I’m 26 and I don’t need permission to go out. I don’t need permission to do this or that or anything else that I want to do, and yet I think deep down, I don’t want to venture out on my own. I don’t want to waver from routine. I’ll just end up reprimanding myself.
My friend told me that this penchant for routine is akin to being habitual about something- being robotic about something. To be able to adapt this way of life- doing the same day after day is a form of therapy. It’s meant to put one on track. It’s meant to take the overthinking work out of the equation. He needed that and I needed that. I need that. I think I do. I think I do.
I think it’s not ok for me to skip dinner and just consume my 9 pounds of watermelon. It’s not ok yet. But I did deem it ok to eliminate the caloric protein shakes in the dead of night that helped me to gain whatever I have so far. And then I grew anxious and purchased six more bottles - there are five left - after I finished over 40. I plan on returning the rest. I saved the receipt. I can’t do this anymore. For no reason other than its complete abnormality.
I bought my mother a “skinny” vanilla latte today - far less in calories than my organic protein shake. I heard her say that it tasted nice. She took several sips before dumping more than three-quarters of it down the kitchen sink. “I’m full,” she said. There went four dollars and change, down the drain, quite literally.
My mother would rule me not eating dinner as out of the question. She would snicker and form that half-protruding pout - “the evil smile,” I call it. And yet she’s full off of less than anserving size of farmers’ market cherry pie and less than two pounds of watermelon, even after working out: a combination of yoga, squats, glutes floor work, and crunches.
“Go ahead. Skip dinner,” she said, taunting me. It was a dare, not an ultimatum.
So let’s play a little game of Truth Or Dare. Dares don’t apply to me, so truth it is. Here we go.
I can’t help but feel gluttonous, especially due to the fact that I neglected my workout for her sake- we had plans made Thursday evening, that she decided to debunk Saturday morning- the day of said plans’ execution.
My routine was thrown off once again. Anxiety ensued but I went with the flow.
We decided to look at charcoal grills. Why? I have no idea. There are no plans to have people over for a barbecue, like we used to. I wouldn’t enjoy eating because while everyone else is fasting for the feast, I’ll be chomping away all day.
Just like today.
I told my mother we should go out - bask in Summer’s soon-to-end glory. I was met with a scowl, and a triumphant declaration of heat causing fatal repercussions- especially for someone like me- underweight, she said.
I am known for loving and thriving in conditions as hot as 110-degrees Farenheit and especially as someone who doesn’t weigh as much as before, I love the heat more so. I don’t feel chills. Warmth is preferred.
And so we made our routine trips- from air conditioned house to car to storefront-one being the farmers’ market which is owned by a man who exclaimed that I was my mother’s daughter and that he sees me here all the time. Yes, I am a glutton.
But to the man working on the construction of a defunct cleaner-tailor storefront, I’m the woman who walks a lot. I didn’t tell my mothe that little tidbit, but for a full three days, I stopped taking my walks, fearful that I may be overdoing it. Fearful that I may have lost weight even though my face looks fuller, my hair is healthier, my legs have stretch marks and jiggle a bit, and the car now recognizes me as a human - the light for “passenger airbag off” is no longer enlightened like an ambulance.
So we’re in the parking lot of the place I frequent for my watermelon, sweet potatoes, and acorn squash. Today I picked up a new one-serve, 17-gram fat-filled packet of sunflower seed butter as well.
A woman in her 50s or 60s, roundabout my mother’s age, emerged from her blood-red Ford Mustang. I saw her before my mother did. She was anorexia defined. Her physical state surpassed my original low weight by leaps and bounds. This woman has zero-body fat. All the sinews of her muscle can be seen. Her legs are stilts. I don’t know how she can walk.
I wasn’t disgusted, but I was empathetic and I observed with a mix of mild curiosity, unfortunately, some kinship, and fear for her life.
Then my mother saw her.
She was shocked. She was disgusted. She gasped, called on God in the way that agnostics do, and immediately bowed her head and threw one hand over her already obscured vision from the chic Burberry aviators I wish I could wear had I actually bothered to put on contact lenses or to approve of the way I looked without glasses.
Before she covered her face as if Paparazzi were all over her, I said, “I know. I know.”
I was never as bad as that, I told my mom.
She replied incredulously, “you don’t want to be like that.” She said this in an accusatory manner. As if I fancied the opened-coffin look.
The woman offended my mother and yet, ironically, my mom seems to emulate her by fasting from 2:30 pm until tomorrow morning when she’ll again sip on coffee and dine on an anorexic sliver of cherry pie.
I’m 26 but my mother still slights me for going out for less than an hour without a car because God forbid I walk. I don’t need to take it, but I cannot deny my ears nor the fact that one’s children are expected to obey.
I’m 26 and yet I feel imprisoned.
I flipped when she told me she wasn’t going to eat because she had a few bites of watermelon and ate lunch “late,” before I ate my own lunch. I could have avoided the argument, but part of me relishes the fact that I don’t have to seek approval for taking off from the house for longer than 45 minutes when we’re on talking terms. Part of me relishes the fact that I’ll be left alone so that when I eat, despite not being hungry, over half of my food intake for the day, I’ll be alone. No one will have to see me be the glutton.
What irks me though is that my mother keeps saying that she’s not [insert low weight here].Because I am no longer that skinny. I gained and I feel that because I am no longer that weight, I shouldn’t be eating as much as I am counseled to eat.
What irks me is that she wants to eat outside and buy dessert but will just have that meal all day - a treat - while I’ll have to keep consuming more and more.
What irks me is that she seems to empathize with me: “gain the weight and then you can kickbox again.” It’s as though she doesn’t really think that will ever happen. She’s just feigning support, to placate me.
Mother, may I?
May I understand where on Earth you’re coming from.