Through the Fire

Cooking our way into a new relationship with food!

Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar ?

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Any of you remember that “game”? I hated it, as you can imagine after you read a few more paragraphs.

I haven’t written a deeply personal heart filled post in a while. While writing about things that are important and interesting ( to me, anyway,) I haven’t delved into some things which have been lurking about in my life lately. So here goes a sort of confession. Let’s dive into the pool, and get a little messy.

Cookies. You’ve read my posts about them before, such as this one. Whatever kind of language you want to use, they are my nemesis, they are my gateway drug of choice, they are trouble makers for me! Delicious little bites of sweetness, preferable chocolate of some sort. One minute delicious and satisfying, the next minute, perhaps a train wreck of not even tasting them really, scarfing them down as if I were still a child hiding in my room with my stash of stolen cookies. If I stick with the pleasure and enjoyment, it still is brief.

I did that. Steal cookies. I had it pointed out to me a few years ago by a friend who thought it was very telling and very poignant that I thought having some cookies from the family jar available in the kitchen was stealing. For me it was! I was not allowed to eat cookies. Maybe one out of the oven when my mother and I were making them. And yes, this same friend pointed out how bizarre that was. I shocked her in the telling of it, and in turned, she shocked me by pointing out my separation from it, my disconnection. While not seeming okay, it was my normal. I just grew up that way. My mom and I would bake, make snacks and desserts for the boys in the family and not have any of it most of the time. That’s the way it was. Except that I did find ways to eat those things, just not at the table with the rest of the family. I would sneak into the kitchen when my mom was outside or busy upstairs and take cookies out of the cookie jar. If I had pockets, in they would go. If not, I would put them down my pants and carry them up to my room in my underpants. I got good at quietly opening the refrigerator and very carefully scraping off bites of whatever dessert was in there. I was a Girl Scout and my mother always bought a huge number of boxes of cookies. Sometimes, I could slip out to the garage and get a box out of our freezer there, take them back to my room. Then there was the challenge of how to get the box into the garbage without notice. I would occasionally get caught. Hello! My favorites were either the peanut butter ones or the chocolate mint ones which left quite the aroma both on my breath and in my room, especially if the box was under my bed which is usually where it was. There would be crying and yelling. Never any spanking for which I am grateful. But oh the crying and the being disappointed in me and the anger. My mother is remembered by all her children for her ability to grit her teeth and grimace holding in her fury until it came out with harsh words. My mom’s greatest fear for me was not for my safety, or my happiness but her fear that I would be fat. Well, we managed that one, didn’t we Mom ?  Not the same friend who pointed it out about the stealing but others have pointed out to me that when all this fear started manifesting in attempting to control my behavior and in much shaming, I wasn’t all that fat. A chubby kid who got fatter as the years went by. I wore a size18 when I graduated from high school, I think, so large but not as grossly obese as my mother led me to believe. I thank those friends for helping me find perspective. I thank my multitude of therapists and practitioners who have helped me work on the “mom” issues.

I’ve been eating cookies lately. Now I eat cookies that are about as healthy as you can get in terms of ingredients. I might make them myself or buy some good ones. I don’t waste my money and time on low quality cookies.Sometimes I can eat a lot of them. Sometimes, I am content with one or two. Not a whole bag in one sitting in quite a long time but in several sittings, oh yes. Do they taste good ? The first few do, then not so much. Do they feel good in my belly ? Mostly not. Some times it’s a “fuck you” sort of moment but the person who is getting f’d up and over is me, not anyone else. So why continue ? I wish I knew. I know bits and pieces of rebellion, of declaring my independence, of comforting and numbing myself. I know about punishing myself for feeling good, confident, happy, and full of zest for life. I know about shame. I know about killing those good feelings and sinking down into that familiar depression, anxiety, and low self esteem.

I know the nutrition facts. I know eating psychology and about finding, acknowledging, celebrating the sweetness in my life. It is there. I know many ways to crawl myself back up the mountain, or away from the cliff’s edge.  I know the importance of transparency, of honesty, of sharing, of community.

So, I’m putting this out into the ethers. If you overeat or binge, don’t feel alone. If you have shame about eating or your body, don’t feel alone. Sometimes that little thought is enough to move mountains.

 found on Unsplash, photo by Janko Ferlick

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