I’ve eaten 5 eggs this week. Oh joy! Of course, I’ve been downing the high protein almond milk and broth and whatever else I can get down, but DANG sometimes I can’t believe how much I end up doing with so little food. The body is a truly remarkable organism.
I’m tired now but if I want to eat eggs, I’ll have to do some Movement tonight. The choice between food and rest is always a tough one. I usually choose food!
This photo is from my old life in New York City. I had a photographer friend take “professional” photos which I planned on using for my own food / culinary / educator business. Maybe I did use this photo.
I dreamed of launching my own business for my entire life. Even as a kid, there was no allure for me to “keep house” since I was already doing that as a small kid. No thank you to cleaning and taking care of kids all day, I remember thinking around 8 years old. Thankfully, there was just enough culture changes happening around me to recognize that I could choose something else.
I chose business!
In 2008, I decided to leave my sweet job running a culinary program and work for myself. I’d met plenty of freelancers in New York City so I knew it was possible to go that route and make a living.
This was, of course, just months before the market crashed.
I worked really hard getting my website ready (it’s still a pretty decent site for being 11 years old - you can view it here - my logo ROCKS) while also running the culinary program. It wasn’t easy but by then, my program was running fairly smoothly and I was ready for a change.
Dang, I made so many mistakes! I was cocky. It’s not all on me - the industry was changing, blogging showed up, iPads and Kindles emerged. The Internet was changing all kinds of industries. I was in my mid-thirties and learned how to type on an actual typewriter! My brain didn’t catch onto blogging quickly enough. I’m still a sub-par food photographer - the only reason I do ok now is because the iPhone camera is so sophisticated.
It all seems like so long ago - and somehow also five minutes ago. I look at this photo and it’s hard to believe so much has happened since then. Part of the time lapse is that I’ve literally lost months and even years of memory due to chemotherapy and so much trauma, not to mention the hormone changes.
But I’m sure this is common for lots of people. Years just fly by.
The reason why all of this is coming up now is because I’m trying to figure out my next move. No matter how sick I get, I must have a few work projects in the hopper! I’ve made peace with the fact that my end may arrive and I’ll still be planning things! Sometimes people go into hospice and come out. It happens.
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I went out on my own is I didn’t adequately prepare for the massive amount of communication and correspondence that would go along with a busy freelance career. There was one point where I was managing at least five clients, teaching for several organizations and holding down a full-time gig - with no staff.
My poor little body. A lot of people could handle that for different parts of their life. My body…not so much.
I am certainly grateful that I had a lot of work coming my way! I was super happy that kids and cooking - my passion since the mid-90s - was finally getting it’s heyday. Who could have anticipated that the First Lady would endorse my line of work after so many people patted me on the head about it for years?
I remember feeling pressure that I HAD to ride the wave while it was still there. New York City isn’t exactly a relaxing place to try and “make it.” The field was beginning to saturate, often by people with more resources than me. It’s no wonder I was so miserable!
If I want to sent out a newsletter this time around letting people know about my podcast, I have to be prepared for people to write me back.
If I expand any of my social media reach, I have to have a plan to manage the comments and engagement there.
If I get requests of any kind, I MUST BE PREPARED.
I can’t afford to make any mistakes this time. I’m actually terrified of growing my online presence. It brings back so many bad memories. I’m sure people have wondered why I rarely do anything to grow my followers on my accounts!
I wonder if people at the top of the food chain realize what they did to people like me when they entered an “offbeat” industry like food, nutrition, cooking, kids. And yes, believe it or not, my field used to be “fringe!”
They took jobs from middle class people who actually NEED TO WORK. I’m not going to be so shy about sharing THAT perspective this time around.
I get that it happens. But I’m done with the pretending like it’s not happening. The lame argument: “this is capitalism” blah blah blah bullshit that we hear from the upper crust. Wait, what rigging the system is capitalism? Paying so few taxes while the rest of us pay over the top? And then suffer when public schools, after-school programs, benefits for the poor and all the things that funded my work doing health education is bled dry?
