Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fear is the Mindkiller - Part 2 - The Hunger Games

     I mentioned in my last post that I was noticing other fears that may be hampering or could conceivable diminish my ability to grab the "starfish." (Fear is the Mindkiller - March 15, 2012 ).  Time to start getting Jaws out of the swimming pool (you totally won't get that if you didn't read the last post...), one fear at a time...

     Here we go.  Fear #1...

     I don't discredit the popularity of the books and the movie by the same title, The Hunger Games.  The character of the young Katniss Everdeen overcoming insurmountable odds, that may not have been forever in her favor, to be the victor, along with Peeta Mellark, of the annual games is inspiring and incredible.  A lot of stories have these great heroic characters though.  Sure, the writing is brilliant, but what makes people really dig into this particular story.

     We understand their fears and motivations. We want to see what happens to the characters we are then emotionally invested in with that understanding. We want to know how the story ends and how those fears are pushed through and resolved...

     There are a couple of topics of fear that resound throughout this novel.  The fear of death.  The fear of oppression by government. The fear of loss. The fear, as possibly suggested by the title, of going hungry.  Katniss' last words before the games to her friend Gale are, "Don't let them starve," referring to her mother and younger sister, Prim, whose place she took in the games.  She said it with such an urgency, with such a crack in her voice, that she was more afraid of that particular notion than of dying at the hands of one of the other twenty three participants known as "tributes."

     Eating is something we have to do to survive.  There is no choice in the matter. However, did you know there are a total of approximately twelve different kinds of eating disorders that keep people from leading normal lives and threaten that very survival instinct?  It is said that eating disorders are caused by a combination of biological, environmental, and psychological abnormalities.  I would definitely agree with psychological.  People with eating disorders may have an unnatural fear of gaining weight, so they regurgitate food.  They may fear being alone or emotionally uncomfortable and use food as medication.  They may just fear going hungry...

     My particular unhealthy relationship with food started in college.  I only had a set amount of money coming in few times a month, and well, sometimes it just wasn't enough.  There were a few days I remember not eating.  There was a time I remember getting sick because Burger King had this special of six cheeseburgers for a dollar and I ate them over three days...guess what happened on day three?  They were pretty gnarly by then but I still ate them anyway because I needed food.  I guess the point is I never knew when I would eat again or have enough money to do so. I guess I did know.  Once for sure every two weeks and if I budgeted well, then more.

     Let's fast forward to today.  I have a great job.  So does my husband.  We are no where near starving and truly blessed.  However, I am absolutely terrified of feeling hungry.  I get horrible anxiety if my stomach growls....You know what my big downfall is?  Free food at the office.  I feel like I absolutely have to eat it.  I mean, if I don't who will.  It can't be wasted; it costs money.  Besides if I don't eat it I may go hungry later.  I am also as you might guess "a plate cleaner."  It would make me stressed to either not finish my entire plate at a restaurant and let them toss it, or not at least take home the leftovers.  I sometimes do the latter and let the leftovers purposely go bad so I don't feel so bad about tossing them.  I do that as well with frozen dinners I decide later don't look as tasty as when I saw them in the grocery store.   How can you throw things away though when so many are starving and you paid good money for them?  The answer would be to buy less, right?  Create less waste and save money. Well, then I may starve later would be my response to that.  It's a vicious cycle...  

      ...Even if I'm full, I eat.  After all, I may go hungry at some point...

     It's funny. My husband and I went to see The Hunger Games last weekend. We went to a place called Gold Class Cinema. Reclining seats, blankets, pillows, and gourmet food! Needless to say I was overfull by the time we walked out of there. I actually thought of the irony of eating so much food during a movie about kids killing each other over it essentially.  I also thought about how I knew how full I got last time I was there, how actually painful it was, and how I didn't want to do it again.  Nope.  I sure went ahead and stretched the limits...and my stomach!  I just can't help myself and it was just as painful as it was the first time I did it.  Remember though, in my head, if I don't eat alot, I may get hungry.
     I think many of us in America have at least one unhealthy association with food or another.  As women we are told that a breakup with a boyfriend heralds a pint of ice cream in your favorite flavor.  There is a reason that food laden in high caloric content is often times called "comfort food."  Who hasn't found themselves reaching for some chocolate or chips when stressed or bored at the office.  It's really hard in this day and age to change our mindset and look at food as simply nourishment for our bodies. 

    I really don't know what I do about this and am not leaving this post particularly wrapped up.  I do make sure I have more healthy choices around me.  I'm surrounded with fruit, vegetables, and weight watchers meals or 100 calorie packs.  It's probably why I'm not, as of this point, obese.  I need to not doubt that I will eat again later in the day or the next day.

     I do know I feel better for having written this out so I can be more aware of it.  I catch myself in these thoughts more often and talk myself out of taking that extra bite or serving.  How unusual for this all around happen around Easter.   There is alot of food at my house around Easter from chocolate eggs to awesome, delicious, smoked meats.  I may have had one too many cookies, but I didn't go back for seconds.  They are leftovers for tonight's dinner. I didn't get hungry later.   If we don't finish the leftovers?  I won't make myself sick; out they go. 

...Maybe I'll make a dandelion salad would be nice with some roasted squirrel and goat cheese on some local bakery bread throw aways for dinner...okay, maybe not, but I now have a starting point...and if I'm going to be easier on my body, feel better, and move forward, I have to start somewhere.

   Ladies and Gentlemen...Jaws is leaving the building...uh...pool!

Happy Fishing!