My Mum is a great fan of Oscar Wilde’s line, “Everything in moderation”, and often recited it on the Easter Sundays of my childhood, shortly before I sicked up a small pile of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. However, it wasn’t until I left her constant jurisdiction, that I discovered the quotation ends, “including moderation itself”.
I am not an instinctive moderator, and grew up believing that I needed to learn a way to suppress my all or nothing nature in order to be a better human. That I should forget the joy that precedes a binge, and remember the remorse that follows it. That my bad habits made me broken and alone. It seemed as though everyone else in the world was sated by a couple of Custard Creams, and could go about their business without being tormented by the remaining biscuits in the back of a cupboard.
Take ‘moderation’ out of the equation and we limit our choices. The decision to say no to one or one hundred biscuits has already been made. Maybe it makes life less fun but there’s nothing fun about holding an empty packet/bottle/bank account and feeling consumed by self loathing, shame and regret. I can’t just have a little of what I love. Recently, I find, it’s easier to have nothing at all.
“Cold turkey” is an expression that usually applies to the withdrawal from serious addictions. No one says, “But surely you can just have a little heroin, after lunch?” And yet people panic when you tell them you’re permanently abstaining from chips. Self control is boring, and it bothers our friends. They don’t understand that we Must Say No because we lack any self-control.
Being happy is hard, but we can remove the obstacles by understanding the patterns of our behaviour and identifying the greatest sources of our unhappiness. With that in mind, I think I’m going to give up crisps.
By Daisy Buchanan, @NotRollerGirl