Flash Friday Fiction: Autobiography

Young hiker @ Gibson Ranch Regional Park. CC2.0 photo by Ray Bouknight.
Young hiker @ Gibson Ranch Regional Park. CC2.0 photo by Ray Bouknight.

101 words

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

But what if you don’t wanna take it? What if every inch of you screams out, “Stay still, avoid discomfort?” Avoid change.

What if temptation surrounds you, luring you into stuffing your face, into adorning the couch, at all hours. What then?

Inertia is the ultimate pull. Ironic, that, the drive to do nothing. Movement requires energy, energy requires calories, calories equal donuts. Or something.

I put on the walking shoes anyway. I don’t want to. But I do. One small step for this woman, one giant step for health.

Here were Rebekah’s instructions:

Writing is a journey, as is life. In keeping with that, as we also wind down our Year Three novel prompts, today it’s my great privilege to present for your dining/writing pleasure the dark, triumphant, terrifying, heart-pounding, spirit-lifting novel that is preacher John Bunyan‘s powerful allegory Pilgrim’s ProgressProgress follows the adventures of eager, oft-stumbling but good-hearted Christian as he leaves his doomed native land in a quest to reach the glorious golden shores of the Celestial City.

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these elements; be sure to tell us which two you chose. Reminder: please remember the Flash! Friday guidelines with regard to content; and remember please do not use copyrighted characters).

* Conflict: man v man, man v self (not gender specific)
Character (choose at least one): a pilgrim; Beelzebub; a man whose mission is to help others; someone who talks too much; someone who loses his/her life for standing up for what is right; a corrupt mayor; someone whose primary purpose in life is avoiding hardship; a cheat
Theme (choose one): salvation; good v evil; the value of true friendship; the dangers of temptation
Setting (choose one): a doomed city; a corrupt and wealthy city; a long road; a palace guarded by lions

We had 100 words (+/- 1) in which to craft a tiny tale using two of the elements listed above (the two I chose are in bold italics). What do you think? Autobiography crammed into less than a page? Well, why not? Now if only I’d written this while walking on the desk treadmill…

Head on over to Flash Friday to see other people’s takes, and maybe to leave a comment or two, or craft a story of your own!



The #Whole30: Week 1 in Review

keep-calm-igRather than commit to (and bore you with) daily entries regarding my month of embracing radical change a la the Whole 30 recommendations, I decided to blog once a week.

Most of these notes probably interest only me, but in case you’re considering giving the Whole 30 a try, are in the middle of a Whole 30 like me, or are a Whole 30 veteran, if my experiences/challenges/victories provide guidance/inspiration/warnings for anyone, then I am pleased.

And here we go – my week in review:

Whole 30, Day 0:

oatmealcremepieI’ve alternated between bingeing on crap and trying to still my racing, nervous insides. Tomorrow? I start this tomorrow? I’m so excited and yet so irrationally terrified. Which tells me I really need to do it. I spent the last two days reading The Whole 30 essentially from cover-to-cover; today I delved into It Starts With Food. All while doing what they say not to do: don’t start the Whole 30 with a binge the day before. Uh, try a week. I’m sure I’ll be paying for this. On the other hand, if I don’t do the program, I’ll be paying for much longer.

Whole 30, Day 1:

tongueoutI didn’t eat all morning, because of yesterday’s Super Binge. I had to go to a church luncheon, but it really wasn’t bad – I ate a snack pack of almonds, a Larabar, a banana, and some carrots. Pretty sure that’s not the ideal Whole 30 meal, but I didn’t eat any off-plan foods.

Dinner brought my first adventure with zoodles – zucchini sliced into noodle shapes.

