I have a tendency to do pathetic things.
Sometimes, I find myself in grocery stores on melancholy nights, buying family-size boxes of macaroni and cheese for only myself, or ordering Chinese take-out at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday. I’ll be in a place where the only “proper” course of action is to buy comfort food and catatonically take in Netflix. Everyone does it.
Or, okay, maybe not everyone does it. But people like me who have a tendency to eat through misery do. Whenever these occurrences happen, I always wonder - on a scale from one to ten, how pathetic do I look to other people? What are grocery store people thinking, as they watch me pick up various cans of Chef Boyardee, looking like I hate everything about what’s happening? What does the delivery guy think, when I answer the door at almost 2 p.m., still in pajamas and without even a thought of make up near my face?
I know what I would think. ”Wow. That is one sad, lonely chick.” If I were the delivery guy, I might even wonder after my suicide risk.
One day, I’ll explain myself to him. I’ll answer the door, disheveled and proud, and look him dead in the eye as I grab my kung-pow chicken. I’ll say, “Look, I don’t normally do this. It’s just been a really rough day, and all I want to do is eat and watch TV in my bed so I don’t have to deal with it anymore.” He’ll be confused and feel very awkward.
“….Sorry to hear that. I just need a signature, here, for the card information…”
“Sure, sure. And just so you know, there aren’t any cats in here. And I do have a job. And friends. I actually have a lot of friends. There’s even this guy who loves me. So like, don’t worry about me. I’m fine.”
I can’t make up a line of imaginary dialogue for him here, because I can’t fathom how an actual person would respond to that.
I’m never entirely comfortable with these rituals, even though I go long periods of time without performing them. They always signify I’ve reached a certain stage of self-loathing where I resign myself to it. I’ve quit the fight, and there are no more, “listen to your favorite song and go for a walk!” options available. I’m simply going to stew. And eat. And hate. And maybe weep over my MSG or cheesy noodles. The whole thing is incredibly unhealthy, both emotionally and physically (considering each hateful bite goes straight to my hateful thigh).
I wish, when teetering on the edge of gluttonous depression, I’d stop myself since I know the process doesn’t help. It makes me feel weak because I can’t overcome my urges; worthless because I can’t do anything else; and shameful because I can’t believe what I’m doing. Yet, I still indulge, in order to “make myself feel better,” all while chewing further into a pit of saturated-fat despair.
Why is this the case? One would think recognizing such a glaring incongruity would stop the madness. But it doesn’t, in just another example of what depression can really do - override logic. When the brain isn’t cloaked in black, it understands proper courses of action. However, thrown into shadow, it begins to panic. Gears aren’t turning correctly, so it tries to run smoothly again by following whims and first impulses. If Freud were here, he’d say the eating is a manifestation of my id.
But he’s not. So I’ll just call it what I think it is - pathetic.