I feel like I could start 80% of my failures with that phrase, but who couldn’t? Also, I’m not going to count April as a complete failure. Let me explain.
The good intentions for April were to not spend, eat right, get up on time, and to not drink. And I pretty much crushed the no spending and the get up on time goals. Where I went wrong was with the eating and drinking. But, in my defense, it was a really high-stress time, and I have like zero healthy coping skills. (Recognizing that is a step in the right direction, right?)
I know I mentioned that I had a ton of grading to do. I’m still making my way through it. I fear I will never be done. I HATE grading. It’s like this scene in PeeWee’s Big Adventure.
So, these papers are always in the back of my mind, which makes it hard to devote the necessary mental energy to my good intentions of building new habits. But there was also a pretty significant health scare with a family member during April, which is the worst thing for a naturally anxious person.
So, when we found out that everything was going to be okay with that person, I was relieved and overjoyed. But there’s one thing I’ve learned about stress, and it’s that even if you think it’s dissipated, it needs some sort of an outlet. And when I don’t give that stress an outlet, I have night terrors. (Seriously. Ask anyone who has ever slept in the same house with me. It’s not uncommon for me to just shriek in my sleep and then wake up to find that I’m standing in a corner of the room away from the bed and flailing my arms with no recollection of how I got there or what sort of a dream brought me to that place. It’s probably my third most attractive quality, after my love of chewing on my cuticles and procrastinating.)
A healthy person would’ve taken that stress to the gym or on a walk. Or perhaps to her journal. But I’m nothing if not a bundle of failed coping mechanisms. (As stated above.) So, naturally, we went to Chelino’s, and I ate piles of Mexican food. (It was my good intentions that made me want to go there, I tell you. I was saving Chris from having to hold my flailing arms at 4 AM.)
I regret nothing about this, and it was the first time I felt satisfied by a meal all month. There’s probably a lot of weird psychological things for me to unpack about food, but suffice it say that Mexican food is comfort food for me since my family worked in Mexican restaurants my whole life. That food occupies more of my memories than people do. (Analyze that, someone.) So, when I need a meal that holds me like a hug, Chris is usually willing to take me to Chelino’s.
And, even though I ate my weight in enchiladas, I still had a night terror that night. So. You can’t outrun the otherworldly demons that come for you in your sleep. I’m pretty sure that’s what night terrors actually are. At least this movie made a convincing argument for it.
(That’s the extent of the research I’ve done into night terrors. There may be more pertinent information, but I doubt Ethan Embry plays a role in it.)
After eating at Chelino’s, I was in full on “screw this” mode with food and drink. (Four good intentions may be too many for one month.) So, know that I had a ridiculous amount of fast food and Velveeta Shells and Cheese the last week of the month. Also, on April 23, we went to Norman Music Festival. Our friend, Trae, is one of the owners of 405 Brewing, and he asked Chris if he could keep a keg in the Eastside Design Company studio during the festival, so we could just go up there for drinks. The beer he brought was a lime tart, a really tasty sour beer. And if you know me, you know that I love local craft beer. It was delicious, and I loved every single last drop.
For pretty much the last week of the month, I had a beer on the back porch as soon as I got home from work, unless there was a thunder storm or the tornado sirens were going off. I don’t feel bad at all though. I’m incapable of being hard on myself for stuff like this, and I’m not competitive enough to think I need to “win” at something that isn’t a scenario wherein one can actually win.
I did, however, go quite a while without alcohol, perhaps more than I had in a long time. And that is definitely a win, because I had developed a pretty bad wine habit over the winter, and haven’t had a drop of the red stuff since March.
I do know this about myself though. I do better focusing on one habit at a time. So, now that I’ve gotten pretty good at not spending money (except for on fast food last week) and going to bed on time, I think I’ve got those down. Now, I’m going to spend May working on eating well until that becomes second nature too. (Full disclosure: There is a bag of ginger snaps on my desk that I snack on while grading papers, and you can have them when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.)
Will I be giving up drinking in the future? Possibly. Will I be giving it up in May? Hell no — good intentions be damned. The students leave Norman in about two weeks, which means it’s open season at The Mont’s patio. You best believe I’ll be there having a black bean taco salad with a swirl. Who wants to join me?