CLXXXV. This Past Weekend- 

  Today I went shopping - reluctantly. I love spending my days outdoors, amongst the light breeze, in the humidity, rain or shine. And though I cannot tolerate cold temperatures, I seem to thrive under the heat, balmy and dry alike. The former - the humid days - are a newfound treat- perhaps out of the regrowing out of my hair post-fasting state while with with anorexia  or perhaps it of my age-acquired experience for knowing how to nourish and care for my hair, that I no longer have to fear humidity’s affect. My hair, at most, develops wild ringlets that soften and straighten out a bit later on after I wound it into a messy bun atop my head while at home. 

 Today I decided on self-care to a small extent: I still got less than 4 hours of sleep in order to sneak in a body weight routine, go up and down the stairs a certain number of times, and do a set of hellish lunges. But this time, I watched television with my mother. I took the time to make my bed and then took a shower in the morning despite not working today.  
I agreed to a manicure and pedicure first thing in the morning, and ironed my wrinkled denim jumpsuit beforehand instead of slipping on my one time used Stella McCartney for Adidas exercise leggings and a collegiate sweatshirt. I still restricted my eating but I went out of my comfort zone, let curiosity win out, and ate the higher calorie, palm oil and maple sugar-added, roasted instead of raw, cashew butter. This should probably be a snack, but I had it as lunch. I ate my favorite Panera black bean soup, that they, for once, skimped our on the amount of beans and didn’t throw away all of the bread.  

 I have a long way to go from my relapse. But today, my mother and I bonded. She didn’t do her yoga - at least not yet. After all, we were on our feet all day long. She hasn’t gone on the treadmill and has not remarked on how much weight she has gained. Then again, it is raining tomorrow and she knows I will be at work. That’s just it: I plan on driving myself to work instead of walking a mile and a half after being asked to be dropped off by my father who secretly agreed to drop me at the cafe over 5,280 feet away in hopes that I might acquire an appetite or return the favor by eating more. I plan on wearing a new floor-skimming dress that will be destroyed if I were to walk in the rain. I also plan on not only finishing up an assignment last minute, but also writing up an application to a grant for anorexia treatment also due tomorrow. 

 But today, my mother ate and enjoyed the chocolate marzipan “Scloaf” I baked for her. It is a trademarked hybrid between a scone and cake loaf created by newly minted Food Network host, Molly Yeh. She too is a native New Yorker, a graduate of a prestigious university, and a blend of eastern paternal and western maternal roots.  Yesterday night she let me cook her a basil cheese omelet on pan-seared country white bread. 

 Today we went in and out of shops. She agreed to try on clothes and actually smiled at what she saw in the mirror. I know she was satisfied with the way she looked because she called me over to the fitting room two times to see how she looked instead of shooing me away or refusing to come out. 
I cooed and guffawed over her- and it was genuinely heartfelt. I was so moved at my mother’s beauty, her feminist defined, her supple beautiful skin and figure that I began to cry. She knew why I was crying even though she asked. She said I needed to gain weight and that I would fill out the clothing as a women should.  

 In the nail salon I stared at other mothers and their daughters. I stared at young women my age, thighs bare and rounded arms peeking out of sleeveless tops, shiny hair cascading over shoulders not carved out like bones. I longed to look like that, but more so to feel like that - normal, healthy, capable of walking without reliving flashbacks in the hospital as I see my feet turning yellow. I still see my old self in their reflections. I feel haunted. I feel scared. It’s an it-of-body experience when I observe my self in people who aren’t me, who are without my mind, my family, my memories. 

 I am not soulless but it’s difficult to fathom when looking at my gaunt face. 

 I purchased an organic SPF-50 sunscreen fragrances with mango and decided to use my points at Sephora for an organic Korres pomegranate moisturizer. I also purchased a shirt my mother chose from J. Crew. It was exactly my aesthetic: quirky-prep. A short-sleeved white button down in lightweight by starched cotton with alternating highlighter neon green and pink on the collar and sleeves. It was in XXS but still fit loosely. Then again, my mother purchased an XS Shawl collar cardigan from J. Crew despite being almost 50-pounds heavier. 

 This weekend was eye-opening. I’m hoping many more days are like this to come, without anxiety of my feet giving it beneath me, without restriction, and without a reflection of someone dying both inside and out.

CLXXXV. This Past Weekend-

Today I went shopping - reluctantly. I love spending my days outdoors, amongst the light breeze, in the humidity, rain or shine. And though I cannot tolerate cold temperatures, I seem to thrive under the heat, balmy and dry alike. The former - the humid days - are a newfound treat- perhaps out of the regrowing out of my hair post-fasting state while with with anorexia or perhaps it of my age-acquired experience for knowing how to nourish and care for my hair, that I no longer have to fear humidity’s affect. My hair, at most, develops wild ringlets that soften and straighten out a bit later on after I wound it into a messy bun atop my head while at home.

Today I decided on self-care to a small extent: I still got less than 4 hours of sleep in order to sneak in a body weight routine, go up and down the stairs a certain number of times, and do a set of hellish lunges. But this time, I watched television with my mother. I took the time to make my bed and then took a shower in the morning despite not working today.
I agreed to a manicure and pedicure first thing in the morning, and ironed my wrinkled denim jumpsuit beforehand instead of slipping on my one time used Stella McCartney for Adidas exercise leggings and a collegiate sweatshirt. I still restricted my eating but I went out of my comfort zone, let curiosity win out, and ate the higher calorie, palm oil and maple sugar-added, roasted instead of raw, cashew butter. This should probably be a snack, but I had it as lunch. I ate my favorite Panera black bean soup, that they, for once, skimped our on the amount of beans and didn’t throw away all of the bread.

I have a long way to go from my relapse. But today, my mother and I bonded. She didn’t do her yoga - at least not yet. After all, we were on our feet all day long. She hasn’t gone on the treadmill and has not remarked on how much weight she has gained. Then again, it is raining tomorrow and she knows I will be at work. That’s just it: I plan on driving myself to work instead of walking a mile and a half after being asked to be dropped off by my father who secretly agreed to drop me at the cafe over 5,280 feet away in hopes that I might acquire an appetite or return the favor by eating more. I plan on wearing a new floor-skimming dress that will be destroyed if I were to walk in the rain. I also plan on not only finishing up an assignment last minute, but also writing up an application to a grant for anorexia treatment also due tomorrow.

But today, my mother ate and enjoyed the chocolate marzipan “Scloaf” I baked for her. It is a trademarked hybrid between a scone and cake loaf created by newly minted Food Network host, Molly Yeh. She too is a native New Yorker, a graduate of a prestigious university, and a blend of eastern paternal and western maternal roots. Yesterday night she let me cook her a basil cheese omelet on pan-seared country white bread.

Today we went in and out of shops. She agreed to try on clothes and actually smiled at what she saw in the mirror. I know she was satisfied with the way she looked because she called me over to the fitting room two times to see how she looked instead of shooing me away or refusing to come out. I cooed and guffawed over her- and it was genuinely heartfelt. I was so moved at my mother’s beauty, her feminist defined, her supple beautiful skin and figure that I began to cry. She knew why I was crying even though she asked. She said I needed to gain weight and that I would fill out the clothing as a women should.

In the nail salon I stared at other mothers and their daughters. I stared at young women my age, thighs bare and rounded arms peeking out of sleeveless tops, shiny hair cascading over shoulders not carved out like bones. I longed to look like that, but more so to feel like that - normal, healthy, capable of walking without reliving flashbacks in the hospital as I see my feet turning yellow. I still see my old self in their reflections. I feel haunted. I feel scared. It’s an it-of-body experience when I observe my self in people who aren’t me, who are without my mind, my family, my memories.

I am not soulless but it’s difficult to fathom when looking at my gaunt face.

I purchased an organic SPF-50 sunscreen fragrances with mango and decided to use my points at Sephora for an organic Korres pomegranate moisturizer. I also purchased a shirt my mother chose from J. Crew. It was exactly my aesthetic: quirky-prep. A short-sleeved white button down in lightweight by starched cotton with alternating highlighter neon green and pink on the collar and sleeves. It was in XXS but still fit loosely. Then again, my mother purchased an XS Shawl collar cardigan from J. Crew despite being almost 50-pounds heavier.

This weekend was eye-opening. I’m hoping many more days are like this to come, without anxiety of my feet giving it beneath me, without restriction, and without a reflection of someone dying both inside and out.

CLXXXV. Mama mia, Here [We] Go Again- my, my, how can I resist you? 

 My mother is my worst enemy- let it be known. 

 Let it be known that I love the outdoors. I love being outdoors. There is nothing worse than rain and snow to impede my mission of spending time outside. I have always loved cardio, exercises to make me warm up because I never did sweat. I loved the high of a quickened heart beat and rosy cheeks, no pore-clogging blush necessary. Still, limiting myself to a treadmill was something I never subjected myself to by choice. 

 Since my anorexia diagnosis, and energy expending movement prohibited, my mother has decidedly become disordered herself. Sure, she is not underweight, but she no longer eats any aromatic food, any fast food, or ethnic foods that even she grew up with. She guards her portions and looks at calories and serving sizes before ingredients.  

 She purchased a treadmill and despite an unfinished basement, had an electrical outlet installed to hook up the machine. She cannot go a day without exercising and blames me for preventing her from working out. She takes off on days when everyone is at work so she can go downstairs in the basement, without the arguments that inevitably occur if I’m at home. 

 This week I am at home, and while I think it is the perfect time to accomplish tasks for my career goals or to rest up for recovery, it is also raining. I am tempted to go on the treadmill, but don’t want to sabotage myself. So I asked her to take off one rainy day when I am at home instead of her designated days when I am at work. She reluctantly agreed. 

 Yesterday, after running my errands we got home late and she didn’t have a chance to do her yoga. With malcontent, she told me that she would not only do her yoga but also go on the treadmill tomorrow, while I’m at home.  
Little did she know that just a few hours prior I had confessed proudly to my father that I asked her to stay at home so I wouldn’t go on the treadmill - I was moving forward with my recovery. And here she was, sticking it to me.  
Every time I take steps forward, she brings me backwards. 

 She attended the National Eating Disorder Association Walk with me a couple of weeks ago. The head specialist in Long Island, and one of the best in the world, described exactly what I was experiencing and said that the condition was undoubtedly genetic. I cried and she cradled me in her arms in an attempt to meet onlookers’ expectations, looking around with concern that others would see my contorted face and tears streaming down. I thought she understood what I was going through but instead, she and my father banter back and forth over which genetic pool was to blame before the blame inevitably falls on me.  

 We argued yesterday over her exercise pursuits after she consumed two “extra thin” slices of cheese between two slices of bread and some shrouds of basil, sipping on a Coke Zero. She said she would go in to work and take off Friday - that was her intention all along. 

 I woke up this morning, after she had gone into work. I walked to Starbucks, stomach uncomfortably full from the night before, with rain boots on, my knobby knees knocking each other as I had difficulty walking with my backpack- breakfast packed- and laptop weighing down my shoulder. After sitting for about 2 hours, I thought I could perhaps beat the rainfall, and decided to walk with all of my belongings for as long as I could before going home. The treadmill would always be there. 

 It was already drizzling and the winds had already picked up, but I continued on. In pain and distress, two hours later, I returned home. But before then I had called my mother- trying to decipher how the day would pan out, and if she still held a grudge. Let it be known that I purposely ventured out early today because I had a feeling she would take off early from work to exercise, dipping into my time alone. 

 She came off cold, but that wasn’t at all out of normalcy. I came home, my hair destroyed because of the rain. So I washed it - which I never do on Wednesday - she does. As soon as I came out of the shower, the phone rang and her cell number popped up. I knew it then, she had left her workplace earlier and sure enough, she was on the platform and would arrive by 2 pm. I had not eaten yet- a big lunch I planned, regret setting in. 

 She asked if my appointment I had scheduled for 3:15 but was planning on canceling, was canceled yet. I responded that it wasn’t, and since she was coming early would keep it.  

 She came home without so much as eye contact, changed into pajamas and when I said the appointment was soon, a smirk appeared on her face with pleasure. “So- you can go yourself. I’m not going out. You made me go into work so you wouldn’t have to see me work out. Well now you’re going to see me work out- or you can go out yourself.” I am pretty sure my mouth hung open in sheer shock. She smiled. All that is evil had to have been consecrated in her one being. 

 I had bent over backwards the weeks between her birthday and Mother’s Day- mani/pedis, a limited edition cookbook she would never open, earrings she already hated, pastries, a day out at a fancy lunch which she refused to eat because of comparison to my salad. She ordered a strawberry mascarpone pancake, threw out the mascarpone and maple syrup that she usually orders two of. “I would have ordered a salad too,” she said, and left her food untouched, egging me to eat my own. The anxiety leading up to that lunch with just the two of us was a longtime coming - so much so that my bowels were completely blocked and doctor-diagnosed anxiety-induced diarrhea occurred. 

 Do I hate my mother? No. Do I love her? On some level, yes, I love her immensely. I love her more than I do myself. I love her supple skin, her always refreshing scent, her robust and toned body, her mama bear stretch marks so perfectly imperfect, her ability to straighten her naturally curly hair- unbeknownst to most- the old-fashioned way resulting in the silkiest of locks, her ability to pull together a look worth the most basic of clothing items: a solid t-shirt, jeans, and a puffer vest. I love how photogenic she is. I love her sheer femininity defined: her natural lack of body hair.  I love her ability to wake up without hesitation no matter the time, her willingness to do the laundry, wash the dishes, and sweep all at once. I love and hate all of this. 

 I hate her personality. I hate her lack of sentimentality. I hate her insistent need to blame others’ preference for their mother tongue as a personal attack against her. I hate her ignorance. I hate her unwillingness to pronounce eastern names and words the way they should be. 

 Love her or hate her, my father is correct in the text message he sent me yesterday. It read, “Keep your cool with your mom. She is your best friend. Everyone has different personalities, but they can still be your best friend. We are not clones of each other.” 

 I wish he had not sent me that text, softening me when I was high on a mad tirade. But today, with my washed hair and the fact that it is rainy outside, I thought of her exercising and ended up on the treadmill, hating my life all the while. I hated the fact that I had to urinate, but did not want to get off. I hated the fact that I had to defalcate as well. I hated the fact that I grew anxious after the fact and having not eaten enough, successfully scared myself into eating more, but was and still am, hours later, uncomfortably full and abdomen distended, bowels not yet emptied. 

 Tomorrow I have to work early and she has the day off. I have to make sure to sneak my body weight exercises that make me feel better about her working out later in the day, in the wee hours of the morning before anyone is awake. I have to cope with the fact that she will restrict her eating and go on the treadmill tomorrow as well as perform yoga, while I’m still at work. I hate her for this, I truly do. I try to devise a way to stay out after my job so as to walk, but I know I will be tired, if she comes to pick me up, she may catch me walking because she leaves over an hour earlier to places 20 minutes away. I hate that habit of hers. I hate that she won’t eat lunch before picking me up but I will have already eaten.  

 What do I do? My mind is running a thousand miles a minute. I have to empty my bowels before eating my weight in evening snacks. I have to go to bed early to force myself to do some body weight moves at 3 am, sneaking downstairs onto the rug that will deafen any floor creaks.
CLXXXV. Mama mia, Here [We] Go Again- my, my, how can I resist you?

My mother is my worst enemy- let it be known.

Let it be known that I love the outdoors. I love being outdoors. There is nothing worse than rain and snow to impede my mission of spending time outside. I have always loved cardio, exercises to make me warm up because I never did sweat. I loved the high of a quickened heart beat and rosy cheeks, no pore-clogging blush necessary. Still, limiting myself to a treadmill was something I never subjected myself to by choice.

Since my anorexia diagnosis, and energy expending movement prohibited, my mother has decidedly become disordered herself. Sure, she is not underweight, but she no longer eats any aromatic food, any fast food, or ethnic foods that even she grew up with. She guards her portions and looks at calories and serving sizes before ingredients.

She purchased a treadmill and despite an unfinished basement, had an electrical outlet installed to hook up the machine. She cannot go a day without exercising and blames me for preventing her from working out. She takes off on days when everyone is at work so she can go downstairs in the basement, without the arguments that inevitably occur if I’m at home.

This week I am at home, and while I think it is the perfect time to accomplish tasks for my career goals or to rest up for recovery, it is also raining. I am tempted to go on the treadmill, but don’t want to sabotage myself. So I asked her to take off one rainy day when I am at home instead of her designated days when I am at work. She reluctantly agreed.

Yesterday, after running my errands we got home late and she didn’t have a chance to do her yoga. With malcontent, she told me that she would not only do her yoga but also go on the treadmill tomorrow, while I’m at home.
Little did she know that just a few hours prior I had confessed proudly to my father that I asked her to stay at home so I wouldn’t go on the treadmill - I was moving forward with my recovery. And here she was, sticking it to me.
Every time I take steps forward, she brings me backwards.

She attended the National Eating Disorder Association Walk with me a couple of weeks ago. The head specialist in Long Island, and one of the best in the world, described exactly what I was experiencing and said that the condition was undoubtedly genetic. I cried and she cradled me in her arms in an attempt to meet onlookers’ expectations, looking around with concern that others would see my contorted face and tears streaming down. I thought she understood what I was going through but instead, she and my father banter back and forth over which genetic pool was to blame before the blame inevitably falls on me.

We argued yesterday over her exercise pursuits after she consumed two “extra thin” slices of cheese between two slices of bread and some shrouds of basil, sipping on a Coke Zero. She said she would go in to work and take off Friday - that was her intention all along.

I woke up this morning, after she had gone into work. I walked to Starbucks, stomach uncomfortably full from the night before, with rain boots on, my knobby knees knocking each other as I had difficulty walking with my backpack- breakfast packed- and laptop weighing down my shoulder. After sitting for about 2 hours, I thought I could perhaps beat the rainfall, and decided to walk with all of my belongings for as long as I could before going home. The treadmill would always be there.

It was already drizzling and the winds had already picked up, but I continued on. In pain and distress, two hours later, I returned home. But before then I had called my mother- trying to decipher how the day would pan out, and if she still held a grudge. Let it be known that I purposely ventured out early today because I had a feeling she would take off early from work to exercise, dipping into my time alone.

She came off cold, but that wasn’t at all out of normalcy. I came home, my hair destroyed because of the rain. So I washed it - which I never do on Wednesday - she does. As soon as I came out of the shower, the phone rang and her cell number popped up. I knew it then, she had left her workplace earlier and sure enough, she was on the platform and would arrive by 2 pm. I had not eaten yet- a big lunch I planned, regret setting in.

She asked if my appointment I had scheduled for 3:15 but was planning on canceling, was canceled yet. I responded that it wasn’t, and since she was coming early would keep it.

She came home without so much as eye contact, changed into pajamas and when I said the appointment was soon, a smirk appeared on her face with pleasure. “So- you can go yourself. I’m not going out. You made me go into work so you wouldn’t have to see me work out. Well now you’re going to see me work out- or you can go out yourself.” I am pretty sure my mouth hung open in sheer shock. She smiled. All that is evil had to have been consecrated in her one being.

I had bent over backwards the weeks between her birthday and Mother’s Day- mani/pedis, a limited edition cookbook she would never open, earrings she already hated, pastries, a day out at a fancy lunch which she refused to eat because of comparison to my salad. She ordered a strawberry mascarpone pancake, threw out the mascarpone and maple syrup that she usually orders two of. “I would have ordered a salad too,” she said, and left her food untouched, egging me to eat my own. The anxiety leading up to that lunch with just the two of us was a longtime coming - so much so that my bowels were completely blocked and doctor-diagnosed anxiety-induced diarrhea occurred.

Do I hate my mother? No. Do I love her? On some level, yes, I love her immensely. I love her more than I do myself. I love her supple skin, her always refreshing scent, her robust and toned body, her mama bear stretch marks so perfectly imperfect, her ability to straighten her naturally curly hair- unbeknownst to most- the old-fashioned way resulting in the silkiest of locks, her ability to pull together a look worth the most basic of clothing items: a solid t-shirt, jeans, and a puffer vest. I love how photogenic she is. I love her sheer femininity defined: her natural lack of body hair. I love her ability to wake up without hesitation no matter the time, her willingness to do the laundry, wash the dishes, and sweep all at once. I love and hate all of this.

I hate her personality. I hate her lack of sentimentality. I hate her insistent need to blame others’ preference for their mother tongue as a personal attack against her. I hate her ignorance. I hate her unwillingness to pronounce eastern names and words the way they should be.

Love her or hate her, my father is correct in the text message he sent me yesterday. It read, “Keep your cool with your mom. She is your best friend. Everyone has different personalities, but they can still be your best friend. We are not clones of each other.”

I wish he had not sent me that text, softening me when I was high on a mad tirade. But today, with my washed hair and the fact that it is rainy outside, I thought of her exercising and ended up on the treadmill, hating my life all the while. I hated the fact that I had to urinate, but did not want to get off. I hated the fact that I had to defalcate as well. I hated the fact that I grew anxious after the fact and having not eaten enough, successfully scared myself into eating more, but was and still am, hours later, uncomfortably full and abdomen distended, bowels not yet emptied.

Tomorrow I have to work early and she has the day off. I have to make sure to sneak my body weight exercises that make me feel better about her working out later in the day, in the wee hours of the morning before anyone is awake. I have to cope with the fact that she will restrict her eating and go on the treadmill tomorrow as well as perform yoga, while I’m still at work. I hate her for this, I truly do. I try to devise a way to stay out after my job so as to walk, but I know I will be tired, if she comes to pick me up, she may catch me walking because she leaves over an hour earlier to places 20 minutes away. I hate that habit of hers. I hate that she won’t eat lunch before picking me up but I will have already eaten.

What do I do? My mind is running a thousand miles a minute. I have to empty my bowels before eating my weight in evening snacks. I have to go to bed early to force myself to do some body weight moves at 3 am, sneaking downstairs onto the rug that will deafen any floor creaks.

CLXXXIV. Long Time, No See-

It has been a while since I have written on this platform - or anywhere for that matter. My words affect those who read them, but eyes don’t fall on them - they’re in the periphery or just a mirage among human resources and editors. Do I pitch to deaf ears some more? Do I force-feed my work via Amazon self-publishing? Do I continue to apply for unpaid internships in hopes that a window and a chance may clear the path to a full-fledged career? I have not had the strength to sacrifice my wordsmithery on a public domain blog read by acquaintances, any longer.

