Month 8 has come and gone. Previous months seemed to take longer to get here; seems like just 2 days ago I was saying “7 Months”. How can time fly by when I’m dragging my feet around all the time, feeling like I’m scraping by on dust.
I’m definitely noticing “the food thing” – it’s very clear now, and I don’t like it at all. One of my first coping mechanisms was shoveling food now my neck, as in my house food was the only thing that seemed to stop the sadness, the depression, the arguments, the shouting and terror, the total dysfunction. There were definitely many tense and abusive dinners or occasions linked to food outside the home and many nights I could barely swallow without silently choking, due to the poorly prepared from depressing ingredients food itself and the thick silence and pervading at times unspoken anger in the room. Any sound would make us jump in our chairs and put our eyes back to our plates, counting the seconds until we could move on to the next thing. Though the next thing was often homework upstairs, homework that I so often did not understand and the pages of my textbooks would swim before my eyes in my sheer panic. But at least I was not still sitting at that table in that frigid room with the inappropriate for the climate tile floor, next to the bulk that could strike out at any moment or across from the other bulk that would drag her foot down my shin if I laughed or talked too much on the wrong day. At least I did not have to try to stiffle myself or entertain, based on the current needs of others.
Yet somehow, I always equated eating a lot with strength, maturity, “doing it real and right”. I would sneer at people who were picky eaters or left food on their plates and said they were full. I still do. Maybe that will never change. But I know now that people are allowed to make statements about their eating habits, make choices. They don’t at all need the food to make the choices for them or the other people in the room to bully them one way or another. I do not believe that people should eat animal products and looking back as I have been doing over these last many months, I see indications where I never did believe they should. I won’t go on about any of that right now.
I don’t feel here at 8 months that I have any more figured out than on Day 1. Maybe it was all there all along, so there’s no real “ah-a” moments. There are more subtle ones though surely, that have been popping up along the way.
I’m still sitting here with the same questions I’ve had for as long as I remember: where should I move to? Should I stay? What should I do?
And the answers seem hidden under a gray blanket, one that I cannot lift or even peer under the corner of.
But I can say that the voice of “should I have wine?” and “what’s the difference anyways” have dialed down a bit. I know that there’s no fun in drinking, there just isn’t. No more than there’s any fun in eating a whole french breach loaf smeared with Myokos vegan butter, while standing at the stove and cooking greens, listening to the Unruffled Podcast. That sounds fun right? I would be all for that. This happened yesterday, or I should say “I did that” not that “it happened”. The whole time though, I was thinking that I shouldn’t be doing that, that I so so so did not want to gain anymore weight, that I was scared, aware that I was pushing it down, pushing it down, pushing it down. I spat out the last bite into the trash and guiltily, sadly, threw away the bits of remaining spread and cleaned up the millions of crumbs that I’d produced in my compulsive bread sawing, over and over.
Later I would make vegan cookies and have 4, then another 4, all in conveyor belt-like fashion, just one after the next after the next. Then a roll-up and a whole bag of cauliflower puff snacks, then a grapefruit, then 5 mini-sleeves of Ritz. 4 Seltzers, hummus, kale…consuming….stuffing….totally irritated and disgusted, I finally got myself to go for a walk at the ocean, where I stomped around trying to avoid all eye contact. Luckily I got to a section where there were no observers and I could listen to the birds, starting to come back, trying to make a new year for themselves. I could listen to the ocean and actually hear it above the humming negativity yelling into my forehead. I could smell the sea and look all around, into the secret silent except for the rustling of the air, shadowy places that live under benches and between stone walls, where the leaves pile up at the end. Stone figures poked out previously unseen from behind thorny bushes of sticks.
And I could count a few breaths and a few steps. And finally feel at ease.