in search of comfort

Well, today’s events have landed in my world with a disheartening thud–and I am some mix of stunned, rage-fueled, and darkly optimistic.  My father’s wry, gallows humor has shown up to volley some deathly morbid sarcasm.  And I realized I literally haven’t laughed in a week.  That’s like unheard of.  My sweet kitties seem to be on to the fact that Mama needs their kisses as they’ve been ever closer since I woke up Tuesday morning.  And every day this week has started with me–uncharacteristically–picking up each of them, burying my face in their necks, booping heads, and talking in my kitty voice.  These little balls of love have no idea how much their existence means to me, and I am so grateful for their distraction.

Self-care this week has been an interesting mix of hibernating (which is sort of normal), measured bouts of social media engagement, tech withdrawal, and coming together with the people I call family–though we share no blood.  It has been listening to my friend fret about his aging parents who now may not be safe.  It’s been listening to friends tell me of violence done to them this week because this election has emboldened some assholes.  Mostly, it’s been letting myself have room to breathe–questioning my own feelings of anger–and finding that I am usually able to transcend my fear and my own hate toward those who caused this mess.

I’ve tried to sleep–to varying degrees of success.  I’ve drank far too much Coca Cola.  But that’s nothing new.  I ate moderately well.  But tonight, a friend posted that she needed emergency junk–and man, I could relate.  So, on Tuesday–aka bonus day–I will be revisiting my childhood and giving myself a day to be 12.

It’s funny–when I was 12 or 7 or whatever age you want to pick–these foods were just normal things.  Before I had nutritional knowledge to recognize junk.  Many of these things were awful things I felt I had to endure.  And now, they feel like hugs.

My comfort is probably not your comfort.  But I thought I’d reminisce a bit.

Some Saturdays, my best friend from those days back in Westwood would work alongside her father at the flea market, selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.  He was a salesman and basically only took her with him because her sad face made people pity him and buy his crap.  He was basically the worst father ever.  I bet he voted for Trump, if he’s still alive–which, given his rampant alcoholism, is questionable.

But he paid her–so, on those nights, we would walk to the corner store and buy things.  Jiffy Pop, orange slices, poprocks, soda of all kinds, dixie cups, giant dill pickles, Totinos or Tony’s pepperoni pizza, FunYuns.  Those were the usual suspects.  Other nostalgic foods for me?  Ice cream sandwiches, Big Macs, KFC cole slaw, strawberry shortcake made with angel food, white rice with cinnamon sugar and milk, cinnamon toast, plain hot black tea with lots of sugar, instant coffee with tons of milk and sugar, International Coffees (french vanilla), spaghetti and cheese made with fake Velveeta, lime jello with pineapple, Swiss Cake rolls, queso in a can.  Toasted bread with unmelted Velveeta, Miracle Whip, and sliced dill pickles.  Giant glasses of whole milk, sometimes with Hershey’s syrup drizzled in.  Homemade fudge.  Apple cider.  Limes. Cherry freeze cups (or basically frozen Kool-Aid).  Rocky Road Candy bars.  Caramels in the little wrappers.  Gum tape.  All kinds of gum, actually.  Every candy ever made ever.  Lunchables with the dill sauce.  Giant salads.  Fruit salad.  Stuffing.  Cranberry sauce shaped like a can.  Roasted green chilis.  Lumpia with sweet and sour sauce. Fake crab cheese wontons. Cabbage rolls. A big ole hunk of boiled cabbage with tons of pepper.  White bread baked with butter until toasty and brown.  Cracker cookies. Kraft mac & cheese–only not like most people make it.  Chopped ham slices.  Apples and peanut butter.  Carrot ribbons slathered with peanut butter and dotted with raisins then rolled like sushi.  Cinnamon buns.  Spanish rice.  Potatoes every which way.  My daddy’s cornbread.  The thickest chocolate milk shake ever. Tamales and burritos from that lady.  Palletas.  Cherries.  Watermelon.  Rings of pineapple.  Orange juice with extra pulp.  Saltines with honey and peanut butter.  Underripe bananas.  Farina with extra lumps. Red apples.  Oranges.  Dum Dums. Jolly Rancher sticks (green apple & cherry esp).  Cheeseburger subs with extra pepper relish from All-V’s.  Cheese fries.  Smothered green chile on everything.  Eggs.  Maraschino cherries. Shrimp ramen (haha…no shrimp in there…I’m allergic…I can confirm). Brussel sprouts.  Lasagna. Meatloaf made with mushroom soup and stuffing.  Soup of all persuasions.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something.  On Tuesday, I am going to see what nostalgic comfort I can drum up.  I might make this a weekly thing until this national nightmare is over.  What are you eating these days that feels like hugs to you?

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