An Obscure Birthday Gift

I am really glad you seemed to like Jenni Schaefer’s piece as much as I did.

I typically publish my posts in the morning and I thought it might be a nice way to start the day with a little motivation or inspiration to maintain your paths to health; whether that be eating disorder recovery or otherwise, gentle reminders of how wonderful a well-balanced life can be never hurts 🙂

That being said, I am hoping Jenni’s words remain with me this weekend.

I still struggled the last few days feeling like I don’t DESERVE my meal plan, I NEED to be exercising more to justify the increased calories, etc. but this weekend is going to be especially challenging.

It is my sister’s birthday and in our house, birthdays mean WEEK long celebrations.

And this year my mom and her “new” family are coming to our home for Memorial and “Lindsay-day.”

I am super excited to see everyone, but I am NOT thrilled about picnics or my sister’s requests.

The other afternoon when she and I were taking a walk she mentioned something, but I chose not to take much notice.

She asked a question along the lines of, “you would never eat a piece of cake or “normal” dessert for my birthday.”

I think I neglected to acknowledge the conversation because she was kind of right.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a non-diet desert outside a treatment facility.

No birthday, no special occasion, NOT EVEN MY WEDDING, warranted a full-fat, sugary sweet to touch my lips.

In my first hospitalization when they put a piece of apple pie on my tray I basically laughed at my dietician and then proceeded to cry because just the look of it terrified me.

I will happily eat an Apple Cinnamon Chobani, which to me tastes how I would envision and apple pie to taste, but the actual crusty, buttery dessert, no way.

Any starchy-fat combo (i.e. dessert, pizza, etc.) pretty much tops my list of fear foods.

To be honest, I don’t really look at cake or pie and think of it as all that appealing. Most look kind of dry, but icing on top of the cake, cookies, soft serve ice cream, maybe even a warm blondie or something of that nature, do sometimes tempt me.

I know I went through a phase when I was in Hershey’s partial program where every night at dinner, rather than having a supplement like Ensure Plus, I elected the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookie that was made in-house and so freakin’ delicious, but I can’t bring myself to purchase one since being discharged.

Sometimes the desire is there, but feeling like I am worthy enough to have one, is not.

I don’t know if it is from years of hearing people have a dessert and then verbally stating how “bad” they were; magazines providing healthy “alternatives” to the “calorie catastrophes” of sweets, or all the Eat This Not That books that make the items I have mentioned above seem so demonic, but I don’t know if I could handle CHOOSING to enjoy a cookie or real ice cream, like a DQ blizzard, on my own.

I mean, if you want to honest to goodness truth, I am still struggling with the extra half Clif Bar I had with my lunch….so desert, wow.

This sounds particularly pathetic considering my sister doesn’t really ask for much, and she made the same request of me, to try a “real” dessert with her for her birthday, AGAIN when we were having a family dinner Wednesday night.

I don’t know where her inquiry came from, considering she hasn’t been really involved in my treatment, nor do we ever talk about me being sick….to be honest it is kind of an unspoken thing in my house outside Ryan and I and my mom’s recent trip with me to therapy, so I was perplexed by Linds bringing it up.

I don’t know if I thought she didn’t care, or what, but I know how much I love her and it hurts my heart that I couldn’t commit to her desire.

I am sad and ashamed to admit that to you my bl-iends, I should absolutely feel horrific telling her.

You would think that’d be enough for me to change.

Why isn’t it that easy?

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9 thoughts on “An Obscure Birthday Gift

  1. I’m discovering that when I “don’t like” a certain food, it’s because I’ve told myself (or ED has convinced me) that it’s “bad”, therefore I don’t like it. When I say I don’t like that food item, I’ve asked my support system to ask me if I don’t don’t like it, or if ED doesn’t like it. Then, I give it a real, honest taste and try to decide. I guess what I’m saying is this: Does cake etc not look good to you, or does it not look good to ED? I hope you can give it a shot – I promise, your pants will fit tomorrow. 🙂

  2. Your sister is expressing what I am going to assume the entire family likely feels to its core. It’s not that she really believes if you could eat a normal dessert it would somehow be “enough” — it’s that it would be a sign.

    Have you ever been in a really terror-filled dark place in your soul where you ask of your god or the heavens or nature “Please just give me a sign!”? Of course you have.

    Your sister just desperately wants a sign. A hint. A mere whiff — that it might be possible for the real CJ to come out and play just for a few minutes.

    And if the real CJ can come out to play, then maybe, just maybe she could do that again at some point in the future.

    It must be so hard for all of you to keep working through your day-to-day lives around an elephant that positively smothers all of your love for each other.

    I hope it was o.k. for me to step in again to offer up a possible reason for your sister’s request and it is not my intent to hurt you or your family.

    • As always, I really appreciate your feedback. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said maybe she just wants a normal sister. Unfortunately she has never seen me eat cake or any sort of dessert, because I really cant remember the last time I have had something like that out of a facility, but we did used to be able to get take out and go enjoy ourselves in restaurants without the relentless anxiety and post-meal meltdowns I sometimes have.
      Thanks for providing a different perspective 🙂

  3. It’s true that your sister’s comments are probably seen by you as “Oh, you don’t understand. It’s not JUST that it’s ‘just cake,’ it’s so much more than that.” But… really, when it comes down to it, it really IS just cake. You’ve bound yourself up in these harsh, rigid rules. They’re like handcuffs which you think you aren’t allowed to break free from. But you should enjoy the festivities surrounding her birthday and especially take note of everyone else there having a great time, while realizing that mainly what’s going through your head is food and calories. Compare that. Birthday’s come once a year. Good times are really a special thing because our lives are so short. When everyone else is smiling and commenting on how great the cake is and eating it without a care in the world, you should step in and have a slice yourself. Because you are part of this joyous occasion, you are part of a loving family, and you are YOU, a human being who deserves cake, gosh darn it! lol.

    • hahah thank you! we all deserve cake! and you are correct in saying it is more about the moments and occassion than the caloric value and food. I am going to continue to remind myself of that for my trip next week!!!

  4. I see now her birthday has passed, but i agree with gwen above- but maybe next time the opportunity presents itself you have one bite. Or two. Just a little- not a breakdown worthy overwhelming slice, but a taste. And then the next birthday party you go to do the same thing. Maybe the whole slice is too much of a leap right now but i know you can try some and start to take away the power of that fear food.

      • I actually made myself a new very firm “rule”: if i am offered food i try it no matter how scary. Example- office birthday party, its not normal to say no to cake. If someone makes homemade cookies and asks if i want one it is offensive to say no, i take one and at least try it. Dinner with friends, “want to try my pasta? Its amazing!!” i say yes. It is incredibly freeing.

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