Regular Scheduled Programming…

Has hit a bump, as last week I didn’t post.  I’ve got some big posts coming up, with interviews and how-to videos, and so I missed last week as I’m planning up-coming weeks.  I didn’t want to miss two in a row, though, so here I am!

As my content right now is under construction, I just wanted to touch base (for my own journaling) and leave some links of note (to inform and entertain).

Let’s get the business out of the way:

Sugar Consumption

I’ve been doing really well!  During the work week, I have less than a serving a day of sweet treats.  One day last week I did eat a handful of mini cookies in the break room, but other than that I’ve been abstaining, and not really missing it.  For reference, I began this refined abstinence five weeks ago (from tomorrow).  Over the weekend last week, I had a ice cream cone with one scoop.  This weekend I split a half of a piece of wedding cake K and I had stashed in the freezer.  I count it as a win when I have two or fewer servings during the work week total, and one serving on the weekend.

Jump Rope, Sucker!

This  section really is about jump roping.  As in, I am so tired of an ongoing leg problem that keeps me from running, that I’ve decided to try jump rope for cardio.  See its many benefits here.

I love it!  It’s super fun, and every day I get a little better at it.  I started last week, and have done it 3 of the last 4 days.  I’ve got a little pain in my knee/shin on the right side, so I took a day off, which is the side of the pre-existing leg pain.  I think I was jumping higher than necessary to avoid double-jumping.  Basically I’m not rotating the rope fast enough to avoid the double jump, so for now I do it, until I’m better at it.  Presumably it will take more than three endeavors to be an expert.  

Fun Stuff

Here are some trans-related things I’ve found on the internet this past week, to occupy you until I come back next week with a sweet Queer Artist Post.

No doubt you’ve seen Laverne Cox erupt in joy at Beyonce’s VMA performance. 

But have you seen Brothers, a web series centered on a group of NY trans guys?

Ok, that’s it for now, but I’ll be back next week with another post.

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

Q and A With Life Songs Author Audrey MC

I’ve just finished reading Life Songs: A Genderqueer Memoir, by author and local karaoke superstar Audrey MC. Audrey and I bag groceries together at a shared day gig, and she first introduced herself to me as queer by asking where I get my hormones. She was new to Chicago, and I was a complete dope. I had no idea she was trans. I gave her Howard Brown’s contact info and she had to tell me later, in plain English, that she was trans. I am an idiot. But lucky for me, Audrey is patient. Through conversation over cutting cardboard boxes in half, she told me she was also a writer, and so I was excited to read a book written by a friend. Audrey’s story starts with that familiar adolescent refrain, “what’s wrong with me?” and as she matures, it becomes clear to her that this isn’t just another case of commonplace insecurity or teenage trepidation.

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Life Songs has the structure of a mixtape: each chapter is linked to a particular song or musician and the theme of that chapter is echoed in the music. The connection between the chapter’s theme to the chapter’s song is strongest in her early memories. I found myself grinning quite a lot at the descriptions of Audrey’s childhoood as a boisterous kid in Texas. Her early childhood is filled with some memorable and touching pre-pubescent moments, and I found myself cheering her on as she gives an impromptu “drag” performance in her family living room and, in another chapter, professes her love at the roller rink.

The details are sometimes glossed over as Audrey ages into her young adulthood, and as a reader I was left wanting more specifics on more than one page. But Life Songs is an important text in that it makes known another voice from outside the gender binary with moments every queer kid can identify. No matter where your orientation or identity lies on the spectrum, there are moments in Life Songs that ring genuine, and the music has the capacity to make her story universal. On the surface Audrey’s message is clear: know thyself. But the process to get to that realization proves to be a complicated matter.

I wrote an email to Audrey about her book and she was very gracious to answer some of my questions:

ER: In Life Songs you detail how certain songs have been emblematic during different time periods in your life. What place does music hold in your life currently? How has your relationship with it changed over the years?

AMC: Well, one thing I’ve come to realize is that people come and go, friendships ebb [with the] tide, loves blossom and wither, but music’s always there and is probably, when all’s said and done, the one true love of my life. And that’s the case today just as always. Maybe even more so now because I’m embarking on a new career trajectory which will make music and audio steeped in everything I do. And that makes me quite happy!

