Wednesday, October 30, 2013


A strange thing has happened in the last 4-months-and-a-week. I mean, yeah, as of today I have lost one hundred forty-three pounds and it's an achievement that still dumbfounds me (stop and think about the title of this blog post for a minute), but the strange thing I am focusing on today is my sense of time. It seems as though my sense of time has been affected by my surgery.

It is not necessarily some cosmic thing. I haven't found the elusive proof of String Theory or anything so dramatic. What I have found, however, is just how much time I have reclaimed now that I do not spend as much of my life actually eating food.

One effect of my surgery, perhaps one of the most obvious effects, is that I simply do not eat the volume of food I ate before. I have to be careful -- I have to chew my food a lot more than the average person now, and I have to consciously focus on eating slowly in general. The penalties for not doing these things are quite unpleasant. But the result is that even though my rate of consumption may be lower than before surgery, the amount of time I spend consuming food is substantially reduced.

I have, for many years now, been aware of just how much time we humans in the Global North spend on food. We spend time shopping for food. We spend time preparing food. We spend time serving food. And we spend time eating food. We spend a lot of time eating food. We socialize over food. We mourn over food. We celebrate over food. Food food food food food.

But due to my surgery, my gastric anatomy no longer works like everyone else's in the "normal" world. Again, this in itself is not some amazing epiphany. It's a basic fact, mathematically provable, logically sensible, etc. But it has had a subtle but powerful impact on my sense of time.

When I get up in the morning my first thought is not of food. Lately it has been something along the line of "shit, I'm COLD, what the HELL?" ... but that is another impact of my post-surgical weight loss that I kept being warned would happen. My stomach no longer does that aching "FEED ME SEYMOUR" crap, so my morning come-to-life routine is much more focused on the machinations of morning... feed the cats; take a morning dump; drink some water; etc. Perhaps the only real change is that I have a desire for protein-supplementation and since I get a lot of my protein from chocolate-flavored sources these days, I suppose my life-long demonstrated chocoholic tendencies are front-and-center when I wake up.

But it is not a sugar craving. Of that I am sure. I have reduced my sugar intake so extremely this year that I know I have finally achieved the impossible: I have actually detoxed from sugar. But again, that's another topic for another post.

What amazes me is that I can actually feel like I have more time in my life, literally, because I spend so little time thinking about food. I barely eat, by comparison to my entire life before my surgery, so I often find myself sitting around being confused by the passage of time. Gone -- for now at least -- are the evenings of "going out to eat with friends" that defined my social life for, well, most of my life.

In some ways it is good that my introversion has gotten so much stronger since I started my seminary studies, because I am able to use this reclaimed time for recharging my social-batteries. People -- with the exception of other introverts -- find it hard to believe that I am, indeed, an introvert. Other introverts understand me instinctively along this line of thought; I am "one of those introverts" who is the opposite of shy. But as so many introverts will tell you, being introverted does not mean that we are shy! It means that we expend energy when we are social and that when we reach our turn-point we must retreat to recharge. For me, I do not expend energy steadily; I am a burster. I get wild and crazy, and get loud and gregarious, and when I am done I face-plant.

And yet, because of this substantial reclamation of time in my daily life due to the reduction in my OCD-like food addiction, I find that I have more time on my hands. And this is a good thing... except when it is bad.

There is a paradox about time. Many of us experience the paradox like this: when we have a lot more down-time, or free-time, we become less efficient in how we use our time so at the end of the day we feel just as rushed -- or even mores -- than when we were "busier" beforehand. I have been feeling some of this effect in the last few months, but I have just now reached a point where I can put words to it. It is a curious sensation, and I am feeling it more acutely right now because of the thinning of the Veil. That All Saints / All Souls / Día de los Muertos / Samhain thing, yaknow. But it is intensified this year because -- holy shite -- it is my last year in seminary. And I am just about to be ordained. And I have come out as an addict-in-recovery to my mother. And I am looking at the end of what will likely be the last formal educational experience of my life.

I don't know what the point of this post was supposed to be, or what it ended up being. But what I do know, is that these past few years have been indescribably bizarre, and rewarding, and challenging, and holy. And perhaps that is all I need to know for now.

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
-Exodus 20:11 NRSVA

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