Sometimes, I feel embarrassed when I see certain posts coming through. It’s bewildering how clueless so many are. And yet think they still know everything! (Did I tell you about the 50ish year old dude that mansplained nutrition and metabolism to me recently? I gently reminded him that I taught nutrition at the graduate level and asked where he was getting his info. He replied, in all seriousness: “the gym, I just know. I just know how metabolism works” never once acknowledging my background or expertise. Oh boy. This is going to be a steep learning curve for some them.)
I am in a very unique position. I was solidly working middle class for most of my upbringing. We moved from the bottom of middle class to the top of the middle class by the time I graduated from high school. I ended up going to high school in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Seattle. I was also immersed in the Jewish community where many families were like mine - Seattle used to be more working class with Boeing as it’s main employer - but many were also well-off.
I had to walk between many worlds and navigate class from a very young age.
I’ve also had the unique experience of having a super hot career and now being disabled and sick.
I’m not ready quite yet to discuss class in public. My gosh, people get more upset about that then when I bring up racism.
It’s not hard to tell who cares and who has bias against the poor, who pretend that people aren’t having a hard time anywhere in this country. Who gets freaked out by sickness. Who gets freaked out by major life change like what I’ve gone through.
And then I have some amazing people like my bestie - it’s so extraordinary. No matter what we’ve gone through - a LOT of shit over the span of 40 years and leading COMPLETELY different lives (she has 3 kids and doesn’t work) - we always come back to our core friendship. I may be poor in cash. But I have to remind myself constantly: I am very, very wealthy when it comes to love.
I remind myself of how many people ARE SO FUCKING AWESOME. I mean, my friend Katherine who has I don’t even know how many clients - she does tech and marketing - jumped on a call today and spent over an hour organizing my email with Sarah who I only have as my helper a few hours each week.
I really want to make sure I share how grateful I am to the people who have stuck by me and continue to be fucking awesome human beings.
Now that I have most of the tech in place, the website mostly updated (I’ve GOT to update my bio - I don’t even have a mohawk photo on that page!) and a few other pieces put together, I’ve got to figure out how to use the Internet to reach experts that can help me. The only way I can find those people is if my online community can extend to the medical community and patients - and beyond - so I can see if there is a special GI procedure in Pakistan. (That’s the country that always comes to mind - maybe there’s something to that!)
My life depends on my ability to reach the RIGHT people before my gut shuts down for good.
This time, though, I am staying zen about the project.
If I don’t have energy, I don’t do any work.
If I can send two emails, I do that.
If I can make one doctor appointment, I do that.
If I can organize a bunch of paperwork while Sarah and Katherine work on updating my email situation so that it’s SUPER organized, then I do that. Thankfully, we had a very productive day! Of course, I’m still going to the Gmail interface because I’m not used to the Apple email! Baby steps. I like forcing myself to use different technology as I age. I don’t do puzzles. I learn new technology. Good for the brain.
I’m staying zen about everything because I’ve finally learned my lesson! Lord, I must have a huge dent in my head from banging it against a wall:
Whatever is meant to be mine, will be mine.
If a project, or podcast idea, or content is supposed to work out, it’ll work out.
If it isn’t, it won’t. If I’m supposed to live a little longer, then I will reach the right experts in time.
If my time is coming to an end, then it’s time for me to download whatever I can to the Internet, try to enjoy the time I have left and make peace with leaving this body.
I can’t do what I did last time. That’s why I’m saying I don’t miss that old me. I was constantly worried, and scared and feeling like I was BEHIND all of the time.
Now, I tell myself: I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. The right people will show up at the right time. The right words will come to me. The right podcast episode will land in my brain.
I can’t live that other way anymore - the way so much of this country functions. Competitive, trying to “beat” other people, trying to MAKE more money than everyone else.
I’m so excited to give away more free content. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Save the world, make it a better place. If I’m wearing the same clothes every day while I do it, whatever.
I do wish I could eat again. I will always miss that. And I very much appreciate the people who help me get extra body work or nutrients - those are life-saving so I guess they don’t count as luxury!
That’s life I guess. We lose things and we will miss some for the rest of our lives.
For now, I will do whatever I can each day and I’m at peace with that.