Happy Monday everyone. Anyone feel like lasagna? Do I ever not? I feel like lasagna is something I get infinite cravings for. I lust after it in a primal, non-sexual capacity then as soon as I’ve sated that urge I crave it again. It’s basically a cheese and meat and pasta cake. What’s not to love? I don’t eat lasagna non-stop, however. The confluence of so many delicious, (not necessarily healthy) things seems like a sometimes food. Like Cookie Monster and his lessons in moderation, I’m adapting. So I see it as a treat. Done something above and beyond? Well gooey, meaty, crisp topped decadence will be the perfect celebration. It’s been months since my last dalliance. Shit. now I’m craving pasta again.
After a weekend of excess (like most weekends, if I’m being honest) I don’t feel like I’ve done anything to necessitate this savoury trifle. I’ve been lax on my workouts since I dislocated my finger and I’m still eating as if I hadn’t. I’m not getting into full-blown emotional eating, but frankly it gets me down a little. My lack of motivation and follow through is disheartening. So when I accomplish some small victory I reward myself. I eat something. Then I feel guilt over my lack of discipline and when I finally achieve something else small that lifts me up, I reward myself with food.
I don’t like this cycle. I love celebrating things and the easiest way to achieve this celebration is with instant gratification. Food quickly fills this hole, but doesn’t fill it for long. It’s so easy to see that we’re enculturated as children to expect this. Birthdays mean cake, parties involve dessert. When we’ve done something good we get lollies or ice cream. It creates a very simple If This Then That response that’s hard to shift as age and maturity sets in. Growing older doesn’t remove long standing habits by proxy. It requires a conscious effort to break down a systemic notion.
It’s hard, because that kind of “food addiction” is so powerful. These things taste so good and when you’re on a high from a success, they keep you floating. It’s difficult though, because that stimulus boost has a short effect. Like any other addiction, it can be hard not to want to keep the party going. So you create some other reason to eat something else for temporary release. Justifications become paper thin as you realise any notion of self-worth you attach to your discipline is shredded for the day. Don’t look at me. I’m a monsteeeeeer you think as you slink through the greasy back alleys, choosing to take the sewers rather than risk a public sighting with that cheesy burrito in hand. This stuff is everywhere and it’s so easy to attain. How are you expected to fight back?
The thing about opting into capitalistic society is the acknowledgement that you’re giving away your labour in exchange to be able to have the things you want. Whatever you want. Quickly and easily. Because of how pervasive and attainable the things you want are, it lessens the impact of having earned something. At some point if you’re lucky enough to have a full time job that covers your upkeep, you can just buy anything you want. Upon earning a living wage, I had this weird internal crisis with the concept of presents for birthdays. What was the point of asking for something, I could just get it on my own if I really wanted it. But being imprinted with the ideal that birthdays = celebration, celebration = reward became challenging when anything I wanted was conceivably within my reach. If things were so easy to gain, gaining them lost its shiny lustre.
I’ve been trying to think of other ways to reward myself in lieu of food. What other nice thing could I do to celebrate that elicits a similar response in mental pleasure centres? Could I buy myself something? Treat myself to a new experience I’ve been craving? Just have a nice wank? None of it does enough. I can do any of this stuff with ease and that mitigates its appeal. We all want to gain the things beyond our reach, because that distance makes them seem rare or desirable. Once they’re within our grasp though, they don’t seem as special as they once did. The “simple” solution seems to be understanding that achieving something is its own reward, but who the fuck is that zen? Our system doesn’t teach that. If you’ve won, you have to let the world know, let yourself know. How are you gonna take a mental snapshot if you’ve got no visible evidence?
To wit: We could probably just bake up some mince for dinner, but that wouldn’t seem like a meal. Adding the pasta makes it feel more structured, complete. Slathering it in cheese makes us happy to eat it, but how long does that happiness last? Shouldn’t we just feel lucky that we managed to fill our belly and remained alive? But what point is there to life in just surviving? Why eat humble pie if there’s a warm apple pie within arm’s reach?