I feel like this is a long overdue project that I somehow stumbled upon completely by accident. However, it feels like it could be the greatest act of self-love for myself and, well, I hope it could turn into that for you too. See, I had a pretty severe eating disorder from 22-27 where I lost about twenty or so pounds that I’m pretty certain I couldn’t afford to lose. I don’t think it’s healthy to romanticize too much on how I felt that I looked, but I will say I was very pleased with myself and also very very sick. The kind of sick that makes me think that it’s possible I did some permanent damage. The kind of sick that sent me to therapy because I would have anxiety over the thought of eating bread. I couldn’t even walk down the bread aisle without anxiety. I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I would look at myself in the mirror and grab my skin and think, “Yuck. You are ugly! You are fat! You don’t belong in this city. All these beautiful girls and you?! Who. The. Fuck. Are. You?” I would get horribly upset that I couldn’t lose enough to get under what I thought was my “ideal” weight, and to keep myself thin I would do anything. I would throw up, use laxatives, use drugs. I would do a line of coke and then hit the gym and run on a treadmill for hours. I shudder at the torment I put my body through so that I could be thin.
I’m happy to say that I am older now, and I’ve gained that weight back, but the truth is I’m still sick. Sometimes I’m scared I always will be. And to be honest, I know I will. I know this feeling never goes away. Because doctors and psychiatrist can say what they want about why people are the way they are-childhood trauma, sexual assault, genetics, all of the above-but I know it doesn’t matter to me anymore what the why is. I just know it is. I know that my brain is different. I know it now. And I knew it as a child. The upside is that as an adult I am able to look outside of the anxiety and self-hatred so so so much better than I could before. Sometimes I still hold my stomach when I get out of the shower. Embarrassed that my boyfriend will think I’m fat. It’s a horrible thing to say because I know it’s not real, but I still feel it so deeply. The difference is that before I would have had a bag of illicit drugs somewhere in my house. I’d micro dose-I was excellent at that, a fucking champion-and then I’d be on merry way, knowing that the drugs would keep me from eating and increase my metabolism to an inhuman degree. It would also elevate my mood. A lot of people think uppers make you, well, “up”. But, when your brain moves a thousand miles a minute, and you’re the kind of person that your boyfriend describes as legitimately one of the most anxious people he’s ever met, uppers do the opposite. They don’t bring you down but they mellow you out. It’s like it allows the world to finally catch up with you. And I won’t lie, it was amazing. But it’s fraudulent and it will catch up with you. I promise you it will. So now I sit, I take deep breathes, I ask myself which part of my manic feeling is actually real and which part is a mercurial illusion. I put away the electronics-fecking rabbit hole of beautiful rich girls who clearly don’t eat and have someone paying all their bills-and, well, I cook.
Cooking saved me. It continues to saves me. I was able to turn an activity that used to torture me, into something that keeps me sane. Ok I am not going to lie and tell you I’m like clean and sober. I’m clean. I don’t do drugs, and while I do not mind if my friends do them I have made it known that I prefer that they don’t do them around me. I’ll never not be able to do cocaine. It makes me want to cry a little bit to admit how vulnerable I am, but if you’ve done it before, chances are you get what I am saying. If someone dumped a bag of coke on a table it would be incredibly hard for me to walk away. That’s why it’s so important for us to be honest with ourselves about our insecurities and our well being. Our monsters grow only when we give provide the darkness for them to feed. I only got better when I admitted I was sick. And I stay healthy by being unafraid to admit that I was and am sick. That I have monsters still. This by the way led to my demise at Forest Lawn-a famous funeral home that holds the like of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Walt Disney, to name a few-when once upon a time, my life almost took me down a different path, but that is another story, for another time. I will however sum it up by saying that the girls I worked with used the fact that I had an eating disorder as a means to tell my boss that I discriminate against-their words-“fat girls”. I cried my eyes out over this. I sobbed and sobbed. And when they let me know that they had drawn a line in the sand, I threw up everyday before work until I finally had to quit. Anyways this rambling is meant to say that when I cook it’s a celebration of love, for my body, my soul, my sanity, and that yes, I crack open a bottle of wine and drink the entire time I cook, and it’s amazing.
So what the feck am I trying to say? Ummm bullet points will help!
- One: You are beautiful just the way you are. Seriously! I mean I don’t want to assume that just women read this, I mean I know that the reality is that it’s just my mom reading this, but like ladies, you are perfect the way you are. Everyone on T.V. who is hot and skinny is probably just super hungry and not as happy as you think they are. So I love you and you are awesome.
- Two: If you think you have an eating disorder you are not alone. I suspect it’s incredibly common. Like, I think most of us have one and suffer at varying degrees.
- Three: Cook with love. Cooking for yourself can be a wonderful way to take control of how and what you eat. I used to cut tiny little cubes of cheese and portion out almonds and salmon and technically that was also “cooking” for myself but it wasn’t cooking with love. And I’m not advocating some Eat, Pray, Love bullshit. But I am telling you to put that dollar bill or straw down and flush them drugs and diet pills. Put away the scale, both for food and your body. You can learn to eat healthy without being a total effin Nazi about it.
- Four: Umm I hope I inspire you? The goal for this is multifold. The recipes I have selected and will be doing little write-ups and videos on are veggie centric as I want this to be a sort of “killing everything but animals” kinda vibe. Some are personal recipes. Some are historic/ death related. And some are just everyday recipes that I figured out how to make vegan.
- Five: I hope you dance. HAH! No I am just kidding. Although my Grandma gave me a book with that title and I was so confused, like this bitch does not know who I am, Jesus buy me booze Grandma what is this shit?!
- Six: Although hang on, you know what? When you cook I do hope that you dance. I hope you make it something fun. I hope you turn on music. Drink. Don’t drink. Look you don’t have to drink to have fun, but I’m really just hanging on to living by a thread and I need the booze to mellow out the noise that is “life”. So for my pretentious ass friends. And pretentious ass readers I give you this Nietzsche quote, “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
- Which leaves me with, Seven: Don’t worry about the people who claim to hear sound but can’t hear you. Because I do.
Post Script: While the recipes I’ll be talking about are vegan I am by no means trying to push the vegan agenda on ya! Take what you will and use this as a way to just see a different style of cooking. I used to eat meat and loved it. Legit a rare steak and mash potatoes!! I also would cut a bitch for some cheese. So here I am, in all my miserable glory, just trying to show you that change is possible and none of have to be a victim or prisoner to our past.