A few weeks back I was talking with a friend about death. He told me about some main cultural expectations and traditions of his people. The basics include the grieving family not bathing, washing their clothes, no cleaning, no opening of curtains, doors or windows, and no cooking for 7 days. His people are expected to, and allowed to grieve hard out in those first 7 days. The biggest thing he shared, that really smacked me hard in more places than one, was this: Other people cook and bring food in for the grieving family.
So many things made sense for me after feeling the impact of “other people cook and bring food in for the grieving family”. I have struggled hard out with cooking here at home – since Dec 2018. I’ve bought food – I’ve chucked it out. I’ve replaced chucked out food – and then chucked that out too. I hit another low – a depression that was overwhelmingly bewildering because I’d actually sought so called “professional” help for my inability to get my relationship with food sorted.
Again, and after meeting with alleged professional and stating what it was that I needed the actual help with, I was presented with her version of events and her version of what I actually needed to get through to the other side. I felt devastated – that again, my self-knowledge wasn’t acceptable to an alleged professional – I felt enraged, that again the “pill” being offered was more about her lack of skills required to assist someone as intelligent as me, through what I needed help navigating. I felt so many things that are no longer foreign to me in terms of so called “professional people & their services”.
More exact – I was allowed to again feel less than. I was allowed to again feel the impact of being told that it was her way or the highway. I was being told that I couldn’t possible know what I need in order to heal because the alleged professional knew way more about this kind of gig than what I / the ‘average’ person could ever know!
And I came to realise that I wasn’t desperate enough – or even dumb enough this time to take on the impressions of another human being regardless of the letters after their name that only prove they handed in and passed exams at the end of the day – it proves nothing as to their ability to actually work with other human beings. I came to realise that again, I was going to have to navigate this scary as fuck waka out of an abysmal storm that at that stage, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to survive.
And yet – I kept paddling.
Directionless for sure – I just kept paddling.
I held the light of hope for myself.
And from Dec through to April I became a regular at the Drive-Thru of McDonalds, Burger King and KFC. They were the people that cooked for me. They were the people who held that space so that I could somehow keep finding the courage needed to show up in the mirror each day.
I felt so ashamed of myself for being unable to prepare and cook food here at home. I felt so ashamed full stop. I felt ashamed for being unable to get the right amount of words together in a structured form so that other people could hear me – or even so that they would hear me. I felt so misunderstood – again and again and again. I felt so trapped and isolated. I felt so bewildered that for all the “open mindedness” of the so called spiritual people – nobody heard me. Nobody caught me. Nobody cared enough to become involved – to sit with me and to ask me what I needed and to then be willing (or even able to) hold that space so I could get in there – into me – and do what was needed to be done.
If I didn’t fit the criteria of other services – I couldn’t be helped or supported or assisted. If I challenged / questioned (it’s the same thing people) the perceived “integrity” or “ability” of such skilled person or persons I was told something else unhelpful to me ….
And this went on over and over and over again for bloody months!
To my own credit – which isn’t the same as letting the people who failed me off the hook, I joined a gym, knowing that if I was going to continue eating via Drive-Thru’s I’d better step up the exercise. And I kept that news to myself because I didn’t want to then have to hear all the assumptions people would make about me doing so – nobody would have thought to have asked me “why’d you do that?”. And when I told people – they didn’t ask.
A few more weeks later, and I’m having that conversation with my friend about his people etc … And it all started clicking into alignment. I had a conversation with myself later that night – I told myself that the grieving had been going on long enough now – and that it was time to step up the self-care regarding food. I contracted myself to cook kai (food) at home twice a week – and to gradually build it up. I told myself that I wasn’t cutting myself off from the process of grief – I told myself that I was creating some space so I could eat at home again.
And I’ve been cooking at home. My fridge is still empty as – so there’s a way to go. However I cook dinner at home and eat it at home almost every night. I ensure I get a hot choc into me every morning. And I have some toast during the day.
It is overwhelming some days to be as afraid of food as I can be.
It is also overwhelming that I still fall through so many cracks in the proverbial concrete that is called counselling & psychology because they’re not skilled enough to work with me, and I know it.
Boxing has saved me. I’ll write about that soon.