I no longer care for the praise when it is the equivalent to those blue ribbons every participant in the grade school science fair receives. So maybe it is true, in this vein, what Kathie Lee Gifford always says: not everyone can win. Not everyone can be the best. Understanding this is what forms character and resilience. This Darwinist concept, however, is slightly contradictory and so I never paid heed to Kathie Lee’s Debbie Downer persona.

Long time, no see: It has been a long time now that I have had anorexia nervosa - compulsive thoughts to restrict food intake, compare with how others are eating and burning it off, and to exercise and work off energy consumed. I am still severely underweight, still without my period for over 3 years, still unable to pedal my bicycle once, and developing a fear of different foods everyday: bananas, protein bars, vegetables sauteed in oil, flatbread, closed-face sandwiches, rice, starchy plantains, and mangoes. It has been so long that I have met a slew of new people- friends, acquaintances, online classmates, and even family members - none of who knew me prior to my anniversary cum birthday. They don’t see me. It’s been a long time - and I’m beginning to not see myself either.

“You’re so skinny. I wish I was that thin.”
“You’re so cute! I was that small when I was your age.” (She was still small - even at her age.)
“You’re tiny! I’m not like you.”
“You look great. Look at that figure.”

I wish more people would be like the woman who I met yesterday. She told me, “you need some meat on your bones,” after I confessed to being excessively cold despite the warm temperature. I wish I could tell these people how my skin turns a tinge of yellow and the skin under my eyes and around my lips are blackened in a sickly manner. I want to tell them that time my parents barbecued last year when my brother came to visit and I hated every second of my life as I adamantly spooned 2 tablespoons’ worth of pumpkin seed butter into my mouth, my brother looking on in silent disgust. I wish they knew how sleep deprived I was - emptying my bowels of 9 pounds of watermelon until 2 am and then waking up before 6, making sure to wake up early so that I can sneak in a 15-minute body weight workout before my parents stirred from their good night’s sleep. I wish they knew of my knobby legs that feel strained and ready to give out from beneath me. And I wish I could alter my brain chemistry to recognize these symptoms, to regard them with contempt so that I can make a substantial change to actively gain much-needed weight.

My mind is in a constant flux. I long to be a mother, completely unrelated to yesterday’s Mother’s Day celebrations. I long to have a significant other who I’ll have my back after my parents proclaim their near passing unto the ages.  My brother, always independent and not tethered to anyone or anything, won’t take me in. I am not his responsibility and I won’t be his burden. Who do I have? I have friends from years’ past who I hardly keep in touch with. It’s as if anorexia is contagious. They fear my story, hearing it out, perhaps out of feelings of pity, or perhaps out of obligation.

My mind is in a flux. I long to eat cruciferous vegetables, but what is enough and what isn’t? I cooked eggplant, cauliflower steak sandwiches for my parents’ dinner- leisurely pouring in olive oil with a liberal wrist flip. I basted mushrooms in about a stick of butter to spoon on top of the vegetables ladled onto a toasted brioche roll, decorated with a smear of buttermilk ranch. I created a crisp basil, tomato, mozarella caprese salad with a squeeze of lemon juice mingling among a guarded amount of oilve oil. Why I couldn’t enjoy a vegetable panini, or just roasted vegetables, still boggles my mind. I planned on cooking cauliflower for myself today, but I am stressed by the task. Will a teaspoon of olive oil (45 calories) be enough to coat 1-cup of florets? Will spending more on organic produce have a real impact on my weight? Should I opt for lactose-free ghee instead of oil? Should I use a spray or will that equate to calorically more than a spoon of cooking fat?

I’ll just have something else instead, I reason. And just like that, another day passes.

Long time, no seeing the future.

CLXXXIII.A Month From Tomorrow -  

  It’s that moment when I allow myself to “lose control.” I eat my weight in all-Natural nut butter in the evening and early morning hours. That moment when my bowels are so backed up and my caloric intake so high, that night sweats set in when during the daytime hours, my low-body weight makes me susceptible to feeling chills, and having painful gashes from cracking dry skin, exacerbated by late fall elements. 
I wake up at 5 on the Sunday morning of Thanksgiving weekend, feeling all at once regretful, proud, without anxiety from not having eaten enough but also anxiety from having eaten too much. 

 I come downstairs with a plan: eat regularly scheduled breakfast early on, have the remnants of nut butter that I should have had for lunch anyway but without the accompanying Icelandic Skyr and granola. Then, have a light dinner- falling below the caloric intake I should be consuming - something egg-centric. Eggs are my comfort food - carb-absent lean protein with satiating fat from a decadent runny yolk. Then watermelon and continue on as if nothing had transpired last night and this morning. I’m trying to undo that which can’t be undone. But just as we cannot achieve perfection, we similarly can come close to achieving something. 

 I have begun to embrace recovery which is mainly a disguise for “gaining weight.” I am trying to show myself grace. I have taken on my first real job- minimum wage - but it is my form of self-care. I am in high fashion. I am around aesthetically beautiful things all day long and am viewed as a reflection of these things. I am thought of as beautiful and I feel somewhat beautiful as well despite all the feelings of fat and possibly flab that may develop with recovery from anorexia. 

 Before work, I lay out my outfit on my bed, color and pattern coordinating separates, scarves, kerchiefs, shawls, and purses, socks and shoes. I spray my discontinued, tracked down Jo Malone fragrance in Saffron, it’s intensity kept safely in a dark black bottle that I was hell-bent on saving. I swab on my lips my Yves Saint Laurent lip stains instead of my CoverGirl products. 

 I have shopped more than ever, investing in high-quality pieces. I am showing myself self-love. I am attempting to feel good about myself in spite of the disgust and grotesque feeling for having eaten as much as I have, for finally gaining a smidgen of weight, with a good 30 pounds left to go. 

 I light a Blueberry Sugar candle to offset the remnants of my nut butter binge. I try to walk in circles around my kitchen and dining room, attempting to side step creaks in the hardwood floors and step in tandem to the generated central heat. Though I am trying to work off something- I’m not trying too hard. 

 I head up to my bedroom and lay out a pin-striped lightweight button-down shirt with “100” embroidered on the chest. I am attempting to feel “100,” and not like crap-how I truly feel. This will be tucked into a pair of gray straight-legged pants that waver between a gray and mauve, and has a tie belt around the waist. Next, I grab my lace gray bra and a striped brief-panty in a blue-gray. I take out a pair of knee-high gray socks. Lastly, after at least 30-minutes of idle, non-caloric burning debriefing with the contents of my closet, I decide on a multicolored floral kerchief to keep wound tightly around my neck- it is in an array of burnt orange amber, navy blue, and white. 

 I am expected to eat more and more each day and move less and less, in turn making me feel less and less worthy of anything. If I could work everyday, I would. If I could stay out of my house, I would. And so I devise a way to stay out longer. I want to leave early so that I can first pick up watermelon for later, then head to the job, possibly pick up coffee to fill me up and generate heat and energy since I’ll be outside and nothing opens until noon. 

 It’s some days later now- I have only had one day off this week and that one day was hell. I took up an extra shift, devised my outfit and spread my charm to whomever I encountered: be it as a personal stylist, a confidante, or a sisterly mentor. I feel part of a sorority at my workplace - everyone older;  some ever so slightly and other more so; and one or two younger. And without my period for over two years, or curves, I feel more womanly than ever and I feel like a mentally strong women- one who doesn’t compare or envy, but instead, one who lifts up, supports, recognizes others’ beauty without forgetting my own. 

 Do you have a boyfriend? I was asked by my manager - the one male in the entire company. I replied negatively. He said, “this will be your year- I can feel it,” referring to exactly one month from tomorrow. That will be my year.

CLXXXIII.A Month From Tomorrow -

It’s that moment when I allow myself to “lose control.” I eat my weight in all-Natural nut butter in the evening and early morning hours. That moment when my bowels are so backed up and my caloric intake so high, that night sweats set in when during the daytime hours, my low-body weight makes me susceptible to feeling chills, and having painful gashes from cracking dry skin, exacerbated by late fall elements. I wake up at 5 on the Sunday morning of Thanksgiving weekend, feeling all at once regretful, proud, without anxiety from not having eaten enough but also anxiety from having eaten too much.

I come downstairs with a plan: eat regularly scheduled breakfast early on, have the remnants of nut butter that I should have had for lunch anyway but without the accompanying Icelandic Skyr and granola. Then, have a light dinner- falling below the caloric intake I should be consuming - something egg-centric. Eggs are my comfort food - carb-absent lean protein with satiating fat from a decadent runny yolk. Then watermelon and continue on as if nothing had transpired last night and this morning. I’m trying to undo that which can’t be undone. But just as we cannot achieve perfection, we similarly can come close to achieving something.

I have begun to embrace recovery which is mainly a disguise for “gaining weight.” I am trying to show myself grace. I have taken on my first real job- minimum wage - but it is my form of self-care. I am in high fashion. I am around aesthetically beautiful things all day long and am viewed as a reflection of these things. I am thought of as beautiful and I feel somewhat beautiful as well despite all the feelings of fat and possibly flab that may develop with recovery from anorexia.

Before work, I lay out my outfit on my bed, color and pattern coordinating separates, scarves, kerchiefs, shawls, and purses, socks and shoes. I spray my discontinued, tracked down Jo Malone fragrance in Saffron, it’s intensity kept safely in a dark black bottle that I was hell-bent on saving. I swab on my lips my Yves Saint Laurent lip stains instead of my CoverGirl products.

I have shopped more than ever, investing in high-quality pieces. I am showing myself self-love. I am attempting to feel good about myself in spite of the disgust and grotesque feeling for having eaten as much as I have, for finally gaining a smidgen of weight, with a good 30 pounds left to go.

I light a Blueberry Sugar candle to offset the remnants of my nut butter binge. I try to walk in circles around my kitchen and dining room, attempting to side step creaks in the hardwood floors and step in tandem to the generated central heat. Though I am trying to work off something- I’m not trying too hard.

I head up to my bedroom and lay out a pin-striped lightweight button-down shirt with “100” embroidered on the chest. I am attempting to feel “100,” and not like crap-how I truly feel. This will be tucked into a pair of gray straight-legged pants that waver between a gray and mauve, and has a tie belt around the waist. Next, I grab my lace gray bra and a striped brief-panty in a blue-gray. I take out a pair of knee-high gray socks. Lastly, after at least 30-minutes of idle, non-caloric burning debriefing with the contents of my closet, I decide on a multicolored floral kerchief to keep wound tightly around my neck- it is in an array of burnt orange amber, navy blue, and white.

I am expected to eat more and more each day and move less and less, in turn making me feel less and less worthy of anything. If I could work everyday, I would. If I could stay out of my house, I would. And so I devise a way to stay out longer. I want to leave early so that I can first pick up watermelon for later, then head to the job, possibly pick up coffee to fill me up and generate heat and energy since I’ll be outside and nothing opens until noon.

It’s some days later now- I have only had one day off this week and that one day was hell. I took up an extra shift, devised my outfit and spread my charm to whomever I encountered: be it as a personal stylist, a confidante, or a sisterly mentor. I feel part of a sorority at my workplace - everyone older; some ever so slightly and other more so; and one or two younger. And without my period for over two years, or curves, I feel more womanly than ever and I feel like a mentally strong women- one who doesn’t compare or envy, but instead, one who lifts up, supports, recognizes others’ beauty without forgetting my own.

Do you have a boyfriend? I was asked by my manager - the one male in the entire company. I replied negatively. He said, “this will be your year- I can feel it,” referring to exactly one month from tomorrow. That will be my year.

CLXXXII. A Belated Diwali Note: Letting Go -  Disclaimer: It has been 6 days since I wrote this, and since then, I have felt that I let go more than I anticipated.

   I’m letting go and I don’t know how to interpret this phenomenon. It has always been rather difficult for me to let go, or rather to unclasp the grip on myself. You see, I believe there is a difference between not letting go and preserving in memory. The latter is involuntary. While I may remember an awful experience, I won’t hold a grudge. It had taken me a while to foster that character trait - one in which I move on and do not dwell on one’s actions.   I am still far removed from that place of wholeheartedly accepting 30 or more pounds of weight gain. I still cannot fathom eating outside at unplanned times and unexpected places, places that can’t possibly alter their menu items, or forgoing my watermelon for a bar or a banana, notoriously high in sugar as it were. But with those foods I have deemed ok to gain weight from with limited activity, on a mission to retain a body type I can be comfortable with as extra pounds are added, it is getting easier to eat with uncalculated abandon. I am referring to all natural nut and seed butters, granola, and hummus, such that the initially measured out portions are for naught because I continue to dip into the containers again and again- first with shame, and slowly, without the shame. The serving sizes taunt me, haunt me, as  the contents of the disposable wrappers decrease well before they technically should. Still, weight is not being put on at all or not nearly quick enough.  Perhaps it is because my newfound favorite season, fall, is finally having a presence in the weather, the plant life and death - leaves strewn across Long Island’s buckling sidewalks, reminiscent of a post-modern type of cobblestone, that make me less regretful for consuming untracked calories. Perhaps it is that I have again begun to walk outside while my parents are away at work, observing newness, basking underneath the sun, and gulping the tepid air. Maybe it is that I fell sick yesterday, suffering from one of my notoriously unpleasant and painful bouts of sore throat that I would incur every year since early childhood. Perhaps it is that today is Diwali- the first of many holidays I celebrate during this festive season.   On this day, I had it out with my father after he worked out for an hour in the basement-turned man-cave. He went down before 5 am, so I too woke up, walked a little and did some silent floor work for 10 minutes that made me pant excessively and beg for mercy. I suddenly realized that he had snuck downstairs yesterday morning as well. I usually don’t sleep through his workouts, not feeling well about the inhabitants of my small world being more productive than a sleeping Reshmi- barely sleeping - running in less than 5 hours of sleep daily.  But then I softened. I washed the coffee pot, brewed a new batch, made his coffee, heated and cut up his muffin, laid out two traditional Indian sweets of cashew fudge - Kaju Katli - lit a candle and my gift to him: a Ralph Lauren box with leather boat shoe loafers inside.   Growing up, Diwali was always my favorite holiday, primarily because I would dance every year, dressed to the yards - literally. The dancer’s skirt was voluminous with yard upon yard of fabric weighing my svelte but robust and healthy body down to the ground as I resisted gravity- a workout - while pirouetting. I would indulge in many sweets, pass along sweets unto others, eat a full meal at the local temple, an elighten earthen clay lamps. I would attempt to decorate the house in makeshift decor: garlands of flowers used for my hair during dance shows and colorful scarves doled out. I planned outings to the theater to see an epic Diwali-release.  
When in college, I made a trip home every Diwali. During my senior year, I lived in a dorm that had a significant South Asian population. I purchased chocolate and wrote notes with well wishes that I compiled into a gift package alongside the quintessential earthen clay lamp. I dropped the items off outside of my peers’ closed dorm doors, like a half-Indian elf hellbent on preserving a tradition for fear that it was on the brink of extinction.  Today, after two years, I am going to light Diyas and go to buy all of two or three boxes of sweets for a close family friend, my treatment team, and a neighbor I don’t know. I want to reignite traditions, forever laying claim to hosting Diwali as an adult just as my mom would over Christmas.   With threadbare relationships on the Indian side of the family and my father not particularly remembering traditions we could continue, I managed to extract some  valuable information. My mamaji, my late paternal grandmother who I remind everyone of, and who my dad has entrusted in me to continue on with her legacy, used to cook up a “sweet bread,” as my father called it. He described it as pieces of toast cut into triangles, fried and soaked in syrup used to make jalebis, another Indian confection. Upon researching a bit, I dug up the traditional dish my father was referring to: Shahi Tukra - a Mughalai-derived dish consisting of crustless bread cut diagonally, fried in ghee, dipped in a saffron and cardamom spiked simple syrup and garnished with either sweetened boiled milk and/or pistachios, almonds, and cashews. I still am looking forward to surprising him with this most unhealthy form of fuel that was probably metabolized by that demographic at the time and was nutrient dense in so far as their activity level. Clearly, I have not let go fully.  Nevertheless, I was also going to cook a meal but I still feel sick and the idea of caramelized ginger, garlic, onions, and masala infusing into my skin’s pores and sore throats leaves me nauseated. That and because I don’t actually eat what I cook leads my parents to believe that I am sabotaging their weight goals. I also plan on partaking in the Hindu-oriented tradition of rangoli - colorful geometric patterns that welcome Goddess Lakshmi home to provide good fortune - wealth and otherwise. I plan on picking up some sidewalk chalk for my first attempt rather than the traditional boiled and dried, naturally dyed rice grains, colored powder, or sand. I also asked my father to buy traditional Punjabi food from our go-to restaurant miles away for him and my mother. We would make a trip to temple as well.   Already, I have consumed breakfast: organic poached eggs with sprouted flaxseed toast and organic decaf coffee. But I have also dug into the almost finished raw cashew butter jar aside from the allotted 2 Tablespoons to have at lunch. I feel energized, full, but satisfied. And I am walking, unintentionally getting lost on the way, dipping into my scheduled walking time just as I dipped into the jar without conscious regard. I still have to go in the opposite direction to buy the chalk, hope my parents don’t magically appear or call, and venture home so I can perhaps go to pick up sweets and witness others actually celebrating a holiday that I am so desperately trying to celebrate as well.

CLXXXII. A Belated Diwali Note: Letting Go -Disclaimer: It has been 6 days since I wrote this, and since then, I have felt that I let go more than I anticipated.

I’m letting go and I don’t know how to interpret this phenomenon. It has always been rather difficult for me to let go, or rather to unclasp the grip on myself. You see, I believe there is a difference between not letting go and preserving in memory. The latter is involuntary. While I may remember an awful experience, I won’t hold a grudge. It had taken me a while to foster that character trait - one in which I move on and do not dwell on one’s actions.

I am still far removed from that place of wholeheartedly accepting 30 or more pounds of weight gain. I still cannot fathom eating outside at unplanned times and unexpected places, places that can’t possibly alter their menu items, or forgoing my watermelon for a bar or a banana, notoriously high in sugar as it were. But with those foods I have deemed ok to gain weight from with limited activity, on a mission to retain a body type I can be comfortable with as extra pounds are added, it is getting easier to eat with uncalculated abandon. I am referring to all natural nut and seed butters, granola, and hummus, such that the initially measured out portions are for naught because I continue to dip into the containers again and again- first with shame, and slowly, without the shame. The serving sizes taunt me, haunt me, as the contents of the disposable wrappers decrease well before they technically should. Still, weight is not being put on at all or not nearly quick enough.

Perhaps it is because my newfound favorite season, fall, is finally having a presence in the weather, the plant life and death - leaves strewn across Long Island’s buckling sidewalks, reminiscent of a post-modern type of cobblestone, that make me less regretful for consuming untracked calories. Perhaps it is that I have again begun to walk outside while my parents are away at work, observing newness, basking underneath the sun, and gulping the tepid air. Maybe it is that I fell sick yesterday, suffering from one of my notoriously unpleasant and painful bouts of sore throat that I would incur every year since early childhood. Perhaps it is that today is Diwali- the first of many holidays I celebrate during this festive season.

On this day, I had it out with my father after he worked out for an hour in the basement-turned man-cave. He went down before 5 am, so I too woke up, walked a little and did some silent floor work for 10 minutes that made me pant excessively and beg for mercy. I suddenly realized that he had snuck downstairs yesterday morning as well. I usually don’t sleep through his workouts, not feeling well about the inhabitants of my small world being more productive than a sleeping Reshmi- barely sleeping - running in less than 5 hours of sleep daily.

But then I softened. I washed the coffee pot, brewed a new batch, made his coffee, heated and cut up his muffin, laid out two traditional Indian sweets of cashew fudge - Kaju Katli - lit a candle and my gift to him: a Ralph Lauren box with leather boat shoe loafers inside.

Growing up, Diwali was always my favorite holiday, primarily because I would dance every year, dressed to the yards - literally. The dancer’s skirt was voluminous with yard upon yard of fabric weighing my svelte but robust and healthy body down to the ground as I resisted gravity- a workout - while pirouetting. I would indulge in many sweets, pass along sweets unto others, eat a full meal at the local temple, an elighten earthen clay lamps. I would attempt to decorate the house in makeshift decor: garlands of flowers used for my hair during dance shows and colorful scarves doled out. I planned outings to the theater to see an epic Diwali-release.
When in college, I made a trip home every Diwali. During my senior year, I lived in a dorm that had a significant South Asian population. I purchased chocolate and wrote notes with well wishes that I compiled into a gift package alongside the quintessential earthen clay lamp. I dropped the items off outside of my peers’ closed dorm doors, like a half-Indian elf hellbent on preserving a tradition for fear that it was on the brink of extinction.

Today, after two years, I am going to light Diyas and go to buy all of two or three boxes of sweets for a close family friend, my treatment team, and a neighbor I don’t know. I want to reignite traditions, forever laying claim to hosting Diwali as an adult just as my mom would over Christmas.

With threadbare relationships on the Indian side of the family and my father not particularly remembering traditions we could continue, I managed to extract some valuable information. My mamaji, my late paternal grandmother who I remind everyone of, and who my dad has entrusted in me to continue on with her legacy, used to cook up a “sweet bread,” as my father called it. He described it as pieces of toast cut into triangles, fried and soaked in syrup used to make jalebis, another Indian confection. Upon researching a bit, I dug up the traditional dish my father was referring to: Shahi Tukra - a Mughalai-derived dish consisting of crustless bread cut diagonally, fried in ghee, dipped in a saffron and cardamom spiked simple syrup and garnished with either sweetened boiled milk and/or pistachios, almonds, and cashews. I still am looking forward to surprising him with this most unhealthy form of fuel that was probably metabolized by that demographic at the time and was nutrient dense in so far as their activity level. Clearly, I have not let go fully.

