Every so often, I consider, “taking a lover.” This always sounds so romantic to me, but I don’t spend much time daydreaming (or night dreaming) about it, because in actuality, I tend to react rather swiftly with… BARF. HIDEOUS IDEA. EW.
I had an epiphany the other day and it was a biggie.
I woke up and my feet ached something fierce. As I stood up to get out of bed and headed down the stairs, I began cracking jokes to myself that ever since I turned 50, everything really hurts. The truth is, I can’t possibly assess my aches and pains accurately, because I haven’t been eating clean. With the ice cream, cookie, salty-anything-crunchy regimen I’ve been on, well, this type of chow-fest also hurt when I was 44 years old. Blaming my age for my current aches and pains is bullshit.
There, I said it.
Let’s get back to the idea of my taking a lover and my epiphany.
I spent the better (worst) part of my life thinking I was pretty awful. I won’t get into all of the reasons why, but what happens many times with trauma, and what certainly happened to me, is I found alternative ways of coping with all of the pain I couldn’t process. Most of these things, while severely unhealthy, led me to where I am today. (which is really good except for my aching feet and sugary/salty carb consumption.)
One of the first and significant Band-Aids I used to cope, began when I was a young child. I remember the very day my ice skating partner’s mom was furious that her prepubescent son couldn’t lift me over his head. She thought it would be so much easier for him, if I’d just lose some weight. This was the day I took my first and longest lasting lover, FOOD/LACK OF FOOD.
From the time I was eight and through my mid-20’s, I nearly died from anorexia and bulimia nervosa. At 79 lbs. at 5′ 3″, I went to treatment and not really because I was ready to recover, but because I simply didn’t know what else to do. When I look back at the years I purged excessively, took laxatives and diuretics, and over-exercised, it’s an absolute miracle that:
- I’m alive
- I still have teeth
- I have biological children
- I can share my experience and be of service to others who may be suffering
So, ultimately, I did find and embrace recovery and I never purged again. (Stopping the restricting of food was a little trickier.)
Eventually, I got to a svelte weight, my hair stopped falling out, I grew a bit taller and I finally developed. While I wasn’t thrilled about some of my changes, I was grateful to be in the center of recovery and not in the center of doing all I could to die.
Throughout my life, like most people, I have been in several significant relationships. I have been married, divorced, and incredibly dedicated to my children and my career.
The only steady, lifelong lover I have ever really kept, is food. This lover has held the truest of love and intimacy at bay for my entire life. This is truth, but this must change.
THAT IS MY EPIPHANY.
Whether it’s ice cream, cake, hyper-vegan anything, dairy, pizza, or counting nuts so I don’t have one too many, food has been central and also, in some ways, my most internally volatile relationship of all.
Of course, I know it’s unrealistic to break up with food. I’d like to have a platonic, respectful relationship. I like myself far too much to eat this much sugar and salt. Sure, while it’s swirling around in my mouth, like a steamy lover, it can taste delicious and even downright perfect. It doesn’t mean it’s good for me.
It’s harmful and frankly, unacceptable treatment of myself. This 50 year old woman, me, deserves kind nourishment, and to feel less aches and pains.
So today, which is all we have, I have been eating clean. Just for today, I am taking a lover and that lover is me.