ER: What’s the status on that concept album you mention toward the end of Life Songs?

AMC: The concept album [...] is still in my head. Things like that never go away. It’s been on my mind even more lately with my Karina’s Fingers electropop project ramping up. I’ll be recording an album over the next year, but it still remains to be seen if the original concept will be intact or expanded upon. Since the love story is sprinkled with politics, I may be able to say what I need to say. We’ll see how it plays out…

ER: You’re based in Chicago now, and in Life Songs it is referenced as this mysterious place, a destination that has held its sway over you ever since chapter one’s Leroy Brown. Now that you live here, do you have a (so far) favorite musical memory of Chicago?

AMC: Believe it or not, Chicago is still this strangely mysterious place to me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever truly “get it,” and that’s okay with me. It feels so vastly different than my New York experience– New York, a city in which I felt right away that I belonged. It’s taken me a while to feel comfortable in Chicago, with my New York homesickness creeping up on me so often that I can’t think of a week over the past year when I wasn’t contemplating my return home to Brooklyn. That’s changed though since meeting a new muse. Her friendship and inspiration has led me to want to stay in Chicago another year and embark on a career in music and audio. My favorite music memory here is when she and I decided to have an all night dance party in my living room– just the two of us. We danced for hours and it ended up ranking up there as one of the highlights of my life.

ER: The term genderqueer makes an appearance in your subtitle: how has the label “genderqueer” enriched or hindered your sense of self?

The genderqueer label is quite liberating actually. I don’t know, I’ve really embraced living in the middle ground. That outsider sense of “other” I always felt growing up really empowers me now and makes me feel special. One of the comments my father made about my book was how proud he was of me for having such a strong sense of self. That meant a lot to me because I felt like I went through a lot of turmoil to get to a place where I could embrace who I truly am. When I get “sir-ed” followed usually by a “ma’am… oh gosh I’m sorry,” which occasionally happens, it used to make me cringe, but now, I smile with a shrug and say, “Ah it’s okay, I’m a bit of both.” And we both smile and carry on. It’s like, if I don’t make a big deal about it, it makes it not a big deal. And when it’s not a big deal, it gets accepted much more easily. And that’s what I really want. I want us to get to a place where gender presentation is just accepted. Period. And it’s no big deal. It’s just people being people. I mean, wouldn’t that be a fantastic world to live in?

ER: The detail in Life Songs about your parents giving you a heart pendant with your new birthstone in it is very touching. Can you write more about your coming out process to them, and their process of coming to know Audrey?

Yeah, my parents have been awesome. Like, seriously amazing. The coming out process– well, I’m super emotional and I knew I couldn’t have a conversation with them ’cause I would’ve ended up crying the whole time. So, I wrote them a coming-out letter. My dad surprised me as always. He just kinda shrugged it off and embraced it with a “you’re an adult; you gotta do what you gotta do.” Haha! He did have trouble with pronouns for a long time, but whatever. It was just out of habit and not any type of slight. My mom was the one who had a little more trouble with it, but turned it more inward. She worried more like she did something wrong while she was pregnant and different stuff like that. But that was all short-lived. My sister helped a lot in that arena because she remembered a lot of incidents from my childhood and adolescence, some of which I wrote about in the book, and reminded my mom about them to shed some light. My relationship with my parents actually got closer after I came out, too. I don’t know– I guess I just felt more like I could be myself and not hide behind the same old façade I had been. That was quite liberating and it brought us closer. I also think it was easy for them, too, because I was still attracted to women. So, the only things changing for them were my name, appearance, and pronouns. So, suddenly they just had this super cool lesbian daughter. And I mean, who wouldn’t want that? AMIRIGHT?!?

Author photo by Maria Hummel.

Author photo by Maria Hummel.

ER: There are so many character who make appearances throughout Life Songs, Alice and Hailey being chief among them: do you still keep in touch?

AMC: Alice and Hailey are still very present and positive parts of my life. Alice and I are less in touch now that we’re in different cities, but still touch base every week or so. She and her brother came to visit me in Chicago in April and we had a wonderful time. Alice and I are both in transitional moments in our lives, so it will be nice to be there for each other as we continue to embark on our next adventures. Hailey and I are probably closer now than we ever have been– it’s a friendship that continues to grow and deepen. She, too, is in a transitional point in her life, so it’s nice to be there for her as she sets forth on her next journey.

