I had an epiphany the other day. In a Macy’s, of all places. In the “Intimates” department, to be more specific — barricaded in the one and only dressing room with a working lock.
While baking below a particularly punitive fluorescent light, I realized I’ve been walking around wearing the wrong bra size. I have no business being anywhere near a 34B. And haven’t, in years. No matter how pretty the lace, no matter how sweet the little bow.
Although the jury’s still out, I’m convinced I was a 34B, once upon a time. I got that number from somewhere. But then college happened. Disordered eating sucked me in, like so many others, and by the time I got it to spit me out, my body had changed. Really changed.
I’m now a 32A, hooked on the smallest setting. I find this astounding. How could I have been so far off? I look at my old bras — which I’m actually happy to throw out, because they remind me of old boys — and the cups look comically big. No wonder I’ve been so uncomfortable. I look at their replacements, and I can’t help but think: if only it were so easy to address everything else.
I’m having trouble again. I had hoped I’d do better, after a few days on the farm, but I still feel like I’m ramming my head against a wall. Even when I stand completely still.
I like the farm because it’s a break from traveling, but mostly because it’s a place I can cook. I can make oatmeal in the morning, just the way I like. I know exactly how much.
Can I tell you something awful? I can’t tell you the last time I had something besides oatmeal or eggs for breakfast. Well, or yogurt with fresh fruit. But forget toast (French or otherwise). Forget pancakes (the maple syrup too). Forget doughnuts, biscuits, scones, croissants — forget all the things that make the weekend the weekend, and oh, I don’t know, all the things that make life worth living?
But aren’t you the one who loves bakeries? Aren’t you the one who seeks them out, everywhere you go? I am, and I do. I love bakeries. I love food. I love, love, love food.
I don’t want to have to tack on a “but…” to that sentence, in my new life. I’m calling Portland, OR my new life, because I think you might get one of those, when you move across the country.
I love food, but I hate myself [for it]. I realized this as I was looking out the window at what had to be the thousandth cow, whizzing by. And then I thought: Is that really who I want to be? Someone who can love one day, but can only push away the next? Someone who feels positively panicky, when faced with a full plate of food? Someone who looks in the mirror at a rest stop, and can’t think of a single positive thing to say? Is that what I want?
I can almost hear my old therapist. Dig. Dig, dig, dig. I can practically picture her handing me the shovel, when I discovered the trowel just wouldn’t do. I can see her watching me, with those unflinchingly kind brown eyes, as metal hit rock and rock hit metal. As I made the horrible screech happen again. Again, again, and again. And now I can feel her hand on my shoulder: Rest. Rest, now. That’s what she’d say.