Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Growing up in a house where sweets and other junk food wasn't allowed was bad because I didn't learn balance. Anything overly sweet or overly salty naturally called my name. I remember finding some small uneaten pieces of candy in a container while walking with my sister and we ate it - paying careful attention to get rid of any evidence before we got home.
So part of my love of all things salty and sweet have to do with deprivation. We ate it sometimes, but had to sneak it. I remember making sugar sandwiches on health food saltines. I'd spread a cracker with a thin layer of butter and sprinkle it with Turbinado sugar and pop another cracker spread with butter on top.
Sweets were my go to drug of choice, but that changed over the year. Since I didn't have an outlet for any sadness or pain, I ate the sweets to feel better. I remember watching an episode of Sesame Street or some show. The actress, an African American woman told the story about how she had disobeyed her grandmother by climbing in a tree. Her grandmother gave her a whipping when she caught her and then brought her a piece of homemade chocolate cake which let her know how much she was loved.
How I dreamed that my mom would give me something sweet (the few times we had it in the house) after a whipping but no such luck. So when life whipped me, I would retreat into a sugar fueled ecstasy and once hopped up on ice cream or candy and sometimes both, I could face the world.
It wasn't until I was working in my first job out of college that I added salt to the mix. I was an angry woman. I knocked back kettle chips like they were going out of style. I loved them so much! And they came from the health food store and were on sale which meant that I needed to eat them every chance I got.
But it wasn't until five years that I realized that while I suppressed my sadness with sugar, that I repressed my anger with chips. Interestingly enough, I made this connection in the most random way.
My husband and I were at a hot spring and went on a walk. My husband pointed out this shale along the edges of the path. He broke some of it with his foot. Well, I tried it and spent the rest of the afternoon breaking up the shale. I felt bad for him because he had to stop several times to wait for me in my stomping frenzy.
Afterwards I apologized. I couldn't believe that I was doing that. I said, I think I'm angry. That must be it. I then remembered that I used to like to walk on dry leaves the same way. Oh how disappointed I felt when I would step on a nice, brown, dry and crunchy looking leaf, when there was no crunch. There were also big fat seeds that would fall from trees and I would step on them and spread the seeds on the ground. Again, not just one or two seed but as many as I could find. Crunch has always been my way of expressing anger.
I'm a substitute teacher and I would leave a school and go to a drug store and buy two candy bars (always on sale) and a 99 cent bag of chips. Of course I stopped once I started tracking my "habit" and realized how many calories I was adding to my meals.
Since I have stopped, I have become a lot more honest about how I feel. Sometimes in front of the students. Something that is hard for a nice southern gal like myself. However, I wouldn't say it's a bad thing, but I fell that they need to know that their actions have a consequence.
When I remember, I try to honor the feelings by writing about them. It's hard to drown sorrows that are acknowledged and released. The more I notice what I feel and bring it up, the less I need to eat my feelings away.