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Nized: Organ, Part 2 (This title makes sense in my head)

Dear North East Coasties, Hang on. We are praying for you guys. Love, Joss.

Part one is HERE.

When last we blogged, I had been previously unaware that I was mortal, and I had come to know it. Not intellectually. Viscerally.


It’s such a Bee Eff Dee that they have a name for it: Mid-Life Crisis. Most people, somewhere in their forties, realize they are mortal, and a lot of them respond by purchasing Mustangs or injecting pig botulism directly into their faces—mostly harmless.

Some even use their MLCes for good, deciding to FINALLY take up scuba diving, or forgive their mothers, or move to Italy, or get out of savagely poor relationships. The most self destructive respond by contracting their first STD while banging a 22 year old fetus with a Daddy/ Mommy complex.

Now, you, my longtime best beloveds, know that I was never a candidate for a MLC. I am as joyfully, blissfully UNselfaware as a happy turnip. I sublimate anything I actually FEEL or QUESTION into novels, and then decorate the novels with fast paced plots, twists, kissing and shooting, until the thematic stuff I am actually exploring is a network of spider-thin-threads submerged in the glittery surface.

DIGRESSION: I think my books are especially good for Book Clubs, because book clubs like to root around and FIND those threads. But if you don’t? They work as escape reads—you can grab one and head to the beach with a rum drink, resting on your towel in absolute assurance that there will be plot twists and black humor—-maybe not a bluebirds-can-do-the-housework- style happy ending, but I always find my way to a truly hopeful one. Why, you can read a book of mine and never NOTICE that network, if you don’t feel like thinking. SO CAN I.

That’s the point, yes?

My Motto: Belly buttons are not for gazing into! (PS Nor are they for piercing, GAH, KIDS TODAY!) With this kind of TURNIP level introspection, I was scheduled to realize I was mortal and have a MLC at about 86 years old, during my fatal heart attack.

But instead, almost dying thrust it upon me more on schedule with the self aware people. That second year, post ZOMGAH! ALMOST DYING! (and now you see, we are a mere 9 months or so away from NOW and the POINT of the posts….) I responded to the MLC by going to bed.

Oh sure, I got the kids fed. I got them off to school. I was UP by the time carpool came around to get them and I did the afternoon activities. I was a FUNCTIONAL sad-oholic.

But, all day? I mostly lay in bed. Not sleeping: Thanks, Insomnia. Just staring at things like walls and dust motes. I spent 12- 18 hours a day there, sniveling and eating transgressive foods. (UPSIDE: Hard to Bang a 22 year old fetus with a mommy complex and contract an STD this way. #brightsiding)

I drew back a good ten feet from all but my most key relationships with other humans. I do this when things are very bad indeed. I don’t tell people I am in trouble. I just kinda…disappear. Puff-A-Smoke time. It’s the introverted half of me, turtling up when the shiz gets all REAL.

Best beloveds, it was double plus ungood.

And while I lay there, I dwelt deeply upon all my failures over at the Plates.

It seemed like a metaphor. It seemed like a good reason to stop with all the TRY, you know? Might as well just sleep the days away until death claimed me HO HUM.

And yeah, part of this was hormones, and a good part was a BAD and LONG STANDING reaction to anesthesia. My body chemistry is WEIRD, my brain chemistry is WEIRDER. I can’t tolerate most drugs, much less the massive, complicated drug-infusion required to keep a person sleeping while they are flayed open on a table for many hours while a VERY nice and patient surgeon saves their intestines and another VERY nice and patient surgeon saves, you know, their life…

But part of it was, I was blackly unhappy. And until I almost died, dropped most of my friends and went to bed for a year, I. Simply. Didn’t. Know. It.


Me: About 8 months ago, I looked at my behaviors, REALIZED I was unhappy, and decided to change it.

You: Changed it by finally becoming organized?

Me: No. Like I said in that open letter, it is not within the realm of my myriad possibilities. I will NEVER be able to be organized.


Me: ALMOST there. Really, And shouldn’t I be PRAISED for not Pink Socking? LOOK I AM TELLING THE REST OF IT and not even wandering off when I see MINI TWIX BARS. You should totally positively reinforce this behavior. (Probably by giving me a mini Twix bar.)

Let me distract you with the news that my husband told me he wanst to start fasting once a week as a spiritual discipline. Is that a thing? He says it is a thing.

I THINK IT SOUNDS CRAZY, but then again, I want to eat a bag of candy corn once a week as a spiritual discipline. He says that is TOTALLY not a thing. I suspect he is right. I am researching FASTING right now to learn the best way to fast once a week. If he is actually going to do it, I AM TOO. Any links, knowledge or experience is HEPFUL.

