A preview of my personal upcoming writing project. Stay tuned for more!
I am learning slowly to honour myself. In the grocery store when I say I want watermelon – this isn’t necessarily true. I am impartial to watermelon but partial to asserting myself and it just so happens that this urge takes over in the produce isle. It’s pink flash calling out to me like the raw parts of myself that I have cut the callouses off. This is what we have in common – exposure. Vulnerability all wrapped up in clear coated plastic waiting for approval.
No-one talks about the price of honouring yourself. No-one says that is is quite the challenge to take ownership. The cost of the 4.75$ watermelon I likely won’t finish that upped my grocery bill to about 75$ total – for 3 days of food. This is not unlike the 100$ bill to be able to guilt free buy what I want at dinner. Yes I do want the seafood platter and muscles and a glass of wine. To know I’ve worked for the shoes on my feet and the food in my belly. There are seldom few who are going to take it from me – the low number designated to people who already have. Ex-boyfriends, brothers, the homeless who of no volition of their own make me feel I’ve done something wrong for having eaten such a large quantity of seafood while they are in turmoil about the large quantity of space in their own stomach.
It’s very easy to start imagining these people as my siblings. To take away some of the energy you put into your own responsibility; to lighten their load. The funny thing about the stories of these street people though is how often you hear about the wrong-doings and snatched back hands of help. Seldom to they tell the stories with blatant honesty of where they went wrong in that process. Maybe I am projecting my own experiences of a brother without a home – it’s possible that a lot of these people are only children. This makes it harder to trust these people; I don’t mind so much if someones done something wrong. I just can’t stand the thought that they won’t admit to it. I almost wrote can’t but I am certain that everything in life is a choice. I’ll tell you now, I’ve been more wrong times than I’ve been right. I’ve had to make every kind of mistake to be sure that the last option is really my best option – at least until more cards are put on the table. If you know how many ways things can go wrong then you’re more aware of how little things go right.
Life for me is like having snacks on the table. I’ll eat even when I’m full just because it’s there. That’s Toronto; an all-you-can-eat buffet of opportunity. Stuffing my schedule to a point of discomfort but really if I’m going to spend so much to sit at a table in this city I may as well get my money’s worth. Even if it makes me sick – which I am learning most things do. It’s hard to leave such a good deal. An over-priced plate that is always full; on the precipice of overflowing. No time to digest. No appreciation for dessert – it is expected like everything else. Just low quality, large quantity things to do with a fullness that leads straight to lethargy. A fullness that leads you to an inability to do anything but continue to sit at the table. There is no temptation as strong as habit. Nothing as gratifying. No reassuring your belief that these bad habits are, in fact, bad. But how will you know? How can you be sure? Well in the same way that we test this buffet food is, in fact, still bad. You must keep eating to keep being sure. You must consume to prove the point that perhaps we don’t need so much consumption. You must continue the bad habits to know that the new ones we try to form are good.
But I’m full and if there’s anything having several eating disorders has taught me it is to eat only your fill. And when you eat your fill make it worth it; that is to say, eat the things you love or eat the things that will nourish you. If there is an abundance… Being well fed doesn’t necessarily fall inline with being overfed. That’s a certain kind of gluttony. Not to take more than you need, but to take what you don’t like without necessity. This is how we become bloated and miserable in life – filling ourselves with things we don’t enjoy.
I suppose I say without necessity because there needs to be a scape goat as with all things. Mine happened to come when I bought the watermelon. There was a necessity to prove to myself that I could know what I needed (and wanted) but to also make that knowing tangible in the world. It is our thing – us humans – to know. We always hear that knowledge is power but decidedly few mention that it is only powerful if you use it. To hold it is not enough; just how to look at pictures of a yoga pose is not the same knowledge as to be in the yoga pose. There is an intimacy in action. A specific chemical reaction that is a combination of courage, the stink of pheromones as we do the things that attract us, a dose of understanding. Just enough of the idea of not caring to propel you off the launch. Caring is not something to do when you launch yourself – it’s far too heavy a burden to care. Instead we use caring as a platform in which to build our performance. Leave it underground in the privacy of the under-stage – of where people think the work is done. The magic happens. To care is to give an essential element of control to other people. Instead it is better to leave them with the illusion of control. This all denotes that perhaps we need an audience. This is not true either. Although I think in a lot of cases it is inevitable. Especially when you are plummeting towards a landing of the flamingo flesh of watermelon. When you – unlike everyone else who are so heavy and full – are flying nearly weightless. The act of not eating at the buffet means there are few other options available.
