Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “March, 2015”

Free to be funny another day

I was reading a blog the other day. It was a parenting blog. I am not a parent. It was about DIY cleaning products. Which I will almost certainly never make or use. I was reading it because it caught my attention and I clicked on it.

It was funny. It was one of those sarcastic-mom blogs. The kind of thing Erma Bombeck was writing before blogs. Even before the internet being readily available was a thing. I liked what I read. It was fun.

And it got me thinking about the fact that this blog is not particularly funny.

I am funny. In my life, I make people laugh. A lot. And I will be blunt. Eating disorders, while serious, and worthy of an authentic conversation, can still be pretty hilarious.

Anything that is not killing you at any particular moment can be funny. Even something that is killing you can be funny.

So I thought about how to make this a funnier blog.

I thought about the things that make my friends with eating disorders laugh. Like how my boyfriend will eat one snack cake in a package of two. He will just leave the other sitting there. He’s not even controlling himself and saving it like a good, obsessive eater would. Really? You can’t just mindlessly eat the other one because it’s there? What, you’re too good for that? Or when a friend talks about how her grandmother used to tell her that if something had fruit in it, it wouldn’t make you fat. So she would eat big, rich desserts that had some element of fruit and didn’t expect them to make her gain weight. How could I have gained weight? All I ate for dessert was fruit!

But then I wondered if it would land for people who didn’t have eating disorders. Or if it would just be salt in the wound for people who did, and who were not having an easy time of it.

And then I remembered one of the things I love about having my eating disorders under control. I have time and space. For whatever. I don’t have to do everything now. There’s another meal coming. There’s another day coming. There’s another week coming with another blog post to write. If I want to be funny, I can think about being funny. I can try it out some time. No rush. And it will be OK if it doesn’t turn out for the best. I don’t write for an audience. I write for myself and sincerely hope that people get something out of it. But if they don’t, that’s not actually my responsibility.

A while ago I thought about writing some fiction. And I am writing some fiction in my spare time now. I thought about starting an eating disorder blog long before I actually made Onceafatgirl. I thought about quitting smoking before I quit smoking. I didn’t jump into any of those decisions. And in the end, I ended up doing them. In my own time. At my own pace.

It’s so freeing to remember that I really am free.


The difference between bliss and calamity

I am on my way back home after a really fantastic, week-long vacation. We rented a boat and cruised around on the ocean for two days.  We saw sea turtles and manta rays and jellyfish. I went in the ocean for the first time. I got lots of sun. (I’m a little crispy actually.)

We ate really well this whole trip. One night we borrowed a grill from the resort and had filet mingon stuffed with crab. But my vacation was not about eating. It was not about restaurants. It was not about “cheat days” or “free-for-alls”. A vacation is not an excuse for me to eat whatever I want.

I gave up excuses when I put boundaries around my food. I took on a belief system that says no excuse is acceptable. I do what I do no matter what.

And that allows me a certain kind of peace. I wore my bikini when I was by the pool or on the boat. I’m not skinny. But I am comfortable enough in my skin to wear my bikini in public. 

But If I broke my food boundaries, even if I weighed exactly the same, and looked exactly the same, I would never have been able to wear my bikini. Having boundaries around my food allows me to be happy with myself. It allows me to be less judgmental of myself. It allows me a certain freedom from my own obsessive thinking. About my body and about food.

While I was prepping meals for the flight home today, I was mixing sesame seeds into my butter. But the butter wouldn’t soften in the air conditioning. So I took it outside to our patio and sat in a deck chair and watched the ocean while I was mixing it. My boyfriend came out and looked startled. He asked “Are you eating?” 

I said “No, I’m just making tomorrow’s dinner.”

He said, “Thank God! All I could think was ‘Oh no!'”

I told him, “Yep. If you ever see me eating and it’s not time to eat, think ‘Oh no!'”

My food boundaries are the difference between blissful serenity and disastrous calamity.

This trip was bliss. I can’t wait to do it again. 

Can’t talk now. On vacation. (YAY!)

