Sometimes I wanted to go back to being unconscious in my life. Eating like garbage and blaming everybody else for my problems. Long gone were the days of fast food without a serving of guilt-trip. I felt alone in it, a lot, like I was missing out on some carefree party of the masses, while I unrelentingly pursued betterment. My rebellion was ordering Chinese food on DoorDash and eating until my liver hurt. My bingeing was nowhere near what it used to be. Now I wasn't having to hide so much because my life was just more private. It was more like simply not saying anything. It took the pressure off somewhat, and made my self-sabotage less overt. But, as with many little hitches that repeatedly popped up when unproductively focusing my energies on trivial things, I knew this just wouldn't do. I couldn't go back to not caring about how I treated my body or feeling numb to my not-so-great choices. My body knew what real, clean food felt like. The processed gunk was heavy inside me--the manipulation it went through, the salt-sugar-oil saturation, made it impossible for my cells to love it. I'd feel sick all night, a ball of acid swelling every organ from chest to pelvis. System overload. I'd get a clean spell under my belt and then, almost like clockwork, I'd spiral into a tantrum. "Why does everybody else get to eat delicious food and not give a fuck?" "This would be so much easier if I just wanted to eat healthy and didn't have to eat healthy." "If I want my skin to be clear, I have no other choice!" "I just want to drink coffee all day like Lee Child . . . " I had a friend who commiserated, closely related even, but that didn't make me feel better. When I wanted an escape, a dopamine hit, when I lusted for "fun"--green smoothies and salads felt far too responsible. Fucking Boring. I knew it was because my life, at this moment, lacked a level of excitement, fulfillment and adventure I'd craved for far too long. It wasn't just food. When people around me gossiped over work dramas or complained about customers, I choked back my reflex to dive into the feeding frenzy. Sure, I caved sometimes and talked about surface level bullshit to fuse some kind of bridge, albeit flimsy at best. But how I acted on the whole, with subtle, unspoken, yet palpable detachment, on the periphery, intentionally withholding opinions about how others operated--it made me an outsider. I didn't get invited to things. I wasn't part of the group. I was an enigma. Appreciated but not even close to understood. I generally wasn't someone co-workers confided in, because I held myself to a way of being that made me seem, on a level no one would say out loud (or maybe they did when I wasn't around), holier than thou. I couldn't know this for sure--just a feeling I got when I entered the room. My tribe was somewhere else. It was here. Inside me. In these writings. In moments with the phone turned off, pure, golden joy dripping from every pore, for no reason at all. I belonged with those who are waking up, caring about how they treat themselves, having compassion for others. Sometimes feeling alone or on the fringes. Fucking up, being human. Wanting better. What now felt like lifetimes ago, I was in-the-mix. Full tap on all the haps--the epicenter of drama. Eating whatever, drinking hard, smoking always. I couldn't be alone, had to be "out" and distracted to maintain the illusion of normalcy. Every day I was falling to pieces. Nothing's a waste, but geez, what a fucking waste. Big blotches of years I don't remember. It's impossible to go back. So, onward and onward and around the next bend, even with retreats to old fixes, bubbling angst and an insatiable yearning for more.