Food: My Best Frenemy

Food: My Best Frenemy

Food is my best friend and worst enemy. Few pleasures compare to a good meal, and few leave me as wracked with guilt.

I’ve always liked to eat. As a child I rarely had to be encouraged to finish my plate; indeed I would often go back for more. My parents encouraged me, praising my appetite, and I have long sought to feel accepted and secure through praise.

Food became a source of comfort, making up for a dearth of friends. Reliable: a sure rush of pleasure and a slow come-down in the warm afterglow.

I might often feel lonely but I can always rely on eating to take my mind off that for a brief spell, fill the aching void and dull the pain.

And yet…

As I gnaw my way through the pile of food, gnawing back at me from inside comes my guilt. Guilt at overindulgence, guilt for my lack of self-control, guilt for my obesity, guilt for my weakness.

So I purge. Put my finger down my throat as far as I can reach to trigger the gag reflex, make my stomach spasm and eject the food I just ate and that weighed so heavily on my mind.

I keep going until I am dry retching, nothing left, red-faced and struggling for breath. Eyes blurred by tears. I blow my nose, clean up, rinse out my mouth and wash my hands. Realise that the emptiness remains, that the aching remains, that the guilt remains and was not voided along with the food.

My thoughts turn to food again, my desire for comfort warring with what remains of my will. I choose emptiness this time and sit in melancholy silence while the void inside feeds itself on the remains of my tattered soul.

Making A Mark

Making A Mark

I stare accusingly at the blank page in front of me. It doesn’t flinch, but returns my glare with the knowing mockery of one who has engaged in this battle of wills many times before only to emerge triumphant.

“Damned if I’m going to be beaten by a glorified scrap of wood pulp,” I mutter to myself, oblivious to the irony that I am succumbing to its challenge by raising the stakes.

The empty page doesn’t dignify this with a response. Instead it continues to flaunt its unblemished face while mine grows increasingly furrowed by the effort of remaining in this unequal contest.

“To hell with planning!” I cry, grasping my pencil with what I hope is a keen sense of purpose. I move to sketch a bold line, firm right up to the last moment of failing nerve. I hesitate; I am lost. My nemesis sits untouched.

At this point I would usually resign, metaphorically topple my king and step away from the field of combat. But not today. With the vow, “Today will be different!” echoing in my mind I take up arms and head once more unto the breach.

“Aha! Got you!” rings out. I raise my arm in victory as I regard the new mark adorning my erstwhile foe. Phlegmatic in defeat, the page simply accepts its fate without comment as I bask in the glow of success.

On the Red Dot – autism

On the Red Dot – autism

Dawn-joy Leong, accompanied as always by her darling Lucy, speaks eloquently about autism and acceptance on a TV programme broadcast last week in Singapore.

Dawn-joy Leong

Lucy and I were featured on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 – On the Red Dot – last week, 21 July 2017. The programme was about autism in Singapore.

The full programme is at the Toggle site – though I am told that people outside of Singapore may not be able to access the site. Here is the link anyway.

A written article on the programme can be accessed via this link.

For friends wanting a ‘preview’ of my upcoming installation, Clement Space in the City (2017), do check out the videos!

Thank you, The BIG Anxiety Festival, for allowing the preview of my installation; and Moriya Diamond, for letting us use your space and providing such a wonderful teatime spread afterwards!

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