Presenting A List Of My Many 'Loves'
After you read this story, you will either think
that I am an expert at foods, or a man with a deep-rooted problem. But I don't care. It's 2011. A time for people to accept people for what and who they are. I just happen to have a long, happy, past with this list of my 'loves' that I feel that it's time to share them with you now.
Do not freak out on me. Relax. Keep saying to yourself over and over, "it's only a story. It's only a story," and soon, you will reach that peaceful level of understanding and acceptance that makes you a well-rounded member of mankind.
This has been a personal struggle. At first, I wanted to share this list of 'loves' with you many months ago, but you know how it is. Fear of being ridiculed. Judged. Condemned by others kept holding back. I suffered in silence. Lost hours of sleep. Gained weight. Wept into my milkshakes. It was a terrible stretch road I tell you. If it hadn't been for the support of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and more, who wanted to remain anonymous, I wouldn't have made it to this point. You don't know what rough is. Until you arrive at a crucial decision to either tell those you care about how the real 'you' feels, or just keep quiet and bear the burden of uncertainty alone.
I feel now that by sharing this list and photos of my many 'loves' that I have, until now, kept as guarded secrets, that I have made the wise decision. On the right path. Can unburden myself of this very heavy, personal weight that has caused me mental torment for years. Oh if you only knew the pain and anguish I have went through, you would be at my side right now--consoling me with a T-bone steak, baked potato, and salad. With iced tea.
It started with one nibble . . .
that's all it took. I was weak. Too weak to withstand the onslaught of the world of food. And the 'loves' that awaited me. I was young. About 12 years of age. At 'that' age. You know what I mean? And it didn't take me long to understand why my granddad and dad smiled so much. They knew. As I would soon know. The overwhelming pleasures of 'loving' food without any remorse. Nagging conscience. Or having to repent to the minister on Sunday. It was here all this time. Right in front of me. At my grandma Avery's house. Posed seductively on her kitchen table--dressed in white and steaming for my attention. I will not forget anytime soon, my first time with the illusive, sultry Cheese and Rice. What a dish! It was love at first gobble. I remember how smooth and delicious the cheese tasted as it slid down my throat and the rice, man, what a time I had. That is all I can say because I don't want to alarm the HubPages Editors.
Needless to say, but for your sake, I will say, I was a 'fool in love' with foods. All kinds, textures, colors of food. It didn't matter. I was not a choosy boy when it came to food. I didn't care if the food came from a smoky, back street diner or an uptown dining club. I was hungry for food. All the time. It was near-addiction proportions. I couldn't go one day without my 'love,' food. I had to have it. And didn't care what it cost. In the morning, I had to have eggs. Bacon. Biscuits, but that wasn't enough. I had to have a hamburger, sandwich, maybe a two-sandwich 'food love fix' at noon everyday. And at dinner, I couldn't wait to get home and be alone with my dinner 'loves,' pork chops, green beans, garlic bread, Caesar salad, chocolate pie and iced tea. If I were in a wild mood, I would go for black coffee. I have spent many wild evenings in my kitchen and living room with food. I feel better just talking about it.
I tried to hide my 'love' . . .
for foods. I would 'act' like I was on a diet when 'she' came around riding in her snack truck that rolled up at the factory where I was employed in 1972. See? I told you I was a life-long 'lover' of food. I would walk up to the counter of the snack truck. Look both ways. Wink at the Ding Dongs and choose a less-conspicuous food item (like a pack of crackers) as to not give away my secret 'affair' with Hostess and her fine assortment of tasty sweets that she just loved to give me for the low-cost of ninety-eight cents. You can all it 'pay for food,' all you want, but Hostess and I knew that what we had was real. Real sweet and really lasting.
But the deeper in love with the various foods of that day, it began to show. And take a toll on my body. My midriff began to grow bigger. My cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk storing away nuts in his jaws. My breath grew shorter and shorter. People began prodding me about why my pants and shirt were about to burst off of me. I was in sad shape. I was in too deep to care. Oh, I would respect the caring people who would counsel me by saying, "Kenneth, it's okay to have ONLY ONE plateful," but that didn't do it for me. Acting can take you just so far before you nearly face 'food love' withdrawals and you have to have food. Any food. You don't ask who's kitchen she came from. You just crave that warm, soothing, feeling of sitting down to a candle-lit table with a loving food item that you know will satisfy you for that night. And for a few hours, I admit it openly, I felt like a man. Fulfilled. Confident. Ready to face another day.
Then the shame of the next morning's light sneaks into your bedroom. You crawl from bed. Look in the mirror at your face splotched with chocolate stains, spaghetti strands running out of your hair, pizza sauce all over your mouth and to make you feel even lower, cornbread crumbs, big ones, stuck in your chest hair. Yes, that is hitting the bottom. I should know. I have hit the bottom of many 'skillet of cornbread,' in my loose food-loving days. I think I finally broke down and admitted to myself that I was addicted to 'loving foods' the awful, painful morning I awoke in a dingy Motel 6 room with an empty Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on my head, Ritz crackers in my bed, and my pajama's soaked with a large chocolate shake from the night before. I was done. Over with this hard-loving of foods. I looked deeply and honestly into my puffy eyes and said out loud, "Food, I am through with you! Get out!" and fell on my face in the dirty carpet--a broken man. A shameful man. A poor excuse for someone who was raised by parents who taught moderation in all things.
I found my salvation by talking to . . .
moderate weight men and women who had once been where I had been. And frankly, they were all very understanding, considerate and consoling as I sat with tears streaming down my puffed-out cheeks and large girth, the end-results of being over-indulged and carried-away with 'lovin' foods and not knowing or caring how dangerous this lifestyle can really be.
Fortunately, I never had to join Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. With the help of my new under-weight friends, I took it a meal at the time. One serving. One glass of unsweet tea. Or black coffee. Was it easy? No. I would be telling a lie if I said it was. The first few weeks were hard. I mean hard. I had to be watched by these new, caring friends of mine who saw my agony at seeing flying pies and dancing pizza's run around in front of me. I thought I was going to starve. But these caring friends gave me all the Quaker Rice Cakes I wanted to curb the hunger pangs that were running through my body like electricity.
Now, it's a day-to-day walk for me . . .
as I keep myself occupied, busy with positive substitutes to take the place of gorging, 'pigging-out' and other self-degrading acts of 'loving' food. Each day that passes, I am gaining strength to say 'no,' and 'one serving, please,' when I do occasionally dine out. My new friends, even the old friends who still 'love' food to an embarrassing degree, are swept away with amazement with the change that has come over me. But I am quick to maintain an humble posture and not get too prideful with the newer, slimmer 'me.'
And as a final stage of self-therapy, I want to list my all-time food favorites, or the 'food loves,' that are now only a distant aroma and the harmful calories that go with them.
My Regular Food 'Loves' . . .
- CATFISH--FRIED OR FILLET
- PEPPERONI PIZZA
- CHILI DOGS
- COLLARD GREENS
- STOVETOP STUFFING
- SHRIMP GUMBO
- BOLOGNA SANDWICHES
- REGULAR SHARP CHEESE
My Dessert 'Loves' . . .
- PEACH PIES
- APPLE PIES
- CHOCOLATE CAKE
- VANILLA ICE CREAM
Thank you so much for being so caring and understanding with me. I think that we have experienced a true bonding with my confession of my food 'loves.'
I want to talk about now . . .
Sorry, I have to run. I just realized that I am out of Quaker Rice Cakes.