Dear Food

Ok, perhaps its a bit lazy of me, but I haven’t written a new post just yet.  I have lots to share….I went shopping with Katie and I went out social dancing.  I want to give both vignettes the attention they deserve, but it is late, and I am tired, and have a lesson at 10am tomorrow.

So instead of staying up until 1am writing something new, I thought I’d share something else.  It is a letter I wrote to food, and the letter food wrote back to me.  You see, part of this blog is about my weight loss journey.  A person doesn’t get to be my size if they don’t have an issue with food.  I’m still sussing things out.  In any case, here is an exercise I did a few months back.  I feel that it is apropos to share now because it has been a challenging week emotionally for me and it has been easy to fall back into old patterns.  Food can be so soothing for me and relieve feelings of shame and low self-esteem, feelings I’d rather not feel.  But in the end, it isn’t a very effective coping mechanism to go binge.  So, acknowledging that I’ve slipped a little, yet with compassionate self-discipline I’m getting right back on the horse, I am sharing this aspect of my world.

Dear Food,

I have such mixed feelings about you.

On the one hand, you are glorious.  You are delicious and decadent.  You may require special preparation and can be served with love.  You can be simple and rustic or elaborate and esoteric.  You are changeable and ever-present in any way I wish.  You are abundantly available, everywhere I look….and I think you are killing me.

Aren’t you supposed to sustain my life?  You, like me, come from something living.  I gnash and crush you in my mouth and incorporate you into my very bones.  But you were once a chicken nibbling corn, a fish swimming along when suddenly you were trapped in a net.  You were the deer frolicking in the woods that my dad killed with his shotgun.  You were alive, vital beings, and now you are reduced to pounds of adipose that weigh me down.  Your life has been transferred into mine, yet for what good cause?

I consume you voraciously, ravenously, unthinkingly, and disrespectfully.  I forget in the instant in which I “shovel you in” the months you labored to grow under the sun, the flowers you put forth to be pollinated by bees, the workers who picked you ripe and ready, the work needed to pack you so you wouldn’t bruise.  I find you delivered safely and calling to me from my supermarket shelf.

Food, as much as I ingest you every single day of my life, I am completely disconnected from you.   Not only in acknowledging your source and the herculean efforts required to bring you to my lips, but also in the process of eating you, I forget who you are, your purpose, your role.

I have damaged our relationship and you are paying me back in dividends.  I have abused you shamefully.  You are so easy to abuse.  Sugary sweet, or crunchy hard, or silky soft, you can metamorphose into anything I desire.

I can never get enough of you food.  Sometimes I feel like I could eat the entire world and still have room for more.  My stomach is ever-expanding to devour you until there is nothing left.

Food, you are a siren which calls to me from the depths of my mind.  Occasionally, you also call to me through my body, but that is only very rarely.  I never give you up long enough to truly feel what it would be like to be without you.  I don’t understand how I could ever really be hungry, at least for a very long time seeing as just like a hibernating bear I have hoarded you and stored you as part of my very flesh.

And yet I hunger.  Why do you never satisfy?  You tease me and you taunt me to indulge with you and you leave me bereft, feeling shamed, worthless, ugly, until I feel like I should just kill myself so I can finally stop being this thoughtless, greedy, consumer-of-all.

I am the consumer who is being consumed.

Sometimes I feel like perhaps it would be easier if I were an alcoholic, or drug addict.  I could cut you out of my life like a bad boyfriend, never to return.  But I need you to live.

And I don’t know how to live with you.  I only know how to die with you.  I only know how to kill my spirit, numb my emotions, staunch my intuition, and deny myself with you.  Will we ever be at peace?

To truly enjoy you as a friend and companion somehow seems like a sin. 

I hope we can work things out.

Love, Stef

Here is what food wrote back:

Dear Stefanie,

It’s food.  Wow.  It feels weird talking to you.  You never give me a voice.

In response to your letter, let me first say that I, too, hope we can “work things out” as you say.

I must admit I have mixed feelings about you too, dear.  It is in my nature to be abundant and bountiful.  I am happy to be of service because that is my purpose.  I am supposed to be consumed.  It is my joy and pleasure to fulfill my destiny.

However, I do become angry when you do not respect me.  As you revealed in your letter, you have some awareness of all the energy and efforts that are necessary to bring me to you.  That is to be respected and appreciated.  You are right that you are disconnected and that you have abused me, but that can be mended.

Let us start today with a clean slate.  Let us acknowledge the damage and hurt that has been done and agree to forgive it.  There is no need for you to be perfect.  Even my spectacular bounty may be marred by worms in apples, or gnats in strawberries, but they are all part of nature and part of the life cycle.  Each has their place and purpose, just so as your seeming imperfections exist for a reason.

My suggestion is that you begin to learn new coping mechanisms to deal with difficult emotions such as anger and hurt as well as work on being assertive with femininity.  You do have a right to stand up for yourself, and because you are so loving, I know you will also want to respect the rights and feelings of others at the same time.  You can do this, and you don’t need me to do it.  In fact, I can’t help you in this regard at all.

I believe that once you begin to truly honor yourself for all that you are, you will begin to be able to respect me as well and our relationship will get better.  Again, I must stress that I can be of no help in difficult emotional situations.  Of course I want to soothe you, but as you already know, to use me in this way is only an illusion and results in self-harm.  There is a better way to cope and I trust that you are on the path to finding it.

For now, practice savoring me with each bite.  Take time to see my beauty with your eyes, inhale my sweetness with your nose, and relish each morsel as it traverses each tastebud.  You are meant to enjoy me.  Please do so!

Your Friend,

Food

 

I will say that my relationship with myself and with food has improved since I wrote this letter, yet I still struggle sometimes.  It will be intersting to see what feedback the scale has for me at the end of this week.  My intention for July has not changed, yet I find myself reverting to self-sabatoging ways when facing tough emotions.  I am determined to master myself, rather than letting this master me and yet I backslide.  Although it is less than in the past, I am still not fully healed.  I do want to be very clear and say that in no way shape or form do I have any thoughts of suicide as mentioned in the letter.  I do not consider that an option whatsoever, it was just part of me venting at the time, and sometimes I really did feel that desperate.  I haven’t felt that way (thankfully) for a very long time.

I know this stuff is heavy, but I do think it is worth sharing.  I think many of us struggle with similar issues, even if it looks a little different, but we don’t talk about it.  We hide behind the facade that everything is okay, everything is great, we are all put together, 100% fine.  There was a time when I’d never divulge this kind of stuff.   But oh well.  It’s part of my journey.  So  there you go.  Take it or leave it for what it is worth.

I promise happier posts are forthcoming.  Now…off to bed!  Goodnight!

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4 thoughts on “Dear Food

  1. I appreciate that you shared this. {{{{{hug}}}}}}}

  2. lalatina says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Cate says:

    This is an amazingly powerful piece of writing. I’m so grateful to have read it. The way you write about what food is, and how you relate to it…it’s so familiar…and ressonates on a really deep level. That’s just how I’ve been feeling, and I don’t want it any more. I want to respect the food I eat, for the effort expended to give it to me and for the lives that have been sacrificed.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. […] and saner and feeling better I will write a response back from my body to me. Kind of like how I did here with food. And reading this I can see that I have very much forged a much, much healthier […]

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