Thank God for the people from other worlds!
My boyfriend is not a person who loves to eat. I don’t mean to imply that he doesn’t enjoy the food he is eating when he is eating it. But he does not love eating. He does not look forward to eating. He sometimes forgets to eat. It sometimes doesn’t occur to him to eat until he is ravenous.
This is not a world I live in. It’s not even the same galaxy. It may even be an alternate universe in another dimension…
I am very sensitive to other people’s eating disorders. It is hard for me to be around both food, and people who have an unhealthy relationship with food at the same time. It’s like a sixth sense. I can feel it. It makes me nervous. Edgy.
And not just eating or over eating. Not eating, too. Restraining. Managing. Depriving.
If I am at a party or a dinner with a (usually) woman who can’t stop eating, or can’t stop looking, or can’t stop going back for just a little bit more, or can’t stop telling other people to stop her, or can’t stop apologizing with a guilty look every time she takes a bite, I usually have to walk away. I don’t know what it is, but my own eating disorders start jumping up and down and waving their arms in big, sweeping motions.
Here I am! Over here! Remember me?
Yes, I remember, thank you. It is my life’s goal to eternally remember you. To never forget. And never let you out again.
But for several years now, first with roommates, and now with my boyfriend, I have lived with a number of men who just don’t give a shit about food.
Some have been generally healthier eaters than others. But they all eat junk food. They all eat sugar and carbs. But in moderation. In fact, they will let things sit in cabinets forever. Maybe even let them sit until they go bad. One of my roommates once had a box of ice cream treats in the freezer for about a month. One day he said “Oh! I forgot about those.”
WTF do you mean you forgot about those!?!? If they had been mine, they would have haunted me until every last one was gone. And the carton had been licked.
The first time I stayed with my boyfriend, I woke up after he had left for work, and on the counter was an open package with one of two snack cakes. In other words, he opened it, ate one, and left the other one. Just left it. Didn’t even take it with him. He eventually threw it away. Seriously.
And then yesterday evening, for the first time since I moved in, he ordered a pizza. He hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast 9 or 10 hours earlier. He ate two slices and put it away. Maybe ate another one a few hours later.
When he asked what my blog was going to be about this week, and I said, “Maybe you ordering a pizza,” he said “Oh no! I didn’t think that would be tempting.”
I told him that, thankfully, at this point, nothing in particular is tempting. (Frankly, uncomfortable situations are more “dangerous” to me than any particular food. I basically just occasionally have a difficult feeling and know that food would numb it. I don’t crave sugar or carbs anymore.)
He said, “Don’t worry. It wasn’t that good anyway.” Which was funny to me because it never mattered so much if something were “good” as if it were sugary, starchy, or carby. You know, if it would get me high.
The deal is that I know what is mine and what is not. And I know what is not mine because I have trained myself to know this. I did a lot of work to get to this point. To not pine for foods. To not wish. Or feel deprived. To not resent the fact that I am not a normal eater, but a woman with a sugar addiction and a whole slew of eating disorders. To look at the idea of eating sugar or carbs as stealing somebody else’s food. Not just my boyfriend’s or my roommates’, but anybody else’s food. Even if it’s still on the shelf in the store, it’s not mine!
I did not look at that opened snack cake and want it. I did not have to throw it away to get it away from myself. That pizza is still in the refrigerator. And it will probably be in there until I throw it away in a few days. Because it will almost certainly get old before my boyfriend eats it. But no, it does not talk to me. It is not mine, and it never will be.
But I am still grateful. Grateful that for years now, I have lived in safe places, with safe people. People who don’t have eating disorders or food obsessions. People who can leave a box or a bag or a container long enough that it needs to get thrown away. I’m not saying I understand it. I’m just saying it’s good to be around it.