In Search Of

A girl I work with, lets call her Rachel, is a big girl.  She is a tomboy, very outspoken, which isn't to say she isn't friendly for the most part, but she is very noticeable.  As it happens, she and I tend to have our lunch breaks at about the same time, in a lunch room that only has two stations.  Sometimes she talks about what she is eating, like she is comparing it to what I'm eating, and says stuff like, 'I don't care, life is too short to be miserable,  I'm going to eat what I want and die happy.'  Except, she doesn't seem really truly happy.  I know where she's at because I have been there so so many times; feeling like I can't so why should I bother trying because it's only going to make me feel worse about myself if I fail AGAIN.  But that happiness line we tell ourselves is such a crock, and we know it, but the food is our shield.  Now, she's got a bit of a messy life, like the rest of us, and I never try to talk to people about food, good or bad, I just eat what I'm eating and leave people alone.  I am not a food-preacher, and don't want to be.  The fact that she gets defensive about my eating salads at lunch (most of the time for the past 2 and a half months) simultaneously gets under my skin and makes me feel bad for her.  She equates her happiness to the stuff she's eating.  I hope at least a small part of her knows one has very little to do with the other; she is being intentionally ignorant because she doesn't want to face up to the truth.  I am not saying eating salads or working out makes people happy either, I don't know what makes other people happy, because that takes some soul-searching and sometimes, experimenting, and lots of times, things we thought made us happy don't really do it for us when we are mindfully aware of what's going on around us.  I have noticed that certain smells make me so happy, especially blossoms in the spring, coffee, coconut and beach smells, etc.  I have found things that really delight my senses, a fog blanketed conservency at sunrise, tiny plants with dew on them, the feel of smooth beach sand under my feet, the sound of rain on the rooftops...yes, some foods make me happy too, when the seasonings are perfect or the texture of fresh sushi with quality ingredients, a cup of hot tea steaming with fragrant blossoms...there is so much happy around us if we take a minute to capture it with our senses. 
Truth is, there is a multitude of things that can bring happiness and even flat-out JOY.  Food can be a small part of that, I think it is natural and good to take pleasure from food as long as it's not out of control, and as long as that doesn't feel like it is the only thing that makes you happy.  When meeting someone new, if you were pressed to answer what makes you happy, could you not list off a handful of things?  Being with friends and family, working on hobbies, maybe you have a rewarding job, road trips or maybe you're lucky enough to travel the world and see new things, maybe its digging into a great book.  The posibilities are endless, but sometimes we get stuck inside our little box of hyperfocus on food and weight when doing that really makes us miserable, doesn't it? 
So I challenge anyone reading this to find those things that make you happy unconditionally.  No matter what size you are, no matter what shirt you have on today, no matter if your hair is a mess or you don't have makeup on or you are in a foul mood today.  What makes you feel GOOD?  Don't just let food be your answer, you are a more complex person than that!  I believe, if we take the focus of food and start giving more attention to those things that make you happy unconditionally, the need to eat to comfort ourselves will dissolve.  What a beautiful gift to give yourself!  I am overweight and I am finding my happy.  Food doesn't have the power over me that it once did.  That doesn't mean I don't like food or find it pleasureable to eat, sometimes even indulgent, but it doesn't control my thoughts like it once did.  I wish that for everyone, I really do!


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