Not so Whole 30

Along with every single other person on Instagram, I started a lifestyle change at the beginning of the year.  I use that phrase because it sounds more upscale and significant than saying, “I went on a diet last week.”  One week ago.  Wow, Mona.  Your struggle must be rough, not eating like a hippo for seven days.  No, please keep talking while I dust off this medal for you.

I’m going the Whole 30 route which based on some frantic New Year’s Eve research pretty much eliminates alcohol, sugar, grains, soy, dairy and maybe some other things.  I don’t remember much more than that.  There’s so much information out there, mostly these beautiful women yelling, “New year! New me!” And I’m like, “I’m the same me!  I just want to to fit in my old pants.  And hot pants.  Any any pants because I’ve exploded so much I can only wear fabric that belonged to the sails on decommissioned boats.”

I haven’t been doing the Oprah-trumpet-call where I tell someone who was not asking, “HEY I’M ON A DIEEEEEEET!”  Or just jerk-steering every conversation back to me so I can say, “Oh I can’t eat anything that you are eating.  I’m on this dieeeeeeeet.”

It’s made me a bit food paranoid. And so poor. I went to Whole Foods and bought a lot of raw, organic, good stuff.  There are few downsides in No soy means no soy sauce and I love soy sauce in everything.  There’s Super Man, Iron Man, Spider Man and my hero: Kikkoman. I love the heavy salt bomb that dark elixir brings.  But there’s no dark msg-laden soy flavors allowed on this plan.  The big change is not drinking any alcohol which is hard because I love ordering at drink at my shows.  But I know those drinks are a big source of my calories and also for my dumb jokes and red cheeks.

I do feel better.  I’ve felt more focused, less lethargic this week.  I’ve been working out regularly, to fight all these things my body can accept willing, like lethargy.  I am lethargy-ready.  I am also gout-ready but that’s because I’m really aware of what I’m capable of genetically.  Yes, I want to lose weight, but also I need to keep both of my feet.   I can’t rock one leg!

It hasn’t been that bad.  I’m not tempted by my workplace coffee shop and snack bars because I know that nothing there is clean, why bother looking around.  I’m drinking black coffee, eating good, fresh foods.  Last night we went to Dairy Queen and I didn’t eat a damn thing, even though TJ tried to shove a fry in my mouth with an insistent, “EAT THIS MOMMY!”  I’m not imposing this on my family, they will continue to eat the way they do and I rejected the fries even though that would be the first thing I would shove into my facehole without an invitation. I don’t know if that’s the diet talking or I’m no longer myself anymore and an alien has snatched my body and I’m just this pod, a human-like sack of skin filled with squirrels that move around long enough to keep me mobile.

The biggest problem is that I can’t seem to photograph any of the food in a way that makes it look appealing.  My food is clean, but looks like a Quentin Tarentino-Grindhouse deleted scenes, too gross to even be included in the fake movie trailer where the guy is trussed up like a turkey.  Worse than that.  All these Whole 30 posts look so perfect like people eat in a sterile hospital room in the best lighting.


I made some chicken sausage with peppers, but the plate illustrated a story of a someone who went out in a skirt too short, heels too high, drank all the fireball shots pushed her way, lost her voice yelling, “WOOOOO,” came home and found a battered piñata, mistook it for vegetables, tossed it into a pot and ate too much before slurring out, “I don’t think this is food!”


I spent an hour cooking up turkey meatballs with an almond meal crust on a bed of spaghetti squash and organic tomato sauce.  What it looked like was a plate of diseased organs that belong on a side of cigarette pack in full color so people know not to smoke.  Don’t smoke, kids!  But eat my meatballs!  They’re good.


I cooked up a plate of (questionable) asparagus with a small salad and a homemade salmon burger.  I liked it, though I’m not going to win any awards or be cheered on by a crowd of adoring fans, with signs saying, “You are a hero!” and people coming up to me with towels ready to wipe my brow, their whispers carrying me through to the next meal when I try to cook something that tastes decent and healthy but looks a like a whole lot of awful.


What I want today’s teenagers to know

My sister tells me that her daughter uses my blog for her class, which I’m not sure what that means but I hope it’s a room full of teenagers, shattered and shaken because they read my post and fear becoming what Auntie Mo is: a desperate, attention-seeking aging lady who put on bronzer in a dimly-lit room and now looks like she’s wearing all that makeup to hide face tattoos. That teardrop tatt sounded like a good idea at the time!  I haven’t murdered anyone but I have watched the Notebook a lot!  And cried because I couldn’t connect with the other women who loved this dumb movie about what—a rich girl who is really bad at correspondence?   Something something romance?  Blah blah blah forever and ever? So I wept at my lack of humanity, abundance of cynicism, wailing: “What’s wrong with me?!”

Spoiler alert: too many things!

I find my niece’s teenage life fascinating.  She is incredibly smart and into things I know other dumb teens and adults are not into like Dr. Who. I love that she is into something so inherently fun and smart and geeky and set apart from the mainstream basicdom of her teenage peers.  She’s different but better than the kind of different I was.


My science project was about the internet.  NERD! Also, my penguin school uniform. 

I did dark things like eat way too much food in my room while listening to Tori Amos and designing this blog on Tripod.  Tripod was the cool geocities.  Which doesn’t even matter because no one else my age had a blog.  No one was thinking about smearing their feelings across the internet, few teenagers anyway. We wrote longform posts and our photos were such a burden to post because we would have to take them with a disposable camera, drop it off at Costco, wait until the photo department shift changes so the person who saw your seventeen goth poses isn’t the person who hands the photos to you, then you have to scan them and only then can you post it to your web blog.  This is why I just used pictures of 1998-era Mariah Carey as my profile.  I really liked, “Honey”!

Side note: I was very much into the gothic blogs in 1998 and identified heavily with the brooding, dark music and super pastiness of it, even though I lived on an island and velvet gowns would be too suffocating even for an angsty teenager who wanted to suffer through so she could write some poems.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 5.57.55 AM

screenshot from the 90s.  see how many goth site rings I joined?!

But!  I did go up for a “Gothic Babe of the Week” contest and I made all my classmates vote for me and I won!  Even though I was not at all what they were looking for (I was qualified for the “of the week” portion, not the title), they just wanted the votes to come from a non-hotmail email address.  Here’s your ancient webhistory lesson! *closes history book, chokes on dust*

Sometimes my niece will mention what the other teens are getting into, some of the things they might say and I always tell her.  It gets better, but not for everyone, especially those who are enjoying it now. I am speaking from experience and what will naturally happen: everyone becomes fatter, some become successful, others live in a world where it’s okay to yell, “Gym flow!” instead of reading a book. And by book, I mean something that didn’t appear first as a movie or something that doesn’t have “Live your best life!” in the title. Whatever they have now that boosts them to the top of the social circles will fade—No one looks like they are 17 forever and if they do, please run.  It is because of wizardry and animal sacrifice or genetic mutations or just plain luck.  Have the skills that last, read books, do enough things to be interesting, take a risk every once in a while, make mistakes, apologize, learn how to make a party dish, sing a non-obnoxious song at karaoke, call your mother sometimes.

Be one of those who might not have been a duckling or a swan but somehow finds happiness.  Who might have two kids.  Who might tell jokes to strangers.  That life isn’t so bad, no matter what the punchline is.


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