The first is to serve at the buffet. As I do not take orders entirely well, nor do I like cleaning up after others this is a terrible fit. I am also not very good at abiding temptation so I consider this a non-option.
The second is to hide in the bathroom with the bulimics and those with diarrhoea but this still eventually leads you back to the table eventually and perpetuates the never ending circle. And the lines are too long.
The third is to entertain the buffet.
For all intents and purposes the third option is my best. Really, my only. But I don’t blame or judge you for partaking in the indulgences. A Caesar salad is pretty good anywhere. Tempura is still experientially enjoyable even when it’s lukewarm and splattered with sweet and sour sauce. As it is, no-one much notices the entertainment when they have their backs turned to the dimmed out windows in which I appear behind. The entertainment isn’t what you’re paying for, but it’s perhaps what we should pay attention for. This isn’t a part of the dining experience so much as the life experience but we’re selfish and want to impress those at our table by eating the most plates not realizing that we become the entertainment when we ignore the world around us – who then are we supposed to entertain it everyone is only paying attention to how people perceive them. You see, no one misses the watermelon if they have honeydew or the succulent skin of a strawberry to surprise you under a suffocation of chocolate coating. I mean who has ever heard of chocolate covered watermelon? It’s too damn wet. No sprig of green to denote the goodness that grows beneath the sugary mud like a lotus of luscious luxury swimming beneath the surface. No, watermelon is put to much better use as a landing pad for my new self prophecy than as a neglected part of the dessert table.
As I mentioned earlier, I myself do not particularly like it, but is is safe in a less than 5$ way and my scape goat is that my intention for the purchase was not for the eating of it but for the experience of buying it. Alas, it is a fast dissolving substance and I won’t have to worry about it much; even after it’s sticky juices dry to my arms and feet. I’ll run around town asking for favours and wet naps. Maybe these leaps of faith are what I have in common with the homeless; not the slotting of change into an empty cup but that perception of what help really looks like. There are few people who would understand if I told them a raw pink flesh was my saviour without explaining that I don’t mean my vagina.
Speaking of vaginas, there’s nothing that has caused me more trouble in my life than, as Tom Robbins so eloquently put it, this peachfish. This also describes my feelings for it as I have a deep affinity for seafood but only a seasonal appreciation for peaches. I suppose I can’t blame it for being what it is – and how it is. I can only hold a hard peach in my pantry for so long before it ripens. Whether I’m ready for it or not. And once it has ripened it so often – so quickly goes rotten. Tell me, who ever willingly ate a bruised peach? It’s sweetness it almost unbearable. Like maple syrup was pumped through the broken veins of the hematoma on its surface. And who ever enjoyed the numbness on the roof of their mouth from the thick fuzz?
The peachfish has a symbiotic relationship with itself; like a clownfish and a sea anemone. Where I find myself cleansed and safe others find themselves stung. This is of course no responsibility of mine – everyone knows quite well where they should and shouldn’t be. Either at the buffet or in the bathroom.