Nevertheless, I was also going to cook a meal but I still feel sick and the idea of caramelized ginger, garlic, onions, and masala infusing into my skin’s pores and sore throats leaves me nauseated. That and because I don’t actually eat what I cook leads my parents to believe that I am sabotaging their weight goals. I also plan on partaking in the Hindu-oriented tradition of rangoli - colorful geometric patterns that welcome Goddess Lakshmi home to provide good fortune - wealth and otherwise. I plan on picking up some sidewalk chalk for my first attempt rather than the traditional boiled and dried, naturally dyed rice grains, colored powder, or sand. I also asked my father to buy traditional Punjabi food from our go-to restaurant miles away for him and my mother. We would make a trip to temple as well.

Already, I have consumed breakfast: organic poached eggs with sprouted flaxseed toast and organic decaf coffee. But I have also dug into the almost finished raw cashew butter jar aside from the allotted 2 Tablespoons to have at lunch. I feel energized, full, but satisfied. And I am walking, unintentionally getting lost on the way, dipping into my scheduled walking time just as I dipped into the jar without conscious regard. I still have to go in the opposite direction to buy the chalk, hope my parents don’t magically appear or call, and venture home so I can perhaps go to pick up sweets and witness others actually celebrating a holiday that I am so desperately trying to celebrate as well.

CLXXXI. Gossip Girl, Here - 

  *Pictured: An associate’s vacant desk space at ABC Carpets & Home in NYC. 

 My mother caught me power-walking around my house, which I denied. She said, in her most sarcastic and evil voice: “yeah, work it out girl.”  

 The day before I had apologized for losing my temper - rightfully so - the night before. We exchanged ugly words for the hundredth time. Of course, there is no exchange of “sorry,” because she can do no wrong. Are mothers always correct? Humans aren’t perfect. Is she human? She’s certainly not a goddess. Is it too outlandish to suggest demonic as an adjective? 

 I apologized by text. This time, I followed up the apology with a quasi-explanation that was partially my way of hinting that I was not sorry. Rather, I wasn’t so much apologizing to her as I was to me. I’m sorry to myself for having tarnished my upstanding character, for falling prey to external pulses, for acting out of impulse, for not showing self-restraint, for not exhibiting will power.  

 Then again, recovering from anorexia means no longer restricting and no longer holding back. It means that I let go of that will power to consume less and exercise more. 

 I’m a full grown ass adult, I feel like telling her. But that doesn’t sound like me. That’s not me. 

 I’m a woman. I’m proud to be a woman, and I would neither say “full grown,” because that is grammatically incorrect, nor would I say ass because it is incredibly unpolished. So instead I text her, “I know I live at home, but you have to understand. I’m a woman, mom. I’m 27-years-old. You have to stop criticizing me for everything.”  

 I think she understood, but she did not reply to the text. At least, she read it this time. I checked her cell messages when entering in directions in the GPS. I then skimmed past another text message thread - one between her and her colleague who always buy each other breakfast or lunch. 

 They constantly discuss how they need to lose weight, and I know for a fact that my mother does not need to shed pounds. She’s at a normal if not less than normal weight for her height, age, and activity level. Her appetite is well-balanced, intuitive, and voracious. 

  It’s so odd to me that having grown up underneath her influence, I had never adapted the 3 meals-a-day-lifestyle. I always threw away the lunch she packed me in high school and came home ravenous. I was still healthy then, however, never thinking twice about eating a samosa or two in one sitting, enjoying the fried exterior shell more than the cumin-seed spiked mashed potato and pea interior. 

 On the text message exchange between her and her colleague, whenever the latter asked if she wanted a muffin or roll, my mom always opted for the roll because I suppose the plainness and lesser amount of calories amounted to a healthier choice. She always opted for a McDonald’s English Muffin breakfast sandwich as well, which she may have for lunch, because she and I can look up the calories online and see that it comes in at around 280-300 calories only. Her colleague asked if she wanted pancakes instead, and my mom replied with “the pancakes probably have more calories,” or a no-go to he pancakes. I just looked up the calories for pancakes, and sure enough, it is higher in calorie by about 50. 

 Am I gossiping? Now I am because I am telling you all of this, but I was sneaking as I read this text exchange, my fury growing with each passing moment. 

 I have come to accept, rationally, that I have to eat more - a lot more. Those in recovery usually leave the cooking to someone else. They usually supplement with high calorie drinks and food if they don’t eat enough. And if they refuse supplementing, a feeding tube is the next step. 

 I love the “supplement” I have chosen: an all-natural organic bar with superfoods, high protein, and requisite high calorie. I love the taste, the texture, and the healthy composition of ingredients that make it up. What I don’t love is the feeling of gluttony that overcomes me after having eaten this; that feeling of consuming over 300 more calories.  

 Yesterday, without an appetite and feeling full, my mother suggested with her antiquated logic that I eat rice with an egg on top. I say antiquated because she thinks rice will automatically put on weight. I eat black rice which is higher in calorie than the white basmati rice she cooks, but also packs a ton more antioxidants and vitamins. It’s fiber content is sky-high, such that the grains pass right through my bowels and float on the surface of toilet water.  

 I asked my dietitian if I had undone all the work of eating since the rice passed through. She quelled my anxiety and assured me that all the energy was stored in my body before it passed through. 

 Prior to anorexia, I wasn’t privy to calorie counts. If I had those Whole Foods Market-bought bars in my house growing up, I would likely have eaten more than one in a single sitting because it tastes that good, and I would have done so without reluctance, repulsion, or regret. I would have enjoyed it and dwelled in my good fortune at having those pricey treats in my possession.  

 At the same time, I was incredibly active. I danced for hours, took long leisurely walks, had a rigorous physical education program throughout my high school years. In my summers home from college I either had a gym 
Membership or went on long hikes and exercised at home. 

 I can’t remember if I had eaten to the point of indulgence as a result of restricting throughout the day, or because I felt that my level of activity compensated for my intake.  

 Gossip girl, here - My mother asked me to make her French Toast this morning with the leftover batter I made yesterday, only this time with her low-calorie sliced bread. I cooked it up with love and served it. Immediately after she declared possibly not eating later and having to work out - all because of breakfast. Now if she’s only “allowed” to eat and enjoy when she exercises, then why do my treatment team and as my father says, “the only people who care about me” - him, my mother, and my brother tell me that food is not meant to be worked off? Why do they partake in hypocrisy and tell me that food is fuel and not to be compensated or enjoyed only when and if a workout is planned?  

 Here’s some gossip:  
Those who care are those who preach. 
Those who can, do; Those who can’t, teach.

CLXXXI. Gossip Girl, Here -

*Pictured: An associate’s vacant desk space at ABC Carpets & Home in NYC.

My mother caught me power-walking around my house, which I denied. She said, in her most sarcastic and evil voice: “yeah, work it out girl.”

The day before I had apologized for losing my temper - rightfully so - the night before. We exchanged ugly words for the hundredth time. Of course, there is no exchange of “sorry,” because she can do no wrong. Are mothers always correct? Humans aren’t perfect. Is she human? She’s certainly not a goddess. Is it too outlandish to suggest demonic as an adjective?

I apologized by text. This time, I followed up the apology with a quasi-explanation that was partially my way of hinting that I was not sorry. Rather, I wasn’t so much apologizing to her as I was to me. I’m sorry to myself for having tarnished my upstanding character, for falling prey to external pulses, for acting out of impulse, for not showing self-restraint, for not exhibiting will power.

Then again, recovering from anorexia means no longer restricting and no longer holding back. It means that I let go of that will power to consume less and exercise more.

I’m a full grown ass adult, I feel like telling her. But that doesn’t sound like me. That’s not me.

I’m a woman. I’m proud to be a woman, and I would neither say “full grown,” because that is grammatically incorrect, nor would I say ass because it is incredibly unpolished. So instead I text her, “I know I live at home, but you have to understand. I’m a woman, mom. I’m 27-years-old. You have to stop criticizing me for everything.”

I think she understood, but she did not reply to the text. At least, she read it this time. I checked her cell messages when entering in directions in the GPS. I then skimmed past another text message thread - one between her and her colleague who always buy each other breakfast or lunch.

They constantly discuss how they need to lose weight, and I know for a fact that my mother does not need to shed pounds. She’s at a normal if not less than normal weight for her height, age, and activity level. Her appetite is well-balanced, intuitive, and voracious.

It’s so odd to me that having grown up underneath her influence, I had never adapted the 3 meals-a-day-lifestyle. I always threw away the lunch she packed me in high school and came home ravenous. I was still healthy then, however, never thinking twice about eating a samosa or two in one sitting, enjoying the fried exterior shell more than the cumin-seed spiked mashed potato and pea interior.

On the text message exchange between her and her colleague, whenever the latter asked if she wanted a muffin or roll, my mom always opted for the roll because I suppose the plainness and lesser amount of calories amounted to a healthier choice. She always opted for a McDonald’s English Muffin breakfast sandwich as well, which she may have for lunch, because she and I can look up the calories online and see that it comes in at around 280-300 calories only. Her colleague asked if she wanted pancakes instead, and my mom replied with “the pancakes probably have more calories,” or a no-go to he pancakes. I just looked up the calories for pancakes, and sure enough, it is higher in calorie by about 50.

Am I gossiping? Now I am because I am telling you all of this, but I was sneaking as I read this text exchange, my fury growing with each passing moment.

I have come to accept, rationally, that I have to eat more - a lot more. Those in recovery usually leave the cooking to someone else. They usually supplement with high calorie drinks and food if they don’t eat enough. And if they refuse supplementing, a feeding tube is the next step.

I love the “supplement” I have chosen: an all-natural organic bar with superfoods, high protein, and requisite high calorie. I love the taste, the texture, and the healthy composition of ingredients that make it up. What I don’t love is the feeling of gluttony that overcomes me after having eaten this; that feeling of consuming over 300 more calories.

Yesterday, without an appetite and feeling full, my mother suggested with her antiquated logic that I eat rice with an egg on top. I say antiquated because she thinks rice will automatically put on weight. I eat black rice which is higher in calorie than the white basmati rice she cooks, but also packs a ton more antioxidants and vitamins. It’s fiber content is sky-high, such that the grains pass right through my bowels and float on the surface of toilet water.

I asked my dietitian if I had undone all the work of eating since the rice passed through. She quelled my anxiety and assured me that all the energy was stored in my body before it passed through.

Prior to anorexia, I wasn’t privy to calorie counts. If I had those Whole Foods Market-bought bars in my house growing up, I would likely have eaten more than one in a single sitting because it tastes that good, and I would have done so without reluctance, repulsion, or regret. I would have enjoyed it and dwelled in my good fortune at having those pricey treats in my possession.

At the same time, I was incredibly active. I danced for hours, took long leisurely walks, had a rigorous physical education program throughout my high school years. In my summers home from college I either had a gym
Membership or went on long hikes and exercised at home.

I can’t remember if I had eaten to the point of indulgence as a result of restricting throughout the day, or because I felt that my level of activity compensated for my intake.

Gossip girl, here - My mother asked me to make her French Toast this morning with the leftover batter I made yesterday, only this time with her low-calorie sliced bread. I cooked it up with love and served it. Immediately after she declared possibly not eating later and having to work out - all because of breakfast. Now if she’s only “allowed” to eat and enjoy when she exercises, then why do my treatment team and as my father says, “the only people who care about me” - him, my mother, and my brother tell me that food is not meant to be worked off? Why do they partake in hypocrisy and tell me that food is fuel and not to be compensated or enjoyed only when and if a workout is planned?

Here’s some gossip:
Those who care are those who preach.
Those who can, do; Those who can’t, teach.

Mean Girl - 

  Pictured: A museum exhibit on Barbie, a quintessential feminine identity that fractures the female population, that I visited in Paris, April 2016. 

 I have never seen the movie, Mean Girls. I don’t want to either. I remember in high school, the vice principal - aptly named “vice” as opposed to virtue, had announced over the loudspeaker that a Burn Book was passing around, the vicious contents of which would not be tolerated. I caught a glimpse of the girl with ripped Abercrombie jeans and a tight crop top that somehow made it past school security’s roving eyes. She was smirking and looked at the other Eastern European girl in their clique. All that said, they were always nice to me and everyone else actually. 

The truth was, they were mean to each other. It was a vicious incestuous crowd. They were their own best friends and own worst enemies.The scenario was also too reminiscent of the phrase, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. 

 In high school, we were not permitted to wear footwear without backs, or slip-ons. Skirts couldn’t be shorter than the length of our extended arms and fingertips when placed by our side. The consequences were dismal: demerits, detention, suspension - the list goes on. I attended a strict selective school where taking classical Hebrew, Latin, or Greek was mandatory and physical education was taught by a national black belt karate champion. 

Think Chilton from Gilmore Girls.  

 This past Sunday, I was down. My mental space was filled with negativity. I felt upset about the hurdles and roadblocks life had hurled at me, flung at me, giving my emaciated body a dose of whiplash that made my head spin and ears ring - literally. Although the ringing has lessened since I have remained home bound and eat more, circulation is still not up to par as it would be with one who isn’t so underweight and doesn’t have anorexia. 

 I was arguing with everyone at home and when we went outside, I had no desire to be around them, but knew that they were my only means of venturing into the sunlight. I was crying silently, sneaking a minute here and there to wail audibly in the parking lot of the shop they went in. It was like I was a chain smoker- addicted to that need to let it all out, alone, because who could understand? Addicted to that need to feel the air and the outside world; not to be shunned by car emitted, store and home controlled-air conditioning. 

 Addiction is unhealthy. You may be thinking that the addiction to enjoying natural elements and not burdening another human with my profound sadness by letting it all out, is healthy. These actions are certainly not destructive. But the idea of them being addictive, happening repeatedly, is negative.  

 I shouldn’t be forced to sneak in a minute outdoors. I should spend anytime I want outdoors, without having to check my watch or look over my shoulder, or ensure that I don’t purposely walk at a speed walker’s pace to burn off calories when I need to be consuming a good thousand more calories than I do to gain weight.  

 I shouldn’t be crying, feeling down, and grimacing at the unfairness of having an eating disorder that took away my life as my friends get engaged, married, move up the career ladder, become athletes, and travel. 

 I’m addicted, it seems, to believing that I am not deserving of anything. 

 How I wish to feel that sensation of coming home after a long day out, at work. I remember giving myself spa days at home. I remember allowing myself to watch television to unwind or a movie. I am in silence all day instead and my feet are bruised more than they ever had been when I was actively dancing for over 40 hours a week. 

 I’m addicted to projecting into others the self-care and self-love I want and do deserve despite not having an income and only focusing on my health.  

 This Sunday, I gifted to the person who was giving me hell from morning till dusk, even into the next day, and for many days before and after, a manicure and pedicure spa treatment. If there is one luxury I absolutely love and fully believe to be worth it, it is a pedicure. That soothing feeling of exfoliated legs, microbeads caressing ravaged pores and dry skin from shaving, bubbly warm water bouncing effervecently around my toes and jet streams of tepid waves molding around my foot beds, make me swoon.  

 Instead of allowing myself to experience that, I gave it to someone else, who I believe, didn’t deserve it. I went above and beyond, took the manicurist on the side and said to make sure to take care of her. I emptied the contents of my wallet for an upgraded mani-pedi with gel nail lacquer and a lemon peel. I asked myself why I did that, feeling a rush of jealousy and anger directed at myself. After some internal dialogues, i answered, “I projected what I wanted for myself onto someone else, because I am undeserving.” 

 I don’t deserve a pedicure. It’s not like I travel to and from home or that I am consumed by work. It’s not like I dance for hours or pursue academia.  
I’m only working towards my health- recovery. That word is loaded. 

 Recovery connotes something positive and desired, but it comes with a load of discomfort and struggle. I constantly cradle back and forth on a fulcrum. I voluntarily make a 3-hour-long feast for my parents’ dinner, forcing myself not to move around. I feel my veins pulling all over my body and though I know what it is, each and every time I fear for my life at the sensation and start to eat as if I would suddenly become weight-restored, only to feel full and immense regret thereafter. 

 She’s a mean girl, and I am too.

Mean Girl -

Pictured: A museum exhibit on Barbie, a quintessential feminine identity that fractures the female population, that I visited in Paris, April 2016.

I have never seen the movie, Mean Girls. I don’t want to either. I remember in high school, the vice principal - aptly named “vice” as opposed to virtue, had announced over the loudspeaker that a Burn Book was passing around, the vicious contents of which would not be tolerated. I caught a glimpse of the girl with ripped Abercrombie jeans and a tight crop top that somehow made it past school security’s roving eyes. She was smirking and looked at the other Eastern European girl in their clique. All that said, they were always nice to me and everyone else actually. The truth was, they were mean to each other. It was a vicious incestuous crowd. They were their own best friends and own worst enemies.The scenario was also too reminiscent of the phrase, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

In high school, we were not permitted to wear footwear without backs, or slip-ons. Skirts couldn’t be shorter than the length of our extended arms and fingertips when placed by our side. The consequences were dismal: demerits, detention, suspension - the list goes on. I attended a strict selective school where taking classical Hebrew, Latin, or Greek was mandatory and physical education was taught by a national black belt karate champion. Think Chilton from Gilmore Girls.

This past Sunday, I was down. My mental space was filled with negativity. I felt upset about the hurdles and roadblocks life had hurled at me, flung at me, giving my emaciated body a dose of whiplash that made my head spin and ears ring - literally. Although the ringing has lessened since I have remained home bound and eat more, circulation is still not up to par as it would be with one who isn’t so underweight and doesn’t have anorexia.

I was arguing with everyone at home and when we went outside, I had no desire to be around them, but knew that they were my only means of venturing into the sunlight. I was crying silently, sneaking a minute here and there to wail audibly in the parking lot of the shop they went in. It was like I was a chain smoker- addicted to that need to let it all out, alone, because who could understand? Addicted to that need to feel the air and the outside world; not to be shunned by car emitted, store and home controlled-air conditioning.

Addiction is unhealthy. You may be thinking that the addiction to enjoying natural elements and not burdening another human with my profound sadness by letting it all out, is healthy. These actions are certainly not destructive. But the idea of them being addictive, happening repeatedly, is negative.

I shouldn’t be forced to sneak in a minute outdoors. I should spend anytime I want outdoors, without having to check my watch or look over my shoulder, or ensure that I don’t purposely walk at a speed walker’s pace to burn off calories when I need to be consuming a good thousand more calories than I do to gain weight.

I shouldn’t be crying, feeling down, and grimacing at the unfairness of having an eating disorder that took away my life as my friends get engaged, married, move up the career ladder, become athletes, and travel.

I’m addicted, it seems, to believing that I am not deserving of anything.

How I wish to feel that sensation of coming home after a long day out, at work. I remember giving myself spa days at home. I remember allowing myself to watch television to unwind or a movie. I am in silence all day instead and my feet are bruised more than they ever had been when I was actively dancing for over 40 hours a week.

I’m addicted to projecting into others the self-care and self-love I want and do deserve despite not having an income and only focusing on my health.

This Sunday, I gifted to the person who was giving me hell from morning till dusk, even into the next day, and for many days before and after, a manicure and pedicure spa treatment. If there is one luxury I absolutely love and fully believe to be worth it, it is a pedicure. That soothing feeling of exfoliated legs, microbeads caressing ravaged pores and dry skin from shaving, bubbly warm water bouncing effervecently around my toes and jet streams of tepid waves molding around my foot beds, make me swoon.

Instead of allowing myself to experience that, I gave it to someone else, who I believe, didn’t deserve it. I went above and beyond, took the manicurist on the side and said to make sure to take care of her. I emptied the contents of my wallet for an upgraded mani-pedi with gel nail lacquer and a lemon peel. I asked myself why I did that, feeling a rush of jealousy and anger directed at myself. After some internal dialogues, i answered, “I projected what I wanted for myself onto someone else, because I am undeserving.”

I don’t deserve a pedicure. It’s not like I travel to and from home or that I am consumed by work. It’s not like I dance for hours or pursue academia.
I’m only working towards my health- recovery. That word is loaded.

Recovery connotes something positive and desired, but it comes with a load of discomfort and struggle. I constantly cradle back and forth on a fulcrum. I voluntarily make a 3-hour-long feast for my parents’ dinner, forcing myself not to move around. I feel my veins pulling all over my body and though I know what it is, each and every time I fear for my life at the sensation and start to eat as if I would suddenly become weight-restored, only to feel full and immense regret thereafter.

She’s a mean girl, and I am too.

CLXXIX. All in Good Taste -  

  *Pictured: One of Rei Kawakubo’s installation at The MET’s Costume Institute exhibition, Comme Des Garçons. 

 That moment: you glance at the upper right-hand corner of your iPhone and your eyebrows furrow. The battery life is dwindling down, and now you have to ration your use of it until a charger or an outlet becomes available. The battery isn’t so low, but you know you will use it up in no time. 

 And then it dawned on me: I find that amount of battery life to be too low and yet the number is higher than how much I weigh on the scale. 

 Scary times we live in - I live in, isn’t it? 

 I’m at odds for what to do. I’m seeing a fork in the road. I’m seeing twigs stemming from a single branch. I’m taking a double take. I need a second opinion. I am a Gemini.  

 My mind is flummoxed. I want to yell and scream at the world. Why did this happen to me? Why do people say that I did it to myself? 
I want to eat more, but every time I’m about to, something happens. I get a terrible cramp in my side, I’m uncomfortably constipated, or my darling mother wills herself to workout and not eat breakfast or lunch just to spite me and to feel better about herself for the discipline it took- a character trait that landed me here in eating disorder land. 

 I want to will myself into not being phased by her antics, but I can’t shake it off. I can’t shake off that memory of me wearing the black A-line scoop neck shirt with the striped net panel as the back that she decided to wear today. I cannot ignore the flashback of having worn the drapery shirt on more than one occasion. I was complimented whenever I wore it. I can’t shake off that memory of having gone to a local ethnic market in Philadelphia during college, bending ever so slightly to pull out money from my wallet and then catching the cashier attempt to score a glimpse of my delicate décolletage - It was ever since that moment that I had decided to give the coveted shirt to my mother. 

 Moments like those, when I attracted unwanted male attention, made me feel unsavory and vulgar, in no part due to anything I had done, but it didn’t feel that way. 

 What I would do to endure catcalls again than have to remain circling endlessly around my house, trying to stave off fullness and get in some movement. What I would do to not feel forced to wake up before dawn daily, just so I can squeeze in some time to move before I am monitored.  

