Chocolate Enslavement

I don’t remember the day I tasted chocolate for the first time, although I should, as it has been such a big part of my life.  I remember being given a large tube of Smarties at around aged 6, and shaking them up after taking one or two out, as I was convinced that this increased the number of brightly coloured edible gems in the tube.  I wanted them to last forever.

I grew up in a chocolate loving home, and most evenings while watching the TV together as a family, a box or bar of something would be brought out and enjoyed.  From those pecan caramel turtles, Cadbury’s milk, Black Magic, Charles Chocolate, Devon Milk, and countless other temptations.

When I went away to UK boarding school I was fortunate enough to have one of the old-fashioned corner sweet shops in close proximity, and with my weekly allowance in hand I would request my quota of a quarter pound of vanilla fudge and savour every nibble on those magical Saturdays.

As an adult I became free to buy and eat chocolate to my heart’s content.  My tastes have changed as my mood does, but it has tended to be milk, as opposed to the dark that is better for you.  Mars Bars and Quality Street used to be some of the big names, moving  to Terry’s milk chocolate orange segments, fudge sticks, Minstrels, mint smoothies and Cadbury’s mini eggs, when in season.  My current passions are milk chocolate buttons with orange wedges coming a close second.

The problem is that while I was fortunate in my youth to not put on weight easily that has changed as I near the mid fifty mark.  That, coupled with the rumour that sweets are not good for you, has caused a gear shift, that guilt element and occasional purging.

I returned from holiday towards the end of June, having had an amazing two weeks visiting family in the UK, and squeezed in between was a week’s cruise, which meant, along with all the great sightseeing, I did a lot of eating when not hungry because that’s what you do on cruises.

I am still trying to get off those many pounds.  The British chocolate I had stocked up on and brought home to enjoy, I had managed to gather up and take to my sister’s freezer, where it was kept safely for more than a month.  Then, in a moment of weakness the chocolate thief collected and devoured it in a few days.

So I am trying again to not eat chocolate.  To not succumb to tempting bars right at the supermarket check out, not choose desserts at restaurants, not eat the goods I bake..  Regrettably I am not like my husband, who, deciding to go on a diet, sticks to everything he should eat, never deviating for a moment.  If I know there is a chocolate button somewhere in the house I will find it.  I will find that needle in a haystack and it will end up in my salivating mouth.

So the fridge is empty of sweets again.  It is boring, but necessary, and so begins the cheerless journey without my comfortable companions.





Fear versus Cricket

Do you know the crickets that come out at dusk?  The ones you don’t know are there until you hear a high-pitched chirp or buzz?  One of these just followed me on a Caribbean cruise for a week.  It was always in the same approximate spot, on the second deck, under the steps, or behind the heavy steel door.  I couldn’t actually see it, but it was always there.

Crickets are the size of small thumb nails.  Was this one afraid, so far from its home, with salt air and sun beating down, in a strange environment, in a new place every day?  Did it know that it might get picked up by a Booby Bird looking for a snack, or get squeezed in the door or sprayed with insecticide?

Cricket fears have to be massive compared to human fears.  My first memory of fear was losing sight of my mother in the supermarket, a 3 minute separation seeming like hours.  Other fears surfaced, as they do.  Fear of the unknown, fear of getting into trouble (yet still doing the trouble), getting hurt, learning to swim by being glued to the edge of the pool, raising an arm to answer a question in class, asking for help …

I recently heard at church the definition of fear: When I believe that apart from my best efforts something undesirable is going to happen and I can’t stop it.  The roots of it are conditioning (born into it), concealing and spirit of control.  Hmmm!

Fear or worry can be grouped in many stages of my life to date, such as those teenage fears of being ridiculed, stammering (so better not speak at all), talking to boys which was worse than not having a boyfriend at all, then fearing being left a spinster …  The stage of having children can bring many fears, but I am lucky to have had my children in the nineties, before the Internet and T.M.I.   The fear of getting sick, yet after a diagnosis of stage 4 Melanoma over 20 years ago it takes a lot to scare me where my health is concerned.

There is one unseen illness that caught me off guard and caused a major turn around in my life.  The path of depression has allowed me great things: empathy, dependence on the person of Jesus, to stop holding on to control and having to be strong all the time.  Does that mean I am never afraid now?  Of course not, but instead of concealing it and struggling on my own,  I try to remember to reestablish visual contact with Jesus and gain a little more freedom from the big ‘F’ each time.

Eventually that fear will become the size of that chirping cricket.


Deborah has procrastinated long enough from writing and is finally taking the plunge.  You can find out more about her story by visiting the archives of this blog (specifically early October of Prison Break of Thoughts).