Hi, Hey, Hello

It is easier again.

I slice rings of red onion so thin they’re almost translucent and slip them into a Mason jar with apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and the cup of water I forgot the first time around. It doesn’t matter how many times I do this: I enjoy the way they look on my windowsill, doing their thing.

Half an hour in, and they’re already sporting a shade of pink that would have delighted my seven-year-old self. (Age seven: the year of the magenta Schwinn, not a hand-me-down.)

I find few things as offensive as thick, raw red onion. But I love them this way: quick-pickled until sweet and sour and utterly transformed, with only an echo of a crunch remaining.

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The sun is soft in September. I tuck the shade back and watch it seep in and filter through the glass for a moment more, saturating everything some kind of stunning, before returning to the task at hand. Chicken, so tomorrow I won’t have to.

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I turn my oven up questionably high and set a timer, promising myself I won’t peek. I should have peeked; I nearly destroy the pan. But the thighs escape unscathed, and a neighbor knocks to ask me for the recipe. I wave her in, wonder if this is weird, and hand her a fork. We munch in companionable silence, standing in a calamity of a kitchen that finally, finally feels good. Good and right and normal.

Later I boil kasha, decide that’s terrible, and slice fingerling potatoes lengthwise to roast. While I wait for them to blister, I cut parsley, refill my saltshaker, and add pepper to my list for the following week. Along with: Cook. Cook some more. You love to cook.

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It’s nearly lunch; I pull down a worn wooden bowl for a salad and a small square plate for a sandwich. Clean slates, I think to myself, and pause to line them up side by side. I’m rather fond of those.

The salad is simple. On autopilot, I toss and chop and spoon and arrange. Fistfuls of arugula, à la Trader Joe’s. Slivers of salted macadamia nuts, also à la Trader Joe’s, but of the $8.99/a bag variety. (Sadly.) An avocado wedge, no longer quite so gorgeous a color green. A tablespoon or two of last night’s balsamic reduction, deemed worth keeping. And, kind of tragically, quarters of the last big red tomato that’ll be seen sunning itself on my cutting board anytime soon.

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It is simple, I think. To not restrict. And to just eat what feels good, tastes good, smells good.

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And on days like today, it is. Days like this go a long way towards obliterating the weeks and months and really, years, I don’t want to revisit or think very critically about anymore.

I’m interested in my life now. My interests now. What if I just set all of the old stuff aside? The not knowing and the not believing, the trying and failing and trying again. Always, trying again.

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Do people who are getting to know me really need to know about all of those parts, in order to get to know me? I’m beginning to think: not right off of the bat.

I think I’d like to do more of this: introducing myself without simultaneously introducing the blog. I love this space, I’m proud of this space, I’ve needed this space, but so much of it really is personal. And it might be nice to let somebody decide to draw their own conclusions about me, without spoon-feeding them everything I think they should know. FYI, FYI, FYI. Still interested?

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Should I feel like I have to disclose the fact that I have struggled/still sometimes struggle with an eating disorder? I’m thinking that if I choose not to, it wouldn’t be as much of an omission as it once was.

Not too long ago, I think I needed people to know in order to justify how I look now. And then I needed people to know because I still needed desperately support, even though it no longer looked like I did. Although the initial refeed is absolutely agonizing (both physically and emotionally), I think the middle of recovery is actually the hardest piece of the process. When you no longer look like you have a problem, but continue to be hounded by all of the thoughts that made you so sick in the first place.

I still need reassurance, but not at the rate I used to. I can give it to myself, more often than not. Wouldn’t you say it’s fairly normal, for a person to change a lot between age twenty-one and age twenty-five? Those are big years. Formative years. At thirty I’ll probably look back and be vastly different in some ways all over again. (I find this enormously comforting — don’t you?)

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This is a messy mouthful, but I wonder when you last asked yourself if the story you’ve been telling yourself about yourself is still true.

Was it on a milestone birthday? Or was it just on an ordinary Sunday, finally not so sad.

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Today I am twenty-four and I am wondering about the man six-foot something that I see every morning in the mostly dark. I’m always walking back from the gym and I think he’s always on his way to work. Maybe on Monday I will switch to his side of the street. And maybe on Tuesday I will smile hello, and maybe on Wednesday I will say hi, and maybe on Thursday I will say have a nice day, and maybe on Friday I will hope he will volunteer something. Because I will have e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d myself! And hi-hey-hello, that’s the pretty much the scope of my small talk.

{NYC skyline via @8ateateight, Beaver Creek Middle Falls via @bethkellmer, weekend getaway via @fursty, end-of-summer Mt. Hood (with hardly any snow!) via @aysanch3z — all on Instagram.}

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2 thoughts on “Hi, Hey, Hello

  1. Hann!!! Loved this post! I read it while on my Boston Lunch break, I miss you a ton! And I appreciate all the honesty you write with. I hope that man in the dark says hi! You truly deserve to be happy friend you are amazing! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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