We’ve started a diet here at Casa de Bassett—nothing groundbreaking, just a protein-and-veggie response to all those watermelons we inhaled over the summer. (I would blame record-breaking temps and a lack of air conditioning, but the truth is that I would eat watermelon in a snowstorm if afforded the opportunity. I am powerless to resist. Thus… Diet.) I have no problem with the figure-friendly meals we’ve been cooking up, but snack time? Folks, snack time is hard. Chips and salsa! my traitor of a brain cheers, bouncing up and down like an expectant three-year-old. Chips and guacamole! Chips and other chips! Tortilla chips! Potato chips! Chocolate chips! Chiiiippppssss! Let me tell you, stale chickpeas and celery sticks lose a great deal of their charm when your taste buds are begging for these.
I’ve stuck with it though, motivated as I am by the chatty mom at school pick-up who asked if I was having a boy this time (!!), and as the snackless days have rolled on, I’ve noticed my mid-afternoon cravings turning toward something very different from food: good old-fashioned human connection. I find myself wanting to simultaneously read every blog entry I’ve missed over the past year and leave warm, engaging comments and call up loved ones on the phone and wade into the Twitter rapids and have a heart to heart with my husband and take the girls on a playdate at the park and reply to long overdue emails and flood the Instagram feeds of the world with a deluge of my newfound present-ness. It makes me think my word for the year—with—has been waiting for just such an opportunity to ambush me.
The fact that this golden relational opportunity is snacklessness though… well, it’s a puzzler, not to mention a disappointing headliner. Chip Deprivation Leads To Deeper Relationships? Celery Inspires Local Introvert To Get Out More? It’s missing a certain panache I look for in my transformation stories.
But one day last week, my mid-afternoon craving led to my writing pages of correspondence, playing with the girls at the park, sharing an hour-long conversation with neighbors, and bumping into not one but two friends bearing birthday invitations… and the result was a feeling of sheer comfort. It was that comfort, that utterly content, my-needs-are-being-met high, which flipped on the light bulb in my head. Of course. Comfort food has been replaced with comfort companionship.
I feel a little unstitched to consider that I might have been substituting deep-fried potato discs for the real and meaningful relationships in my life. I mean, I’m not a binge eater. More often than not, I grab a piece of fruit instead of the chip bag, and I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a particularly complicated or co-dependent relationship with food (aside from watermelon, that is). These words would never escape my lips in reference to any other area of my life, but when it comes to food, I’d say I’m pretty much normal.
Normal doesn’t necessarily translate to healthy though, or at least not the personalized kind of wholeness my life is constantly shifting toward and away from like a paper boat on choppy swells. I started a diet to redistribute my proportions, but it honed in on my time instead, and as I sit here with my lime-water and resolve, it’s not a dwindling waistline that has me mesmerized; it’s this increasing sense of connectedness and the thrill of inhabiting my world more fully. (The dwindling waistline is just a charming side effect to be appreciated and then promptly forgotten come Watermelon Season 2013.)