Let’s stop apologizing for being hungry.
I mean hungry in the spiritual, emotional sense, but I also mean hungry in the physical sense. If you’re a man, maybe you never felt like you had to rationalize what you ate to someone else. Like, someone else outside your own body.
It’s absurd, but it’s a social norm. Every woman knows what I’m talking about when I say “food policing”.
And it’s so incredibly destructive. For one thing, it perpetuates the idea that somehow your body is not your dominion, that anyone from utter strangers to your mother-in-law should have a say in what goes in it – there is that.
But it also fosters the idea that somehow we’re not supposed to need anything, that somehow our hunger is evil or, worse, inconvenient to others.
I don’t think food policing is about food at all. I think it’s about a fear that if we listen to our hunger, follow it, make space for it in our lives, we will become something spectacular and wild, larger than life. We won’t fit – not in our jeans, not in society. We’re afraid that if we listen to our hunger we’ll be chasing it all our lives.
All of those fears are valid, because all of those things are true. Ok, maybe I can’t speak for your jeans, but I can tell you that following your passion will utterly transform you. And I can tell you that who you will become, the enormity of it, will shock and scare you sometimes.
It will shatter that tiny box you’re supposed to fit in and you’ll never be able to go back.
I live my life hungry.
Hungry for good food and meaningful connection, for Pollock paintings and poetry, for family road trips and novels and the sound of my congregation saying the Nicene Creed.
I am often hungry for the Psalms, for the sound of wind in a winter-quiet forest and the feeling of snow crunching under my boots.
I am hungry for fried catfish and hushpuppies eaten beside a slow, brown river in rural Alabama.
I’m hungry for the smell of fresh-cut Christmas trees and the feeling of security when my husband slides into bed and wraps me, half waking, in his arms.
I am hungry for summer storms, for warm soup on a cold day, for old hymns and old books.
I am hungry for the Smokey Mountains, the way they look in the morning before the mist is burnt off by the sun.
I am hungry for justice, for the country I see and the country I think we could be to be one-in-the-same.
I am hungry for Spirit like I am hungry for air to breathe.
Early in my life, I pursued these hungers furtively. Now I run after them, throwing my whole Pisces heart at them with zero grace or dignity.
It makes for a pretty vulnerable state of living. People who are running don’t have time to build walls.
They also don’t have energy to worry what other people think or how moral they are, on a scale of one to ten.
To be hungry is to be alive and awake, and alive, awake people threaten the status quo. Society should be afraid. It’s a matter of its own survival that it keep our hunger under control.
It’s a matter of our survival to stay hungry.