ER: You remark that your sexual orientation has shifted slightly: can you describe what that shift has been like for you?

I’m not sure if my sexual orientation has shifted or if my mind has opened. I recognize that I find a very specific type of guy attractive. But, as I’ve said to my friends before, I’d be attracted to 99 women before I’m attracted to one man. And Sufjan Stevens is that one man. Kidding! Um… no but seriously, I’m in love with Sufjan Stevens. Besides that, though, yeah, it’s just an opening up of my attitude more than anything else. It’s liberating to recognize that I might meet some guy (named Sufjan or not) and we may get along super well and have the same type of quick bonding simpatico I’ve usually felt only with women. And I may very possibly start to have desires towards him. And I’m okay with that. At this point in my life, I don’t want to box myself in with any preconceived notions about who I am or what I am. I’m just me. And I’m queer as shit.

Author photo by Maria Hummel.

Author photo by Maria Hummel.

ER: What are your current queer politics?

AMC: My move to Chicago has seen my politics recede a little bit more to the background. I mean, Brooklyn is just so queer and so political that anything after that would be a step down. But, my Brooklyn experience has left me with this strong sense of wanting to push away anything even closely resembling the hetero- or homonormative realms. I don’t know if my politics, generally, would be considered “queer,” because I’m a dreamer after all. I have these vastly grand ideals that extend way beyond queer politics and get more into the realm of socialism and populism and anti-capitalism. This music project that I’m about to embark on– I have such a yearning to make a difference. To do something that makes people think and want to actually do something instead of just post about it on social media.

ER: In the closing pages you define yourself as a dreamer, can you write a little about how you see that part of yourself inform your day-to-day routine?

Wow, I wish I knew where this romantic, dreamer side of me came from. I think it’s just the way the stars were aligned when I came into this world. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t dream of big things, or a better world, or romanticized situations. As I’ve grown older, it’s taken on new facets and extended to politics, as well. I could never be a politician because I’m far too romantic and idealist, with such strong socialist and populist leanings. Kind of a hippie in that sense, I guess. I get teary-eyed and a lump in my throat if I think about people coming together and helping each other out. I care so very much about making the world a better place for everyone and it sometimes feels overwhelming because what can one person really do? If I could find a reality where my dreams could live, then I think I’d have found utopia. But in this particular reality, in my day-to-day, I’ve worked hard at removing all stressors from my life; I steer clear of drama magnets; and I avoid situations in which I have to justify my actions.

Thanks for your time, Audrey!

Stand and Deliver

I’ve been using the men’s room now for, oh, almost a year.  It still feels a little strange; that is, I still feel like a foreigner…sometimes.  It’s not like one day you feel up to using the men’s room, and go in, and are forever changed and just own the place.  In some situations I still prefer a unisex stall: it’s about comfort and safety. All men’s room are different: some are obviously cleaner than others, some have different, um, let’s call it energy.  The men’s room at the Metro has a different energy than the one at Lincoln Hall.  Those of you that live in Chicago will inherently know what I mean.

I guess it’s more about the anxiety in my head that makes them different: I am worried I will be found out.  You don’t worry about that?  Don’t get nervous?  That’s call cis-privilege.  Enjoy it.  I don’t worry about it *too much* because I have the benefit of living in a major city with a strong queer presence.  So of course I don’t think, realistically that I will be discovered and thrown out or shamed or worse.  No, but I think that concern must float around in every trans person’s head, to some degree, when they are using a public restroom.

Last week when searching for a bathroom in a public place, I came across a unisex stall, and for the first time checked to make sure there wasn’t also a men’s room, because I would have rather used that.  I found that impulse interesting, and as I was washing my hands I wondered why I did that.  Sure, I was becoming more comfortable with using the men’s room, but when I thought about it, the impulse to use the men’s room over a unisex stall was because I didn’t want to take up space that I didn’t need.  I wanted someone who preferred the unisex stall to have that option.  It’s nothing profound, but it does illustrate the degree to which I am settling into my male identity.  8 months ago I would have been elated to find a unisex stall and not searched for the men’s room.