 I used to think that the car was my refuge. It was my rocking chair that lulled me into a peaceful slumber. The truth is, my body is exhausted and sitting in a moving car forces me to stay still and gives me some much-needed respite. It was the same during college, when I was sleep-deprived for more valid reasons. Or rather, more socially acceptable reasons - to study, to dance, to earn a degree - body and mind, correct? 

 During those times I would fall asleep anywhere - on the couch in the living room when I came home and of course, whenever I was in the car. My parents would find it sweet to see their baby girl drift off into her dream world.  

 This is no longer the case. They reprimand my tendency to fall asleep in the car. I’m boring now, they say. I need to sleep “normally,” at home and in bed for at least 8 hours. Everything I do is considered abnormal now. 
I was always considered a hipster before the popularization of the word, or as my father says, “not part of the mainstream.” He seems to think that he should have put a stop to my uniqueness in how I approached everything from putting a vent underneath my laptop to prevent it from overheating, to scowling at men with wandering eyes and setting up rules like not stopping my run on the treadmill until the person next to me had finished first. 

 In some ways he had a point: I always created rules for myself, like some sort of disciplinary boot camp as way to achieve self-actualization, perfection, that would just make things more difficult for myself and less “happy.” As a child, I would give myself conditions, loops that I had to jump through, in order to get at something I wanted: Don’t step on any cracks when walking down the sidewalk, for example. It wasn’t a game. It was an obstacle course. 
You can imagine the frustration at skipping a beat and stepping on the lines during chalked up hopscotch. 

 I had to be as close to perfection as possible. I never would swear, as in curse. I was considered a “goody two shoes,” back in grade and middle school. Turns out my peers who I still keep in touch with really respected that trait. 

 Now I throw shit to the wind and swear “like a sailor.” Here’s to actually throwing shit to the wind - to eating more and reclaiming a metabolism, an appetite, and life.

CLXXIX. All in Good Taste -

*Pictured: One of Rei Kawakubo’s installation at The MET’s Costume Institute exhibition, Comme Des Garçons.

That moment: you glance at the upper right-hand corner of your iPhone and your eyebrows furrow. The battery life is dwindling down, and now you have to ration your use of it until a charger or an outlet becomes available. The battery isn’t so low, but you know you will use it up in no time.

And then it dawned on me: I find that amount of battery life to be too low and yet the number is higher than how much I weigh on the scale.

Scary times we live in - I live in, isn’t it?

I’m at odds for what to do. I’m seeing a fork in the road. I’m seeing twigs stemming from a single branch. I’m taking a double take. I need a second opinion. I am a Gemini.

My mind is flummoxed. I want to yell and scream at the world. Why did this happen to me? Why do people say that I did it to myself?
I want to eat more, but every time I’m about to, something happens. I get a terrible cramp in my side, I’m uncomfortably constipated, or my darling mother wills herself to workout and not eat breakfast or lunch just to spite me and to feel better about herself for the discipline it took- a character trait that landed me here in eating disorder land.

I want to will myself into not being phased by her antics, but I can’t shake it off. I can’t shake off that memory of me wearing the black A-line scoop neck shirt with the striped net panel as the back that she decided to wear today. I cannot ignore the flashback of having worn the drapery shirt on more than one occasion. I was complimented whenever I wore it. I can’t shake off that memory of having gone to a local ethnic market in Philadelphia during college, bending ever so slightly to pull out money from my wallet and then catching the cashier attempt to score a glimpse of my delicate décolletage - It was ever since that moment that I had decided to give the coveted shirt to my mother.

Moments like those, when I attracted unwanted male attention, made me feel unsavory and vulgar, in no part due to anything I had done, but it didn’t feel that way.

What I would do to endure catcalls again than have to remain circling endlessly around my house, trying to stave off fullness and get in some movement. What I would do to not feel forced to wake up before dawn daily, just so I can squeeze in some time to move before I am monitored.

I used to think that the car was my refuge. It was my rocking chair that lulled me into a peaceful slumber. The truth is, my body is exhausted and sitting in a moving car forces me to stay still and gives me some much-needed respite. It was the same during college, when I was sleep-deprived for more valid reasons. Or rather, more socially acceptable reasons - to study, to dance, to earn a degree - body and mind, correct?

During those times I would fall asleep anywhere - on the couch in the living room when I came home and of course, whenever I was in the car. My parents would find it sweet to see their baby girl drift off into her dream world.

This is no longer the case. They reprimand my tendency to fall asleep in the car. I’m boring now, they say. I need to sleep “normally,” at home and in bed for at least 8 hours. Everything I do is considered abnormal now.
I was always considered a hipster before the popularization of the word, or as my father says, “not part of the mainstream.” He seems to think that he should have put a stop to my uniqueness in how I approached everything from putting a vent underneath my laptop to prevent it from overheating, to scowling at men with wandering eyes and setting up rules like not stopping my run on the treadmill until the person next to me had finished first.

In some ways he had a point: I always created rules for myself, like some sort of disciplinary boot camp as way to achieve self-actualization, perfection, that would just make things more difficult for myself and less “happy.” As a child, I would give myself conditions, loops that I had to jump through, in order to get at something I wanted: Don’t step on any cracks when walking down the sidewalk, for example. It wasn’t a game. It was an obstacle course.
You can imagine the frustration at skipping a beat and stepping on the lines during chalked up hopscotch.

I had to be as close to perfection as possible. I never would swear, as in curse. I was considered a “goody two shoes,” back in grade and middle school. Turns out my peers who I still keep in touch with really respected that trait.

Now I throw shit to the wind and swear “like a sailor.” Here’s to actually throwing shit to the wind - to eating more and reclaiming a metabolism, an appetite, and life.

CLXXVIII. The Culinarian Writer and Journalist - 

 “It’s beautiful,” my father said looking down at the pasta bowl in front of him that was moderately filled with what I cooked that evening: An off-the-cuff kalamata olive-caper, diced tomato and basil bucatini dressed in olive oil and butter. I had volunteered to cook something as an addendum to the Italian marinade chicken skewers my father was grilling on the charcoal barbecue in the backyard. It was a pleasant day outside on Independence Day. 

 How poetically tragic that I am anything but independent, instead having only my parents to chauffeur me around.  
How poetically tragic it is that only they can bring me into the outside world, just as they did 27 years ago. I’m repeatedly being conceived; given chances to recover so long as my organs do not give out. And that is poetically beautiful. 

 On July 4, we did not go anywhere. We stayed at home, which for me is daily. My pent up frustration surfaced and I wailed my dismay at having to spend another day in the four walls of my house. I became nostalgic, grasping at shards of past times when my Independence allowed me to look forward to returning home, to sitting down and watching a long movie with my parents, to spending the summer day outside- bike riding, rollerblading, walking for miles under the sun.  

 To think I hated having to shave my legs for how much time it took and all those extra minutes spent inside when I could be outside. To think that I loved that I took the time out to care for my legs so that I could walk out in shorts and feel the warmth against my skin. I was conflicted then and suddenly it dawns on me that so much foreshadowed this anorexia diagnosis. 

 Even the horoscope I was born with, manifested somewhere in the Indian subcontinent, had stated that I would endure this illness at my birth. The key word being “endure.” Endure meaning that I will pull through this. “Pull” meaning that I actively open the door to my life instead of pushing it, exerting energy in resistance from the door’s force vector going against me. 

 What I would do to have that minor conflict of interest back, of wanting to be outdoors but having to delay the pleasure.  
I just purchased a new pair of shorts that were amazingly priced, of great quality fabric and print; it was the last pair of its kind in “my size,” a size 0, to fit this body now, on the off-chance that I’m outside long enough to warrant wearing shorts. Even the size 0 is slightly large, floating around my waist in such a docile manner so that it doesn’t look too bad but it has to be nipped and tucked just so to look any sort of good, meaning, not dressing something resembling a corpse. 

 There is a new conflict of interest now and it’s point of origin is in the kitchen. 

 I hate having to constantly mull over what I’m eating- the measuring and weighing of everything from sweet potatoes down to the hundredth of an ounce and the conversion into grams. I am annoyed by the time-sucking careful ladeling out of Tablespoons of nut butter and hummus, to the calorie counting of it all, especially when a ravenous animalistic quality rears its head and I go back into the nut butter jar and the hummus container for a little bit more. I can’t go on without the numbers. I want to escape from them. This is now when during a period of body positivity, new regulations require supermarkets and restaurants to list calories, as if that’s all that matters, whole foods versus processed edibles be damned. 

 I refuse any meal-support therapy because I don’t want the eating disorder to consume my life anymore than it already does. I count the hours till my next meal, and make sure to pack up my lunch immediately after consuming breakfast should running an errand “outside” - from car to shop - last until way past the 4 to 5-hour interval I try and keep between meals. 

 I relish my time in the kitchen. I love that I planned my lunch yesterday to a tee: 

 Pumpkin fig granola mixed into my high protein plain Icelandic yogurt with the dietiatian-mandated fruit. I chose strawberries, heated up, separated from their juice for a not too sweet-and-tart flavor that I then balanced out with a glob of thick salty -molasses-like in consistency - sprouted pumpkin seed butter.  

 I enjoy digging the spokes of a fork into the garnet flesh of a baked sweet potato balanced by the briny Mahi Mahi burger as my protein source and dollops of warm hummus for a calorie boost. 
I don’t enjoy thinking in macros and calories. I don’t enjoy eating when my body is slow to digest. 

 The truth is, I enjoy cooking, particularly for others. It’s a project, a task, a contribution - something larger than myself, with a deadline, something that is being looked forward to by others. In this scenario, as a culinarian, others are depending on me. 

 As a culinarian, I am honing my journalistic skill sets while homebound and in recovery. 

 I don’t just follow recipes, I research the recipe maker, I take care to create ingredients when I can, by hand, and sourced locally. I do more research - I gather second opinions, if you will - for similar recipes. I improv by smell and feel, adding more or less, or something altogether different. I pay attention to whether the top of a baked good has a matte or sheen finish. I look at portion sizes with a tendency to compensate for someone who may have been more active that day and may need more fuel. That is my eating disorder, I suppose a my attention to activity level and food. I photo-document the stages and the end product. 

 I haven’t written on this platform because I have not been stimulated while homebound. But I have been stimulated by cooking, going so far as to write up a profile of a paleo-cookbook writer for a magazine.  

 Here is my official launchpad into writing via cooking. Bon appetit.
CLXXVIII. The Culinarian Writer and Journalist -

“It’s beautiful,” my father said looking down at the pasta bowl in front of him that was moderately filled with what I cooked that evening: An off-the-cuff kalamata olive-caper, diced tomato and basil bucatini dressed in olive oil and butter. I had volunteered to cook something as an addendum to the Italian marinade chicken skewers my father was grilling on the charcoal barbecue in the backyard. It was a pleasant day outside on Independence Day.

How poetically tragic that I am anything but independent, instead having only my parents to chauffeur me around.
How poetically tragic it is that only they can bring me into the outside world, just as they did 27 years ago. I’m repeatedly being conceived; given chances to recover so long as my organs do not give out. And that is poetically beautiful.

On July 4, we did not go anywhere. We stayed at home, which for me is daily. My pent up frustration surfaced and I wailed my dismay at having to spend another day in the four walls of my house. I became nostalgic, grasping at shards of past times when my Independence allowed me to look forward to returning home, to sitting down and watching a long movie with my parents, to spending the summer day outside- bike riding, rollerblading, walking for miles under the sun.

To think I hated having to shave my legs for how much time it took and all those extra minutes spent inside when I could be outside. To think that I loved that I took the time out to care for my legs so that I could walk out in shorts and feel the warmth against my skin. I was conflicted then and suddenly it dawns on me that so much foreshadowed this anorexia diagnosis.

Even the horoscope I was born with, manifested somewhere in the Indian subcontinent, had stated that I would endure this illness at my birth. The key word being “endure.” Endure meaning that I will pull through this. “Pull” meaning that I actively open the door to my life instead of pushing it, exerting energy in resistance from the door’s force vector going against me.

What I would do to have that minor conflict of interest back, of wanting to be outdoors but having to delay the pleasure.
I just purchased a new pair of shorts that were amazingly priced, of great quality fabric and print; it was the last pair of its kind in “my size,” a size 0, to fit this body now, on the off-chance that I’m outside long enough to warrant wearing shorts. Even the size 0 is slightly large, floating around my waist in such a docile manner so that it doesn’t look too bad but it has to be nipped and tucked just so to look any sort of good, meaning, not dressing something resembling a corpse.

There is a new conflict of interest now and it’s point of origin is in the kitchen.

I hate having to constantly mull over what I’m eating- the measuring and weighing of everything from sweet potatoes down to the hundredth of an ounce and the conversion into grams. I am annoyed by the time-sucking careful ladeling out of Tablespoons of nut butter and hummus, to the calorie counting of it all, especially when a ravenous animalistic quality rears its head and I go back into the nut butter jar and the hummus container for a little bit more. I can’t go on without the numbers. I want to escape from them. This is now when during a period of body positivity, new regulations require supermarkets and restaurants to list calories, as if that’s all that matters, whole foods versus processed edibles be damned.

I refuse any meal-support therapy because I don’t want the eating disorder to consume my life anymore than it already does. I count the hours till my next meal, and make sure to pack up my lunch immediately after consuming breakfast should running an errand “outside” - from car to shop - last until way past the 4 to 5-hour interval I try and keep between meals.

I relish my time in the kitchen. I love that I planned my lunch yesterday to a tee:

Pumpkin fig granola mixed into my high protein plain Icelandic yogurt with the dietiatian-mandated fruit. I chose strawberries, heated up, separated from their juice for a not too sweet-and-tart flavor that I then balanced out with a glob of thick salty -molasses-like in consistency - sprouted pumpkin seed butter.

I enjoy digging the spokes of a fork into the garnet flesh of a baked sweet potato balanced by the briny Mahi Mahi burger as my protein source and dollops of warm hummus for a calorie boost.
I don’t enjoy thinking in macros and calories. I don’t enjoy eating when my body is slow to digest.

The truth is, I enjoy cooking, particularly for others. It’s a project, a task, a contribution - something larger than myself, with a deadline, something that is being looked forward to by others. In this scenario, as a culinarian, others are depending on me.

As a culinarian, I am honing my journalistic skill sets while homebound and in recovery.

I don’t just follow recipes, I research the recipe maker, I take care to create ingredients when I can, by hand, and sourced locally. I do more research - I gather second opinions, if you will - for similar recipes. I improv by smell and feel, adding more or less, or something altogether different. I pay attention to whether the top of a baked good has a matte or sheen finish. I look at portion sizes with a tendency to compensate for someone who may have been more active that day and may need more fuel. That is my eating disorder, I suppose a my attention to activity level and food. I photo-document the stages and the end product.

I haven’t written on this platform because I have not been stimulated while homebound. But I have been stimulated by cooking, going so far as to write up a profile of a paleo-cookbook writer for a magazine.

Here is my official launchpad into writing via cooking. Bon appetit.

CLXXVII. Hold The Phone: 

  A constant piercing ring that I have become accustomed to but is nonetheless annoying pulsates my ear drum. It is a high-pitched assault on my constantly running stream of thoughts.  

 I considered asking my brother, a surgeon, who could not pinpoint a reason behind the ringing the first time I had heard it. It had come and go and a simple web search confirmed it to be a harmless commonality that affects a sizable population. 

 But I have also been experiencing other symptoms that are alarmingly (no pun intended) similar to the ones I had been feeling 2 years ago before my parents had to take me to the emergency room at 2 am before my 25th birthday. My chest felt heavy, my veins seemed to be constricting, my breathing felt shallow, a tingling sensation raced throughout my body. 
Oh no. No, this can’t be- but it can. I - 

 I stopped writing this a week ago, today. I had scared myself and couldn’t continue without experiencing extreme unease. I pick up today because the tip of my right index finger is no longer depleted of blood and void of any color except a tinge of yellow.  
My knees are no longer buckling. 
My skin doesn’t feel as though it is stretched tightly across my face. In fact, creases are disappearing and making way for cheeks floating up the surface of my face.  
My hair is growing. 
Open wounds from unknown sources are closed now and are slowly healing.  

 I do, however, continue to experience a strained walking experience such that my hips jut out a little too much for comfort. Although my blood work came out “normal,” I find myself feeling slightly light-headed at times, off kilter. My head feels heavy and light, all at once for periods of time. 

 Just yesterday, I had this feeling. 

 I have picked up this post again. Update: I fell forward about 6 inches from the top of my house’s’ curved staircase such that my face made full impact with the top step’s edge. I was in shock. A deep red liquid came flooding out through my nostrils. My father called my name upon hearing a large thud, came running, screaming and crying, cursing himself for not coming upstairs earlier as he had planned. 

 My knobby knees were folded underneath me. I had no pants on, revealing my stick-thin spindly legs. A pool of blood formed around me that camouflaged all too well with our maple hardwood floors. My glasses were strewn about and I started screaming. My senses had escaped me and I headed to the Emergency Room. 

 After a vitals check, medical history roundup, catscan, an IV insertion, and a Tetanus shot, I unleashed a bloodcurdling scream while the reconstructive surgeon worked on my nose.  

 This surgeon who also has a daughter who attended the University of Pennsylvania with me, a year my junior, had placed a stint on my nose with the adhesive power of a Biore pore removal strip. He lodged bloody gauze  up both nostrils and I was sent home with medications recalibrated for my low weight. 

 I lost so much blood that I feared the worse - a blood transfusion in sight, again, almost 2 years to the day: to my birthday.  
I returned home, head pounding, heart racing,  breathing labored.  

 The next day I was caught working out and all hell broke loose. What is wrong with me? I’m dying, and yet I cannot fathom not working out. 

 The day after, with ultimatums set and fear high, I looked under my left foot- yellow. Shit. I cannot end up in a hospital. Not again. I can’t stay unemployed, homebound, depressed, any longer, watching my life wither away. 

 I ran a web search regarding my yellowing feet that were also so flat it felt difficult to walk. Yellowing feet go hand-in-hand with high liver enzyme levels, which I have: A characteristic of severe anorexia, longer hospitalization, necessary and immediate medical intervention, and an indication of multi organ failure. 

 So, I phone home. I look to old albums and see a dancer, a girl, and adolescent, a budding woman. All I see now is death - an oblong shaped face, too large forehead, markedly dark circles circling my freshly-fractured broken and bruised nose. 

 And I see supermodel, Gigi Hadid, “phone home” as well in Harper Bazaar’s June/July Anniversary issue ; Her cover story editorial spread was shot in Kennedy Space Center. Her arms are full, cylindrical as opposed to carved, and her thighs are curved not cut. 

 Hold the phone. 

 I press the tip of my right index finger onto my earlobes and hear a faint ringing in both ears. Wake Up is calling me, and I am holding the phone. The call hasn’t dropped and I haven’t hung it up.

CLXXVII. Hold The Phone:

A constant piercing ring that I have become accustomed to but is nonetheless annoying pulsates my ear drum. It is a high-pitched assault on my constantly running stream of thoughts.

I considered asking my brother, a surgeon, who could not pinpoint a reason behind the ringing the first time I had heard it. It had come and go and a simple web search confirmed it to be a harmless commonality that affects a sizable population.

But I have also been experiencing other symptoms that are alarmingly (no pun intended) similar to the ones I had been feeling 2 years ago before my parents had to take me to the emergency room at 2 am before my 25th birthday. My chest felt heavy, my veins seemed to be constricting, my breathing felt shallow, a tingling sensation raced throughout my body.
Oh no. No, this can’t be- but it can. I -

I stopped writing this a week ago, today. I had scared myself and couldn’t continue without experiencing extreme unease. I pick up today because the tip of my right index finger is no longer depleted of blood and void of any color except a tinge of yellow.
My knees are no longer buckling.
My skin doesn’t feel as though it is stretched tightly across my face. In fact, creases are disappearing and making way for cheeks floating up the surface of my face.
My hair is growing.
Open wounds from unknown sources are closed now and are slowly healing.

I do, however, continue to experience a strained walking experience such that my hips jut out a little too much for comfort. Although my blood work came out “normal,” I find myself feeling slightly light-headed at times, off kilter. My head feels heavy and light, all at once for periods of time.

Just yesterday, I had this feeling.

I have picked up this post again. Update: I fell forward about 6 inches from the top of my house’s’ curved staircase such that my face made full impact with the top step’s edge. I was in shock. A deep red liquid came flooding out through my nostrils. My father called my name upon hearing a large thud, came running, screaming and crying, cursing himself for not coming upstairs earlier as he had planned.

My knobby knees were folded underneath me. I had no pants on, revealing my stick-thin spindly legs. A pool of blood formed around me that camouflaged all too well with our maple hardwood floors. My glasses were strewn about and I started screaming. My senses had escaped me and I headed to the Emergency Room.

After a vitals check, medical history roundup, catscan, an IV insertion, and a Tetanus shot, I unleashed a bloodcurdling scream while the reconstructive surgeon worked on my nose.

This surgeon who also has a daughter who attended the University of Pennsylvania with me, a year my junior, had placed a stint on my nose with the adhesive power of a Biore pore removal strip. He lodged bloody gauze up both nostrils and I was sent home with medications recalibrated for my low weight.

I lost so much blood that I feared the worse - a blood transfusion in sight, again, almost 2 years to the day: to my birthday.
I returned home, head pounding, heart racing, breathing labored.

The next day I was caught working out and all hell broke loose. What is wrong with me? I’m dying, and yet I cannot fathom not working out.

The day after, with ultimatums set and fear high, I looked under my left foot- yellow. Shit. I cannot end up in a hospital. Not again. I can’t stay unemployed, homebound, depressed, any longer, watching my life wither away.

I ran a web search regarding my yellowing feet that were also so flat it felt difficult to walk. Yellowing feet go hand-in-hand with high liver enzyme levels, which I have: A characteristic of severe anorexia, longer hospitalization, necessary and immediate medical intervention, and an indication of multi organ failure.

So, I phone home. I look to old albums and see a dancer, a girl, and adolescent, a budding woman. All I see now is death - an oblong shaped face, too large forehead, markedly dark circles circling my freshly-fractured broken and bruised nose.

And I see supermodel, Gigi Hadid, “phone home” as well in Harper Bazaar’s June/July Anniversary issue ; Her cover story editorial spread was shot in Kennedy Space Center. Her arms are full, cylindrical as opposed to carved, and her thighs are curved not cut.

