The truth is that I love eating, and the hampering of that experience feels like some depletion of life’s vibrancy. I eat as much as I do because of how much I enjoy the taste of food, the texture of it in my mouth, on my tongue, the satisfaction of a hearty swallow. Food, when it is well made, tastes as good to me as sex feels. And food, despite the fact that I have a boyfriend, is much easier to get my hands on than sexual satisfaction.
Maybe it would help if my boyfriend were more sensuous. Maybe it would help if my body were more in keeping with an ideal that would encourage the running of hands over it, the adulation of it.
Regardless, in the moment of eating a good piece of food, I get that same deep gut, toe tingling feeling of deep connection, of earthly joy, and it’s as if tree leaves in the sun and morning blue sky are part of my body, as if the world and I are all just strokes of color on the same vibrant painting.
So is it any wonder that, in my drab, utilitarian office I find my pleasure in the world in the most efficient way I can? For those eight hours, I cannot gaze at art or the majesty of nature, or even part of a tree and a patch of sky. For those eight hours my lights are necessarily fluorescent (connected as they are to the lights in the classroom next to me), the air necessarily processed. It’s hard to listen to music because of all the interruptions—the students, the phone calls, the parents, my assistants. I have to work, so it can’t be all intellectual pleasure in mental challenges and personal conversation. And I’m definitely not having sex at work. So what is left is the food.
Of course, other people face the same challenges of ugly offices and boring days and get through it more stoically than I do. And of course, I still consume the same food in my own, more colorful and light apartment and in the many beautiful corners of the world.
Because I like the way food makes me feel. I like feeling good. And so I eat the food. I eat it and I eat it some more. And the consequence grows and hangs off my body like the uncomfortable baggage it is.
Which is how I know I am not speaking a full truth. It does not, actually, make me feel good. Not always and not for very long.
This is an insistence on only one facet of many, one that buries the more complicated feelings deep, down, and away. It is how I know I have problem.