A very rough introduction to my passion, my curse

Ok folks, this feels like a messy one. But it’s gotta start somewhere.

The thing I really, really want to write about is food.

In a nutshell: Food is everything. It’s our health. It’s our relationship with the Earth. It’s our relationship with ourselves. It’s our shared experiences with each other. It’s our creativity, our celebration. It’s a cornerstone of all of our rhythms and our cultures. It’s our abundance, our scarcity. It’s our trust, our faith, our knowing… our fears.

To get personal, food-related things have been my biggest passions and joys. And in the same breath, my relationship with food has been my hardest challenge, my most consistent source of what feels like pointless pain; it’s been my weakness, my addiction, my curse.

So I both want to write about food, and am terrified of it.

Maybe terrified isn’t the right word… more like… overwhelmed? Food is a topic I have too many thoughts about. So many thoughts I haven’t put on paper, they’ve tangled themselves into a rock that sits inside of me. I have to find a thread and start untangling. There are so many pieces I don’t want to miss. Maybe I just have to start somewhere and trust what happens next? Maybe there’s so much to say that I’ll spend literally my whole life trying to say it right? I do like the idea of a “life’s work”. Could this be part of it? It’s certainly something I could pour my heart into.

The first thing I want to say is that I’m not perfect. I don’t want to write about food in a way that’s like “Hey, I have it all figured out and this is what it is! Listen to me!” I think that I’ve been trying to act like I have it all together, oftentimes in an insecure/dishonest way, and I really don’t want my writing to be a part of that. I want this to be a lot deeper. The perfectionism is one of the habits that makes the writing process difficult, actually. The juicy stuff always is in the pieces my perfectionism doesn’t trust – my emotional and messy parts, the pieces of me that are ‘weak’. It’s hard at first to get past that – but it’s so good for me, it’s what brings me back to writing again and again, because through this medium I’ve been able to reveal myself more vulnerably than most spaces in my life. And ultimately, in writing, I can tease out the pieces of myself that are underneath the surface – revealing things I didn’t know, discovering myself and life in new ways.

As nice as that sounds, I feel anxious. I don’t know where to start.

I feel the energy building up inside of me. Sad and angry. I’m probably going to have to be willing to say things to you that I think will make me look stupid. But I hate lying and pretending!

I feel like I need to confess. Why not do it here? Say the things I’m afraid to say?

Today I abused myself with food. I ate quickly and mindlessly. I used food as a distraction. I didn’t slow down and say ‘thank you’. I just… put the stuff in my mouth. Like a drug. I did it mindlessly, anxiously. A lot of it I did in front of the computer at work. When I left work today I felt gross and tangled up, and I think it was because when things got difficult I tried to self-soothe with food. And that really doesn’t work! It makes me feel like crap.

I feel like I’m stealing something in those moments. I’m just grabbing something I don’t need. It’s a perfect symbol of destructive consumption. It makes me feel rotten and useless.

And while I’m doing it I feel like I’m ruining something. I’m ruining the good meal I could have shared with a friend instead. I’m ruining the moment I could have been legitimately focused on something else. And I’m ruining the food itself – which has been on its own journey and has its own spirit – Food, like life, is something to really enjoy, to respect, to be grateful for. When I treat it right, it is so sweet. I dearly love sharing an evening with friends and family, with food and drink and good spirits. I love the holidays. I love potlucks. I love cooking! I love eating! I love it all! – but when I abuse it, I really feel… overtaken by the devil, I suppose. I feel like dirt. Dark. Broken.

Why do I get so confused? I get so… afraid and distrustful! I get scared of my body, of hunger, of myself and my ability to fall into mindless self-destructive ruts.

You know why I need this? I need to write about this because I have pain in me that expresses itself through food, sometimes so badly it’s excruciating, and I don’t know my way out on my own. I think maybe I can write my way to redemption and peace.

The frustration I’m feeling now reminds me of the first time I let myself say things to Mathew that I was scared he wouldn’t like. It came out really funky. It sounded mean and awful, and it was kind of hard for him to hear it all. But it needed to come out; I needed to learn how to share my thoughts honestly without censoring; we needed to start creating a process for dealing with things constructively together, even doubts and fears and criticisms of each other. And as we’ve gotten better in that process together, those conversations have begun to feel more healthy and constructive.

So it is with food and eating in my life. A lot of it I’ve kept hidden, and if I want to let it out it’s probably going to be funky and strange at first. Really the only reason I’m posting this up on my blog is because I made a promise to myself to post every day this month, and this is what came out today! I think it will get better with time. The things that want to be discovered will find their way up to the surface. And it will be awesome.

Signing out with gratitude – I’m just glad to be writing again. I’ll have to be patient and trust the process, and that’s a good thing.

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