On Tuesday night, I just couldn’t sleep at all, thanks to a phlegmy sore throat, a budding, hovering headache, and some classic premenstrual cramps.
Cliche as it sounds, I tossed and turned endlessly — waking on the hour, every hour — and around 2 AM, I was so desperate for relief that I took two alternatingly hot-and-cold showers (a holistic approach aimed at poking and prodding your immune system awake) and then pulled up a four-hour “chakra throat healing music” YouTube video. The video functioned as a sort of company to my misery… nothing more.
When 6 AM – aka daytime – finally rolled around, it came as a huge relief. In-between dressing myself for the last half-day of the trainers conference, I skimmed through my messages.
“Buy a bottle of Excedrin or Tylenol,” my mother insisted via Messenger. “I’ll even compensate you for it!” she added. Oh Sierra, I shook my head, smiling. You know I haven’t taken that stuff in years. And I was firm on my stance. But still — I appreciated her caring.
“You should to go to the special store,” a friend advised over Google Hangouts. “Marijuana is an expectorant… it’ll help clear your illness up AND make you more comfortable in the meantime.”
Hmmmm… a natural remedy. This caught my attention.
While he was a credible source, I Google searched “I have a cold will marijuana help” anyways, and when pages of results popped up, I wasn’t really surprised to receive confirmation that yes — in many ways, marijuana can prove helpful for someone with a cold.
Along with a whole host of other benefits, marijuana:
- serves as an expectorant,
- acts as an anti-inflammatory agent,
- reduces pain, allowing sufferers to sleep and, thereby, self-heal, and
- suppresses the immune system slightly, which sounds like the OPPOSITE of what you’d want to have happen, but suppressing it actually gives it a break (as an overworked immune system is often the key contributing factor to illness)
So despite my low-key fiasco in Denver, I decided to give edibles another go… this time, for medicinal reasons instead of recreational ones. My main motivating factor: I have two music gigs lined up for this weekend and would hate to cancel either or both of them.
At the conference, I drank honey-and-lemon infused tea as the speaker spoke and then I built a bear for a kid receiving treatment at Seattle’s local Children’s Hospital. If you zoom in a little, you’ll see that I named him Bruster Bear.
Sidebar: I don’t think that my CU would want to be named in the same blog post where marijuana is a key topic, but if you’re currently banking with A BANK, BREAK UP WITH THE BANK! Credit unions are infinitely better, offering the same product lineup, way better service, and – oftentimes – even more deposit coverage than banks can provide. Steve Brule says that CUs are even good for your health! Just head over to this website, find a credit union that’s close to you, switch your accounts and loans over, and then enjoy being treated like a person… NOT a number.
SO the conference ended, and after saying my goodbyes, I walked several blocks over to a shop that, purely judging by the exterior, obviously sold the stuff, and I stepped inside.
“Hiya — I’m here for edibles,” I stated, feeling like a child and a criminal and wondering if I should have discreetly written my request onto a silent and flammable note instead.
“Ah, I don’t carry those, OR marijuana itself… but I sell everything you need to SMOKE marijuana,” the guy said. “Zoning,” he continued, seeing the confused look on my face. “I’m too close to a park AND a library — you’ve gotta be 5000+ feet away from those types of places to legally sell the actual stuff.”
“Damn,” I replied.
He redirected me to a place called Have a Heart. I stepped into Whole Foods on the way there, picking up an apple cider vinegar drink, a bottle of orange juice, and a cacao-maca-and-coconut-milk beverage.
I believed that with myself, marijuana, and an army of beverages all working together as a united front, we could defeat the illness.
At Have a Heart, I checked out with a single, plastic-wrapped chocolate chip cookie that contained 10 mg of marijuana (aka a REALLY small amount).
“So, as someone who literally NEVER smokes or eats this stuff, it’s not legal in my state yet, should I eat the whole cookie at once, or break it into half, or…?” I asked one of the reps on the floor.
She pursed her lips. “Uhhhh — I mean, everyone’s different, you know? Like, I smoke at least 100 mg a day… and also, if you’ve eaten, that makes a difference… so…” her voice trailed off.
“Alrighty,” I replied, nodding my understanding and tucking the white paper bag into my backpack.
Back at the hotel, I packed my suitcase, tidied the room, and hooked my phone up to its charger.
Before entering into this hazy marijuana world, I need to be completely prepared, I told myself, remembering how untethered and loopy I had felt the last time.
After setting myself up for early morning depart-to-the-airport success, I climbed into my big hotel bed, opened the magical little marijuana bag, and withdrew my cookie. So small, but so powerful!
I broke it down the middle, or at least tried to; it ended up in two uneven parts: 65% and 35%.
