Tonight I cooked and ate dinner. For most, this feat is nothing to write home about. But for me, on this particular night, this dinner warrants serious accolades. My sweet husband is out of town so it has been up to me to take care of not just the baby, but myself as well. My husband has been my number one supporter on my recovery journey. He has truly been my rock and on the rough days I really lean on him to help me through. This is my first week alone since coming home from treatment last year. And I must say I’ve even surprised myself. I have done really well…never missing or skimping on a meal, getting good rest and simply enjoying my alone time. This alone period has been such a good reminder for me. Being on my own has reminded me that I am capable of taking care of myself. It has also reminded me that my recovery is and will always be an evolving journey. (However, don’t get me wrong, I am ready for my honey to come home. I miss him like crazy and it is his turn to change a few dirty diapers!)
Having spent more than half of my life in the grips of an eating disorder, there is still much work to be done to heal the scars of the past. Painful memories and emotions are occasionally triggered and bring on a flood of tears and feelings of sadness, guilt and anger. Just this evening I found myself overcome with haunting feelings of the past. Now with all of the therapy and treatment I’ve been through, I know that, ‘these feelings will pass.’ But it is hard to keep reminding yourself of therapy mantras when you are all alone in that gut-wrentching moment. Nonetheless, I knew I needed to reach out to someone. Not for the purpose of that person ‘fixing’ the situation, but just for me to say, ‘Hey, I’m having a rough day.’ Sometimes just getting that alone off your chest helps…and it certainly did tonight. I texted my dear friend saying, “I’m sad tonight.” That simple text was so difficult to write. I still struggle in reaching out for support. In the past, I leaned too much on this particular friend and now fear if I reach out I will be seen as the ‘old me’ – weak and needy. Of course, that is my worry and not what she nor anyone else would actually think. Tonight, she asked, “What can I do to help?” At which point I had to smile. I didn’t need ‘help’…I just needed to know someone was there. I simply needed to share my struggles in the moment. I already knew what I needed to do. Eat dinner. And I did.
Tonight was the first night I have ever found peace in cooking a meal for myself. There was something about the chopping, dicing and sautéing that brought me comfort from my haunted past. It was like I was telling my eating disorder to “F off,” my life is mine now and I can take care of me. I cooked a simple meal of sautéed chicken and veggies, then sat down at my table and ate dinner. Again, this is nothing special for the average person, but at the ripe age of 30-years old this is the first time I can remember fighting through tough feelings, cooking dinner and sitting down to eat, all the while finding such peace and power in what I had just accomplished. You know, Julia Child was 32 when she began cooking, so I guess I’m not too late to the game after all.
“I was thirty-seven years old and still discovering who I was.”
~ Julia Child