what i want

Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Blog | No Comments

thinking of appetite lately. on many accounts. some of it has to do with escape. i want more time off. from the milieu, the struggle. time off from being accountable.

and i want more, to fill me up.

i want time to brood in my bedroom and strum on my guitar. time to wake up to unchartered minutes, that i can spend, at my own speed. time to see how the evening seeps away; no plans.

in the morning, i want time to see how the day feels. is it sunny, is it cool? is dampness there? what do the clouds look like, when i am below them? how does the river feel, running by?

i tell you what, the clouds and the river look and feel how they feel, but i am not there to absorb them. i am racing off to work.

i could get up earlier, to see. but most nights, i’ve been staying up late, feeding the void with the glare of the computer screen—watching shit i should have turned off an hour ago. eating food i shouldn’t eat.

anita. people. human race.

i want to make a better way. do you have this, too?

i look back on my life, and i think of my hunger. i realize that many of the bad turns i continually take now, when it comes to food or indulgences/distractions, are turns that began as tiny, bobby-pin-sized hooks, in my brain. i chose them repeatedly, as a child. i came home from school, feeling dejected. the void was there, and so were the nachos that i’d make—piled high, in the microwave.

the sense of ugliness was there, that my face wasn’t pretty enough, and that i wasn’t equipped-enough to be with boys. i worried i would rot, untouched, unfound. so i found myself in books and homework.

today, i am a different woman. i am a funny person, with high hopes. i can make shit happen. i can make you laugh. and ache. i have come along ways! and yet, I STILL STRUGGLE WITH THIS “OLD” STUFF.

i know i have no restrictions, other that the ones imposed on me. and yet, i know this is not necessarily true, because whatever roads we choose in life, they always come with limitations. we can’t necessarily work around them, later, even if our wants change. even if we become more who we really are.

and those restrictions imposed by me? damn, i am good at applying them, again, and again! 🙂

you too? anyone??!

i tell you what i want. i want less time falling prey to the things that prey on me—excess food, excess worry, fruitless time watching netflicks or being on Facebook . . . and also? less time saying yes to people i love, when being alone is better for me!

i can, and i am, and i will, improve in these areas.

in her book, “appetites,” caroline knapp refers to what she would get from starving:

“the lure of starving—the baffling, seductive hook—was that it soothed, a balm of safety and containment that seemed to remove me from the ordinary, fraught world of human hunger and place me high above it, in a private kingdom of calm.”

my trick, now-a-days, is to find this calm, without the extremes.

i don’t have an easy, a “one-time-answer.” i just have this—the hope to improve, today.

so this morning, i am going to the river near my house. i will jog, and then get in the water. i dunk my head and make it really, really cold. this address a hunger i’ve had for years—the hunger of being catapulted into a new way of thinking or feeling—even if it’s only for five seconds.

i leave you with this, another chunk from “appetites,” by caroline knapp. just reading it makes me feel more at home in the world—to know i am not the only one who struggles with such things. and that i, too, can improve.

“today, i eat. that in itself is a statement of triumph, but the road toward a more peaceful relationship with food—which, of course, means a more peaceful relationship with my body, myself, my own demons—has been long, circuitous, and (would that this weren’t so) full of company. It’s hard to think of a woman who hasn’t grappled to one degree or another with precisely the same fears, feelings, and pressures that drove me to starve, even harder to think of a woman who experiences the full range of human hungers with Renoir’s brand of unfettered delight. satisfying hungers, taking things in, indulging in bodily pleasures—these are not easy matters for a lot of woman, and i suspect my own troubled relationship with food merely reflects the extreme end of a long continuum, and one venue among many others.

“food, sex, shopping: name your poison. appetites, particularly as they’re experienced by women, have an uncanny shape-shifting quality, and a remarkable talent for glomming onto externals. one battle segues into the next, one promise proves false and another emerges on the horizon, glimmers, and beckons like a star: follow me, this diet will do it, or this man, or this set of purchases for body and home; the holy grail as interpreted by Jenny Craig or Danielle Steele or Martha Steward. in my case, starving gave way to drinking, denial of appetite—which made me feel highly controlled and rather superior and very safe—gradually mutating into a more all-encompassing denial of self, alcohol displacing food as the substance of choice. for others, the substances may be somewhat less tangible, but they’re often no less gripping, and no less linked to the broader theme of appetite: obsessive relationships with men; compulsive shopping and debt; life-defining pre-occupation with appearances; “isms” of all kinds—all of these are about emptiness, about misdirected attempts to fill internal voids, and all of them tend to spring from the same dark pool of feeling: a suspicion among many women that hungers themselves are somehow invalid or wrong, that indulgences must be earned and paid for, that the satisfaction of appetites often comes with a bill. …don’t eat too much, don’t get too big, don’t reach too far, don’t climb too high, don’t want too much. No, no, no.”

“that these mandates exist is hardly news, but their cumulative effect on woman’s lives tends to be examined through a fragmented lens, one pathology at a time, the eating disorder lit on the self-help shelves separated from the books on women’s troubled relationships with men, the books on compulsive shopping separated from the books on female sexuality, the books on culture and media separated from the books on female psychology. take your pick, choose your demons: women who love too much in one camp, women who eat too much in another, women who shop too much in a third. in fact, the camps are not so disparate, and the question of appetite—specifically the question of what happens to the female appetite when it’s submerged and rerouted—is the thread that binds them together. one woman’s tub of cottage cheese is another’s maxed-out master card; one woman’s soul-murdering love affair is another’s frenzied eating binge. the methods may differ, but boil any of these behaviors down  to their essential ingredients and you are likely to find a particularly female blend of anxiety, guilt, shame and sorrow, the psychic roux of profound—and often profoundly misunderstood—hungers.”

lastly, an excerpt from the appendix, as caroline knapp is driving home from being with her sister, after she delivered her baby girl in the hospital,

“the road before me was empty at 2 A.M., the sky black but starlit. i pictured that tiny infant, nursing hungrily at the body that created and sheltered her and will now guide her into the wider world, and i said a prayer for her, i prayed for change. i whispered to the universe, “Let her be filled.”

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