Body for Life, the Universe, and Everything

Being a description of the author's thoughts on the experience of participating in the "Body for Life" Challenge, questions of great philosophical import, and randomly selected topics of no significance whatsoever

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Location: Missouri, United States

In no particular order, I'm a professional lettering artist, a yoga practitioner, a cat lover, a vegetarian, a reader of everything from books to cereal boxes, married to a very attractive guy named Tom (nope, no kids), an exercise enthusiast, and a lot of other things I don't care to admit in a public forum. I have a BS in applied math that I haven't used in over 10 years, and I can put both feet behind my head. What else would you like to know?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Shut up and drink the Kool-Aid

I wrote a moderately-long blog entry earlier this evening, but the computer ate it, and I'm not presently inclined to attempt to recreate it (maybe later), so you are getting something different instead.

I was decluttering one of my e-mail folders just now and came across an e-mail broadcast to a group I'm in that talked about reasons to treat your body well. Some of the things mentioned were, "Each person reading this is worthy of being loved and merits exquisite care," and, "Recognizing that you are a child of God. You are precious in His sight."

When I read stuff like that, my throat gets tight and I invariably want to burst into tears. Sometimes I actually do. I think this feeling is due to conflict between the head and the heart; the head calmly thinks this information is likely to be true, and can nod and give the correct responses when questioned about such things, but the heart is brokenly certain it's a total lie, and that the truth is that we (it has to be we, rather than I, when I talk about conflicting opinions within my personality) deserve nothing better than to die miserably alone, ripped to shreds by wild animals, preferably as soon as can be arranged, and to be forgotten immediately, except as a bad example.

Hi, my name is Cheryl and I am clinically depressed. (Welcome to my world. Straitjackets to your left; hand grenades to your right. Noose-tying lessons begin at noon.) I also have a mild case of mitral valve prolapse and a family history of breast cancer and heart disease, but I have a ridiculously healthy lifestyle, so it's a bit of a challenge to guess what will kill me off (and when). If I were a betting person, I'd put my money on the depression. That's the only thing that's come close so far, although there were a few interesting moments when the mitral valve prolapse was misdiagnosed as something much worse (as in, "kills everyone who has it before age 25" worse). I have been asked why I bother to do things with a long-term horizon (like eat right, exercise, and study piano) when I'm so convinced that I am grossly overdue to change my status from "quick" to "dead" in order to free up resources for more deserving human beings. Well, I don't rightly know, but I suspect it has something to do with hope that what I believe is wrong. I mean, people keep telling me I'm wrong. How likely is it that I'm right and all of them are wrong? Intelligence isn't everything, after all. What kind of world is this, where you hope that what you believe is wrong?

My dilemma is this: I believe in an afterlife. A good one, despite my catastrophic failures in my current state of existence. I believe in it so firmly that I am constantly asking myself this: Why shouldn't I ditch my current misery ahead of schedule in favor of that? I'm not afraid to die, but I'm a wimp when it comes to pain. Right now I'm in pain (have been, in fact, for approximately 2/3 of my life). Not physical pain, but emotional pain. You can point out how good my life is until you turn purple, and it won't make a difference. That's been tried. Sorry, no dice. The landscape is inside my head, and what people say doesn't change the picture in there--at least, not permanently. When the warm fuzzies from a compliment wear off in a few minutes or hours, the inner blackboard is still going to say that I am lazy, useless, selfish, worthless, untalented, fat, ugly garbage, a failure, can't do anything right, a total waste of resources, and the world is far better off without me.

Tell me again why I'm supposed to hold off on my trip to the pearly gates? I forget.


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