I read recently that when asked to associate a word with “chocolate cake,” Americans’ most commonly answered “guilt.” The French responded with “celebration.”
I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this past Sunday, my third half thus far, and it got me hungry for sweets. I do not usually eat desserts because I’m more a savory gal than a sweets gal, but also because I know it’s “bad” for me; afterwards I feel like a failure. I started running five years ago as part of a weight loss journey that I’m now evolved enough to refer to as a “journey to health.” So it was totally weird when, in the middle of mile eight, a craving for something gooey and sweet and baked hit all of a sudden. It gnawed at my stomach throughout those last few miles. I twice ran past goofy spectators offering small cups of free beer because the through of that bitter drink was the opposite of what I wanted.
So I ate a banana at the finish line buffet.
The day after the race, I received word that an essay comprised of the opening to my book, White and Working On It, will be published this fall by Waxwing, the journal where I thought it would be most at home. It was amazing news, but only allowed myself a few hours to enjoy before scolding myself to get back to work on the query and proposal I’ll need to show agents as I shop the book around. Get to work, back to work, get to work.
Why am I so hard on myself? Why push so hard if I never allow myself a reward or even a celebration?
So I came to the bookstore tonight for coffee and some time for uninterrupted work, a kind of reward all on its own, and I added a piece of red velvet cheesecake to my order. If I’m gonna keep at this, I’m gonna eat the damn cake.