Which half should I start with? I wondered, stressed that the universe was trusting me to decide. The safe(r) bet or the total wildcard? I want it to be effective, but I DON’T want to have a massive existential meltdown, either, and this is obviously a matter concerning an individual’s tolerance level…
I carefully chewed and swallowed 35% of the cookie (about 3.5 grams, I guess) and then powered on my laptop, concocting sweet, chocolate chip dreams of a perfectly peaceful evening.
And I’ll just immerse myself in a television show for a little while, to better prevent a major freak-out, I thought, confident in my strategy: be prepared, be somewhere safe, and have an engaging distraction in place.
I couldn’t find anything more interesting or suitable on Netflix, so I settled on season 7 of Gilmore Girls. I had watched many episodes of the show growing up, so it immediately felt familiar to me (which made me feel safe).
I spent the next four hours watching episode after episode of the show, laughing and, especially, crying along with the women as I accompanied them on their journeys, and I also found myself helplessly swaying to the beat of the show’s intro song: where you lead, I will follow, anywhere that you tell me to… if you need me to be with you, I will follow where you lead.
I broke the other 65% in half also and then took half of it around 10 PM. The double dose of marijuana really delivered; I slept superbly well.
And to think — this stuff is so powerful that it can empower people with anxiety or depression; help cancer patients fend off their treatment-induced nausea; and work with epileptics to prevent seizures…
I shook my head at Birmingham and every other behind-the-times city and state, thinking… what the fuck, man? When?
After Ubering to the airport yesterday morning and obtaining my boarding passes, I located the security checkpoint and knew that it was time to discard my enormous jug of water AND my little piece of contraband. I took a few more big gulps, wincing as the water slid down my sandpapery throat, and then plopped the last little bit of the cookie into my mouth. Insurance. Don’t want to feel miserable on a four-hour flight, I mused.
And that shit — that ridiculously small amount of marijuana, MAYBE 3 mgs total — kicked in SO FUCKING FAST. It did NOT take two hours to manifest; instead, it took MAYBE 45 minutes.
“…and also, if you’ve eaten, that makes a difference…” the weed shop girl’s words reverberated in my mind.
Fuck fuck fuck, I thought to myself, taking a quick sip of my almond-milk-based and whipped-cream-less PSL (I go #dairyfree while #sick bc #mucus) and popping another organic puffed chickpea into my mouth. If this is how I’m feeling merely 45 minutes into the trip, what sort of mental state will I be in when it’s time to board?
I sat cross-legged in my seat (in the terminal) and focused on my breathing, focused on the time: 8:05. What felt like an hour passed, so I looked at the clock again: 8:11.
I felt the menstrual cramps in my stomach so keenly that I could clearly envision them as angry, red lines; uneven, jagged, visceral.
I observed the people on their phones and tablets and laptops. People just don’t interact much anymore, I thought to myself. I started to type out a text message to my best friend when it hit me:
“When I text message you, I have to type the words out soooooo slowly, which causes me to process my thoughts more slowly, and I feel like it’s a great, big conspiracy — like ‘they’ are trying to train us to rewire our brains to think slower… and biologically, over time, what’s THAT going to do?”
Then I laughed.
Then, I looked over my right shoulder and watched as a Korean woman in shades of taupe and white rolled her shoulders and rotated her arms and walked in a circle, and she looked like a bird, perfect, just like a bird, so poised and carefree and self-aware and yet not self-conscious at all…
I cleared my throat and was startled to hear the sound of it a second after I did it.
I swallowed and felt the swallow just after it happened.
I got up to walk to the bathroom and discovered that my body was moving about a half second after I thought it should be.
“There’s some kind of delay,” I decided, realizing that this phenomenon was in line with my last experience. “It’s like moving between dimensions and losing one second out of every five that you’re awake.”
I visited the restroom and, on my way back, had to pause by the escalators. I can’t rightly explain to you what was so mesmerizing about them, but I’m going to try to get Charlie to understand when I get home so that he can draw it. Stay tuned.
Finally, it was time to board the plane. Before taking my position in line, I turned my phone camera on and used it to check my appearance.
Nope… you don’t look nearly as crazy as you feel, I smiled, my pupils appearing to take up more eye space than usual. I hoisted my backpack back on and then reached for my suitcase.
It’s Friday morning and, unfortunately, I did have to cancel today’s gig. The marijuana helped alleviate a lot of pain and suffering, but these famous throat illnesses of mine usually take a solid 5 days to work themselves out.
I really enjoyed my trip to Seattle. It was windy, rainy, hilly and cool (in every sense of the word). Would I want to live there? Nope. The vibes just weren’t right for me. But I’m sure as heck happy that I got to visit the place AND snag some fantastic secondhand clothing pieces while I was there! I’ll be throwing those into the washer this morning, after I brew a little more tea.
Greatest discoveries while there:
- I need to incorporate meditation into my daily schedule in order to better maintain my sense of self AND my sense of peace.
