I learned something yesterday, have pondered this very. simple. fact.
It is ok to be hungry.
I won't die, nobody is going to hurt me, I'm not being deprived. In fact, maybe feeling hungry is a good thing? True hunger... not just the knowing "oh I haven't eaten in 2 hours" feeling...
I am not sure where this became a fear for me. Maybe the twelve year old kid who didn't have a home, maybe all those nights when I wasn't sure where my mom was or where I was laying my head, let alone have a meal. See... back then, I often stayed at a friends home and I was so embarrassed to eat I would never eat around them. I would say I wasn't hungry and sit alone in the other room while the entire family ate together. In fact, it became such a big thing that if I ever made an attempt to eat a meal, then everybody would loudly exclaim and ponder that I was actually eating, so, I became even more embarrassed and ate even less.
Maybe it was all the frozen hoagie burgers that were microwaved because my single mom worked at a convenience store and did the best she could. I hated them. Hated the salty formless patty on a soft soggy bun. I hated picking the milk from the cooler that was so often outdated because nobody wanted it. Food was a big issue for me.
I guess I never realized that, but it seems obvious.
As an adult, so much of my life centers around food. I have always had a full cupboard. I could easily live in my house for a month and have a full supply of food. I have always focused on healthy whole foods, canning food (currently have over 200 jars of meats, vegetables, sauces, beans, jelly). I feel immense satisfaction when I pick up groceries and see full shelves.
I am a therapist... and until yesterday... I never even saw the link myself. Wow.
I was at work, my stomach was growling and I found myself beginning to panic. Full out anxiety hit like a wall that was threatening to suffocate me. I realized that I had no food at my desk and I panicked even more. I began to think of where I could go to find food and then it hit me... it is JUST hunger. That is all. No panic necessary. I sat there and allowed myself a moment to really process what it was like to just be hungry in a normal way.
I realized that I eat all the time to keep that feeling away. Hunger equals panic for me. Hunger equals fear. Hunger is being alone and not having family. Hunger is long lonely nights when you have no idea where your mother is. Hunger is being too embarrassed and full of shame to come to the table. Hunger equals so much emotional pain for me. I guess it is true...
I eat too much to keep that panic and fear away.
I am 37, a strong and solid independent woman, a mother of five amazing children, a mental health therapist, a survivor.
And its ok to be hungry.
Hunger means that my body is working. Hunger means I have burned my calories and need to nourish and feed my muscles, my bones, my brain, all the cells that make me who I am.
Hunger is not to be feared. I have no fear anymore.
I feel liberated.....