It’s said a lot – “I was bad today, I ate…” or “I was good today, I stuck to my diet.”
I’ve heard many stories of women, once pregnant, eat with wrecklass abandon. While I know physical cravings to be true, I think there’s another craving not discussed – the craving for emotional and food freedom and freedom from our own guilt and diet judges.
You know, those asshole voices in your head that are always coming down on you for doing the “wrong” thing yet again.
I think what happens, whether it is saying “to hell with my diet – I’m done” or the pregnancy freedom of being able to eat – because we need to eat during that time — it’s the same desire to just free ourselves from feelings of guilt, shame, failure, and having to keep up with yet one more tedious task of day to day life.
But what if good food is good because it tastes good, because it’s with social fun times and all kinds of different scenarios and what if, even despite it being unhealthy, we are still good?? I mean what happens when food is no longer bad? It loses it’s edge, doesn’t it? Oh sure you may go a little willy nilly at first but at some point you’re going to lose interest when you keep telling yourself that it is good and OK.
I think sometimes we are seeking out the bad behavior outlet in the forms of little rebellion or self-medicating from the grind of daily life and all that entails and that means something has to be bad for the rebellion to really feel good – to feel like a relief. And we’re bombarded by all kinds of messages saying to us “bad is good” such as dirty scandalous sex, or eating rich empty calories, or drinking back a nice cold brew, or inhaling that drag off a cigarette or joint, or entering the store ready to put a hurt on plastic — no matter what it is, we look for it to be just a little rebellious but I think at the very core of this behavior it comes from the desires we want to engage.
Our daily expecatations (get a job, be married, go to church, pay bills, be smart, have a house, have kids, don’t act or look too different, be responsible, hobbies are hobbies not income makers, don’t be gay, bla bla bla, the never ending list!) are tiresome and ingrained at such a young age and throughout our lives. Hell, it’s been beaten into me so much I can’t help but wonder when I meet a single person over the age of 30 who has never been married and/or has no kids what is wrong or why they aren’t with someone. Part of this is because of my own desire to have a family and not relating to it part of it is the social expectations rearing it’s ugly head to me.
These pressures and obligations we begin to carry without even realizing it – tend to be a lot and can weigh us down at times too. So we need something – anything to rebel and say “I get to do this my way and do what I want” whether we are saying that to ourselves or everyone else or just subconsciously.
I think these outlets also provide an escape an unplug from the day to day stuff. But in many contexts, all of these, with the exception of smoking cigarettes, can be very good ways to enjoy different things about life.
For instance, are sugary baked goods bad for us? Yes. When we eat them every day for breakfast or after dinner before going to bed. When you have six cartons of ice cream in your freezer because you’re not getting laid, yes, that’s perhaps problematic (both examples loosely apply to yours truly).
But if you are going out to a birthday party or baby shower and you want to sample some of the fine foods there, is that bad? Are you laughing, enjoying others’ company, celebrating something happy? Then I don’t think that’s a bad thing to enjoy some empty calories.
Sure, I long for the day where cakes are not choc full of artificial dies, overloaded to the enth degree with sugar and icing, and the social norm for “treat” food items is on the whole much healthier than it is now BUT I do think there’s a freedom in just not dwelling on it so damn much.
It’s like when kids are young and we fret over not drinking, not swearing, don’t do this or that, no no no no. Or for my kid – don’t open that cupborad door again. We feed our own inner rebel kid or adult who is constantly being told “no – that’s bad, no you’re bad” and when does the message ever stop? Truth is, it doesn’t. It takes hold and it kicks and pinches our own feelings of self-worth.
Somehow we have associated the feelings of relief from the day to day grind being coupled with having to misbehave and often at our own expense of over doing it or being self destructive be it a little or a lot.
And why? Is it because we are already undermining our own true wants and needs by say not engaging in the type of work that’ll really make us happy for the name sake of responsibility? Is it because we are settling in relationships or holding on to grudges with others? Are we always in the habit of trying to be someone else or live up to someone else’s expectations?
Does the self we are trying to be somehow then become worth destroying instead of protecting and loving?