The thing that causes me most anxiety while using the men’s room is specifically the stall issue.  I used to make a big production out of blowing my nose to add a little more male noise in the stall once I was in a peeing position.  My feet are facing the wrong way, you see, and what kind of guy sits down to pee?  Actually, I have heard lots of guys sit to pee, and some of my male friends have told me they prefer the stall to a urinal.  But nonetheless, I’m the one waltzing in there without the usual equipment.  I’m not bothered by this too much, but bothered enough to start investigating STP devices.

What’s an STP device, you say?  Stand-to-pee devices range in price and complexity, and allow people with vaginas the ability to, you guessed it, pee while standing and not get urine all over themselves.  Hudson’s Guide has a full page on STPs here, and FtM Essentials has some nice models here.  For me, I just want something that will allow me to stand in a stall and pee.  I don’t want something I have to pack all day, nor do I want something with lots of parts to keep clean.  I just want something that lets me pee standing up that I can wipe down/rinse off and put back in my pocket.

To that end, initially I was torn between the Pstyle or ridiculously named Go-Girl.  Ultimately I went with the Pstyle, as I read uniformly positive reviews of it on multiple sites.  The unfortunate part of using STPs is that you don’t know which one is right for your body until you try it, and of course all sales are final, so there’s a costly trial-and-error period to start.   But being able to stand to pee in public would be really convenient and psychologically satisfying.  The Pstyle starts at $12.00, so it’s a financially low-risk place to start as well.

Oh, and I’m still off sugar!

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

My Life With/out Sugar

This post proved to be a long one, so I’ve titled the sections for those of you not interested in slogging through the whole thing: you can read just the below section about my sugar history, or skip to the part after about my recent sugar fast.  Enjoy.

My Life with Sugar

I have no memory of strong feelings one way or another when it comes to sweets as a kid.  When I was young (which means grade school age for this conversation), my mom would bring home a box here and there of Little Debbie or Hostess cakes.  They only appeared if mom happened to have a coupon, or if they were on sale.  Their presence in the grocery bag was always a special treat to which I would give little thought.  I guess I didn’t really have a sweet tooth as a kid.

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My gramma’s dinner table had fewer desserts.

I was an athletic kid, and most of my childhood memories are of playing outside–two-hand tap football in the street, basketball at the court at the end of my block, tag in multi-yard games.  I ate three meals a day, and sometimes I would grab something sweet out of the cupboard in between meals, if say I was at home playing video games or watching t.v.  Desssert was never part of the meal when I was a kid: I don’t really remember breakfast, but lunch and dinner always consisted of some kind of meat, some kind of vegetable, and a glass of 2% milk.  Pretty traditional stuff.

What’s funny is that when I reflect on it now, it occurs to me that the sweet stuff was always stored in a cabinet in the laundry room, around the corner from the kitchen, in the same cabinet as my grandmother’s liquor.  By the time my sister and I showed up, my grandmother had long ago given up the kind of heavy drinking that plagued my mother and her siblings.  The liquor in there was only ever accessed by my grandmother once or twice yearly, and only on very special occasions: perhaps Christmas day after the meal, and once in the spring for a drink during the Cubs’ opener.

Something like this, but replace the ball with a tumbler of Seagram's Gin. (Courtesy of azcentral.com)

Something like this, but replace the ball with a tumbler of Seagram’s Gin. (Courtesy of azcentral.com)

 

By putting those cakes in that cabinet, they were removed from the “food” area of the house–they weren’t with the soup or pasta or oil in the kitchen cabinet.  They were in another room, in the cabinet with off-limit liquor and lightbulbs.  I think, whether that placement was on purpose or not, that decision taught me that dessert was a once in a while thing, something occasional and not meant for habitual indulgence.  It was definitely in a class apart from food.  I think besides all the physical activity, that access and classification helped keep me healthy though my childhood.

After puberty, into my teenage years, I started spending more time with female friends, more time writing, and less time out of the house.  It still never really occurred to me to snack on dessert at home more than occasionally, but my female friends would go on about chocolate and its relation to their menstrual cycle.  I was a late bloomer–not getting my first period until 16, so I would listen in what might be politely referred to as indignant silence.  I was befuddled and irritated by their seeming helplessness before chocolate, which, to me, was irrationally dependent on the time of the month.  And so that was when I first started to equate sweets with femininity.  And although I did enjoy sweets, I denied it, and cut them out entirely.

