I still eat peanut butter as if it fulfills all the categories in
the nutritional pyramid. It can be found in the cupboards of each place
I hang up my jacket and step in. What’s convenient about
peanut butter is that it takes no preparation and can constitute a meal.
So when I was bombarded by panic attacks upon attending
my human services classes- whose content upturned the soil of my
childhood trauma- I laid in the dark in my new
nine by sixteen foot dorm room, spooning peanut butter into my
mouth. I slept a lot. Dissociated until 10pm when my stomach
would cry out. Kept three songs on shuffle. Stacked
dirty plates. Rarely showered. Suicide was an idea that gnawed
its way from the outside in, while hunger gnawed inside, out.
Smooth: nutty, spreadable protein that filled my cheeks and
swallowed into breathless smiles. I have an unconditional
love for peanut butter. My dad used to joke that peasant butter kept me
alive from age nine through high school graduation I must’ve
eaten twice as many sandwiches as there were kids in the district.
When the repetition got to him, my dad stopped making
my lunch. I got up earlier, spread peanut butter on bread like I
was a celebrity chef on the Food Network then waited till lunch
for that camera-worthy bite of mmm… yeah.
I could thank my dad for the sandwiches and love-letter lunch notes-
but it doesn’t change the reality that the years of screams and
punishments are why I now keep peanut butter within arms-reach
of my bed. Peanut butter is my body’s dependable restoration.
Be it from my classes, conversations, or proximity to family, each
triggering familiarity gives enough adrenaline and numbness
for entire days to slip under my awareness.
My consolation is knowing that because I have made it here, I must
already possess the keys to my healing. I’m also one of many.
My dad was right about one thing: peanut butter did save my life.