Saturday, 29 June 2013

Hunger Pains

The comic Louis CK uttered the following: "The meal is not over when I'm full. The meal is over when I hate myself". This would rather morbidly describe my relationship with food. Imagine if every decision of every day where food is concerned invokes a stressful mental marathon - the tallying of what may have already been consumed and what is likely to come after. A simple discussion around going for coffee turns into a complicated gymnastics of thought - what size coffee and will there be a temptation with many calories are allowed? All day long - every day - a complicated negotiation - plotting how many hours must go by before the next battle and other moments of complete denial followed by the panic of what has been consumed. I often imagined where all of that energy might have been used had it been directed to something useful and how much I had to compensate to maintain a semblance of normalcy. Of course you learn very quickly none of it is really about food - it is the symptom of a different problem - and yet the symptom never goes away.

I was once asked to draw a picture on a large sheet of paper of what I thought my body looked like, then someone traced my actual body on top of what I'd drawn. I was convinced they had made a mistake as nothing matched the picture I'd created...with its monster arms and cartoon legs - a pencil caricature of the outward appearance I was sure I was showing the world.

I suspect if one is a heroin addict or addicted to alcohol, life may appear to be an endless series of social situations where the drug of choice seems present or perhaps, attainable. However, it is possible to live and breathe without both of those items. Perhaps not happily, but if those demons are overcome one could avoid scenarios where actively saying no is not an issue. But food is the unending temptation and there is not a moment of the day in our food-obsessed culture when people aren't actively anticipating their next meal, analyzing the meal they just had or plotting what they might consume in the future.  If you strip any pleasure out of the experience, what you are left with is a feeling on the other side of normal - and a raw, gnawing hunger for some kind of peace that could consume the moon.

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