As of late, probably 5/7 days of the week, if I'm eating dinner at home, I make myself peas and carrots as part of my meal. Simply boiled, drizzled with olive oil, and heavily salted (not like “heavily” used to mean). I love them. I enjoy them. I actually, look forward to them.
This was amusing to me when it started a few weeks ago because of how I used to balk at peas and carrots being put on my plate by my mom. Everyone had the same and although I do not remember ever having messages of “Finish what is on your plate” given to me directly, there was an expectation within me from a young age to appreciate what I was given and darn well get through it. Sure, there were the peas that “slipped” off my fork and landed on the floor and the “that's plenty” comment for carrots (or turnip! – which I have also incorporated as of late from time to time) even if it meant a not quite full belly after a meal. No one could have convinced me at 5 or 7 or 9 or even 17 that I would ever desire peas and carrots and choose to make them for myself!
Of course, there are the more recent, and less amusing, memories of filling out menus in hospital and trying to choose the “safest” items – vegetables included – and dreading the days when peas were my only option. Or, knowing that I had whatever cooked veg was coming from the kitchen that night and having panic attacks at dinner when the vegetable happened to be peas (which usually came with corn too – gasp!). What I can now say is that I, the real me, delighted in those days because I was cornered into having what I enjoyed. My favourite meal was peas and corn all mixed up with cottage cheese with an insane amount of salt and pepper. My “head” sure didn't like those days though and emotionally, sometimes it was too much to handle. Another “chess move” that was difficult for me and any care provider to navigate. It's sad, looking back at the past number of years, and thinking that I could be so scared of something so simple. Yes, my outward expression was simplified to fear of calories when beneath that and so much more importantly, there was that unworthiness that I should not enjoy food. If I must eat, I need not enjoy. Food was categorized in my head as, at best, a necessary evil and not to ever become something I delighted in.
So tonight, I sat with my heaping bowl of veggies, heavy on the peas, and smiled as I do each night I make that choice. It's funny because of the 5 year old who, yes, tried to get those darn peas stuck under her plate, or mix them in with my mashed potatoes (which actually became the most favourable way for me to eat them! Kind of like an Orbitz drink was...a little texture to the tasty delight). Or who just got them “over with” first so I could get onto the better things like roast beef and spuds. And a bit of a proud smile at the significance of those little, round, green, sweet, delights and how very much allowed I am to enjoy them as and when I want.
In other news, I've changed my return to Canada to a later date. I had a bit rough but therapeutic week along with a few other experiences that indicated I could use a few more intensive weeks before heading on my first, real transition trip home. I'm already looking to book my follow-up in 2013.
I wrote about in my post about anxiety how pleased I was that no eating disorder thoughts had come up. I need to write more on this but I am tired. So for tonight, I hope it suffices to say that it is not always so straight forward. The ED is still a “go to” in my head in some of the hardest times. To be clear, it is only in thought, but the mental fight against behaviours sometimes arises too.
I want my walk through my process to be one that can inspire hope but I cannot clothe hope in even mild deceit. I choose to write more often on my better days but I will not deny that sometimes, it is really very difficult even 15.5 months into the most intense treatment I've ever experienced and despite all the emotional progress I have made. I've worked hard and I am by no means giving up - ever, I am merely recognizing that the real end of all of this...the distant memory of me with an eating disorder and it inhabiting my thoughts at all, remains in the future. I know it will come. It took a long time to cement in my head, and it will take a whole lot less time to get over by choosing the high road repeatedly. By perseverance, belief in my self, engaging my stubbornness in the most positive of ways, and not neglecting the part of me that still needs to reach out, I will get through to the other side will bells on. I still need reassurance and encouragement sometimes, though. I know I can do it but sometimes, like having someone remind you that you are loved even when you know it, it's nice to hear that other people know that I can and will do this. I will see it through to the end. I can. I will.
There are easier days which are becoming ever more plentiful than the difficult days. I held a standard for myself that these more challenging days “should not” exist after all the work I have done and all the effort I have made. I still fall back into judging myself for my thoughts and feelings at times. But today, a great day, I see it for what it is. I got through these weeks as my body and mind adjust further and I will get through it again the next time any of this arises with even more chutzpah!