Hold the phone.

I press the tip of my right index finger onto my earlobes and hear a faint ringing in both ears. Wake Up is calling me, and I am holding the phone. The call hasn’t dropped and I haven’t hung it up.

CLXXVI. Saving My Daylights - 

 “Your groceries scream summer,” I told the lady who let me skip ahead of her on line as I held on tightly to my almost 10 pounds of watermelon for tonight’s consumption.  

 On the conveyor belt were burger patties, sauerkraut, shredded lettuce, strawberries, cheese, a pre-made mayonnaise-based salad, burger buns, and to my dismay, a loaf of Wonder Bread. 

 It was Sunday afternoon and she had plans to clean out her garage and barbecue. 

 It is now late afternoon, almost evening, and the sun is shining brightly. The clouds are interspersed. The sky is a pale blue. Two blonde young women almost run me over while riding their bicycles.  

 There is a gentle breeze that possesses an underlying warmth. It feels pleasant if not slightly unpleasant as my silky almost going on 2-day washed hair periodically blocks my vision.  

 In the air is an underlying chill that is laced with the aromas of barbecue and supper cooking. It is April 2nd and suddenly yesterday’s rain, wind, and chill factor that was exacerbated by cloud coverage, seems like one big cosmic April Fool’s prank. 

 It’s Spring after all. I’m wearing fleece sweatpants, a light-knit scarf that I just remembered having literally purchased from the bazaars of Istanbul some years ago. 
On my head, covering my ears and successfully keeping my long ringlets at bay, is a slouchy, lightly woven navy blue beanie with a preppy University Of Pennsylvania patch stitched on the front that was purchased just yesterday. It pairs perfectly with my hooded wool button-down shearling-lined navy blue coat. I am tickled blue. 

 Summer, my favorite season, is forthcoming. I can feel it’s eminent presence and yet it’s hopeful distance as I continue to race against the clock to become healthy enough to enjoy it. 

 I have lost track of time and so I rush home, formulating reasons for why I was out (not) walking the entire time. I pass by a Muscle Maker Grill, ironically as I deplete my muscles in the process, and a Texas Roadhouse. The smells wafting from 6 two-way car lanes over are strong, as suspected, for dinner service. My lackluster appetite remains stagnant except for a longing for the black bean soup I purchased for my own dinner in a little over an hour from now. 

 I wanted to take the thinking out of the food equation tonight after yesterday’s laborious preoccupation with calories, carbs, proteins, and lack of motility on a long road trip from Hell.  

 The smells blend in well with the seasonality and extended daylight that I have still not yet come accustomed to. Only a few weeks have passed since Daylight Savings.  

 I inhale deeply, simultaneously pining and revolted. I remember all those barbecues from my childhood; my dad’s fiery orange tandoori rubbed chicken legs, his onion mint chutney with the eternal aftertaste made from our homegrown mint leaves. I remember my mom’s boiled potatoes to be tossed with seasonings and crunchy fritters in a sweet and tangy sauce mellowed out by thinned down and cooling yogurt. I remember the fruit shakes she made that I begged for to be thick and slushy. I remember the pasta she boiled, the starchy steam doing well to make the high temperatures rise even more. I remember my June birthdays and all the neighborhood children flocking for hot dogs my parents decided to buy just for this case scenario. 

 I remember hating the clean-up, and then dozing off into a stomach and memory-filled sleep. 

 Those days are gone, long gone, but it is now a rainy Tuesday morning, April 4th, and I feel at peace knowing that these days are gone. I am ok with it. I had always wanted to move on in the past and I have. 

 Of course, I could have never known that I would develop a life-threatening case of anorexia or that I would enter journalism, the profession that I truly always wanted deep down behind the obsession with medicine. I never knew that I would be jobless a year and a half out of graduate school with my 2nd Ivy League degree. 

 All that said, I will come out better for it. I truly believe that, so long as I do in fact come out of this. I have to come out of this. I will come out of this.
CLXXVI. Saving My Daylights -

“Your groceries scream summer,” I told the lady who let me skip ahead of her on line as I held on tightly to my almost 10 pounds of watermelon for tonight’s consumption.

On the conveyor belt were burger patties, sauerkraut, shredded lettuce, strawberries, cheese, a pre-made mayonnaise-based salad, burger buns, and to my dismay, a loaf of Wonder Bread.

It was Sunday afternoon and she had plans to clean out her garage and barbecue.

It is now late afternoon, almost evening, and the sun is shining brightly. The clouds are interspersed. The sky is a pale blue. Two blonde young women almost run me over while riding their bicycles.

There is a gentle breeze that possesses an underlying warmth. It feels pleasant if not slightly unpleasant as my silky almost going on 2-day washed hair periodically blocks my vision.

In the air is an underlying chill that is laced with the aromas of barbecue and supper cooking. It is April 2nd and suddenly yesterday’s rain, wind, and chill factor that was exacerbated by cloud coverage, seems like one big cosmic April Fool’s prank.

It’s Spring after all. I’m wearing fleece sweatpants, a light-knit scarf that I just remembered having literally purchased from the bazaars of Istanbul some years ago.
On my head, covering my ears and successfully keeping my long ringlets at bay, is a slouchy, lightly woven navy blue beanie with a preppy University Of Pennsylvania patch stitched on the front that was purchased just yesterday. It pairs perfectly with my hooded wool button-down shearling-lined navy blue coat. I am tickled blue.

Summer, my favorite season, is forthcoming. I can feel it’s eminent presence and yet it’s hopeful distance as I continue to race against the clock to become healthy enough to enjoy it.

I have lost track of time and so I rush home, formulating reasons for why I was out (not) walking the entire time. I pass by a Muscle Maker Grill, ironically as I deplete my muscles in the process, and a Texas Roadhouse. The smells wafting from 6 two-way car lanes over are strong, as suspected, for dinner service. My lackluster appetite remains stagnant except for a longing for the black bean soup I purchased for my own dinner in a little over an hour from now.

I wanted to take the thinking out of the food equation tonight after yesterday’s laborious preoccupation with calories, carbs, proteins, and lack of motility on a long road trip from Hell.

The smells blend in well with the seasonality and extended daylight that I have still not yet come accustomed to. Only a few weeks have passed since Daylight Savings.

I inhale deeply, simultaneously pining and revolted. I remember all those barbecues from my childhood; my dad’s fiery orange tandoori rubbed chicken legs, his onion mint chutney with the eternal aftertaste made from our homegrown mint leaves. I remember my mom’s boiled potatoes to be tossed with seasonings and crunchy fritters in a sweet and tangy sauce mellowed out by thinned down and cooling yogurt. I remember the fruit shakes she made that I begged for to be thick and slushy. I remember the pasta she boiled, the starchy steam doing well to make the high temperatures rise even more. I remember my June birthdays and all the neighborhood children flocking for hot dogs my parents decided to buy just for this case scenario.

I remember hating the clean-up, and then dozing off into a stomach and memory-filled sleep.

Those days are gone, long gone, but it is now a rainy Tuesday morning, April 4th, and I feel at peace knowing that these days are gone. I am ok with it. I had always wanted to move on in the past and I have.

Of course, I could have never known that I would develop a life-threatening case of anorexia or that I would enter journalism, the profession that I truly always wanted deep down behind the obsession with medicine. I never knew that I would be jobless a year and a half out of graduate school with my 2nd Ivy League degree.

All that said, I will come out better for it. I truly believe that, so long as I do in fact come out of this. I have to come out of this. I will come out of this.

CLXXV. I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Feeling Red, White, and Blue - 

 I certainly don’t feel like I’m 22, a month after graduating from college with the world laid out in front of me holding so much promise and yet, so much foreboding. 

 At 26, I crept out of my house, cold to the bone, as soon as my parents took off at 12:45 pm on the dot. I had to be back by 2:45 pm to eat lunch as per my schedule. Yes, perhaps the coldness was amplified due to not having showered, setting aside that down time for later when I didn’t have the house to myself and couldn’t part take in forbidden activities, like walking. I made sure to prepare myself to enter the cloudy world of winter. I packed on sweater leggings underneath fleece college sweatpants. I had on a pajama shirt - my dance team’s annual show shirt - underneath a University fleece crew neck sweatshirt. I had on my wool shelled, hooded shearling navy blue coat. I let my long hair hang on both sides of my face and entangled the silky locks into the threadbare plaid scarf my parents gifted me during my first month in college almost 5 years ago. Atop my head was a ribbed knitted Michael Kors beanie in forest green.  

 I had lost my Suede-fur UGG gloves - the only pair of gloves that kept my fingers from frostbite - but luckily my mom’s pair was lying around so I scooped them up to put on immediately after I locked the door from outside. 

 Earbuds in, despite not listening to any music and already having heard my downloaded podcasts, I just wanted to remain as handsfree as possible so that should a call come, I wouldn’t have to freeze my hands holding my overused, oversized, IPhone 6 Plus to my face. 

 I took off and observed my surroundings. The sky was completely overcast. Cars were trailing in and out of Church parking lots. It is Sunday, after all. It is also Super Bowl Sunday, and devotees of both a divine presence and heroic football players alike clogged up the main arteries of the neighboring Long Island villages and towns. 

 I enjoyed seeing the movement from a world larger than my own, but one that I also shared, one that I too inhabited. I walked in an effort to mimic cross-county training or a treadmill inclined walk, I strove to step on and off hilly terrain. I think the approaching couple thought I was trying to avoid them. I wasn’t and looked the older man in the eye, surprised that someone other than myself had initiated the “hi” with a smile, which I graciously returned. It was just enough interaction to keep my social animalistic instinct satiated. 

 I walked on. I smelled oil, chicken, and potato skins wafting from houses. I walked on and smelled freshly laundered linens. I walked on and saw cars lining up to enter and exit drive-thrus: the CVS pharmacy, the car wash, Burger King, the bank. 

 I walked on and passed by a bakery with Valentines Day decorations on the window front: pinks and red colored hearts. I saw Indians dressed in traditional garb enter a Persian restaurant, feeling a closeness to a culture and cuisine familiar to their own.  

 I encountered two brownies and their mothers hawking passersby to purchase Girl Scout cookies. My instinct was to avoid eye contact and dodge any verbal offer, but I was ambushed with a freezing cold momma bear. I smiled, said “No, thank you,” and then added, “but I was a Girl Scout too. Good luck!” We smiled.  

 I made my way against the wind and my energy was renewed. The sun started to peek through and I was warming up. If I didn’t have to eat - God knows I was not and still am not hungry - I could have walked on forever. I decided to turn around and entered the Stop & Shop on the way home. Lacking an appetite and sick of food in general, I was curious to see if people were flocking the grocery stores for last minute football food. Sure enough, the lines were lengthy. The deli counter looked as if Brooklyn brownstones were being auctioned off for mere dollars. A man was carrying a veggies-dip tray in one hand and a plastic container of ready-made chicken wings in another. I passed by the hummus aisle to see it less stocked than usual.  

 The crowd could have been part Super Bowl, part regular job- and school-going Americans who were simply prepping and stocking up before the work week resumes. 

 I felt so at home, in this place, this nation, because it is my home. I was born and raised here.  

 I am American and I am proud to be American. There is nowhere else I would rather be.  

 Yet I am unhappy. I want to be employed, to write, to report, to interview- I have so many ideas. I want to be wanted, just like all those universities had wanted me.  

 I want for good health, just like I used to have when blood tests weren’t prefaced by anxiety about whether or not the extraction of the blood would be an easy one or a struggle. 

 In some ways, I want my youth to return. I want to daydream again. I want to believe that hard work does pay off and that I will be successful. I want to remember how much I treasured and took care of my mind. I held my brainpower on a pedestal and honed my artistic creativity with the belief that these treasures would be appreciated and lucrative, as well as helpful to my community. 

 I was a Girl Scout, president of my high school’s community service honor society. Participated, ironically enough, in countless number of walks for different causes. I played piano and dabbled in violin, saxophone, and chorus. I traveled on subway cars and buses for unpaid internships. 

 I’m not owed anything, but I deserve something - a chance. 

 And as American as I am, I cannot for the life of me understand how this is the land of opportunity, the land where dreams come true, because all I see are my dreams crashing and burning. And it burns. Low white blood cell count or not, it burns, but they’re slowly healing, save for the marks, that according to my mother, look like “cigarette butts were rubbed in.” And that burns too, if only just a biting sting.
CLXXV. I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Feeling Red, White, and Blue -

I certainly don’t feel like I’m 22, a month after graduating from college with the world laid out in front of me holding so much promise and yet, so much foreboding.

At 26, I crept out of my house, cold to the bone, as soon as my parents took off at 12:45 pm on the dot. I had to be back by 2:45 pm to eat lunch as per my schedule. Yes, perhaps the coldness was amplified due to not having showered, setting aside that down time for later when I didn’t have the house to myself and couldn’t part take in forbidden activities, like walking. I made sure to prepare myself to enter the cloudy world of winter. I packed on sweater leggings underneath fleece college sweatpants. I had on a pajama shirt - my dance team’s annual show shirt - underneath a University fleece crew neck sweatshirt. I had on my wool shelled, hooded shearling navy blue coat. I let my long hair hang on both sides of my face and entangled the silky locks into the threadbare plaid scarf my parents gifted me during my first month in college almost 5 years ago. Atop my head was a ribbed knitted Michael Kors beanie in forest green.

I had lost my Suede-fur UGG gloves - the only pair of gloves that kept my fingers from frostbite - but luckily my mom’s pair was lying around so I scooped them up to put on immediately after I locked the door from outside.

Earbuds in, despite not listening to any music and already having heard my downloaded podcasts, I just wanted to remain as handsfree as possible so that should a call come, I wouldn’t have to freeze my hands holding my overused, oversized, IPhone 6 Plus to my face.

I took off and observed my surroundings. The sky was completely overcast. Cars were trailing in and out of Church parking lots. It is Sunday, after all. It is also Super Bowl Sunday, and devotees of both a divine presence and heroic football players alike clogged up the main arteries of the neighboring Long Island villages and towns.

I enjoyed seeing the movement from a world larger than my own, but one that I also shared, one that I too inhabited. I walked in an effort to mimic cross-county training or a treadmill inclined walk, I strove to step on and off hilly terrain. I think the approaching couple thought I was trying to avoid them. I wasn’t and looked the older man in the eye, surprised that someone other than myself had initiated the “hi” with a smile, which I graciously returned. It was just enough interaction to keep my social animalistic instinct satiated.

I walked on. I smelled oil, chicken, and potato skins wafting from houses. I walked on and smelled freshly laundered linens. I walked on and saw cars lining up to enter and exit drive-thrus: the CVS pharmacy, the car wash, Burger King, the bank.

I walked on and passed by a bakery with Valentines Day decorations on the window front: pinks and red colored hearts. I saw Indians dressed in traditional garb enter a Persian restaurant, feeling a closeness to a culture and cuisine familiar to their own.

I encountered two brownies and their mothers hawking passersby to purchase Girl Scout cookies. My instinct was to avoid eye contact and dodge any verbal offer, but I was ambushed with a freezing cold momma bear. I smiled, said “No, thank you,” and then added, “but I was a Girl Scout too. Good luck!” We smiled.

I made my way against the wind and my energy was renewed. The sun started to peek through and I was warming up. If I didn’t have to eat - God knows I was not and still am not hungry - I could have walked on forever. I decided to turn around and entered the Stop & Shop on the way home. Lacking an appetite and sick of food in general, I was curious to see if people were flocking the grocery stores for last minute football food. Sure enough, the lines were lengthy. The deli counter looked as if Brooklyn brownstones were being auctioned off for mere dollars. A man was carrying a veggies-dip tray in one hand and a plastic container of ready-made chicken wings in another. I passed by the hummus aisle to see it less stocked than usual.

The crowd could have been part Super Bowl, part regular job- and school-going Americans who were simply prepping and stocking up before the work week resumes.

I felt so at home, in this place, this nation, because it is my home. I was born and raised here.

I am American and I am proud to be American. There is nowhere else I would rather be.

Yet I am unhappy. I want to be employed, to write, to report, to interview- I have so many ideas. I want to be wanted, just like all those universities had wanted me.

I want for good health, just like I used to have when blood tests weren’t prefaced by anxiety about whether or not the extraction of the blood would be an easy one or a struggle.

In some ways, I want my youth to return. I want to daydream again. I want to believe that hard work does pay off and that I will be successful. I want to remember how much I treasured and took care of my mind. I held my brainpower on a pedestal and honed my artistic creativity with the belief that these treasures would be appreciated and lucrative, as well as helpful to my community.

I was a Girl Scout, president of my high school’s community service honor society. Participated, ironically enough, in countless number of walks for different causes. I played piano and dabbled in violin, saxophone, and chorus. I traveled on subway cars and buses for unpaid internships.

I’m not owed anything, but I deserve something - a chance.

And as American as I am, I cannot for the life of me understand how this is the land of opportunity, the land where dreams come true, because all I see are my dreams crashing and burning. And it burns. Low white blood cell count or not, it burns, but they’re slowly healing, save for the marks, that according to my mother, look like “cigarette butts were rubbed in.” And that burns too, if only just a biting sting.

CLXXXIV. You’re Full Of It - 

  *Pic: A somewhat full or rather empty jar of live probiotics. Yes, it does taste good. 

 Fullness is a symmetrical concept. There are two sides to feeling full: positive and negative. As a sidebar, I just deleted the content following the colon because I thought it more prudent to have “negative” precede “positive” as a nod to alphabetical logic. Then I thought, what made me type it out as I originally did? Do I subconsciously associate fullness with feelings of positivity?  

 That pans out nicely then because I want to explore all the reasons why it is not only ok to be full, but that it is only beneficial to sit with fullness. 

 Fullness: fulfilling, fully- (wholeheartedly). 
The derivatives of fullness include possession and pursuing something with everything you have, another possessive reference. When we’re full, we’re not lacking. We have material things which we can call our own. We have energy to carry out tasks with eagerness and abandon. 

 To be fulfilled then, is not synonymous with accepting the status quo. Instead, it is equivalent to having enough fuel to keep pushing forward. One who is fulfilled occupies a temporary state of being, burning off that fuel in the process of seeking out the ever changing ebb and flow that is fulfillment. 

 I, however, have always perceived feeling full as a stagnant phase, a peak in the bell curve of life, and a stage of being settled, of being satisfied. I thought fullness was a sign of mediocrity and laziness, when instead fulfillment is a milestone leading up to a peak that can go as high as you choose before it makes its way back down just as mortality is to gravity. 

 Fullness is temporary, yes, but it symbolizes something achieved, something possessed. It is a phase of being, the pinnacle of presence, such that you can sit with fullness and enjoy the fruits of labor: be it attaining a seat of admission at a prestigious institution, landing that job, or having food to sustain yourself.  

 When we associate food as a fruit of labor, oddly enough, we say “bread and butter.” Well, both fruit and bread are carbs- a macronutrient I have come to find cringeworthy, associating it with fat deposits. When I took my premedical courses, however, I only ever associated carbs with energy, necessary for cell function and the building block of the human corporeal form. In fact, I still remember giggling when actor Scott Peterson as “Luke” in Gilmore Girls replied to a bunch of lawyers who asked him if Lorelei Gilmore was his lawyer, “No, she’s carbon-based.” In other words, lawyers weren’t human - they neither emoted nor dabbled in straight talk, instead manipulating realities in an effort to reach a pre-determined goal. 

 Fulfillment is to achieve goals, yes, but goals hat aren’t laid out for us. They form as a result of our living, our experiences.  

 Now let’s turn to eating. We eat until we feel full and sometimes past fullness because to feel full is to feel euphoric, so we may go overboard at times in an effort to exacerbate that feeling. We eat until fullness so that we can move on with our day without ruminating over food. We eat to fullness in order to stave off hunger, essentially starvation mode. And so we eat until we’re full in order to remain alive. 

 In that way, being full is to be alive.  

 I don’t have a death wish, but I have an issue with feeling full. I cannot sit with fullness. I cannot stand not to stave off that feeling of an enlarged stomach - the organ - and the belly - the physical bloating. I know he stomach wall is elastic for a reason, as is our skin, in order to stretch and accommodate the adequate amount of food our body needs. Hell, even a woman’s birth canal and cervix can stretch to accommodate a human body to exit and make its entrance into the world. Yet I fear that if I am full, I will not enjoy my next meal.  

 I remember visiting college immediately after being diagnosed with anorexia. One of my closest male friends mentioned that he was full. He said that he had heard somewhere that it’s good to take a walk after eating. I immediately quipped in saying that that wasn’t healthy. I think only part of me believed that. Now, I believe it but I don’t apply it to my own life. I walk Post-meal if I can help it.  

 “Why can’t you sit after eating,” my grandmother asked me. I looked into her eyes, silent, without an answer.  

 I observe people around me sitting after they eat. I admire their ability to be present- enjoying a television show or participating in a conversation, and I am befuddled as to how they can do that so comfortably. I wonder why I am so uncomfortable with the concept of not moving after eating. Why can I not trust my digestive system to break down that fullness in time for my next meal? It’s as if my body fears it will be starved again. 

 Maybe feeling full is a good thing because it allows us to edit out what we do not have room for. It is allows us to declutter our life. Fullness is the Mari Kondo of 2017. 

 The negative then rears its ugly head. Recovering, I need to edit but not cut out any food. Instead, I must add continuously and that is also why fullness as something positive is so illogical for me. I cannot trust my body - not yet. I don’t have reliable hunger and fullness cues. 

 I enjoy volume-eating. I like my 9 pounds of watermelon and my whole squash but apparently, these low-caloric foods feign fullness at a much lower number than other less bulky foods. That’s why eating healthfully, real and unprocessed foods is so gratifying and satisfying, but for me, gratification and satisfaction from eating cannot surface until I begin to gain weight. 

 So if feeling full of food is negative right now, I can choose to see the positive of feeling full. For one, my metabolism will repair and thrive because my body will not have to fear a lack of food in the future.  
I can also sit with the food, trust that it will digest without conscious effort - motility. I can be present after eating and enjoy what is around me. I have fuel to go where I have to. 

