The Rules of the Game

There’s one thing, do you see, that’s terrifying in this world, and this is that every man has his reasons.

Jean RenoirLa regle du jeu

Anyone who doesn’t believe there can be an emotional and psychological connection between a person and food hasn’t presided over a 3 week / 10 lbs. weight gain for little better reason than because bread and butter makes me feel good. Poetic justice? May be. Just desserts? Well desserts, just or not.

Lots of them.

And while I can’t precisely pinpoint the starting point of this downward spiral, at least I’m at the point where I’m trying to dig my feet in and stop. Sure, I’m still sliding a bit, but forward progress is slowing and hopefully this train can get turned around again sooner rather than later.

I’d be willing to bet there’s a lot of us out there tonight trying to do exactly the same thing. At least all of this has been instructive in that it’s taught me things are a lot more complicated than following a set of rules or behaviours and replicating success. Gluten is not your only enemy here. Sometimes your greatest enemy is yourself and that makes it all so very messy and crazy and out of control sometimes that you find yourself grasping for something, anything to make this crazy merry-go-round stop. Sometimes that grasping is for the aforementioned loaf of bread or the handful of chocolate chips I seem to be medicating regularly with or just sitting on the couch and savouring the sheer inactivity of it all. The grasping just gets so comfortable after a while that you kind of forget what it is you’re grasping for, let alone wonder why the hell you should even bother.

All of this to say that I get it now. I have so much more love and empathy and understanding for those people I may have passed in the street and scoffed at. Those people, I wondered to myself, just refused to try.

I’m sorry.

I get it.

This nightmare, this private long night from which you don’t think you’ll ever wake up, can just consume you and no amount of poking and prodding or downright passive aggressive “love” will ever seem to wake you up.

So my promise to you, my promise to me, is this. When I pass you on the street I will try to understand that I don’t have any idea what you had to go through this morning just to get out the door. I don’t know your reasons just like you don’t know mine. But if we both try to smile and appreciate each other for who we are in this very moment, the world will be improved just that much more.

Because you see, there are no rules to this game. There is no surefire road to success. There’s just a lot of struggling and striving and dirty work that isn’t pretty some days. We all just have to remember that some days the best tips and advice we can give isn’t that condescending, all-knowing look. It isn’t that pitying thought that’s crossing your mind. It isn’t that look of disbelief. It’s a smile and a nod and a genuine appreciation for how our day is. It may be just that one thing that makes us realize there is hope, there is a reason to keep fighting.

Because in the end that’s all we have.

I love you.

Keep fighting.


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