How can I unlearn this toxic lesson when it’s so deeply embedded in our everyday lives?
I came into work a while ago and I had the Shame. You know that feeling where you have a secret, and you know that if you tell anyone then they will judge you, but if you don't tell anyone, then you'll EXPLODE? I get that quite a lot.
There was the time that after a night out, Chris woke up to see me with my eye-mask still on my face, hair everywhere, naked, doing a full-on wee into my floral luggage bag. He asked me what I was doing, and I replied, "Shut up! I'm asleep!" He had to wake me up, march me into the bathroom and leave the luggage bag in the bath, full of wee. That happened.
I woke up the next morning and thought, ah, the sun is shining! What a lovely day! Not a care in the world. Until I turned to Chris who was looking at me and just said, "You pissed in your handbag last night." DOOM. I didn't believe him until I went into the bathroom and saw the bag, sadly sitting there, full of my wee.
So that was one of those shame things. After a day or so I actually thought it was hilarious -- I have quite a fast shame-hilarity turn around luckily -- so I told everyone I worked with. And now I'm telling the entire Internet.
Anyway, I digress as I so regularly do. The reason for my shame recently was that I had KEPT A SECRET from my beloved. It felt wrong, and dirty.
The previous day was a Sunday. We had been out on the Saturday night, back in the days when I could smash back Jagerbombs like the best of them, and had woken feeling delicate to say the least. After a great struggle to the sofa, we attempted to watch TV and be normal human beings and wait for the hangovers to pass. They didn't.
They were Creepers. The worst of all hangovers. The type that you think that it's not TOO bad, and then second by terrible second, minute by agonizing minute, the headache gets worse, the Fear more intense and the vomiting more regular. After a couple of hours, Chris gave up and went back to bed.
That was when I had the Idea. We'd been on a healthy eating drive, with way more vegetables and complex carbohydrates than my 79% fried chicken body could deal with. I wanted junk. I wanted it now.
So I secretly ordered Papa John's -- a large pizza, with side orders of garlic cheesesticks AND chicken dippers. I spoke quietly on the phone, so as not to wake my sleeping boyfriend. When the order came, I opened the door softly and gently so that he wouldn't hear. I gorged myself, and then took the boxes outside so he wouldn't have any idea.
And do you know what? Then reason I didn't want him to hear wasn't because I was ashamed of eating junk -- hell, I do it all the time -- it was because I didn't want to share.
I didn't want to spare one chicken dipper, one solitary slice of pizza, NOT EVEN A BITE. I wanted ALL OF IT, all of it in me. He woke up a couple of hours later, starving hungry, and I pretended to be so hungover that I couldn't eat!
MAN, I felt bad.
I don't like having secrets from my partner -- I don't like it at all. We are the kind of couple who will tell each other everything, without even batting an eyelid. He knows more about me than I probably know about myself. I have never knowingly lied to him, and I believe that he hasn't with me. We trust each other implicitly.
And yet, after reading the piece in the New York Times about secret hiding places that women keep from their partners, I realized that I do exactly that. I hide things from him.
I have a bag of fudge under the stool in my bedroom, that I got for Christmas, which I didn't want to share. I hide bags of Kettle Chips on the top of the fridge behind a box so that if I ever want any, I know that they're there. At the back of the fridge, behind a jar of salsa, I have a bag of Sour Skittles that I am saving for some indeterminate date -- just out of view enough that they won't be noticed. When we got a box of chocolates for Christmas, I snaffled the honey-caramel ones and hid them in the dresser so he couldn't get them first.
The more I think, the more I uncover. Am I selfish? Is this all because I just hate sharing food? Is there a darker underlying subconscious need to squirrel food away because I think there's going to be some kind of Nuclear Holocaust and I might NEED THAT FUDGE? Is this going to spiral out of control until I end up with a whole secret double life where I have a whole 'nother family, except that this family is packets of Oreos and Twizzlers and packets of chicken that I wedge behind the mayonnaise in the fridge?
The thing is I don't hide anything else. I occasionally purposely remove the labels from new clothes before I hang them up, but everyone does that, right? I have never had a secret box of photos of ex-boyfriends (god, no) or love letters, or books of poetry or CDs that hark back to a different time, or clothing that reminds me of years ago hidden at the back of the wardrobe. It's just food over which I seem so desperately possessive. We share everything else, but I like to know that around the flat I have my secret stashes of things, just in case.
What do you hide around the house? Do you keep things just for you? Maybe it's beauty products that you need to stash away so that prying fingers don't waste them? Or, like me, are you teetering on the edge of food-related insanity? TELL ME I'M NORMAL!
I really miss that luggage bag.
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