This weekend was a holiday.
Here I am, 27 years old – about to start a bomb job tomorrow – the stress of my past 2 unemployed months lifted from my shoulders –
And yet this weekend I went camping – in the happiest of Ralph Walo Emerson places- and was still consumed by the inevitable eating disorder panic.
That moment that everyone in a car shouts “Let’s get ice cream!”
And you sit in the back, slinking into your Marmot jacket – trying to disappear from your reality in the back of a Colorado Suburu SUV.
Annoyed by the people asking – and then annoyed at yourself for feeling flustered in the first place.
Hi, everyone. I’ve been pretty MIA the past couple months. Unemployment has nailed a hole inside of me and apparently it let the words escape as well.
I’ve been stressed. Stressed about the inadequacy of my unemployment, stressed about what I’m doing – sitting on a couch most days – googling the best jobs in Colorado I could come up with.
And then wondering – Why am I not traveling footside in the French rural areas? Why am I not in Africa doing something that would stick with me for my life? (because of course, I’m self-indulgent and a fraud. No one goes to Africa without the self-realization hoping to hit them)
Why am I here, I wonder – Why am I here dating and floundering and running around from bar to bar, drinking the happy hour Merlot.
And then – I wonder – why am I so self indulgent that I think I deserve any of that?
I’m starting a job tomorrow. I’m proud of it too. Proud of the company and what they represent.
Who am I every single time that I transition from one “life-defining” decision to another?
I went camping this weekend with a lover, and his friends.
We’re in that stage of dating that means you can take it or you can go.
Your ears are always perked to the reality that this person has no empathetic reason to stay.
One thing you do could possibly change the trajectory of whether or not this person wants you – just as one thing they can do heightens your senses.
Point is, I still have an eating disorder.
Of course he knows. My God you can’t meet me at this stage in my life and not know that I’ve thrown up the entirety of a Subway 6-incher.
But yes, my shit is in the public, so he knows.
We’ve only spoken about it briefly. He saw the Cosmo article.
The bikini self-proclamation.
But he knows.
Just as they all do.
They all know – they see it, and I can see it in their faces before they ever admit ”the google search.”
It’s part of the life path I chose.
In some ways, I’m grateful. In other ways, it doesn’t stop the ED from being hard.
So this weekend I’m sitting around, we’re camping in Arapahoe National Forest, and we go into town after our miles and miles hike into Rocky National Park.
I’m tired, my legs are doing that thing they do where the quiver when I take a step too long.
I want food, but I don’t want ice cream.
And of course, the unanimous decision of the car is a gelato.
All weekend long, I’ve been “super-chill Sally ,” but let’s face it, my Instagrams are deceiving. I’m not a super chill girl when it comes to food.
I have binge ate – and thrown up ice cream my whole life. As early as 17, I can remember stealing my first pint of Ben and Jerry’s at a friends house, hawking it under my cotton pull over – and eating the entirety with tears pouring down my face.
It was over a boy if my memory serves me well – my German ex lover actually.
I knew somehow that night, that he’d come back to visit America – and I wasn’t the love of his life, as he had been to mine.
I could feel it in the way he looked at me; the look still paints a clear view in my memory.
His arms folded over in an outdoor folding chair, watching me move around the backyard.
Of course I was aware of his glance; I played into it. My voice carrying so he could hear.
“You still love her man,” someone said – clipping his shoulder with their forefinger and thumb.
He lifted his eyes from me. But I watched through the peripherals of mine.
“Nah,” my little lover said. “Not anymore.”
“Yeah you do,” this person laughed. “It’s okay dude. But you totally still love that fucking girl.”
He put his head down, waved his hand. “She’s in the past,” he said with no remorse. “And we move on.”
I turned to him; he caught my eye.
I think to this day, he knows; but I never said a word.
Just binge ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Coffee-shit in the bathroom of my friends house later at midnight.
Perhaps, I still equate that. Perhaps it changed.
When my best friend died, I used to binge eat the cafeteria ice cream.
Riley and me – my former best friend (pictured left above) – we used to sit in the University of Arkansas cafeteria, vanilla dripping down our chins.
“You really can eat a full pint of this?” He laughed one day.
“For sure dude,” I laughed, letting the cream dissolve on my tongue. “I’m a psycho alone with ice cream.”
He smiled, slurped up the last couple bites. “I wish I understood you, Lindsey Hall.”
