You and I have been entwined in this relationship for as long as I can remember. Indeed, I cannot remember a time when you weren’t part of my life, making your presence known.
Some of my earliest memories involve you and your irresistible charm – sitting on my grandmother’s kitchen bench watching her mix the cake dough, gently stirring the plum jam, boiling the field potatoes, pickling the radishes, curing the cold cuts… “Mutti, Es schmeckt herrlich!” But your heavenly flavours were tempered with a bitter touch – crying over my brussels sprouts, forcing liver past my gag reflex, blocking my nose at the pumpkin on my plate, stuffing every last crumb into my mouth lest My mother’s memories of hunger burn her soul again.
For many years you have served me well. You have been a comfort, a hiding place, a panacea to all my ills, and yet you have also been a torment, a vulnerability, the source of so many ills. In loving you I have become weak. I have fought you, and you have won. I have deserted you and you have haunted my dreams. I have tried to regiment the way we met, but you have always succeeded in taking over.
In times of stress, of sorrow, of celebration and joy, you have been my false friend. You have been my lover in loneliness and my rock in weakness. When the mirror has shone on my darkest parts, I have hidden in you, Food, in the layers of fat that now weigh me down.
This has become a relationship of tyranny and I cannot be bullied by you any longer. So, today I break free. Today I learn to be my own strength, without a mouthful of whatever you put in my path.
Today I am filing for divorce.
I no longer need your brand of sickening comfort – I am supported.
I no longer need your brand of mindless escape – I am happy.
I no longer need you as my master – I am in control.
And so, as soon as I finish this last pack of chips and that litre of ice cream, I will not be turning to you again. You will nourish my body, you will service my energy needs, but you will never again be my lover.
Good grief! Is that Mint Slice on special? That’s just not fair…