Food Fetish

 In the “Aliens” and “The Exorcist”, otherwise normal people are inhabited by sinister outside personages against their wills (space aliens and the devil, respectively). I’ll never forget being freaked out by that little girl levitating, projectile vomiting green ooz, and spining her head around.

Yes, they are just picture shows. – However in some curious way they seem to connect (metaphorically) with the secret psyche of some of us when it comes to our favorite foods. Whether harboring space aliens or devils or the “inner child”, we sometimes feel out of control – even “possessed”.

I have marvelous goals in art, literature and other swell “head stuff” and work diligently at them daily. I am a college graduate. I am, ostensibly, civilized. However there is some part of me that is not totally fullfilled by higher education or creative endeavors (as much as I love them). In the presence of chocolate, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and other such delights I suddenly find myself “possessed” with a glut mechanism that overtakes the higher facets of my personality. 

Like Essau in the Bible, I wonder if I am selling myown birthright for a “mess of potage” when I give-in to these primitive urges. Is this animal nature the real me beneath the Rennaissance garb? I see hogs wallowing in mud and imagine myself wallowing in melted chocolate, gorging on it in a kind of rapture, even as it pulls me down and down into an abyss without my caring.

Is there something sinister in the universal race memory that would cause so many us, subconsciously, to cling to this food fetish, even if there were a way by which we could instantly and eternally throw it off? – I think there is. – Of course I would want to be without this obsession most of the time so that I could get trim, taught, and tantalizing. However I would want to retain the freedom to return to it at intervals. There is an ecstasy in over-eating certain things that should be reserved for higher spiritual or intellectual or artistic matters – yet is not.

Of course, for a time, there is something chastening, uplifting, freeing, hopeful in starting a diet and exercise program. Submitting to the rigor is tough, but makes us feel heroic. We lose only10 pounds, but visualize ourselves as we once were (50 or 100 pounds lighter) in that by-gone day when skirts were as “minny” as we were. We feel “Healed!” (even without Earnest Angley slapping us on the forehead). We may even begin to have disdain for those “lesser beings” who cannot make the grade in this area.

But the new wears off when we reach the point of diminishing returns. We revert to hog heaven as a kind of “going home” where we sense, deep down, we actually “belong”. It was always an effortless happines . We curl up into a  culinary-induced fetal position with a bag of potato chips and warm our souls like baby pups against the mother’s teet. 

How do we genuinely embrace a new self-image that finds wallowing in chocolate and gorging on it so disgusting and so threatening to the marvellous person we really are that we could no more imagine doing it than than we could imagine wallowing in do-do and gorging on it? I think it requires some profound inner transformation, not just another diet that attempts to re-train our eating habits. Good habits are better than bad habits, but are relatively superficial here.

It should somehow come to feel natural doing the right thing. It should become the “new normal”. If this does not happen, I think we are on thin ice (even at our ideal weight) because we retain a sense of wearing a straight jacket we long to rip off and we resent it.

Is there an easy answer just around the corner or is it supposed to be a character-building course? Do we value character as much as our favorite foods or do we secretly wish we could run wild in the land, snorting and bellowing and gorging and a lot of other naughty things? –  Instead of going on a diet or exercise plan immediately, should we gird-up our loins and take a frightening look at how we actually see ourselves and attempt to change that first? – Just asking.

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