I'm about to turn 21.
I keep thinking about what I would tell my naive and dreamy 16 year old self, or what I would say to my future daughter, if I had one. What I would want those girls to know.
I want to tell them:
Do not be afraid to be hungry.
Because being hungry for your next meal and hungry to live a full life, these are basically the same thing.
Because food is connected to love and lust and happiness and depression and every emotion and experience, all the weddings and all the funerals.
Because eating is tangled into the fabric of being human.
There are girls who are afraid to eat.
Who exist solely on salads and cigarettes.
Who only eat a meal and a half a day.
Who starve themselves, or throw up what they've eaten.
Who don't eat in front of boys, because maybe the boys will figure out that they are not made of air.
Who say they were "bad" because they ate a cookie instead of an apple.
I have known all of these girls.
Maybe even been one or two of them.
And I just want to tell that future daughter of mine, or my 16 year old self, that there is no shame in having a real appetite.
That there is no shame in being hungry and then eating until you are full.
That no one actually cares if you are a little fat or a little thin.
That eating and drinking and enjoying it, and really owning the hunger, goes so far beyond the table.
Because there is no better way to be present in the here and now than to enjoy a meal.
And being present feels like the opposite of being dead.
And what is the point in being anything other than fiercely, rudely, gorgeously alive?
That's what I would say.
So I'm about to turn 21, and that thought makes my stomach curdle a little bit, because adulthood suddenly seems like a very imminent, and very near reality.
But I can't think about that.
I'm too focused on getting from city to city, bed to bed, meal to meal.
But sometimes, like right now, I stop and drink a coffee and write to you and stare out a window and try to appreciate the beauty.
And I want to cry and I want to kiss you and I want champagne.
Because it's all so beautiful, and I am still so young and so naive and so hungry, and because I just ate maybe the best sandwich of my entire life.
It was an inspired sandwich.
So I'm about to turn 21.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.