I've shared a little of my eating and body image issues with this one person, so he/she does know I've struggled with such matters for a while. This person knows I've been in treatment, and knows I'm working on my relationship with food and my body. Still...he/she continues to comment and remark about food in horribly damaging ways. In an effort to take care of myself and the headway I've made over the last few years, I've been meditating and trying to be mindful of what's important to me and my family.
Still, he/she does his/her best to wiggle under my skin and pick at all the little nits in my subconscious. I believe in my heart of hearts that he/she does not know he/she is doing this, but that doesn't make his/her comments any less hurtful.
Yesterday, after a round of golf, the group of us grabbed lunch. We were with two teenaged boys and my husband, who were all ordering burgers or sandwiches of some kind or another. I was leaning towards either a turkey burger, or a wedge salad when "The Triggerer" said, "I guess I'll be bad and have a burger and fries." Unable to control the sarcasm that has been brewing deep inside since his/her arrival, I replied, "Oh, it's bad to have a burger and fries?"
I kicked my husband under the table to make sure he was paying attention to all of this negative food talk.
"Yes," he/she said. "I could have a salad."
"And a salad is better than the burger?" I asked.
"Okay, so just so I understand where you're coming from, burger: bad, salad: good?"
"Yes. Or I could have a salad in place of the fries," he/she said. Mind you, this person eats more greens and salads than your average rabbit who has taken up residence in a backyard garden, but whatever.
When the waitress came to take our order, The Triggerer ordered the "bad" burger, then added, "Can you put some bacon on there, too?"
My eyes bulged. "Did you just add bacon to your cheeseburger?" I practically screamed.
He/she laughed. "Yes. I figure if I'm going to be bad, I might as well be really bad!"
Oh, Triggerer, my old self would have said, You are so strong with your food choices. One little cheeseburger isn't going to hurt you. Not if you make up for it and have a salad for dinner tonight, and restrict your intake of anything sweet. Cheeseburgers and fries ARE bad. I wish I could be more like you, but I'm so weak and wrong when it comes to food.
Then this morning....I'd made banana bread yesterday afternoon because I could no longer ignore the brown bananas in my fruit bowl that were begging to be changed from their ugly ducklingness into the swan that is banana bread. When I came downstairs this morning, The Triggerer was eating a Dannon Zero yogurt thing (something we don't usually keep in the house because we no longer buy into the "no sugar/no fat" nonsense). I reminded him/her about the banana bread. He/she followed me into the kitchen, rinsed out his/her yogurt container, then said, "Ok. I guess I'll have my dessert now" referring, of course, to the banana bread, the thing I considered my "breakfast." UGH.
There are more examples I could cite, but in an effort to keep anyone who might be reading this from falling asleep or clicking off my blog, I'll just say that it's taking Herculean effort to not buy into this person's warped food issues. It's taking every ounce of strength I have to tune him/her out and to stay strong in my recovery and my new beliefs about food and body image. Meditation helps, thank God. Having my husband and my daughters on "my side" helps. My girls, especially, are keenly aware of The Triggerer's comments. They shoot me looks of astonishment and understanding across the dinner table.
So this is life, right? Food issues and those who don't have a clue as to what's healthy and what's not surround us every day. I guess because this person is (sort of) in my family and knows my issues, his/her comments are more hurtful than those from anyone in the outside world. Our family often does the most harm when it comes to matters of food, eating and body image. I know he/she is living in his/her own world of screwed up food messages, and I need to understand that and accept he/she for who he/she is, but still, there's a big part of me that would like say, "Shut the hell up!"
Thankfully, I have less than two days with this person in my house. He/she boards a plane in 31 hours and twenty-two minutes.
Not that I'm counting.