I’m lying in bed with an essential oil diffuser spewing eucalyptus mist at me, unable to move due to a self-diagnosed case of bronchitis. I can’t do anything – the only thing productive around here is my cough. But it’s led me to “contemplate life” – something I usually try to avoid due to its complete lack of a point. Not life, the contemplation thereof. I’ve been thinking about my book and food, and why I wrote a book about our relationship with food, and why I would think anyone else would want to read a book like this. This food thinking led me to identify patterns in my own life around how I view and treat not just food but my impulse to feed those who I love, or even feed those for whom I feel even a modicum of affection.
My oldest kid came home from university on Monday and then on Wednesday I spent over $400 at Costco. This (man)child – skinny and tall – walked into my house, opened his mouth, and like a black hole swallowed the contents of the fridge and pantry in one go. It’s a sight to behold, actually. Luckily, he’s learned to cook for himself while he’s been away, so I mostly don’t have to do the feeding of this monster, but keeping up with the supplying part is proving taxing.
Since this spring has been “jangly” – a psychological term I coined that means “What the eff is going on? Why do I feel like I’m walking sideways?” – it’s been a welcome distraction. Of course, distractions are not something I’m lacking, but as I mentioned earlier, things are ending and I’m struggling to find a new groove. And, of course, when the need to create a new routine and find paying work becomes a priority, I look around for anything else that needs to be done. And, so, I feed people. Now there’s a pattern.
I can’t possibly submit my work for the inevitable rejection because I must grocery shop. Gosh, I’m tired of feeding the family the same old food, I must research new recipes. Oh…it’s 3 o’clock? I should really start prepping dinner. Are you kidding me? Without food as the supreme distraction, I would be an enormously successful writer, right? Right?? So, what happens if that distraction is gone? And then (as my evil twin who lives inside of my brain would predict with a “duh” thrown in) I’m not enormously successful? Then I guess I’ve wasted my life. I could have a lovely pension plan right now, I could be contemplating retirement with all my other plus 50 friends, but instead I hold on to this hope that I can share things with people, I can entertain them and inform them, that I don’t have to go to a job where they expect me to wear uncomfortable shoes and interact with humans. And I can do all of that AND get paid a living wage for it. (Cue laugh track)
Alas, my hope meter is on the “not bloody likely” end of the spectrum. It could be the virus in my lungs talking, it could be the fact that I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in over two weeks, it could be that I haven’t written a coherent sentence in – I don’t know – forever, it could be that the only person to get back to me about freelance work offered me (offered! Ha) $20 to write blog posts – less than 10 cents a word. Suddenly a cubicle and toe-pinching shoes are starting to look good. OK…don’t hold an intervention, I really don’t mean it. I’m just wallowing. I need to stop feeding people, get the eff to work, and stop being a big baby. Failure is not only NOT an option, but fear of it is a significant motivator. There. Pity party is over.