don't talk with my mouth full

a meditation on paying attention & giving up control

photo by aaron mckenzie fraser

excerpted from the print magazineÖ

How often have I sat down to eat a meal, my mind consumed by thousands of thoughts flipping through my brain at lightning speed until I find myself staring at an empty plate having absolutely no memory of what I put into my mouth.

I just ate?

I grew up in a family hyperaware of weight and calorie counting. The thing is we loved to eat and we ate Ė a lot. So, this whole dieting business was an obvious paradox at work; eat we did, but with so much guilt! Which, over the course of the years, has resulted in a complex cornucopia of food and body image issues.

And it just doesnít stop being an issue. I canít ever simply put food into my mouth. For hours before Iím deliberating over what I want to eat. Then Iím acquiring the concocted recipeís ingredients. Then Iím preparing my dish. When I finally sit down to taste what Iíve been fantasizing about, well, see the opening paragraph above. Itís as if Iíve decided that I donít deserve this basic pleasure (nay, necessity) and hence I either have to torment myself or obliterate the process.

Taking pleasure in eating has always been a double-edged sword. Iím supposed to love to eat Ė and I suppose I do, but it seems I can never eat without a whole prolonged and convoluted interior dialogue taking place; an inner watchdog that comments upon and evaluates my every food move. This isnít love. This is obsession.

Victoria Stanton is a performance artist based in Montrťal. She has presented text-based/visual performance and videos in Canada, the US, Europe, Australia and Japan. She is co-author with Vincent Tinguely of Impure: Reinventing the Word (conundrum press, 2001) a book about the theory and practice of spoken word performance.

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life