This here is to celebrate a recovery milestone that took place on Saturday, March 25, 2017 in Mandeville, Louisiana. For the first time since pre-eating disorder, I ate breakfast out.
This may not seem like a big deal to you. For you, sleeping over at a friend’s place may come naturally. For me, that’s not the case.
Once upon a time I was a free spirit, a loose canon, totally spontaneous. I would pack overnight bags before I had even been invited to spend the night, anticipating the day’s outcome.
But once my mind went south, I lost the ability to connect and turned to isolation.
Lately I’ve been connecting with friends old and new, and it feels so good. I didn’t know what I was missing until I started experiencing it again. I’m able to stay present and go with the flow in most cases, but food is the one thing I simply must control.
Therefore, spending the night is hard. I either leave after dinner or before breakfast.
But not this time.
Recently I’ve gotten close with my friend Sarah. I’ve confided a lot in her about my illness and I now feel safe in her presence. Last week, she invited me to sleepover. I ruminated on that invite all week, both relishing and fearing the upcoming event.
The plan was for me to drive over to Mandeville once I finished pilates, where her mom would have dinner waiting. It sounded great in theory, but God knows what would have been simmering on that stove.
I grappled with whether or not to cancel the sleepover. Flexibility around dinner was way too stressful. So I compromised: I told Sarah my mom had already picked up dinner for me—that she had forgotten I was going out—and I picked up a City Greens salad for the road. I ate at her house, but I didn’t eat what her mom served. On the one hand, I gave into my eating disorder, but at least I didn’t cancel the sleepover.
She wanted to make “Nice Cream”—vegan ice cream—and suggested that throughout the night. I continuously dodged those terrifying offers, but besides that, I was totally free. We cut loose, jamming to G-Eazy, snapping thirsty boys, and surveying Whole Foods’ gourmet nut selection. We did avocado face masks and watched (part of) the Blaire Witch Project. It was pretty fucking normal. Pretty fucking great.
The next morning was where shit got real: I ate Sarah’s breakfast.
She made oatmeal, a food I’m generally comfortable with. (Sarah, being vegan, has pretty healthy habits, another reason I felt safe to experiment with her.)
When I make oatmeal, I use one packet of Regular, add a few berries and unsalted mixed nuts, and have a boiled egg on the side. Sarah provided a glorious selection of dates, shredded coconut, nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, and cinnamon. I filled my bowl with nuts, dried fruit, and pumpkin seeds, even though that meant extra fat and I was acutely aware of the excess sugars in dried fruit. I didn’t put cinnamon or coconut in mine, but I tried a bite of hers.
When I finished my bowl, I was still a little hungry, as I normally have my egg, and since we had planned to go Ripstiking on the lakefront, I knew I needed more. I wasn’t going be obnoxious and ask to boil an egg (though I considered it), so I asked if I could have a spoon of peanut butter.
I checked the ingredients: it had sugar, oil, and salt in addition to dry-roasted peanuts. My peanut butter only has peanuts. One spoonful had 3 grams of sugar while my choice brand has 2. But I pushed through those judgments and swallowed it in all its gooey orange glory.
I’d made it through.
Then we went Ripstiking. I played her some of my favorites by Imani Coppola (check her out—she’s fucking brilliant) such as “Keys 2 Your Ass,” and “I Love Your Hair.” We chilled till about 9:30 and then I left to meet my boyfriend. Before leaving, however, I confessed to lying about dinner, and I revealed that this was my first breakfast “abroad” in two years. She was thrilled that I trusted her, and we had a really nice moment.
I’m still having ups and downs; I fight the voices every day. But it’s the baby steps that matter. And this is a new record.