I haven’t been feeling well for more than a week. It’s not covid. The symptoms are entirely different and I have been tested and came out negative. But it’s pretty brutal. Brutal enough that I, a relatively routine-dependent person, have decided that rest is more important than the things that I am pretty obsessive about. I have enough food around that I have not even gone grocery shopping or cooked for the week. *Gasp!*
Look, I have everything I need to manage my eating boundaries to a T. I’m just not being my over-achieving self. Some of my meals may only be “really good” instead of “spectacular.” But even at that, I must be pretty sick. Because spectacular is pretty important to me.
I have been listening to the same two audiobooks on a loop and knitting a blanket for days and days. It’s the first two books of The Scholomance series by Naomi Novik, if you are wondering, and both books end on cliffhangers and the next one doesn’t comeout until probably September next year so, you know, enter at your own risk or whatever.
But it’s a great reminder for me that when I quit my drug foods and put boundaries around my eating, I had to use other ways to soothe and comfort myself that weren’t food related. And fiction was the obvious answer for me. I was already good at that.
When I was a little kid, I watched certain things over and over and over ad nauseam. Most kids do. It’s why every generation of kids has a generation of parents that hate a character or show or song to the extreme. Like Barney, or Caillou, or The Song That Never Ends.
But I kept up the practice of obsessively rewatching and relistening, and rereading any number of movies and songs and books my whole life, long past childhood.
And boy did that get me through the early years of getting my eating under control. It gave me something to be addicted to that wasn’t cake. It gave me something to be obsessed with that was entirely behavioral, and had no physiological aspect like putting sugar in my body.
So in the beginning of getting my eating under control, I leaned hard into obsessive escapism with books and comics and one particular anime series (Fushigi Yuugi.) But once I got through the very worst of the withdrawal, I came out with a much larger capacity for new things. New art. New books. New comics. New shows and movies.
Basically, I had leveled up in my ability to seek out new ideas and information, new feelings and experiences. I don’t mean process them, because I am smart, and was much much smarter as a kid. I have always understood how to process what I took in. I mean I learned how to allow myself to have new experiences. I mean just allow myself to feel new things.
Don’t get me wrong, I can still become obsessive about things. This book series is not the first, second, or even 10th to catch my extended attention in the past almost 16 years. But it’s ultimately just a tool. When I feel yuck, and I am unhappy and suffering, and just need to get my mind off of my pain for a while, it’s a way to numb out that won’t have long-term, far-reaching consequences.
It’s a binge, yes. But one that I can recover from without the physical ramifications, the spiritual malady, or the emotional exhaustion of an eating binge.