A Funnel Cake Life

Sometimes I still think everything would be fine

If I just had a deep-fried Twinkie or two (or three)

Or perhaps a few handfuls of Lilac chocolates

A half dozen chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven

A pint of Moose-tracks or Honey ice cream melted just to the right consistency

A big bag of Jelly Bellys, assorted will do, but plenty of Popcorn, Chocolate Pudding and Cherry, please

Some Banana Cream Pie

A box of salt water taffy

And unlimited funnel cakes

My sugar days are over, alas

But I still long for its soothing, sticky-sweet promises

Carnival-candy dreams for a happy life ahead

The high, the pleasure, the fullness, the love

I miss it all

But I know better

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: funnel

Bingeworthy

I lay, spent, numb

My pain suspended in the discomfort

The known sedation of having gorged

More appealing than tolerating my escalating feelings

Too-full-ness better than emptiness

Physically weakening myself somehow feels like power

For an all-too-brief moment

I am calm, the fear and dread are quiet

And being alive in this body feels almost OK

Until it doesn’t, again

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: gorge

A Family Affair

I am taking a wee break today.

Not from life. From post writing.

I have relatives in town and tonight they are gathering at my home, and I have created a meal from scratch. I do not do that often, but I love it! I have been running around all day from the kitchen to the store and back again! Cooking, cleaning. I am so excited to have loved ones in our home. But I am taking a moment before they come to sit and express gratitude for the abundance to do this, and to have a home in the first place.

I would love to be writing about how much I love the underdogs of the world. My tag line is “Fan of the Underdog.” I am an underdog. I believe in us. In our strength and our spirit. We are not the obvious choice, but we are a wonderful one.

Tonight I hold all of you underdogs out there in a special place in my heart. I hope wherever you are, you know that you are important and your life is important.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: underdog

That’s Amore

The first time I really fell in love was with a very talented chef.

We met each other just as the whole celebrity chef phenomenon was starting to really cook. He was just beginning to rise as some of the mega-star chefs of today such as Bobby Flay were just starting to blaze.

The restaurant world was abuzz then, and I was a small part of it. I was a server at the newly opened second restaurant of a long-time successful NYC 3-star chef. Being a perfectionist and a Betty-by-the-Book type, I was an excellent waitress and often asked to serve food critics and VIP fellow chefs.

One morning I went into the kitchen before service started and something felt different. Like some animal sense, the hairs on my arms stood up. My body vibrated. My back was to it, but I literally felt compelled to look over at the line.

There I saw the most incredible pair of hands at work. I was mesmerized for a moment. The way they touched the produce was so…intimate. So sensual.

My cheeks blushed with heat and as I looked up to see who belonged to those hands, my eyes met the sweetest almond-shaped hazel eyes.

It felt like I literally poured into him through his eyes. Time just sort of expanded and the moment felt like forever.

I gathered myself together, and just before I turned to go back out on the floor, my eyes found his lips, which had a sexy little smile dancing across their fullness.

That was it for me. My life changed course in those moments.

I fell hard that day. He had been brought in to the restaurant as sous chef, and our paths were to cross daily. I was involved with someone else at the time, though it was a dying relationship.

I literally fell under a kind of spell. I made some choices that I am not proud of today.

Chef and I began what would end up being an extremely important, passionate, ultimately heartbreaking (twice) relationship.

We were young, emotionally wounded, and both out of control and lost. But boy, did I love him.

It still makes my head swim to think of it. The story of us is epic and blog-worthy. But not today. I’m not quite ready.

When I tell you that he was the most talented of them all, of all the star chefs then and the star chefs-to-be (the ones who were behind the star chefs who have since risen to fame,) and maybe even of the current culinary stars, I am not exaggerating or talking from my entranced heart.

He was truly gifted. His food was the most flavorful, exquisitely layered food I have ever tasted, and I have had the pleasure of some incredible meals then and now.

A meal under his talents was a total body sensual experience and left you with an amazing high.

People became diehard fans, literally traveling across countries to follow him wherever he went.

Our relationship ended dramatically, not once but twice. My heart was totally shattered.

But I was gifted a love of fine dining that remains to this day.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: flavorful

Lust Life

Much of my adult life has been about coming to terms with lust.

Having grown up in a fairly conservative family with mainly Protestant roots, I learned early on to deny and repress my lust: for life, for sex, for fame, for love, for food.

So much so that I lived a kind of double life from my teens into my twenties.

I hid many behaviors that all revolved around my various appetites. Somewhere in my somewhat stunted emotional development, I had learned that being seen as having a need (be it physical or otherwise) was weak, unattractive.

And so I learned to pretend I did not have them.

And yet, at the same time, I also had a very strong need to be seen as a sexual object. (See Sexual Healing, my previous post on this issue.) This presented quite a war within me. I desperately wanted to be seen and treated like a sexually desirable woman – that was sort of the ultimate need. At the same time, I had shame and embarrassment around this and had strong messaging that that was bad, and that I should be a good girl with no sexuality, appetites, strong opinions or feelings.

And so I pretended to be one one way while in secret I acted in other ways.

I invested a great deal of time into creating the illusion that I was chaste, a normal eater, and had  a very neutral opinion on just about everything. I monitored my emotions and watched myself around people, carefully choosing mannerisms and tones to project a good girl.

