Eating a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Treating yourself to chocolate eclairs, chocolate anything really. Getting pizza delivered and the next thing you know the entire pie is gone. This is the cliché diet of the heartbroken. Yours truly had her heart broken and ten days later went to work at the New York State Fair. This was a literal recipe for disaster.
The State Fair is notorious, some would say renown, for its food. Ice cream is every where, as diary is one of the state’s most prominent products. There is the novelty of deep-frying things one would never imagine could be deep-fried: oreos, Snickers, Reeses’, pop tarts. As if that weren’t enough, they take it to a mind-boggling (and mouth-watering/stomach-wrenching depending on perspective) level of indulgence with chocolate-covered bacon and donut burgers.
So did I eat ice cream, fried food, and chocolate for two weeks straight? Am I to return to New York weighing 20 extra pounds? Is the inevitable run-in with the ex going to result in him thinking, “Oh wow, she is clearly handling this by eating her emotions. Yikes.”
The last words he ever spoke to me, in fact, were on this subject. “Have fun at the State Fair,” he said, “Don’t eat the food.” It was said with humor, but since these literally were his last words to me, they hammered in my brain. Don’t tell me what to do! was my initial response. My spiteful side wanted to say, “Fuck you! You have no affect on my life now! I’ll eat it all if I want!” This resolve would be followed by gorging myself in a sad, sad action of In fact, I’m gonna do the opposite of what you told me to! Ha! You can take your command and shove it up your ass! Of course, my ass is what would’ve been affected. By “affected” I mean expanded, ballooned, billowed.
A woman’s brain when hopped up on rejection and heartache verges on crazy. Fortunately, my brain takes crazy to the absolute extreme. After resolving to eat everything I saw at the fair simply to spite my ex, I had another thought. This is a man who knows me well. Who knows that I respond poorly to commands. Who has in fact witnessed me responding to a command in a contrary fashion, the action of “Don’t tell me what to do” speaking louder than words.
This is how I saved myself from bingeing on nutritionally void food. My crazy mind was able to convince myself that this was his hope all along. A reverse psychology master plan: telling me not to eat fair food so I would do the opposite, gain 50 pounds and spend the rest of my life fat, oily, and alone! He’d never regret dumping me, friends would no longer think him a fool for letting me go. That’s the logic of crazy-lady-brain working in overdrive.
Whatever works, right? Avoiding the food was easy the first couple of days. I was still hurting, the heartache still acute, my brain abuzz with crazy-lady thoughts. At the mid-way point I conceded to one sampling of maple ice cream. Made with real maple syrup, it was fantastic. By the time the fair was wrapping up, my heart was well on the way to recovery. The bat-shit thoughts dwindling to few and far between. My resolve no longer fueled by scorn, my taste buds begged me to make up for lost time.
I was this close to making a meal out of the contents of a pastry case. But before I could follow through, I came across something while walking through the streets of the fair:
Just in case you can’t comprehend the picture, that my friends, is a man with a dread. A single dread. Strikes dread into your heart doesn’t it? This sight completely took away my appetite for anything. Ever. I’m amazed I’ve eaten since. Those times I’m feeling low, where in the past I would have reached to food for comfort? Now I just look at this picture and any desire for food vanishes.
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