One of the reasons I love blogging is my readers. Yes, I have a narcissistic exhibitionist lingering just below my skin’s surface and yes getting everything on my mind out into cyber space is purely cathartic but other than my need for attention, sometimes I am truly inspired by the things my readers write in the comments. My last post I have 3 comments. Not the 20 that I used to get but it doesn’t even matter because within these 3 comments were like-stories, and enlightening thoughts about these women that I realized applied to me as well. Those comments inspired this post.
I feel like I am living in some kind of morbid soap opera where I am having this insatiable love affair but instead of my lover being a man, it is food. There is lust and desire and betrayal and jealousy. Jealousy. I think I am the poster girl for that. How one person can harbor so much disdain for herself while silently wanting everything that isn’t hers is beyond me, and yet here I am, wanting everything that is not mine. From food, to body type, to attitude, and the freedom to be myself. But that poses a daunting question; who am I? Do I even know? How do I figure it out? And if I do, what if I don’t like it? What if I find out who I am and others don’t like it?
My life is not the most riveting or even close to it. In fact I believe I lead a rather dull existence in comparison with other people I know. I have my family, my children, my blogging, my books, some shows on television I like, scrapbooking, music and the gym. Those are staples in my life. But among those staples is my lover. Food. It seeps into everything and affects my interactions, my activities, my work, my concentration and my motivation. It’s like an invisible stench that just lingers and plays with my mind, distracting me from what is truly important.
Tonight we are having family dinner. My sister is bringing her boyfriend and immediately that puts me out of my comfort zone. It is one thing to covet people’s food when they know you have a problem (But then who wouldn’t know I have a problem with just one glance at me?) but an entirely new ball game to feel the obsession, the rabid need overwhelm you when there are ‘strangers’ watching. It shouldn’t be this way. Family dinner with the addition of an extra guest who my sister loves very much and whom I and my family are very fond of should mean nothing but happy memories. But for me, it’s one more set of eyes watching me at the table. One more plate of food.
Food. Food. Food.
It is truly a dirty word and an embarrassing secret that I try to shove into the closet the minute someone starts to take notice. Like a lover being shoved out the window or under the bed when someone is about to walk in on you.
In the morning I wake up and hem and haw about eating something. I know that the minute I do eat something it will start a downward spiral or a day of complete insecurity. Do I start the day off well or do I start the day off with my lover? If I choose to start the day off well, I am forever burdened the rest of the day with choices that could lead me directly back into my lovers arms and if I don’t then I feel it waiting for me, calling me, luring me, tempting me. One wrong move, one more bite than I intended and I know food’s proverbial arms will wrap themselves around me and sweep me off my feet making me feel secure and in control and calm…until once again I am being squeezed and suffocated to death and I realize that wrong move, that choice, that extra bite was an extreme and horrible mistake.
And then the next day I do it again.
There is nothing worse than the food that calls to you. The cookies in the cupboard, the ice cream in the freezer, the chips in the pantry or the candy on the counter. There is nothing more unnerving than that tidal wave of panic that crashes over and engulfs your entire being because you can think of nothing else except what that food would taste like, how it would feel like in your mouth. The crunch or the sweet taste or how it would melt over your tongue. The memory and the knowledge of that food literally eats at you from the inside out and you justify and you argue with yourself and you try to distract yourself only to become even more compelled toward that one food.
Fighting that compulsion is nearly impossible. Only sleep or serious distraction can deter me when I feel that way and when I cannot be distracted and I cannot fall asleep and I give in to the compulsion, it never ends nicely. One bite of whatever it is, is not sufficient. If it’s chips I eat either the entire bag or until I am so entirely stuffed I cannot move and feel as though I might vomit, whichever comes first. I have on a few occasions eaten so many salt and vinegar chips that the salt created sores on my tongue. Ice cream, I can easily eat an entire gallon. It never makes me sick. Candy is a sick joke for people like me. Especially pieces wrapped in foil like hugs or dove hearts or mini candy bars. (Halloween candy is the bane of my existence) When I am on an eating jag it is as though I am eating competitively and unwrap as quickly as I pop them in my mouth with no time to actually savor or even taste them before I pop another to chase it.
So, as you can see I am trying to purge my habits and my skeletons into cyber space. I am trying to acknowledge them and by acknowledging them, trying to fix them. Truth be told, it is all in my head. Psychological, emotional, whatever you might call it. My obesity is merely a result of the symptom of my real problem; the symptom being the compulsive binging/overeating. The real problems all lie inside my skull. Whatever has happened in my past, whatever control issues I have, whatever insecurities, whatever feelings of loneliness, desperation, inadequacy, or worthlessness I feel is all in my head. I don’t deny the validity of my feelings. Obviously they are valid or they would not manifest the way they do, however I do not yet (even after 2 years on this roller coaster journey of self discovery) know exactly what my problems are. Yes, I have a vague idea, but how to probe deeper and truly extract and examine the problem is still beyond me.
Until later with more self revelation