I’m breaking up with you
You know who you are. You wear too many faces to have one name. You are the number on the scales. You are the mirror. You are comparison against other people and old photos of myself. You are the plus sized section at the store. You are the type of food that fits into a calorie budget. Yes, you are that miserable kale dish purporting to be delicious.
You have many faces.
You’re also the sneaky flip side that tells me to love my body. I don’t know how you managed that, but you are the shiny vision of being healthy. You are all the well-meaning things that still make me ashamed and like something is wrong when I can’t love myself just as I am.
I don’t really know how yet, but I’m breaking up with you … all of you. I don’t know in which direction I’m going either, but it all starts with walking away.
When we met, I was very young. You heard my insecurities and gave me a way to hush my fears with all the force of willpower and marketing.
We’ve been on and off together over the years. Sometimes, we were very much in love and I felt like I’d won at life. Other times, you were the worst kind of misery. I need to break the cycle.
Now I have to imagine what life looks like without you. It’s hard, because you’re everywhere. All I know is that we can’t keep lying to each other.
I need to trust myself again. I want to listen to my body and let it tell me when it’s hungry and what it wants to eat. My actual body, not the impulse of first thought or habit or the thing that’s in front of me.
This morning, I boiled eggs, but I really wanted porridge. Porridge with some milk to make it creamy and a dash of honey over the top. I listened to myself and I ate the porridge and I swear, it felt so good… so, so good.
Tonight, I’m going to make lamb chops with rosemary sprigs, baked portabello mushroom and zuccinni and a garnish of tomato, basil and mozarella. I don’t know how many calories that’s going to be but I’m excited about it. I’m going to eat it until I’m full and satisfied and then I’m going to stop and save whatever’s left for lunch tomorrow.
That probably sounds strange to people, but if you’ve ever loved the diet demon, then you know how absolutely revolutionary it is to look forward to eating without all the mental suffering of calculation and caution.
It feels really, really good. That’s how I know it’s the right thing.
It’s going to be hard, because I catch myself wondering about you, a lot. We share the same circle of friends. You’re in every corner of the internet. Your many names are on every supermarket shelf. Worst of all, you’re inside my head, my habits and my heart.
But, like any break-up, I expect I’ll find other things to occupy my mind. I’ll think of you less and less. One day, I’ll even be able to see you without hurting. I’ll be able to look you in the eye with empathy but without compulsion.
I don’t know how yet. It seems a long way away, but tonight, I’m going to start with lamb chops and go from there.
“Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.”
Pierce Brown, Red Rising
Originally published at livingwithmuchness.com on July 27, 2016.