I’ve written quite a bit about cooking over the years.
From the days of meal planning post-rehab (that lasted all of a month) to New York small apartment cooking (that also lasted approximately 22 days) to Grub Hub’ing (more often than not) to cooking meat for the first time (disaster) to present day Hello Fresh meal plan subscriptions, I’ve phased through it all – which led me to this post, and a comforting realization.
Saturday morning, I woke up in one of those frenzied moods, shoving the comforter back so forcibly that my dog jumped up in fright.
I HAVE X, X, AND X TO DO, I announced aloud, leaping up to brush my teeth – as though I was about to set out to save the world from the Bubonic Plague (or Trump.)
Comin’ off 10 days on the east coast – and booooooy did I miss my NYC life.
Sometimes, I don’t know why I left. Sometimes, I know exactly why. It’s a forever battle – so I’m forewarning you that you’re probably about to see an excessive amount of NYC pics.
Every week, I receive a message along the lines of “HAAAAALP. I’m so and so and I have an eating disorder. New to recovery, I’d like to start writing about it. I want to help people and feel like I need that community. How’d you do it?”
In pure honesty, I rarely answer these emails or DMs. Not because I don’t appreciate them – but because it’s quite difficult to pinpoint or understand exactly why my blog seems to resonate with people. If I do answer, I usually say something along the cheesedick, admittedly unhelpful line of “I was lucky – and I wrote with little regard to other people because I didn’t actually think other people would read it. That, in turn, made all the difference.”
The other day, I saw a Facebook picture of a person I will forever define as “a lifetime love affair.”
… Okay. That’s a lie. I went purposely creeping through his Facebook page, dug past his borderline-conspiracy-theorist-Facebook-belief private settings – and ended up clicking over to his current girlfriend’s page – ogled over her natural European thinness – and tried to find remote evidence of her ‘plain’ personality via a couple pics.
We all have a few of these people – sprinkled throughout our lives – like quicksand dissolving through our fingers.
She seems ‘right’ for him. I said it aloud.
We ended as we were meant to, I reminded myself.
She loves him. I don’t wanna know.
You don’t know that person anymore.
As I laid back on my pillow, there was a picture I noticed on her notably less privacy-clad page (she must be strong-willed, I decided, to ignore his constant conspiracy rants) – and it was the two of them on a Scandinavian mountainside. A black spaghetti strap falling down her tan shoulder, a black t-shirt clinging to his stomach from wind-blow. They had backpacks on, surrounded by friends who seemed equally as attractive and ‘mountain-approved’ by an REI commercial.
A flicker of angst: “A life that could’ve been mine, and wasn’t.”
As I stood up there, cold as hell, nervous, adrenaline-infused (as I always am before any public speaking), I had a momentary wave of peace.
There are times that what I do feels like a hashtag blessing. And there are times that I am truly conscious of that blessing. This was one of them – leading a crowd of people , and helping to hold a banner of awareness for a sickness many suffer from in some shape or form.
Stood next to a group of young ladies after the walk. We chatted for a bit; I pet their puppy:
“Your blog helped us,” one of them said. “You make people feel like they can talk about this stuff and it’s not a big deal. Thank you.”
I teared up (my tears likely freezing into icicles cause IT WAS FRIGID): my words may make a momentary impact, sure, but choosing life outside of an ED is a powerful, intimate decision. And having a support group of friends who are doing it with you – how rad. These ladies inspired me.
Cheers to days like this.
How lucky I’ve been to take my experience – and magnify it to the point that it is no longer a shame for me to speak to, and about. How lucky I’ve been to find purpose and meaning in my life at 28-years old.
Thank you to all of you who have ever read a word I’ve posted.
2 Christmas’ ago, I was sitting in rehab when my parents called to say they had bought plane tickets, reserved a last minute subpar Coconut Creek, Florida hotel, and were rearranging their holiday plans -all to spend a sanctioned 2 hours with me on Christmas Day.
While time has passed in waves since that year, I was standing here holiday shopping in New York City tonight when someone close to me called from that familiar rehab pay phone:
ED recovery pushes you to re-learn foods that you like; it requires that you try and explore and cook and prepare what makes your body feel full- mentally and physically.
2 years ago I would never eat Chicken Parmesan for lunch. I had a stringent, unyielding routine of minimal tuna, 6 raspberries, 3 strawberries, a handful of blueberries, 6 almonds, spinach, and half a banana. I didn’t budge. I ate alone. I avoided office lunches. I barely focused at my desk- scowering the internet for “acceptable” vegan, raw, obsolete recipes. I counted down every day to 4pm when I “allowed” myself an Apple to soothe hunger pains.
I’m writing this post on a whim today- because 2 years into recovery, I stood in my office kitchen this afternoon- eagerly unloading Tupperware to prepare lunch for my coworker and myself, and I finally felt that sense of community that food is meant to represent in our culture. The love that food can symbolize between people.
“Now I’m not a big fan of the sauce,” I said to her, a bit insecure (and always a perfectionist). “I’ve done better but it’s fine. Do you like fruity salads?” I asked, jumping around the kitchen. “This is a bit fruitier- maybe too much dressing- but the croutons even it out.”
“Linds,” she said finally- touching my shoulder. “Chill- It’s wonderful. Look at you,” she smiled. “Who knew you could cook?”
I smiled then, I calmed. It’s true. And it was nice to take a moment to realize that I’m at a point where I can prepare foods and judge them based on taste and not calorie count.
I will always be a bit of a perfectionist, tis true, but I win ED today, you sour lil’ bastard.