I cringed. I looked back on my day and a cold rush of shock, discomfort and embarrassment ran through my body: I’d taken my family to tea at Claridge’s Hotel, London.
Oh, it was fancy, alright.
Lavish, ornate surroundings. Friendly but attentive, “nothing too much trouble” service. My kids had dusted off their ties, polished their shoes, checked their jackets still fitted them after the last wearing, precisely one year previously.
This was a chance to show them some luxury, teach some manners, create a vision. And for them to demonstrate some confidence in an (entirely) alien situation.
That’s what I told myself.
But was it paleo?
Hell, no.It was a plethora of gluten, sugar, and caffeine. A mountain. There was a summit.
There were scones and cream. And meringues and cream. And cookies wedged together with butter cream.
They were prefaced by six kinds of sandwiches (as many trays as you wanted), and followed by chocolate-covered sponges, panettone, jelly and fruit cake.
When we couldn’t eat it all, they gave us take-out boxes full of it. Aargh. It seemed never-ending.
This is what happened quite recently. I’m not going to try justifying any of it.
Living in a vacuum
I don’t know what other paleo bloggers do. I’ve only met a couple in person.
I don’t know if they are perfectly paleo. Or if they are openly imperfect. If they sneak now and again. Or a lot.
But I can tell you, here and now, my life is openly, perfectly, imperfectly paleo.
These are a few of my recent transgressions:
- I’ve eaten to please other people.
- I’ve eaten when I wasn’t hungry.
- I’ve eaten sugar and wheat, sometimes together, sometimes separately.
- I’ve put on 8 pounds this past year, actually 8.2 lbs, but what’s a few points of a pound between paleo pals. I now have hips and thighs. I also have breasts and a little tum. It’s taking some getting used to. I’m *trying* with this one, very trying. But I refuse to go hungry. I can’t do anything good in the world if I’m hungry. I feel happier, better, more energetic at this weight. But as a former skinny, it’s hard. I look different, I feel different, I move differently.
- I’ve burned food and made some pretty terrible meals. I tested a recipe for a paleo cookbook EIGHT times and produced an inedible monstrosity every time. They published it anyway.
- My kids eat dairy. Milk, hot chocolate, yogurt. I have tried to get it out of the house but my husband won’t give up tea with milk. They eat burgers (with buns) and candy when they’re out of the house. And my son made scones (with wheat flour!) for a school project.
- I’ve sat too much, exercised too little, and spent time indoors A LOT.
- I’ve encountered food that I know my body will fight and I’ll have to face the consequences yet I’ve eaten it anyway. (Like someone who accepts there’s a price to pay tomorrow for transgressions today but still drinks anyway.)
- I’m anticipating my 50th in one months time with trepidation, bemusement, and not a little horror. I’d like to be graceful about it but I have reached into my closet and got back into my short lycra skirts.
- I relax rarely. My body tells me – my shoulders will ache from tension, my eyelids flutter and I yawn in a most unedifying, unladylike fashion, but do I switch off my computer and go do something fun? No, I do not. Not often, anyway.
- I often do not get my 5-7 servings of vegetables. I was mortified to read that 57% of those who voted in a poll here on the blog said they got 5-7 servings “often”. So I bought a juicer and now I’m addicted to it because it feels like I’m pouring pure, unadulterated worthiness directly into my veins.
- I do not own a treadmill desk or a standing desk, and the idea of sitting on one of those huge exercise balls makes me feel nauseous. Instead I slump and occasionally, for a change, I’ll slouch. If I sit up and don’t hold my stomach in, I have a slight apron of flesh that begs to rest on my thighs.
- I’ve had hair “issues”. I had to have all my hair cut off because it went all paleo curly and I damaged it by blowdrying straight. I feel strange with short curly hair. And people don’t recognize me. I’d like my straight hair back but the trading of 15 minutes everyday in order to get it doesn’t seem worth it. After all, I could be working, right?
I am not perfect. Far from it. But I am improving. My good decisions FAR outweigh the bad ones. My family get a hot breakfast, lunch and dinner – all home-cooked from scratch virtually every day.
And I aim to improve and refine things further. A work in progress. Probably until my dying day – I’m nothing if not a tryer.
My point is, I take the same side roads as you. I take the scenic route from time to time.
Look, I am a paleo blogger
People read what I have to say. Tens of thousands visit this site every month, there’ll probably be over 100 thousand visitors this month and many of them will read this post. And I still mess it up.
I could think of all the things I’ve done “wrong” and skew the view of myself in that way. But instead, I brush them off. They don’t matter, they are of no consequence. Because they are over. Done. In the past.
“…we possess nothing certainly except the past” ~Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
That is true. And it is also true that the future is limitless.
The emotion underlying all that’s bad and wrong with the world.
We mess up. We get it wrong. And we don’t tell anyone. Because we’re ashamed.
We all get it wrong. How about we just admit it?. Shine a light on our our not-so-great aspects. Because once we’ve admitted them, they fly away. And we relax, relieved and move on.
We are free.
Why don’t you set yourself free? Share your transgression below. I’m not going to come calling. Promise. 🙂