For my sister’s 16th birthday, my father decided to celebrate with pizza. It was the only time that this had ever been done. Most birthdays were completely ignored, except for my grandmother’s birthdays, which were celebrated with cake. I was 5 years old at the time, and I still recall this event very clearly. Everyone ate the pizza except for me.

My mother had decided that I was too young to eat it. I’m not sure if she thought I would choke on the cheese. It didn’t make sense to me then, and it still does not make sense to me now. I was irrationally excluded from many family activities with my age being the excuse, but the ones relating to food are most vivid in my mind. I was also excluded from eating noodles once because my mother was convinced that I would choke on them. I was four at the time. I don’t recall if I cried, but my mother eventually gave me some that she broke into small pieces. I didn’t want it anymore at that point.

My family had pizza together yesterday. We got together for our annual visit to the cemetery. After the event, my mother decided to get pizza for us. It was the first family pizza event since my sister’s 16th birthday 29 years ago. I seriously considered eating the pizza despite knowing that it would make me ill, but I decided against it, because I did not have lactase with me and I did not want diarrhea during the long journey home. The reason that I wanted to eat the pizza was because of a psychological theory which is highly questionable. The theory is that reenacting traumas with a different outcome from the original can have a significant therapeutic effect.

I often think about how much of my relationship with food was shaped by the psychological traumas. Some of my food sensitivities most likely have a physiological basis. My lactose intolerance is very common among Chinese people. Some reactions are less clear, and do not necessarily manifest in a physiologically observable form. Since I started cooking for myself, I have always felt terrible after eating my mother’s cooking. This could be mostly or entirely psychosomatic. She doesn’t use certified organic ingredients, and she tends to be less hygienic in her food preparation, but my reaction is mostly just a very bad feeling inside. I don’t hurt and don’t consistently get diarrhea from eating her cooking. I just can’t think clearly and feel very weak. Most “bad” foods do this to me.

During my journey home, I took a brief detour to buy pizza. I considered getting the regular kind, but I had already been poisoned by my mother’s cooking earlier, and I didn’t want to do much more damage. I decided on certified organic pizza with no extra toppings. That was dinner last night, along with lactase, probiotics, and a multitude of other supplements. It just wasn’t the same eating it alone. I had mild diarrhea this morning, but I feel fine.