Primum non nocere

First do no harm.  As much as I adore waxing poetic about how much love is in my life it’s a fact I often dismiss, that the love I have FOR myself, and the love I GIVE myself, is often insufficient.  When we read or hear about the term “self harm” it’s frequently in the context of teenage girls who cut themselves or boys who inhale solvent, but self-harm is sadly very easy to inflict…every time I eat something that is not healthy but simply delights my taste buds, every time I drink more alcohol in an evening than I know my liver can possibly metabolize efficiently, every time I choose to sit by the fire and crochet and watch Pride and Prejudice instead of taking a walk or doing some squats or crunches, I am committing the crime of self-harm, and while there are no statutes that could land me in jail, the sentence for these criminal acts is an adult life filled with dread and guilt and prescription drugs and doctor visits.  I’m a person who next month will no longer have access to affordable health care.  I received a notice that the subsidy I get now, which allows me to pay a price per month that I can afford, is going to go up six times, making it a monthly bill I cannot afford, and as a result I am even more aware than ever, that the expression, Primum non nocere, first do no harm, needs to start with my own cells.

I discovered last November, after my hysterectomy, and difficult and unexpectedly harder recovery from a cut bladder, that I have taken my excellent health and good fortune to have good DNA, for granted.  I take no daily meds, I have no disease, I have no illness, I have no problem for which I have to take pharmaceuticals which may cause any of the myriad of disgusting side effects that are explained in great and gross detail on every other television commercial.  Other than the gynecologist last year, I had not been to a doctor since December of 2012 when I was having Airborne for breakfast and Ny-Quil for lunch and for days felt like I had eaten a Brillo pad.  I count myself as one of the lucky ones in this way.  My father takes no medicines and has no doctor.  Other than thyroid hormone and blood pressure pills, my mother is not a participant in big-pharma either, and while I feel glad that my genetics have not predisposed me to medical disasters or diseases, I am well aware that it is my responsibility to my own self to care for this body.  My pretend husband and I will perhaps become real marrieds when I need to have access to affordable health care and can only get it by being a spouse, with a partner who works for a giant corporation, which he does.

I am a self-righteous jerk when I see a person in line at WaWa buying cigarettes, and then milk and orange juice with an EBT card, while wearing an oxygen hose coming out of her nose, and I get mad and think, I can’t afford health insurance but this jerk gets to smoke cigarettes and my quarterly income taxes have to help pay for her oxygen!!!  BUT, that is the world we live in, and so, I accept that my tiny business will contribute to the pot, that the poorer than I get to take from, while I work but yet earn too much money to draw from the pot to which I contribute…which seems horrifically unfair, but it appears that this is the way of the world…okay, off my high-horse of jerkiness…

I guess my point today is that I know it is my job to care for my own self as best I can.  Since August I have lost 19.2 pounds, and while I have quite a way to go to get into my skinny jeans, the fact that I am at least making efforts to get into my skinny jeans is, to me, a good start, better than just wishing to wear them and actually making changes to make it happen.  I did not drink any alcohol for 36 days when I first tried the Whole30 plan, and during that 36 days I also had no candy or baked treats or sugar or dairy and while I really struggled some days with all of it, all of it was not that hard.  I am now doing my own version of Whole30, but this version does not try as hard to be compliant and does enjoy an occasional cocktail or glass of wine, and last night did enjoy some mint chocolate chip ice cream…so what I am admitting is that I am not in fact living as purely as I should be living if my goal is to love myself the best that I can.

To counteract the tequila we bought in Mexico and have enjoyed since we arrived back home, and the box of Good & Plenty that I ate the other day at work and called “lunch,” and the ice cream I enjoyed last night but certainly did not need, at all, I’m today taking my first beginner’s yoga class at a new studio in a neighboring town.  I don’t know the last time I exercised “on purpose” but can tell you it has been a long time.  I read a text the other day that said, “this is the last chapter of your book that is 2017 and you are the author, so make it a good one” and I thought, yes, why yes I am the author and it is my last chapter of what has been a pretty good year, so this last chapter is going to have some healthier food choices and fewer alcohol indulgences and some Om chanting and some bending, breathing, and stretching and just maybe, and rather likely, I won’t only first do no harm, I will in fact do a great lot of healing…

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