09 July 2008

Struck by Humanity

Today, the kids and I toured the museum district in downtown Beaumont. We had a pretty nice time which I'll post more about and share some pictures and maybe even a little video later. At the end of our afternoon, it started to rain. Not just any rain, Texas rain. A summer thunderstorm. Since I didn't want to make the hours drive home in that mess, we decided to sit it out in the movie theater and see Hancock.
This isn't a movie review. This is a story about how something in that seemingly slapstick, action movie hit me right between the eyes and made me burst into tears. It has to do with eating. (disclaimer: this is not a diet post and there are no spoilers here as the scene that struck me was fairly insignificant)
There is a scene in this movie where Hancock (Will Smith) is in jail, and a woman and her son bring him a container of spaghetti. The Hancock character picks up a huge meatball with his fingers and starts eating. Suddenly I was crying. I knew exactly why. There is a humanity that we all share in the eating. We all do it. Our bodies require sustenance from the time we are born. Whether you eat with chopsticks, a fork, or your fingers, from one end of the world to another, everybody eats.
This may not be a profound revelation, but let me peel the onion and take you a bit deeper with me. Growing up there were few days when my mother didn't make me feel like I was going crazy. She was bi-polar and as her child, I was always along for the wild ride. My dad was difficult in a different way, edgy and stubborn. It was hard to see past the John Wayne exterior. He could only express his feelings by saying, "I love you dammit." But for me, no matter what we were going through, any rift between us, if I watched them eat, my heart would break for the unspoken realization that they too, in spite of the hardened exteriors were indeed human too. Daily their bodies required that they take in nutrition. It is a humbling thing to know that a person is not self-sustaining.
I have experienced this outside of my relationship with my parents as well. I can feed Travis when I am angry with him, but I cannot watch him eat. I see him differently - vulnerable, needy, open. It is such a strange sensation, and I wondered in the theater today having a breakdown over Hancock eating a meatball with his fingers if anyone else ever feels this way, or is it another freaky thing that I experience, alone.


  1. I have had times where I could have jammed a meat ball up my darling hubby's nose, but that is not what you asked. (I say that with much warmth and fondness for him, but we all have those times, right?)
    We all have those things that take us back to less than wonderful feelings from our childhood. My does not get triggered by watching people eat- mine is when anyone mimics my speech or laughter in a mocking way- I instantly regress and feel stupid and insignificant.

  2. halfmoon is right - we all have certain things.
    Eating doesn't make me think of the common thread of humanity but hunger, pain and love do. Especially when my children are hurt and I am upset for them, I think of how Moms everywhere have broken hearts as they watch their children go through the brutalities that this life often doles out.

  3. I know exactly what you are feeling. You write so wonderfully, it makes me in awe. I grew up with the exact feelings you are expressing except mine was when I would watch my Dad play hearts. I don't know why. I'll never figure it out, but for that moment he was real to me. Away from the card table he was difficult, frustrating and mean.

  4. Julie, I so felt this post as I read through it. I can most definitely relate and must say that you put something into words here that I have seen a few times in my life that also would bring me to tears. Not just trickles of tears though but sobs. In those most profound moments, I could see vulnerability and humanity in a way I just couldn't otherwise. This post of yours has touched me to the core of my heart. Thank you for your willingness to share. I love that beautiful quality about you.

  5. No your just a frek girl!
    Hey so am I freaks unite!!!

    I really don't give things like this much thought I appreciate your insight, prett cool!

  6. Mine is in specific smells and sites. They bring me to moments of happiness, fear, tears and so on.

    Also seeing people cook. It's something mundane we do everyday but we all do it *well most of us*.

    I love your writing and ability to pull out the raw emotion of things.

  7. What a beautiful insight. Thank you. I've never thought of it like that before ... having some mild "other" food issues of my own ... but I like that you've helped me to think about like that!

  8. It's interesting that watching your mom eat brought her back to humanity for you. My mom had huge food issues. Compulsive overeater. Watching her eat would nauseate me. Not as a child, but as an adult. When we no longer shared a house, and she would come to visit me at my home, I became all the more aware of how her life was just consumed (no pun intended) by food. It's all she thought about. I always lost the most weight when my mom was visiting me because I just could not stomach food when she was around. I know it was an illness for her, but it just disgusted me so. And I did not learn good eating habits from her. So food is now an issue for me too.

    I feel a connection with others when they are in pain. I can feel others pain because I have had my own. But I liked your thoughts it made me think.


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