I have done a periodic series on Tuesdays about my love/hate/love of my hate/hate of my love relationship with food. As I listened to Alison Armstrong teach last week about emasculation, I was completely focused on my relationships with the men in my life, but we women also emasculate ourselves. At the end of Alison’s third talk, she left us with the question of what this talk brings up for us. Now that I have had five days to live in this new reality with Greg in particular, I had an intuitive sense to look into how this information relates to me and food.
I’ve done a lot of thinking over the years about why I eat what I eat when I eat it; about my childhood and eating patterns and how they are related; and about my relationship to the conflicting information we receive these days about every single food and drink out there. Even water — what quantity should we drink? Tap or filtered? Reverse osmosis or distilled? With ice or without?
Since I discovered that pretty much everything I thought about men was based on a skewed point of view, I wondered if that might be the case for food. If I start with the point of view that I should want to, need to, be willing to, and always act on eat(ing) like the perfect, ideal woman, then the values and standards I add to THAT point of view will yield conclusions founded on the skewed point of view. When I add in my goals and dreams and attitude and actions to those conclusions, I end up with results and either a sense of satisfaction or lack thereof (more likely this option).
And without understanding that my point of view is the piece that is off, I will attempt different actions, changing attitudes, releasing legitimate dreams and goals, question my values and standards, and still not end up with the results that I want or the sense of satisfaction that I desire.
I discovered in this process that one of my conclusions is I’m not perfect enough to deserve to be loved and cared for by eating in a way that actually produces the results and sense of satisfaction I long for. I’ve discovered that my point of view leads to me thinking that I am in fact dysfunctional when it comes to food, defective, and constantly misbehaving. I figured out how I poke holes in the tires of my “vehicle” and I withhold fuel from myself. A few ways: compare myself to others and to previous versions of me (especially 2002 me that lost pounds while lifting weights and ended up a very desirable (in my eyes) size 4); I complain about being too much of something and not enough of something else; I complain about the food industry, its executives, its practices; I complain about all the junk I have to walk by in the grocery store; I criticize myself for thinking and feeling most of what I think and feel about food.
I withhold many other forms of support and I end up distrusting and disrespecting myself. I end up causing the long-term opposite of what I want.
Food is only rocket science if I am trying to eat like the perfect woman. God, she is a pain in the butt. She makes all of her own stuff, shops at the farmers market, grows her own extremely luscious and healthful food, cooks a hot meal every morning and night for her family, certainly gets her little Kepler to eat better than he does, never ever eats or even wants a caramel frappuccino, eats no pasta, bread or rice ever, always chooses the very best option in a restaurant, asks for the substitutions that will make her food even more healthful. She’s not really somebody who’s fun to be with. She’s uptight, tense, and unforgiving.
I’m going to make this vow here and now. I give up the right to emasculate myself. I give up the right to criticize, complain and withhold support from myself. I give up the right to allow the perfect woman to be any part of the conversation about food.
And I can’t wait to see what happens.