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It’s not easy being cheesy…

I walk around Wal-Mart and I chastise myself for being so critical. I have a tendency to see people and want to fix them or to at least tell them to put down that Double Gulp and that monster burrito! You want your belt to buckle not the chair!

There was this really large man at Wal-Mart. He was struggling to lift a case of Coke and add it to his already burgeoning basket of groceries. His legs look like sausages stuffed into a sweatpant casing. His feet were wrapped in a pair of green crocs and his stomach was trying to escape from beneath his shirt. It screamed “let me out!”

I picked up my groceries which happened to be something relatively healthy. (So rare for me to be eating healthy and buying groceries) Tuna fish, cheese, apples, pears, peanut butter and Ritz. When I walked down the cracker aisle I saw the same man again. This time he was loading up his basket with crackers and cheese whiz. That artery clogging “cheese” that comes out of a can. He wasn’t just getting one can, but three. Three cans of cheese whiz and a few boxes of crackers. Perhaps he was buying food for a large family… and if they weren’t already large, they soon would be. His entire cart was filled with processed goods and loads of sugar. If there had been room I would have snuck a broccoli crown into his basket. At least it would be something to help aid in the digestion of all those carbs.

As I watched this man succumb to appetites of the flesh I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for Americans in general and how we can’t seem to stop hurting ourselves. If it isn’t from food its from cigarettes, alcohol, sex, drugs – the list is endless. We gorge ourselves on everything our heart desires and we worry about the consequences later. I do it to.

Addiction does not happen over night. It is normally a slow and sneaky process. It starts with a cheeto and it is not until you are orange and you look like a giant cheeto that you realize that you have a problem. You look into the mirror and say, “HOW IN THE WORLD DID I BECOME A GIANT CHEETO!!!” You cry and wail at the horror of it all. You blame everyone, even God but you are the one that stuffed your mouth full of cheetos day after day.

What is worse is trying to hide the fact that you are indeed a giant cheeto. You lie to yourself and make yourself believe that no one else notices how orange you are. In an effort to distract people from your orangeness you go through great lengths to hide behind various masks. Sometimes you use humor to cover up your shame, other times you just hide behind closed doors and only venturing 0ut when it is absolutely necessary.

Being a giant cheeto is shameful and shame leads to stress and when you are stressed you want more cheetos. You hate yourself for wanting more cheetos but cheetos make you feels soooo good. They are crispy and airy and orange! The cheetos only bring you temporary satisfaction. They allow a momentary of escape from reality but in the end you are still there covered in orange cheetos residue and wishing that you hadn’t had that bag of cheetos. You promise yourself NEVER again. That is the last bag of cheetos I will ever eat… but deep inside you know that is a lie.

Finally you realize that you aren’t happy being a cheeto and so you take steps to change. It’s hard giving up cheetos and so you decide to seek professional help.

Professional help is expensive, but after just a few weeks you no longer want cheetos. You start to wonder why in the world you ever liked cheetos in the first place. You feel like an idiot for not asking for help sooner. You skin starts to change back to its normal color. People start noticing that you are different, better, more content. You no longer have to hide behind a mask, you can start being you.

I’ve had to see a therapist for some problems I’ve had in my life. I used to think of therapy as a sign of weakness but now I realize that mental health is sometimes far more important than physical health. I thought that I would never share the fact that I was going to therapy with the Internet, but I feel that I would be doing the Internet a disservice. A friend of mine suggested I go to a therapist and my only regret was that I didn’t go sooner. I wished that he had known to tell me to go years ago, but back then I probably wouldn’t have listened.

I’m probably the most healthy and content at this stage in my life than I ever have been. I still don’t always deal with my problems the right way, but now I have the tools to deal with my stress and I know what causes my anxiety and I can take steps to avoid it.

If you feel like you need to talk to someone about a problem, an addiction, depression, anxiety, then do it. Waiting and thinking you can overcome it on your own almost never works. I just turned 31 and my goal for the next 30 years is that they are way better than the first.

Happy New Year!

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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