What do you know or think about it?

You: _________________________

(I dunno. Tell me in the comments.)

21 comments to Nized: Organ, Part 2 (This title makes sense in my head)

  • Didn’t work! I’m not distracted with your husband’s, er, thing. 😉
    I still want to know how you got out of the unhappy….

  • HA! I am SUPER distracted, as I am appaerntly drinking green juice all day Thursday in lieu of, you know, EATING FOOD.

  • It is a thing but making you go along with his thing… not so much. I think you should hide a bag of candy corn and mini Twix in your bedroom for emergencies during fasting day.

  • Heather — he is not MAKING me. It;s not conceivable. He never MAKES me do anything. He is Scott!

    He didn’t even ask me to do it with him. He started talking abotu wanting to do it. I am wondering iof it is a thing. I best go revise that. It really makes him sound like an ass and actually he is delightful.

  • ramsr

    Does not make him sound like an ass — makes him sound like a contemplative who’s also engaged in the world — like that ultimate good guy/non-ass from Assisi. The author of Backseat Saints, though, ought to recognize that the wild, fun thing about saints is their bizarre variety. Don’t see you explaining things to a flock of birds — more like pretty Teresa of Avila shaking things up, straightening things out and, stuck in the mud up to her axels, telling God “If this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!” You and Scott work so well because you’re such good complements to each other, i.e. DIFFERENT. Why in the world would the same spiritual practice work? (P.S. As soon as I get home from injured-mother-nurturing I’m going to find those pink socks I knit you and send them. Well played.)

  • Jill

    A Hunger for God:desiring god through fasting and prayer by John Piper. Our church (methodist) read this book last year and many people did fast for 24 hours. People with health issues did not. I did more of a juice fast bc I get bad headaches if I don’t eat. Fasting does refocus one away from herself and to God.

  • Vitamin B. Srsly. My doc finally PRESCRIBED a B-Vitamin type supplement. And he reminded me to add some Magnesium, Calcium, and Zinc. I have felt a difference.

    Fasting for me always ‘ends’ with a ravenous feeling that I inexplicably soothe with candy corn. But, it could be I’m lacking the discipline, too. <<most likely.

  • I don’t know, I guess you only have one life, so try it! I applaud you for supporting him. The worst that can happen is that it sucks and you don’t do it again. The best thing that can happen is that it gives you a new perspective and something really good to put in your next super duper amazing book. But this story isn’t over is it? I didn’t feel an ending. I can tell you that since I’ve bypassed 40, I have had days/weeks/months when I either 1) wanted to sleep all day or 2) seriously considered running away. If nothing else, it certainly is great to know you are not alone.

  • I fast once in a while, but rarely from food. Usually, I fast from something that is a distraction for me, or a habit I could use some motivation in ending, so I don’t suppose I am a very spiritual faster. I did fast from reading one Lent. From reading. It was hard, and when I say hard, I mean… well… I cannot think of a word quite strong enough to express the difficulty I faced in not reading. The memory makes me hyperventilate, so let’s move on shall we?

    I know, in Judiasm, fasting is a spiritual practice, but others come before it. For instance, if I am fasting from food every friday, but my parent throw a huge dinner for my birthday on a friday and it will hurt their feelings and be awkward for everyone if I refuse to eat my cake… then hospitality and kindness come before my fasting. Lauren Winner wrote a great little book called Mudhouse Sabbath. She writes about some Jewish practices and what we, as Christians, can learn from our Hebrew brothers and sisters. There is a section on fasting. The whole book is maybe 100 pages and very interesting. The section on mourning revolutionized how I view my own grieving process.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better. Any kind of acedia/depression just sucks. No way to sugar coat it.

  • Melissa

    Check out: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix. I saw it about a year ago and have randomly fasted for 1-4 days since. It’s best to have a good plan for when you end the fast or it’s a waste of time-you will only feel worse than when you started.

    *disclaimer…at this moment, I am doing the opposite of fasting with a mountain of Tootsie Rolls and Twizzlers. So much for buying candy I don’t love, so I won’t eat it…

  • Kacie

    My stepmom is super religious so we tried fasting as a family when I was in highschool. It’s either your “thing” or it’s a giant form of torture. She loved it and felt more connected to her faith. The rest of us went to bed with a headache or were snapping at everything in sight because the hunger made us grouchy. And then the next day we all had a tendancy to over eat to make up for the day before. Our household vetoed fasting pretty quickly for those reasons. It’s definitely something you need to be committed to in order for it to work well.

