Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Being from the south, I've grown accustomed to the sweeter things in life. Sweet potatoes, sweet corn, and of course sweet tea. Down south, even in a city as urbanized as Tampa, they serve their tea so sugary sweet you need something salty on hand just to avoid going into sugar shock. I'd drink the stuff until I was sick.

Then, Sharon Richter, my nutritionist told me how many calories I was ingesting in beverages alone. It was like being told Santa played Satan in the off-season. Or that the Easter Bunny’s favorite hobbies included boiling his own kind. Or that the Tooth Fairy may have left you dollars under your pillow, but she also farted on it for good measure. (No wonder I was always getting pink eye.) In short.. I was devastated.

Then I discovered this amazing thing called Splenda. I had used the stuff on occasion before, but never really took a liking to it. They say if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. A zero calorie sweetener? That did the same job as sugar without the fat ass? Rigghhht. What was the catch? I’ll come down with some incurable cancer, or maybe a thyroid disorder? But, everyone I knew was praising its greatness, so, why not?

Before long I was putting Splenda on everything I ate. I mean things that don’t even warrant Splenda… like… vegetables. I figured if a little was good, a lot was even better. It became an ongoing joke between my old roommate and I about just how much I would go through a day. He’d spill some while baking… then wipe it into a nice little line and asked me if I wanted to “hit it.” That is when I realized, I had a real problem.

My name is Jenn, and I’m a Splendaholic.


This city is so cold, cut and dry with zero compassion it seems. Its not that the people here take delight in others misfortunes, they simply just don’t care either way. So for an outsider, this town can come across as very cynical.

Me? I’m a brutally honest girl, but even that doesn’t stop me from sugar coating things every now and then. Some people up here seem to appreciate it, while others loathe its usage entirely. Now I'm all about being real with people, but being a pessimistic hard truth a$$hole…is just not what I had in mind.

Up here, there is a girl in my circle of friends we’ve all come to affectionately refer to as.. Eeyore. Despite having lost a ton of weight recently, and getting a new hair cut, she was still one of the least confident and albeit most miserable people I know. She’d go on dates with men, and report back to us the next day….

Us: How’d your date go?
Eeyore: It was fineeeeeeeeeeeee.

Us: Well, what did you do?
Eeyore: Went to dinner. Had some wine. Prolly
never see him again. (Oops, I lost my tail. Thanks for noticing meeeeeee…….)

Ok, so I made up the last part. But, you get the picture. It was just a slew of man-hating and socially destructive patterns we had come to expect from her. The problem was… Eeyore didn’t hate men. The person she was really unhappy with was herself.

People who shoot down hope, the cynics, the people unhappy with their own existence yet… doing NOTHING proactive about their situation, well… I just don't need them. I prefer to think of myself as one of life’s cheerleaders, only without the outfit or any dance skills. After all, sometimes we could all use someone to reassure us that everything will be ok. Do you think Obama got elected by telling people how $hitty the next four years of life in America would be? Of course not. He got elected because he promised “change.” He calmed our fears. He told us that while things may seem bad, they would inevitably get better. And what else could he really do?.. He kind of inherited this mess. While kids used to dream of being the President of the United States, now we have ten year olds who are like… “No, that’s ok. I’d rather be a florist instead.” How were we supposed to know that an eight year ruling by an oil tycoon would send this country into such a downward spiral? I mean, he could hardly run the Texas Rangers, he knew jack shit about the internet and we expected him to be the leader of the greater part of the free world? I don’t THINK sooooo. Maybe Robin Williams was right: “Some men achieve greatness. Others get it as a graduation present.” Though you can't blame one man, you can certainly blame the administration.

So in a world overrun by negativity and bad things happening to good people, what are we supposed to do?...

Have faith. Have hope. Be positive. You have to have hope. Just remember, that no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. My parents have always said that I was never “just a little kid.” I was a little adult. I wanted to belong in their conversations, their world. Well, the real world as I came to discover… really sucked. So my mom taught me how to play the “Glad Game.”

“You have to tell me 3 positive things, or things that make you happy, before you can launch into whatever nasty barrage you were about to pummel me with,” she said.

And sure enough. It started to work. It became a part of me and my mother’s rituals. Sometimes the lists came rather easily, other times .. not so much, but we always seemed to manage and it made the day so much easier.

So when things got a little more than I could handle recently, I decided to bring back the “Glad Game.” It not only made my days easier, but it improved my interactions with others as well. The business people who liked to play the close-minded devil’s advocate all the time. The girls with their man-hating sessions. (Guess what? You’re just as crazy as men are. Why do we kid ourselves?) And the coworker that just can’t seem to be anything but a Debbie Downer. They now had to either list of three GOOD things about the day, about life, whatever or you just don't pick up their call. It’s not about being a Pollyanna or being delusional. It’s about having a good relationship with yourself and being able to cope when life throws you some massive curve balls.

After coming to grips with my addiction to Splenda, I’ve really toned down my usage of the stuff. After all, there is still a lot that we don’t really understand about it yet, and the critics and nutritionists are still pretty skeptical. I guess like most things in life, artificial sweeteners are best used in moderation and with managed expectations.. Whether you’re sugar coating your oatmeal, your ice tea, or just a bad day, it’s always best to use it sparingly, because who knows when the day will come you may need that little something extra. So when the cynics, Debbie Downers, Hard asses, and curveballs come your way, just smile, nod, and take them with a spoonful of Splenda. At least then you can still fit in your favorite pair of jeans.

And that’s proof that a little sugar really does help the medicine go down.

In a most delightful way.


Joey said...

It's nice to see there's still people out there that don't particulary care for the "Artificial" world we live in. Seems everything these day's has an alternate to what is real. Hell, I've even had relationships that at times felt Artificial. But looking back, there's no comparison to something that is real.
Like, Homemade sweet tea (With Sugar):),, and Christmas Tree's!

Well written Jenn!

How about that game last Sat?!! Got in that BYU ASS!!!!!!

yodasmith said...

I think you should consider trying SweetLeaf Sweetener stevia. Splenda, someone said, is like "sugarized chlorine," and has chlorine in it because it was originally used as an insecticide. There have not been many studies on it --the longest was perhaps 3 months and apparently has not been tested on preganant women or children. SweetLeaf stevia has 0 calories, 0carbs, and a 0 glycemic index, as well as many health benefits! It is documented that there are more studies that support the safety os stevia than any other substance humans take into their body. Artificial sweeteners can increase desire for sweets, but stevia has the opposite effect.

On a lighter note, your blog is fun to read, and I love your sense of humor! But please don't get me started with Obama! I certainly don't see him as a victim, or feel sorry for him, but I won't talk about this too much (even though I could) except to say, I wish he would keep the change!

Good luck with you splenda addiction! Live long and prosper! SMILE!!!!!!!

Warren Wallace said...

Another fun read Jenn! I'm a Sweet 'N Lowaholic myself. Don't let the cynics get to you in the Big Apple. Like you, I'm all about finding the silver lining, and being grateful for the people and things I have in life. Surrounding yourself with positive people goes a long way. And, when you bring a positive attitude to everyday, life is a lot more fun. Besides, things could always be worse, right?! Most importantly however, you have to be happy with who you are, and not be afraid to just be yourself. Hey, I loved your line about the Easter bunny boiling his own, and the tooth fairy farting on your pillow. Funny shit! Keep the blogs coming Jenn :)

Joey said...

Cricket- Cricket?!

USF-FSU Game still have the house divided?