1. causing laughter or amusement; humorous
2. difficult to explain or understand; strange
If my health and weight loss journey has taught me anything thus far, it’s that life is funny.
Sometimes it’s funny in the humorous way, and sometimes it’s funny in the strange way; regardless, I don’t think it ever really stops being funny.
When I first started this journey, I wrote a long blog entry about why I’m a binge eater. I talked about how, for me, “indulging” in a binge is about satiating a need for control—about how it was borne as a direct result of my chaotic, restrictive childhood and adolescence, and how as I grew older, it became a crutch when, time and time again, my life began to feel like a derailing train.
Back in those early days of Weight Watchers, that desire for control was satiated by my meticulous measuring and weighing and counting and tracking and planning. The thing that I loved about Weight Watchers was that it afforded me that outlet I needed—the counting that the program required gave me that same rush of adrenaline that binging did.
For 10 months, that discipline and dedication I approached my Weight Watchers plan with forced the monster to lie dormant; for 10 months, I didn’t binge even once.
But then… one day the program just wasn’t enough anymore… one day, the adrenaline stopped running through my veins, and the urge to binge pulled me under and I stopped struggling—I didn’t even bother to try to keep my head above the water.
Because that’s the thing about eating disorders and addictions—sometimes no matter how hard you try, they pull you back… Sometimes that rush of adrenaline that you know is waiting for you on the other side is too hard to resist… Sometimes that fleeting feeling of a grasp of control is just too alluring…
I never really recovered from that first post-Weight Watchers binge. Since then, the number of benders I’ve gone on and the number of days and nights I’ve spent in a punishing state of food toxicity have been far too many to remember, let alone count.
Life’s funny that way…
On Tuesday night, I went out on my second date with Connor.
All day long I was in a tizzy; something was off, but I couldn’t figure out what. My best friend could feel the shift in my energy just via text message, so not long before I left for my date, she gave me a call to make sure I was alright.
I told her I wasn’t.
“I don’t know… I don’t know…. I don’t know what’s wrong. But it’s something.”
I wasn’t excited. There wasn’t even a sliver of excitement pulsing through my veins.
I got there early, and for about 10 minutes I seriously contemplated turning around and driving back home—I seriously contemplated standing him up.
But I didn’t.
He arrived right on time and gave me a hug. We walked into the restaurant and sat down at one of those half booth, half table contraptions. I asked him how his day was. I didn’t pay attention to his answer.
I started to people watch. I caught the eye of the working class, blue collar guy next to me at his own half booth, half table contraption, and I checked out his tattoos. He checked out mine. Then I caught myself thinking about how handsome he was. I smiled and looked back at Connor.
I asked dumb questions to try to ease the awkward tension floating through the air that I had managed to carry in with me. I noticed suddenly that he was left handed and made a joke about lefties being geniuses. He assured me that that was a myth.
I constantly found my mind wandering to other things. I felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time… My skin was crawling and I could hardly sit still.
I wanted to go home.
Instead we went to see a movie.
We sat in the very back of the theatre, and I kept my hands to myself. I alternated between watching the film (because Keanu is so funny!) and trying to collect my thoughts and “find my center.” I was glad that the movie left no more room for conversation; I’d struggled enough with that at dinner.
By the time the movie ended, I had come up with my excuses… two truths and a lie: someone from work texted me—they need me to sub tomorrow, even though it’s my day off, so I’ll need to get home…. It’s my mother’s birthday on Friday…. Mother’s Day is on Sunday…
Home. Home. Home.
He drove me back to the deserted lot where my car was parked, and I made awkward conversation for a few minutes before pretending to check a non-existent text message and then skillfully remind him that the job that I love so much required my presence early in the morning, so it was time for me to move out.
I said I’d come around to his side of the car to give him a hug goodbye—I figured that if I leaned over to hug him in the car, the chances of an awkward, unwanted goodbye kiss would be much higher.
When a boy wants to kiss you, he’s going to kiss you whether it’s in the comfort of his own car or underneath a flickering streetlight in an upscale neighborhood.
Bad Katy Perry and Taylor Swift songs were looping through my brain.
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
I waited until he pulled out of his parking space before I barreled out of the parking lot, hastily opening the carry-out box I’d haphazardly thrown on the passenger side floorboard of my car earlier with one hand. I shoved the half plate remnants of my greasy, overpriced, whole-day’s-worth-of-points Chinese food down my throat by the fistful.
