Sugared Up & Unreliable
Do not heed the shrieks of this hasty-to-recommend Virgo.
Week of April 26th to May 2nd, 2022.
You don’t eat sugar very often, Virgo; but when you do, you become a zealot for the stuff.
You read somewhere (as usual, you don’t remember where, or any details that could help anyone believe in your alleged, remembered, science) that it’s possible to reset your dopamine receptors when you cut out certain substances.
If the substance makes life feel fun (ergo, without it life becomes less fun), then abstaining from it for an extended period of time resets your brain to view regular life as fun again.
Alcohol is one of those substances, and you saw this process unfold first hand when you stopped drinking nearly two years ago.
An evening without alcohol once felt like a grueling, responsible, PBS (sorry, I know you love Antiques Roadshow), yawn of an evening; because your dopamine receptors knew the high highs of drinking sotol until 6am. When you stopped drinking, you transformed your baseline. So instead of feeling like you’d been condemned to a library on a margarita-less weekend, you grew to view the so-called library not as a punishment, but as a pleasant environment worth exploring.
Thrilled with the success of letting go of one dopamine heavy consumable, you confidently moved on to eliminating sugar.
There’s a lot of joy to be had in noticing the way that your personal care (I will not say self care; nor will I condemn a systematically nice thing you did for yourself as such), affects you, but resetting your dopamine receptors also comes with its fair share of problems.
While you’ve abstained from alcohol continuously, you don’t have the same hard line with sugar. With sugar you tip toe (or cannon ball) back in from time to time—with mixed results.
Since your dopamine receptors (according to your self reported neurological findings) have reset, revisiting chemicals that are no longer a part of your daily joy equation can have catastrophic results.
This week, you’ll enjoy a few back to back chocolate bars, and behave like you’ve just ingested more cocaine than you’ve ever seen in your life (she hasn’t seen that much cocaine, I haven’t described Virgo very accurately if you think she’s the type of person people are tripping over themselves to do coke with).
Beyond the practical difficulties of a candy bar having drug-like effects on you, a grown woman (in the eyes of some), resetting your dopamine receptors also resets your taste receptors.
Now, when you taste delicious sugar—after not having it for weeks at a time—your taste buds have a shared seizure (of pleasure). After consuming a simple dessert packed with white sugar you scream to innocent passersby Have you tried this!?!
Of course they have. Everyone has. Which is why when they make a food or drink recommendation; people listen. Because their precious taste buds carry with them a breadth of experience.
When you taste something delicious you transform into a shouting evangelical (is there any other kind? Sorry), aglow that you’ve discovered the most delicious treat available on this earth.
There’s a lot wrong about this. For starters; your belief that if you taste delicious food, you noticing its delight is what’s special, instead of, say, its intrinsic value or the value of the person who made it. For another, you are not a reliable narrator. Since you’ve reset your dopamine receptors (I’m still not, like, totally sold that this “happened”), the simplest hint of sugar sends you to the moon on a rocketship (of pleasure).
Unfortunately, a life without sugar has turned you into someone with no taste; whose opinion on food should not be taken into consideration under any circumstances. Because to someone who rarely eats sugar; just the smallest sprinkle of sugar makes a boring dish extraordinary.
You are like a person who’s spent years in a sensory deprivation tank describing a packed subway as “intimate.”
You are the cracked desert ground calling the falling spit of a cowboy “refreshing.”
You are that dancing bird featured in all nature documentaries accusing the mating rituals of other species of “lacking in steps.”
Like yeah, in the absolute void of human pleasure, sure, that’s a fine chocolate bar.
This is not a new problem for you. Last year you ordered a soft drink at an open bar event and you were squealing with delight from first sip to last. Your reaction was so extreme that many party goers approached you, curious, dying to know what sort of drink could elicit such a strong response in a grown (to some) woman.
You shared with the growing throngs of people exactly what you’d told the bartender in order to receive such a glorious, handcrafted beverage. The mosh pit of curious party goers stampeded away, desperate to get their hands on the drink you recommended so enthusiastically. Lines formed around the bar, the bartender had an odd look in his eyes as he threw together several more soft drinks. You watched from afar as the party goers took their first sips; which caused a wave of shared incredulity—some even wrinkled their nose in disgust.
The innocent party attendees had been hoodwinked by your outward, adult appearance, into ordering what I can only imagine was the most sugar any of them had enjoyed in years. You ordered drink after drink after drink, foaming at the mouth with joy at your clever new discovery, that sugar is good. The other party goers (ashamed they’d allowed your sugar fueled charisma to lead them to a repulsive drink without alcohol), avoided you for the remainder of the evening (which wasn’t long, as you developed a splitting headache nearly instantly, since you’d had an estimated 670 grams of white sugar).
The skies actually like that you dip your toe into the sugar pool now and again. Though we remain unconvinced that your dopamine science is “real”, we can respect that at least the placebo seems to work for you; as you’ve recalibrated your body into reading sugar as cocaine. This shift could save you a great deal of money, while avoiding some of the many cons of such substances (mainly, that it makes innocent people just, like, red all the time?).
The skies implore you to cease with your recommendations, each time you do you lose credibility; and you don’t have a ton of that to gamble with in the first place. Otherwise, we say keep going with the occasional sugar-coke fueled evening; which is apparently the wildest you are capable of being anymore.