Sunday night our family had a serious case of Carnival Tummy. You know the feeling when you visit an amusement park, partake of all the junk you never get to eat in everyday life: cotton candy, slushees, pizza, hot dogs, and if you're lucky enough to live in the south, fried candybars and oreos. Then you run from ride to ride being tossed and turned, jostled and jiggled, flown through the air and dropped on a dime. Up and down, side to side, until you eat more, repeat the cycle, and as the rides are closing, stumble out to the parking lot to go home.
And some of us experienced this Sunday with our Superbowl Party. Everyone chose their own treat to share.
Randy - 7 layer dip
Kennedy - vegetable tray (she's the only one who's ever lost it literally as a result of carnival tummy)
Ellie - brownies
Steve - sour gummy worms
Wally - colorful licorice
We added some rolls and chicken to qualify this as a meal, plus a little candy the adults could stomach, and for good measure, we threw in a soda for everyone. We said grace and let them have at it. About 8:30 we had requests for barf bowls. Two kids were late for school Monday morning because the effects had still not worn off.
The feeling made me wonder if I am experiencing Carnival Tummy in other parts of my life. In 2010, for the first time in years, I have spent a lot of time with my hopes and goals. Permitting myself to dream about what I really want was as unique to my normal life as fried oreos to a Weight Watcher. I have so many desires for this new year, and as soon as I started really thinking about them without judgment of what I "should" do and want, the flood gates were opened. My list of big ideas and places to go is almost 5 pages single spaced, my pile of books from the library is more than I've actually read total in about 10 years, and I have already filled a whole journal since January with my writing.
But after a month, I'm feeing the effects of all this riding and tasting. I'm feeling motion sick. And exhausted. And bloated. And heavy. And overwhelmed. And scattered. This is not what I was promised by those who say "dream big, play to win." Maybe they didn't realize my appetite. Or that if you haven't been to the carnival in over a decade you might get lost in all the lights and offerings. You might shove it all in and ride every ride because you're afraid you won't get to go back for another decade.
Steve once told me during an episode of Carnival Tummy he wanted to take everything out of his tummy and then put some stuff back in. He might be onto something. My big ideas are like the Superbowl Party Buffet on steroids. I can feel them and taste them and I want to try some of all of it. Putting something on hold feels like deprivation and defeat.
But I'm realizing that when I cram it all onto one plate at one sitting, I can't really savor the Divine Dip anymore. The sour worms get mixed up with the vegetables, and they all end up tasting like goop. So I'm taking Steve's advice. Take everything out, and put some stuff back in. And to give me courage on the taking out, since I don't want to give up on any of it yet, I think I'll pack a to-go box for later. And give myself a season-pass for the carnival.