Friday, December 7, 2012

Vice Grips

Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and write. Sometimes I have to physically put a timer on to make sure I don't leave the studio before it jolts me out of drooling at the easel. Sometimes the creative pursuits -- like almost anything else -- are what fuel us to keep going but can become as hard to pull out as a wedgie (especially if I'm wearing boy shorts. Girls with big butts don't wear boy shorts). Sometimes I have to go on menial errands like meandering around Target and buy everything but the tweezers I went there for, just to let some of the information trickle in and begin arranging itself before I'm ready to set it to type. Today was one of those days.


This post was especially hard to write because it goes way down into my vault of security, down past the guard dogs and fangs dripping with blood, screeching to a halt into one of my greatest insecurities and deepest shames. It's something so many women (and men, not to be exclusive) deal with but none of us want to talk about. At least not in the real sense, anyway. Forget about Dr. Oz and Raspberry Ketones. This is my story of Food:


Look, Here's The Thing:


I've been catching myself in the kitchen lately. I'll pull random things out of the fridge and stand at the counter eating. Not because I'm boredom eating -- which has very often been the case in years past -- but because somehow I'll find myself starving at the end of the day and the process of biting, chewing and swallowing just seems so boring that I might as well do it standing up; so that I may get it done as quickly as possible. Somehow, I'm forgetting throughout the day to feed myself. Somehow, I'm forgetting one of the most basic functions of human being. Somehow, I'm losing interest.


I noticed this initially when I became a human tension wire over my relationship issues and all thoughts of food made me want to vomit the nothing already in my stomach. Everything tasted like dirty socks (or maybe those boy shorts). Somehow chips and french onion dip became dinner -- to be served in high doses after midnight. I would have drip-fed myself coffee as a filler if I could. The only reason I find this so interesting "now" is because of how different it is from "before."


It's no secret to those that know me that I've always been curvy. I've always had an ass for days, cheeks a chipmunk would scratch its eyes out for and HELLO, thighs. For fuck's sake, I didn't even start looking in the mirror and seeing someone moderately attractive until I was like 19. And for a long time my weight fluctuated because eating was not something I did for nourishment, it was what I did to nourish the empty spaces. Give me something to worry about and you give me flapper arms. Hand me an empty afternoon and Thou Hast Bestowed Mine Winter Weight. The great tragedy is that none of the extra ever spread to my boobs.


I turned a 180 after high school, when I joined the ranks of women starving themselves on low-calorie ice cream and boca burgers on Weight Watchers. I lost a bunch of weight and felt like super woman. The problem? I was still as obsessed with food as I had been before I began. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle in my head; from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed I was fitting together the food pieces and trying to create a picture of my day with as much as I could squeeze into it. Watching the Food Network late at night doesn't help either; though I think it would make Jim Gaffigan proud. I felt better about myself, but that was only when I could even think about anything other than what I as putting into myself (yes, I caught that...get your head out of the gutter).


After 9 months of insanity I came to a halfhearted conclusion that two opposites don't make a middle ground. And that some other avenue probably needed to be ventured, seeing as every time I'd go home from school I'd "take a break" from dieting and eat entire batches of cupcakes. I'm pretty sure you can black out from sugar, now.


Then I was bequeathed the gift of Geneen Roth. This woman is a genius of food obsession. Dude has dieted and binged enough to have gained and lost over 200 pounds in her lifetime, a fact she touts proudly in her profound recovery. From the insight of her finally reaching sanity, she has a magical way of taking you out of the compulsion and instilling the concept of food as health, rather than harm. All in a way that makes you laugh at the gallon of ice cream you just ate while simultaneously asking yourself, "who in there actually wants to eat a gallon of ice cream at a time?" Because when it comes down to it, if you really do love yourself, why would you want to eat a gallon of ice cream? When you sit down and truly feel how that feels in your body, what molecule in your stomach enjoys being drowned in frozen dairy?


After that I began paying attention to my body. I began listening to how it felt after each meal, and whether or not I was feeding it when I was hungry or just bored. My weight fluctuated a little bit and I spent brief moments panicking about it. I certainly considered going back on Weight Watchers after I split my pants at work one day and Lori laughed her own ass off, but I eventually convinced myself they were just really tight (they really are -- I still wear them now that they've loosened up a bit in the crotch, though).


Somehow I've strayed back to the starvation end of my spectrum, but this time it's not entirely on purpose. I'm trying to inch my way back to center, one cookie at a time. I made Laura, Katie and I chili last night and now that I am the master of my own kitchen again, I expect that to be a regular occurrence. Not to mention that I make damn good chili. Plus, I think I'm nearing my Deli Chicken Salad capacity. Maybe I'm nearing capacity for this particular vice of mine, too. Cheers to you, and your good health.




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