body, movement, & dance

Week Three: Listening to Desire

Sunday: finally got a full night’s sleep
Monday: bought lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
Tuesday: grazed all day; ate what I felt I needed, when I needed it
Wednesday: wrote an email describing my body image and feelings
Thursday: enjoyed my favorite meal at my favorite restaurant
Friday: packed for a weekend away without packing any makeup
Saturday: ate dinner earlier than everyone else because I was hungry

Desire. How often do we actually get to listen to our bodies, giving ourselves and what we want right when we want it? And, when it comes to food, how often do we actually believe that listening to desire is the right way to eat? I spent a lot of this week trying to attend to my bodily desires — for rest, movement, warmth, protein, salts, vegetables, etc. and it felt good.

I teach the same methods of self-awareness in terms of sexuality: Listen to yourself, sort through your influences, identify your desires, and then ask for what you want. Having confidence in sexual desire is the basis of consensual sexual activity. Self-awareness — the ability to pause, reflect, and be true to oneself — is key both sexual consent and what we might think of as nutritional consent.

But in my experience, self-awareness plays a much different role with my nutritional choices than with my sexual choices. My schedule consistently gets in the way of my following my own physical desires. Either I can’t take a nap because it’s time to leave for work, or I don’t want to eat because I have dinner plans in an hour. The way that we commit and schedule ourselves physically complicates the process of listening to our desires.

Maybe that’s why I feel better on the weekends, particularly when I haven’t committed to meals at certain hours. Seems more natural to feed myself when I feel it’s time. But I like being social, in fact I love it and need it and thrive from it. So how can I reconcile what my body is telling me with what my calendar is telling me?

Published by Mimi Arbeit

applied developmental scientist, antifascist community organizer, sexuality educator