Friday, October 01, 2004

the emptiness i feel is not hunger

up early, and pondering. i have been struggling with my food lately. haven't wanted to own it. i just so want to feel 'full'. i have a lot of triggers to this, loneliness, abandonment, unresolved issues, not being heard... but i just can't put my finger on why this need to feel full is being triggered so regularly.

when i'm at my best i'm eating 3 meals a day, one serving and allow myself a healthy snack. i can live well on that plan, i have for years. lately though i have gotten sloppy. i'm sure it hasn't helped that i moved my office to the room behind the kitchen. so i am constantly in visual range of the pantry and fridge. every time i write i have 'comfort' close by.

i know that opening up about it and sifting through it by writing is what i need to do, but i have been avoiding this because it means that when i do unlock the reason i will have the ability to stop. and i don't want to.

i'm not breaking my abstinence, but i am distorting it and ruining my serenity. instead of seeking silence or contemplative time i want to drown that out with chewing. i can be anything. baby carrots, microwave popcorn, anything. chewing makes me feel safe somehow. i hate that.

feeling full makes me feel even safer.

i hate that even more.

on october 14th, a day after my 39th birthday i will have maintained my abstinence for five years. 4 years and 12 days ago i had my last piece of birthday cake and awoke to one day at a time, step by step facing my issues and working my program. lately i am maintaining, but i've gotten really sloppy.

i know with addictions that it's never about the fix - it always goes deeper. it's not about the food, the chewing or even feeling full. it's about being empty. that hollow feeling terrifies me. when i picture myself empty i see a woman with a bird cage for a stomach, it's dark and full of cobwebs, the little birdie swing is empty, hanging there lonely. i look down into the cage where my heart and vital organs should be and i am a shell. there is nothing there. i can see past the bars of the cage at the back, but it is darkness, eerie darkness. there is a path, there is a wood, the only light comes from a small quarter moon. i echo. i am empty. i am afraid.

so i grab anything and try to stuff it in that cavern within me. it just drops out the bottom, it disappears. nothing fills it up, not things, not clothes, not food, not people. please, i know about the god shaped void. this is different. i don't know if it's about permanence or substance or emerging. i sometimes feel like i'm turned inside out. like the emergence has left me with my nerves all jangly on the outside of my body instead of the inside. i used to have all the answers, god was in a box and although i didn't like the answers it was neat and tidy.

all i know is that i've been trying to stuff this empty space full of food. it is familiar, it is comforting. it is soft. i know that sounds weird, but biting into something soft has been so comforting to me. i allow myself bread in my abstinence. i know that if i removed it from my diet that i would be better off. i don't do white bread (unless it is an occasional croissant or garlic bread, or pizza crust... see how sloppy i've gotten??). but i'm sure that if you video taped my first bite of soft bread it would look like the face of the junkie you see shooting heroin into his arm when the kick finally hits. it's not the taste, it's not even the chewing at that point. it's really about the feeling of that soft food in my mouth.

i have had oral fixations my whole life. because of the oral rape my mouth becomes my best friend, and my worst enemy. clenching my jaw locked (how i just realized i was when writing those words) became my defense against the world. that first bite of soft bread somehow makes the world feel like a safer place to be. i know it makes no sense, i know my thinking is so f*cked up here - but it's true, that's how it makes me feel.

i have lived 5 years without chocolate. i have no intention of having it this side of heaven. i'm okay with that now. but bread? oh bread has become that replacement. i am weeping, getting too close to the reasons. it hurts. it's scary, and i want to walk away. i want to change the subject.

how stupid is it that i've convinced myself that bread is going to solve my problems. make me feel whole, less empty or alone? communion always had a real, fluffy white loaf of bread. our communion service growing up was called 'the breaking of the bread'. two silver goblets filled with mogan david wine and soft chewy bread. how did something like that become my savior instead of jesus?

i know i'm all over the map here, just stream of consciousness thoughts linking together to weave through my thoughts of bread, of comfort. take eat, this is my body, broken for you. do this in remembrance of me until i come. what am i remembering. what am i linking to this feeling?

safety. security. warmth. my mother never baked a loaf of bread my whole life. this isn't a warm from the oven kind of moment. it's plastic wrapped wonder bread (btw - i jumped for joy to hear they were being forced into bankruptcy - wonder bread is the pornography of bread in my mind - no nutritional value whatsoever, and we wonder why our children weigh 100 lbs before they get out of 4th grade. my father brings wonder bread into my home and i abhor it. my children only get white bread at friend's houses.) sorry, tangent rant...

one of the things about reading other's blogs is that when someone says something so meaningful and important you honestly think you will remember it when you go to write on the subject. i don't, it all blurs together, and for my life i can't remember who wrote on emptiness, but it started me down this path. i even left a comment on their blog about how i equate the emptiness i feel with hunger. how that is so dangerous for me. i can't seem to tell the difference. it's like my brain lost that piece of equipment that can separate spiritual/social/emotional emptiness from hunger. i want it back. i know that there are tiny edges of it when my serenity is in place and i am living a clean, neat abstinence. but even then it's not nearly as strong as it is in 'normal' people.

i have used my time. i need to get my kids up and moving, ready for friday school. if you think of me today, please pray for me. i don't even know how to pray, or ask you to, but if something i wrote resonates with what you think i need, please ask god to bring that to me today. i don't want to be so sloppy. i want back what i have traded for feeling full. thank you.

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