21 October 2011

Yellow Eggs and Red Sauce

Sitting at breakfast this morning, E and K have scrambled egg on toast. The doorstep toast is warm and the butter is melting nicely, the eggs are scrambled perfectly and look like little egg clouds floating in the jug. The condiments are put in the centre of the breakfast bar, more butter, salt, pepper and tomato ketchup. 

Where's your red sauce? 

Tomato ketchup is delicious on scrambled egg (so I’m told!) as E drizzles the RED sauce on his breakfast; K adds salt to her eggs. “I WISH I could put RED sauce on my eggs, I could just eat that, I bet it’s really tasty” She says. So, on overhearing this, I ask “why don’t you then?” Pause. “Well its RED sauce on YELLOW egg isn’t it? If red and yellow go together I WON’T be able to eat it, I just COULDN'T!” Pause.

My Dad, E,  pushes and pushes for K to try adding RED sauce to YELLOW egg, trying to persuade her that it is (as she suspects) extremely tasty. “Go on, just put some on if you want it.” He suggests. Even sacrificing a slice of his own breakfast for the cause in an attempt for her to try the mixture. They both suspect that it would REALLY complete her breakfast. But it’s no good.  The yellow and red together thing is too much for her to handle. There is NOWAY, no matter HOW tasty it may be, or not matter how much she’d love to, that K will add RED sauce to YELLOW eggs.

This conversation was all too familiar to me. It’s usually me in the ‘Why CAN’T you JUST eat more of what you know will be tasty?” Why CAN’T I just eat more substantial meals, or have full-fat cheese or whole milk? Why can’t I have pasta two nights in a row or eat a slice of cake I’ve lovingly baked for everyone? It doesn’t even work when people sacrifice what I suspect is a yummy sweet, just so I could perhaps TRY it. Nope, it’s just too much sometimes.

It’s what it’s like for me. It’s not a choice, it’s not something I can ‘just do’ and in the same way that there is NOTHING physically stopping K putting tomato ketchup on her eggs, there is nothing PHYSICALLY stopping me eating more, stopping me eating high calorie foods, foods with a higher fat content. I have those foods there in front of me, ready and waiting.  I wish I could eat them, like K wishes she could put red sauce on yellow eggs, but it is a fear holding us back. It can seem irrational to those around us, that can’t understand WHY if you like the taste of something, if you WANT something that you CAN have, why don’t you just do it?  

It’s not even a case of not eating now, because I am eating and to me I am eating a lot. Almost five times more than in the grip of my anorexia, five times more calories, five times more food. I’m Five times BETTER than at my worst and better at battling the fears.  My calories are very nearly back to normal (okay, with the help of Fortisip) but I still can’t JUST EAT high-calorie foods, foods I have labelled ‘bad’ for most of my life and foods that I have fears around. I wish I could help people understand that I have this fear, this barrier, and this power stopping me with EVERY bite. 

The foods I have now re-introduced in to my diet were once dangled in front of me, teasing me, but I just couldn’t eat them. Every bite of food I now eat was once K’s red sauce and yellow yolk situation, each one I now eat required me to face my fear front on and put it in my mouth. Each food I still won’t touch is going to require me to be brave enough to just face it and eat it. Each time E and K see me eat something new, something on my ‘bad’ and ‘fear food’ list, they need to remember it’s like K facing her fear head on and adding the sauce to her breakfast, which today, she didn't. I was just too much. 

Too much to handle 

Yes, to other people my fears probably seem ‘irrational’ - food is, so I'm told, to be enjoyed. It's the same way I can’t understand why red sauce can’t be put on yellow egg yolks. 

When I attempted to explain this concept this morning I was greeted with ‘Yes, but, at least I am eating.” Au contraire, dearest K, you’re not. You are denying yourself the red sauce on your eggs, despite knowing it’ll be tasty. It maybe be on a different scale. But the concept is the same! Right? Well, apparently not.
But when K says she CAN’T put it on her eggs, despite really wanting to, I am able to apply my fears of gaining weight, of food and of fat and understand that when she says she CAN’T enjoy ketchup on eggs, she just CAN’T at that point in time. Not only that, she can’t explain WHY she can’t. And so she goes without something she KNOWS she would enjoy, and the eggs go without the sauce.

It’s exactly the same concept. Why can I see it and they can’t? 

No comments :

Post a Comment