It’s not here yet, and I have to manage with what I have. I’m grateful for my monthly disability income. It would be nice to have more, but it’s enough for me to live on. Just enough. My income is more than many have, and I have really simple tastes… but most people can live a whole lot cheaper than I can, because my “basics” are different.
I want to ask my blithe friends to point to something in their cupboards — something to eat. Anything.
- Pasta? For me, that’s 3 days of poor vision, no memory, no thought, of being so disoriented I’m unable to drive, let alone get to the end of a sentence. Corn and rice aren’t quite as bad, but they still cost my body too much.
- Beans? Depends on the bean, but it usually means sluggish bowels, insulin resistance, worse nerve pain (because the endocrine misbehavior triggers inflammatory responses), and disproportionate weight gain. Every extra pound I weigh is a tax on my feet and legs, where the pain and swelling are already about all I can cope with.
- Cannned goods? Neurotoxic preservatives that set my thoughts rattling, interfere with sleep, make me feel like someone took a baseball bat to my head.
- Soda? Oh boy, let’s talk about soda. The phosphoric acid alone will send my peripheral and central nervous systems into spasms, and the caffeine throws my fight-or-flight response a curve-ball. Don’t even get me started on the corn syrup. Corn fractions are bad, but high fructose corn syrup is a straight descent into neurogenic Hell.
I have to put expensive berries and piles of organic greens in my cart.
- If I don’t eat them several times absolutely every day, my brain starts to shut down.
- If I eat too much of the herbicides and pesticides used in conventional produce, it’s a quick descent into autonomic Hell, with weeks of constant PMS, radiant gin blossoms, and blood pressure that won’t settle down.
- I choose the high-end cheddar over the store brand. Want to know what they use to keep the store brand “fresh”? I need to let my bowels continue working, thank you… But aged cheeses provide precursors for the neurotransmitters used in memory and decision-making; when I’m having trouble thinking, sometimes all I need is a bit of good cheese and a couple of hours to absorb it.
I spend hundreds of dollars each month on supplements, herbs and homeopathic preparations, carefully tuned at every purchase to make sure I’m getting the best possible effect for my money. Collectively, they let
- my mitochondria cope,
- my nerves fire,
- my brain work,
- my body repair itself — reasonably successfully, most of the time.
I constantly double-check and experiment to make sure I’m not wasting my money, that every one of them makes a real difference. They are not optional, and there is no slack in the system.
I can’t live like a normal person. If I try, I’m dead. It’s not drama, it’s just a fact.
I don’t choose to live like this because I can afford it. I live this way, and do without other things. I think of those who live in houses or flats with multiple rooms, petting the companion animals they can afford to feed, with their feet on a coffee table or rug, drinking out of their own mugs. And the poor things don’t realize how good they’ve got it, but eye my windfall askance and look for something more to be dissatisfied with. It’s human nature. I’ve done the same, back when I could afford to.
Everything I own right now fits into a messenger bag and a carryon; that’s it. There are three boxes and a dive bag stored with a friend somewhere. I know I’ll see the friend again (to the extent one can be sure of anything), but heaven only knows whether I’ll see the stuff, because stuff tends to leave me by freaks of chance. In the end, if it’s not important enough to keep with me, how badly do I really need it?
I’ve learned to be relaxed about possessions. Having the US Postal Service lose thousands of dollars of art, books and paraphernalia at a formative moment in life, can have that effect. All I need is enough to wear, plus the laptop and e-reader. Other things (pots, knives, movies) are useful, but I find them hard to hold onto; they keep slipping away, one way or another.
I know exactly what I’m going to do with that backpay. Every penny will be used. Not spent, not frittered, not idly indulged with. Nothing will be wasted. It should be just enough.
There is still no excess or slack in the system. But as long as there is just enough, I can make it work.