I don’t know if I should write this. It doesn’t seem like the most appropriate subject matter for a second official blog post. I’m supposed to be building a brand here, a name for myself. I read earlier on a fellow’s blog that when he is writing a book, he battles between what is authentically placed on his heart and what he believes will sell and be popular. I find myself in that place now, wanting to sell myself, to gain your approval while knowing it won’t be worth a damn if I dishonor myself to obtain it.
So here we go..
TGIF looks like sitting at home alone.. okay fine, I’m not alone. I purchased my company this evening. Yes, that’s right don’t judge me. I have a regular that I go to when I’m feeling lonely. I haven’t reached out in a while as I’ve been trying to change my ways, but tonight my boyfriend is attending a training and I got the itch, so I gave in. I had to do it. I hope you’ll understand. That Publix carrot cake might as well be crack cocaine! One slice my ass! The single slice they offer for $3 is a financial and emotional mockery! The entire block costs $6 and barely covers my Soul from head to toe. But hey.. I intend to tag this post under the umbrella of personal development so here’s a hope shot for you: I only ate half of the block. 1,230 calories later (no bulllshit), I’m actually feeling genuinely proud about that.
Cute humor aside, food was my first friend. Socially awkward to a fault with a mother who had good intentions and horrible fashion sense, my hallway status was doomed from the start. I remember my lunch tray lifting into shaking hands while making the slow turn to look out upon a sea of faces oblivious to my existence. There was no where to sit. Oh, there were empty chairs but they weren’t for kids like me. So one broken heart retreated to the large stall in the little girl’s room to sit, eat, and cry.
My favorite childhood memories are built around food: watching my mother joyously preparing cinnamon rolls from scratch in the kitchen, going to Nana’s house on weekends to make homemade ice cream, and eating pizza every Friday night with my brother and sister. It was on those Friday nights that I learned to devour my food like a full grown man. 3 kids, 1 large pie, 8 slices. You do the math. Only two kids were getting three slices and I made damn sure I always was one of them. I still get the last slice to this day.. if I want it 😉 Test me.
I fell in love with food and the way that a full stomach made me feel. Bite after bite, I would swan dive over the edge of satiated, crashing into the ocean of over indulged and feel my body exhale like it had just come home from a long journey away. That’s what food does for me. DID for me. So I called on my childhood lover this evening, the one who I used to be madly in love with and now hang on to for the nostalgia, hoping the old magic would make a cameo appearance. Sometimes it does but mostly it’s just an empty dream, the residue of what used to be. It’s a hard thing to accept when the thing that used to help you becomes the thing that hurts you. I didn’t want to let go. And it turns out I didn’t have to. I get to have conjugal visits…
You see, for me, recovery from my eating disorder doesn’t look like a bunch of restrictions and rules. That was a maladaptive coping skill I developed to “fix” the maladaptive coping skill of binge eating when I became an adult. I was gonna wrestle this thing to the ground and force it out of me. Like a ping bong ball, I slammed back and forth between eating super clean with NO wiggle room and consuming everything in sight until I literally felt I would explode. Perfectionism. Punishment. Shame. I was a good girl when I ate perfectly throughout the day and if I made one mistake, the entire day, maybe even the week, was a wash so I ate everything I could. Monday was just around the corner when I would swear it all away and “quit for GOOD” again. And the workouts. Oh my goodness, the cruel and punishing workouts I would force myself to do for days following a binge. I had been a bad, fat girl and it was time to pay the price. Sometimes this behavior rewarded me with some awesome physical results but I could never maintain it. As soon as sugar or carbs touched my lips, I lost all control until I collapsed. What was once my lover had become my foe. I villainized pizza, cookies, and so many of my other favorite foods until they became the dance I did alone in the darkness and hated myself for in the morning. As soon as the sun would peer over the edge of my bedroom blinds, I did my dutiful walk of shame to the scale and then it was off to the gym for sentencing. I hated myself. At one point, I got into the best shape of my life and looked AMAZING but it was exhausting. I was so terrified of what to eat and when, running 8 miles 3x per week, and tanning every damn day that it was impossible to maintain. My motive was all wrong! I wasn’t exercising to love myself, I wasn’t eating healthy to be well. I was trying to make myself worthy and could never measure up, even in a fit body. The noise in my head was so loud that after a few months I said to hell with this! I’d rather be fat. So fat I became. Again.
In the spirit of bringing this full circle (apparently that’s a thing I like to do), Yes, my childhood lover and I hang out sometimes. We are no longer enemies. It has required practice (we are still working out kinks along the way, no pun intended) but today we are actually building upon a pretty solid foundation of friendship. We see each other in moderation most times but every once in a while get carried away on a Netflix and chill kinda night. So yeah, I’m proud that I ate half a block and 1,230 calories of carrot cake because that’s exactly how much I wanted to eat. And do you know where the rest of it is? In my fridge waiting for the next time I want something sweet (probably tomorrow). I didn’t decide I was a fat little failure and slam the entire block down my throat, then roll myself into my Honda to go get some more punishment. I looked my former enemy in the eye, grabbed it’s hand and said, “It’s okay to be imperfect. I love you in this moment and I’ll love you in the morning.” Because as it tuns out, the only battle I was really fighting was within myself.