One of the most annoying things about me (to me) is my weird rejection of foods that don’t seem “right.” I tried substituting ground turkey for ground beef in spaghetti once, for the health factor, but couldn’t eat it. Likewise, I bought a pound of ground bison once, but again, it didn’t go into my mouth. So. Annoying.

zoodlesHalfway through my second bite of spaghetti-sauce covered zoodles, my gag reflex went off. Hello? No. I don’t need this. Zoodles are bland. They are fine with spaghetti sauce, if a bit crunchy (is one supposed to cook them? I assumed not). So why was my head trying to reject them?

[The community subsequently informed me one should cook zoodles, and if they had eaten them raw, they, too, would have gagged. I feel better.]

I ate about half the bowl, saved the rest for lunch tomorrow, ate some broccoli, and a few strawberries and grapes. Interestingly, I had been starving right before dinner, but barely ate half of it before I decided I was full. We’ll see if I get hungry this evening.

Also, I tried to make Whole 30 mayonnaise (not sure why, since I don’t like mayonnaise, but hey, it seemed the thing to do). No luck; it was a soupy mess. I’ve put it in the fridge anyway, to see if it will solidify there, and I might still cook some chicken in it or something, but clearly it was Disastrous Kitchen Mess: 1, Margaret: 0.

[“Mayo soup” got thrown out on Day 4, without being used]

In the meantime, back to reading It Starts With Food, and hunting down more recipes to try.

Whole 30, Day 2:

tiredStupid gag reflex. Ate a bite of raw red pepper this morning. Nearly gagged (but not when they were mixed in with my eggs). Ate my leftover zoodles for lunch. Struggled a little, but not as bad as yesterday. Ate a cold, hard-boiled egg in the afternoon, and thought I was going to hurl. Stupid brain. I’m pretty sure it’s all in my head, but I need this reaction to GO AWAY.

Walked two miles. Slowly – it was not super-hot, but was very humid outside.

Tired today – took a two hour nap. A bit mentally foggy. Did eat a Larabar at the store. Still struggling with finding things I like to eat, and getting the balance right for the program (ie, still ate two snacks today, and I know my meals aren’t quite at the protein+lots of veggies+fat balance yet). But I was “compliant” (a word which makes me want to scream, “I’m not docile!”) and I made it to the end of day 2. I was feeling pretty good tonight – we’ll see what day 3 holds.

Whole 30, Day 3:

angryIn the book, Days 4 & 5 are labeled “Hate All The Things.” Well, I always was a precocious child. Hating everything today. Stomach feels off. Took a nap, and dreamt I was eating large mounds of donuts and muffins. I guess I know what I miss most.

Wrestling with that old familiar thought of, “What the heck is the point of trying to eat well? Why not just pig out and enjoy everything there is to eat, since we’re all going to die and the world is going to hell in a hand basket anyway?”

My Sugar Dragon is devious and enormous, people. What’s your answer to the question above? Looking for reasons to stay resolute. (I am resolute, no worries, but it still helps to have reasons to remind me why I am.)

End of the day was better than the first, though I’m still struggling to “get it right.” I definitely don’t want to eat as much protein as I’m supposed to, and want to, instead, eat nuts and fruit. Told you that Sugar Dragon was quite the wench.

Whole 30, Day 4:

unmotivatedcatSlept in; woke up feeling better, but dreading breakfast. That’s the hardest meal for me. Made scrambled eggs with peppers in them. Didn’t get tired until mid-afternoon, but still had to lie down for an hour.

Same feeling of food dread/food frustration in the evening. This isn’t good, folks. I WANT to embrace new foods and feel happy with what I’m eating, but I’m not. Not yet.

Then again, according to Whole 30, I’m still in the “Want To Kill All The Things” phase. So I’m hoping this is my brain in rebellion, and that it will pass, and soon I will love food again. If not, well, maybe eating less is good on the weight end (though I suspect some of my lack of energy stems from that).

Whole 30, Day 5:

Totally wiped out. Walked two miles this morning and it was way harder than it ought to have been. Didn’t take a nap today (the first time all week!), but that’s only because I had to go with son to high school freshman orientation–which in and of itself was exhausting!

