Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sin of the Week: Gluttony


Well, I wonder why I keep forgetting about Kay's Seven Deadly Sins meme. Hmmm... could it have anything to do with the fact that this week's deadly sin is GLUTTONY -- my very favorite and worst and most perpetual of all the sins. Hmmm... I wonder....

I don't want to talk about gluttony. It's a really painful subject and one that I don't have my head screwed on right about. At risk of hawking my own writing (a tragic glutton for readers as well), like the confusion I wrote about earlier this week. The issue of gluttony - which connects directly for me to the issue of weight - is another area in which my mother poisoned my ability to think rationally. My mother started obsessing about my weight almost as soon as I popped out of the womb from what I hear. Well, that's probably (possibly) a bit unfair. The story goes that the doctor gave her the wrong formula and when I was around three months old or so, I got very chubby and broke out in boils... and after that my mother worried about my weight forever. She saw me always as hideously fat and so even before I became hideously fat, I saw myself the same way. Years later in therapy, Dr. Jim asked me to bring photos of myself when I was younger. He saw a normal kid. I saw a little fatty. Oddly even when I was relatively slender, I FELT obese. Now, when I truly am obese, except for the fact that I can't wear cool clothes any more and my knees are peeved at me, not much has changed in how I see myself. The universe has simply opened it's benificent arms and helped me unite my belief about myself with reality. Unfortunately.

But I digress. Eating was a criminal activity in my childhood. My mother was a pretty good cook. I think it was an area where she was able to express her love. She always prepared way too much and then watched every bite I took and made me feel bad for eating. I don't know if I was a glutton. I felt like one, though. I was not (I have to remind myself) obese as a child, as a young adult, or even into my 30s and 40s. Weight was always an issue. I was quite slim in my 20s and early 30s. I'm not sure when I began to gain the weight that shames me even in the privacy of the home I seldom venture out of. After I injured my legs it got worse. But again I digress. This subject sends me into a spiral of circular and insane thinking. Because along with feeling obese even when I wasn't, I was made to feel like a glutton. Hunger is normal but not in my brain. In my brain it's a criminal/sinful activity.

My mother didn't limit her assessment of my sins to just food. She grew up in a very abusive and profoundly destitute home, the 2nd oldest of 8 siblings. She was beaten. She was used as cheap labor. She was sent out to work at the age of 8. Perhaps worst of all, she was neglected in other ways so that she almost died on more than one occasion from medical neglect. She saw me as profoundly spoiled. That I had anything I think angered her on some level and that I sometimes wanted more ... well that was wickedness of the highest order. I grew up believing that wanting - that any kind of desire - was a form of gluttony. I've put a lot of work into shifting that belief. I still struggle with it, but I don't punish myself any more (not as often or as much anyway) when I buy something for myself or when something is given to me. Still, it was only two years ago that I caught myself worrying that my neighbors might hate me and think I was rich because UPS delivered a package to me... or because I got my house painted. I had to work through it - ask myself if I thought those kinds of things when they got deliveries - in order to grasp the utter insanity of my thinking.

So what is gluttony? Eating two pieces of pie? Wanting a new TV that you can't afford? Or is it bilking thousands of people out of billions of dollars. Or is it feeling entitled to a five million dollar bonus for screwing up the lives of half the human race and being baffled when people resent it. Realistically, I'd say it's those latter behaviors that are gluttony. But some days I'm not sure. How sad is that.

I'm just spewing out whatever comes off my fingers here and I'm not going to go back and proofread because if I do, I'll be humiliated and I won't post it.

The best and wisest pastor I ever encountered once had a conversation with me - or maybe it was a sermon he gave - about the meaning of sin. He defined it as "separation from God." I always thought that made more sense than all the nitpicking of petty crimes that so often engages the minds of religious people. I often think that our obsession with viewing ourselves as criminals is one of the things that TRULY separates us from God. God, to me, is pure Love. He/She/It could care less if I'm fat or even greedy or if I lose my temper when I'm tired. Even if I don't approve of or love myself... even if my mother didn't... God loves me all the time simply because that's who/what God is. Sins, I think, are a human invention. The only thing that's truly sinful in my view is being unloving, because being unloving disconnects you from LOVE (though even that doesn't disconnect LOVE from you).

And that's my rambling thoughts on gluttony and other semi-related stuff.

Happy Saturday. Eat hearty and be a glutton for the joy of living. I think God likes that. (Of course, I could be wrong.)

52 comments:

ccorkran said...

Kathrine, I could identify with you sooo much in this post. I don't know what it is about this mother thing and never being good enough. Then if you're lucky, like me, you can have severe abandonment issues from your father. Just try to have a meaningfull relationship with a man when you always set your self up to be abandoned. I adore your Troll. Candace

Deborah Godin said...

Youve expanded on the narrow definition of gluttony so eloquently! Wonderful read!

The Things We Carried said...

very sad. I am always surprised one of the seven deadly sins isn't messing up the heads of one's children...

Nessa said...

Food is such an interesting sin to have. How hard it is to separate our need of it for survival and our need of it for comfort. And somehow I can't conceive of this as the sin of gluttony.