I pulled onto the dimly lit toll road, and with a gentle push on the gas peddle of my little two-door sports car with the turbocharged 2.4 L four-cylinder engine, I hit 105 in less than a minute, and I said a silent prayer that the Colorado State Patrol wasn’t waiting up ahead to nail me.
Then I started to cry.
I wondered aloud if I was damaged goods. I found myself quoting Rizzo’s famous “defective typewriter” line from Grease, then I began to hysterically laugh at the idea that I was using a euphemism for pregnancy to describe the torturous thoughts pulling me down into this quicksand of hysteria.
I thought about every nice thing this 21-year-old guy has done for me during the short time I’ve known him. I thought about every carefully constructed text that voiced his concern. I thought about every door he held for me, every chair he pulled out, and every chance he took when he told me little personal details about his life—especially the ones that he voiced somewhat reluctantly.
I thought about the fact that he had somehow managed to quickly become a constant in my daily routine thanks to the continuous stream of text messages we’ve been exchanging for nearly a month now.
I thought about the woman who, after one simple interaction, saw something in me that she thought was good enough for her oldest child—her very first baby… The woman who I’d learned from her son was a strict disciplinarian and a tough nut to crack… The woman who was a reflection of the young man who didn’t focus on my weight or my struggles or my very obvious blue collar upbringing.
Then I started to think of the boys of yesteryear…
The boys on the schoolyard playground that taunted me with nicknames like Tractor and Bulldozer…
The boys that cruelly singled me out in gym class simply because I garnered sympathy from our gym teacher—a man who showed me extreme amounts of kindness because he knew I was too heavy to keep up with my peers…
The very first boy I gave a piece of my heart to, the boy who I fell in love with at 13 and didn’t stop loving until I was 20, the boy who always said that I was perfect and that he hoped to someday find a girl just like me—just not me…
The first couple of guys I ever really “dated,” the guys who never commented on my weight, yet they each refused to take me out in public, out into the real world where people could see me…
The random guys on the street that cracked jokes about my weight, that felt entitled to say cruel things to a stranger that they’d never seen or spoken a word to before…
Every guy that ever slighted me or ignored my advances or made me feel like I was nothing, like I was worthless just because I wasn’t “conventionally pretty…”
Then I thought about the words I’d jokingly uttered to a male friend several weeks ago when he asked me what the deal was with women’s stereotypical attraction to the “bad boy”—what my personal attraction to that kind of guy was: “maybe I just need someone to push me in the mud.”
It was at that moment I started to wonder if I would ever be able to be in a relationship with someone who didn’t treat me poorly—someone who didn’t either openly acknowledge the flaws that I, myself, spend every waking moment focusing on or, at the very least, someone who would indirectly acknowledge them by treating me accordingly—by regaling me to the confines of the privacy of dimly lit bedrooms.
I pulled into my driveway completely unsure of how I managed to get home without wrapping my car around a lamp post or a telephone pole.
I wiped away my mascara-laden tears so I could read the text message Connor sent. “I had a great time. I can’t wait to see you again.”
I tripped up my front steps in my haste to get to the refrigerator. Once inside, I started rummaging around for the most fattening, high calorie thing I could find, and then I remembered what was sitting in the back of my freezer, hiding behind all of my frozen fruits and vegetables, behind all of the meals I’d painstakingly planned, prepped, cooked, and froze for easy access to healthy food: an unopened pint of coconut chocolate almond gelato.
I shoved my arm to the back of my freezer and pulled it out, victorious. Then I shot off a series of rambling text messages to my closest girlfriends, alerting each of them to the fact that my night had turned terribly, terribly sour terribly, terribly fast.
As I laid on my kitchen floor, spooning the gelato into my mouth so quickly that I couldn’t even taste it, I let that all too familiar feeling of the train running off the tracks that had started to take me down right after Connor kissed me (and I shoved a thousand calories worth of Chinese food into my mouth) completely consume me.
As that binge-related adrenaline began to pump through my veins, I started to wonder how I was going to tell this boy who’d been nothing but sweet, kind, caring, and considerate to me that I had absolutely no romantic interest in him… and that that was probably because he was just too nice to me. I wondered how on earth I was going to force myself to do the same thing to him that every other guy I’d ever even remotely romantically cared for had done to me: force him into the friendzone, feed him a line that’s most likely going to upset him, and live with the fact that I turned down a perfect catch for absolutely no good reason—for something stupid and superficial.
Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
Funny how everything comes full circle.
Funny, funny, funny, funny.