I Cried All Day, and I Don't Plan on Stopping.
Thursday September 1st, 7:30pm
I just made a delicious fucking dinner. I was this close to ordering from Little Venice (my local greasy spoon with an Italian bent, only place that delivers, garlic knots to DIE for), but I closed out the tab. “Thirty seven bucks?” I thought. “I can do one better.” I don't know what it was that gave me such a peppy attitude about it.
Earlier today, I was crying in my car, thinking about how fucked up my relationship with food is. It mostly always has been – there were a few years in there where I was feeling pretty good about it, then I gained 20 pounds, joined weight watchers and quickly developed some kind restrictive eating disorder. I got so skinny, but weight watchers told me I was still not “goal weight” so I kept pushing myself. I took so god damn much pride in it; I thought I was at my best. I look back at photos that I posted and I barely recognize myself.
Right around the time the pandemic started, I had hit my lowest weight, and I had just fallen in love, and let's just say I started eating pasta again. It’s been slow, it’s been steady at times, it’s been two years and I’ve gained more than 100 pounds back. I’m still not as big as I was when I started this whole thing, but I probably will be. Statistically speaking.
Somewhere around Christmas of last year I first ate sugar again, and by summer I was indulging in everything. Started dating a foodie and just dove in. Ice cream day in and day out. It was fucking fun! But my body started to ache. I wake up every day just creakier and more agitated. I stopped eating sugar in the first place back in 2017 to give up all the inflammation, give up all the obsessive thoughts. It was easier than I thought to get so deep back into it again, the compulsive bingeing.
I’ve been trying to think about all these things going on with my relationship with food as facets of disordered eating. I don’t want to make it about me being bad. I don’t want to buy into all that bullshit again. But I do feel like I’m bad. I do feel ashamed of myself. I know what the world thinks about all my rolls of fat, I know how unlovable some people think it makes me, how unworthy and inhuman. I don’t believe those things about myself, but the thoughts creep in.
My whole life feels like it’s falling apart. NOTHING IS OBJECTIVELY WRONG. I have a house, a healthy family with nieces and a nephew, friends who support me emotionally, a job that pays me humanely and keeps me intrigued, I pursue my hobbies, I am proud of who I am. There’s nothing more I could think to want. But this morning, I was crying in my car, thinking about how fucked up my relationship with food is.
Just now, after closing out the tab for the Italian place’s online ordering system, I walked into the kitchen. I went to the fridge and took out broccoli, pepper, ginger, white wine, a tomato, hot sauce and miso paste. I set water a boil with lots of salt, and I chopped an onion, minced garlic, grated the ginger. I chopped the tomato and salted it. I poured myself a glass of wine. I turned the heat onto the pan and added oil, and started sautéing. I went back to the fridge, I opened the cabinets, I sipped my wine. I boiled the noodles and blanched the veg while the white wine was reducing in my sauce. I mixed it all into the most unctuous stir-fry, noodles, veg and sauce. These actions were meditative, steeped in love and caring for my one sweet self.
I filled my bowl to the tip top. It was a small bowl, and it made me feel satisfied to fill it all the way up. My food stayed nice and hot. I tasted a small forkful of my creation, and exhaled into a small smile. It was delicious. It was inspirational. It was wacky. I ate the whole bowl impatiently, blowing on the noodles so they wouldn’t burn my tongue. I wished someone else was here to enjoy, and yet I was so glad to be alone here, thinking about where to go next. Thinking about how not to cry so much tomorrow.
I’m proud of myself for feeding myself something beautiful tonight. There’s something pretty painful about having this type of relationship with something you so intrinsically need, and that is so deeply engrained in our ways of relating to other people. I am amazed at the depth of my humanity, in how I can be at once so torn up by my relationship with food and simultaneously allow myself to use it as medicine, to heal myself on a tough day. I deserve to heal myself. I know that I do.
I cried this afternoon, because I hadn't eaten anything yet, and I can’t regulate my emotions on an empty stomach.
I cried in the kitchen while I cooked, because I was so happy to smell what I was making, and I knew it would be ready soon.
I stopped crying to eat, and to write this, and to say, I hope tomorrow is better, and I love you. I fed myself, so I was able to think those nice thoughts. I will cry again, because it is all so exhausting and complex, this living in the here and now. I remain full of gratitude, but even the gratitude just makes me weep sometimes.