Happy Friday guys,
If you guys remember, yesterday I wrote that I was taking my cousin out to lunch today for her 18th birthday. She is actually my step cousin, but really, it’s the same thing.
This was a lunch that Ed was begging me not to go to.
After yesterday’s food coma that uncomfortably lasted all night long and even into my breakfast this morning, this lunch was the last thing he wanted me to go through with.
But I had a very special and personal reason for taking this 18-year-old young woman out to lunch today. Her and I have a very special relationship. Other than being family, we are also friends, and I am also her tutor.
I was her tutor for a few years now, including during my worst times of my eating disorder.
And while I was battling with my own eating disorder, so was her mom. But her mom has been battling with an eating disorder for years now.
I saw first hand with my own eyes how her mom’s own Ed crept into her life since she was 16 years old, maybe even before that.
I would hear her tell me how she wanted to lose weight, which diet she was trying today, and I would see her papers on her door that were taped up there that listed all the ways she could lose that weight.
I would see all of this when I would go to her house to tutor her. And what did I do when I saw this?
I would stand in front of her mirror, lift my shirt up, and tell her how fat I got and how I was the one who needed to lose weight;not her.
I would let her mom, who because she didn’t eat, found solace in feeding others, give me food to take home that we both knew would be thrown away.
But this girl, my cousin, she is the other side of Ed.
She is the side that we don’t talk about.
She’s the loved ones who are affected by our Ed’s, who when we are so locked inside our own disorders, fail to see the impact it has on them.
Along my road to recovery, she has stood by my side, she has lifted me up when I was down, and she has tried to get her mom to read this blog in order to help her, although she never has.
It was crucial for my recovery that I went to this lunch today.
Going to this lunch meant showing her that it is possible to live a life free from an eating disorder, even if her own mom is still stuck in it. Going to this lunch meant showing her the beauty in the fact that we can now eat together and have a good time together.
I was proud to walk into that restaurant with her next to me.
And right as we sat down, the most unexpected and most inconvenient thing that could happen, happened.
Out of all the places to eat and out of all the people in the world, in that exact moment, I happened to see my ex-boyfriend of three year’s, sister, husband, and their baby.
This was the same family I wrote about only a few days ago who I said leaving caused me the greatest heartache this year that I’ve ever known.
This was the same family that I was the maid of honor at their wedding.
This was the same family who I cried tears of joy when I found out she was pregnant with the baby they were now with.
And as we made eye contact and I got up to say hi, they walked away.
Just like that. And got in their car and drove away.
I was shaking and I was heart broken all at the same time.
This lunch was my cousin’s lunch, it wasn’t about me. But in that moment, there was nothing I could do but just say “oh my God” a hundred times over.
I didn’t want to eat anymore. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted to cry.
But just like my cousin was the other side of Ed who we don’t want to talk about, so was this family. Except they were the other side of my heartache and my past that I don’t like to talk about.
It’s the other side that I need to let go of.
I had two other sides standing right in front of me.
One, my cousin, who’s side of the Ed world she lives on, deserved to be free of today with me. And one, the other side of leaving my past behind me, had just walked away.
I had to choose which side I wanted to save.
I chose her.
It took me a few minutes to gather myself together, but I decided I was going to stay present during this lunch.
We ended up taking about her friends, her surprise birthday party that she just had, and her plans for going away to college.
When we finished eating lunch, she even thanked me for sharing our meal together, because she enjoyed eating it with me much.
And of course, not only because I love dessert, but because it was her birthday, and what kind of birthday is complete without a dessert, we had to get dessert.
She asked me if I would have some.
At first, I was thinking to myself “girlfriend, are you serious? Of course I am having some!”
But then I remembered, that this is the same girl who I once ate cake with on her moms birthday, only to leave early because I had to go to the gym to work it off.
This is the same girl who I told I ate a bag of carrots a day as my meal.
I was no longer shocked why she asked me if I would share this dessert.
And when I said “hell yeah,” we ordered and it was the best dessert, ever.
Not because of how it tasted, but because of what it meant.
She was once part of my Ed, as if being part of her mom’s Ed wasn’t enough, I let mine into her life too. She represented the other side of my eating disorder, the side that I didn’t care who was affected by it, as long as I was “skinny” that day.
Today, she became part of my side in recovery.
That dessert became part of my side in recovery.
And with one part of my past leaving me today forever, I let a new part into my life–the part where I showed my cousin the recovery side of me and celebrated her 18th birthday with her with lunch and dessert.
And as far as I get in my recovery, I hope to never forget those on the other side who were affected by my Ed.
It is because of that reminder, that I find strength today to continue in my recovery, and let my past be my past.
On with recovery we go.