Unless you are me of course, in which case you have a sea which happens to reside next to the city in which the buffet serves at. Unless, you are me, with a sea-fruit between your legs that electrifies any sensation that ripening welcomes. That crushes anything too ripe into a mash, but for the familiar flow of fingers finding their way home like sardines packing themselves into a can. This thing likes things that are hard. Not necessarily an erection but things like self-satisfaction, healthy choices, restraint. Moderation. The full fucking moon. Everything that sounds like masturbation but is as tedious as a telling a young man with a jack-hammer tongue to find the roll of a percussionists; to do this instead of finding the slow steady march of your own practiced finger pads. This last one though, the moon, is the most challenging. I am utterly at the whim of it’s tides, fish calling to swim home. But it gets tricky because sometimes I see the full moon in someones eyes; in the puff of smoke that escapes my laps after a bong hit. So even the thing that has diligently controlled the tides for millennia can’t really be trusted when we’ve had so much opportunity to duplicate it. Of course, I am not surprised by this. I am sure a werewolf has it’s own grievances with the cheese wheel floating above us, starving him innocently of a bite. Provoking him to satiate his hunger in more human ways.
There are other things I bought at the grocery store: Tzatziki. Chocolate covered almonds. Blueberry yogurt. Rice crackers. Almond Milk. About 12 other various items. Some of these are quite normal for me. Others luxurious; like buying a fur coat second hand in Spring. Just the idea of it can be enough to make the experience of it worth buying. Then you have 3 seasons to think yourself into wearing it. Or sell it again. Here I don’t have the tedium or luxury of 3 seasons to sweep away the burden of the purchase if I don’t feel like eating it, but I do only have 3 days to eat the mass of groceries so that is my scape goat for not finishing them. Still time, but not to fester. Just a simple “constraint” that gives me leverage to the leeway I need in these situations of self-exploration. And the knowledge that my counter part will likely eat what I don’t when leave. Personal waste, perhaps. But not entirely economically wasteful. Besides, there is a price to pay that is higher than monetary to not give myself utter freedom in food – in all things really. One must always be ready for snacks; this translates to also having snacks ready for one.
It is perhaps a little strange to liken the self so closely with food. And fish (if you want to consider these separate, as I’m sure many vegans would oblige by). But what else is there really? Cars? They are egotistical and self-loathing in their pride. I do not think we like ourselves enough to relate the two. Clothes are too personal yet impersonal in their universality; there is something that looks good on everyone. A mark that everyone searches for. Food is not a mask. We are made on a biomolecular level of the things we eat. Kale is in my bones – and so are a lot of mayonnaise and eggs and I’m sure at this point semen makes up about .01% which is significant in a way – at least until the next 7 years pass and my body makes it’s miraculous transformation of recycled cells that will bring that number to about .00001% to account for the oath of celibacy I took for 6 months, paired with the perfect longing of another long-distance lover. We wear food inside and often it gives us away more than we would like. It is honest as it makes its way outward; pimples, bloating, fat, greasy finger prints on our phone screens. Shit in the toilet. Food, you cannot hide from. And fish that don’t know that land fucking exists.
When fish die they are not afraid they are dying; they are simply just fighting the inevitable to make their way home. This is what they are convinced of anyway. In buddhism this is true as our “soul” does not die, but the fish are not aware of the depth of their knowledge (which makes me wonder, again, if to know without depth is really to be able to harness that power?) Relentless in their hopeless position. This is the greatest summary of the human condition that I can muster. Flopping around on the deck like fools, trying to get to where we know because that is surely the only place that really exists (I am assuming fish do not know about sushi, where they equally belong but that is a different story).
The rest is just transit, even death. As we bade out last breath a meaningless farewell – not truly believing our own fate we make a fruitless attempt in our loping sign-language of flipping fins and fingers on deck to let the God’s know we really do have a purpose. “That wasn’t gluttony you saw us indulge in at the buffet! It was just a very extensive review of the shittiest yet most fastidiously visited establishment known to man! No, we don’t have the notes as now we are fish with sign-language flippers!”
This is how I imagine the conversation goes. The bulging eyes proving to sway us more than our equally bulging bellies. And then we are slaughtered. Or really, they are slaughtered. I am not a fish. I’m just at the experiential will of them. I’ll tell you, not much changes. I’ve put this one on a strictly peach diet. Then I told it to fast for 6 months. The survival instincts of fish and humans are remarkably similar; mostly in that we believe that which we cling to is the only reality there is to exist in. Yet, do we experience this existence at all? Making small talk from around the buffet tables?
