- TITLE: Sweet Offerings
- SIZE: 13″ tall x 7″ wide. Base is 1.5″ thick. Overall thickness: 6″
- MEDIUM: Polymer clay, wood, gold foil
Sugar is the god we
worship without realizing it.
This is a very personal piece for me. I wrote more below all the images.
The lighter side of this art is that I LOVE how candy looks. It’s inviting and colorful. I don’t eat it any more, but really enjoyed making realistic pieces of candy. I got to experience it in a different way than just eating it. I’ve always been fascinated by realistic plastic food displays. This seemed like a great opportunity to explore those themes.
The personal background story…
Sugar is the god we worship without realizing it. It shows up at family functions and used as a reward for good behavior. Processed food is really just sugar. Bread, crackers, cereal, soda? All sugar. We start off the morning with a soda or cereal. We eat our toast with jam. For lunch we have another soda with a sandwich. Maybe a cookie for dessert. Dinner is pasta with sweeten tomato sauce. Processed foods make up 70 percent of the U.S. diet.
I loved sugar. Like REALLY loved it. I think this was probably due to my parents trying to feed me well growing up. I didn’t get a lot of treats. My mom would sometimes make cookies, cake, or pie. We didn’t keep soda in the house. Froot Loops were a once-a-year treat. The only time I got to really chow down was on Halloween or on road trips. Those were deemed “exceptions” and I took full advantage.
- When I was 5 my mom and I were waiting the mechanic’s lobby to get the car fixed. There was a vending machine. I was told I could pick something. I spent a long time trying to pick just the right thing. I considered what tasted the best, what was the largest, what would last longest, what had the most chocolate. I finally made my decision and my mom put in the coins while I waited with anticipation. She hit the wrong button and out came a bag of plain potato chips. There was no do over. No candy after all. This felt like the worst day of my life. I cried.
- When my mom told me at age 11 I was too old for trick-or-treating, it felt like the worst day of my life.
- When I started getting an allowance my best friend and I would go down to the convenience store and spend every bit of it on candy, sodas, and ice cream. We couldn’t come home with it, so we ate until we were sick. These seemed like some of the best days of my life. This lasted through Jr. High.
- During high school I had transportation — transportation that took me to the store before and after school for more candy. I probably was eating about 4 candy bars a day.
- I noticed my mom would frequently buy treats that I didn’t care for. If I asked for Nutter Butter cookies, she would buy Peanut Patties (gag). Chocolate ice cream requests were replaced with peach ice cream (whine). Begging for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for my birthday would yield German chocolate cake (sadness). Looking back, I think she sensed I had a problem with the sugar.
But, if you asked me to list my top sad childhood stories, most of them would probably be about sugar. It was always hidden. I couldn’t get enough. I was addicted.
As I got older I got migraines when I stopped eating my daily dose of sugar. I didn’t realize what was going on — only that a pint of Ben and Jerry’s would make it stop hurting. Holidays had even MORE sugar around which caused even greater mood swings.
I started figuring it out and quit eating sugar for periods of time. Each time I went through withdrawals (migraines, mood swings, great anger, etc.). I am lucky I am still married and that I didn’t get diabetes.
Fast-forward to about 18 months ago. I had pretty much stopped eating sugar. All sugar. As in desserts and processed food, white rice, breads, etc. When my birthday came around it was time to splurge. Again, I treated my body like a garbage can. The problem was THIS time my body wasn’t going to put up with it. The night after I discovered tequila shots to wash down cookies, I ended up having a complex migraine (with no pain) that acted like a stroke. I couldn’t speak properly. My vision went wonky. I was skipping words. If I tried to say the alphabet it would come out “A, B, C, Giraffe”. After two days in the hospital terrified I discovered it was “only” a migraine.
I made the decision to stop eating sugar immediately. Clearly, I have a problem with sugar. Once I start eating it, it’s all I can think about. I am a sugar addict. It is just easier to stop ingesting it. Besides, we all know how bad it is for your health overall.
The next year proved to be very difficult. For 6 months I wanted to stab people and take away their cake. While your friends will not expose you to alcohol if you are an alcoholic, they won’t give two-shits about waving chocolate in front of you and telling you to have “just a bite” if you are trying to kick sugar. This made me sad and angry. The next 6 months I transitioned into it not bothering me so much but I still tried to avoid going down the cookie aisle.
A few months ago I was standing in the checkout at the grocery and glanced at the candy. It dawned on me that I didn’t even see it as something to eat. It seemed gross to consider eating. It was just pretty colors. I had finally lost the craving.
I’m free. Free at last.
Plus, I’m 40lbs lighter.