Sunday, 17 August 2014

Of Course You Want Food

Everyone handles stress in their own way. We can try to understand someone else and how they cope. But we can't fully empathize because of our separate experiences. Our childhoods. Our focus. Our mistakes. Our hopes. It all uniquely conglomerates and creates an individual path to dealing with pain, stress, regret, exhaustion, or whatever else is weighing us down.

My main coping mechanism is avoidance. Just what I'm doing now. I feel overwhelmed with what I have to do so I won't do it. Unfortunately, I also married someone who, round about in his own way, over-busies himself so he has no time for certain things. Put us together and it means some things just aren't getting done. 

But another coping method we do not jive in at all is the idea of food for comfort. The worse my sleep, the heartier the breakfast I crave. The more things on my mind, the more chocolate calls my name. A rough day is made better with a nice homecooked meal. Or butter chicken. And after dark my stress turns into a gluttonous attempt to fill myself with joy through my pie hole.  

I figure the way to the heart is through the taste buds. But my husband doesn't want to eat under stress. What?! How could that be? I am unable to comprehend. 

He can't eat when he's busy. He can't eat rushing out the door. He can't eat when he's stressed. He can't eat when there are calls to make or arguments to settle. He can't eat when discussing anything. The last thing on his mind in a bad mood is taking time to stuff his face.

I'm sure if you go into any home there will be some sort of argument that seems absurd. There will be some situation that has grown over time in a way that those not involved could never truly comprehend. And in our house, it's food. 

I beg him to eat when he doesn't want to have anything. I tell him how important a consistent diet is for his health. All because it makes sense to me. My solution will make him feel better. He'd realize it if he would cooperate. 

Or not. 

Maybe, just maybe, it's not going to change. Just like the friend who doesn't like to talk about her problems probably never will open right up. Just like the coworker who can't face his actions probably never will be honest with himself. Just like the family member who will never feel close no matter how much anyone tries. Just like the introvert won't become a social butterfly. Or the overly expressive person won't be able to hold it in. 

We're not all created to make it through with the same crutches. The same outs. The same revelations. 

What I need isn't what the next person needs. When I need dark chocolate ice cream with chunks of fudge, the next person might just need a hug. I don't get it. My coping came out of a childhood restriction from chocolate and a severe shyness. But for them, imagine if in response to their need no one would ever give them a hug? If they were offered chips and cheezies and milkshakes and cake, when they just longed for affection. 

When I need a nice juicy burger with cheese and bacon, the next person just might need a nap. I'm not on board. I recall my mom taking me out for burgers after a night out or the stress of a breakup. But for them, imagine if in response to their need no one ever let them rest? If they were dragged out for fries or hot wings or pie and ice cream, when they just needed to be alone. 

Often, it just isn't better until we take that moment to go back to our comforts. Whether or not they match the needs or wants of those around us. Yes, we all need to learn to deal with things properly. Especially when a five dollar ice cap isn't going to help financial burden. Or a long book isn't going to erase the extensive to-do list.

But when we have to face things together we have to remember that we might not always want to go in the same direction. This requires a bit of observing and listening and being patient and letting go. 

Now, I'm exhausted. My daughter fell asleep, but I didn't. So I'm going to go to the fridge and find some energy. 

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