I am always hungry.
When I’m not paying attention and being all slowfoodmovementgeneenroth I eat food in great gulps like a burning building eats air.
Sometimes I eat while consuming books and television and news feeds.
I scarf up attention, validation, love and any semblance of stability or meaning with equal voracity.
Of course, it’s horrifying to say out loud that I’d ever scarf up attention. Out of all of those things I listed that one is such a dirty word. Unless it’s something we are giving to someone else. Because everyone else deserves it — our children, our partners, anyone who is talking… YOU’RE A GOOD LISTENER RIGHT?
We end up exhausted, empty.
A quick little word association with the word “attention” brings up another – ahem- word that isn’t very nice.
Totally distracting aside conversation that I had with a person the other day:
Person: Last name?
Person: Is that spelled, W-H-O-R…
Yeah. Exactly. Women aren’t supposed to be hungry like that.
But attention is affection. It’s connection. It’s someone saying, “I see you. You are here. You’re still okay.”
Who doesn’t need that?
We all need nourishment on every single level – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.
Hunger itself isn’t bad. Hunger is healthy. Hunger is the impetus to get your needs met.
It’s when we deny that we have needs – I DO NOT NEED ATTENTION – that our hungers get distorted and we start trying to get them met in backhanded ways. Seeking chaos, shame enabling, substances or a co-dependent relationship to our pain.
Hunger can be a vague mass of unbearable discomfort, or a spectrum of different, clarified needs with more subtle solutions. The difference is in your affection and your care.
Your hunger is tender. It makes you passionate, keeps you from stagnating.
Let’s be hungry for art, inspiration, equanimity, justice and to see each other succeed. Let’s be hungry for joy and satisfaction. Let’s tell our sweaty, bloody, tear-streaked and truest stories of body and heart hunger.
Articulating your brave stories frees the hungry voices of others.
“Within your audience is an unspoken hunger for something for which they have not yet found words and may not even know is possible.” – Brene Brown
Keep breathing and being moderate and mindful, of course. But be hungry. You’re allowed.
I see you. You are here. And you are still okay.
image by artist Curtis Kulig