- I need to not meet strange Uber drivers for coffee when they ask me to, especially when they also ask if I have friends in the area who are expecting me and then physically seek me out in the destination that they delivered me to. #CREEPY #storyforanothertime
- Social media (which, for me, means Facebook) is making my life worse, and instead of just passively standing by and knowing that, I need to do something about it.
It’s been weighing on my mind for years now that Facebook is crushing and confining my soul. Why, how? There are SO many reasons, but here are five.
1. Instead of simply enjoying people and events and food and achievements and things, with social media in the background of my life, I constantly feel like I have to “prove” or “document” or “record” my enjoyment, which reduces the actual amount of enjoyment enjoyed, depending upon my engagement rate with my audience (“Only 17 people liked this? It was a huge deal! …or I guess maybe it wasn’t.”)
2. I’m wasting too much time on it. I scroll in my bed, in the bathroom, in the kitchen (while a pot of water is mustering the energy to boil), at the grocery store, at the clothing store, in the classroom, and in my car at red lights… it’s all-pervasive, and that is maddening. Imagine spending that time on self-improvement instead: reading an article on a topic, country or hobby you’re interested in; watching a Ted Talk; learning a new language; doing some jumping jacks…
3. Wasting time on it means I’m not actively creating or producing, and creating stuff + being productive are things that make me feel GOOD about myself. I want to reclaim the time that is left. I want to feel better about myself.
4. I find that I’m constantly getting my feelings hurt or getting angry or judging “friends” on social media. Examples: Hunters posing with dead deer; boys or girls posting selfie replicas (you know what I’m talking about); pictures of chicken dinners where I cry over the chicken that was killed; and vile religious memes that come off as so inhumane that I can’t even begin to fathom the inner workings of the person behind them. And the list goes on and on and on. Not to mention all of the drama that people like to share instead of process. Example: “it’s so funny when you ignore me for 6 months and then text me like hey what u doing today, i want to c u (insert eggplant emoji, upside down smiley face, and a peace sign).” What the fuck does the eggplant have to do with anything? I’ve never understood it.
5. I deceive myself into thinking that I have lots of friends when I truly have very few. Applesauce and bananas can adequately replace eggs in most baking recipes, but a “like” or a heart or a hysterically amused-looking emoticon cannot meaningfully substitute real hugs, real smiles, and real laughter. But we let them.
And I think it’s fucking with our psyches — sustaining these superficial relationships; we like to imagine that we possess a degree of intimacy with others that isn’t really there, which causes us to blow our potentially meaningful existences away in unmeaningful ways with people who don’t give that much of a flip about us… AND thanks to our psuedonewsfeeds, we’re constantly exposing ourselves to unnatural amounts of stimuli (from incredibly sad announcements to endless and radiant highlight reels). What kind of strange, self-inflicted torture is this? And why are we all addicts?
I will miss the short stories and pet pictures, but you know what? I can catch people’s stories and pet pictures in-person at cafes, parks, and restaurants… I can write more of my own stories and spend more time loving my own damn pets while they’re still alive on this planet. I’ve already wasted so much time and, essentially, affection on my phone — an inanimate thing that doesn’t and can’t love me back — that I can’t stomach the idea of buying into that facade any longer.
I’d rather squarely face the reality that there are four human beings in Birmingham who I hang out with on a semi-regular basis than continue lazily imagining otherwise. I don’t have 435 friends — I know 435 people on Facebook, and as much as they like seeing pictures of me with a coffee in my hands or me with a guitar in my arms, or my German Shepherds lying cutely beside each other on the kitchen floor, they really won’t miss me or them much when we’re absent from their feed. Because we aren’t dead. We’re living.
But what about gigs? I argued with myself. You need to tell people when you’re playing a show, right? And you’ll be finishing out this semester at UAB with two As… you’ve gotta announce that! Looking ahead, you’ll be visiting TN next month, Ecuador next summer, and you’ll get and have all kinds of cool foods and tattoos and experiences in the meantime… and what about THE NEXT BOOK? Aren’t you going to share pictures of it, excerpts from it, etc.? You can’t just NOT share all of this!
Why can’t I? Instead of acting on the irrational compulsion to share each baby step or milestone achievement of my LIFE, why can’t I just live it, enjoy it, and/or learn from it?
I’ve taken mini breaks from Facebook here and there — a week or two or three, at the most — and I’ve experienced a better quality of life during these “unplugged” sessions. The problem is, like an addict, I always go back to it, because I know it’s still there.
It’s like my mom said growing up: If the ice cream is in the freezer at home, I WILL eat it. But if I can leave it at the grocery store… there’s a greater chance that I won’t eat it. 🙂
So I’m leaving it. I’d say forever, but I want to test it out first — so I’m deactivating my account tomorrow morning, and for the next year, I am genuinely looking forward to living a less cluttered, less passive, and more active and creative and productive and three-dimensional, meaningful life.
It’s fall again. And I always seem to like changing with the fall.