 I used to be that person who enjoyed eating the roasted garlic naan and charred red onions garnishing those Tandoor - clay-oven cooked Indian dishes. I used to indulge in my order of six garlic knots. I loved the concept of an after-taste to my parents’ dismay. I never enjoyed mints- they still give me headaches - and I never enjoyed risking the washing away of spices that mingled on my tongue Post-meal with a beverage. I loved having that fullness sit with me, lingering on my tastebuds. 

 Now I have an extremely low tolerance for flavors that stray away from the natural taste of food. Should I have an aftertaste, I immediately brush my teeth, a minimum of three times daily. Once in the morning, once after dinner, prior to my watermelon and snacking, and once before bed. I don’t like that remnant of fullness to stray and seep into my next meal. 

 I am pushing fulfillment - pushing its motility to my liking instead of letting it pass. But it’s worth remembering that with time, everything comes to pass, and “in stubborn mindedness, one is ruined at last.”

CLXXXIV. You’re Full Of It -

*Pic: A somewhat full or rather empty jar of live probiotics. Yes, it does taste good.

Fullness is a symmetrical concept. There are two sides to feeling full: positive and negative. As a sidebar, I just deleted the content following the colon because I thought it more prudent to have “negative” precede “positive” as a nod to alphabetical logic. Then I thought, what made me type it out as I originally did? Do I subconsciously associate fullness with feelings of positivity?

That pans out nicely then because I want to explore all the reasons why it is not only ok to be full, but that it is only beneficial to sit with fullness.

Fullness: fulfilling, fully- (wholeheartedly).
The derivatives of fullness include possession and pursuing something with everything you have, another possessive reference. When we’re full, we’re not lacking. We have material things which we can call our own. We have energy to carry out tasks with eagerness and abandon.

To be fulfilled then, is not synonymous with accepting the status quo. Instead, it is equivalent to having enough fuel to keep pushing forward. One who is fulfilled occupies a temporary state of being, burning off that fuel in the process of seeking out the ever changing ebb and flow that is fulfillment.

I, however, have always perceived feeling full as a stagnant phase, a peak in the bell curve of life, and a stage of being settled, of being satisfied. I thought fullness was a sign of mediocrity and laziness, when instead fulfillment is a milestone leading up to a peak that can go as high as you choose before it makes its way back down just as mortality is to gravity.

Fullness is temporary, yes, but it symbolizes something achieved, something possessed. It is a phase of being, the pinnacle of presence, such that you can sit with fullness and enjoy the fruits of labor: be it attaining a seat of admission at a prestigious institution, landing that job, or having food to sustain yourself.

When we associate food as a fruit of labor, oddly enough, we say “bread and butter.” Well, both fruit and bread are carbs- a macronutrient I have come to find cringeworthy, associating it with fat deposits. When I took my premedical courses, however, I only ever associated carbs with energy, necessary for cell function and the building block of the human corporeal form. In fact, I still remember giggling when actor Scott Peterson as “Luke” in Gilmore Girls replied to a bunch of lawyers who asked him if Lorelei Gilmore was his lawyer, “No, she’s carbon-based.” In other words, lawyers weren’t human - they neither emoted nor dabbled in straight talk, instead manipulating realities in an effort to reach a pre-determined goal.

Fulfillment is to achieve goals, yes, but goals hat aren’t laid out for us. They form as a result of our living, our experiences.

Now let’s turn to eating. We eat until we feel full and sometimes past fullness because to feel full is to feel euphoric, so we may go overboard at times in an effort to exacerbate that feeling. We eat until fullness so that we can move on with our day without ruminating over food. We eat to fullness in order to stave off hunger, essentially starvation mode. And so we eat until we’re full in order to remain alive.

In that way, being full is to be alive.

I don’t have a death wish, but I have an issue with feeling full. I cannot sit with fullness. I cannot stand not to stave off that feeling of an enlarged stomach - the organ - and the belly - the physical bloating. I know he stomach wall is elastic for a reason, as is our skin, in order to stretch and accommodate the adequate amount of food our body needs. Hell, even a woman’s birth canal and cervix can stretch to accommodate a human body to exit and make its entrance into the world. Yet I fear that if I am full, I will not enjoy my next meal.

I remember visiting college immediately after being diagnosed with anorexia. One of my closest male friends mentioned that he was full. He said that he had heard somewhere that it’s good to take a walk after eating. I immediately quipped in saying that that wasn’t healthy. I think only part of me believed that. Now, I believe it but I don’t apply it to my own life. I walk Post-meal if I can help it.

“Why can’t you sit after eating,” my grandmother asked me. I looked into her eyes, silent, without an answer.

I observe people around me sitting after they eat. I admire their ability to be present- enjoying a television show or participating in a conversation, and I am befuddled as to how they can do that so comfortably. I wonder why I am so uncomfortable with the concept of not moving after eating. Why can I not trust my digestive system to break down that fullness in time for my next meal? It’s as if my body fears it will be starved again.

Maybe feeling full is a good thing because it allows us to edit out what we do not have room for. It is allows us to declutter our life. Fullness is the Mari Kondo of 2017.

The negative then rears its ugly head. Recovering, I need to edit but not cut out any food. Instead, I must add continuously and that is also why fullness as something positive is so illogical for me. I cannot trust my body - not yet. I don’t have reliable hunger and fullness cues.

I enjoy volume-eating. I like my 9 pounds of watermelon and my whole squash but apparently, these low-caloric foods feign fullness at a much lower number than other less bulky foods. That’s why eating healthfully, real and unprocessed foods is so gratifying and satisfying, but for me, gratification and satisfaction from eating cannot surface until I begin to gain weight.

So if feeling full of food is negative right now, I can choose to see the positive of feeling full. For one, my metabolism will repair and thrive because my body will not have to fear a lack of food in the future.
I can also sit with the food, trust that it will digest without conscious effort - motility. I can be present after eating and enjoy what is around me. I have fuel to go where I have to.

I used to be that person who enjoyed eating the roasted garlic naan and charred red onions garnishing those Tandoor - clay-oven cooked Indian dishes. I used to indulge in my order of six garlic knots. I loved the concept of an after-taste to my parents’ dismay. I never enjoyed mints- they still give me headaches - and I never enjoyed risking the washing away of spices that mingled on my tongue Post-meal with a beverage. I loved having that fullness sit with me, lingering on my tastebuds.

Now I have an extremely low tolerance for flavors that stray away from the natural taste of food. Should I have an aftertaste, I immediately brush my teeth, a minimum of three times daily. Once in the morning, once after dinner, prior to my watermelon and snacking, and once before bed. I don’t like that remnant of fullness to stray and seep into my next meal.

I am pushing fulfillment - pushing its motility to my liking instead of letting it pass. But it’s worth remembering that with time, everything comes to pass, and “in stubborn mindedness, one is ruined at last.”

CLXXXIII. Sitting it out - 

 On the eve to New Year’s Eve, I spent the most amount of time sitting than I ever have in almost two years. From morning until evening, I was sitting - in the pickup truck, in the house, in the truck again, and then briefly and succinctly, at home because I had to eat dinner. 

 My legs felt stiff and my bones felt sore. My abdomen was distended, stomach on fire, as if the lack of motility exacerbated the backup in my intestines.  

 I was expected to eat every meal as I always do. Without an appetite, or an option to stick to my schedule, I tried to adjust - less carbs and less calories - which I accomplished without much effort since I wasn’t hungry. By evening, the time I reached home, I had to eat dinner and I ended up deviating from the original null-carb plan by eating one of the best sweet potatoes I had ever had in my possession.  

 Smaller than usual, so less carbs and calories, but still satisfying, the sweet potato’s innards were like custard. The flesh was a bright, deep, opaque red-orange. I could almost touch the detoxifying affects that came with its promise of vitamins A, C, and other. As I swallowed it with regret because of my lack of hunger and therefore appreciation, I could almost feel the pores in my skin contract so that the much talked about beauty effects of the low-glycemic root vegetable seemed to be working its magic as I was consuming it. That is how amazing that sweet potato was. 

 But yesterday, as tortured as I was with my protruding stomach jutting out of my 80-pound frame, and my complete and utter lack of movement, was also blessed. 

 I saw my brother and I reflected in my baby cousins: An older brother and younger sister. I saw us growing up. I saw me gathering my dolls, and he sitting on the floor, legs sprawled beneath him as he fiddled with plastic figurines and video game controllers. 
I saw us in our pajamas on a day off from school watching cartoons.  

 I heard my mother when my aunt asked if they were hungry and wanted pancakes for breakfast. 

 I saw them eat with abandon. They had chocolate marble coffee cake and cereal. They had apple juice and chicken nuggets and a cheeseburger with fries that were actual potatoes fried in oil derived from something other than olives, avocado, or coconut. They chomped on m&ms and sipped on soup. But they were mobile- running back and forth: She was pushing her cabbage patch doll in a stroller and he was running to and fro, crouched, to pick up pieces of his toys. They were both so volatile, almost levitating above ground in spite of the food. The food was their fuel. 

 Why couldn’t it be mine? 

 My parents and I left the house before sunrise to travel to the off-the-grid location of my aunt’s place where it snowed every few hours. I packed up a hard boiled organic brown egg and snack pack of dry roasted edamame for breakfast. They stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts to buy coffee and breakfast. My mother picked up a coffee roll - a serpentine piece of fried and glazed dough shaped into a circle. My father picked up a coffee cake muffin - a spongy body that was spotted with caramelized cinnamon sugar and a muffin top laced with confectioners sugar, the crumble most likely solidified into clumps with butter. 

 “I always used to buy these,” my father said. I remembered eating them once in a while as well- feeling full afterwards.  

 We all reminisced about the days my father would drop my mother and I off to work and high school. The Dunkin’ Donuts employees of yesteryear knew our orders by heart. We spoke about how amazing the bagels we had in the deli next door were. They were slathered in butter and roasted on a metal flat top, lending an old school flair of toasty goodness from the antiquated heating mechanism. 

 I couldn’t believe how many more calories they were consuming for breakfast. I grew anxious- was I sabotaging my recovery? I never questioned my more holistic choices of food and never once considered having what they did, but I did question whether or not my decision to eat less calories was warranted. 

 At lunch, my mother had a carry out fish sandwich with the same French fries my cousins had. I saw my aunt carving through the on-site-baked cake we brought from our local farmers market.  

 Everyone was eating and for the most part, sitting. I reluctantly swallowed my pumpkin spice-spiked 0% Icelandic yogurt and then my 2 Tablespoons of raw cashew butter. The flavors were delicious, but I lacked an appetite and there were at most 12 g of carbs. 

 That’s why I opted for the baby sweet potato for dinner: balance, I thought. 

 This entire week, I have sat it out. On New Year’s Eve, I decided to wear something other than the joggers and Johns Hopkins Medical School crew neck despite the fact that I had no intention of removing my new heavy wool coat. I put on a boxy heather gray cable knit mock turtleneck and a pair of white and grey printed sweater leggings. 

 Perhaps due to the massive bloat or the significantly less movement over the last eight days due to my lack of privacy at home with people having off from work, the sweater leggings were not slipping down, instead slightly contouring themselves a little more to my still underweight figure. 

 But then my parents left for less than an hour and I bolted outside, walking with abandon but stressed, racing against the clock to arrive home before they came back. The nausea and bloating were dissipating with every step I took along the winded paths of the town where I lived. And for the rest of the day, the leggings were not only threatened, but were slipping down, my hand permanently fixated at my left hip bone to prevent a wardrobe malfunction. Most likely the leggings’ waistband stretched out a bit during the day, but I still feel I gained. 

 Reframe this: 

 I gained energy to walk. I gained a clarity that enabled me to go through the motions of New Years Eve relatively unscathed by the usual arguments. I gained an inkling of faith: I made two pit stops, one at St. Bernard’s where I dabbed my forehead wth holy water, knelt in prayer, and lit a candle, and one at Gurudwara, bowing, folding my hands in prayer, and serving sacred offerings to other Sikhs before braving the task of  consuming a bite-size of the offering made from equal parts ghee, sugar, atta - a stoneground wheat flour, and water. 

 I planned to consume less than what I should be having for dinner today. Treatment keeps being brought up, but I’m adamant to not undergo it. This all begs the question then, with only a little more than an hour to spare until dinner: will I go through with eating less than I should be? Or will I recover sometime this year?
CLXXXIII. Sitting it out -

On the eve to New Year’s Eve, I spent the most amount of time sitting than I ever have in almost two years. From morning until evening, I was sitting - in the pickup truck, in the house, in the truck again, and then briefly and succinctly, at home because I had to eat dinner.

My legs felt stiff and my bones felt sore. My abdomen was distended, stomach on fire, as if the lack of motility exacerbated the backup in my intestines.

I was expected to eat every meal as I always do. Without an appetite, or an option to stick to my schedule, I tried to adjust - less carbs and less calories - which I accomplished without much effort since I wasn’t hungry. By evening, the time I reached home, I had to eat dinner and I ended up deviating from the original null-carb plan by eating one of the best sweet potatoes I had ever had in my possession.

Smaller than usual, so less carbs and calories, but still satisfying, the sweet potato’s innards were like custard. The flesh was a bright, deep, opaque red-orange. I could almost touch the detoxifying affects that came with its promise of vitamins A, C, and other. As I swallowed it with regret because of my lack of hunger and therefore appreciation, I could almost feel the pores in my skin contract so that the much talked about beauty effects of the low-glycemic root vegetable seemed to be working its magic as I was consuming it. That is how amazing that sweet potato was.

But yesterday, as tortured as I was with my protruding stomach jutting out of my 80-pound frame, and my complete and utter lack of movement, was also blessed.

I saw my brother and I reflected in my baby cousins: An older brother and younger sister. I saw us growing up. I saw me gathering my dolls, and he sitting on the floor, legs sprawled beneath him as he fiddled with plastic figurines and video game controllers.
I saw us in our pajamas on a day off from school watching cartoons.

I heard my mother when my aunt asked if they were hungry and wanted pancakes for breakfast.

I saw them eat with abandon. They had chocolate marble coffee cake and cereal. They had apple juice and chicken nuggets and a cheeseburger with fries that were actual potatoes fried in oil derived from something other than olives, avocado, or coconut. They chomped on m&ms and sipped on soup. But they were mobile- running back and forth: She was pushing her cabbage patch doll in a stroller and he was running to and fro, crouched, to pick up pieces of his toys. They were both so volatile, almost levitating above ground in spite of the food. The food was their fuel.

Why couldn’t it be mine?

My parents and I left the house before sunrise to travel to the off-the-grid location of my aunt’s place where it snowed every few hours. I packed up a hard boiled organic brown egg and snack pack of dry roasted edamame for breakfast. They stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts to buy coffee and breakfast. My mother picked up a coffee roll - a serpentine piece of fried and glazed dough shaped into a circle. My father picked up a coffee cake muffin - a spongy body that was spotted with caramelized cinnamon sugar and a muffin top laced with confectioners sugar, the crumble most likely solidified into clumps with butter.

“I always used to buy these,” my father said. I remembered eating them once in a while as well- feeling full afterwards.

We all reminisced about the days my father would drop my mother and I off to work and high school. The Dunkin’ Donuts employees of yesteryear knew our orders by heart. We spoke about how amazing the bagels we had in the deli next door were. They were slathered in butter and roasted on a metal flat top, lending an old school flair of toasty goodness from the antiquated heating mechanism.

I couldn’t believe how many more calories they were consuming for breakfast. I grew anxious- was I sabotaging my recovery? I never questioned my more holistic choices of food and never once considered having what they did, but I did question whether or not my decision to eat less calories was warranted.

At lunch, my mother had a carry out fish sandwich with the same French fries my cousins had. I saw my aunt carving through the on-site-baked cake we brought from our local farmers market.

Everyone was eating and for the most part, sitting. I reluctantly swallowed my pumpkin spice-spiked 0% Icelandic yogurt and then my 2 Tablespoons of raw cashew butter. The flavors were delicious, but I lacked an appetite and there were at most 12 g of carbs.

That’s why I opted for the baby sweet potato for dinner: balance, I thought.

This entire week, I have sat it out. On New Year’s Eve, I decided to wear something other than the joggers and Johns Hopkins Medical School crew neck despite the fact that I had no intention of removing my new heavy wool coat. I put on a boxy heather gray cable knit mock turtleneck and a pair of white and grey printed sweater leggings.

Perhaps due to the massive bloat or the significantly less movement over the last eight days due to my lack of privacy at home with people having off from work, the sweater leggings were not slipping down, instead slightly contouring themselves a little more to my still underweight figure.

But then my parents left for less than an hour and I bolted outside, walking with abandon but stressed, racing against the clock to arrive home before they came back. The nausea and bloating were dissipating with every step I took along the winded paths of the town where I lived. And for the rest of the day, the leggings were not only threatened, but were slipping down, my hand permanently fixated at my left hip bone to prevent a wardrobe malfunction. Most likely the leggings’ waistband stretched out a bit during the day, but I still feel I gained.

Reframe this:

I gained energy to walk. I gained a clarity that enabled me to go through the motions of New Years Eve relatively unscathed by the usual arguments. I gained an inkling of faith: I made two pit stops, one at St. Bernard’s where I dabbed my forehead wth holy water, knelt in prayer, and lit a candle, and one at Gurudwara, bowing, folding my hands in prayer, and serving sacred offerings to other Sikhs before braving the task of consuming a bite-size of the offering made from equal parts ghee, sugar, atta - a stoneground wheat flour, and water.

I planned to consume less than what I should be having for dinner today. Treatment keeps being brought up, but I’m adamant to not undergo it. This all begs the question then, with only a little more than an hour to spare until dinner: will I go through with eating less than I should be? Or will I recover sometime this year?

CLXXXII. Shrouded in Secrecy -  

 On Christmas Eve I woke up with the usual stomach impediments. I’ve been pursuing my recovery full on since I found out I still have almost 30 pounds to gain. Here’s a snapshot: A 9.5 pound watermelon, 200-calorie bar, and over 300-calorie handful of organic Maca maple (crack) cashews before sleeping. 

 On Christmas Eve, I made sure to get in some movement before anyone woke up, which was short lived. But I did not sit down, instead keeping on my feet for as long as I could. It’s a miserable existence, really. You secretly walk in circles, up and down the stairs, trying in earnest to stave off the uncomfortable feeling of fullness.  

 I ended up eating breakfast later than usual and kept according to my plan to take it light- almost as a way to undo yesterday’s calorie intake. I suppose my recovery is lacking here. That said, I got out of eating at the Italian restaurant my parents’ made reservations to because I would have to modify a dish three times’ over for it to come a little close to my liking. In the process, my parents would get frustrated, the waiter would likely be confused, and I’ll be dissatisfied regardless. That and I’ll be eating out at least four more times over the next week, so it was a compromise. Or maybe it was Christmas Eve and my parents did not want to participate in another argument. 

 Speaking of which, I felt my old self peeking through. I wanted to be around family. I wanted to take it slowly and live in the present. I crouched down, butt off the ground, uncomfortably full and constipated, to help wrap gifts by the tree with my mother. 

 I went to Whole Foods Market where I bought the higher calorie-muesli in cranberry cashew and a cup of pumpkin fig ancient grain cereal. I was pursuing recovery. 

 I had the opportunity to exercise at home, alone. I had already doused my hair and applied an avocado butter hair mask. I was set to stay home. The yoga mat occupied my mind as much as it did the top shelf in the closet.  

 I wasn’t going to perform yogic poses. I was going to do a set of mountain climbers, and a bit of core work. Nothing really, but something for me. Instead, I decided to go with them and packed up my low-calorie lunch that I wasn’t hungry for, and hardly walked around the crowded shops. My hair was dripping, droplets of avocado soaking my water resistant wool coat. 

 I found myself getting frustrated and walked up and down the staircase in the mall multiple times, feeling slightly off kilter, weak, and light-headed. It was the exact time that I met up with my parents who planned on not eating anything later that day. 

 The comparisons, were kept at bay though since I was in fear about feeling as crappy as I was. I thought my skin took on a shade of yellow. I ended up having a larger dinner than anticipated since I had “worked for it,” despite not being hungry. I was satisfied and full. 

 Then I got scared and ate an organic bar. Immediately the regret settled in. 

 I woke up this morning at the same time as my parents. My father is working out and my mother is starting to cook a chicken dish since my brother is arriving for a little over 24 hours. 

 Despite my belief in my indulgent overeating that is actually still less than what I should be eating, I pushed through, trying to have Reshmi reappear. 

 So I left low-calorie cookies on the counter that I clearly designated for Santa.  
Still, I have been trying to avoid my mother so I can try and walk off that cursed bar.  

 I then asked her if I should cook breakfast for her and father, like I do every weekend. To my surprise, she replied no but I knew she had coffee already. And she doesn’t have coffee without a nibble on something. 

 I understood then: she ate one of the lower-calorie cookies that I left out for Santa. It may be 40-calories. The gesture of leaving a plate of cookies and cup of milk for St. Nicholas, was an attempt at reclaiming my old self- the old Reshmi who indulged in her dual Catholic-Sikh upbringing. 

 But she ruined it. My mother ruined it. Her breakfast was a 50-calorie cookie after no dinner. My father hasn’t eaten since yesterday afternoon and just lifted God knows how many hundred of pounds in weights for an hour. 

 Merry Christmas. My mood is off. I am pissed. I am full. I am walking in circles on the sly. The bottom of my feet ache. I have to make another visit to the podiatrist because my body went into survival mode again and developed painful callouses on the top left quadrant of my left foot to prevent my bone from directly hitting the ground. 

 Merry Christmas. I have to devise a plan on how to eat today to undo that bar and start over. I refuse to resume with plans to cook and consume a full-fledged black rice and salmon bowl or my organic chickpea-tomato Basil pasta dish that I had planned on eating. 
I sabotaged myself with a desire to recover and I’m sabotaging myself with a desire to eat less than my active parents. 

 I hate that she’s not sitting down and is instead standing up and expending calories by chopping vegetables.  
I hate that she caught me walking around in circles. 

 She asked me how I prepared the potatoes for a dish I made for her, my father, and brother. 

 “I don’t remember,” I just told her. I lied.  

 l could care less. I do remember. I hate that I am squandering my talent for cooking on everyone but myself.  

 Merry Christmas. Whatever little excitement I have for opening my presents is extinguished. 

