food/ self-love

I don’t know why I’m propelled to write here again, and to write a proper blog post-y thing, at that. o well.

I’ve had a good food day. By that I mean a good Food Day (a food day that has been good, not a day of good food). I had two hardboiled eggs, a small cup of ginger greek yogurt with half a banana, and a cup of lemon green tea for breakfast. For lunch now I’m having a cup of milo (kosong, i.e. with no milk or sugar), a small amount of oats with honey, apple and blueberry muesli and the other half of the morning’s banana, as well as baked parsnips seasoned with soy sauce and olive oil (not delicious, still yet to figure parsnips out. using a cheese and chive dip to get through it).

Maybe it was just the joy of getting the oats cooked exactly how I like them, or the narcissistic pleasure of standing there like a wannabe vegan (many thoughts about this, and income disparity), but I felt spiritually warm, alive, loved.

For the most part of my life I didn’t care about food in a big way, though I enjoyed the usual range of ‘bad’ foods: fries, McDonalds’ hotcakes, fried chicken, ice cream, chocolate, etc. It was something I took in and found some pleasure in, but otherwise didn’t think much about or invest any energy/ spirit in.

The years of body image issues came, what with ballet, being in a girls’ school, uninformed consumption of media, unwarranted comments about my acne, my body, my clothing size, etc. It’s still something I have to work with but it has less power now.

(I think most women still kind of count their calories, even if they don’t. They eat risotto with a fork, insist on exercise on ‘bad food’ days, deprive themselves of chocolate because they’ve had bread earlier in the day, pinch their arms as they have alcohol.)

Two years ago, someone warm and good came into my life, someone who loved cooking (though not eating) food, someone passionate about nailing flavour and texture and balance. Spending time with her increased my sensitivity to flavour, and I came to understand, in a way, the science of flavour and cooking.

In these months at university, my range has really…expanded? Both in terms of technique and types of food. And I feel truly happy that I can cook good things for myself. I believe more and more that learning to cook for and feed oneself healthy and delicious food is a form of self-love. It opens up a dimension separate from all other modes (exercise, rest, leisure, etc.). I feel spiritually even more whole now. More areas of the spirit aligning and linking up. (The word “spiritual” is dissatisfactory, too fluffy and mystical in meaning. But it will have to do.)

It reminds me of when I sat at Bras Basah Complex during the winter break, furiously typing an email to one of my university professors.

I find myself, now, constantly floating a little off the ground: I no longer inhabit unconsciously but exist as a third person; I see things new always. Everything is continually foreign and therefore noticeable, novel, interesting, fascinating. Even the most banal crevices have been recast.

“Transcendence,” he called it later. The word should have occurred to me; I don’t know why it didn’t. And I sound rather calm in the bit I’ve pasted above but the rest of the email was just…stream of consciousness rambling, as though in a fit. A spiritual seizure.

Nourishing and loving myself with food feels a little like that now. I’m aware of other elements though, like the remnants of body image problems, the pressure to “be healthy”, to actively pursue and be seen pursuing a healthy life, and what is possibly a false or unhealthy sense of “achievement”. As though eating well is an accomplishment akin to finishing an essay, or completing a task on my to-do list.

A little incoherent now. Feels weird, nonetheless.

Regardless!! I feel grateful, and happy, and loved. More thoughts soon.

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