Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
I became worrisome, confused and overwhelmingly frightened as I threw a finished apricot out into the street at 11pm at night. I was driving away from groceries and Kroger and had just moved on to binge eat a summer apricot.
Prior to this event, I sat in the Kroger parking lot, binge-eating pretzel thins with spicy hummus. As the lady with the black SUV approached her car, my guilt and shame arose and I pulled away quickly with a still-open container of Sabra hummus, just so she would not see my excess and pitiful nighttime tasks. Oh, however did I get here?
Now, here comes the confusion and then the ultimate inquiry. These snacks may be considered by most women’s magazines to not only be good choices, but also helpful ones to aid in the development of beach bodies and hot bodies and make-him-look-again bodies. These pretzels were not your normal pretzel, they were pretzel thins—the name possessing several meanings. They were in fact thin, as their shape and structure greatly contrasted that of a normal pretzel, creating a satisfying crunch—a crunchier crunch. The thin title also held within it a subtle subtext which implied the thinness one would achieve and maintain if they were to choose this pretzel versus its other obese Rold Gold or Snyders of Hanover cousins. This was bound in their nutritional facts, which ardently showcased their “0 trans fat, 0 saturated fat and 0mg Cholesterol” content. Nobody needed to tell me any more. These were a smart choice.
And what of the apricot? A sweet and savory stone fruit which was, of course, a fruit. It was not a Snickers bar or bottle of beer or bag of Doritos one would stash away in the corner of the pantry in denial. It was a fruit with natural nutritional value. This sweet token was also to be highly regarded by women’s magazines, as something plentiful to add to your smoothie, or perhaps something to subtract from your daily calories if you wish to use your “happy points” with 8oz of dark chocolate to still equal 1300 calories for the day. Sugar for sugar, is what they tell me.
But let us examine and go deeper. It is time to delve. Perhaps, on the surface level of things, one could regard this lovely night meeting with nutritional facts as something healthy and wholesome for a human body. Yes, this may be true. In and of themselves, these choices are healthy and wholesome. But this is not the truth of this moment—of this moment— for it is the context in which they were consumed. They were binged. They were violently and thoughtlessly gorged. They were stuffed down after a painful day of smoothie, veggie wrap, ice cream sundae, black tea lemonade, oreo brownie, a few ribs and brisket, another black tea lemonade, a plethora of melancholy thoughts about a boy and a declining feeling of self-worth. Indeed, on this lonesome and dark night at 11pm, this was not a healthy choice.
And so, as I threw out the pit of the apricot into the summer wind, I thought to myself about truth and what that really means. What is my truth, and why has it been buried for so long beneath so-called “healthy choices” and not so healthy ones? And beyond food and mindless and painful binge-eating, what about other choices in life which have brought me (and possibly others) to absolute sickness? There are unfinished dreams and projects, cars being towed, parents screaming at me, laundry never done, lateness continuing to be a concrete aspect of my character, body image taking over my entire life, peoples’ gazes and possible disapproving or annoyed stares defining my existence, the belief that “nothing is possible for me,” the pushed and shoved attractions and hook-ups which leave me feeling like a deflated soufflé, mindless money spending (and overdrawn accounts), full closets with not only this season’s floral skirt, but ten seasons ago’s D.A.R.E tee shirt from 6th grade, and then, you know, etc., etc., etc.
Well it is time now to write it all down. To dive in deep and discover what these disappointing and mildly (sometimes severely) uncomfortable sources of feedback are attempting to tell me about my existence. This piece about the apricot is only a peek into the complete oddity that is the mind, and now I believe it is my duty to go deeper. I am no longer pining. I am no longer claiming victim hood. I am acting as my own personal journalist and digging down into the war zone that is myself and my conscience to do some investigation, inquiry, and discovery.
So as I drove home and another slightly melancholy song came on the radio, I was about to plunge into a sea of thoughts concerning anything but the truth. So help me God. I stopped the car and quit the auto-pilot. There’s got to be something greater than this, and I can feel it now. It is time to report.