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  • Writer's pictureAnna Mould

What are you hungry for?

As I have been navigating midlife, I have begun questioning what I actually want from my life, from this limited time I have in the world. I have started focusing on what sparks my fire, what my soul hungers for to feel fulfilled. While reading her book, Unspeakable Things, this quote from Laurie Penny really spoke to me:


“Of all the female sins, hunger is the least forgivable; hunger for anything, for food, sex, power, education, even love. If we have desires, we are expected to conceal them, to control them, to keep ourselves in check. We are supposed to be objects of desire, not desiring beings.”

Ooo, this is so true! I am not going to veer off into a rant about society, but thinking about this from a personal perspective, I feel it. For more than nearly thirty years, I have put others first because that’s what I believed I should do as a woman. I have facilitated them feeding their desires at the cost of my own. As a Mum, wanting to do anything other than being with my children came with so much guilt, both internally and from external sources. Wanting to do something “just for me” seemed selfish and indulgent. Why is this not enough for me?  When I did start doing more for myself, about ten years ago, it caused such a rift in my household, it caused more anxiety than anything else. The guilt it caused me was immense, and a vicious cycle of guilt about being out and not wanting to be at home ensued. My desire to escape became a destructive force in my family. Looking back, I wonder why the desires of others were less destructive? They had financial implications, but I worked my magic with the numbers and made it work. It was acceptable for the man of the house to go off and do their own thing, and no one batted an eyelid. What was it about me being away from the home that had such a negative impact? A woman’s place?


I felt shame around my disordered eating. Even though my bulimic behaviours had pretty much ended by my early twenties, the binge eating continued for some time. I felt disgusted with myself. The hunger wasn’t for the food, it was for something to fill the emotional void (that I shouldn’t have had, as I was in a stable relationship with two healthy children!). I was hyper-aware of others when eating out - were they judging my menu choices? I should have ordered the salad. I shouldn’t have ordered dessert as well. They think I’m a pig. I am a pig. I shouldn’t eat this much. It still haunts me to this day, but my love of good food has shifted. I enjoy food, but the relationship with it is less toxic. And I worry less about what others think. But what I do remember are comments from my partner at the time I was early in my recovery from bulimia, when my weight started regaining because I wasn’t restricting and purging - comments about my figure filling out again. I felt I was becoming less desirable as my body became healthier, and I struggled greatly. As Laurie said, I was supposed to be an “object of desire.”


My “hunger” for love has caused me a great deal of angst over the years, perhaps leading to the ending of my previous relationships. This person no longer “makes me” happy, but that person does “make me” happy. They can love me better, give me what I need.

No. 

I hadn’t yet learned how to make myself happy, I expected happiness to be provided by them. And my need for love became destructive because I didn’t “keep it in check.”

And now? My relationship with myself has grown and deepened significantly over recent years, and I am very happy with Me (to the point where I enjoy my own company a bit too much!). I don’t doubt that I am loved, not just by my husband, children and family, but by friends as well. What I need is intimacy, somewhere I can fully be myself, express myself, and be seen, be heard. And touched, held. I have written in previous posts about my perimenopausal misery relating to my “hunger” for sex, when my hormones were creating havoc. Having to keep that need “under control” to save someone else’s feelings nearly broke me. Nearly broke us, if I’d fully given in to the “hunger”. And it would have been unforgivable, as it was me voicing and acting on my need, making myself heard and trying to satiate that “hunger.” How dare I? No one would have questioned why or how it got to that stage, no one would have tried to understand, I would have been “one of those women.”


So here I am, a forty-eight year old woman with (hopefully!) a good forty years ahead of me, although this isn’t promised.. What do I want? No one really asks that, do they. It is assumed that one will work up until retirement age then settle into… what, exactly?

I have no firm plans, but I know there are places in the world I want to see and explore. I want to continue writing and creating, sharing space with other women in doing what we love, supporting and cheering them on. I’m hungry for adventure, for music and dancing, for good food, for good books and campfires, cuddling under my blanket by candlelight, for laughter and love, for fierce friendships. I’m hungry for living life!

And why the hell not? I’m done doing what I’m supposed to do. I want to live in a way that keeps my fire burning, for me. We need to change the narrative, and make it normal for women to chase their dreams and desires, and share what they are hungry for. We shouldn’t have to conceal and control these things; how is that living?


Tell me, what are you hungry for? I’d love to know…

With much love, as always,

Anna x x



(P.S. Always hungry for chocolate cake...)

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