Coming soon to an artisanal food market near you:
- Toasted chocolate cake ice cream sandwiches
- Croissant bunny chows
- Deep-fried macarons
- Deep-fried macaron ice cream sandwiches
- Ice cream bunny chows
- Marshmallow-stuffed choux
- Deep-fried choux stuffed with anything
- Brioche ice cream sandwiches
- Croissant waffles
- Basically just deep-fry or stuff confectionery that has no business being deep-fried or stuffed.
- Burfee in a cone
- Cheesecake in a cone
- Jalebi ice cream sandwich
- Jalebi waffles
- Katayef stuffed with ice cream
- Katayef stuffed with burfee
- Deep-fried waffle sandwiches
- Bao stuffed with Indian sweatmeats.
- Butter chicken bao
- Biryani sushi rice
- Biryani in a bao
- Mac and cheese bao
- Biryani rice dolmades
- Mac and cheese samoosas
- Curry leaf ice cream in a papadum cone
- Kitchrie arancini
I was going to title this; “How I Was Complicit In My Own Body Shaming” when I realised that to even suggest this is to apportion blame incorrectly and to imply agency when there was none.
The context is this; I was at a family function when I was told, within the course of the benign sort of nothing-conversation you have with elderly people at rare family events, that I needed to do something about my weight. I can’t even relate this exchange verbatim because a part of me still wonders if this really happened or if it was part of an elaborate fever dream. I found myself agreeing with this man, nodding emphatically, saying I would Google the miracle weight-loss bean his wife is selling. I was so polite* through it all because it’s not like what he was saying was any kind of revelation to me. I have picked up weight, quite a bit of it, over the last four years. I struggle with impulse control, unruly hormones, work that is to a large extent sedentary, psychological crutches, a complicated relationship with food etc. etc. etc. And even as I write this, there is this need to explain myself. Why? I don’t owe this to anyone, not least an uncle who is almost legally blind but who could miraculously see me in all my abundance well enough.
At the time of this exchange, I was more than a little amused. This was after all unsolicited advice from someone who, even before his dotage, was barely taken seriously. But as I think back to it, I become angry. I did not invite this. It’s none of his business. That my struggles manifest in a more physically apparent manner, than say someone with a painkiller-dependency, does not open me up to unrestricted judgement.
I know what I need to do to fit into my old jeans again. Anyone who has ever struggled with weight is a nutritional expert. Sugar is evil mmmkay. Exercise more. Thanks Admiral Obvious, maybe you can have this conversation with my adrenal glands? It’s not like I’m not trying (again with the explanations, also, if you try and sell me Herbalife I will delete you from my life).
For a long time I’ve been putting out disclaimers, cushioned myself in self-deprecation.
I’m not going to do this anymore.
*One day I will write about why we shouldn’t raise our daughters to be nice/polite.
I recall a recurring dream from my childhood. I am locked in a room, sometimes it is a jail cell, with a monster. I will be fine as long as I can count everything the monster eats from the pile set before him. One, two, five, ten, twenty-five, sixty. The horror descends when he eats at an exponential rate, I can no longer keep up the count. I wake with my heart lurching across the floor.
It’s been decades since those visitations, and yet the monster is closer than ever. This fur-kid sits in its corner and everyday I attempt to audit its intake.
Some days are better than others. Most days, I am teetering on the brink. Just one more thing, and my breath shorts, a current drills through to my bowels.
I used to be a regular girl-wonder, able to keep any number of trilbies spinning concurrently in mid-air. Now I am simply overwhelmed. To regress to juvenalia; I do not have my shit together.
Have you ever watched episodes of My 600-lb Life or Hoarders and wondered, “How could they let it get so bad?”
Let me walk you through it. There are things that need to get done and so you do them. Then there are other things, maybe not as exciting or gratifying as your other tasks, but they do need to be attended to, and so they end up on a list of Things-To-Do. Everyday, there are new Things To Do. The list gets longer and even the really amazing things you’ve been dreaming about being asked to do all your life, find their place next to a check box. And then it’s the next day, and there are more Things To Do. You work through the list as best you can, sometimes feeling like you’re petting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. You’ve bought into the lie that is Multi-Tasking. And then it’s the next day, and there are more Things To Do. Time becomes something you never have enough of. And still, more Things To Do. It gets to the point where just looking at the To-Do list becomes a Thing-To-Do. Some things don’t ever get done. Gym is where you go for twenty minutes of treadmill four times a month to retain a Vitality discount. There are paper cuttings and a laminator on the dining room table from a craft project you began five weeks ago. Imagine if there were children to feed. Making children. Another Thing To Do.
At any given time, I am a browser window with 21 tabs open.
I know it’s a blessing to be busy. Purpose is a holy, wonderful, thing. And I am being ungrateful.
But I do not like this sensation of skidding through weeks, just a handful of ticked boxes on a list to show for all my piecemeal attention. I want presence, I want time to think about my words. I want to do so much more.