“Don’t you want to be with someone who loves you?” J asked, the day he told me he wanted a divorce. I was sitting in the family room of our newly built suburban tract house, while J paced the floor.
“Are you saying you don’t love me?” I asked incredulously. I knew the answer but had been stuffing down the obvious for months.
Well, do YOU love ME?” J retorted. Damn. He had me there.
And just like that, J moved out, taking half the furniture, the lawnmower and his car. I got the dog. Come hell or high water I was getting the dog. We agreed to sell the house. Despite how it ended, I was sad, grieving not only the loss of my partner of seven years, but the future we had planned. I had planned.
“Aren’t you glad you didn’t have kids together?” My mom asked, trying to look at the bright side. Yes, but watching my friends having babies sucked. Attending showers, buying onesies, ranking baby names, all while trying to keep the envy that was bubbling beneath my skin from festering and bursting open, infecting the relationships with people I loved.
Sadness, envy, fear were emotions I didn’t want to deal with so instead, I didn’t eat.
Wait….What? Yep, somewhere along with losing a husband I had lost my appetite. I had no desire to eat a cookie let alone binge on a whole pie. I wanted to want food, to lean on Papa Murphy and Sara Lee to get me through this difficult time but I didn’t have the desire. After days of nibbling on Cheerios while I packed up the house I realized, my body felt good. I felt empty. Light. My brain unencumbered by the obsessive internal chatter about food. I liked it.
Things got busy. A month after the split, I received a big a promotion at work. I was tasked in creating a Human Resources department for our rapidly expanding company, a job for which I was completely unqualified (this fact, coupled with the timing of my divorce, had the whole place buzzing about my suspected affair with the Executive Director). In truth, I was just a good ass kisser, figuratively speaking. The house sold in the burbs and I purchased a 1940’s bungalow in a bustling part of Southwest Portland. I enjoyed girlfriend getaways to the Oregon coast, I joined a gym, and went on dates with an array of men, some of whom I even allowed to touch my stomach. I was fulfilled at work, I was financially independent, and I was reconnecting with my friends. And I had dropped some weight. I was happy. My appetite had since returned but the desire to binge had not. Hmmmmmm?
I chalked my binging up to a phase, like my obsession with Hello Kitty or dressing like Madonna. As far as I was concerned my disgusting habit was gone. I was normal.