day 149: cover letter

Dallas and Melissa,

You changed my life three years ago. Melissa, I wrote to you, desperate for a life-long solution to an eating disorder that ravaged me for two years then haunted me for twelve more. With your encouragement, I embarked upon my first Whole30 and became the person I always faked I was; I’m becoming the person I always hoped to be.

Who was I then? I was the star student, the bookworm, the captain of the water polo team, the MVP of the paddling team. I taught myself how to surf. I taught myself Python. I wrote on unlined paper in 10 point font with a 0.5 mechanical pencil and never turned in a problem set with a mistake, a strike-out, or an eraser mark. I earned a scholarship and made my way through college. I was the darling of the physics department, their brightest student. I won a philosophy award for a thesis on quantum mechanics, unprecedented. I traveled to Osaka and Key West and Alaska, measuring nuclear states and wave impacts and sonar, finding results of significant consequence. I was a blown Easter egg: beautiful, delightful, yet so very empty. I could calculate the first excited energy state of the helium atom by hand but I could not bring food to my mouth without also naming myself disgusting, slovenly, a heifer. I could charm Oxford tutors and hockey players alike but my heart lacked a smile. I could not keep my demons at bay; I could only try to keep one step ahead: physically running miles on end until exhaustion, hiding myself in tricky passages of Rachmaninoff through hours of piano practice and burning the midnight oil to lose myself in doctorate-level problems chasing a moment’s respite in that single-minded immersion called “flow.”

Who am I now? I am all of the above, without the “couldn’t”s. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a person who can take a bite and thank the animal whose life sustains mine, the people with whom I’m sharing my meal, the sun and the plants and the soil and the water and God for being part of that great big circle they sing about in The Lion King. I enjoy running, I enjoy the piano, I enjoy solving problems, but I don’t kill myself to do them and I won’t die if I don’t. I love my body. I am blessed in its health, in its strength, in its motion, and I nurture and tend to these gifts. My soul loves more often than it hates. I sing more often than I am scared. I create; I make.

Why would you like me on your team? During my dark ages, I accumulated a great amount of skill, the most valuable being skill-acquisition itself. Now I do the same but with far more joy. I learn quickly and I learn well. I am meticulous. I blog on WordPress at I’m social in a purposeful way: time-wasting, no; connecting, yes. My Instagram is @snatchingzion, and I pin at Microsoft Office is a piece of cake. I am a voting, concerned, but always proud citizen of the United States of America.

As for “cheese,” soggy pulverized cashews fall under the dairy chapter of the Karma Sutra of Sex With Your Pants On. No, such “cheese” is not Whole-30 compliant. Instead, try cashews, chopped but not destroyed, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sea salt over a big bowl of fresh greens and flank steak. Most things are better when you’re not pretending they’re something else. And the best cheese is stinky.

Very respectfully,



day 148: up late

A “dream job” came up and I applied.

But first, I worked on a workout with A. It was an alley kind of day because seminars were ongoing, so wall balls were the chosen implements of debauchery. We had fun making up the rep scheme and making up the punishments and, because we did 75 thrusters for time today, we made it into one of those workouts that is not as hard as it seems.

day 78: 15.4

Right on the heals of my current (lengthy) paleo sweet addiction is my predictable ignominy, now swelled to obloquy by the cruel chorus in my head.

I can usually escape these in the gym. But they’ve grown so persistent, so deafening, that “in the gym” isn’t enough. I have to be working so hard that I can hardly think.

15.4 (scaled) offered one of these instances. After a seeming eternity of berating myself for failing at hand stand push ups (it really only lasted on the walk from the wall to the barbell but such distances are long with vicious voices mocking you for having a tummy too big to lift) there was a 3 2 1 GO and I began 8 minutes of 10 push presses (#65) and 10 cleans (#75.) The cleans were a gift, the push presses not so. #65 still feels heavy overhead when more than 5 are required.

I completed 75 reps.

Someone took a picture of my cleans and while those voices swirl on about fat and fluff and pigs whenever I see these images, A helped a lot by turning my focus toward my positions throughout. In the midst of an exhausting workout, I kept my form relatively clean. The weight was light and when I’m out of breath I tend toward slop. It’s good to see the positives. Once I would have shuddered at the thought that these were readily available for anyone to see. The fact that I can recognize some good gives me hope. Not all is lost. I am not who I once was.

day 77: cookie monster

I have a feeling I’ve used this title before. In any case, I’ve certainly been a cookie monster before. But this current cookie habit is out. of. control.

