Friday, September 19, 2008

I Suck, Therefore I Am

My cousin Jen asked me to explain exactly what I mean when I say "sucking on gum" and there are probably others of you out there thinking, "Huh?" (Those of you who haven't known me my whole life.) When I say "whole life," I mean literally my whole life. Since birth. Which isn't so weird when you're a baby--all babies suck. It's one of the few instincts they're born with. When you're 29 however....freak. Go ahead, say it. I know what I am. I've learned that there are several things about childhood that people grow out of as they grow up that I never did. Like, the fear of throwing up. Kids are often scared of throwing up. Adults? Not so much. Me? Yeah. Never grew out of that one. And eating habits. You know those foods that make up the kids' menu at restaurants, like corn dogs and chicken nuggets and mac & cheese? Yeah, those foods make up my diet (or at least they did until two weeks ago). Never grew into the "adult" taste buds that like onions and nasty stuff like that. And...sucking. Another childhood habit I've never outgrown.

So even as a toddler, when I should have outgrown the sucking thing, I sucked. My mom would give me gum in church to shut me up and I'd immediately stick it to the roof of my mouth (after chewing it a bit to soften it, of course) and start sucking, lulling myself to sleep. (My mom was like, "Score!" She was always shoving gum in my mouth after that.) In my family I was known for my sucking. I sucked on anything I put in my mouth, really. Click here for an illustration of this.

But the full-on addiction didn't happen until about 7th or 8th grade, when my mom started stocking the house with gum. She'd buy those packs at Costco and we always had some in the house, which I had access to. I started having gum all the time, and, naturally, I'd suck on it, as I always had. I didn't even think it was weird. I didn't know any different.

It wasn't until my Freshman year of high school that I asked my mom why the minute I put gum in my mouth I felt sleepy. It was then she told me the church story. Now, as a mother, I realize the correlation. It's just like babies: You put a pacifier in their mouth, bam. They're asleep. There's just something about that sucking motion that's very soothing. This probably explains why I'm tired all the time.

So, Jen, to make a short answer very, very long, the way I suck is just like you would suck on a Jolly Rancher. Basically my tongue is pushing the gum to the roof of my mouth. Permanently. This is the natural position of my mouth. Even when I don't have gum in it, my mouth will form this position (when I'm not clenching my teeth.) I've never, ever had a problem of swallowing it, except when I try to sleep with it.

And there you have it. Possibly the weirdest post you've ever read.

8 comments:

Noelle said...

i would like to a post on the weird things we all do so you don't feel so freakish. i'm sure some of ours are too embarassing to admit but just so you know, we all have them. i still push my glasses up with my face. i scrunch up my nose side to side and my glasses slide up my nose. i also sleep while holding a pillow. it'd be a teddy bear but i had to draw the line when i got married. yes..i slept with a teddy bear until the night before i got married. feel better?

JenFielding said...

Incredible, I can't believe I never realized you were sucking your gum. I knew you always had gum, that you couldn't survive with out gum, but I guess I just assumed that you were chewing it...like a nor...uh like some people do. Thanks for clearing that up. I like to do that with white bread, the kind with zero nutrients that gets so stuck on the roof of your mouth you have to peel it off with your fingers. :)

Shayla said...

I've always wished I could have something soothing and calming that is automatic like a baby has with sucking a pacifier. Natalie "sniffs" the edge of her blankets. It's hilarious. Immediately her body relaxes and her eyes start to droop. I so need something that does that for me! :-) And we wonder why adults have so many problems with addictions... Oh wait, I DO have something that does that for me...food. So sad. At least yours is virtually calorie free.

Amy J. said...

Yes Alicia...you really suck, and I twirl my hair, and Ryan rubs his thumbnail on his lip...what do Alison and Landon do or are they the only sane ones in the family?

Alicia said...

I don't know about Landon, but Alison has always picked and picked and picked at scabs till they bleed. Okay, have we sufficiently grossed everyone out yet?

M-A said...

if i chew gum for longer than a couple of minutes it makes me want to throw up. if i sucked on it i would probably throw up on the spot. it is way too strong for my stomach...

Ms. Kristen said...

GUM GLORIOUS GUM!!!! You suck away! And, no, it is not wierd!

Morwenna said...

Keep up the good work.