Conversations with Myself – Part 3b

In my last post, I introduced my inner rebel – a type of Food indulger that is motivated by a desire to break rules. The rebel in me is a subtle one, manifesting itself in unconventional ways, but she’s there. Most importantly for our purposes, balking at any rules imposed on my eating habits. Today, I am going to try to speak with her.

The Rebel

We need to talk.

I suppose that is acceptable.

Good. How are you?

How am I?

Yeah. I mean, what’s going on? How are you feeling?

Since you asked so nicely – I feel trapped.


In a cage.


You sound surprised.

Well, I’ve learned that these conversations rarely go as expected, so I came into this with very little preconceptions. But I suppose I was under the impression that you’d kind of had the run of the house, lately.

You think that was me? I mean, really me.

Well, it’s like you. We broke some rules, for no particular reason. I figured you’d be happy about that, at least.

Really. You think eating a little NMF would pacify me.

– I hesitate, wary –

Maybe not, when you put it like that.

Just yesterday – early this morning, actually – you claimed to recognize that I was a significant part of you. Powerful. Where do you think that power comes from? You can’t honestly believe that my strength is born from a desire for something as trivial as food, can you?

No. I don’t think that. I think you’re a much larger part of me. The issue with food is just a piece of it, obviously.

Then why would you think I could be satisfied with it?

Ok. I see what you mean. Food isn’t what you’re really interested in – you want something more.

Much more.

Why don’t I see that, if that’s the case? Why do you get what you want in the area of food, and not elsewhere?

You’re still not understanding. I don’t want food.

You don’t? Then why do you ask for it? Why do I break the bright lines when I have no other reason?

I’m trying to get your attention.

– again, this is not something I was expecting –

Do you have any idea what it’s like, for me? Being constantly restrained? You’ve tied me up and brought me to live in a city, full of people and cars and trains and smog. You’ve forced me to learn things I don’t want to know – to listen to lectures, and read text books, and focus on subjects that mean nothing to me. You’ve stuffed me full of information I don’t care about. Asked me to regurgitate it on demand. For years and years. And for what? You know I wasn’t made for this. I was made for rocks and trees and dirt and endless skies. For adventure and danger. For freedom. I need space to live, to breathe. I’m a wild bird, and you put me in a cage. Knowing full well what it would do to me. I’m suffocating. I’m drowning. I’m dying. And you’re ignoring me. You’re killing me.

I’m not trying to kill you. I know you don’t like school or the city. I don’t like it either. But everyone has to do things they don’t like.

I don’t care what everyone else has to do. I’m not them. I’m me. And other people aren’t like me.

But we’re doing this for a reason. Don’t you remember teaching? We hated that. It was worse than this. You weren’t very happy then, either.

Yes. That was worse.

So I’m not ignoring you. We had to go back to school, but in the end it’ll be worth it. I know it’s been hard. I know it’s not what you want. But it hasn’t been so bad. We got out of the city every weekend, while we were in school. And we’re out of it for good, now. We’re practically living in the country.

Who, exactly, are you trying to convince with this argument? You know perfectly well that this place is not what we need. What kind of country is it, with people everywhere? We’re never alone. There’s always someone watching. We can’t step outside without having to talk to someone. You can’t even leave your room at night to use the washroom without being intercepted. Your time isn’t your own. Your life isn’t your own. You’re surrounded.

It’s just temporary. Just until we pass the board exams.

You always say that. Just a little longer. Everything is temporary.

It will get better.

Will it?

Of course. I’ll be my own boss. We can go wherever we want. We’ll be doing something we’re good at. We’ll be on our own. We can make our own decisions.

Forgive me if I’m not convinced.

Look, I’m not trying to trick you. Honestly. I want the same things you want. I want to be wild and free as much as you do.

Then why aren’t you?

It’s complicated.

You’re 36. If you weren’t so scared –

You think I’m scared?

What else am I to think? You’ve been an adult, with no one else to blame for your choices, for 18 years. And not once have you made a decision that brought you any closer to real freedom. It’s been one cage after another.

– trying to stay calm – to not become defensive –

Do you think I did that on purpose?

I don’t care if you did or not. The result is the same. And I need it to stop.

Look. I’m trying, here. I really am. I’m doing my best. What would you like me to do – run away into the woods? That’s not an option. You need to understand – this world isn’t perfect. Space and freedom aren’t available for the asking. They have to be earned. They take work. They take sacrifice.

I think I’ve sacrificed enough.

Well, you’re going to have to give a little more. You’re going to have to be patient.

I’m telling you, I can’t give any more.

Yes, you can. I know you can. You’ve got it in you. I know it’s hard, but it has to be done. And getting me to eat isn’t going to change that. Food doesn’t satisfy you; it only makes things worse for both of us. It’s one more chain tying us down. If you really want us to be free, you need to give this up. What good will it be, if we finish these exams and head off into the great unknown, saddled with this addiction?

– a moment of hesitation –

Ok. Valid point.

We need to be smart. I know you have good reasons to rebel, but not against the bright lines. We need the bright lines. They’re going to help us find a way out of this mess. We’ll never really be free without them.

I don’t like this. It feels wrong.

I know. It seems contradictory, boundaries making us more free. But I need you to trust me on this.

You don’t have a lot of trust built up, unfortunately.

Ok. Fair enough. Who can you trust?

I’m a rebel. Trust isn’t a big part of my personality.

Why not? It used to be.

And, just like that, I lost her. I don’t think she’s gone, but she doesn’t want to talk to me any more. Not right now. I’m not sure why: maybe she can’t answer the question; maybe she’s just tired – I know I am. This whole process is exhausting. But it isn’t over. I’ll keep looking – and I have no doubt that she’ll have more to say. Just not tonight.

Day 51: Putting Down Rebellion