My sweet tooth returned once my appetite returned (about four months postpartum.) However, it is ALL of my appetite. It seems I’ve lost my steak tooth, my poultry tooth, my veggie tooth, my egg tooth, my coconut tooth, even my sashimi tooth, and all have been replaced by sweet tooths. (Sweet teeth.)

I look at bean and to my brain, my logical brain, I know that he is the only sweet I want in my life. I shudder at the thought that I am offering him less than the optimum. And I look at myself, my cookie-full tummy, and think “geese get a grip!” Yet I still make those paleo cookies and I still buy that coconut ice cream and I still scarf down Power Snacks by the pound. I’ll go a few days before the urge becomes overwhelming, but then I always give in!

Our farm pick-up is but a few weeks away. With it will come copious amounts of meat, and I intend to replace my sweet tooth with a meat tooth. I am not so concerned about my food intake (though goodness knows I have a well-honed ability to eat until I’m sick) and know I need to support bean as he is still nursing with no end in sight! But it’s necessary for both of us that I reign in my sugar addiction and turn back to super foods that make me a super person.

day 73: 15.3

With this, my (very short) rein of RX’d workouts come to an end. Muscle-ups are not yet mine.

The scaled version was a little too “easy” and I wanted to get a good workout in, so I went ahead and simply subbed pull-ups for muscle-ups. Those were fine. My wall balls were horrendous. I think I strung together four of them at one point, but the rest were singles. This is definitely something I need to practice. It’s been a good year since the last time I did wall balls, and the lack of dedication shows. I did get a cool picture out of the debacle.

Someone else in the household got his first Rx WOD this open season though!!! Since his shoulder injury two years ago, A has had trouble overhead; snatches and overhead squats at the programmed weights just aren’t worth re-injury. I cautioned him against the muscle ups as well; he hadn’t even tried them since he was hurt! But he knew himself, he believed in himself, and he did them anyway. He got his first one six minutes into the workout, and proceeded to get seven more, resulting in one full round of seven muscle ups, 50 wall balls, and 100 double unders and then one more muscle up in eight minutes! Boy am I proud!

day 65: c2b

Open Workout 15.2

I didn’t even attempt this workout (repeat of 14.2) last year. At that time, overhead squats were too much for poor bean and my stretching ligaments. And considering I could not do a pull-up at all, chest to bars were out of the question.

While I adore watching amazing athletes battle this WOD (it only gets harder! the mental strength required is impressive), my expectations for myself were low. I hoped for 11 reps: 10 easy overhead squats and then 1 pull-up.

I ended up with 34 reps: 10 ohs, 10 c2b, 10 ohs, 4 c2b by the end of that first 3 minutes. I have a mind to try it again to get to the second round! I continued to work out afterward and ended up with a total of 37 chest to bars in 9 minutes (I switched to ring rows after my hand ripped.) If my hand heals, I’d love to go in on Monday with a goal to get to that second round of three minutes. How great would that be?

Even if my hand continues to be a bloody mess, I’m fairly proud (and entirely surprised.)

day 59: something to do

I’d had enough. My sweet boy didn’t seem to be himself any longer and I wanted to (I want to) get him back. So I began to search and sift and distill and came up with a cock-eyed plan to get him better.

But I realized in mass today that without God, it’s all pride, vanity, sloth: those three sins that led me here today, wondering whether the information I found is the right information, knowing my son was compromised by my own hand, paralyzed in analysis. And those three sins will continue to harp me unless I follow the Lord. The Word, after all, is He, and He is the way and the truth and the life. Those I’d rather have than my small sins, even though they are mine and mine alone.

My political libertarianism battles the preachings of my faith. So there, reader, whoever you are, I’ve said it loud for it in silence it shatters me: now you know I am a despiséd radical. Hide yo kids hide yo wife. I do not care. Just leave me free to follow Him. God, being God, is always the path I ought to take.

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water’s downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers), a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
                                    motion that forces change—
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.
–Jorie Graham