Tuesday, February 26, 2013

what, no fiber?!?!? just relax!


Let’s take a moment to talk about… fiber.
You’re all like, but Ace, haven’t we BEEN talking about fiber? Well yeah, it’s true, we have. But so far mostly we’ve been talking about the fiber you knit with. Now it’s time to talk about – the other kind of fiber.
To make a long story short – for your sake and for mine – my stomach started really bothering me last year. I was pretty much miserable all the time from April to November. Conventional Western Medicine offered me a diagnosis, a prescription, and a life-long diet devoid of coffee, meat, sugar, high-fiber foods, etc (basically, anything that tastes good or that you thought was actually healthy). That wasn’t really acceptable to me, so I found a Chinese Herbalist / Acupuncturist who was confident that I can get back to some semblance of Normal. And well, I’m able to drink a little coffee every day, so I know I’m headed in the right direction!
I’d never had any experience with Chinese Medicine before this. It’s quite different – they really have a different approach to heath, healing, and diet. I can’t speak on the topic with any sort of authority – I can only give you an account of what I’ve experienced so far.
The Chinese seem to look at a lot of things from the perspective of the elements, the seasons – the interplay between hot and cold, summer and winter… Like, I can eat some fruits in the summer, others in the winter. Ginger for the stomach in the summer, radish for the stomach in the winter. It makes sense when you think about it – certain things are in season only at certain times, and with our instant-gratification, year-round, 24/7/365 mentality, it’s possible we have moved away from the natural order of how things work and what we would normally eat.
So, the Chinese doctor, who goes by “Anna,” makes me baggies full of what looks like dried swamp plants to brew into teas, powders to mix with honey and eat 30 minutes before a meal, pastes that taste like poppy seeds and petrol to eat before bedtime. The Neighbor probably thinks I’m nuts (“what’s in that stuff??” he asks. “I have no idea,” I reply. “Wow, you’re brave,” he says half with awe and half with suspicion…)
It’s all been helping. And now that I’m feeling a little better I’m now strong enough for actual acupuncture. I’ve been going every week for 3 weeks. Slow, slow progress…
Apparently everyone else just needs a tea or two, a few acupuncture treatments and they are good to go. So why is it taking so long for ME to get better?
Because I am my own worst enemy.
Here is a sample of a conversation between Anna and me that has occurred more than once (I’m paraphrasing of course, because her English is actually a lot harder to understand than what I’m writing here, bless her cute little heart)
Anna: You think too much.
Andrea: What does that mean?
Anna: You have too many things going through your head. You’re too romantic. You are never happy and you always get bored.
Andrea: …
Anna:  Your life is actually pretty easy. You didn’t have to emigrate from another country and no one thinks you’re not smart because you can’t speak the language.
Andrea: You’re right. I have a pretty easy life.

So what’s my problem? I think too much? Oh, and everyone tells me to relax.
Well how the heck do I fix that? If I have to think about it too much, I end up right back where I started and my stomach still hurts.
It’s so easy for everyone to say “You think too much. Stop thinking so much. Relax.”
If only it were as easy to just stop thinking too much and relaxing more.
I’m not really sure what to do at this point. Except go knit something.

-ace

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