“Me too,” I smirked, swallowing the rest of mine – wishing there was more.
Feeling the anxiety.
Even now, he never knew that I went to the store afterwards – trailing the Walmart frozen food aisle, my hoodie hanging off my shoulder – deciding which one would be the “healthiest” to binge.
Do I go with Gelato, or do I stick with the Skinny Cow?
Does it matter, I used to joke to myself.
But of course, I’d say. Because you won’t have more than just a few bites.
LIES, my Devil would tell me.
But on it went. Always forfeiting to the voice that knew the inevitable.
Anyway, long story short – it happened this weekend. The inevitable ice cream moment.
All weekend long I’d been the cool girl.
I was “fine” with the sweet corn, and not the organic.
Fine with the white flour tortilla instead of whole wheat organic corn.
As always, my eating disorder is a funny little contradictory.
I’ll sip Hazelnut creme (SUGAR TO THE MAX) but refuse to grab a Starbucks Frappuccino 4-pack because MY GOD, 21G OF SUGAR*
*or something like that. I actually can’t quite remember.
My eating disorder is irony. It just wants control, and if I have a loss of it then I don’t want any part.
So this inevitable ice cream moment came, and of course I’m sitting there in my flannel and beanie – being all like “FUCK NAW.”
And this poor guy dating me is all like “WHA- WHY??”
So I do my fun little jig, where I sha-shank into a side-step and immediately shrink away into the bathroom claiming “NONE FOR ME. NO. DON’T EAT IT.”
IM BETTER THAN ALL OF YOU, HA HE HO, my eating disorder sings.
YOU WILL JUST GO PEE AND SIT AND THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT YOU ARE FOR NOT SUCCUMBING.
So of course, that’s what I did.
And I come out, pissed off that this guy and his friends are dribbling their soft serve around me, dripping their Oreo and M&M bits onto the ground.
I COULD EAT ALL OF THAT, my eating disorder thinks. YOU WASTEFUL FUCKS.
But, I sit quietly. Smiling that likely moronic grin I do when I’m secretly uncomfortable but pretending to be at ease.
I want it – but I don’t. I don’t want to touch it and yet I do; the memories of my high school and college life slipping into my view.
Reminding me that I didn’t like that girl that strolled through the linoleum floor in Walmart at 9pm on a Tuesday – salivating at the Skinny Cow mint ice cream sandwiches or the Raspberry Sorbet.
In conclusion, it lasted till we had a glass of wine at the bar nearby.
Once I had that Merlot, it seemed as though the ease faded (funny how alcohol has that tendency.)
And I carried on that night, with the gallant knowledge that I had not succumbed.
Of course I felt stronger for not doing it, but I also felt the same shame for remembering it all in the first place.
Eating disorders don’t leave your side.
You don’t go to rehab and forget what you’ve done.
You’re stuck grappling with the consequences of the choices you made over the months, years, decades of your decisions.
Sure, maybe they’re more private than a drug addict or alcoholic, but alas – they are with you.
And you are the only person who can forgive you of you.
I’m better now that I’m home – and I sit here at a cafe, researching my new clients for the PR firm I’m going to start work with tomorrow.
I’m content – at ease.
I’m eating hummus and veggies, and having a 5$ glass of happy hour wine.
I had fun this weekend. And what I’m writing about became a minor life moment, more than a defining one.
I don’t know that I thought I could ever get there in my life.
But here I am, being okay.
At least whatever my version is of that.
I went on a run today –
“2 miles,” I thought. My legs are tired from the hiking – my ass soar.
I went 3, and fell at the 3 mile mark.
Seems fitting right? LOL. My eating disorder propelling me to go farther and my legs saying a big “F- YOU.”
I listened to them. I walked the 3 miles back.
I don’t always have a point to my blogs – nor do I want to.
I’m not a motivational self-help speaker.
I’m just a bloody girl trying to navigate this life.
Sometimes I wonder if I could do more. If I could be fleeing the country to help the Syrian refugees.
Maybe I’m not equipped to do that (though I still think I could)
And then I have a moment, I sit back –
But maybe I mean something to someone.
Maybe my words just help you feel a little less alone – and that’s not to be disregarded.
Eating disorders pride on that shit – yo.
Don’t be alone.
You’re not alone.
Everything you’ve ever felt about food – I promise you I’ve felt too. And so have others (judging from my emails)
Maybe that helps, maybe it doesn’t
But I hope the former.