Most significant moments in our lives can also be associated with food. The birth of a child inspires loved ones to stockpile the new parents’ kitchen with congratulatory blessings of scrumptious casseroles and desserts. Mandatory sugary confections commemorate birthdays and anniversaries. A couples’ new life together is first celebrated with slews of edible delights and ostentatious cakes. Tragically, even death is marked with food furnished out of love and sympathy for the family.
In the lives of most American’s, the food that is supposed to provide sustenance can also provide so much more. Food can be an experience, companionship, satisfaction, comfort, and even intoxication. When my marriage ended, food took up residence to occupy the new hole in my life. It all started a few lonely days after I was established and un-packed in my new apartment. Earlier in the day I bought groceries to stock the new refrigerator. While I numbly placed items into my cart to nourish myself and my three girls, I couldn’t resist the silent, enticing call from the ice cream aisle.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Deciding on a flavor of ice cream was a monumental decision to which I heavily weighed. Ben and Jerry take their ice cream making seriously and my choices were endless. My taste buds finally settled on Ben and Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio, which is a creative concoction of Pistachio flavored ice cream mixed with lightly roasted Pistachio nuts. As I mindlessly went through the rest of my menial tasks that the day required, my mind couldn’t help but wander to the impending date that I was going to have with Mr. Pistachio once my children were in bed.
I finally had something to look forward to that evening; a chance to share my evening on the couch with something other than myself and the remote control. I decided to go all out for Mr. Pistachio, so after the kids were bathed and in bed, I took a long hot bath, dressed in my most comfortable pajamas and I was ready for my night to begin. We cuddled up on the couch together and watched television and needless to say, Mr. Pistachio did not disappoint. A few bites of the sweet creamy dessert and I was in love. We spent the next hour in complete companionship.
I was not bored by the mundane repetitive commercials, because I had my new friend to pass the time with. That very night, food and I were bonded. I slept soundly after a satisfying evening surrounded by new confidante. From that night on and for the next several months, I found numerous variations of my new soul mate. Mr. Pistachio always had a place in my heart and freezer, but my cabinets and refrigerator also inhabited a wide range of comfort food. I was not confined to one particular food group. I had a love for all types of tasty treats…salty…sweet…spicy.
I spent each night with a companion of my choice and numbly coasted through my new single life. Though my new partner in life helped me get through each lonely day, I did eventually hit rock bottom. Like every addiction, there came a point where food was not enough to mask my sadness and loneliness. At first I didn’t realize that I had hit rock bottom, but one Thursday morning I realized that it had been four complete days since I had put the pair of pajamas that I was wearing on. I had spent the past four days in the same pajamas only barely doing what I needed to do to get by.
I would wake up and get the kids off to school and do what work I needed to do at home, but my days were spent eating and when I wasn’t eating my time was spent wondering and planning what I would eat next. My life was slipping away from me and I had not even realized it. I was on the phone with my mother and as I began to talk about how I was feeling, the tears started flowing and just would not stop. In the months that I had spent in my apartment, I had not even allowed myself to cry and grieve the loss of my marriage.
Instead, I stuffed my face and filled a void in my life with something that I only thought made me feel better. Thankfully, I am blessed with a wonderful mother who rushed over, made me shower, put on regular clothes other than pajamas, and put makeup on my face. Together we went to the doctor who prescribed an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety to help me pull out of my slump. My relationship with food had consequences. I gained forty pounds in a very short period of time. I put my health and life on hold. I used my love for food to mask my feelings of isolation and sadness.
I used food like a drug. It gave me something to look forward to. It made me feel good. It tasted good. It fit into my life and took the place that a real human being might have filled. Food and I spent a lot of time together. Food celebrated the happy times with me and sat on the couch with me during sad and lonely times. I have learned a lot in the past year and I am now on the road to a healthier lifestyle. While I still love food and all the delicious aspects of food, it does not control my life. Food no longer consumes me.
Food is now something that keeps me alive and while I still enjoy every tasty bite, I have found new outlets for my time. Now, I am enrolled in school. If I do not have an assignment to accomplish, then I read one of the many books I check out at the library. I know now that it is okay to be alone with myself. I am not my own worst enemy any longer. My life now has purpose and meaning without the relationship I once had with food. My life has purpose and meaning because I choose to give it the purpose and meaning I deserve and have earned.