A Guide to Eating Very Particular Feelings

by Jess Zimmerman

FEELING: The one where you got too drunk at a party and all you want is one cigarette, and someone finds you a cigarette or you go across the street to the bodega to buy 18 cigarettes you’ll never smoke and two you will, and you’re standing slightly apart from everyone and letting the nicotine run down your nerves as the alcohol runs up and you close your eyes and the horizons rush outward until the world inside your head is many times bigger than the one outside, and small on the edge of that vast and incalculable blackness you can almost make out the image of something you want to be.

HOW TO EAT IT: Weird ice cream, maybe blood orange or cardamom. The whole thing. Don’t be coy. Also, go ahead and smoke the rest of those.

*FEELING: The one where your feverish searching suddenly pays off with information about the woman that somebody left you for, or maybe he didn’t exactly leave you for her but it was strange how fast he got over you or how much he was willing to change for someone else, and really more than anything you pity her for having to love him, but at the same time you sneer at things like the fact that she likes cheesy music or sleeps with stuffed animals, perfectly fine things that you hate yourself for judging, and the curiosity and pity and contempt and shame crawl one-by-one up your shoulders and out of the top of your head which has opened like a lid, until the one emotion that’s left is the one you don’t want to name.

HOW TO EAT IT: Wine, Gummi worms, more wine, and the broken-up crackers from the bottom of the Ritz box. More wine.

*FEELING: The one where you’ve built an idea about the future like an intricate origami creature inside your chest, and slowly or suddenly the possibilities turn into impossibilities and for hours or days there’s a rustling in your rib cage as the complex structure destroys itself, unfolding and flattening, unfolding and flattening pleat by pleat.

HOW TO EAT IT: Maybe just like an entire loaf of bread. Put butter on it. Put anything you can find on it.

*FEELING: The one where something fits so perfectly into a space you didn’t notice was empty that you’re suddenly aware of the shape of it, this vacuum that you’ve been carrying around unnoticed for weeks, and mixed with your relief at finally being whole is the knowledge that the next time you let go you are going to feel it, you are never going to be able to ignore it again.

HOW TO EAT IT: Don’t eat it yet. Just buy about eight pounds of Milanos for later.

*FEELING: The one where you realize you’ll never kiss a particular person again and even though it’s so trivial it feels like grief, it feels like someone has reached down your throat and is turning you inside out.

HOW TO EAT IT: Straight bourbon until you’re unconscious.

Previously: Romance By You, For You

Photo via julia_manzerova/flickr.

Jess Zimmerman increases the penis joke and Hitchhiker’s Guide reference density of the internet. She tweets a lot about feminism and dogs and stuff at @j_zimms.