Thursday, January 7, 2010

the common cold and jewish superstition

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who's fighting a particularly nasty cold and gave him my seemingly endless list of things to do: neti pot, saline spray, vitamin advice, humidifier pitch, citrus juice/fruit suggestions and my favorite: apple cider vinegar and honey in hot water. With 12 hour sudafed and mucinex added to the mix. As I was telling him how I keep healthy I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I'd be punished for my cheekiness and soon I'd be wallowing in the snot pool.

Amazing, how that inner voice of doom is so ridiculous and yet so powerful. How could I possible jinx myself into sickness by talking about not being sick? I wasn't bragging (cold gods, I'm talking to you), I was being helpful, giving advice, trying to share some of my sinus wisdom with someone not feeling well.

That sense of being able to cause my own destruction just by saying words out loud goes so deep I don't know how to get rid of it. I got this from my mother, who got it from her mother and I'm wondering how far back it goes. I pray that I don't pass this to my kids—it's a horrible feeling, the somewhat psychotic belief you can bring on bad karma by celebrating the good. Out loud.

The ego is a powerfully destructive thing. That voice that tells you you've gained weight, you're not smart enough, you don't deserve to succeed, this is as far as you'll ever go so you better appreciate it because it's all downhill from here. At least that's what mine says. It also says I shouldn't ever let go and have too much fun because you don't know what might happen, that skiing and rollerblading, to name a couple, are far too dangerous to try, and that it's far better to be responsible and stay in at night.

It's remarkable that I've accomplished so much in spite of this constant inner battle. Only to me it feels like I haven't done very much at all. Instead of appreciating all I've put out into the world, and how much I've grown on the inside, it's hard to stay in that positive place. I wish I had an answer. I wish that the struggle would continue to ease up. It's so much better than it used to be. I almost can't imagine the copious food journals I kept and the self-flagellation. I think those rope things monks used to smack themselves with would have been less painful than my inner beatings. There are longer stretches of peace and calm, of gratitude and appreciation. Of being proud of myself instead of punishing.

But still, I can't say the good stuff out loud.

Day 4 is fighting my superstitious nature and hoping to come out on top. Once this sinus headache is over.


Jeremy said...

You forgot to say kennehurra didn't you. Yahweh is going to be pissed.

quin browne said...

having just emerged from the 9 day cold (3 days coming, 3 days here and 3 days going) i still think if i were flemish, i'd make the world change the proper name for snot.