Yeah, I bet that title sounds confusing, but let me paint a recent scene.
There is a coffee shop two blocks from where I live. They make excellent coffee and chai spiced latte. They also have a plethora of bakery items: croissants, cookies, savory and sweet danish things, muffins. You get the point.
Sometimes the husband and I will walk over there on the weekend for a pick-me-up beverage. I stare at that case of baked goods.
I STARE AT IT.
And I realize, I’m trying to will myself into wanting something.
I look at each item and imagine what it would be like to sink my teeth into it. What texture and flavors I would experience.
I realize that I don’t actually want anything. But I want to want something.
When I was younger, and at times when my diet was more restrictive, the want-to-want sensation would push me to get something that I didn’t actually want. And it wouldn’t make me any happier, wouldn’t make me feel better.
I only enjoyed the supposed delinquency of getting a thing that I “wasn’t supposed” to have.
There are so many messages around us saying either we should be eating healthier and taking care of ourselves through restrictive eating AND AT THE SAME TIME we should be treating ourselves and to be overly restrictive is borderline disordered, so we should probably just eat the thing.
And I bet we all hold these idea in our heads at the same time. What is life if not constant cognitive dissonance?
So over the years I’ve gotten better at asking myself “Do I really want it?” Sometimes, like having an almond croissant in the morning, the answer is “yeah, fuck yeah!” But more often, that answer is “Naw, I want to want a thing, but really, I just want another coffee.”
Moral of the story: Just have another coffee. That shit is delicious.
But really. When you’re staring a bit too hard at that snack shelf or pastry case, ask yourself that. Do you want it, or do you want to want it?