 Most of the gifts are clothing and I feel as though my stomach is about to explode, rounded as it were in an uncomfortable bloat. I had no chance to perform my plank exercises to work my abdominal. I won’t be able to engage in these exercises until 2017 and that scares me. 

 Whatever small meringue peaks of Reshmi that were appearing, has immediately melted into a piling heap of liquid egg whites-  
I’ll have to scoop those up and scramble it for my breakfast in a few hours. 

 Breakfast: I don’t think she is going to eat anything for breakfast. I don’t think my father will have breakfast. I know my brother never has breakfast.  

 I am going to have to eat breakfast and I hate it. I hate this. I hate that it’s beautiful outside and I cannot go on a long walk.  

 I hate that she just asked my father to ask my brother who he is picking up if he wants me to make handmade French Toast.  

 “But that is lunch. What’s breakfast?” I asked after eavesdropping. 

 “No,” my father said. “What your mom is preparing is lunch - and dinner.” 

 Great, so they’re going to have one meal. 

 “Concern yourself with you,” my mother said. “Just look at yourself.” 

 “You don’t know how much we ate yesterday,” my father said to my mom’s agreement.  

 “But that was yesterday. It’s been digested. And yesterday is yesterday, today is a new day. Isn’t that what you always tell me?” 

 Hot tears are streaming down my face. I am frustrated.  
I want to walk into oblivion. I want to walk into nothingness. 

 “Forget it,” she said. I’ll just make eggs. 

 Hell no- hell no. I am going to cook that French toast and load it the hell up with all the calories that I have to consume. The batter will be eggs and vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I am going to sprinkle my pumpkin fig granola on top to make up for the lack of strawberries. I am going to douse that grill pan with copious amounts of butter.  

 I hate that she bought the bread from Whole Foods, suddenly piggybacking on my healthy eating philosophy. Still, the loaf serves 8 and for three people, the calories in the bread itself will equate to my bar and breakfast. 
An even playing field is what I am after. 

 Game Changer. 

 My dad left so it’s just a matter of navigating around her. She’s been on her feet nonstop as well- cooking and cleaning. I want her to stop. I want her to stop expending calories after not eating so that she works out more while I gain weight - which hasn’t been happening and yet it feels like I’m packing on the pounds. It’s getting closer to the time I have to eat. 

 The sun is shining outside and I wish I could absolve myself in its light on this holiday morning. I wish I could leave this house and let my freshly washed hair out and bask in God’s glory. I lost my faith, but there has to be a God. 

 Unfortunately my mother turned off the television so my footsteps and the creaking hardwood floors are revealing my endless walking. I’m stuck. 

 I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do. I could ask to go outside but I know she will take that opportunity to workout while I’m gone and I need to see it. I need to know that she is working out. I need to torture myself and I don’t know why.  
I think she tried to make good this morning by asking me if I wanted to open up my presents. No, I will wait for my brother I answered. 

 Flashbacks of last year’s Christmas morning: it was the first year I was not at all excited to open up presents. I was in a foul mood and my mother reprimanded me for something. I remember glaring at her and hating everything.  

 And this year, it’s happening again. 

 When my brother arrives, I’ll have to eat. I’ll have to make their food, unidentified as being neither breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Actually, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to eat and they in turn, will tell me not to make the French Toast. In which case, they’re not going to eat at all. 

 She’s working out on an empty stomach now. I hate her. I hate her with every fiber of my being. 

 I do not want to eat breakfast. I do not want to open up presents. I don’t want to spend this week with her. I don’t want to celebrate. 

 I just want to walk out of this house and into another life. I can only hope that the phone will ring so she can’t workout. I did mentally prepare myself for her working out. I knew that it was too good to be true if she kept going on over a week without exercising. 

 Yet nothing prepares for you the present. The here and now. 

 “8:52 right now on this Christmas morning,” I hear the newscaster in the background say just as my mother confronts me with my walking around and says, “Kill yourself.” 

 8:52 - my birth time. I was born at 8:52 pm in June, three weeks past my due date. 

 Is this a sign that I am in peril? Is God trying to tell me something? Am I deserved of such sacred attention? Is this just a coincidence? 

 When I began writing this, it was entitled something different. It was meant to have an altogether festive tone and a positive vibe. But this is real life and in real time, I am telling you what transpires and why recovery is so difficult- why this illness has the highest mortality rate or of all the related illnesses.  

 And that scares me. But does it scare me enough to eat more and move less?  
My skin doesn’t seem yellow anymore. 
I think my eyes were deceiving me yesterday.  
My feet seem like pillows instead of aching and bruised skin over protruding bones. 
I could walk on forever.
CLXXXII. Shrouded in Secrecy -

On Christmas Eve I woke up with the usual stomach impediments. I’ve been pursuing my recovery full on since I found out I still have almost 30 pounds to gain. Here’s a snapshot: A 9.5 pound watermelon, 200-calorie bar, and over 300-calorie handful of organic Maca maple (crack) cashews before sleeping.

On Christmas Eve, I made sure to get in some movement before anyone woke up, which was short lived. But I did not sit down, instead keeping on my feet for as long as I could. It’s a miserable existence, really. You secretly walk in circles, up and down the stairs, trying in earnest to stave off the uncomfortable feeling of fullness.

I ended up eating breakfast later than usual and kept according to my plan to take it light- almost as a way to undo yesterday’s calorie intake. I suppose my recovery is lacking here. That said, I got out of eating at the Italian restaurant my parents’ made reservations to because I would have to modify a dish three times’ over for it to come a little close to my liking. In the process, my parents would get frustrated, the waiter would likely be confused, and I’ll be dissatisfied regardless. That and I’ll be eating out at least four more times over the next week, so it was a compromise. Or maybe it was Christmas Eve and my parents did not want to participate in another argument.

Speaking of which, I felt my old self peeking through. I wanted to be around family. I wanted to take it slowly and live in the present. I crouched down, butt off the ground, uncomfortably full and constipated, to help wrap gifts by the tree with my mother.

I went to Whole Foods Market where I bought the higher calorie-muesli in cranberry cashew and a cup of pumpkin fig ancient grain cereal. I was pursuing recovery.

I had the opportunity to exercise at home, alone. I had already doused my hair and applied an avocado butter hair mask. I was set to stay home. The yoga mat occupied my mind as much as it did the top shelf in the closet.

I wasn’t going to perform yogic poses. I was going to do a set of mountain climbers, and a bit of core work. Nothing really, but something for me. Instead, I decided to go with them and packed up my low-calorie lunch that I wasn’t hungry for, and hardly walked around the crowded shops. My hair was dripping, droplets of avocado soaking my water resistant wool coat.

I found myself getting frustrated and walked up and down the staircase in the mall multiple times, feeling slightly off kilter, weak, and light-headed. It was the exact time that I met up with my parents who planned on not eating anything later that day.

The comparisons, were kept at bay though since I was in fear about feeling as crappy as I was. I thought my skin took on a shade of yellow. I ended up having a larger dinner than anticipated since I had “worked for it,” despite not being hungry. I was satisfied and full.

Then I got scared and ate an organic bar. Immediately the regret settled in.

I woke up this morning at the same time as my parents. My father is working out and my mother is starting to cook a chicken dish since my brother is arriving for a little over 24 hours.

Despite my belief in my indulgent overeating that is actually still less than what I should be eating, I pushed through, trying to have Reshmi reappear.

So I left low-calorie cookies on the counter that I clearly designated for Santa.
Still, I have been trying to avoid my mother so I can try and walk off that cursed bar.

I then asked her if I should cook breakfast for her and father, like I do every weekend. To my surprise, she replied no but I knew she had coffee already. And she doesn’t have coffee without a nibble on something.

I understood then: she ate one of the lower-calorie cookies that I left out for Santa. It may be 40-calories. The gesture of leaving a plate of cookies and cup of milk for St. Nicholas, was an attempt at reclaiming my old self- the old Reshmi who indulged in her dual Catholic-Sikh upbringing.

But she ruined it. My mother ruined it. Her breakfast was a 50-calorie cookie after no dinner. My father hasn’t eaten since yesterday afternoon and just lifted God knows how many hundred of pounds in weights for an hour.

Merry Christmas. My mood is off. I am pissed. I am full. I am walking in circles on the sly. The bottom of my feet ache. I have to make another visit to the podiatrist because my body went into survival mode again and developed painful callouses on the top left quadrant of my left foot to prevent my bone from directly hitting the ground.

Merry Christmas. I have to devise a plan on how to eat today to undo that bar and start over. I refuse to resume with plans to cook and consume a full-fledged black rice and salmon bowl or my organic chickpea-tomato Basil pasta dish that I had planned on eating.
I sabotaged myself with a desire to recover and I’m sabotaging myself with a desire to eat less than my active parents.

I hate that she’s not sitting down and is instead standing up and expending calories by chopping vegetables.
I hate that she caught me walking around in circles.

She asked me how I prepared the potatoes for a dish I made for her, my father, and brother.

“I don’t remember,” I just told her. I lied.

l could care less. I do remember. I hate that I am squandering my talent for cooking on everyone but myself.

Merry Christmas. Whatever little excitement I have for opening my presents is extinguished.

Most of the gifts are clothing and I feel as though my stomach is about to explode, rounded as it were in an uncomfortable bloat. I had no chance to perform my plank exercises to work my abdominal. I won’t be able to engage in these exercises until 2017 and that scares me.

Whatever small meringue peaks of Reshmi that were appearing, has immediately melted into a piling heap of liquid egg whites-
I’ll have to scoop those up and scramble it for my breakfast in a few hours.

Breakfast: I don’t think she is going to eat anything for breakfast. I don’t think my father will have breakfast. I know my brother never has breakfast.

I am going to have to eat breakfast and I hate it. I hate this. I hate that it’s beautiful outside and I cannot go on a long walk.

I hate that she just asked my father to ask my brother who he is picking up if he wants me to make handmade French Toast.

“But that is lunch. What’s breakfast?” I asked after eavesdropping.

“No,” my father said. “What your mom is preparing is lunch - and dinner.”

Great, so they’re going to have one meal.

“Concern yourself with you,” my mother said. “Just look at yourself.”

“You don’t know how much we ate yesterday,” my father said to my mom’s agreement.

“But that was yesterday. It’s been digested. And yesterday is yesterday, today is a new day. Isn’t that what you always tell me?”

Hot tears are streaming down my face. I am frustrated.
I want to walk into oblivion. I want to walk into nothingness.

“Forget it,” she said. I’ll just make eggs.

Hell no- hell no. I am going to cook that French toast and load it the hell up with all the calories that I have to consume. The batter will be eggs and vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I am going to sprinkle my pumpkin fig granola on top to make up for the lack of strawberries. I am going to douse that grill pan with copious amounts of butter.

I hate that she bought the bread from Whole Foods, suddenly piggybacking on my healthy eating philosophy. Still, the loaf serves 8 and for three people, the calories in the bread itself will equate to my bar and breakfast.
An even playing field is what I am after.

Game Changer.

My dad left so it’s just a matter of navigating around her. She’s been on her feet nonstop as well- cooking and cleaning. I want her to stop. I want her to stop expending calories after not eating so that she works out more while I gain weight - which hasn’t been happening and yet it feels like I’m packing on the pounds. It’s getting closer to the time I have to eat.

The sun is shining outside and I wish I could absolve myself in its light on this holiday morning. I wish I could leave this house and let my freshly washed hair out and bask in God’s glory. I lost my faith, but there has to be a God.

Unfortunately my mother turned off the television so my footsteps and the creaking hardwood floors are revealing my endless walking. I’m stuck.

I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do. I could ask to go outside but I know she will take that opportunity to workout while I’m gone and I need to see it. I need to know that she is working out. I need to torture myself and I don’t know why.

I think she tried to make good this morning by asking me if I wanted to open up my presents. No, I will wait for my brother I answered.

Flashbacks of last year’s Christmas morning: it was the first year I was not at all excited to open up presents. I was in a foul mood and my mother reprimanded me for something. I remember glaring at her and hating everything.

And this year, it’s happening again.

When my brother arrives, I’ll have to eat. I’ll have to make their food, unidentified as being neither breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Actually, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to eat and they in turn, will tell me not to make the French Toast. In which case, they’re not going to eat at all.

She’s working out on an empty stomach now. I hate her. I hate her with every fiber of my being.

I do not want to eat breakfast. I do not want to open up presents. I don’t want to spend this week with her. I don’t want to celebrate.

I just want to walk out of this house and into another life. I can only hope that the phone will ring so she can’t workout. I did mentally prepare myself for her working out. I knew that it was too good to be true if she kept going on over a week without exercising.

Yet nothing prepares for you the present. The here and now.

“8:52 right now on this Christmas morning,” I hear the newscaster in the background say just as my mother confronts me with my walking around and says, “Kill yourself.”

8:52 - my birth time. I was born at 8:52 pm in June, three weeks past my due date.

Is this a sign that I am in peril? Is God trying to tell me something? Am I deserved of such sacred attention? Is this just a coincidence?

When I began writing this, it was entitled something different. It was meant to have an altogether festive tone and a positive vibe. But this is real life and in real time, I am telling you what transpires and why recovery is so difficult- why this illness has the highest mortality rate or of all the related illnesses.

And that scares me. But does it scare me enough to eat more and move less?
My skin doesn’t seem yellow anymore.
I think my eyes were deceiving me yesterday.
My feet seem like pillows instead of aching and bruised skin over protruding bones.
I could walk on forever.

CLXXXI. Let It Slow, Let It Slow, Let It Slow: 

 When it snows, it forces the majority of the population to stay indoors, to cancel plans, and to slow down. It forces many to be in close quarters with others. Company is welcome, but not the one you have.  

 I realize as I type this that I, in this moment, do not appreciate the company that I keep. The truth is, there is so very little to appreciate in the way of this company. They’re all in a foul mood, flipping everyone off left and right and yet I yearn for something else, someone else, but not to live with or necessarily speak with, but just to be around. We’re social animals after all. 

 Enter: The brother, the surgeon. He has 24 hours to be at home before being whisked away in a sheath of white, his white coat.  
He is someone who is my kin, who I can live with, but is also someone I hardly ever see or converse with. So I stopped what I was doing, in the other wing of the house, away from my parents, to serve my brother food and to chat it up for the duration of his eating. I got my mother to take in an earful, rarely getting out a word from her, while she was having a sorry excuse for a lunch: two pieces of not so much toasted as warmed up toast. I try not to get locked into the comparison trap of what the other woman in the house is eating as compared to what I eat. 

 Although, yesterday was the first time I saw her order off the “lighter menu” at one of those God forsaken chain restaurants she favors and then not even eating half of that.  
Comparison may not be verbalized, but it sure is internalized against my better judgment. 

 My brother was unsurprisingly quiet, releasing bits and bobs of acknowledgement between swallows and sometimes throwing out his characteristically exasperated, “why” and unflinchingly annoying “I don’t know - you choose.” 

 The white outside is seeping into the crevices of window panes and shutter slits. The brightness had woken me up around 4 in the morning and continued to taunt me until I ultimately got out of bed before 6 am on a Saturday, exactly one week before Christmas Eve. Better for me because I get to mill around the house as some form of cardio before anyone became privy. Not better for me because the lack of routine and hustle on weekends that I hate with an undying passion, feels prolonged. 

 The saving grace is that one-liner from the Bracebridge Dinner episode from Gilmore Girls. I paraphrase: there’s no such thing as a quick minute because a minute is always sixty seconds. 
Well, the same goes for there being no such thing as a slow day because there is 24 hours in a day for better or worse. 

 But today feels impeccably slow. I just want Monday to come, but that brings a whole slew of other issues. 

 One: I’m closer to having my lone time without partaking in forbidden activities like walking, depleted for about 10 days. 
Two: The ultimate truth of how much progress or lack thereof I have made in recovery will be revealed. 

 That said, there is a flip side that sidelines positivity and instead focuses on reality, just as with time always being defined by a certain number. 
I’ll be closer to having the anxiety end and having the time pass until the new year when everyone returns to work.  
No matter what happens in the doctor’s appointment, it won’t change the fact that this will be how much I weigh and how well my organs function, even if I had not gone to see the doctor. I can’t change nor do I have control over it, so expending any energy on it is to no avail. 

 Just like I cannot change my parents. They will eat or not eat, take off from work or not, and exercise whether or not I like it. Allow this to resonate. Let this slowly sedate your anxiety until it passes. Let this newfound space conquer and fill it with all your hunger, desires, wants and needs.  

 The snow had stopped. The freezing rain too. The temperature has increased by a few degrees, but the damage is done. Sheets of white still cover rooftops and streets still promise to buckle underneath pockets of ice. 

 But time will pass. The more adventurous or rather, impatient citizenry have begun to drive. I can hear the soundtrack of crackling snow underneath tires. They are helping to clear the path for those who deem it impossible to exit the confines of their house. Insert my family here.  

 If only I lived in Manhattan, or on my own, I would have been layered up and out the door hours ago.  
If only I lived elsewhere, I would not be prone to comparing: cataloging every meal consumed, or not, by my parents, calculating their every calorie, cringing at their every cardio and sculpt exercise. 

 Time will pass. Tomorrow the brother will have left before sunrise, the temperature will have increased by twenty degrees and the rain will pour, effectively wiping out remnants of Saturday’s snow. If only the rain could wash away the emotional detritus.  
Emotions aren’t solidified concepts. They’re meant to be embraced, could be ignored, but in no way house the truth. And so with time, we’ll be spared of the emotions from now and retrieve a new set. Seasons Tidings.
CLXXXI. Let It Slow, Let It Slow, Let It Slow:

When it snows, it forces the majority of the population to stay indoors, to cancel plans, and to slow down. It forces many to be in close quarters with others. Company is welcome, but not the one you have.

I realize as I type this that I, in this moment, do not appreciate the company that I keep. The truth is, there is so very little to appreciate in the way of this company. They’re all in a foul mood, flipping everyone off left and right and yet I yearn for something else, someone else, but not to live with or necessarily speak with, but just to be around. We’re social animals after all.

Enter: The brother, the surgeon. He has 24 hours to be at home before being whisked away in a sheath of white, his white coat.
He is someone who is my kin, who I can live with, but is also someone I hardly ever see or converse with. So I stopped what I was doing, in the other wing of the house, away from my parents, to serve my brother food and to chat it up for the duration of his eating. I got my mother to take in an earful, rarely getting out a word from her, while she was having a sorry excuse for a lunch: two pieces of not so much toasted as warmed up toast. I try not to get locked into the comparison trap of what the other woman in the house is eating as compared to what I eat.

Although, yesterday was the first time I saw her order off the “lighter menu” at one of those God forsaken chain restaurants she favors and then not even eating half of that.
Comparison may not be verbalized, but it sure is internalized against my better judgment.

My brother was unsurprisingly quiet, releasing bits and bobs of acknowledgement between swallows and sometimes throwing out his characteristically exasperated, “why” and unflinchingly annoying “I don’t know - you choose.”

The white outside is seeping into the crevices of window panes and shutter slits. The brightness had woken me up around 4 in the morning and continued to taunt me until I ultimately got out of bed before 6 am on a Saturday, exactly one week before Christmas Eve. Better for me because I get to mill around the house as some form of cardio before anyone became privy. Not better for me because the lack of routine and hustle on weekends that I hate with an undying passion, feels prolonged.

The saving grace is that one-liner from the Bracebridge Dinner episode from Gilmore Girls. I paraphrase: there’s no such thing as a quick minute because a minute is always sixty seconds.
Well, the same goes for there being no such thing as a slow day because there is 24 hours in a day for better or worse.

But today feels impeccably slow. I just want Monday to come, but that brings a whole slew of other issues.

One: I’m closer to having my lone time without partaking in forbidden activities like walking, depleted for about 10 days.
Two: The ultimate truth of how much progress or lack thereof I have made in recovery will be revealed.

That said, there is a flip side that sidelines positivity and instead focuses on reality, just as with time always being defined by a certain number.
I’ll be closer to having the anxiety end and having the time pass until the new year when everyone returns to work.
No matter what happens in the doctor’s appointment, it won’t change the fact that this will be how much I weigh and how well my organs function, even if I had not gone to see the doctor. I can’t change nor do I have control over it, so expending any energy on it is to no avail.

Just like I cannot change my parents. They will eat or not eat, take off from work or not, and exercise whether or not I like it. Allow this to resonate. Let this slowly sedate your anxiety until it passes. Let this newfound space conquer and fill it with all your hunger, desires, wants and needs.

The snow had stopped. The freezing rain too. The temperature has increased by a few degrees, but the damage is done. Sheets of white still cover rooftops and streets still promise to buckle underneath pockets of ice.

But time will pass. The more adventurous or rather, impatient citizenry have begun to drive. I can hear the soundtrack of crackling snow underneath tires. They are helping to clear the path for those who deem it impossible to exit the confines of their house. Insert my family here.

If only I lived in Manhattan, or on my own, I would have been layered up and out the door hours ago.
If only I lived elsewhere, I would not be prone to comparing: cataloging every meal consumed, or not, by my parents, calculating their every calorie, cringing at their every cardio and sculpt exercise.

Time will pass. Tomorrow the brother will have left before sunrise, the temperature will have increased by twenty degrees and the rain will pour, effectively wiping out remnants of Saturday’s snow. If only the rain could wash away the emotional detritus.
Emotions aren’t solidified concepts. They’re meant to be embraced, could be ignored, but in no way house the truth. And so with time, we’ll be spared of the emotions from now and retrieve a new set. Seasons Tidings.

CLXXX. Rocking Around The Christmas Tree - 

  I’m off kilter, rocking back and forth during the days leading up to Christmas. My routine is thrown off on occasion and my days seem to be filled with the unfamiliar, something that was once familiar, to the old Reshmi. I am talking about spontaneity; Spontaneity you that is brought on either by conscious choice, or, and more times than not, by the company I keep. 

 Washing my hair according to my scheduled holiday functions means transitioning from a weekend wash to the in-between, sometime midweek, and eating my 9 pounds of watermelon at 9 p.m.,  an hour later than usual. All of this has made me uneasy.  

 The longer weekends - I will no longer have the house to myself every Friday until 2017 - have made my incessant social media checking sparse.  
Yet the break away from a pixelated screen is welcome in spite of the anxiety that rushes in later when I realize how many posts I missed and feel as though I have to catch up on it all. 

