Just Swallow Already

I am sitting at my computer as I write this and sipping plum sake.  I should be eating something, and I know this, but the phrase I should be eating is something I’ve been saying a lot lately, and it is still surprising to me how difficult it is to get up and make myself food, or even to convince myself I want food, and furthermore, that chewing and swallowing isn’t some sort of exceptional burden.  The anticipation of making food and then having to eat it seems more akin these days to someone telling me I’m a traitor to my country and therefore tomorrow I’m going to be broken on the wheel, eventually to be dragged behind a horse until dead (I hope it’s an exceptionally fine horse, sleek coat, fine carriage, that sort of thing), than it can be equated to the expectation of pleasant taste bud tingles.  Food is a necessity, but a burden, and an unpleasant one at that.  Chewing and swallowing is surprisingly difficult.  In my job these days, I know that food is exceptional if I actually want to eat it, if I can force it down it is probably sellable, and if I can’t bring myself to do more than taste it out of a sense of duty, someone else might like it but it probably wasn’t worth the effort.

So I went, sighing, to my little bookshelf covered in stuff I can eat, and found that Mr. Wonderful had left a bottle of plum sake sitting there, and both because I have had the sort of week that left me questioning whether or not hell exists and if I was already there, and because I seem to be out of my standard supply of protein drinks and bars that I’m consuming in increasingly expensive quantities in an attempt to stabilize and regain my muscles and gain weight, I grabbed the sake instead.

This thread probably sounds a bit strange, because hey, most of you probably idolize food and wish you loved it a little less.  It’s probably unimaginable to most people that anyone could forget to eat, or have issues eating.  You may be thinking I wish I had that problem, but I’m here to tell you that really, you don’t.  You might wish that you exercised more or ate in moderation, or even that you could lose a little or lot of weight, but in this wish of yours you’re probably bouncy and full of energy, and you have all your hair, and you’re not sick much of the time.  Your mind has enough calories whirring through it to focus on writing a sentence, or a paragraph, or even a 3,000 words per day goal count on your latest novel, and your neurons are well myelinated, and that is a beautiful thing.  You might envy the skinny girl or guy walking down the street, but the fact is that this skinny girl envies you (and loves those blog posts all of you write about food, especially the ones with pictures and tantalizing descriptions—keep ‘em coming).  This skinny girl wishes she had enough padding left to keep from bruising her tailbone every time she sits down to write a chapter and the mental state to do so, and enough flesh to protect her other bones from poking through her skin and getting irritated when they come in contact with other things for more than a few minutes.

I shouldn’t have a book character that lives and breathes food, because I don’t even know what that means anymore.  I used to love food, and I’m not entirely sure how this happened.

There is a silver lining, though, in that I can finally button the pants I wore five years ago without them falling down around my ankles.  Thank you protein drinks and bars for making this moment possible, and thank you sake for not making this post about my week.  No one needs to hear that, again, most of all me.

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6 thoughts on “Just Swallow Already

      • For me, it’s clinical depression. The last thing I want to do is eat. I am glad you reached out for help and that you wrote this. Both took great courage.

  1. I think food issues/complications like you describe are quite common. But because there is a stigma, few people talk about it. Most societies/cultures have normalized damaging attitudes toward food and body image. I know very few people who are genuinely happy with the way they look.

    My college roommate was bulemarexic (bulemic and anorexic) and when she finally got through that, she was never able to have a healthy relationship with food, constantly having to remind herself to eat.

    I know lots of people who can’t gain weight no matter what they eat or how hard they try. My friend was on anti-depression meds which made her drop almost 50 pounds, she had no appetite, and people all thought she was purposely starving herself. She wanted to eat, but with no appetite she found it impossible.

    I have never had plum sake. It does sound delicious. 🙂

    • I still think it’s weird how cultures who have plenty of food, albeit not always the most nutritious food available for all, are the ones most obsessed with body image and evaluating how much or little everyone is eating and judging them on it. I would binge-eat in college because my dorm mates were always teasing me about being anorexic or bulimic, even though I was actually at my medically recommended weight at the time. It seems silly now. Did I think I was making them feel better? Did I think it would stave off the commentary? It doesn’t; I might as well be myself.

      After years of food making me sick, I started avoiding it. Eventually I stopped recognizing appetite signals, at least the psychological ones. I still feel hunger pangs but take too long interpreting what they are. It’s a very strange condition, indeed, and I can see why talking about it in front of people who want to lose weight might irritate and confuse them. “Is she putting me on?” Really, I’m not. I don’t see the point in hiding the issue any longer. We all have our issues. This one, freakishly, happens to be one of mine now, even though I’ve gone through periods in the past where I couldn’t stop eating and wanted to be more balanced.

      The sake is Gekkeikan Plum, I think. It is delicious, and fairly cheap, so if you see a bottle, you won’t be losing too much if you decide to give it a whirl.

      From what little I’ve read so far, I think your blog is awesome and I’m honored that you stopped by. Wishing you a lovely day and some writing progress!

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