I went into Harvest Wagon today to buy some pasta and other assorted goodies. I was in the lineup to pay when Frank, the manager of Harvest who happens to be a friend of mine, asked me if I wanted to try some grapes that he had just brought in from California. I said yes, and popped one in my mouth.
Really Katharine, you might be thinking, does this require a Huffington Post blog?
Actually it does. I have had an unhealthy relationship with food ever since I was fourteen years old and discovered that I could make Wonder Bread taste better by rolling the bread into little pill shaped balls.
That was my beginning descent into an eating disorder that had me in its grip until 103 days ago when I made the decision that I did not need to be a size 4 anymore. I just needed to be healthy.
I began eating three meals a day (I know, radical, eh?) and focused on never hurting myself with food ever again, rather than my previous goal of being super slim.
Now back to the grape I ate at Harvest. In the past I could never eat a single grape, or apple, or marshmallow for that matter, because if I dare eat that renegade grape, I was BAD!
Now I had broken my covenant with the Food God and had failed. Well, since I had broken my diet anyway with my one errant snatch of that grape, I might as well go crazy, damn the torpedoes and eat everything in sight until 11:59 p.m when over -- full and disgusted with myself, I would promise myself that starting tomorrow, I would starve myself at least until dinner.
So what changed for me today? I am beginning to understand intellectually and to feel emotionally that I am actually not a bad person, and I do not have to punish myself anymore for discretions that were put on me way before I even consciously understood what was happening.
If I am not bad, then I need not punish myself. I do not need to be perfect (i.e. skinny as a rake) to be desired. I actually do not even need to be desired to be good, although if there is one available lesbian reading this who wants to desire me, you know where to find me.
Back to that single purple California grape. I ate it. I liked it. I bought a bunch. I did not worry (much) about the pesticide covering the grape, I just enjoyed the sweet flavour bursting onto my tongue like fireworks. Then pushing my luck, because I am that Jewess, I asked Frank if I could try a green grape as well. The green grape was not as sweet so I decided on purchasing just the purple grapes and some prosciutto for lunch and the earth did not open me up to swallow me whole and I left the store, intact.
I had a lovely lunch featuring said grapes with some lactose free cheese and prosciutto, and so far... nothing else.
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If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.