No. It wasn’t “Will you marry me?”
He asked, “What are you afraid of?”
And that question immediately stumped me. I couldn’t answer. I had no answer. I played that question over and over again in my head and still, nothing.
Am I afraid of gaining weight? Maybe. But even then, recovery means having to gain weight and I want to be healthy so I guess that’s not quite it.
Am I afraid that I’ll gain too much too soon? Again, I want to recover so who’s to say how much is too much and how soon is too soon? The faster I get healthy, the faster I can get on with life so I guess that’s not it either.
Am I afraid that I will lose control? I know I’ve had the discipline to bring myself down to this point so I am confident enough that I have the will power to maintain a healthy lifestyle at a healthy weight.
Am I afraid that I will be lost without the ‘anorexic’ label slapped onto me? Again, no. I know who I am. I’m confident in who I am. And I am beyond happy to be identified as ‘Natalie, the girl who bakes’ rather than ‘Natalie, the girl who has an eating disorder’.
I have Flo. I have my family. I have friends. Yet, there’s this fear that hovers at the very back of my mind even though I cannot put my finger on where it stems from or why it’s there. I cannot even say what this fear is! How stupid! And so, it gives me yet another reason as to why I cannot let the voice of ED continue to deceive me.
Perhaps the only things I’m afraid of are losing the people I love, or never having them be able to see me healthy and thriving – recovered. That in itself should drive me closer to Life because I see no more reasons, none at all, to court Death.
He also asked, “What’s for dinner?”
Last week, I cooked up a really yummy Mushroom Bolognese. I was really pleased with how it turned out so much so that I’m probably going to make this again with minced beef. Then again, even with mushrooms alone this was incredibly flavourful and rich.
Mushroom Bolognese for 2:
80-100g pasta of choice per person or 1 zucchini spiralised (I just used a julienne peeler)
1/2 Onion, chopped
250g Button Mushrooms – 125g sliced, 125g grated
1 clove Garlic, chopped
200ml Mushroom/Vegetable Broth (Or pasta water)
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Cheese (Your favourite pasta cheese)
- Cook pasta according to the instructions. I usually take a minute off so that it’s al dente. I blanched the spiralled zucchini as well to get rid of the raw taste that I don’t quite like but you can have it raw as well.
- Saute onions and salt.
- When onions have softened and are translucent, add in the garlic and mushrooms and stir for about 5 minutes.
- Add in tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and stir thoroughly to mix. Then season with black pepper to taste.
- Add mushroom broth (or pasta water) a little at a time, stirring as you go.
- Simmer until the sauce reaches your desired bolognese consistency.
- Chop basil and grate/slice cheese to garnish.
Of course, I am aware that someone who is trying to recover from an ED shouldn’t be shying away from carbs as Flo pointed out to me during this dinner. I realise that the general pattern for me is that I get all gung-ho about eating more but after a while, I start to smell Fear lurking around the shady corners of my mind and again, I begin to look for safer alternatives to certain foods, especially carbs.
Interestingly enough, my body has its way of showing me that it still doesn’t trust me to feed it well entirely. And in a way, I guess that gives way to the odd binge because my body takes over my mind and I find myself stuffing my face with fat and carbs-rich foods. Only to feel guilty after and forgo promises to never put my face near the toilet bowl again (except to clean it). As rotten as those days are, they are reminders that my body needs nourishment not just for a week, but for always. And right now, more so than ever.
So on Monday night, after a rough afternoon, I met with Flo to have dinner at a Vietnamese place not too far away from where we are staying. I ordered a bowl of Bún Gà Xào – Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables, that Flo loves having at this particular place, and a side of Fresh Summer Rolls. Thankfully, the summer rolls came in a pair and were on the smaller side although still packed with fresh prawns and herbs.
The noodles came in quite a big bowl with a generous portion of vegetables. The serving of noodles also looked quite hefty and 3/4 the way through, I felt full. But I found myself enjoying it anyway and slurped everything up. It did feel like a binge but I figured that my body probably needs to know that I will feed it properly and that it shouldn’t fear being hungry before it’s time for the next meal.
And again today for lunch, I prepared myself a meal that made me feel greedy even before diving into it. Please ignore the random nuts and Japanese crackers on the side, and the redkraut and pickles. That’s part of my weird eating habit that I still haven’t quite shaken off. Anyway, I still wanted my sunny-side up and I wanted smoked salmon so I decided to have the best of both worlds by having the egg on one half of a toasted multigrain roll, and smoked salmon with herbed cream cheese on the other. So indulgent. So filling. So good.
Of course I felt bad. I felt fat. I felt guilty. But at the same time, I know that my body needs it and I need to start making it trust that I will no longer starve it. On my part, I need to trust in the process and have faith that eventually, my body will feedback to me when it is healthy enough, how much nourishment it needs, or doesn’t need. For now, head down and just keep swimming.