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Filtering by Tag: 15 Can Challenge

THE SKINNY

Cindy Maddera

We were naked in bed. I looked down at my doughy white belly and mumbled something about being fat. Michael told me that this was untrue. I said "next year, I'm going to be skinny." Michael replied with "a healthy skinny." I said "No. I want to be so skinny you can see my bones." Michael said "No. You mean a healthy skinny." I didn't argue with him, but in my head I was still stuck on the idea of being that kind of skinny where my bones poked out of my skin and you could count my ribs. There's a part of me that really considers this, wonders how to achieve this. I would eat one Jelly Belly a day, a piece of fruit and a peanut. I have never been skinny let alone bag of bones skinny, but I now wanted desperately to be skeleton thin. I've never been an extreme anything before.

My whole life has been one of practicality and moderation. I rarely snack between meals. There's never a cookie a day. My dessert at lunch is fruit (with the exception of the other day when I ate what was left of Mom's sweet potato pie/casserole/deliciousness). I may accept the offer for candy one out of the ten times asked. That's not to say that I will not eat the occasional cupcake or bagel that is brought into this office. I will devour that shit, but the cupcakes and bagels are maybe a bi-monthly event around here. I am a moderate drinker with three beers being my usual limit. I walk thirty minutes a day at the moderate speed of 3.6 miles per hour. My tattoos are even moderate. If I were to have a tombstone "everything in moderation" would be my epitaph. 

My entire life I have sat on the fence line straddling mediocre and advanced. I was one point away from being put in with the "gifted and talented" kids in third grade. Too smart for my class and too dumb for the advanced class. My talent is average with a singing voice that was good enough for a scholarship but lacked the ambition and drive for much more than that. I don't really care about the number of publications I have (not really that many) and I am mildly proud of myself for that journal cover I got once. Actually, I think I was just as impressed with the Christmas wreath I made for the door.

I am not one to over indulge or deprive myself. In fact, I have a thing about being hungry. Fear of hunger may be a good way to put it. I don't want to get caught between meals with a gnawing stomach and no snack. If faced with this situation I will either suffer and feel woozy and anxious or I will go to the cafeteria and buy all of the food. All of it. The hardest part of that juice cleanse I did once was making all the juice to take with me to work, because the anxiety of not having enough was crippling. I have no idea where this anxiety and fear comes from. We were poor at times growing up, but never so poor that we didn't have food. 

I know that saying I want to be skeleton thin sounds dangerous. It puts to mind eating disorders and illness. I'm not looking to give myself an eating disorder or poor health. But maybe a little deprivation is in order. Maybe I need to go hungry for a bit, work through that anxiety. Maybe I need to do what I am afraid to do. How shameful and ridiculous is it for someone like me to be afraid of going hungry when millions of people in this country go to bed at night with gnawing stomachs and uncertainty of where their next meal will come from. At least I know I can have more than a Jelly Belly and a peanut for lunch. I have the means and then some. In fact I will be delivering my box of canned goods to Harvesters this weekend. I have collected fifteen cans or so of food for the 15 Can Challenge. You can help too by making a donation to Harvesters. All you need to do is click on the word Harvesters in this sentence.

So don't fret. You will not be counting my ribs by this time next year. I'm too lazy to be extreme. 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

Thursday morning, I woke up not coughing. It was the first time in over a week where I didn't start my day coughing. I mean, I still have a cough, it's just not as relentlessly persistent. Waking up without it on Thursday made me want to fist pump the air or high five someone and then I walked at lunch and spent the afternoon coughing. But! There's always a but. Waking without the cough means that I didn't wake up a bazillion times during the night because of it. I didn't take cough medicine before bed either. I slept through the night unassisted. High five! I am thankful that I am finally on the up side of this crud mountain. 

I feel like today's Thankful Friday could easily fall into a laundry list of piddly ass things like short weeks and Kleenex. It is easy to be thankful for the quiet evenings we've had this week as well as the low expectations of getting things done. It's easy to be thankful for my food and the weather or the endless supply of cherry tomatoes that seem to be coming from the garden on a daily basis. They are small little things that can also be easily taken for granted. Maybe that's why it is important to occasionally recognize and be thankful for that laundry list. With daily lives full of work, family, school things, the hustle and bustle of living, the mundane of simple is a blessing. Often I feel the push to dig deeper, to find something more. I don't want my gratitude to be superficial, only being thankful for the things on the surface. Surely I am more blessed than just having a roof over my head, but then you consider those who do not have roofs overhead. I can always pull out a can of beans from the pantry when I'm hungry. To some people the ability to open up a closet door and pull out a can of food is a luxury. 

Weeks ago I was invited to join the 15 Can Challenge through Facebook. I sort of just ignored the invite. It sounded like a good challenge to do, but then I thought about the effort required to actually get the cans to a charity. I set the invite on the back burner to mule over for awhile. The challenge is simple. Every week, when you buy groceries, you buy an extra can of something to set aside for a food pantry charity of your choice. When I received the invite, it was fifteen weeks until December 5th, the day you turn everything in. Now we have more like thirteen weeks, but it's not a big deal to pick up two extra cans here and there to end up with the final total. But the initial reaction was to not bother. I've started the challenge late. I have to get the food to a pantry. Would you listen to those excuses?!? I am gross and lazy. I joined the event today. Taking a moment to be thankful for the simple things was the kick in the pants I needed. If you'd like to join me in this food drive, leave a comment or contact me on Facebook and I will send you an invite. 

A cold front is moving through right as I type this. We will have Fall temperatures this weekend. I am not ready to let go of Summer weather, but I will be thankful for a preview of Fall. Like Christmas in July. I am thankful for treadmill time and clean yoga mats. I am thankful for tofu scramble. And I am always thankful for you. Here's to a fantastic weekend and a truly Thankful Friday.