  • Lysette

    Fasting is fine if you believe in it but my suggestion is don’t do it just because Scott is. Of course support him by not eating candy corn in front of him, but otherwise better to not disrupt your routine (if you have one c.f. simply fitting in around everyone else’s), or the day after gets a lot harder.

    I know I fell into a really deep black pit and ended up so medicated I can’t honestly say what I did in 2010, but there is a silver lining. Having BDF events and not being on the ball every second of every day also allows your imagination time to take over, and while that can be unsettling at points overall it enhances your creativity. To many people spend so much time doing, they hit the *cancel* button on time for just dreaming. Just don’t cut off your ear 🙂

  • Lysette

    Oh and the other way to fast, use the Gamer’s Diet. Play the new Darkfall game on the 20th all day from when you wake up to when you go to sleep, and drink plenty of coffee and water. If the game is good enough, then with enough coffee you can forget to eat! Sure you might forget to do anything else as well … but hey it’s not called the Gamer’s Diet for nothing ;p

  • Jessica (the celt)

    It IS a thing! We used to do the 30-hour famine fasting thing when we were in high school. I also know some people who fast for longer periods than a day (a week or a month, but those are usually juice fasts or no-solids fasts), but I have a very hard time with food fasts. Every time you think about eating, you should turn your thoughts to God instead, and it is supposed to be a form of introspective supplication to God. (It is also biblical.)

    I have also done media/technology fasts. In college, I did a fairly long technology fast that I truly felt called to do, and it completely changed the way I view technology (in a good way). I have thought about doing this again, because I again have become more beholden to technology in a way that I don’t like.

    The thing is to NEVER do the food fasts on a day that would make you upset for doing it (holidays with big food binges), because a lot of the time you end up feeling less grateful for what you have and just plain cranky that everyone else has pumpkin pie and you don’t. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) That kind of thing negates the entire reason for fasting. It also should be something that doesn’t call attention to itself, so when I did fast more regularly, I did not fast when I was working (and people would ask me why I wasn’t eating something), usually fasting on the weekend instead.

    The idea of fasting together is awesome! I always did better when I had an accountability partner for fasting, because I knew that it was more than just me.

    Nized, Organ 3 is on it’s way, yes? (And I get all hermit-y at those times, too. I won’t tell you about my worst time ever, but it was not good. I was easily able to hermit myself from practically everyone for various reasons, which wasn’t good at all.)

  • Jabberwocky

    I am having a sucktastic few days, but “THEN WHAT THE FRABJOUS RABBIT ARE YOU BABBLING ABOUT?????” made me feel better. That and the Reese’s pumpkins.

  • Vivian Fleming

    Several years ago, as I was trying the Weigh Down Workshop (Bible based) to lose weight, the people that were teaching/coaching this told us that fasting was not a part of the WDW, but that several of them had tried it. They said that they fasted on Wednesdays because that day was full with work and Wednesday night church activities. So…I, who couldn’t imagine going without food EVER, tried it. It really was not hard at all. I love orange juice so I drank that at meal times (this was suggested). Also…all day long I planned what I would have at breakfast the next day. I was still trying to lose weight but…my ideal for the day after fasting was a Grands biscuit with ham. I didn’t really do this as a spiritual practice, but it was much easier than I had thought plus it helped me lose weight. Now that I’m a Type II diabetic, I don’t do it any more.

  • Christine in Los Angeles

    Is it possible you could fast for two days, one could be on my behalf.
    God bless, Christine

  • Karen

    Why does it feel like I got pink socked by a Twix?
    I’ve never fasted, but I worked with a woman who fasted every Friday, which was the day we usually had office lunch gatherings. She must have saved a bundle.

  • Will there be a part 3? In which all is explained and everyone wins a grab bag of mini-snickers?

  • Brigitte

    Fasting makes me feel sick to my stomach, headachy, and makes me a raving bitch. But that’s just me.

  • edj

    I fast every so often. I am a wimpy faster though. Last year, the hubs and I took a day a week and fasted till dinner (like I said, wimp) and then enjoyed dinner and a family night with the kids. I hate fasting but I loved those days. Our schedules are such that we were able to pray those days, which makes all the diff in fasting. Fasting w/o prayer is just super super hard. Also, in my theme of wimpy fasting, I allow myself coffee. Because otherwise I get a headache.

    Also, I hate fasting when I have to cook for people. Like I said, wimp. I have a ton of Muslim friends (I lived overseas) and they manage it all the time. Of course it’s required in their religion.