I have a problem.
It’s not a major “I’m a alcoholic” type of problem. It’s not regarding my sexual identity or guilt over a severe crime. It’s not the type of problem that would be found being reported on during the 10o’clock news. It’s a simple, privately troubling problem. It’s my issue. It’s not something some one else can resolve. It’s my personal issue that I deal with daily. Yes, I mean daily. It’s an issue that I fight everyday, several times a day. I have food issues.
I’m not allergic to anything, have a thyroid issue, diabetes, or some unstable acid reflux issue. Even though those are severe in their own way, honestly, I have found myself wishing I was dealing with one of those issues as oppose to my own food-diet issues.
I over eat.
Sounds simple huh? It’s not that simple.
Here’s an example;
I ate with my daughter and her little brother around 5 pm a pretty decent amount of steamed veggies with oven baked parmesan chicken breast. I happily admit, it was delicious. A few hours later while watching Ghostbusters (our personal favorite) we had some pita chips as a snack. Now they’re sleep(around ten pm) and I feel hungry. And the thought in my head isn’t too drink some water, eat an apple or have a handful of nuts. It’s more of a want. Actually, it’s more of a NEED to walk into the kitchen, pull out the remaining 4 piece of chicken and eating them immediately out of the container. Inhaling them and walking away 30 seconds later feeling satisfied. But then immediately after that feeling guilty.
It’s not a “I’m sorry” type of guilt either.
It’s more of a “your less of a man because you have no self control” type of despair. Honestly, I should be used to it by now. I’ve felt this type of self punishment since I was a chubby little elementary school kid.
I remember I started to hate eating in public as a kid because of a few harsh public shaming by a few fucked up kids. Kids can be cruel, I know. But they’re taunts were enough to push me towards developing some inadequate tools. Eating alone became safer. Or if I was forced to eat with a public, deconstructing my food became a good way to push off the end, to take my time. Because the longer it takes the fat kid to eat his lunch, the less of a pig he seems. This was my mentality as a kid.
I’m hungry. Maybe a bowl of cereal?
It’s hard sometimes to tell the difference of when I’m hungry and starving. My parents pushed the “your not hungry” mentality into me so harshly that feeling hunger pains doesn’t click to me as needing to eat. It’s my own rebellious way of manning up and taking charge of my over eating issues. But of course it leads to me stuffing my face till I feel uncomfortably full.
I can’t count calories. All these programs talk about self control and dedication. So I start with great intentions but after a few failed restarts, I feel so crappy about myself that I abandon the whole program. So now I feel like a weak quitter. All these people, who were more severe in their health issues, were able to accomplish their goals and I couldn’t. I must be lesser than. That’s how I feel after missing a meal plan. Missing a work out session. After not following through.
I joined a gym a few months back and it made a difference but I’ve fallen off the past few weeks. Like so many, others I stress eat. Money has been an issue the last few months so there’s my reasoning for relapsing. But this time it’s different. I’m tired of trying again and again the same methods. I don’t want to cover up the issue. I want to repair it once and for all.
So I’m writing this in hopes that it opens a few self hidden doors. Maybe this will allow me to learn something new regarding how to fix it. Or at least deal with it better. I’ve already learnt some hopeful options. Preparing my meals ahead of time, eating on a regular basis and getting more sleep. These are all great ideas in hopefully getting me back on track. But the hardest one I’ve yet to learn? Be nice to yourself.
Everybody messes up. Everybody loses a little hope. It’s about not destroying yourself when you need your positive outlook the most. It’s about being nice to yourself when you really, really need it. It’s about accepting that you will fail at times and that ok. One failed attempt shouldn’t stop you from trying again regardless if it’s your first or thousand attempt. This has been the hardest idea to grasp.
So I had a cup of cereal. I’m full.
Will I get up in the middle of the night like I did last night? Maybe. Actually, probably. But at least I’ll be a little nicer about it. That’s a start right?
The other night Adrianna (my nine year old daughter) stayed up till the late hour or 10 o’clock, way past her bed time. All so she could write up her business idea. She wanted to start a dog sitting business. Nothing too major. But the part that impressed me was how detailed her idea grew on paper.
