Friday, March 23, 2007

Rewards

Markovian Theory #3
Martha Stewart has beautiful gardens because she periodically murders her help and then has them buried the compost pile. Works sort of like the early Native Americans burying fish at the base of cornstalks. Also makes labor negotiations much more effective.

It has been a heck of a week. I finished the taxes. They had been haunting and hounding me for two months. Took two trips to the account but they are finally done. And we are going to get money back. I will be able to get my own computer. No more using Mark's. I hate this computer and desk and chair. Trying to use someone else's computer is like using someone else's diaphragm. It doesn't fit and it is just wrong. Anyway we now have the money for a new laptop.

I did the taxes by myself. It was confusing and frustrating and scary. But I did it. I deserved a reward I thought. What reward did I want? Wanna guess? Why has food always been my reward? Where did that thought process come from? And why can't I think in terms of anything else as a reward? Some answers:

1. Food is easily available. I do not have to put forth much effort to obtain it.
2. Food is rapidly available. Instant gratification. No waiting.
3. Food can be cheap. I can always afford peanut M&Ms.
4. Food is reliable. As Mark has so sagely noted, in the dark, all Big Macs are alike. I know what I am getting.
5. Food can be solitary. I can enjoy it completely without any distractions.
6. Food is thoughtless. No more work of thinking or feeling.
7. Food is selfish. I don't have to share it with anyone.

I am sure I was given food as a reward somewhere along the line as a child. I also watched my adopted mother use food as the answer to everything. Food as a reward I think is certainly a learned behaviour. If I learned it I can unlearn it. I just need to recognize that my alternative rewards won't at first feel as rewarding as food.

I rewarded my self with fried chicken, popcorn and chocolate. Tasted wonderful. I was sick as a dog four hours later. Some reward. Did I learn anything from all of this? Oh heck, I don't know. I guess I learned my system of reward was also a habit. I am one of Pavlov's dogs. The fat one.

Take care of yourselves. Love Bea

4 comments:

Debra said...

Congrats on the taxes. I'm writing about this too -- habits are unlearned the same way they're learned, through repetition, and lots of it. We just can't help what our gratification instinct attaches itself to -- for us, it's food. Hey, at least it's legal. Here's to hoping that some day the non-food reward feels just right.

BigAssBelle said...

what i don't get is that even when i seem to have broken the habit, even for months, years at a time. it is as simple to slip back into as an old pair of slippers. it's as if wrestling myself out of the deeply cut groove of behavior that uses food as reward, comfort, soother, stress relief, only gets me up onto the high road for a minute. it's like an old dual-track dirt road. you can ride the center and the sides for a while, but slipping back into the grooves just seems inevitable, or so it seems.

Debra said...

Or like they say in OA: no matter how far down the road you are, you're always the same distance from the ditch.

Not very optimistic, I'm afraid.

daisyk said...

Food also feels like connection & normality -- there's a component to eating that reminds us of social meals, & I often find myself thinking, "If SHE can eat that, why can't I???"

Alas, lots of us eaters aren't very connected to other people so we eschew doing things like calling up husband or friend or even going out by ourselves to a restaurant to celebrate. & SHE gets to eat whatever she wants because...whatever.

Sometimes I wnder what would happen if we rewarded ourselves in those ineffable "other ways" even though we ate over it...