Carletta said...

I think most importantly you touched upon the fact that while gluttony for the most part pertains to food but people can't seem to have enough of toys, entertainment, money, etc.... as well.
As Deborah said - eloquently done!

Deborah Godin said...

Raven, I put up a blog award post today, and you're in it - hope you can stop by! :-)

Dr.John said...

Wow! You do have a lot of baggage to carry.
The best definition for gluttony that I have come across is taking so much of anything that it hurts you or others. By that definition all of your examples are good.
Your right sin seperates us from God but only from our side. It keeps us from seeing Him reaching out to us in love. Which, of course, He is always doing.

jennifer said...

I clicked onto your blog from the blogs of note list by Blogger? Google? I dunno, just check your Dashboard and see for yourself if you haven't already!!

Congrats!

Loveanewidea said...

I'm glad you had the courage to post this. It's good to know there's another "human" out there in the world with me.

Rebecca Woodhead said...

Sorry you've had such a tough time. Congratulations on winning a place on Blogs of Note!

Rebecca
http://frombrain2bookshelf.blogspot.com

icastico said...

Gluttony... and lust...
When good things turn bad?

Marypoppins said...

You write very well, I think.

I had a tough time with my mom, too. After reading your post I wonder if she was difficult partly because of coming out of Oklahoma from the Dust Bowl and having to pick crops when she was 10. Also second oldest... of five. She was alcoholic during my teen and young adult years. Not nice.

Some parents "eat" their own young.

eleanorindistress said...

hi! Im new to blogging because i ignored it in the past. The first blog that i've read is yours. Im gonna have to say that it must've taken alot of courage to put that up.
Im obsessed with my wieght too.i dont shop coz i think i m fat.
thank you for sharing this.

what did lola say? said...

Thank you! what a fabulous way to make a new friend, someone who shares my inability to hold back! for exposing yourself so willingly to those both deserving and not.. I applaud you! beautiful complelling writing..please do not stop!

queen*royalT said...

I can relate to you completely. My mother and your mother could practically be twins!! I myself had to undo the way of thinking that my mother raised me with. Growing up gluttony was her favorite word to use. I never asked for alot growing up, it was always things I needed never things I wanted. And even the things I needed were out of question when it came to my mother. She had a way of making me feel so ungrateful, and she had me thinking that I should just take/accept what ever life chose to give me with no questions. To just be glad I got something at all. I've recently in the last year had to get out of that mentallity. Know that you deserve the best, that's what god wants for us all. You are very brave for openly dealing with this troublesome childhood demon. And just like me you must learn to live with the statement that: you are entitled to every and anything in this world. The only thing that can get in your way is " you and your thoughts." change the way you see things and the world is yours for the taking my love.

fare the well

A queen T with style.

Lady Euphoria Deathwatch said...

Hi Raven,

I just found you through the Blog's of Note space on blogger. I am very glad you were the pick of the day.

I aspire to write but do it badly. And I have to say I just love your writing challenge. I'll be back for more.

Your words on sin have just inspired me. I can't be anything but changed from this moment on. You have pierced a place long guarded in my soul from my own childhood.

I look forward to reading more in the future. Consider yourself followed.

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria

Chantel said...

You write beautifully well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, and am grateful for the open and honest way in which you shared your story.

Claire said...

Hi Raven, I've just come through from the Blogs of Note section and am so glad I did, this is a beautiful, sad expansion on one word and how it relates to you. As someone who struggles with their weight I can certainly relate to some of this...I also LOVE what you had to say about God's Love and I completely agree.

Sierra Night Tide said...

I remeber those green haired cuties! I loved the pencil ones.

holly said...

It was my father who made nasty comments on my weight and I have never forgotten one word or the tone used to say them. Sad that we can't always let go of their deficiencies to accept ourselves as we are.

Am enjoying your posts!

fritopi said...

wow. that is the perfect way to describe sin.

Seven Sinner said...

OMG
I love this post.
My mom is so concerned about my weight. i'm going through puberty. Lay off. Hahaha. I completely agree with you. I'm in love with all the sins and have committed all of them at least once (besides lust). Gluttony can be taken in so many ways. The seven deadly sins are also where I got my Blogger name "Seven Sinner" hahaha. You should check out my blog. http://the-runaway-star-seven-sinner.blogspot.com/

Micki said...

I would like to encourage you to read The Shack if you haven't already. You can order it online: http://www.theshackbook.com/

Loved your post. As many can, I too relate. Thanks for sharing you've inspired me to write about my struggles as well.

Can't wait to check out your blog more!

Perplexed said...

Hello Raven,
I love your raw human emotion and selfless confession. I enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to future blogs. Congrats on the Blog of note and keep looking up.

the caffeind friend said...

That was actually very interesting to think about in depth thanks :D

btw first time to your blog im subscribing

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Just before signing off, I checked Blogs of Note and clicked on yours. First, Congratulations and Second, you have such an honest open, just talking with yourself way that is both accessible and helpful. I will return and learn much, I feel.

Moira said...

I think it might slightly less than semi, in some cases, but ceratinly interesting/important/insprirational stuff.

nollyposh said...