 I have to admit that sitting down in an enclosed heated car with the late fall sun reflecting through the glass and bouncing off the metal, does well to lull me into a lovely slumber. My head falls, my eyelids close in tandem, and I am rocked to sleep with the faint sounds of radio-play in the background. 

 I have to admit that the incessant quietude I am otherwise used to, punctuated by bouts of road rage and the latest songs, phone taps, and commercial jingles during car rides that are part and parcel of my long weekends, is a Godsend. I feel connected to a larger world and my legs can rest instead of moving without support on the hardwood floors at home. I am still so unused to uncarpeted floors. 

 I had an emergency run to the podiatrist after my  large toe nail broke in half after getting snagged onto my comforter in the dead of night. The resulting cliff hanger nail caused a dreadful pain that made walking nearly impossible.  

 Prior to the nail fiasco, for three whole weeks, I felt discomfort on the bed of my foot. Upon turning my foot it over, I saw a small white dot surrounded by, not surprisingly, dry skin. The skin was hard though and my mother swore something had gotten stuck. She tried to convince me into thinking a foreign object had gotten stuck and would become infected. 

 The podiatrist clipped off the rest of the nail and said that I had developed a callous under my foot. Apparently, when there is little fat or cushion to protect the  bone and keep it from hitting the floor, the skin around it begins to form thick layers as a makeshift guard for the bone.  

 It was clear - my anorexia had made my body run into overdrive again. To keep me upright and functioning, thick layers of skin began to form.  

 The podiatrist shaved it off, leaving a small indentation where the callous was. 
I think I have another one now, this time on my left foot. 

 It’s odd. Throughout all my years of dancing, pounding on dirty floors, showering in dormitories, swimming for years and traipsing around the locker room, I never developed any foot problems that would send me to a podiatrist. Even after my senior year dance show in college, all my toenails that had loosened and were bloody, had quickly healed. 

 So my feet literally leave me off balance and I’m rocking. 

 I’m off balance.  

 Sometimes my body becomes a furnace, especially during the night while I’m in bed. Other times, most of the time, my body is ice cold. In fact, I relish burning heat in order to feel any warmth, making the living room’s fireplace my favorite part of the house. I sit close to the glass for long periods of time until I’m satisfied with my warmed up body temperature. 

 Afterwards my body aches. I look in the mirror and see my arm hair singed. I see red blotchy patches of skin. I’ve been slightly burned but my reflexes deceive me. My body is off balance and I’m rocking. 

 I open up the oven, struggling to turn over my roasting squash when my wrist hits the metal interior. I’m able to withstand the struggle more than anyone else in the house because I don’t get hot easily and just then, my reflexes deceive me once again. I jump in pain- my wrist has been burned. That was almost a month ago, and yet it’s still not healed.  

 I’m rocking. 

 This weekend we’re picking out the Christmas tree. 
Remember- not a Friday to myself until the new year, so my weekend begins tomorrow.  

 After a morning appointment, I’ll have breakfast and then spend a good chunk of the day with the mother Christmas shopping.  
Saturday we’ll be on the move - Long Island, Queens to Manhattan and back east. 
Sunday is the day we’ll pick up our temporary in-house resident - the tree. Bits and baubles will be strewn until the branches have settled. The vacuum will whizz incessantly to pick up the pine needles.  

 I bet at least one stray needle will come into contact with my foot. 

 I don’t know what to expect from this weekend or the upcoming ones until 2017. All I know is that I’m rocking around the Christmas tree.  
I’m rocking.

CLXXX. Rocking Around The Christmas Tree -

I’m off kilter, rocking back and forth during the days leading up to Christmas. My routine is thrown off on occasion and my days seem to be filled with the unfamiliar, something that was once familiar, to the old Reshmi. I am talking about spontaneity; Spontaneity you that is brought on either by conscious choice, or, and more times than not, by the company I keep.

Washing my hair according to my scheduled holiday functions means transitioning from a weekend wash to the in-between, sometime midweek, and eating my 9 pounds of watermelon at 9 p.m., an hour later than usual. All of this has made me uneasy.

The longer weekends - I will no longer have the house to myself every Friday until 2017 - have made my incessant social media checking sparse.
Yet the break away from a pixelated screen is welcome in spite of the anxiety that rushes in later when I realize how many posts I missed and feel as though I have to catch up on it all.

I have to admit that sitting down in an enclosed heated car with the late fall sun reflecting through the glass and bouncing off the metal, does well to lull me into a lovely slumber. My head falls, my eyelids close in tandem, and I am rocked to sleep with the faint sounds of radio-play in the background.

I have to admit that the incessant quietude I am otherwise used to, punctuated by bouts of road rage and the latest songs, phone taps, and commercial jingles during car rides that are part and parcel of my long weekends, is a Godsend. I feel connected to a larger world and my legs can rest instead of moving without support on the hardwood floors at home. I am still so unused to uncarpeted floors.

I had an emergency run to the podiatrist after my large toe nail broke in half after getting snagged onto my comforter in the dead of night. The resulting cliff hanger nail caused a dreadful pain that made walking nearly impossible.

Prior to the nail fiasco, for three whole weeks, I felt discomfort on the bed of my foot. Upon turning my foot it over, I saw a small white dot surrounded by, not surprisingly, dry skin. The skin was hard though and my mother swore something had gotten stuck. She tried to convince me into thinking a foreign object had gotten stuck and would become infected.

The podiatrist clipped off the rest of the nail and said that I had developed a callous under my foot. Apparently, when there is little fat or cushion to protect the bone and keep it from hitting the floor, the skin around it begins to form thick layers as a makeshift guard for the bone.

It was clear - my anorexia had made my body run into overdrive again. To keep me upright and functioning, thick layers of skin began to form.

The podiatrist shaved it off, leaving a small indentation where the callous was.
I think I have another one now, this time on my left foot.

It’s odd. Throughout all my years of dancing, pounding on dirty floors, showering in dormitories, swimming for years and traipsing around the locker room, I never developed any foot problems that would send me to a podiatrist. Even after my senior year dance show in college, all my toenails that had loosened and were bloody, had quickly healed.

So my feet literally leave me off balance and I’m rocking.

I’m off balance.

Sometimes my body becomes a furnace, especially during the night while I’m in bed. Other times, most of the time, my body is ice cold. In fact, I relish burning heat in order to feel any warmth, making the living room’s fireplace my favorite part of the house. I sit close to the glass for long periods of time until I’m satisfied with my warmed up body temperature.

Afterwards my body aches. I look in the mirror and see my arm hair singed. I see red blotchy patches of skin. I’ve been slightly burned but my reflexes deceive me. My body is off balance and I’m rocking.

I open up the oven, struggling to turn over my roasting squash when my wrist hits the metal interior. I’m able to withstand the struggle more than anyone else in the house because I don’t get hot easily and just then, my reflexes deceive me once again. I jump in pain- my wrist has been burned. That was almost a month ago, and yet it’s still not healed.

I’m rocking.

This weekend we’re picking out the Christmas tree.
Remember- not a Friday to myself until the new year, so my weekend begins tomorrow.

After a morning appointment, I’ll have breakfast and then spend a good chunk of the day with the mother Christmas shopping.
Saturday we’ll be on the move - Long Island, Queens to Manhattan and back east.
Sunday is the day we’ll pick up our temporary in-house resident - the tree. Bits and baubles will be strewn until the branches have settled. The vacuum will whizz incessantly to pick up the pine needles.

I bet at least one stray needle will come into contact with my foot.

I don’t know what to expect from this weekend or the upcoming ones until 2017. All I know is that I’m rocking around the Christmas tree.
I’m rocking.

CLXXIX. You’ve Got a Handle Over This - 

  Her hands smell of buttery goodness, but her skin is parched- dry and cracking. Auburn desiccated blood outlines the cracks in the skin.  

 I wake up and bake cinnamon streusel muffins. I disregard the “healthy” swaps of egg whites for the eggs, water for oil, and zero-calorie PAM spray for the stick butter that lines the indented muffin tray. I am not going to eat these. 

 Last night, I roasted potatoes and carrots in the oven for my parents and brother. I used my hands to douse them in olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, ground black pepper, and salt. The result was a lovely aroma, perfectly textured vegetables - the definition of a roast. I drizzled some more oil on after, just for the hell of it, and then justified doing so by seeing Mario Bartalli do the same on The Chew. 

 I had always wanted to roast vegetables for myself: cauliflower, broccoli, rainbow carrots, asparagus, fennel, and brussel sprouts - but I would have to buy my own true olive oil- cold pressed. I would put a much less amount than that described above and I would have to purchase pink Himalayan sea salt. Also, I would have to eat in bulk to ensure calories. I would have it with a poached egg perhaps, or hummus, but I wouldn’t be privy of calories, and that, for whatever reason, disturbs me. Am I eating too little? Too much? I know there is no such thing as the latter until I put on 20 pounds and even then, there will be no such thing as too much. 

 As I was sprinkling the salt with my bare hands, suddenly they stung horribly. The salt went into the nooks and crannies of my dried skin. I washed my hands but without success. The stinging lingered, and what is worse, is that I am stung even today. 

 “I was going to get that for you for Christmas, for your stocking.” 

 She was referring to a color blocked leather passport holder. I just looked at her. I had no words. I’m not even permitted to walk outside for more than 30 minutes and I sure as hell don’t go anywhere else. What would I do with a passport holder in my possession? It stung. It stung that I, who once had a travel bug, slowly but surely lost all desire to satiate wanderlust, especially without an income. That lack of desire, combined with my need to gain weight, makes it almost impossible to travel. 

 It stings not being able to enjoy returning home at the end of the day because I am at home all day, everyday. It stung that she would even think of gifting me a Passport holder.  

 Please don’t get it for me. It will just make me more depressed. I told her this and then I thought to myself, what an idiot. 

 I can just see myself, pulling out the chic leather accessory from my stocking on Christmas Eve. I have tunnel vision and cancel out those standing around me. I don’t jet-set like the rest of my friends do. They go on spontaneous trips, with minimal luggage, and yet somehow seem to be put together without any worry about expenses. 

 It stung when I was lied to regarding a quote unquote, concerned, relative. It stung that this person didn’t want to be revealed. 

 It stung when my own blood goes behind my back, calling up a confidante, under the auspice of me having given the phone number myself. 
It stings that I am faulted for everything that goes wrong. 

 Sometimes my hands seem healed. I have forgone that annoying pet peeve of waiting around for cream to dry. I want to honor myself. I want to honor my hands. I remember reading about medical school anatomy lab in Mary Roach’s book, Stiff.  

 The hand was the single piece of anatomy that signaled human emotion. The hand gestures, it comforts, it expresses pride when it pats a back, it’s placed on sacred texts to validate vows, it touches and it feels. It’s tactile. It makes you who you are.  

 I want my hands to be silky smooth. And just when I think my incessant lotion lathering is working, the spaces between my fingers feel as though they are about to wither away.

CLXXIX. You’ve Got a Handle Over This -

Her hands smell of buttery goodness, but her skin is parched- dry and cracking. Auburn desiccated blood outlines the cracks in the skin.

I wake up and bake cinnamon streusel muffins. I disregard the “healthy” swaps of egg whites for the eggs, water for oil, and zero-calorie PAM spray for the stick butter that lines the indented muffin tray. I am not going to eat these.

Last night, I roasted potatoes and carrots in the oven for my parents and brother. I used my hands to douse them in olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, ground black pepper, and salt. The result was a lovely aroma, perfectly textured vegetables - the definition of a roast. I drizzled some more oil on after, just for the hell of it, and then justified doing so by seeing Mario Bartalli do the same on The Chew.

I had always wanted to roast vegetables for myself: cauliflower, broccoli, rainbow carrots, asparagus, fennel, and brussel sprouts - but I would have to buy my own true olive oil- cold pressed. I would put a much less amount than that described above and I would have to purchase pink Himalayan sea salt. Also, I would have to eat in bulk to ensure calories. I would have it with a poached egg perhaps, or hummus, but I wouldn’t be privy of calories, and that, for whatever reason, disturbs me. Am I eating too little? Too much? I know there is no such thing as the latter until I put on 20 pounds and even then, there will be no such thing as too much.

As I was sprinkling the salt with my bare hands, suddenly they stung horribly. The salt went into the nooks and crannies of my dried skin. I washed my hands but without success. The stinging lingered, and what is worse, is that I am stung even today.

“I was going to get that for you for Christmas, for your stocking.”

She was referring to a color blocked leather passport holder. I just looked at her. I had no words. I’m not even permitted to walk outside for more than 30 minutes and I sure as hell don’t go anywhere else. What would I do with a passport holder in my possession? It stung. It stung that I, who once had a travel bug, slowly but surely lost all desire to satiate wanderlust, especially without an income. That lack of desire, combined with my need to gain weight, makes it almost impossible to travel.

It stings not being able to enjoy returning home at the end of the day because I am at home all day, everyday. It stung that she would even think of gifting me a Passport holder.

Please don’t get it for me. It will just make me more depressed. I told her this and then I thought to myself, what an idiot.

I can just see myself, pulling out the chic leather accessory from my stocking on Christmas Eve. I have tunnel vision and cancel out those standing around me. I don’t jet-set like the rest of my friends do. They go on spontaneous trips, with minimal luggage, and yet somehow seem to be put together without any worry about expenses.

It stung when I was lied to regarding a quote unquote, concerned, relative. It stung that this person didn’t want to be revealed.

It stung when my own blood goes behind my back, calling up a confidante, under the auspice of me having given the phone number myself.
It stings that I am faulted for everything that goes wrong.

Sometimes my hands seem healed. I have forgone that annoying pet peeve of waiting around for cream to dry. I want to honor myself. I want to honor my hands. I remember reading about medical school anatomy lab in Mary Roach’s book, Stiff.

The hand was the single piece of anatomy that signaled human emotion. The hand gestures, it comforts, it expresses pride when it pats a back, it’s placed on sacred texts to validate vows, it touches and it feels. It’s tactile. It makes you who you are.

I want my hands to be silky smooth. And just when I think my incessant lotion lathering is working, the spaces between my fingers feel as though they are about to wither away.

CLXXVIII. Familiar Unfamiliarity - 

  Every time I pass by the town deli, I catch wafts of bacon sizzling, cooking, rendering. The smell intoxicates my nasal villi. I breathe in as deeply as I can, almost tasting the smell. 

 I consciously decided not to eat meat years ago. I never cared for the taste or texture of meat. It’s as simple as that. I have no ethical qualms against butchery or those who consume meat. I am well aware of the nutrients it provides, especially in the way of protein. 

 The last time I ate bacon was when my mother cooked it years ago in the Queens apartment we lived in that was owned by Trump, the president-elect.  
The last time I ate the crumbly strip was when I was 5 or 6 years old and it was likely a Saturday morning. I remember the frozen rows of crinkly air-tight plastic-wrapped bacon being left out to thaw. I always recoiled at the taste of it. I still remember it’s briny, salty flavor and rough texture. I remember the contrast in the all-too-chewy middle and the crispy, crumbly ends. I remember the color- best described as the color of dried up blood or a scab that had not yet healed. 

 But that smell reminds me of simple times past. It’s like the smell of coffee for some people. They relish those roasted coffee beans, that dank, musky scent from a drip brew. But when it comes to taste, they describe coffee as sharp, chalky, and acidic. 

 That’s me and bacon. It made everything better as I was heading home from a forbidden walk. I felt full and lacked an appetite before my lunch. 

 The same goes for when I pass by bagel establishments, although I remember enjoying the taste of those Eastern European delicacies. The smell of the carb-loaded donut-shaped breakfast and lunch item, when toasted, leaves me in a trance. The flaky innards having absorbed the glistening butter creates so strong a smell that I can almost recall tasting it. I remember dismissing the plain bagels and preferring sesame over poppy. I salivated over the delectable spinach bagels from the longtime defunct Manhattan Bagels in Forest Hills.  
On weekend indulgence days, I opted for deli ham slices, scallion cream cheese, or jam - strawberry, in between my bagel slices. I sometimes had the chocolate chip bagels out of kiddish desire, but I never really cared for the taste. A bagel wasn’t meant to be cake. 

 These smells evoke a sense of the familiar. I don’t feel deprived. If anything, they conjure up an otherwise lacking appetite.  

 Nearby where I live, there is also a popcorn factory. I never cared for the taste of popcorn. Popcorn was always too dry, oftentimes found residence in the crevices of my teeth, and sometimes seemed to get caught in my throat. I particularly never cared for the kernels that didn’t pop, sometimes unexpectedly making their way to the back of my throat, forcing a gag and scratchy swallow. These kernels sometimes threatened to chip a molar. Popcorn never seemed to satisfy my tastebuds either. Even the Christmas variety tins that had caramel and cheddar cheese flavored popcorn did nothing to placate my left-for-wanting palate. And yet I purposely would pass by the popcorn place if I was allowed to go on a walk, because the smell revs up my appetite. 

 Looking in the mirror, I am starting to see a familiarity. Cheeks are plumped up a little. I tried on a winter hat and didn’t see a deflated face underneath a cable knit rimmed fabric. It has been a long time since I could say that. My healthy face is so unfamiliar to me in the short term, and yet it resonates with the familiarity of a bagel shop.

CLXXVIII. Familiar Unfamiliarity -

Every time I pass by the town deli, I catch wafts of bacon sizzling, cooking, rendering. The smell intoxicates my nasal villi. I breathe in as deeply as I can, almost tasting the smell.

I consciously decided not to eat meat years ago. I never cared for the taste or texture of meat. It’s as simple as that. I have no ethical qualms against butchery or those who consume meat. I am well aware of the nutrients it provides, especially in the way of protein.

The last time I ate bacon was when my mother cooked it years ago in the Queens apartment we lived in that was owned by Trump, the president-elect.
The last time I ate the crumbly strip was when I was 5 or 6 years old and it was likely a Saturday morning. I remember the frozen rows of crinkly air-tight plastic-wrapped bacon being left out to thaw. I always recoiled at the taste of it. I still remember it’s briny, salty flavor and rough texture. I remember the contrast in the all-too-chewy middle and the crispy, crumbly ends. I remember the color- best described as the color of dried up blood or a scab that had not yet healed.

But that smell reminds me of simple times past. It’s like the smell of coffee for some people. They relish those roasted coffee beans, that dank, musky scent from a drip brew. But when it comes to taste, they describe coffee as sharp, chalky, and acidic.

That’s me and bacon. It made everything better as I was heading home from a forbidden walk. I felt full and lacked an appetite before my lunch.

The same goes for when I pass by bagel establishments, although I remember enjoying the taste of those Eastern European delicacies. The smell of the carb-loaded donut-shaped breakfast and lunch item, when toasted, leaves me in a trance. The flaky innards having absorbed the glistening butter creates so strong a smell that I can almost recall tasting it. I remember dismissing the plain bagels and preferring sesame over poppy. I salivated over the delectable spinach bagels from the longtime defunct Manhattan Bagels in Forest Hills.
On weekend indulgence days, I opted for deli ham slices, scallion cream cheese, or jam - strawberry, in between my bagel slices. I sometimes had the chocolate chip bagels out of kiddish desire, but I never really cared for the taste. A bagel wasn’t meant to be cake.

These smells evoke a sense of the familiar. I don’t feel deprived. If anything, they conjure up an otherwise lacking appetite.

Nearby where I live, there is also a popcorn factory. I never cared for the taste of popcorn. Popcorn was always too dry, oftentimes found residence in the crevices of my teeth, and sometimes seemed to get caught in my throat. I particularly never cared for the kernels that didn’t pop, sometimes unexpectedly making their way to the back of my throat, forcing a gag and scratchy swallow. These kernels sometimes threatened to chip a molar. Popcorn never seemed to satisfy my tastebuds either. Even the Christmas variety tins that had caramel and cheddar cheese flavored popcorn did nothing to placate my left-for-wanting palate. And yet I purposely would pass by the popcorn place if I was allowed to go on a walk, because the smell revs up my appetite.

Looking in the mirror, I am starting to see a familiarity. Cheeks are plumped up a little. I tried on a winter hat and didn’t see a deflated face underneath a cable knit rimmed fabric. It has been a long time since I could say that. My healthy face is so unfamiliar to me in the short term, and yet it resonates with the familiarity of a bagel shop.

CLXXVII. Hear Ye, Hear Ye - 

  Photo: Tiziano Vecellio, Titian - Maddona and Child with St. Catherine 
Venice, 1576 - taken at the Louvre, Paris, France on the eve of my mother’s birthday, April 16, 2016.   In spite of any attention that my last post received, I want to clarify and make transparent - as any journalist does - that my mother is my best friend. 
She is my ride or die. 
She is my comrade and confidante. 
She is the woman I aspire to be: solid limbs, limber gait, feminine, groomed - beauty defined. 
I admire her and I don’t. 
I want to improve her. 
I don’t want to be her. 
I want to embody her ideals more than my corporeal form already does, being born from her. 
Without her, I cease to be. She made me promise that this wouldn’t be the case. 
I don’t want to break that promise and that is why I want so badly to regain my health, so that I can commit to carrying her legacy of a strong woman. 
You, my mother, are everything to me.  

 As the religion I was born to asserts: without woman, man is not born and kings do not exist. 

 Without my mother, this Kaur, this so-called princess, does not exist either.

CLXXVII. Hear Ye, Hear Ye -

Photo: Tiziano Vecellio, Titian - Maddona and Child with St. Catherine Venice, 1576 - taken at the Louvre, Paris, France on the eve of my mother’s birthday, April 16, 2016.

In spite of any attention that my last post received, I want to clarify and make transparent - as any journalist does - that my mother is my best friend.
She is my ride or die.
She is my comrade and confidante.
She is the woman I aspire to be: solid limbs, limber gait, feminine, groomed - beauty defined.
I admire her and I don’t.
I want to improve her.
I don’t want to be her.
I want to embody her ideals more than my corporeal form already does, being born from her.
Without her, I cease to be. She made me promise that this wouldn’t be the case. I don’t want to break that promise and that is why I want so badly to regain my health, so that I can commit to carrying her legacy of a strong woman.
You, my mother, are everything to me.

As the religion I was born to asserts: without woman, man is not born and kings do not exist.

Without my mother, this Kaur, this so-called princess, does not exist either.