This past summer, I tried sushi for the first time. Seated, served, concentrating on my movements, I had carefully positioned the chopsticks in my right hand, then deliberately pinched the first colorful, creatively crafted piece with them, intentionally attentive to the amount of pressure I was applying so as neither to drop it nor break it apart. Slowly lowering the half-dollar-sized, cylinder-shaped roll, I dipped the first piece into a small ornate black bowl full green paste I was told was Wasabi, without a single thought or fear about what the calorie or fat content was, if/when/how I would/might/could gain weight by eating what I was about to eat, what I would “need” to do to “work it off”, who was watching me, how it would affect my mood, my self-esteem, the rest of my day, week, month, or life. I just waited, hungry, in eager anticipation to discover what it would taste like.
Mimicking the actions of others, I forced the entire piece into my mouth. Instantaneously, my eyes began to tear, my face became flushed, and my sinuses felt as though tingly, hot air was being blown through them. Wasabi was uniquely unlike anything I had ever tasted. Sitting in the center of my tongue, stuck and mashed against the roof of and sides of my mouth so full my cheeks expanded, the roll softened enough to chew and swallow. I smiled, still swallowing. Intrigued and impressed by the intensity of Wasabi and the strong, foreign flavors of the sushi roll itself, I reached my chopsticks to the platter and picked up another…
Face to face with the love of my life, waiting for our check, melting into his bright blue eyes that sparkled in the soft candlelight, I felt full and fulfilled. With him, my hands gently enclosed in his, I was grateful for my entire life: how it had changed, how far I’d come, who I became in large part because of all I’d been through, and I felt amazingly grateful that I had somehow managed to survive to that point. If I had never recovered, that moment in time would never have happened. I hold that thought often, and it seems to sweeten and soften every moment in my life. Across from him, lingering in each other’s company before leaving, I absorbed this purely happy memory and took a moment to appreciate how things had definitely changed completely.
I am so thankful to the younger version of myself that fought through that hell, fought for life itself, and searched tirelessly for what might make the difference. At some point, somehow, I couldn’t help but wonder (no matter how I tried not to) if maybe I was missing something (more than food!). If maybe, just maybe, there could be a better, easier, non life-threatening way to fill that emptiness I felt instead of contributing to it… If there might be some way to find fulfillment, relief, comfort, and an outlet to express myself without it ultimately leading to my demise. I am so glad I let myself wonder if maybe, just maybe, things could be different. I am amazed everyday that they are.
Even within the powerful grip of an eating disorder, I hope you allow yourself to wonder if maybe, just maybe, your life could be different. I have no doubt that if and when you are sure you want things to change, they will. And wanting change can sometimes begin with small wonderings.