Starting tomorrow, I will begin to remove processed foods from my diet, after which I will only drink My Own Piss™ for ten days. My Own Piss™ is a mixture of lemon juice, pure maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and purified water. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons.
One: Because I have always loved and hated my body in a twin sisterly kind of way where I let it do whatever it wants and claim it when it succeeds, but when it fails, I blame it for all my failure.
“You used to be a competitive athlete,” I say, running my hands over the small burial mounds forming on the surface of my stomach and thighs. “Now look at you.”
“God loves you,” I tell the red, bloated patches. “But you drink too much goddamn beer.”
Then Rodney Yee, a Chinese yogi with a supine Los Angeles drawl, tells me to do downward dog.
For example, over the past several months, I’ll admit it: I have replaced any potential for romantic love in my life with a combination of Ian Harding from Pretty Little Liars, tragic Spotify playlists, daily masturbation, and the voice of Rodney Yee telling me to “swan dive” and “bend over for five breaths.” Then, when I am lonely, I blame it on my dimpled ass, though I know it’s not its fault. I hope to come out of drinking My Own Piss™ with a deeper respect, or rather, a clarified and harsh affection for my body, like the all-business dolphin trainer at Sea World—my body, of course, being the prized Flipper, the smartest, most beautiful dolphin whom all the children adore at first sight, and all the adults come to love within fifteen minutes, despite their cynicism. We will be the most memorable thing in this dirty water park called life, my body and I.
Two: I would like to drink My Own Piss™ to punish myself. I don’t mean that to sound dramatic or masochistic, but it’s true. And come on—don’t look at me like there isn’t this language of punishment surrounding diets in the affluent Western world. There is. I currently live on Grand Avenue in St. Paul (I’m soon to be gone, if I am not harvested for fresh parts by the Pottery Barn at Grand and Victoria, like all the other 20-somethings), and if I have to listen to another woman outside of Chico’s tell her shopping partner that she is feeling “naughty enough” to get “frozen yogurt,” I’m going to kick one of their expensive baby strollers into the street.
While these women punish themselves for having enough leisure time to have an average American body weight and enough money to access frozen yogurt, I would like to punish myself for being a bad person. I have stolen leather journals from Barnes & Noble, I have pretended not to hear people ring my doorbell. I write caricatures out of real, complex humans from my life without mercy or apology. As I suffer (and it is suffering, to deprave yourself of solid food; we are so lucky we get to choose to do these things), I will think of further, more specific instances for which I will pay the price. I will wander bitterly and sunken-eyed through these women, knowing I have fulfilled my destiny, and my deepest fear, in becoming one of them.
I will drink My Own Piss™, and write to you these sins and fears, because I cannot imagine getting through this suffering without deepening it through ritual and memory. I was reasonably punished for my indiscretions as a child—soap in the mouth for curse words, groundings for breaking curfew, and once and only once, a hard spanking. I grew up praying in bed every night, asking whoever lived in the divine ceiling to forgive me for hitting my brother, for hoping that a seventh grader named Alia would get sick the night of the skating party. Now there is no one there to die over and over again for my sins, or punish me for stepping out of line. In fact, I don’t even know where the lines are anymore. I do not ask the ceiling for forgiveness. I’m not sure where God or god is, but I know they are no longer in the ceiling, and they don’t give two shits about me.
And why should they? I am indulgent, bad with money, and selfish. I wish to wash away these whims, and I have failed at doing this in moderation. Which is why, instead of going to a gym or quitting smoking, I will immerse myself totally into the world of My Own Piss™.
This is a terrible idea, I know, but one does not find god through moderation.
This is a terrible idea, I know, but I have no food in the house, anyway.
This is a terrible idea, I know, but good stories rarely come from good ideas. And that’s why you’re here, right? For a good story.
Hey, me too.
Front page image by Snickclunk.