Valentine’s day, and with a new baby we celebrated at home with an assortment of nice foods: cheeses, pâté, dips, and so on.
I ate more than I think I should have, and I’m regretful for not adhering to my diet. I’m still overweight of course, but while eating I “forgot” and just enjoyed the food, with the excuse of it being a special occasion.
I remember this happening last time. I mentioned in my book that I came up with one simple rule to follow…and immediately broke it.
I broke it many times back then. And that doesn’t sound good. I don’t feel good about failing to follow my rule now either.
And yet failure is not a setback. Observing myself honestly during this failure reinforces the lessons I’m learning.
Because now I can see for myself that yes, I did enjoy the food, but that enjoyment was so brief and fleeting and now I feel bored and empty.
I feel physically full, and it doesn’t feel good. I don’t need the energy for anything, so why did I eat that much? I enjoyed the food but surely there’s more for me to enjoy?
Failure is not a setback because it only demonstrates the truth of our situation. You can break the rules as often as you like, but it will only provide more evidence that overeating is a very meagre short-term source of happiness.
My latest article at MercatorNet is inspired by the fortuitous coincidence of Valentine’s Day and the Christian observance of Ash Wednesday, a day of penance and the beginning of the penitential season of Lent:
The flip side of humiliating oneself with public acts of penance is that we no longer have much of a stake in the prestige and demands of social status.
The worldly values that make sackcloth and ashes humiliating and therefore penant are themselves abjured when we remember who and what we truly are.
Worldly humiliation becomes genuine humility, reflected even in the Latin root of the word humble, from humus meaning ‘earth’ or ‘soil’.
True humility lies in knowing that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. All our worldly affairs, striving, and accomplishments, but also our troubles, fears and dilemmas are but dust.
But this would still be a bit of a downer if that was all there was to life. Our relationships might all be dust, but that doesn’t mean your romantic dinner should turn to ashes in your mouth.
I’ve had this song stuck in my head ever since my editor asked me to write something about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie coming out on Valentine’s Day:
But my latest article on MercatorNet is more interested in the details behind this supposed BDSM publishing phenomenon. Fan fiction, Legomances, and the decline of civilisation? What are you waiting for?
From its first pages Fifty Shades of Grey is firmly situated in the realms of mediocre fan fiction, beginning with an awkward and clichéd scene in which the protagonist helpfully describes her own appearance in the mirror. It continues with a quality of prose and characterisation that would be hard to reconcile with the book’s success but for the knowledge that the “erotic romance” genre is underpinned by readers’ sexual fantasies – in this case, the sexual fantasies of a hundred million Twilight readers already primed for an R-rated elaboration of their favourite tale of forbidden love.