(wrote this yesterday while traveling, and the answer to the title is YES)
I’m on the first leg of my trip. I just landed in the airport of the city where my birth mother lives. (back story: I was adopted as a baby, found her when I was in college, and have had a rollercoaster relationship with her for the past 28 years) It used to be when I stopped in her city for a layover, she would come to the airport, if only for an hour, and would bring me goodies to eat. Talk about food associations! She knew I loved cheese and once brought me an adorable little cheese basket with all sorts of fancy cheese and crackers. Once, she came with my (half) brother and his newborn baby. I have so many associations of very intense, brief meetings in this building; ones that had my adrenaline pouring through my body and leaving me limp on the next flight. I have two hours to lay over here this afternoon. As soon as I stepped into the gate area, I was hit with a rush of emotion and memory. And of course I immediately wanted to eat. And drink (alcohol). I rarely drink and when I do drink, it’s very little, so you know this has to be an extreme situation. I wandered into one restaurant and glanced at the menu briefly. It looked too dangerous so I left. I wouldn’t be able to trust myself to order a salad or something reasonable.
I’m sitting in an isolated little area with some chairs, in between the moving walkways. I have an apple and a mandarin orange in my bag, plus a container of yogurt that smells like it might have exploded in the flight. I’ll eat the orange and see if I feel better. It does help to write it. To write it, write it instead of eating it. This is one of the biggest triggers I have, my relationship with this woman. Breathe. Breathe. Look for the orange.
Aw crap, my yogurt broke. My apple and orange are covered in it. I have to go to the restroom and rinse them off. I wish I had my Beck book with me. I have it but it’s in my checked suitcase. OK, what would she say? You’re not going to die from these emotions. Just feel it. I feel like I am five years old and I am struggling to understand why my mama does not love me. Just got a text message from my daughter. She is holding me up. I can get through this without eating. I have to go wash off my fruit because I really AM hungry.
Epilogue: I ate my orange and some cheese. I talked (texted) with my daughter. She brought me back from the edge. I cried. I wrote. I paced around. And GUESS WHAT? The emotions passed. They really did. And I did not, for once in my life, turn to food for solace.
Ten gold stars, baby.