Prince Royal King, an elderly man in his 80s, stood inspecting the selection of cheeses in the dairy section at Stater Brothers. Somehow I started talking to him about, what else? cars– and my need for one. In those years, I was desperate for a car and didn’t have much money. I was in college. He said, “Well, why don’t you come home with me. I’ve got a car for you. I’ve been fixing up cars for years.” We got in his 1970s made-to-last vehicle and drove to his house in Azusa. He smoked Marlboro menthols and he offered me one. I obliged. We pulled up to his house. He put away the groceries. (I don’t think I was naive, just good gut instincts about people. Prince was no serial killer.) We chilled in his living room and he told me how having the name Prince Royal King got him out of jail in his younger years because the judge said, “I can’t put a man in jail with that name.” (Maybe I should have been more afraid after the ‘jail’ comment.)
After we chatted for a bit, he showed me his garage and proudly displayed all the tools he had. Clearly he’d been collecting tools for over 50 years. This was his tool museum.
As he courted me for a bit longer, he eventually meandered over to this amazing light green 2-door 1973 Gran Torino. (Does anyone remember me driving this car back in the day?) I bought it from Prince for $1000. He let this sweet little college student pay payments.
I loved that car. I called her the Big Green Mama. I hot glued these awesome dangly dingle balls, like you’d see on a sombrero, all around the interior of the car. I don’t know what possessed me to do this, it was just the accessory she needed to be even cooler and more herself.
I am like the Big Green Mama. I’ve always had this need to be different, this car was just about as different as they come. The exception was a dear friend from Germany, who’d come over to study business at APU, York Von Fischer. He had this amazing red 1970s convertible, a tank and a half. American made. A car he couldn’t easily get in Germany. My Facebook profile picture was taken in that convertible. Windblown curly wild hair flying all over as York captured the perfect photo. I loved his accent. I was captivated by his love of learning and excitement for all things American. He was fully alive.
Prince introduced me to the Big Green Mama and I loved the time I spent with her. I felt alive and proud and unique every time I closed the door.
In our desires to be non-conformists, we generally conform to something whether we want to admit it or not. Need of connection is something I’ve longed for, and yet, striving to be myself was something I’ve pursued doggedly since I was very young. There’s always been this inner battle to conform and yet, maintain a sense of independence and separation from ‘group think.’ I didn’t want to be the same as anybody.
I wanted to be me, and make people like it. There were many awkward moments, years, and decades, but I’m satisfied with how this has made me into who I am now. I wouldn’t trade those awkward moments, if I had to give them up to become who I am.
In my endeavor to not conform to the the typical female response to ‘bad’ food, <<<insert Jan voice here>>>, Jan’s voice here. (say this in a Marsha-Marsha-Marsha voice, yes, Marsha from the Brady Bunch.) “I’m-going-to-eat-a-salad-with dressing-on-the-side & I’m-going-to-pass-on-the-cake.” I couldn’t stand the whiney inner voice anymore. I decided, ah hell, eat the cake and salad is better WITH fat. Let’s throw caution to the wind and EAT WHAT WE WANT! (The ‘we’ is me and my appetite, I think. Kinda creepy, yes?)
Well, this didn’t work so well, because I kept gaining weight. The more I gained, the more I’d say, “Whatevs! Life’s too short to worry about every bite I put in my mouth.”
I still fight, in my head, with these same ideas of not wanting to be the next Weight Watchers poster child or The Biggest Loser Loser. I want to have Happy Hour like the rest of the happy peeps, but at what cost? I really had to have a heart-to-heart with myself about why I stopped caring. What does it mean to really feel alive and love it? I forgot. Losing myself, I’ll argue, was a good thing. I’m finding myself again. I’m feeling and loving more fully again. Watch out friends, here comes Joy, fully alive Joy. Convertible ridin’, Big Green Mama, Joy. Meet-a-man-named-Prince and ride home with him, Joy. Spontaneous, Joy.
I’ve forgotten who that Joy is, but it’s gradually coming back to me.
Phase 4 started this week. Refried beans, mashed potatoes, eggs, cottage cheese & baby food (yes, this is a suggestion on the list.)
On Wednesday, I was thrilled to have eggs again. I scrambled some eggs in the morning before work and started to eat, like I normally would. Eat. Chew. Swallow. Repeat. Eat. Chew. Swallow. Repeat. (We all do this effortlessly.) After about 5 minutes I stopped and started feeling a tremendous amount of pressure in my chest.
This was my first experience “Getting Stuck” as they call it. This isn’t the kind of stuck that you get when you run out of gas, or the kind of stuck when you are caught in a traffic jam. This is the kind of stuck that sits at the small opening to your new itty bitty egg-sized stomach. I waited. Repeat. I waited. Repeat. I waited. Repeat. I said, “Oh no, I don’t want to throw up, I hate throwing up.” I waited. Repeat.
I stood over the toilet and proceeded to blow chunks of the 4 oz of eggs I’d just swallowed. Those eggs had an early departure to Egg Heaven. I’m hoping to erase that memory and eat eggs again soon.
So far the rest of Phase 4 foods have been tolerable and more exciting. I’ve been going out to eat and getting soups at restaurants, mostly. I’ve also had sugar free frozen yogurt twice this week and that has been delightful and I’m down 32 pounds.
Until next Friday… Love you loves.