Great post Raven X:-)
You'll probably be bombarded by heaps of comments because your blog has bee voted a "Blog of Note" by e-blogger... and i'm glad because it gave me the chance to 'meet' you...
If it's okay i'll pop back and say "HI" again as i like what you have to say & the eloquent way you say it... Oh & you made me laugh X:-) Thanks X:-)

Naufal Afif Pangestu said...

Glad to have made your acquaintance from me, I still in the studying stage for blog http://blogafif.blogspot.com requested the guidance

quilly said...

Dr. John took my words, and he said them better than I likely would have. Gluttony is taking more than one's fair share -- especially at the expense of others.

You need to reprogram those tapes in your head. I was told I was stupid so often as a child, that my report cards (A's & B's) meant nothing to me. I actually thought I was just a lucky test taker. Then as an adult I decided to go to college, but I knew I was programmed to fail.

I taped positive affirmations all over my house. I read them out loud every time my eye fell on one. I had a whole speech I gave myself in the bathroom mirror twice a day. It worked. I made it through school and graduated at the top of my class. That WASN'T lucky test taking!

Frances Farmer said...

I stumbled upon your blog and read this first post, and at the risk of sounding like many of your other replies, I must admit that I can totally relate to your relationship with your family and your weight. My grandmother gives me hell all the time, so much that the rest of my family does it too. It's bad enough growing with that and thinking you're not beautiful. Whenever something fails, I never stop to think that it was a small detail that made it fall apart, I always think it's because of the way I look. I know I'm not ugly, but I feel like it.

One thing to remember though is that you're not the only one who feels like that. You're not the only one who has not been told you're beautiful by the person who should say it most.

In today's society, what is beautiful anyway? Is it even enough? My grandmother not only gives me hell about my weight, she gives everyone in the family hell about something. What's funny though is that no matter what we do to "better" ourselves, it's just never good enough for her. What does that teach? No matter what you do will ever satisfy society. Is that a bad thing? No, because your purpose is not to satisfy society. You are not a performing monkey. You are here to satisfy your own self by living the fullest and happiest life you can.

GARENG said...

I'm very interested ....

blessingsgoddess said...

I like your idea of being a glutton for the joy of living.

Therese said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog while I was browsing through blogger.... I think lots of children grow up being scarred by what their parents say or do... It's a sad, sad thing....

thepianoplayersdaughter said...

Amazing story.Thanks. Very moving. I hope you can come and visit my blog for a cup of tea and a read. I have five!Hosted on blog catalogue if you cant find me.

rebecca said...

just stopped by to congratulate you on making it to bloggers "blogs of note!" woo-hoo! congrats, again!

5322104238 said...

deneme

a said...

Well said - check out my views on the subject if you like

a said...

www.helpyouheal.blogspot.com

Carletta said...

Congratulations my friend!
Blog of Note - impressive!!!!

erika said...

Like orson Welles said- Gluttony is not a secret vice.

Ciaran Lynch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ciaran Lynch said...

Hi, I just want to add to the many other thoughts left here. There is a lot of love in the world but it takes a certain specialness to help show its face. Your post here has that specialness. Thank you.

The villager: said...

As your picture says....nobody's perfect, which is true of us all !

Stephantom said...

Hi Raven, I am new to all of this blogging and was just thrilled that yours was the first I happened upon. Your honesy has definately affected the way I will blog in the future. Thanks!

वन्दना अवस्थी दुबे said...

wow.........beatiful....

Kiss or Kill said...

thank you for this.

Tim~ said...

Great post! Beautifully written =) The only thing that truly heals is the power of love.

My Year Without said...

It's very brave of you to write about this subject. For some reason, the act of gluttony seems socially acceptable as long as no one talks about it. In fact, group gluttony is the most socially acceptable kind. Thanksgiving, eating Halloween candy, dinners out with friends, etc.

The most anyone usually says after "committing" gluttony is, "I wish I hadn't eaten this much," to which others will affirm and nod and agree. Then the subject always changes.

Gluttony is pretty bad, but we all do it. It's extremely difficult to eat in moderation in our culture, where MORE is perceived as BETTER.

Thanks for bringing up a sore subject in a very graceful manner.

Aishu said...

It is the most thoughtful piece I have EVER seen! So beautiful. My whole family teases me about being fat. But, thanks to this article, I don't have to feel guilty about being fat... The most important thing is being connected to God/Love. :) Thanks. Even though I am younger than you, I will say "God Bless".

nanoversiegelung said...

Funny,, my daughter orginal have that puppet. The world is smaller like a village ;)

Anonymous said...

How I feel great happy to find an excellent blog here,thank you,my dear friend!Appreciating your blog is a great joy for me!I think I will be a regular visitor of your blog!Let’s make good friends,ok?Let me introduce my hobby to share with you first!
Air jordan 1 shoes
Air jordan 2 shoes
Air jordan 3 shoes
Air jordan 4 shoes
Air jordan 5 shoes
Air jordan 6 shoes
Air jordan 7 shoes
Air jordan 8 shoes
Air jordan 9 shoes