I’ve been playing with sugar recently. Sharing the holidays with friends and loved-ones often spurs the desire to “relax” into sugar. I tell myself, as I reach for the ice cream with spoon in hand, that I deserve a little treat. I know that with just a little “hit” of that sweet goodness my mind will relax, the tension in my jaw will soften, and sharp emotional edges garnered from sharing too small a space with too many loved ones for too long a time will feel less jagged. I tell myself that I deserve a reward for making it through the day with a smile on my face even though inside I flirt with the desire to scream and run.
The spoon slips easily into the creamy, mocha delight. I blanch a bit as the bitter coffee flavor melts on my tongue. I decide to try another taste. An hour later I am chatty and relaxed. Feeling confident as the sweetness sweetens my temperament, I think loving thoughts of loved ones and holiday time, in general. Aaah, I think, the world is just a little bit lighter when sugar is involved. I know now why wine is a staple at the holiday table.
It is foggy and damp here today, with a chill in the air that runs bone-deep. I woke up, remembered my current struggle, and wept. My dalliance with sugar came to an end a week ago. With nothing to buffer the pain I am experiencing, raw emotion washes through my blood. I breathe deeply, I cry solidly, I breathe again. I do not feel confident, or relaxed, or loving. I feel alone and sad and slightly desperate. Sugar, in all its finery, does not dance through my veins. Unsweetened, no false sense of confidence nor chatty ease transfigures my emotional storm. Solidly in my pain, I am fully me.
The fog and rain continue to cloud my outside world. On the inside, I have found some measure of peace. A surprise gift in the mail, a call to a close friend, and a little external pampering in the form of a much needed hair cut allow me to reflect on my tumult with some objectivity. Comparing my recent holiday experience to the storm that raged within this morning, I am grateful for my ability to feel deeply. Free of sugar’s hypnotic effect, I acknowledge the deep courage it takes to truly feel my pain and wait . . . while, in time, the storm ebbs and the pain, softened by love this time, not sweets, slowly dissolves.