Living in interesting times
I am afraid. There is an old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. Well, I am living in interesting times. And I am afraid.
I have been having food thoughts. This is not something that happens to me often. In the past almost 11 years, I have had noticeable food thoughts through a handful of stressful times. Of course, I had them when I first gave up sugar and put boundaries around my eating. I also had them at the beginning of my relationship with my now husband. After all, I left my life in New York City after only spending about 10 days with him face to face, and moved across the country to be with him. Obviously, in retrospect, I made the right choice. But in the beginning, I didn’t know what would come down the pike. And I was nervous. And I had food thoughts.
But then, I knew a few things that I don’t know now. I knew that I was in control of my life. Even if it didn’t work out, I could move back to New York, get another job, find an apartment. All of that was in my hands. And I knew that no matter what, my husband was a good man. If it didn’t work out, he would still be a good man.
But now, I am not sure how things are going to work out. And I don’t know that the people who have my life in their hands are good people. In fact, it is not circumstances I fear in this situation, but those people.
I will not eat compulsively. I need my wits about me. I need to be firing on all cylinders. But I am afraid.
One thing that happened to me, and to others I know, when we put boundaries around our eating, is that we discovered who we really were. We found out who was hiding behind that wall of fat and food coma.
One thing eating does is numb you to the ways that you are not true to yourself. When you get integrity around your eating, you necessarily get integrity around the way you live your life, because it hurts too much to do what you can to please others, or at least slip by unnoticed, at the expense of your own self. Especially if you do not have a way to soothe that. I not only got clear about “the truth,” I got clear about my truth.
So here is my truth. I choose justice over unity. I choose freedom over safety. And I will fight, even if that fight is dangerous to me personally. Because if I turn a blind eye, I’m going to need to eat a chocolate cake. Maybe two. I am telling you I would rather be harmed by someone else than harm myself. That is what eating compulsively is to me.
I still believe in the general benevolence of life. I know that this, too, shall pass. Like everything else, good and bad. And I am happy to see so much of what I despise brought out into the open. I am happy to see the hate dressed in its Sunday best and paraded around, because some people think it’s safe to do so now. As Justice Louis Brandeis so eloquently put it, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”
But believing that life is giving me what is best doesn’t mean that this will be easy. And it doesn’t mean that this will be gentle. And it doesn’t mean that this will be painless. It just means that I trust that life is right, and that as long as I do the best that I can to live honestly and with honor and love, all will be well with me.
So the first thing I have to do is keep my eating under control. When I have a food thought, I cut it off. I do not hold on to it, or romanticize it. I remember that sugar and carbohydrates are poison to me, because I am sick around food.
I am afraid. But that doesn’t have anything to do with my food. Except that three times a day, I sit down to a delicious, nourishing, satisfying meal, and I don’t have to think about the next right action I have to take to honor love and justice in America.