Today I was walking to the the mini fridge on my floor to get my afternoon snack when I was struck with a feeling of normalcy.
As I mentioned before I have struggled with some very disordered eating since a very early age. Food has always been about so much other than food. It is pleasure, punishment, and distraction all at the same time. In the past, when I was feeling sad or overwhelmed, I would want to eat a pan of brownies so that I could experience the pleasure of eating something delicious, while punishing myself (my body is very sensitive to large amounts of sugar and wheat), followed by a period of obsession over how many brownies I ate, as well as a ghastly stomachache. But then the stomachache would wane, and I would be left with regret over my sometimes masochism and frequent incapability to really care for myself.
It amazes me how valuable it is to learn how to dialogue with oneself. It is not that I don't binge eat anymore, though I do it much, much less; it's just that I know how to come back from it. Years (or months) ago, a night of binge eating would lead to a week or weeks of more binge eating. And the longer it went on the harder it was to come back from. But I feel now as though I have some idea of how to talk to myself about the binge: to frame it as self-care (learned from Geneen Roth), to drink a lot of water, to journal, to combat the thoughts of "you don't know how to care for yourself" with viable proof that I most clearly do know how to care for myself.
I keep wondering how I got here from there. How I got to a point where there is an element of true nourishing when it comes to food, if even just for one snack. I suppose it has to do with the work I've done to love my body just as it is. It has to do with how I clothe and wash myself. It has to do with letting my body be, with letting her want or reject whatever she needs. It has to do with all the times I let it be okay that I ate ice cream every day for a week or had two cupcakes (or four) at a party. It has to do with the freedom to have cream in my coffee and to sometimes drink that coffee in bed, in my pajamas, even though I should be doing other things. It has to do with riding my bike, with feeling connected to the world through that little 15 pound mass of metal and rubber. In yoga, I felt connected to the earth. But when I am biking I am a part of the whole round world. On my bike, as I learn to yell at drivers about to hit me and ride in a lane clearly designed for cars, I am learning how to protect myself, how to take up space in the world. It has to do with going to my dance class and seeing my body in the mirror, back fat and stomach fat and bruised, scarred legs, and thinking, "that is MINE." And then plie-ing like I am a graceful swan. Because I am. Just a fat one.
What else have I done?
Lots of crying. And talking. Lots of eating. Lots of drinking. Lots of journaling and biking and sad dancing and happy dancing and online shopping. Lots of reading. Lots of reading the same thing over and over until I get it. Lots of hugging. Lots of anger. Lots of forgiveness and grace.
And then today I got hungry so I walked to the little mini-fridge to get my yogurt and honey, mixed together in a little tupperware this morning, and I ate it, and I licked the top of the tupperware cause it was so delicious, and I wasn't thinking about anything else, just how delicious that yogurt was. Every meal or snack is not like this. But this one was. And there have been others like it. And there will be more.