Inside my head I have jabbing, persistent, intense self-talk saying, WRONG BAD DON’T all the time. Yet I DO, and then what do I feel? Not guilt. I feel something else—a YES, THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY, come child, I will guide you through this dark tunnel. It may look like I am flailing, and I am, but I know why I am here and I have worked to get here, it’s just my style, man, and I am OK with it. Pretty much anything is possible.
The sickness of guilt pervades us all. It does not belong to us though, and it is not our fault. Let’s all sit quietly with ourselves for a minute and do a little check-in: Hi angel, YOU ARE NOT WRONG. Find that inner chord of truth and hold tight, hold the crest of that wave. You are not garbage, you are human, and it is OK to be fucked up. “No regrets, coyote,” is what Joni Mitchel said. My father says, “Don’t take any wooden nickels.”
What is a wooden nickel? What is guilt?
And what is a guilty pleasure? These two words must part forever. I could vomit—and that does not mean after I TREAT MA-SELF to a solo pizza in bed watching Twin Peaks on my ex-boyfriend’s Netflix account either.
We are all a bunch of masochists feasting on pain. Pain, pain, beautiful pain. Sadness is beautiful—I love Joan Baez—and I just learned that the Backstreet Boys also sang these words (adding “...loneliness is tragical...”).
Food and guilt go hand-in-hand—this is the rotten core of the sickness, I think maybe? What are you afraid of? What is that voice you hear? “YOU ARE FAT AND WEAK AND NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU.” It’s not true though, I’m telling you.
What is healing? Somehow I believe it is this: By adjusting your mindset from mental torture mind prison for every little thing you do—whatever it might be, whether sleeping with that guy from the reggae after-hours, or eating that whole tub of B+J’s, or knowingly giving your best friend the smaller glass of wine—to being more self-accepting and kind, sort of psychically, sensually massaging yourself. Most importantly this means FORGIVING yourself. Then the behavior that you think is “bad” will minimize, and even if it doesn’t (but I am pretty sure it will), within it you will be better off. This is entirely easier said than done, but I am just putting it out there, OK? I don’t even go to therapy, much to the dismay of everyone around me, but anyway...
For example—and I have absolutely no proof of this, other than in myself, possibly my dad, and a few others around me—no matter what you eat or do, as long as you are doing it with some kind of self-awareness and mindfulness that’s owning up to it all, you will remain slender and healthy and will feel happier, and therefore get more out of life. On the other hand, if you are eating alone in your car, and with each bite you are like, YOU ARE A FUCKING LOOOOOOSER PIG PIG PIG PIG!!! I think you will be very unhealthy and depressed and probably fat. You will grow fat around the happiness part of your brain too, and if you try and get in there you will just bounce right off. Dig? Leanness of all things...
So is healing just knowing yourself more? And with that comes the ability to be true to yourself more, whatever that truth may be? Hmm. I am about as sure on that as the Miss 2007 Teen America contestant for South Carolina was when she answered the question, “Why do you think one-fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map?” Her answer: “I believe our education like such as therefore South Africa and thy Iraq, we were like such as therefore and I believe that our education over here in the US should help the US or should help South Africa and should help thy Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future. Thank you.”
This is really simplified and I have to add that there are obviously a lot of other things that factor in here food-wise and otherwise—mental illness for one (but I am pretty sure we are all a touch mentally ill, so might as well just plow right through)—but on the whole I think it works. Is it feasible to say that if you are walking around on MDMA most of the time and are like I am soooooo happy, life is great, peace peace peace I love my cat—even though I am not sure how your serotonin could possibly hold up—and you are like, This is my choice and this is my truth and I am really into it, is this OK? I don’t know. BALANCE. But how? (Also, you can replace MDMA with the kind of people who get mad at you if you leave your dog tied up outside while you run into the store.)
Now hang on as we go back to the guilty pleasure idea: You are eating sadness. What makes people indulge and what makes “women laughing alone with salad” such an iconic jpeg? I laugh when I eat salad because I LOVE SALAD, and I make fancy salads, but I don’t think that is what the meme suggests. I think it is a bummer, because it is when a lot of woman (and men) want to eat, say, a beautiful fresh sourdough baguette with French butter and salt, a nice fatty-fat creamy cheese and cloth-bound Mennonite summer sausage with hot horseradish mustard, they are like, Ooooh shit this is so BAD. Duh, eating disorders, yadayada but I am still not over how terrible the idea of eating disorders are, sorry. Eeeew! Stop it! Stop right now, you poor, poor baby, and TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR SPIRIT. Dig in and enjoy with a friend and a nice bottle of crisp vino verde (still super into exploring Portuguese wine cellars, as the stuff is usually under ten bucks and has a nice light fizz to it, FYI), and just chill. Go to the roof and talk about life.
Still, this woman eating salad thing is pretty much the catalyst to the binge idea, and what do people eat when they binge? Fucking garbage, that’s what. Garbage with no soul that is not food, garbage filled with all the sadness of the world, and they’re manically funneling it in. Don’t tell me you don’t feel this cosmic malaise from the genetically modified Monsanto bullshit, and the small farm killing corn that is in practically all of that stuff (anything with glucose is probably a culprit, it doesn’t even have to say “corn”), not to mention all the processed sugar, fat, etc. Drop it, it’s worse than drugs. Garbage food is not good for anything besides one moment of possible high, as you are scarfing it down as fast as you can, probably not wanting to get “caught,” and then it is over. Anything—including drugs and people—that you treat like a binge is just empty calories of despair. But with food, with drugs, with anything, savor them, chose them, enjoy them, say “mmmm,” and you can have an expanded thought. You are the raven queen now, so write a meandering song to the doves, get to know your hands, have a Camino de Santiago de Compostela in your mind.
Food has so much potential to heal, it’s kind of the only way I know how. And it is not by pleasuring yourself with guilt, but by accessing the reality of eating well, and accessing your own reality in the process. Life is meals. Wooden nickels are fearful illusions, strangers and things and thoughts that try to trick you into believing in them instead of remembering who you are and what you want. Wooden nickels have no nutritional value. Let's heal ourselves.
Previously - Screw You, Brunch