to be hungry


It is difficult, surely, to feel an uncomfortable feeling and not try to move it, fade it, or fix it. Isn’t that what so many self-help books promise – the allure of “making it all better”? Like children with scraped knees, we look for the kiss from Mom, and we ask Dad to come into our room and remove the monsters from under the bed. But what if there was a more powerful lesson to be learned from letting the figurative injury settle for a little while? Could there be power in remaining in the uncomfortable place for a little longer than we think we can? Should we hold this like we hold a forward bend in yoga – allow our muscles to relax and extend just past the point when they cry for a little mercy? What if there is power in difficult moments too, and a catharsis to follow?

These days, we have a seemingly endless supply of distractions that aim ever-so-kindly to insure that we are never bored, uncomfortable, distraught, or hungry. At every turn there is something to take away what ails you – whether that magic pill is actually a pill matters not, for it’s not the remedy we ultimately want. What we want is to leave the betwixt and between point that is so uncomfortable. We’ll scratch anything to get out, and so it’s not the thing itself that we want – we don’t care that we’re holding a wooden spoon; we care whether or not it helps us silence the itch we can’t reach.

I think about this as I search for writing ideas. My mind scrambles and I hurriedly try to scratch the itch, to figure out some way away from this horrible no man’s land. A veritable desert of ideas is all that answers me. In an effort to shield myself from the sand blowing across my face, I begin reading and am struck by one line: what if this moment is enough? 

At first I scoff, but then I allow the words to hit me squarely between the eyes. It’s true, isn’t it? I think. Even with all the shortcomings I can perceive in it, this moment is enough. Though we ultimately need to reach the calmer seas, and we need to get out of the desert…for a little while, these in between moments are enough. It is enough, sometimes, to feel the discomfort for a time before we aim to fix it, or at least to recognize its value for a fleeting moment. With this realization, I take a moment to calm down and I remind myself that it is OK…  to allow myself to be hungry.

~Lindsey Anne Toledo

Lindsey Anne Toledo is a writer and the owner of the fantastic Black Bird Tea Co based in Seatle