I’m hungry. This is nothing new or unique; I’m hungry several times each day. Food is essential for my body and the sensation of hunger is the way my brain communicates that something is missing and I need to eat and fuel up. Unfortunately, hunger is often misappropriated—that sensation is hijacked for other purposes.

Hunger suggests that there is a void to be filled, nutrients that need to be absorbed. This void is calling to me, begging for something—anything—because nature abhors a vacuum. Fill me. Feed me. Satisfy my craving. Don’t leave me empty like this. The void is painful and the pain is not to be ignored.

But figuring out what I really need is tricky. There are days when food is the answer and a specific food is frontmost in my mind, but other days when the hunger is not real. It’s not about nutrition. It’s not a physical void. Nothing ingested will help. Too often, food or drink is a mask to hide the real need. Seduce the body to quiet the mind. Eat, drink, and be merry… or pretend because the void doesn’t want to give up its real desire. The pain of knowing what is truly missing might be worse than any hunger so go with the charade.

It calls and I answer—or I lie. The void must be filled. The pain must go away. Don’t look too close. Don’t stare too much. Don’t make eye contact with the hunger or it may consume me and I’ll tumble uncontrollably into the void.

Maybe it’s okay to have some pain. Maybe the pain gives me more than I realize. Is the purpose of the pain a prompt for me to fill the void or a push for me to grow enough so that this void becomes tiny and insignificant in comparison? Don’t rush to fill the void every time. Don’t give in to the hunger. Push myself. See what is beyond this moment. Use the hunger to feel something uncomfortable. There may be clarity here. There may be understanding and knowledge and wisdom.

There is often pain during the act of creation. I will not numb my hunger this time. I will use it; exploit it for my own good. This time it will not control me. I’m staring into the void and have not lost my footing. Small victories are good.

The hunger is not gone, but it is also not my master.