A year ago, I wrote a tribute to my thighs, because when I stand in front of the mirror, it’s so tempting for me to criticize. To wish for something different, something more like her, something more “perfect.”
It’s an ugly reality about a beautiful creation, how humans are caught in the battle to compare, judge and self loathe.
It’s a battle that’s greatly shaped me, one that’s allowed me to stomp my foot in protest when I hear that eating disorder voice tell me that it would be a bad choice to order the pasta for dinner. A battle that has allowed me share bowls of oatmeal with others to push through the urge to skip another meal. A battle against an enemy that rears its ugly head now and again, and will do so for the rest of my life.
But I’m not letting the enemy win. And one of the ways I sucker punch ED (eating disorder) is by praising the awesomeness of food and the power of sharing a meal with someone.
So this is my ask: please, eat.
Please, go to the kitchen. Reach into cupboards and pull out a bag of rice. Tuck jars of spices into your arm – the ones you haven’t used in a while, because, if you admit it, it has been a while since you had reason to use them.
Turn the oven on. Tie an apron around your waist, if you want. Teach your daughter, your boyfriend, your neighbor, your grandmother how to chop an onion. Or let them teach you. Or laugh as you each try, bits of tart onion shooting off the cutting board, tears trickling down your cheeks. Silly onion.
Eat a meal. A complete one.
Not just carrots sticks, or banana chips or a few pretzels.
Eat real food. Forget the low-fat, no-fat, reduced calorie chemicals. Ditch the boxed mixes. Opt for the rutabaga with a bit of dirt still clinging to its side.
It makes me sad, riles me up, even, to see a world that takes food and turns it into something we should avoid, or claims it an indulgence, or that it is only worthy as a reward.
I spoke with a teacher recently who said she asked her students to track what they ate for one week.
We are so used to hearing about problems of obesity that I’m sure most would assume that these students, like so many of America’s youth, are in need of less snacks and more exercise.
However, the teacher told me that many of the girls in her class aren’t eating enough.
They need to eat more.
How often do we hear that in the media? We don’t.
But the reality is, there are tender-hearted, sweet people who do need to be eating more.
What would happen if we declared that no one should go hungry – whether out of poverty or illness or some sick stronghold? What if we ate around the table each night to show people that we love them?
What if we stopped focusing on eating numbers and started eating food?
For the sake of your body, the vessel to your one and only spirit, please, eat.
For the sake of those you love who have forgotten how to nourish themselves, or have become entangled in twisted lies, please, eat.
For a battle that is worth fighting for, please, eat.