The hardest part was walking out and smelling pizza. PIZZA. My salivary glands still have not recovered.

I felt angry much of the day. This evening, had some bouts of melancholy. I must really think this is worth it to keep at it. But I vowed all 30 days, and that’s what I’m doing. Please let the Tiger Magic come sooner rather than later, though.

Whole 30, Day 6:

eggsLesson learned: Do not try to reheat a hard-boiled egg in the microwave – at least not for too long. I wanted to avoid the gagging issue of a few days ago by heating up an egg before eating it. Only it exploded. With a very loud bang, and a very big mess. The kids thought it was hilarious. OK, I did, too, but it sure was a chore to clean up – and I ended up making scrambled eggs, instead, after that.

A friend invited me to lunch with her daughter and my daughter. I didn’t really want to go because I was nervous about the food part, but I like this friend and don’t see her often enough, so I said yes. Guess where the daughters picked to eat? Golden Corral. GOLDEN CORRAL, people. Buffet-O-Rama.

I did the best I could. I would not be surprised if the cold steak pieces I ate, the one slider burger I ate (sans bun & cheese, of course!), and the small piece of rotisserie chicken (inside piece) had stuff on them I shouldn’t have had. I ate a naked baked potato, salad with chopped up egg and no dressing, four strawberries, and two pieces of pineapple.

If there was stuff on the meat, I’m not starting this thing over. Because I WANTED to be face-down in the mashed potatoes, the bread, the entire dessert island. And I wasn’t.

I do feel a bit better today – slightly less interested in killing everything. Frustrated that this evening I feel quite apathetic – there’s so much I can and should be doing, and I’m just like, “Whatevs.”

But I made it through another day.

Whole 30, Day 7:

Tired. Tired. Why I am I always tired? Part of the reason I’m doing this is to IMPROVE that, not worsen it. I have been so tired all week. Yesterday I took a nap from 3:30 – 5. I went to bed at 11:30, a bit late, but didn’t get up until nearly 9 this morning! And yet I’m still tired. I just got up from napping with my daughter (she had an excuse; she was exhausted from an overnight) for two hours. Augh.

Apparently I've been angry for a long, long time. This pic is from 1995.
Apparently I’ve been angry for a long, long time. This pic is from 1995.

I also am angry. Irrationally, intensely angry. I’m sure this is both because of the withdrawal reactions to food I love, AND because I’m no longer stuffing that anger down with food.

So in a way, it’s good, these horrible moods.

Not that I want to be in them, not that I want to expose the people around me to them, but because maybe, just maybe, it means I’m breaking down 40 years’ worth of behavior patterns. I’ve never, ever felt comfortable with being angry; it’s an emotion I’m supposed to deny, to ignore, to stuff down. Or so I tell myself.

I was grumpy this morning, irritated with this whole process. This afternoon, I’m feeling hope again, hope that there’s a reason I’m doing this, that it will get better, and that I can make real, lasting progress in this life-long war with food and myself.


This isn’t the happy, cheery first week of Whole 30 people might want to read about. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot. I’m a week away from the Magic, as they call it, the Tiger’s Blood, where I’m supposed to sleep extra well, be full of energy, etc. I’m in the middle of the really sucky part – and yes, for me, it’s really sucked.

And yet, I’m determined – because recognizing that while feeling angry SUCKS, the fact that I FEEL it is good, has me pushing on, and pushing forward.

orange-clip-art-2Although I admit, I still have a long way to go. I need to:

  • include more vegetables, especially green ones
  • eat a bigger variety of protein
  • eat fewer Larabars! (I’ve averaged one a day)
  • work on getting to a true 3 meal a day plan – I still want to snack/graze through the day
  • figure out how to manage the gag reflex versus trying new foods.
  • get more exercise in!

If you’ve read this far, kudos to you. Wish me luck for Week Two, won’t you?