Tonight, Jayrad brought us all home treats from the convenience store–chocolate milk for E, a packet of peanut M&Ms for me. Peanut M&Ms: not known for their nutritional value. Me: Very, very full from a Chinese food dinner, not hungry at all, a little depressed and downtrodden by the most depressingly bad movie ever in the history of them (Red Dawn! a young Patrick Swayze! Jennifer Grey reminds me of my friend Harry!), and generally, just not in the kind of place emotionally where anyone with a healthy relationship with food would find themselves wanting to add peanut M&Ms.
Part of the reason I know I have a problem is because I am aware that I have a problem; I am aware of how a regular person would react to an unexpected packet of M&Ms–“Thanks!” they would say, and they would put the M&Ms away for later. So that’s what I did. “Thanks!” and I tucked them into my bag. And then, when no one was looking, I pulled them back out of my bag, tore open a corner, and shook out two. Then I put them back into my bag.
Rinse repeat, for what felt like hours, but was probably say, 30 or 40 seconds. Then it is time for me to head out. I shoulder my bag, and what I am thinking is “Now I can eat my M&Ms, when I get home!” and it is such an exciting prospect. Except as my bag shifts, I hear the candy rattle, and then spill across the bottom of my bag. At the same time, an existentially angsty NOOOOOOO rings out across the barren plains of my heart.
I am aware of my candy all the way out to the car, in the car, on the
short drive. E’s got my hand and we are talking about something nice,
and I am thinking about my candy. Candy candy candy in my bag, candy
clean it up, and then eat it up. I shift over to kiss him, and I hear a
rattle and then a tiny plop. NO MY M&MS THEY FELL OUT OF MY BAG
THEY FELL ON THE FLOOR.
“Wow,” E says.
I hadn’t meant to say that out loud.
“I really like M&Ms,” I say, as I peer down between my ankles at the filthy floor.
“I can see that,” he says, bemused.
“Aha!” I pounce. It’s a green one, and before I can stop myself, I am putting it in my mouth.
“Honey, no!” He watches me crunch down. He says, “You’re going to get diphtheria.”
“It will have been worth it!” I say. It’s almost totally a joke.
Weight loss surgery doesn’t solve all your fancy food issues, any kinds of complicated relationships, helpless-in-the-face-of dynamics, any
kinds of unhealthy patterns . . . no no, it does not. I am willing to suggest that it can
exacerbate them–would I have been crawling around on the floor for an
M&M when I was fat? No, because there’d be no way I’d be able to
live with the possibility of the vitriol, and opportunity for
humiliation, that it would provide the world. My relationship with food
had always seemed terribly public when I was fat–everyone was chiming
in and judging, I thought, and oh, the hoops I went and the secret
eating I did.
Now I am convinced, with that same odd,
internal logic that used to tell me (still tells me) that skinny people
are allowed to be publicly weird about food, because they’re skinny!
And no one is judging them harshly for it, that–well, exactly that.
There’s something entirely different about a fat girl scrambling after
M&Ms and a skinny one. Except for the way that there’s something
entirely fucked up about both situations. Food–candy, no matter how
delicious it is–shouldn’t have that kind of hold over anyone. Why is a
healthy relationship with food so hard?