanting to take better care of myself because a) I wasn't sleeping very well, at least not naturally, and b) I loved Diet Coke and Splenda in my coffee and faux sugar bubble gum and ice cream products and c) I wasn't writing fiction anymore, and it was making me feel like my writing-related goals were going POOF.

Two months later, I've made a lot of progress on three of my goals and none at all on two others.

First off, I have given up aspartame! I initially wrote that I thought it would be the hardest thing for me to accomplish on my list, but it's actually been no sweat. It's been more difficult, in fact, for me to remember how to pronounce aspartame. I keep wanting to say Ass-per-tame. The first week was tough, but I made some pretty "sweet" substitutions, replacing the Splenda in my coffee with Truvia and swapping my daily Diet Coke or two with an even more caffeine-jacked daily skim latte, with one raw sugar (or sometimes none at all! GO ME.) At restaurants, I just order an unsweet tea instead of a Diet Coke. And I'm not totally rigid about it. I've actually had a Diet Coke or two, a packet of the yellow stuff a time or two, and it's been totally no big deal. I was worried I would gain weight, but I haven't. Not a pound gained or lost either way. And the best benefit, and the one I was most hoping for, has been fewer breakouts. Maybe it's a fluke, but my skin is looking uber better since I told aspartame to kiss it. Like, I actually walked out of the house without putting on any makeup the other day. I'm not saying it was entirely pretty, but it happened.

On the other hand, the trying to go to sleep naturally thing has not worked. Most nights, I alternate taking Motrin P.M. with taking Xanax to get myself to sleep. I was so grateful to come across this New York Times article, "Mothers and Sleep Medication," because now I know I'm not alone. Big sigh. The gist of it: Women, mothers especially, so often lie awake at night because they can't turn off the hyper-vigilance that powers their days. This is exactly how I feel: All day long I'm taking care of Tessa, meeting work deadlines, keeping the house clean and organized, maintaining a marriage and a social life and a family life, keeping up with this blog, and on and on. I love all that stuff (mostly), but how to disconnect from it long enough to get that eight hours of sleep every night? My very favorite bit from the article was this woman who said, "We’re supposed to be these crazed people all day and then suddenly become Buddhists at night.” Exactly! How is that supposed to happen? Pass the pills, dude. I will perserve on this one though, because I worry that it's a slippery slope, this taking pills to sleep thing. And one day I'll be pregnant again, and I won't be able to cope that way anymore.

In good news, I went out on a limb and asked two people who I really admire to start a fiction writing group with me. And they said yes, and we've set deadlines and shit. So I almost already have one short story under my belt, and then I'll be responsible for another one every six weeks. Accountability is so golden! I can't even begin to explain how happy this makes me.

Oh, the other two goals I wrote about? Here are the Cliff notes: I have been working out, usually three times a week, rotating Pilates classes and Zumba classes (I am, for the record, still terrible at Zumba and giggle my way through most of the classes), but I haven't lifted a finger to start on this quilt I waxed poetic about wanting to begin. I have been doing lots of sewing lately, though, but mostly boring stuff like mending and refashioning clothes that fit weird.

This post was inspired by Mandy's (really awesome) plea tonight to bloggers to please be authentic. Being authentic takes balls, by the way. Because when all the details aren't sweet as pie or wrapped into a neat DIY, and when you have things to say about motherhood or your kid other than how blow-your-mind amazing it/she/he is, it's sort of awkward. Speaking of authenticity, you have to see Ryan's post on Pacing the Panic Room. It's called "The Best Worst Weekend Ever," and it's about a romantic getaway with his wife gone terribly wrong. The honesty slays me. I could never be that honest here. But I so admire it in other bloggers. Honestly, I hope you guys have a badass Thanksgiving. We are doing a 5-mile race, but by doing I don't mean running. Because strollers aren't allowed. Meaning I'm going to have a ridiculously adorable 26-lb turkey strapped to me. Watch out, Nashville.