Today I Start Living

Sometimes my eating disorder just fades into the background of my life.

As I go about my day, it’s second nature to choose low calorie foods, not finish my meals, or just not eat at all. But lately I’ve been making a conscious effort to disobey my ED’s rules.

Last night, I had a pretty amazing revelation. I’ve been eating intuitively for the past several days! Intuitive eating is basically the entire point of all the ED treatment I’ve been through. It involves eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and choosing a variety of foods based on how appealing they are, not their calorie/fat/etc. content.

On Sunday, I ate five different times. One of those meals included fried chicken. Perhaps that’s not the most nutritionally sound food, but it tasted good, it was convenient, and when I was finished, I wasn’t hungry (read: grumpy) anymore.

Yesterday I ate three meals and one snack. My lunch was a kale salad, and dinner included whole grain pasta and more salad. That’s intuitive eating, my friends! Some days I eat food that’s considered “junk,” and other days, I eat more healthily. It’s all about finding balance.

I’ve also been cooking for myself again. Earlier in the week, I made an Udon noodle bowl that should have included chicken, but I forgot all about the package of ground chicken in the fridge. I decided to turn it into chicken meatballs. I’d never made meatballs before, but my dad makes them (out of pork and beef) a lot, and it’s one of my favorite meals ever, so I decided to give it a go. And they turned out great! I even had a friend over for dinner, and my friend enjoyed the food too. I love to feed my friends and family. It’s the Jewish grandmother in me.

I am trying to make peace with my body. Because I am eating more, I have probably gained a little weight. I feel more hungry than I’ve felt in a while, most likely as a side-effect of the Abilify injection and hormones. I used to feel very angry when I was hungry. Not just that normal “hangry” feeling, but I’d get angry at myself and my body, telling myself, “How dare you ask for food? I just gave you a cup of coffee and an orange!” I am trying to treat myself with compassion, and accept that I am a human being in a human body that requires sustenance like all other living creatures.

Last night, I practiced some self-care. I took a nice, long, hot shower, washed my hair, and painted my nails when I got out. I don’t normally do my own nails because my hands shake a little bit, but they actually came out pretty decent. I found myself very focused as I was doing it. Normally, my mind is racing, thinking about to-do lists, things I want to write, things I need to Google, what I’m going to wear tomorrow, and (as always) irregular Spanish verbs. I think I may have been experiencing what they call “mindfulness,” which is basically just focusing on the task at hand and nothing else. I’d highly recommend it!

Meanwhile, my anxiety has gotten quite a bit better. I can drive without feeling like imminent doom is right around the corner, and work goes fairly smoothly. I changed my availability at work so that I only have to close two nights a week, and I can work in the mornings most days. I really, really want to fix my sleep schedule. There are so many things to do in the day besides sleep! I have places to go, people to see.

I’m trying to get rid of excess clutter and keep my spaces clean. I have a ton of clothes that I don’t wear either because they don’t fit me, or I just don’t like them. I absolutely hate holding onto clothes that fit the thinner me. Every now and then I’ll try them on, and it leads me down into a pit of despair and body-hate.

One of my friends is transgender, and attends a support group for trans people. I asked my friend if they knew any trans women who needed clothes, and they said yes, so I gave my friend a big bag full of dresses, skirts, and blouses that I no longer wear.

In all honesty, I used to have some very wrongheaded ideas about transgender people. I was misinformed and ignorant. Of course, I do not expect a pat on the back for being a decent human being and respecting trans people, but I am pleased with this bit of personal growth. I am very happy to have gotten rid of my clothes, and to know that there are some trans women in my community who will be rocking them.

My parents are currently both on vacation. I was very, very worried about them leaving while my meds are in flux, but I am doing surprisingly well. I’ve been socializing, arriving to work early, eating well, and having fun. I miss having coffee with Mom in the mornings, but they’ll be home soon enough, and for now they’re just a phone call away.

I am so thankful to have such supportive parents. They have been through hell and back with me, and they love me no matter what. I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have parents like mine.

My brother is also in my corner. Sometimes he calls me out of the blue just to talk, which always makes my day. He has a pit bull named Bossman, with a smooshy face and a lot of energy. My brother is getting married to a lovely young lady next year, and his fiancee asked me to be a bridesmaid in the wedding. I am so excited!

A few weeks ago, I went to David’s Bridal with Mom to try on the bridesmaid dress. At the time, I thought I looked terrible in it. Last night I looked back on the photo, and I realized I actually look pretty in the dress.

It’s amazing what a different mindset can do. When I tried on the dress in the store, I was feeling anxious and uncomfortable. But when I looked at the photo last night, I was feeling relaxed and happy. My body is still exactly the same, but how I perceive it changes every time the wind blows.

On difficult days, I have to remember that. My body is not the problem. It never has been.

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