a Guest Post by A-Lotus
French fries—the crispy deep gold covered with a lightly scattered dusting of salt. Their warmth as they spill out of the box—all dipped in a Rorschach pool of ketchup.
Or just like pocky sticks—straight and tall with a soft crunch as you bite into them. No matter the size, I’ll eat them. They remind me of:
Pencils crammed neatly and freshly sharpened in a pencil case. Pick one out and write as if your thoughts were the only food at this very moment.
Maybe that’s one of the very long reasons why I’m an artist and a poet. The power of ink, the power to manipulate, create, or heal with one’s hands. Words are a matter of indulging the human spirit while my French fries indulge cravings of the body.
I had been an artist since I was a child, but my medium wasn’t a pencil but more like colored pencils, crayons, and sidewalk chalk. The playground is big enough for me to experiment with color and pattern.
Everything I pay attention to in this world is a playground and a science lab—a revisit of one’s senses and the appreciation of nature and human nature interacting and rippling small moments, stumbling into events we would never imagine ourselves getting into. I find myself continuously asking questions throughout my life such as: What does it mean? What if this happened? Why? How? Why not?
between these chopsticks
of another thought
I wonder if the types of foods we eat and like tell us who we are. The foods that are our guilty pleasures, our vices, do not necessarily fully define who we are unless we let them take control.
Fries and ketchup—they are my comfort food and often times a treat when I’m beginning or going through my lunar cycle (but it’s not every single time though). French fries with ketchup are remarkably satisfying and give a sense of relief and wholeness with a dash of endorphins, especially when I’m down. They are gold and bright stiletto red—the colors are like lì xì (lucky money in decorated red envelopes) for Lunar New Year.
The colors that mean everything will be prosperous. The colors that bounce off the pavement and swirl in the sunlight with the trees and clouds.
It’s no wonder restaurants use red and gold to stimulate hunger even if you’re not hungry at all.
And then when I’m done with a large order of fries, I find myself sluggish and incredibly thirsty, knowing that I had digested over 500 calories’ worth of empty nutrients but a TON of salt, fat and carbs. Ugh, it sounds gross when you break it down that way, right? Gym time! But I digress. French fries will win my heart over chocolate any day.
However, if you add in ice-cream sandwiches and Vietnamese eggrolls, I’m in heaven. I will savor every bite the way I try to savor every word, every kindness received and given, every experience I encounter with others, and every glimmer of self-discovery.
This is part of the BIG QUESTION series “What is Eating You?” Thank you, Kathy!
A-Lotus, also called Kathy, is a post-baccalaureate nursing student, mental health professional, yogi, a hopeful marathon runner, prolific poet, and a lover of life with too many interests to keep track of.
She is a regular contributor at “Writing Our Way Home.” She wrote this post as one of her last items of online work prior to taking a two-month, internet sabbatical. Once she returns, you can find her lovely haiku, small stones, and generous spirit via twitter at @alotus_poetry. Or come and write with her at Writing Our Way Home.