Thursday, August 25, 2016

One Month In: Positives and Negatives

It has been one month since I started this hunger strike and although I would say it has been a positive experience for me overall, there have been some drawbacks.

1. I feel healthy, and have lost a little weight.
2. I'm paying  more attention to what I'm putting in my body, especially protein.
3. It has started conversations with people that wouldn't have started before.
4. I am now aware of who my true friends are.
5. My sleep has been more sound.
6. It has reaffirmed my belief that if you put your mind to something (any diet, project, idea) you can accomplish it.
7. It has helped me keep my Crohn's Disease in check even more than usual.
8. I have felt strong each time I face temptation to eat when I see/smell something that looks/smells delicious, especially when groups make dinner for Hope Lodge.
9. I'm not spending as much money on food.
10. I have still been able to have fun spending time with friends including: Spending two different weekends on The Cape, seeing Pearl Jam at both Fenway shows, walking around Boston College, going on a harbor cruise, and to a Red Sox/ Yankees game with an old BC friend (and one of my favorite people), going to Burlington, VT and playing in a 32-team wiffle ball tournament - finally beating my brother's team (although later eliminated in the playoffs against my brother's team), and laughing non-stop when I went to see Sausage Party.
11. Have been able to fulfill all my Hope Lodge duties.

1. Mentioned in the last post, someone I was close to told me "I just can't watch you wither away" and has chosen to stop talking to me. This hurts, but also makes me realize each time this person said "I love you", they were just words.
2. My recovery time from playing hockey is longer including post-exercise naps.
3. Facing daily temptation has been difficult at times.
4. Feelings that I am being judged for what I put in my body, while I've never done that to others and don't want to, until they question me. (Conversations have gone something like this: Person to me: You need to eat real food / get protein / stop this. Me: Are you still eating meat? Person: Yeah. Me: I think that's wrong, so until you're going to stop that, please back off.)
5. There is still violence and war going on worldwide. Sad, but I still plan on doing this for at least another month.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 19: Awkwardness and Support

I'm almost at the end of my third week without eating any solid food, and physically I feel great.  I actually think what I'm putting in my body is better now than when I was just eating whatever without really thinking about it.  

The most difficult part so far has been the emotional aspect of it.  In the beginning, I had concerned family and friends wanting to make sure I was okay.  I still have friends who disagree with what I'm doing, and some of them still support me while others have said they can't deal with it and have stopped talking to me.

The awkwardness has entered when I've met up with friends at restaurants.  They've all ordered meals, and I've sat there and had a drink while they eat. Some friends feel "weird" about this, some don't care, some try to be up in my face about how delicious the food is, and some just make fun of me (which I think is my favorite option and probably what I'd be doing if I had a friend in a similar situation).

Last week at breakfast, one of my friends decided to announce to our waitress before she ordered that, "He's not eating, but I'm going to have...".  I think it was her way of making fun of me and letting everyone in our vicinity know I wasn't eating.  

At dinner last night before the Red Sox game, my friend and I went to a Mexican place near Fenway.  They brought out chips and salsa before we even ordered drinks, as many Mexican restaurants will do.  After getting our drinks my friend ordered her burrito, and I told our waiter I wasn't having anything.  He then told us that the chips only came as part of ordering a main dish, and I told him I had no problem paying for the chips and salsa...which they didn't end up not putting on our bill anyway.  

One of my friends told me about a woman who just ended her 16-year long hunger strike.  She was arrested after tarting her protest, being force fed through tubes, and stopped after a judge granted her release.  While I admire and am inspired by her strength and determination, I don't see myself as keeping this up for that long or even to the point of being force fed.  

Like I've told everyone who asks me about this, I live to test my limits.  I love pushing my body and mind and seeing what both are capable of.  As soon as I feel this hunger strike is getting in the way of my health and/or happiness, I will stop.  I believe that day is at the very least months away, but we will see.  

Thank you to all who have supported me, talked to me about this, and opened up conversations that wouldn't have happened had I not decided to take this journey.  

(More on my week with Pearl Jam at Fenway and Red Sox / Yankees later)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Day Ten: Masters of War

One of my favorite anti-war songs:

Pearl Jam Masters of War on Letterman (I thought it was just Eddie when I first saw?)

Original Dylan:
Yeah, fuck war.

Monday, August 1, 2016

One Week In

It has been a week since I ate any solid food, and the reactions I have received, for the most part, have been similar.

The first is usually asking me if I am serious, or "Are you really not eating?"

The second has been "You know World Peace is impossible, right?", or some variation of that, to which I respond, if that's what you think, then you are correct.  I believe it is, and if enough people believe it is, things will change.  Good or bad, things that we bring into reality start with ideas, and I think world peace is the best idea.

Some have asked me why I don't pick a "smaller" or "easier" thing to hunger strike for (such as gun violence in the US), but if you know me you know I'd rather take a stand against the biggest and baddest (see also: cancer).

Others have suggested organizations I might want to contact, such as The Elders that I wrote about before or this weekend the Peace Corps was mentioned to me.

It's been a little awkward at times (at work or with friends) this past week when people are all sitting down eating a meal and I don't join them, but I think that will lessen with time.

Regardless of reactions, my hunger strike has started conversations with family and friends that weren't there before and will challenge my conceptions of what I actually need to be happy and know I'm doing something to make a difference or shed light on an issue I feel passionate about.

I don't know how long I will keep this up or to what extent I will lessen my calorie intake, but I know this for sure: I love testing my limits and at the same time I will know when it is time to stop - my body will tell me, and I will listen (most likely when I can't play hockey anymore).

Thank you to my sister Carolyn and friend Gina who have helped with powders to make sure I'm getting enough protein!