Yesterday, I was upset.
I eat when I’m upset.
More specifically, I eat junk food at these times. The more alcohol, sugar and salt I consume, the greater my chances of quelling the roaring tide of emotions within. Of course, the so-called comfort from these foods and drink are false, and don’t last long to boot. All that lingers are sluggishness, bloating and intestinal discomfort.
But, I was really, truly discombobulated. Didn’t I deserve a treat?
Yes, yes I did.
After taking wise counsel from loved ones, I found myself standing in the cookie isle of a local drugstore, poised to fill my cart with every decadence I desired. Yet, I hesitated. The whole scenario felt wrong somehow. Meandering into the wine section, I stood listlessly, picking up a bottle only to replace it seconds later. My hand dropped to my side, and in a moment of stillness, a sweet calm swept over me, words devoid of my usual recrimination growing in my mind;
You can get drunk on crap food, self destruct and cloud your clarity, just like you have done a thousand times before, like you have done for the past thirty years of your life, or you can embrace that clarity and choose differently.
I compromised, but the power in that moment remains.
Green juice replaced the wine, kale chips swapped in for cheese doodles, chocolate and chia seed protein bites for candy bars, and one box of gum drops landed in the basket. Upon returning home, I had some chia and chocolate, then substituted half an hour of active games on the Wii Fit for a sedentary couch-flop, promising myself that pig out afterwards. I exercised, showered and ate some, but not all, of my stash, including about half the box of candy.
The sweets left an achy hollowness in my belly and an unpleasant chemical sharpness in my mouth.
This morning, I upended the remaining jellies into the compost pile, feeling freer, and a little bit proud.
Clarity can be downright uncomfortable, truth can hurt, yet this tiny act bore its own brand of reassurance, one more lasting and uplifting than any sugar-laden, hazy coma.
For today, it is enough.