Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lip Balms On Me!


A while back, I found myself at Ricky's cosmetics chainlet, picking up a few necessities. When I placed my items on the counter, I noticed a basket full of lip balm, maybe 20 tubes or so, with a handwritten note on its rim, "Free."

"Are these really for free?" I asked the sales clerk. Right about now, you're probably wondering what kind of cockamamie university granted me my Ph.D. But, I kinda had to ask before taking, you know?

The whole concept of self-regulated, free products right there on the counter intrigued me. And this was good lip balm, good SPF-laced, organic lip balm. My dermatologist (and mother) would be so proud. How many should I take? What if I took the whole basket? Could I? I mean, they're free, but I probably should leave some of the tubes for others. Where do you draw the line? Funny thing is, I don't even wear lip balm!

You know, I've heard that women do this, stock up unnecessarily on products, on toiletries. Does the shampoo in the cabinet under your sink run three bottles deep? Word is, it's a vestigial feature of our hunting and gathering days. Women, as gatherers like to do, well, gather. We stock up on occasion, warding off the consequences of draught, at the expense of uncluttered cabinets, as the expense of our partners wondering why we need two back-up sticks of deodarant at all times.

But the reason I'm writing about lip balm, in case it's not imminently clear, is that I think we do the same thing with food. For those who have restricted over time, through dieting/anorexia/any other means, exposure to food often results in a compensantory binge, taking all the lip balm, so to speak, and hoarding it, because it might not be available for future demand. If we were to allow ourselves to eat when hungry and to eat some of the foods we crave, we'd be less inclined to want the whole enchilada and more inclined just to take what we need. Like two tubes of lip balm, leaving the wicker basket to its original, rightful owners. . .

13 comments:

PalmTreeChick said...

Oh my gosh, FREE CHAPSTICK!!!!! I think I would have died. Considering my "small" chapstick addiction, I would have been like a kid in a candy store. I would have wanted them all. I need to go to Ricky's and see if they still have them. Ahhhhhhh. FREE CHAPSTICK. That's way more important than food to me.

LG said...

Now that my disordered eating has calmed down, what remains is my strong (and strange) tendancy to hoard chocolate, cookies, and other goodies. I have a whole cupboard devoted to this habit. Having it helps me to feel safe. (Contrast this to my ED days where I would be very anxious about or bingeing on any excess candy in the house.) Anyway, I just keep buying it and nibbling on a few pieces after meals sometimes, or putting a few mini chocolate bars in my lunch. Sometimes I go too far with what I consume, but not often, which I am so thankful for!!! Husb laughs but indulges my requests to visit the candy isle every time we go grocery shopping.

azusmom said...

I also keep a supply of cookies and chocolate in the house, and hardly ever eat them. But free lip balm? Escpecially the yummy, flavored, spf-infused kind? I might go a tad overboard with that (says the gal who currently has 5 different lip balms in her purse, as well as several others scattered through the house). (I'm working on that.)

PalmTreeChick said...

I think I need to take a picture of all my chapsticks and post them on my blog tonight. :)

Brigid Keely said...

I get very, very nervous if the pantry gets too empty. Like, alarmed. Even if we're getting ready to move or go out of town or whatever, and there's a reason for the pantry to be empty, I still am on edge. I wonder if hoarding food/binge eating and hoarding other items (newspapers, dolls, etc) are at all related? I have several relatives who hoard objects and fight that tendancy in myself.

Your post was really interesting. Thanks for making me think!

Gingembre said...

This is me. I am forever picking up another bottle of sun cream, a box of blank CDs, Sellotape, matches, cooking oil, you name it. And I am forever buying food.

I feel safe and comforted when I know I have a stash of food. Back when my eating was more disordered than it is now, I would avoid eating all day, then go to the petrol station over the road and buy a bag full of things to eat. Not necessarily anything I particularly wanted, but just to have it there, so I could eat it if I wanted.

One of these days I will give myself permission to hoard, so that I can then sit back, look at my hoard and decide what I actually want at that particular moment.

Eve said...

Sometimes I forget to eat. That's weird coming from a fat person, but it's true. Sometimes I don't remember to eat until I'm ragingly hungry, and I need to eat the first thing I can get my hands on. This is what cereal is for. It's mostly bland, easy to digest, and easy to prepare.

So, I try to have several back-up boxes of cereal at all times. I never have back-up sweets in the house, though, because I eat them all.

I definitely see this hoarding tendency in myself. Sometimes it results in things like yogurt going bad or dry rice getting weird white stuff in it. I'm a packrat in general, and I'd rather see it coming out in food hoarding than other things, though, because at least the food gets eaten eventually (or thrown away) and doesn't sit around the house collecting dust like a tchotchke collection would.

Feminist Gal said...

this is something i think about a lot now that i'm in the "real world" with a "real job" with "real meetings" and lots of free food. For example, i don't eat bagels or donuts. I mean, seriously, i never buy them for myself or chose to eat them on my own. However, when they magically appear on the table at a staff meeting, AND THEY'RE FREE, i can't resist for some reason. Even if i don't end up eating them, i have to take at least one...

Anonymous said...

On the "free food" at meetings, here are a few things to think about that may make you not want them.
1) if it's free, it can't be that good. It's cheap crap or they wouldn't be giving it away. In conjunction with this, whenever anyone comments about why I'm not eating the "free food" I just calmly tell them that I still have a job and can afford to buy food.
2) by putting food out, they are TELLING you what to eat. I personally really, really hate being told what to eat, and I always eat breakfast (or lunch, depending on the time of day) before the meeting. It also helps me to focus on the meeting and not be messing around with food.
3) you are not their garbage disposal. If it's left over, they can use the actual garbage disposal or trash can to get rid of it.

I can't say for sure, but knowing myself, I bed I'd be the same way about the lip balm, unless it just happened to be my favorite brand or one that I would buy normally. I just like to choose my own stuff now that I'm a grownup.

Jules said...

I would have probably taken one, maybe two because I love to have lip balm everywhere I go. In every room, just because I like it accessible and I can never really find it when I need it. I would have fought the urge to take them all, so people would not think badly of me. Kind of like going back for that third piece of cake, that I don't need, but just tastes so damn good.

zubeldia said...

I'm recovering from anorexia... and I a terrified of being without food. I need to know it's there, in reach. Our cupboards are always stocked because of this terror.

I think, for me, it's the body memory of extreme hunger - not the sort you can roll with, but the sort of hunger that's not recognised as hunger as it's morphed into a body sensation that is so disorientating that you hardly know yourself.

So I stock up on things. And I hoarded things, too, when in the worst of the AN. I would take pleasure in seeing it, knowing that I would not touch any of it.

Kate said...

Wow, that is really insightful and I have to agree. First off, I love lip balm and want to go to that store! Secondly, I do have to admit that I stock up and buy products when on sale even if it'll take me all year to go through them. I never related that to restricting, but I tend to restrict my eating some days and not others. It's strange. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but how do you get over it?