Our Vices and How We Feed Them

Dear You,

Being single in the midwest is like living outside of a fast food restaurant with a revolving door. The restaurant never closes. And the food is always shockingly delicious once you take a bite. You know that the food is not good for you, but you consistently go inside to get out of the cold of loneliness or perceived depression. You want a milk shake or a greasy burger, just to give your brain a spark of serotonin. You know that the high will only last as long as the food is digesting, and eventually that you will have to come back down and face the world. You will have to go back outside, to the cold concrete sidewalk. With a bit of luck, there will be a Ronald McDonald statue sitting on bench that you can talk to.

My previous addictions:
Cigarettes; movies (both in theater and on DVD); books that sat on my bookcase for three years while I continually told myself that it was going to be the next one that I read until I bought a book I was more interested in; t-shirts with funny or iconic images or text that tell the person in front of me exactly who I am that day; Lindsey Lohan; and writing.

Current addictions:
Witty comments on Friends’  Facebook posts, coffee, actively seeking a woman to replace my ex, television shows and films about relationships; giving unneeded books and clothes to the Salvation Army; expanding my musical interests; Shailene Woodley;  and writing .

I classify these as addictions because they are the vices that make me feel good, if only for a short period of time. Other people have all sorts of addictions, whether they are harmful or not: food when you are bored; a new piece of clothing when your self-esteem is low; Facebook; heroine. The list could go on until I run out of words.

And this not just a symptom of single people. This is a symptom of people (I suspect) that get little to no reward from their job except the money in their bank account that is only temporary because they need to pay for their iPhone, Android, Netflix, Hulu, HBO — car payment, car insurance, oil changes, unfixed mortgages, clean water, the fucking washing machine, a new couch cushion because the damn dog chewed a hole in it, food, the new food, the junk food, milk for your bones, tea to sleep, coffee to wake your ass up in the morning, packets of powder you put in your water to increase the number of vitamins in your body and give you an extra boost! of energy throughout the day, a new bathing suit because you plan to go to the beach sometime in the next six months, a new belt because it is worn out or too small, new socks (I will always support), books to keep you distracted from TV, new movies that just came out on DVD that you will watch one and then use the cases as your personal-taste trophies on your shelf (the same goes for books), candy, toothpaste.

Where was I?

Oh yes. My theory is that we are addicted to so many things in the world because we are used to the high doses of happy hormones: serotonin (when you eat), oxytocin (when you cuddle), dopamine (when you are anticipating something good), and endorphins (when you push yourself to run a bit farther or work a little harder)*. That is only natural for living beings to want good chemicals in their brain. But when our day is saturated with TV ads, Facebook feeds, and other sources of these hormones, it feels worse when we try to break away from them. Even though, it is most likely healthier to not have an over abundance of these hormones.

So, my point of the previous two paragraphs was to illustrate our conundrum of a saturated American life. We need money to acquire all these devices and items that will keep our happy hormones levels above normal. Because if they are just normal or below normal (which inevitably  will occur), we feel like there is something wrong with us. If we are not happy all the time then we are not normal humans and thus (instinctually) we seek out experiences that will bring us back to normal. Hence, the revolving door of fast food. We know it is bad for us, but it makes us feel good every time we take a bite. We don’t know how to exist without the happy hormones.

My ex and I have been separated for almost two years now, which seems like enough time to get over anyone. But we have not stopped talking/texting or having sex on the infrequent occasions that we see each other. So really, we have not been separated at all. Not emotionally. Which is key. That is why I have decided to cut her off completely. It is the only way to adapt to being outside of fast food. We both have said that we are each others’ drug — our addiction that we can’t get away from. Our main drug was oxytocin, the cuddle drug. The making out drug. The feeling when the one you love touches your shoulder. She has proven harder to get over than cigarettes. But hopefully this blog will help me be happy being outside the fast food restaurant.

Criteria of Future Mate:

2. She will must only eat fast food on rare occasions (preferably when we are drunk or hungover). And she probably shouldn’t smoke cigarettes; I don’t need to start again. Vaping is accepted.

* Reference: 4 Chemicals that Activate Happiness, and How to Gamify Them

Note: This blog weighs ten meters. 


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