I am in the airport now waiting for a flight to Florida! I love Florida!

It’s these times, when I am out of my routine, that it becomes so obvious that I have food boundaries.

We are staying at a hotel with a kitchen, like we do when we travel, so I will probably be getting myself a temporary routine. I like routine, it makes me feel safe.

But today, my routine is off. Airports mean bringing all of my food for the day in my carry-on. At 6 AM, two hours before I usually eat in the morning, I ate a breakfast I would never eat at home. Because I had to get it through TSA. I never notice my food boundaries are “inconvenient” in my day to day. But when I am flying it’s always a day of cooking in advance.

And then yesterday I put off eating dinner to pack my clothes, and I got worried like I would forget to eat.

Not having things be predictable gives me fear. Especially around my eating noundaries.

The truth is, it has happened before. I can remember one time in the past 9 years. Probably seven years ago by now. When I remembered that I forgot to eat dinner, I panicked. I made a phone call. I asked what I should do. I followed directions. It all turned out fine in the end. My eating disorders stayed under control. And it was an honest mistake. 

I make hones mistakes. The honesty part is important. I can’t keep my food under control with lies.

When I was eating compulsively, I told a lot of lies about what I was eating. Especially when I was on a diet. (Which was not often. I was not a dieter.) In my experience, a little lie leads to big lies. Once I let dishonesty in, dishonesty was inescapable.

I don’t plan on missing a meal. I love my meals. And I don’t plan on sabotaging myself. And I don’t plan on making honest mistakes, but that’s what makes them honest mistakes. They’re not planned. 

I’m willing to spend a day cooking so I can make it through the airport. I have been willing to do what needs to be done, even when it’s inconvenient. 

Not to succeed, win, have or accomplish

I was an impatient child. Especially when it came to learning. 

See, I’m smart. Really smart. And most things came easily to me. I didn’t have to work hard to learn. And things that I didn’t learn immediately…well, I hated them. I didn’t want to do them. I didn’t want to fail. It made me feel bad. And I always felt like whatever energy I put in to something that ended in failure was a waste of my time. It was all about what I had to show for it in the end.

Soon I am going to get back into the workforce, and I would like to get a job teaching crochet, and helping people fix their crochet projects. At least one place I am looking at requires that you know how to both knit and crochet. So recently I started trying to knit again.

I am a bad knitter.

That is an imprecise way of putting it. There are things that I am great at. Like the dexterity parts. I am excellent at making the different stitches. I can make beautiful patterns with them. I can make cables and laces. When it comes to the actual knitting, I am really talented.

But there is another part of knitting that I am really really bad at. I cannot fix mistakes. This is inconvenient for a girl with mild perfectionist tendencies. If I make a mistake anywhere in a project, I don’t know how to get myself back to the point before I made the mistake without unraveling the whole thing. It’s all or nothing. I either have to live with the imperfections, or start again from the beginning. And I can’t stand making mistakes. So, so far, it’s all nothing.

But there is something different about me since I got my eating under control. I am patient. I am now one of those people who believes it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. (Seriously, I never thought I would be one of those people. I promise I don’t have art with motivational sayings. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

So for the past few weeks, I have been knitting. And I have nothing to show for it. And I am a-okay with that. I must have started anew at least ten times. And yet none of the times I unraveled the whole thing and wound it back around the ball of yarn did I feel it was a waste of my time. I wasn’t doing it because I need a scarf or a blanket or a sweater. I have plenty of beautiful clothes. And my house is cozy warm. I was doing it to practice. To get better. To learn. I was knitting to knit. It’s that simple.

The events and circumstances of my life are so much less “significant” since I got my eating disorders under control. And it’s such a relief. I love being free from having to be great at everything. I love having the ability to be incapable without shame. I love being exactly who I am all the time. I can even be ok with being a bit of a perfectionist.

I’m going to put the knitting away for a while. I just finished a really amazing crochet project and I’m ready to do more of that. But it’s nice to do something for the sake of doing it. Not to succeed, win, have, or accomplish.

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