It was a nice idea... but it was nearly two years ago. I'm not sure I remember the story. Either it wasn't such a stroke of genius that it left me with a lightning-bolt scar on my memory, or I have SO MANY fantastic ideas that it is a mere flicker in a city of lights. Maybe we'll find out someday, but for now, I am taking my phrase apart to reveal what it's about (and maybe what I'm about, and maybe even what you're about).
Craving comes from a scarcity mentality. I have been craving (food, attention, touch, intimacy, security) for most of my life. I do have a modicum of self-control, but I didn't trust (a) myself with my desires, or (b) the universe to provide for me. One way that I played that out was by developing a binge-eating disorder. Associating cravings with bingeing is not a big leap, but I used food for so many years to keep my real feelings (and non-food cravings) in check, it took a long time to be able to recognize the subtleties of cravings. I'm still in treatment, and it's still a process.
When I was craving food, or escape, or desperately trying to understand what was wrong with someone else that they weren't giving me what I craved emotionally, I started to ask myself what I was really craving. There are all sorts of ways to get at true emotions, and for me, equating them with cravings made them something I could relate to. Craving? I know all about craving.
In middle school, I would crave a particular food-- a chocolate malt, or a banana split-- and the feeling of needing to have it would overwhelm me. I would whine and carry on. Sometimes I got what I wanted, sometimes I didn't. Not only that, the Perfectionist was at work. She knew exactly what constituted the perfect banana split, and if a sauce ended up on the wrong scoop of ice cream or there was only half a cherry instead of three whole cherries, with stems, one on each scoop, the Perfectionist was disappointed. It's easy to see, now, that I was setting myself up for failure, but I didn't know. I didn't even know the word "perfectionist" until my eighth grade English teacher took me out in the hall to let me cry away from my peers. I had gotten a zero on my poem about cucumbers. I was overwhelmed, and when he used the word "perfectionist," I knew it was right on-- and it also felt like the right thing to be. What else could I be?
These are episodes in my life story where my cravings culminate in binges.
Finding out what I really crave, and reminding myself that I am good enough to get it, or that I deserve it even if I don't get it, has been the crux of, well, years of therapy. Every craving came from a sense of lack. The switch flipped for me when I found that if I could identify what I was craving, even if I felt that I had nothing to give, I could give the littlest bit of it. If I could give it, that meant it existed, and it (I) was enough. Cue the music ("Constant Craving," of course).
Come back for Part II, the "give" part of Give What You Crave.