I am attempting to fast today, my first proper attempt at limiting myself to 500 calories for a day. No this is not true fasting. True fasting would be eating nothing, drinking only water. I’m not doing that, I’m allowing myself to eat a little today. It is not that difficult. I am not forbidden to eat food, I have food available to me. I am not a person starving, being denied food like people living in Yemen. This is a choice. It is a choice because I am replete with everything, because the idea of denial is self-imposed in Western society. We are not supposed to deny ourselves. Television tells us everything is permissible – we can fuck who we like, eat what we like, buy whatever we fancy, use whatever we want, throw away anything that bores us, that we have lost interest in. I find myself increasingly rejecting these tenets of Western lifestyle. I need to be less, to have less, to need less, to want less. But I can only experiment with what is in my daily life. Food, reading, buying, consuming. Consumption, once, was most well known for being a disease. When did it become a positive attribute? Some time before I was born. And I, I believed in it. I submitted to it. I thought my life would be everything I ever wanted if I could only break the bonds of my childhood poverty – relative poverty – and become ‘successful’. Yet it is only recently that I have truly begun to ask myself what success really means. It is nothing that I have achieved.
I am fasting, and in fasting I am thinking of all the ways in which I have been thoughtless, and all the many ways in which I can become grateful. When I eat my evening meal tonight, I will be grateful for my food. It is rare that I am grateful for the abundance of food which is available to me, the ease with which I can sustain my body. In fact I have not been sustaining my body, though my diet is not terrible (yet it could be better). I have been eating for pleasure, out of habit or routine. Fasting is bringing this all into focus. I am not suffering, I do not feel desperate for food though it is quite some time since I’ve last eaten. I am not obsessing about it. I know I could go into my kitchen at any time and make a sandwich. But I won’t. I won’t. I don’t need a sandwich. I need to use the resources that are available to me, the stored body fat, the excess poundage that has crept up over the years because I stopped paying attention.
I’m paying attention now. I am trying, if not fully succeeding, to pay attention to everything. Where I spend my minutes. What I put into my body. How I deal with other people. What I expose my mind to. It is liberating, yet it is the opposite of freedom. I am mindful of these words from Bjork’s song Alarm Call “the less room you give me, the more space I’ve got.” It is a tenet I think I can believe in.