I would refuse to share Ho-Hos at the lunch table, claiming I didn’t like chocolate.   When out with my friends, I wouldn’t order blizzards at Dairy Queen, turing up my nose to the very idea of something sweet.  So while the practice was good for my body, the denial was bad for my spirit.  I’m not talking about how treats are “good for the soul,” but rather that lying to shape my identity was detrimental to my character.

Every girl I went to high school with.  (image courtesy of bestworstme.com)

Every girl I went to high school with.
(image courtesy of bestworstme.com)

I held onto that old line, of not liking sweets, until my girlfriends in college, who were incorrigible sugar addicts, all wanted me to share desserts with them.  I’d have a bite here and there, just to “help them out,” so they didn’t feel so “bad.”  But by that point, to have just a little was like chiseling cracks in the Hoover Dam to relieve the pressure.  I wasn’t a kid anymore, wasn’t lying about my sexual preference for women, and so felt free to express a preference for sugary treats without feeling like I would be lumped in the same slot as the straight women going on decadently about their cravings.  But still, because my gender identity was kept secret, I felt girly for even admitting a little that I liked sweets, so I held fast to my declarations of only sharing to relieve my girlfriend’s sugary burden.

After all, where were any men talking about bon bons or cupcakes?  Where were the men going on about dessert?  What I didn’t realize is that it wasn’t that men didn’t go on about sweets because they didn’t like them, but rather because men didn’t go on about anything.  Women, in general, are more vocal about their likes and dislikes–of the two sexes I had any experience with they were more vocal about everything.  But at the time I didn’t see that: I just saw that women seemed to talk so much about dessert, and men never talked about it, so to take part in anything sweet felt like a betrayal to my fragile masculinity.  Of course it’s ridiculous, now.  Now that I am an out and proud trans man, it’s easy to indulge and not feel my very identity threatened.  But it took a surgery and hormones and a name change and lots of growth to be able to feel my outsides match my insides, as far as something as basic as gender is concerned.  So yeah, it was important, and foundational, to deny sweets to stake my claim in masculinity.   Once that need was gone, to distance myself from dessert, this happened on my honeymoon:

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I loved all my frosty children.  You can see I have a problem: those weren’t even all the pictures of me eating ice cream–they’re just the only ones suitable for internet publication.

 

Sugar Fast Update

It’s been six days since I started my sugar detox.*  I am doing great: I have stuck to my initial allowance of <6g/day of refined sugar.  Yesterday and today (so far) I’ve had none.  I don’t want to utter my long term goals just yet, for fear of jinxing myself.  But I will say this: six days is the longest I have ever gone without sugar.  I would like to take out the trail mix starting on day 8, and replace it with a trial mix with just nuts and dried fruit for a week.  If I can make it to week three, I would like to replace that trail mix with just nuts.  Beyond that, I would not like to speculate.

What have I noticed while limiting my sugar intake?

Well, the first day was just as I thought it would be–a struggle. I got to work and there was half a chocolate cake in the break room and milk and dark chocolate peanut butter cups in the back room, so that was just fucking great.  But surprisingly, I was totally fine: it was such a blatant display I had no problem passing it by.  If there were say, just peanut butter cups in the break room, I likely would have been very tempted to eat one, or put one in my locker for later.  But it was such an obvious cosmic joke the situation was much more laughable than tempting.

Day two I made it through pretty easy, and noticed I was a bit thirstier that day than normal.  I did get the beginning of a headache near dinner time which lasted all night.  It was a minor version of the kind of headache I’ve had in the past from too much sugar: a dull ache right at the temple and behind my eyes.

Day three was similar to day two: thirstier than normal, with a dull headache arriving right around dinner time and lasting all night.  Also that night I had a sugar dream: I drank the tastiest Pepsi I had ever had, awake or asleep.  I’ve had maybe two sodas in the last year, and haven’t had Pepsi in many years: soda isn’t my weak spot.  I also dreamed about eating a cinnamon bun, Ann Sather’s style, and then remembered after I finished it that I was on a sugar fast.  Was very mad at my dream self in the dream, but then the dream shifted its focus onto some other sweet thing I can’t re-conjure.

