Well, Hellooo DOLLY!

I said hello, dolly,……well, hello, dolly
It’s so nice to have you back where you belong
You’re lookin’ swell, dolly…….i can tell, dolly
You’re still glowin’…you’re still crowin’…you’re still goin’ strong
I feel that room swayin’……while the band’s playin’
One of your old favourite songs from way back when
So….. take her wrap, fellas…….find her an empty lap, fellas
Dolly’ll never go away again…

Forgive me, dear Louis, for co-opting your song, but I truly couldn’t have said it better. 😉

It’s been 10 months since my last post!  TEN!  As they say here in Maine, that’s wicked long.  As you know, I spent very little of 2013 online.  What you may not know is that I spent all that extra time on (wait for it…) roller skates!  So much time, in fact, that in September I tried out for Maine Roller Derby.  And made it!

To say this was the culmination of a dream thought impossible would be putting it mildly.  As someone who’s spent a decade contending with Meniere’s disease, who’s felt trapped in her body for seemingly forever, becoming a roller girl was nothing short of AMAZING!

SO.  I can hear you asking.  HOW THE HELL DID I ACCOMPLISH THAT??!!

Two words.  Drive and Diet.

First and foremost, I have faith.  I have faith in myself, and I have faith in God.  I’d longed to do derby for years.  It wasn’t just a random feeling.  I WANTED IT.  I’d never have taken such a huge leap without the faith and confidence that I was making the right decision and could handle the consequences.  Worst case scenario?  I get sick.  Been there, done that.   At 40, I was willing to take the chance, ultimately, because I knew it was either now or never.  I only have one life to live, and I refuse to live with regrets.  So I went for it.  WIN!

Next, diet.  In 2014 I will celebrate a decade living low-sodium and two years vegan.  I feel better today, at this moment, than ever before.  Giving up salt was simply a first step for me.  Giving up meat, dairy, and eggs, I now know was the goal.  Veganism may sound like the most restrictive and difficult diet imaginable, and I’m not going to lie.  It’s hard.  But you know what’s harder?  Feeling like crap.  After going salt-free all those years ago, veganism hasn’t been all that different.  You can’t eat out easily.  You can’t find a whole lot of processed food.  IS ANY OF THIS NEW??  Nope.  I’m still cooking pretty much all our meals at home.  I’ve checked and rechecked labels for so long, now I just look for other things to avoid.  There’s hardly a dimension I wasn’t already accustomed to.  But the benefits, not only to me, but the world at large..??  Holy smokes.  VEGAN FO’ LIFE!

SO. You may be wondering, WHEN DO WE GET TO SEE YOU KICK ASS ON SKATES??!!

Sadly, never.  Although I made Maine Roller Derby and passed my assessments, I left the team before starting contact (i.e., hard hitting).  Why?  Well, because I have Meniere’s.  Duh.  Hah!  In all honesty, making the team was my goal.  I knew that going in.  I wanted to be able to skate with the best, to hold my own, and to know that I was in every sense a roller girl.  As someone all-too-familiar with vertigo, I wasn’t willing to push myself further and risk winding up worse than before.  It just wasn’t worth it.  I am at peace with myself, my health, and my place in the world.  I was able to accomplish something I’d never thought possible.  That was enough.

I’m here to encourage each and every one of you to do the same.  NEVER GIVE UP.  Don’t lose your dreams.  I know what it’s like to be sick.  I know what it’s like to feel cursed, miserable, and hopeless.  But truly your darkest days are only that – days.  Unless you allow them to add up to forever, there are many brighter tomorrows ahead.  Regardless of your physical state at this moment in time, you are NOT your disease.  Your condition may challenge you like nothing else, but it cannot stifle your spirit unless you let it.

I remind my daughters frequently that each decision we make has an impact on our health.  Even little things that don’t seem to matter, do, when you do them often enough.  One day’s worth of cigarettes isn’t going to cause cancer.  A single sundae or big slab o’ cake won’t put you out of your pants.  But if you chose to indulge on a daily basis, it will get ugly.  The same can be said for healthy choices.  Make exercise and diet a priority and you’ll be amazed at the changes in your life.  You will look better and feel better than ever before.  Set small daily goals and stick to them.  Walk for 30 minutes a day for 30 days.  Give up salt, and adapt your cooking to meet your sodium restriction.  If you fall off the wagon, so to speak, get back on the next day – don’t go freaking crazy and think I’VE FAILED!  I CAN’T DO THIS!!!  You can. It’s hard to change.  It’s hard to deprive yourself of things you’ve always believed were “givens.”  But people never regret the wise choices they make, only the poor ones.

Part of the reason I’ve come out of hiatus is to share what’s been going on in my own life.  Maybe you think I’m a whackjob for doing derby with Meniere’s.  Perhaps you think veganism is too extreme.  Fine.  I’m not here to brainwash, simply to share my own life experience and say hey! world.  This works for me.

I plan on resuming regular recipe posts. Unfortunately, my beloved camera broke last year, so unless I can snap it with my iPhone, it’s not getting photographed.  The good news?  I have lots of great recipes to share from the Everything DASH Diet Cookbook – which has been selling well (yay!) even though I don’t get a penny in royalties (boo!)  At least you all know why I can’t afford to get my Nikon fixed….  But no worries.  Life is bright.  And I hope that 2014 is even brighter.

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