Swallowed Alive

They say you are what you eat. Working a cafe shift, you observe obvious manifestations of this. Alternative looking people choosing milk alternatives. The person making a show of reading alone will order healthy green juice, in a fairly convincing performance of superiority. 

Then there is a case for following hereditary food practices. Essentially, we repeat the eating habits we grew up with. Each household has a distinctive menu repertoire, inter-generational secret recipes, no two spag bols quite alike. You might one day develop a craving for pickled herrings, traceable only to your dad, influencing a paternal proclivity for fermentation.

But what about that which is beyond food? Is it possible to go beyond physicality, beyond the body? Can one become the earth, subsisting on the elements, by ingesting it? Perhaps the way to access the third eye, like the heart, is through the stomach. Here are three easy ways to ascend, awaken, and eat the world:

 

Land

Pluck the unassuming spores from the dirt, spongy pieces of earth, less than a handful. Make sure to pick the right ones, eagerly bruising blue to the touch. Introduce them to a cup of hot water, sliced lemon, a hunk of ginger, and watch as the world opens up to you. With your fungi talisman held securely within, masking your humanity, every tree will come to recognise you as a fellow leaf. You will be made privy to patterns that must have been there all along. See the land breathing deep, feel it heave, rising and falling in sync with your own gasping breast.

 

For an afternoon, trade your personhood in exchange for the violent miracle of nature. In one moment you’re chewing on a vegetable, and the next, hurtling through the undergrowth. And at the same time, still rooted to the ground. Crying hot, fat tears of joy at the enormity and senselessness of it all. To live as a mushroom is to experience it all at once.

 

Sea

Go to the edge of the country, it doesn’t matter where. Walk into the water. When you inevitably get taken by a wave, fight the urge to fight back. Lose your feet. Allow yourself to be dumped by the uncaring surf. Ever the cruel mistress, the sea will not hesitate to toss you aside.  Once the foam subsides, you will have swallowed near half a cup of saltwater and an amount of sand. 

Repeat this cycle as necessary.

Between the salt crystals in your hair, a sandy car floor, and a belly forced full of ocean, you can take the beach home with you, inside you, all over you.

 

Sky

Discover a person who you are deeply, ferociously obsessed with. In a way that makes you rabid. Crazed. Find ways into their life. Manifest it. “Bump” into them. Befriend their friends and family. Complete moon rituals. Blood sacrifice. Fix your appearance to appease. Laugh at their jokes. Learn about their interests. Make time to see them. Remember the things they tell you. Introduce them to your family. Memorise the scars on their body, every tattoo, every freckle. Steal parts of their personality, make them your own. Hold them tight in your hand. Eat, drink, breathe them. Resist the urge to crawl under their skin. They are the light in your sky, the sun, the moon, et cetera, et cetera. 

 

 

If you can make them look back at you, for a moment, you might feel so high that you can touch the heavens, taste it even. This euphoria might last just a second. Or you might never come down.

 

 

Originally published in Woroni Vol. 72 Issue 3 ‘Consumed’