Day four found my interest in my 10 minute break fix waining.  I was intrigued: I ate the almonds and peanuts and dried cherries, but when it came time for the chocolate and panute butter chips, I could have taken or left them.  I ate them, and found the taste to be the same, but I felt differently about it.  I felt a little ambivalent about the experience of eating them.  That seemed like a positive change.  My headache was much duller.  But that night, an hour or so from finishing my shift at work, I got a serious craving, seemingly out of nowhere.  I didn’t seem to be thinking about sugar at all, and it felt different than just wanting a sweet.  I found myself, in my head, searching a bit frantically, like I was missing my keys and was late to work, that kind of frantic feeling.

You know the feeling.

Like this. (Image courtesy of  hyperboleandahalf.com)

I felt restless and unsatisfied so I went to the break room and drank some water.  Lo and fucking behold if that didn’t work!  It wasn’t chocolate, but I just stood there and drank my water and took some breaths and felt relieved, if not satisfied. I was able to redirect my attention, and that was the most important thing.

Yesterday was harder than normal because I was off work, and so had free time to think about sugar and had access to sugar.  K and I had a full day out of the house doing fun stuff, and it is the focusing of my attention that saves me from myself.  If I’m in the house idly, it’s bad news.

What I’ve learned is that if I eat proper meals, and eat until I’m full (not stuffed, but satiated), and drink plenty of water, and keep myself busy (not frantic, but occupied) then staying away from sugar is an achievement within reach.  If I skimp on the water, or don’t finish my meal, if I am home alone with nothing planned, then there is going to be strife.  My mind wanders to a snack.  Oh, and I have found, perhaps to no one’s surprise but my own, that the times when I’m looking for something sweet are times when I’m not even hungry.  Or when I’m very hungry and too lazy to make something for myself.

Also, as I’m sure many of you know, just as cookies are turned to sugar in your bloodstream, so does alcohol.  But this bit was new to me: there is more than one study out there showing a link between alcoholism and sugar addiction, because to your body, it’s all the same.  Because of this link, my therapist was telling me to be easy with myself, given my familial history of substance abuse: my fondness for sugar might not just be out of habit, it might also be genetic.  That pull the other night at work, out of nowhere, that frantic feeling, like something important was missing?  Yeah, that felt like an addiction.  Or what I suppose an addiction might feel like, as I don’t think I’ve ever had one.  Or have I?  So I am going to be easy on myself in that I will not resort to the usually name calling in my head if I feel a little weak, a little crazy, as I try to keep away from sweets.  But knowing that there is potentially an addiction at work here is all the more reason to cut it out of my diet for good.

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

 

 

 

*Because 6g/day, given the obscene amount I was eating before, is pretty much going without.

 

Sugar, You’re Going Down

Before one can make a change to their life, they have to be honest with themselves.

I have an insatiable sweet tooth.

I eat dessert after breakfast, for God’s sake.  And something sweet after every other meal.  And something sweet as a snack during the day if it’s available.  This addiction is quite pervasive. And long-held.  And delicious.

From my honeymoon in Rome, there are more pictures of me with gelato than frescos.

I keep mostly vegan, but have rationalized in my head that no-dairy rule does not apply to sweets, and so no sweet is off limits.

My name is Eli, and I have a problem.

I have tried to taper off sweets in the past, and it works with very limited results, meaning, it works for a few days, or hours, then the consumption ramps back up to normal or is worse.

I have always told myself that going cold turkey will not work, that my cravings are too strong, and I would inevitably go right back to it.

But let’s try it anyway.

Day One: Obstacles 

So today I am going to try to eat no processed sugar.  That is the problem for me, the processed stuff; it’s not like I’m stuffing my face with pears.  In fact, I find most fruit decidedly tart.  That’s probably an indicator I’m definitely eating too much processed sugar.

Let’s outline the problem areas I can foresee for day one:

-I work in a grocery store, and most of my day is spent in the frozen aisle.  In that aisle, we also stock ALL THE COOKIES AND CANDY above the frozen food, so the deck is stacked against me in this way.