She wrote it out very simply. Around 300 words. First paragraph summarizing her idea. Second was giving details about herself, her intentions and dog sitting experiences. Third, and the the one that struck me the most, she wrote pricing information, if any additional care was needed like if the dog needed to be walked, “Please bring a leash”. It was written exactly how I would of written up the idea. Of course grammar and spelling was still left open but she wrote a detailed, simple to understand business plan. I was floored.
My daughter has never shown a strong desire to write, unless it’s regarding her diary. But to break down what would take a regular adult a few days of contemplating, took her all of two hours (and she was half asleep to boot!). She even awoke the next day and added hearts and butterfly to her design. I was slammed, proud and feeling pretty foolish.
I’m soon set to read my writings at a local get together. I’ll be up on stage, in front of a few dozen people (Gasp! Possibly more!) doing a live reading. It’s at the Rail yard, a local Sunday farmers market, food truck gathering and poetry thing here in Albuquerque. I’m nervous and scared about it.
That night, for almost 3 hours, even before my daughter started putting her idea down on to the screen, I’ve been trying to write up a small profile about myself. I need it for the event’s website and it’s been pestering me for the past few days. Nothing was coming out right. I either seemed to be trying to hard, not enough or not making sense. I was about to give up when my daughter asked me to read her paper. I felt foolish afterwards.
Not taking away from my daughter’s natural talent (she’s so much more than I am) but I’ve been the writer in the family. I’ve spent hours searching for the right thought, searching for the perfect word, creating the “just right” scene. But creating a small profile about myself was such an issue fire me because of who else was involved in the event. The other readers are actual, full-time poets, published writers, creators of work shops for writers, full of degrees and knowledge that I couldn’t even pretend to know anything about. And here I was, being schooled by my own daughter. I had killed my own enthusiasm. It took my daughter written reality and a small pep talk from a friend (thanks Jeff!) to get me back on track.
We make things way too complicated in our daily, busy lives. We tend to make things bigger, stacked with huge obstacles, all fighting against us. But we built those stacks. We added the foundation to those restrictions. It’s all of our own doing. We can easily demolish it, move past them and finish what we started. The world’s not working against us, we tend to work against ourselves.
Here’s the finished product.
Israel Morales is a Chicano father, business owner and obsessive writer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he now proudly makes New Mexico his home. Writing short stories and poetry, filled with childhood experiences and teenage angst, he takes the reader back in time to experience his laughter, embarrassment and joys. His professional writing credits are as Albuquerque Local Music Critic and Albuquerque Relationship Angst for the website Examiner.com. Also managing his popular blog andishambledafterthem.wordpress.com (previously on blogger.com). With over five thousand page views since 2012, many have enjoyed his sense of humor and blunt reality.
Click here for more info. It starts every Sunday at 10AM.
This is from something I’ve been working on for a while. Just one story from a series of stories titled “She smiled with a gaped smile that sparkled.”
We would go on weekend adventures.
One Saturday we decided to take photo dares. So around 10 am we stopped by Walgreens and picked up a horrible tasting bottle of Jose Cuervo. As we boarded the bus we tossed the bottle into the trash, empty and dry.
The first dare. Take photos of tourist’s reactions to your actions.
She decided she wanted to straddle a statute at the Caesar Palace gardens. She acted as if she was having wild outdoor sex with a cement statue, moaning loudly. The first shot was of an Asian woman appearing as if she was going to vomit after waking into the scene
The second dare. Take a photo playing the piano at the high end bar.
I walked in asking for a glass of water from the bartender who then advised me there was a water fountain not far behind me. I advised him I was the piano player (as my legs shook slightly) and to “shut up and give me a damn glass”. I played “chopsticks” for over 10 minutes before someone gave me a $10 tip.
We spent the afternoon like this. Going from casino to casino, cursing up a storm and laughing at the stupidity that was Las Vegas. On the bus ride home we spoke in a made up languages as if we were having an argument. She sounded remarkably Russian and I was more unbelievable sounding like gibberish.
We always had fun like that. She was the first to inspire my adventures. And for the short time together we had many.