"Food is an important part of a balanced diet." Fran Lebowitz
A few weeks ago I turned 41. I'm lucky enough to have had the same best friend since second grade and this year I asked her and her younger sister if they would throw me a birthday party, which they happily agreed to do. It was a lovely party, the theme was Tiny Bubbles, so there was Hawaiian music and plastic leis and Pink Bikinis and champagne to drink and lots and lots of bubbles. After most of the guests had gone home Amy and Heather and their mother, Amy's husband, my husband and myself were the only people left sitting around drinking the last of the champagne. Heather's two girls were still awake but getting sleepy and she went in several times to try and settle them for the night. At one point she came out and stood on the top of the stairs leading out to the patio.
"Shoot me now," she said, looking out past the tiki torches into the dark of the yard. "Just shoot me now. Spencer just told me she wasn't going to wear her new navy dress anymore because it makes her look fat."
Spencer is five.
I have had an eating disorder, in one form or another, since I was thirteen years old.
Heather looked at me and said, "We need to write that book now. What am I going to do when they're older? We've got to figure this out."
Having known Heather and Amy for so long, we've seen each other grow and change, grow up and grow older. We all have our different issues with body image and weight and food. We've talked at times about a book that would share our stories, and I think maybe this blog will be a good place to start that dialogue, to share those stories, to look at our past and see if we can't change the future for Heather's girls. For all girls. For ourselves.
Food is so basic. We must eat to live. But why do we eat what we eat? Why do we care what we eat? Who do we eat with and why? Why do people turn to food for comfort? Why do people restrict what they eat, whether it's for health or culture or out of pathology? How did something so basic become so complex for so many people?
Look at the covers of magazines in the grocery store. Notice how many promise to help you lose weight. Notice how many contain a cooking section. Notice how many are about fitness or food. Think of the television shows promoting weight loss and those that promote eating. Does it feel balanced to you?
I can't help but think of Scarlett O'Hara. You heard me. Women of her time weren't supposed to eat a lot in public. Women of our time -- who knows? We can't eat too little or we're anorexic. We can't eat too much or -- oh, pick something. And what do we think?
That's what I'd like to know.
So share please. And I will share in turn. But keep in mind this is not a site for diet suggestions or weight loss tips or to attack one another whatever size or shape we may be. Vicious commentary will be deleted. Future posts will try and explore the questions raised through personal anecdotes and observations.
You may, or may not, have noticed that I didn't mention any food at the party. That's because food isn't my thing. That's one way to put it. Another way to put it is that I have severe food phobias and aversions. Or maybe I'm just really picky. I told you it was complicated.
Mix one 1.75 liter bottle of raspberry lemonade with 1 3/4 cups coconut rum and 1 cup amaretto liqueur in a pitcher, mix well and serve over ice.