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I have been careful not to use (or at least become aware when I am using) the typical devices to medicate my emotions. MY PAID FOR FRIEND, may she live forever, points out that we humans use our vices to medicate ourselves instead of doing the hard work of sitting with our uncomfortable feelings. We medicate with overspending (check), sex (prefer not to comment), alcohol (thankfully I’m a puker), drugs (pass), gambling (rather buy books, thanks), reading (shut up), tv / internet addiction (whatever), eating crap food (oh, oh, oh, pay dirt!)…
If you could draw a graph comparing my need to use food to medicate with the amount of food I have stashed in my house to meet those needs, you would see a positive sign today: My house is free from junky snacks, and if this was for any reason other than the raw truth that I have simply eaten them all, then this would be full of valor. Note-worthy, in fact. But essentially I just ate everything, and I’m left with the real food.
You know: the kind that requires rinsing and dicing.
I mean HUGE hypocrisy here as, between paragraphs, I am licking the inside of the wispies of the bag of chocolate chips that just seconds before the birth of this post were the last soldiers left in this fight, but I have cut off the supply lines. The armory lies fallow.
Nevertheless, let’s go with this for a moment: life is an object lesson.
What do these purified cabinets represent to me? I had joined a diet program after the birth of my firstborn biological child when I realized I was an emotional eater. I was homeschooling one of my step-daughters and we were having an irrational fight over some spelling list. I stood up, stormed into the kitchen, threw my pencil against the wall, tore open the drawer containing Trader Joe’s crimson-dyed, chocolate elixir of the gods which finds itself wrapped around dried cherries and shoved half the container into my pie-hole before I knew what happened. Sixty-two points later, insight struck: I eat when I am angry (or sad, lonely, full of anxiety, fearful, facing much unknown…) That was eight years ago. Public school is under-rated.
(Note to self: do red food-dye detox.)
Adulteries, addictions, pathological self-destruction, over-developed senses of dogma, submission to man-made systems of control–even socially acceptable addictions like losing ourselves in our zealous drive to ‘serve’ others…: these distractions are ‘tools’ we use to ameliorate pain, to submit to the resistance that would keep us from being true to our dreams, to accept someone else’s idea of what our true purpose is than to do the hard work of discovery–to keep us from doing the creative work we NEED to do to claim our calling here on this ball of minerals. It takes decisive courage and sustained intentional choices to combat entropy. This is not the playground of sissies. And I recognize that I have the luxury of being as self-absorbed as this post requires only because my basic needs are met and I live in a politically stable land for which I hold resolute gratitude.
That said, our addictions deceive us and disqualify us from the satisfaction of living fully engaged lives–above the madding crowd. We fear the tribe will reject us if we step out on a scarcely traversed paths to make our mark, and so we use excuses to limit ourselves from personal alignment. To fit in, among other things.
As I take the last whif of this cleanly-licked chocolate chip bag, I decide that even if I have to pass alone through the valley of misunderstood, pain, feeling, self-taming, and personal responsibility to get to the mountain of living a life of fluid design, I am ready to start walking! Might as well: the bag is empty!