onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “Thanksgiving”

Grateful I didn’t have to eat myself sick

Another non-Thanksgiving is under my belt. My husband joined some friends for a pot luck dinner at his local bar, and I showed up for about 45 minutes and had a diet soda. But I didn’t cook, which I don’t do anyway. Cook Thanksgiving dinner, that is. Of course, I cook all the time. Mostly every day. Just not the stuff Thanksgiving is made of.

Obviously I don’t eat the traditional sides. No potatoes. No sweet potatoes. No glazed carrots. (Nothing glazed, as a matter of fact. Though I do enjoy roasted or steamed carrots.) No stuffing. No casserole. No fruit except at breakfast, so no cranberry sauce. (I do sometimes make apple cranberry or orange cranberry compote this time of year for breakfast, by the way, though not lately.) No dinner rolls. No cornbread. And I don’t like turkey.

I could make a sugar-free version of pumpkin pie, or cheesecake. But I don’t love pumpkin pie. And I already make my sugar-free cheesecake when I crave it, so I don’t need it specifically for Thanksgiving.

Basically, Thanksgiving is a food holiday and it is not for me. Am I grateful? Of course I am. I have a beautiful, happy life. But this particular holiday is not filled with non-edible traditions. We don’t exchange gifts, wear ugly sweaters, put up lights. Who has ever heard of a Thanksgiving Carol? We don’t wear costumes, go dancing, put on pageants, exchange cards, or give flowers. There is football, but I care about football only slightly more than I care about food I don’t eat.

So I did not participate in Thanksgiving, but I did not miss it at all. And I certainly hope yours was lovely. I hope it was cozy and sweet and filled with love. And I hope all of you “normal eaters” enjoyed gorging yourselves that one day a year you let yourself go crazy with food.

I, personally, am grateful that I didn’t have to.

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Dear Tradition, consider yourself flouted. Love, me

And that is Thanksgiving done. Phew.

As you may know, it is my least favorite day of the year. I had ignored it, considered it just another Thursday, for a long time.

This year we went to my boyfriend’s family’s home for dinner, and my Mom’s for dessert. (Of course I did not partake of dessert.)

It was fine. It was even nice. Or at least there were some really nice moments. But it’s so much. It’s so much food. It’s so much noise. It’s so much heightened emotion.

I have said before that I am not afraid of food. I don’t worry about eating things I’m committed to not eating. But it is not always comfortable. It can sometimes be a matter of holding my thoughts in check. And that can be exhausting. Especially when I am out of my element.

And also especially on Thanksgiving. Because the traditional mode of celebration is eating. To not eat can somehow feel like I’m saying, “screw you, tradition. And screw you too, America.” To go to Thanksgiving celebrations and not eat sugar and carbs, and not over eat, and not do anything “special” is, without a doubt, to set yourself apart. It is to show up at a party and then…not party. It can feel like being the party-pooper. Which is why I used to just treat it as another day. It’s easier that way.

Of course I DO NOT WANT to eat sugar. I do not want to over eat. I am not telling you all of this because I want an excuse to “live a little.” I do not want any excuses. I love my boundaries. Seriously, getting my eating under control is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. And I am not interested in giving that up for a feeling of inclusion. Or normalcy. I am telling you this because I have made a choice. The choice to participate in this tradition on my own terms. For my boyfriend, mostly. Because it’s important to him to do his family traditions. And I love him.

But my food always has to be on my terms. Always. Period.

Look, people know. My boyfriend’s family is totally supportive. My family is totally supportive. I’m not saying that anyone was pressuring me. It is having to protect myself from the “Great American Institution” that is Turkey Day that is exhausting.

But it’s only one day a year. And nobody said I had to love it. I just have to get through it. And I don’t have to worry about that for another year.

You don’t feel sorry for me, and I won’t tell you where you can stuff your turkey

At the farmer’s market yesterday, somebody wished me Happy Thanksgiving. She must have thought the 4 lbs of Brussels sprouts and 3 lb head of cauliflower were for some huge gathering I was hosting. She probably also assumed that the 9 apples were for a bunch of pies that I was making to share with my loved ones.

No. It is all for me. Share and food are not words I like to put together. In fact, that last sentence makes me a little uncomfortable. And if anyone were to try to touch my market haul, they might lose a hand.

Needless to say, being wished Happy Thanksgiving reminded me that my favorite time of year is here.

If you know me personally, you know that this is really the ultimate in Kate sarcasm. I hate winter. I hate cold and snow and dark. And I absolutely abhor the holiday season.

I do not actually hate individual holidays themselves. There is nothing wrong with Thanksgiving or Christmas. But I don’t participate.

And even this would not be a big deal if people wouldn’t make it such a big effing deal.

What I hate about the season is that every year, everybody and their brother has to make a big to-do about how nobody should be alone for the holidays. And here’s why I’m super-duper über not looking forward to this year. Because I’m already unhappy. And I can already see the pouty simpers on the faces of all the kind people who will insist that it would be a terrible thing for me to be alone for Thanksgiving. They would be worried about me. Especially when I’m having such a hard time.

Let me assure you I am not suicidal. But that I might become homicidal if you simper at me…

Let me also assure you that the last thing I want is to spend the day when I am already blue around a group of people and an over abundance of food. Food I don’t eat.

Let me also also assure you that I have a family. They would probably like to see me. It turns out they like me. But they also like to fill various rooms with food. Food I don’t eat. And for the most part, they have come to terms with the fact that I won’t be joining them.

It’s not that I don’t like people. For the most part, I do. But I also need a lot of time alone. And there is a particularly frustrating, annoying, obnoxious thing that people do, particularly during the holiday season. They want to give me permission to “cheat” on my “diet.” (I am not on a diet. And I don’t cheat. Ever. No really, never.) Oh go on. It’s Thanksgiving. Treat yourself. Because they don’t understand that the rest of that sentence is like crap. Spiral ever downward into an eating disorder hell prison. (And just so you know, if I were going to eat outside of my boundaries, I would not wait for somebody’s well-meaning permission. In fact, I would probably steal Mr./Ms. Well-Meaning’s pecan pie out from under their nose.)

But maybe what I am starting to understand that I never realized consciously before is that I need to stay away from Thanksgiving and Christmas because they are dramatic. Not because people make them dramatic. More because they make people dramatic. They are about light in the darkness. They are about survival when the Earth has gone to sleep and isn’t going to provide for a while. They are about the end of a 365 day cycle, and looking at what you have made and done for a year. They are about taking inventory of your life. These are big, dramatic things. So we as humans celebrate these things with spectacular displays. To show that we honor how spectacular life is. With bright lights and shiny decorations. With abundant food and dramatic music. (Sure I hate Christmas music, but who isn’t moved by Oh Holy Night?!)

When I am not feeling burdened by the expectation to participate, I can see that there is something beautiful in this way of celebrating life. I’m moved just thinking about it. But I can’t handle it. It’s too much for me. It’s too big for my already sensitive, overly emotional heart. On the scale of 1-10, I live life at a consistent 8 ½. And the holidays can ramp me right up to a 100 in the blink of an eye. And I’m not the only one, of course. Ask any parent. ‘Tis the season for over-stimulated-meltdowns.

Anyway, I will be having a regular Thursday this week. That’s what I choose. But let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope it’s moving and dramatic in the best possible way. And I hope the only meltdowns are the cheese and the chocolate.

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