by: Patrick Gill
Patrick Gill didn’t feel all that good about himself, so for seven days he didn’t eat solid food. This was his third, fourth, and fifth day.
Wednesday: The Smells of This Mary
I start repeating to myself the benefits of the fast-to-curb cravings. My body is heavy with food devoured in efforts to quell unfounded and empty anxiety. Before, I was eating nameless crunchy delicious snacks by the fistful and drinking coffee by the pot. I also apparently was eating hardboiled eggs with nearly every meal. Good god how did my heart or colon not just quit on me.
But I tell myself, “Now I have to bathe more frequently so I don’t smell like putrid toxins leaving my body. Now I know exactly what is going into my body. Now I have peed semi-clear, multiple times a day for multiple days, a feat I don’t believe I have ever accomplished. Now my skin is incredibly soft.” It really is. This is the best thing about this fast so far.
But it doesn’t help me cope with the fact that I have fantasized about pouring a whole bag of kettle chips into a blender before jamming a Potbelly sandwich on top and pouring a Mr. Pibb on it all as to not kill the blender’s motor—because that’s what needs to be looked out for—and then I blend that sucker and drink it down, let it dribble from my panting and hungry mouth. No, this doesn’t help the cheese jones that comes from the pizza and enchiladas I smell around every corner.
But like Nicki Minaj and Maya Angelou have said, still I rise. As the day wanes, I get a hold of myself. It’s not even the food I miss–I am just starting to miss the texture of rice or chips or toast.
To numb the hunger, I began watching TV that had no food. This means documentaries, either intellectual or depraved. Usually it’s Mythbusters–I want things to burn. That, or specials on Birds of Paradise or tigers or majestic beasts that make me believe I am apart of some Lion King Circle of Life and wonder and beauty. I started to watch The Grizzly Man Diaries, but feeling like a kindred spirit to a man who was devoured by bears he thought he was a family member to is much. And let’s not lie, I turned on the TLC trash for a solid 2 hours before I went to bed.
I could only hear David Attenbourough’s voice for so long, and I can only take so much Toddlers and Tiaras until my eyes start to bleed. This is not a healthy way of coping, and health is what this week is about. I take extra time in the shower in silence, making sure I am clean. I spend more time in silence, I need to be comfortable with that. I need to allow myself the chance to think, rather than always hearing something and responding. I start to work out: push ups and sit ups and vaguely yogic poses. I want to help the cleansing process along, maybe pick up some better habits along the way.
Lessons Learned: I am not Grizzly Man, please don’t let me become Grizzly Man.
Words of Encouragment: I don’t need words all the time, sometimes I need silence.
Thursday: The Wind That Shakes the Boxer Briefs
I have designated places in each room–where I know my roommate doesn’t tread often–where I fart. In fact, if I know it’s going to be bad, I run out back like a smoker to fart outside.
If I know you well enough, and you come over to my house with flowers, charm, and a bottle of whiskey, I will tell you where these places are.
I also have to tell you that after day two, you really have to make sure that what you feel is a fart. To be graphic, it’s pretty touch-and-go on the fecal front through the first few days. You are basically peeing out of your ass in the beginning. By the fourth day, you have it down. There is a rhythm that you listen to when your stomach is churning.
Thursday is also the day when Nico and I get together to work on the site. The combination of his hangover, which is a rare gem indeed, and my juice-fueled delirum makes the office that much classier. I ask him regularly to “really, feel how soft my skin is,” while giggling every time the office’s phones rang, because I determine it sounds like space owls. This is while on detox, not drugs. It is a slow workday, but a workday nonetheless.
I also manage to make it through a lunch meeting at my happy place, a vegetarian Mexican joint no more than two blocks from the office, without obviously pining or glaring with envy. I sip the fresh juice I bought there and smile. I don’t smile like it could cover up my hunger, in fact I wan’t even that hungry. By now, maybe my stomach has adapted, recognizing it will not have to hold large quantities of solid foods, and accordingly forming a small pouch that waits for what it will be fed. This wasn’t a feeling I always had, but it is one that is good to reflect on. Contentment. Something like that. I bob in the conversation like a buoy untethered during a wave runner race, and I enjoy myself.
Lessons Learned: You might think it’s the wind, but really it is the sea.
Words of Encouragement: Nico: “You look tired. Well, like radiant and tired. Like pregnant woman pretty.” I only heard pretty.
Friday: I need a drink, wait do I?
I considered putting gin in my fruit smoothie dinner this night. That’s not detoxing though is it? I took the preventative measure of not having booze in my fridge, and I like to think that because I have grown some will power, I did not have a gin-licious dinner. I did go out that night though, which was a challenge.
It was a member of my chosen family’s birthday at a bar. Though our interactions are often tinged with getting rowdy as we like to say, she was happy to see me and thought it was strange but admirable that I was fasting. Nice conversation, nice company, glass after glass of soda water. I was proud of myself that I didn’t have a drink in a bar, as usually I believe social custom requires me to drink copious amount to be gregarious. I did have my charm, boozelessly, which is a nice affirming lesson for myself.
The change in my gait was actually most notable this night as well, and I don’t think it’s because I broke out the Prince boots again. I noticed it while I was walking to Essay Fiesta on Monday, and on my walks to the bus or tain. My lungs feel lighter, like they are pushing up my chest. I have this easy shoulders back kind of stride like everything is cartoon birds and daisies. This night though, in the darkness of a street where the street lamps when out, I was slinking and stepping and keeping Rita Hayworth in mind. I am not ashamed to say more than once, when the midnight breeze felt like a studio fan at the perfect speed, I whipped off my Russian fur hat and did my best Gilda flip—cap it off with a “Me. Sure, I’m decent. I am dangerous, and damn magnificent.
Lessons Learned: Rita Hayworth, we love you.
Words of Encouragement: Martha and I listened to the entire Trapped in the Closet series while I worked and she played solitare, singing our favorite parts.
Patrick Gill is the Co-Creator of In Our Words, as well as the Co-Founder and Host of the queer reading series All The Writers I Know. He is a poet, essayist, short story writer and occasional performer. Patrick writes the column “B*tch, I’m Miley Cyrus” for HEAVEMedia, is an alumnus of DePaul, has developed LGBTQ-centered anti-bullying curricula for CPS schools and is currently working on LGBTQ friendly children’s books. Patrick is doing so in order to be cute and endearing once again. He is a semi-professional word-hustler and a burrito hunter. His mother thinks everything he is doing is a fun thing to do.