A Tale of Two Evenings
It’s six thirty pm. You get home from work and it’s been a long day. The life that you are living is not what you thought it would be. Day in and day out you work hard, deal with relationships, and put everyone first but you. –You always seem to come last.
You go to the fridge and open it. It’s been a rough day. It’s been a rough life. You bypass the bag of lettuce and all your good intentions and reach for a piece of cheesecake instead. “Fuck it.” you say, “Screw the lettuce and all the good intentions.” You want to go numb. You want to forget everything that happened today. You want the last week, month, and year to go away as you disappear into the sweetness of cheesecake. Your mouth is alive as your taste buds explode with the combination of vanilla, sugar, and cream cheese. Everything you’ve been struggling with disappears as you eat the last few strawberries.
You put your fork down and look around. Emptiness sets in. Not the emptiness of your belly, but the emptiness of your life.
You pick up your plate and put it in the sink. How did you get here? You have this vague sense that you’re a fraud. That who you have become is not who you really are. You place your hand over your belly and feel it jiggle as guilt sets in. You return to the fridge and spy a half filled bottle of wine. You open it and pour a glass.
You open the fridge again and glance at the bag of lettuce. Nothing. You search for something that might fill the void that has crept into your life. Who you are is nothing like who you thought you’d be. Where is the courage? Where is the strength? Where is the tenacity and rebellious youth of years gone by? How did it happen? How did you lose yourself along the way?
There is nothing left in the fridge but good intentions. You close the door and move to the pantry where a bad of Cheetos has your name all over it. With your glass of wine and the bag of Cheetos you curl up on the couch and switch on the TV. The one sure thing that will take you outside of yourself and throw you into oblivion –until you wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Day in and day out you go on like this. Like the movie The Twilight Zone or Ground Hogs Day, you feel trapped, stuck, and numb. You put on a happy face but feel empty inside, an emptiness that never seems to get filled.
Then one day you come home. It’s six thirty pm and it’s been a long day. The life that you are living is not what you thought it would be. Day in and day out you work hard, deal with relationships, and put everyone first but you. –You always seem to come last.
You go to the fridge and open it. It’s been a rough day. It’s been a rough life. You reach for the bag of lettuce and say, “Fuck it. Screw this way of living that has made me sick and fat.” You want to go numb. You want to forget everything that happened today. You want the last week, month, and year to go away, but you know that it won’t.
You make your salad and top it with your favorite vegetables and sit down to eat it. You take a deep breath and feel all of the emotions that you have held in, avoided, and numbed with cheesecake. A volcano of emotions erupts as you cry into your beautiful salad. As you let your emotions flow free you notice that when you feel the emotions fully, they dissipate until eventually there you are, emotions spent, sitting in front of your beautiful salad.
You pick up your fork and begin to eat. You taste the crisp, cool freshness of life. The lettuce is moist and hydrating, the vegetables you chose refresh you, and you sense a renewal of your spirit as the vegetables nourish your body. You put your fork down and look around. You feel tired and spent, yet light. Something creeps into your being… hope. Perhaps numbing life, avoiding pain, and filling the void with food was not the answer after all.
You pick up your plate and put it in the sink. The vague sense that you’re a fraud sets in. A familiar voice repeats thoughts of the past; “Who are you to think you can do this?” “Who are you to think you can be healthy and vibrant?” “You are not good enough to have the life you want.” Fear enters you and the voice says, “What will people think if you start to shine?” “What will people think if you stop pretending and be who you really are?”
You place your hand over your belly and feel it jiggle as the voice tells you to “Screw it. It’s too hard, you don’t want to be thin anyway.” You return to the fridge and search for something to avoid the insecurity and soothe the fear. Again, you feel the emotions fully and let them pass through you until all that is left is silence. You reach for one of your good intentions; a delicious ripe pear.
You remember your youth. The fearless child who climbed, played, and stomped in puddles. You remember your courage; you remember your strength, your tenacity, and rebellious youth of years gone by. It no longer matters how you lost it, it is here with you now.
You curl up on the couch with an inspiring book. The one sure thing that will return you back to yourself and remind you who you are as you slip into peaceful oblivion. –Until you wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Day in and day out you go on like this until doubt becomes certainty, until insecurity becomes stable, until the happy face you put on becomes authentic, and the emptiness you felt before is filled with the light of who you always were.