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While I don’t usually buy cookies, I do talk about them an awful lot with customers. Actually, I don’t spend too much time thinking about the treats in that aisle, as they’re always there and, for me, exist in the same way the wood panelling exists.  But I’m sure, on some subliminal level, it doesn’t help my cause.

-I am a forgetful person, and so it is that, in addition to a lack of general will power, that will foil my best laid plans and highest held hopes.  Sure, I am weak-kneed when it comes to sugar, but sometimes when I attempt to limit my intake of it, I just plain forget I was going to try to change my diet.

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-Sugar is delicious and when I don’t eat it I get crabby.  When I am at work and I am crabby, I think, “Hmm.  I am having a crabby day.  I am a good person and I am working hard.  Why not give myself a treat, to turn this day around?” So I go to the cash register and purchase a candy bar.  Because it’s true, I am a good person, and I do work hard.  It is not true that I should eat a candy bar because I am a good person and work hard.

Day One: Game Plan

So how am I going to get through today without eating processed sugar?  Let’s try the following:

-I wrote a blog post about wanting to quit reduce the amount of processed sugar I’m eating, so maybe this will help me remember I’m trying to quit reduce the amount of processed sugar I’m eating.  If you know me in real life, and you see me eating sugar today, can you do me a solid, and ask me if I remember I’m trying to quit eating sugar today?

-I will eat some sugar.

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Wait, here me out: I have trail mix I eat daily for a snack, that has some sugar in it: 6g, to be specific, in the form of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.  I will eat that, like normal (normal being a quarter cup on my ten minute break), and maybe it will help with the inevitable cravings.  If not, oh well, there are nuts and good-for-me shit in the trail mix, too, so it won’t be a total wash.

-I will drink water, and lots of it.  I’ve read when a person craves sugar, they’re really just thirsty.  I am pretty good at staying hydrated already, but if I get a sugar itch, I will try to alleviate it with water.  I will also try to convince myself that water and chocolate are the same thing.  This will not work, but I will try, if I remember.

-I will attempt to remember the reasons I am trying to quit sugar:

-it will rot my teeth

-it will give me diabetes

-it is widening my waistline

-it gives me headaches

-it is an addiction and I would like to be in control of my consumption.

I bet there are other things sugar is doing to my health that I am not even noticing because I have been giving the cravings carte blanche over my sugar intake.  So I’m interested in seeing how my mind and body might change after a prolonged period of greatly reduced (meaning only the 6g in my trail mix portion) portions or no simple sugar at all.  By “prolonged period” I mean a month.  I don’t know if I can make it to the end of the day, but I do know it will take at least a month, probably many months, before I notice a difference in my mind and body.

I understand that sugar is added to most processed foods, but I am lucky and my wife is a great and conscientious cook: we rarely eat processed food.  We don’t eat bread, and our gluten is quite restricted.  I think over 90% of the sugar I eat is in the form of sweet treats I give myself.

Also, I would like to note here as it applies to the topic of this blog, I realize there is some internalized misogyny taking part in my negative feelings about my sugar consumption.  It’s not just about how I don’t like what it’s doing to my body, but it’s also about feeling ashamed about liking sweets because women like sweets and I’m not a woman.  When I think of chocolate I think of indulgent housewives on the couch.  I think of moms.  And I see those feelings of shame as obvious internalized misogyny at work.  It’s pretty tangled, but I think I need to spend some time thinking about how I feel about sugar and its connotations and how those thoughts and associations are unhealthy in their own way.

Be nice to yourselves, and wish me luck!
-Your Pal Eli

Update: 17 Months on Testosterone

Hello there!

I’ve not done a video update in, oh, six months or so, therefore I’ve chosen the decidedly unceremonious hallmark of 17 months to do another update.

Voilà.

 

I also wanted to demonstrate the shift in my vocal range.  Below you will find audio clips I’ve culled from my previous videos as examples of the change, with pictures:

3 Weeks:

4 weeks on T

3 weeks on T

8 months:

IMG_3531

8 months on T

And, finally, This audio from the video update at 17 months:

17 months on T

17 months on T

Thanks for all your support and comments!

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli