I love hanging out with women and having women friends, but god damn it if I don’t get tired of talking about food.
“What are you doing?”
“How are you eating?”
“What’s your exercise program?”
“You look great!”
“You’ve lost weight?”
“How do you stay so thin?”
No disrespect, but it’s all so triggering or me. I’m ready to come officially out of the eating disorders closet and admit to you that I suffer from disordered eating. I suffer not only from the compulsion of the body but also from the obsession of the mind. Right this moment, I’m very uncomfortable in my body, for a variety of reasons, having to do with changing medications, reasons that are tedious, private, and not worth reading about, frankly.
Last night I went to a once-yearly get-together. Thank god we didn’t have to host this year. For all that not having to drive home is a bonus, the clean-up is a bitch. It always happens this week of July. It started in 2009 when I had a newborn infant Viva. She was about six weeks old at the time and I was still carrying 30 of the fifty pounds I gained, on top of the 20 “Happy wife” pounds I’d gained after my wedding. See, I went on the typical “bride diet”, but being at a normal weight at the time, I lost about 9 pounds to fit into my wedding dress, a size I consider my perfect size.
And then, the honeymoon ended and I went back to work (within a day) and all the excitement of getting married and planning a wedding was over. The result was not unlike pulling the rip-cord on an innertube. I gained 25 pounds quickly and seemingly permanently. The worst part was not the weight gain. At size 12, I hardly stood out in the general population as an overweight person. My husband never complained, except about how he hated seeing me unhappy. And I was. The obsession of my mind drove me (still drives me) batty.
I bring up the weight because I worried. The group consists of many of my husband’s longtime friends and their wives. One of the couples owns and runs a couple raw vegan restaurant in a crunchy city. Their children eat nourishing food and are not allowed “screen time.” The Christmas card we get from this family every year depicts them in a collage of healthy living: paddle boarding, kayaking, cartwheeling, yoga nine-months-pregnant, hugging around campfires. They radiate health. They spend every get-together chopping vegetables while I drink. I’m always worried what they’ll think of how I look. I’m the second wife. I still feel like the “new wife” even though it’s been 10 years since Mrs. Odie 1 vanished from the scene. I imagine them all thinking, “How could Odie go for this shorter, chunkier, darker-haired, dumpier, OLDER wife?” This is what I mean by the “obsession of the mind.”
What a sad little world so many of us live in where we ruin all social gatherings with thoughts, discussion, and obsession about food and weight. Only one person noticed I’ve lost 25 pounds since last year’s gathering. I thought everyone would say something. It got me all up in my head. Were they not saying anything because they didn’t notice? Do I really not look any better? Were they more focused on my disastrous self-haircut experiment? Oh, look. Wine.
I had a great time. My kids stayed up until midnight. My favorite part was listening (sober) to the drunken proclamations around the bonfire. And surreptitiously making out with Odie behind the garage when no one was looking. The salad was just okay.