I knew this would happen.
I would get sick, or distracted, or disillusioned, and become derailed on this blog/baby/thing.
But better late than never, I suppose.
This weekend I took my mother to the Neighborhood restaurant in Union Square. I had never been in the five years I’ve lived here, and it lived up to every expectation I had. I ordered pumpkin pancakes with mascarpone cheese, and my mother ordered pecan pie french toast. Pictures of the owners from the 1950’s adorned the walls. Prior to the main course, kindly young waitresses brought us plates of fruit and cream of wheat. It all was delicious.
But what I loved most about it was its lack of apology for the large amount of food it served. In fact, they didn’t even try to shove all of it onto one plate; they brought the copious amounts of pancakes, hash browns, eggs, sausage and salad out on two separate large dinner platters.
My mother, who I adore, proceeded to attach all sorts of moral value to the meal. The elderly woman beside us wrinkled her nose in distaste and stated, “I want what you’re having without all…that.” As they muttered around me, I literally felt a comfortable bubble around me that protected me from feeling any sort of bad from consuming the meal. I leaned in conspiratorially to my mother, smiled, and whispered,
“Maybe we should just be grateful for the fact that we have this food.”
Some might claim guilt trip, but I meant nothing by the sort.
I went on a camping trip four years ago when I was in day treatment. I went with someone I had been dating for about two minutes; I traveled with him and a couple of mutual friends to a hilly campground in Vermont. One morning, the group decided to go out to brunch at a local diner. This was pure terror to me; per my therapist and nutritionist’s advice, I had meticulously packed snacks and meals as a way of maintaining stability whilst outside of my usual routine. At the diner, I had ordered banana chocolate-chip pancakes in the means of looking like a “normie”. It was a bit of a mistake, as I ended up stuffing myself to the gills and feeling indescribably uncomfortable in my own skin. I clammed up during the meal and after in the gift shop; I sat silently with this utter feeling of grotesque, fearing that everyone could see the bulge in my stomach. I felt for the fat on my sides. I could barely breathe.
On the car ride back, the young gentleman I was dating asked why I was so quiet. Since he knew about my eating disorder, I tried to explain what I was feeling. Shrugging his shoulders, he said matter-of-factly, “Well, you did eat a TON.”
I don’t blame him. His, and other’s lack of education about this disease is exactly why I write this blog.
Things are not perfect today. My most recent gripe is my slow-to-heal injured knee, which has prevented me from doing any sort of exercise for the past month and a half. My disorder has become loud during this period, trying to convince me that I have become ugly, and that I have gained so much weight that no man could ever be attracted to me.
But my disorder wants me to be validated externally; it wants comments from others about how I stand out from the crowd and it wants a man, another “someone” to tell me I’m beautiful. It doesn’t want me to be independent, or to eat three meals a day, or to wait for someone who matches me on a physical, spiritual and mental level. It doesn’t want me to parent myself. But I do – I want all of these things, always have.
So, when I do feel the softness that comes with being almost thirty, I take a deep breath today instead of panicking. I instead thank God that I’ve almost made it through my twenties, a decade where I was convinced only extreme measures would get me noticed. I am grateful I am an imperfect woman of almost thirty, with a bit of wisdom to pass down to my younger counterparts. I am grateful for having an eating disorder, believe it or not, because it provided me with a level of understanding about the body and spirit that I never would have acquired before. I am a much more whole person for it. When people comment about my weight, I try to laugh it off. (Note…*try*).
And I finally threw out my size 2 eating disordered jeans. I really don’t have a choice anymore – I can’t go back.
(Image provided by Google Images)