Here’s the thing: With me, this fish knows how to be out of water. Or it’s learning to be – even if it’s only for a few minutes. Or months. It also knows if I choose not to feed it I am more than likely choosing for it to live. There’s a lot of poison in our oceans these days. And like most things, if you become too aware of a life span you become distinctly in tune with just how short it is. Everything is always too short; this is the trouble with living with expiry dates amongst something that is boundless. Even in the middle of an open field we are still trapped on fucking earth which we’re bullying into suicide.
As it is, I have two homes here on this planet. One an orchard, and one the ocean.
The orchard is my fathers land. The ocean is my mothers. They met for a one-night-stand long ago. My mother had left by morning, well after my father had fallen into an unshakeable slumber. The rendezvous still happens if you watch for the red sky while the sun sets and the moon rises.
My mother chose the ocean. Or perhaps it chose her. She has a commanding attitude but is clandestinely gentle. Taking to the darkness to hold the world in her palm without being watched too much herself, without the worry of distorted patterns that happens when we know we are being observed. The tabloids lies and grievances of her are more than made up for by the worship of her, but still she is shy. Or, I should say modest.
My fathers lands was an inheritance of sorts. A natural progression. His brothers planted the seeds yet needed him to show up. My father is generous but also troubled. Often disappearing for days at a time in a hung-over haze. The clouds his sunglasses as he waits for them to deliver a glass of water. Yet when he doesn’t go on a bender he is equally unbearable. Burning the freshness off everything. The only things left are the things that make him sick. That lead him to drink. The orchard of peaches are his reprieve. The best place to find his good intentions are in the seasonal ripening of soft flesh. The hard pit of his endurance a reminder in your mouth that you are powerless – but that power has the potential to be overrated anyway. The peach pit also happens to be in memory of your mother, with her many craters and indigestible self sitting in the midst of the sky. He paints the canvas of fuzz with the colours of their love stories. A romantic guy when he’s not sizzling red-heads to try and match the hue of their skin to his fruits.
This hard peach pit, I thought, lived in my stomach. As it turns out, the salty tides of my mothers territory reside here. A predictable flux. After many a crack without much change, the pit I realize is in the place of my heart. Textured enough to be of interest for a while. Stubborn enough to be discarded. Either with a gentle resolve in which the only awareness I’ve had that there has been a change is in my finally steady and upright perspective that happens when you are truly rooted. But mostly it is that impact. The jolt of a frustrated hand discarding me haphazardly, saying something like “it’s a pit!” (although for a long time I thought this meant a black hole ) “It’s compostable I can throw it anywhere.”
Yet, this is not true. You cannot rid of me in the garbage, only a garden. At least as far as I’m concerned although I haven’t been asked much where I want to get dropped off. This is one of the few places of transformation. This is where I am in awe of my mother; her exposures changing just like breathing. Predictable. She always shows up when she says she will, even when we forget she is coming. And don’t forget that we don’t have to look up for proof of her presence. We merely need to look at the tide at our feet. Let it wash away the shit we stepped in. Some call shit fertilizer, but I feel like that doesn’t apply if you’re not rooted. Yet I must be venial of this and remember in this instance I am washing watermelon juice from my feet. I must be grateful for a mushy landing in which I can walk after. I must be aware that if I were truly washing shit from my feet in this ocean then I would be contaminating the home of this peachfish with it’s private anemone; killing off it’s practicality. What an honour to wade in the sticky pink waters. Cooling myself in this diluted melon juice as everyone else gorging or gouging themselves at the buffet. Watermelon is for nourishment and peaches are for love – their juice dribbling down my chin.
I forgot to mention the purchasing of their flesh on my grocery trip, bought purely for the reason that they were perfectly ripe; a reminder that I am too.