Meanwhile, I was living quite another kind of life, a life I hid from my family, my friends. A life of appetite and lust and danger.

There were certainly angels watching over me. I was often in the wrong places at the wrong time. Somehow, I survived.

At a certain point in my twenties, the jig was up, as they say.

My psyche demanded that I heal the split, and I began the process of recovering wholeness again.

Of uncovering my own genuine appetites from a place of love, curiosity and acceptance. Of letting go of the urge to keep my appetites hidden.

I began a process of embracing of my true nature and wants and needs as beautiful reflections of my own humanity. I began the shedding of the shaming nature that I inherited.

An unlearning of the social pressure that happens in middle school to put a damper on enthusiasm, to keep a lid on want to look cool.

I learned to let myself eat as I really wanted to in front of others.

I learned to let myself be seen trying, excited, wanting, sexy, hungry, angry, hopeful, happy, disappointed, frightened, messy, unhappy, empty, full, vulnerable, awkward, lonely, blissful.

I learned to let myself be seen. As I really am.

Today I value the self-honesty that I live from. Truth is of huge importance to me.

Though I am still in awe of the capacity I had within my own psyche to maintain such a dichotomy the way I did – that I could compartmentalize two such distinct worlds at once – I am so grateful that that is just a chapter in my story.

Today, I have one world with many parts: parts that co-mingle and bring me great joy in their diversity.

I celebrate my appetites, I revel in my enthusiasms and passions.

I love my lust. It is what lets me know I am human. And alive.

So today, I try to wear my lust like a smile.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: lust

 

Constant Craving

When I was a girl, I lived for food.

The promise of the after-school snack kept me going through the grueling days of my youth. I’d race home to find sweet and savory relief from the confusion of adolescence.

I’d eat from a box of graham crackers, spreading layers of vanillla chocolate chip canned frosting. Or I’d slice up a Snickers bar the way they did in a commercial on at the time, pretending I was in it. Then maybe some Lay’s potato chips. Maybe a Wonder Bread/Gulden’s Mustard/Kraft cheese and baloney sandwich.

I was on my own, so I could eat like I wanted to. No father home yet to bring tension and self-consciousness to the air.

I’d fill myself, quelling the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that haunted me at any other time of my day. This was all mine. My time free from criticism, pressure or fear.

Over the years, I became desperate around this intimate connection with food. Protective of the rituals. The private pleasure I found in food and the act of eating it.

I knew something was off about how I related to food. I felt ashamed and like there was something wrong with me, while at the same time feeling like it was crucial to my very existence. That trichotomy created a painful struggle inside me of shame and appetite and need.

I became secretive around it, knowing on some level that I was not like other people.

I now understand that somewhere along the way, I learned to equate food with so many things I needed: love, attention, security, connectedness, relief, quiet, peace, pleasure, a sense of having something for myself, a way to feel like I had control of one thing in the world.

I believe that some of this relationship to food was learned, familial. My mother, too, sought refuge in her treats. She loved candy, and when I came home from school, she was usually lying in her bed, reading mystery novels, eating candy from a stash she kept in her bedside table. She, too, at some point in her life, reached for food to solve and resolve being on this planet.

I understood her for this. I feel such compassion for her. For her huge needs and the dysfunctional way she had developed to cope with getting them met.

It has taken many years of unraveling this connection for me to find a new relationship to food. There’s been tremendous loss in it. A loss of my friend, my savior, my companion, my sidekick.

But it has been so freeing, too. I have  been learning how to give myself what I had asked for from food all those years: love.

Sounds easy, and obvious, right? But what does that actually look like?

It looks like this: giving myself The Five A’s of Love: Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection, and Allowing.

(The Five A’s concept is from the wonderful book How To Be An Adult in Relationships – Five Keys to Mindful Loving by psychotherapist, David Richo, PhD.)

Those Five A’s satisfy the snack craving every time. I’m not saying I don’t still crave and even miss that snack eating ritual. I do. That’s a deeply embedded habit. I got pretty hard-wired around it.

But today, I take the snack-seeking girl inside by the hand, and I ask her what she really needs. 

Sometimes it is some appreciation for all I have been doing all day.

Sometimes it is affection. Maybe a bath. Some demonstration of loving care.

Maybe it is the need to be allowed to really acknowledge feeling afraid, or spent, or angry.

It took awhile for that part of myself to trust that my needs could be met in new ways. To trust in something other than food.

To trust life. To trust love. To trust loving myself, in life.

It is an every day practice, this mindfulness of love. I pour the energy I used to hold for food into other things. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gotten my wires crossed, that food wasn’t so complicated for me.
But it is.

And so I accept this truth as if I were diabetic, and I do what I need to do to care for myself.

Mostly, as I said, I feel free.

I no longer carry that shame I felt around it. I am literally lighter in spirit. That feeling is the prize I keep my sights on. It is what makes it all worth it.

I may no longer “have” snacks. But I have me.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: snack

Bottleneck Love

When hate clogs the flow

Love is hard to find

It’s elusive for good reason

Don’t forget that it’s blind

Reach for bottles and bags

Try to wipe it all out

But that’s the big cosmic joke

You can’t get the love out.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: bottle

For my father: Keys Alexander Curry. May you rest in peace and know that love does indeed conquer all.