I was starving. With the bright warm sun breaking through the grey spring clouds, the four of us didn't want to get off the tennis court. I knew I was pushing it. As it was, I would have to forgo a shower if I was going to get across town in time for my scheduled COVID vaccine time slot. Not a chance in hell I was going to miss that. But, thinking I had timed my day perfectly allowing for a quick lunch, I hadn't packed any snacks. The rumbling of my stomach distracting me from my serve. My energy starting wane as I let balls pass that usually, I would go for like a pit bull after a squirrel. I needed to eat.
As I tossed my gear in the car and hopped in, I decided to make a quick stop at Starbucks to grab a chicken chipotle protein box, one of my favorite grab-and-go's. But as I headed down the hill, I started to talk myself out of it. My anorexic brain, tranquil as of late, took advantage of my famished state and decided to come out to play.
AB. You do not need to spend $7.95 on that, Sherri. You really should have planned.
SB. But it's on the way, and I certainly can afford a sandwich.
AB. But it comes with carrots and apples, and you just bought some at the store. It's a waste of money.
SB. I know but I don’t do it often. And I have a gift card.
SB. You can stop at home. You have food there.
By the time I finished arguing with myself, Starbucks was in my rearview mirror and I had resigned to taking an extra five minutes to run home and grab something as skipping food was NOT an option. I sped through town, cursing the older woman in the car in front of me for driving the speed limit. When I got home, I raced in the house and towards the fridge. In grabbing for the deli turkey, I knocked a carton of blueberries off the shelf, scattering them across the kitchen floor. Fuck it, I thought as I stepped over them, searching for the bread and finding the bag empty, proceeding to yell at my son for eating the last of it. I grabbed some crackers and my purse and headed out the door for my appointment only to discover, a half a mile later, I had left my phone sitting on the counter.
But I saved myself $7.95.
I knew better. I had been over this time and time again during my years in treatment. Anorexia is not about food. Although a hot mess, I felt a familiar pleasure for skipping that Starbucks, and that feeling caught my attention. It was telling me something.
Recovery from anorexia can be like that. It's like playing Whack A Mole. When I think I have nailed one trait of the disease, another pops up.
Self Care. Whack, whack, whack.
I have to be aware and recognize when old patterns start to creep in. In this case, the entangled relationship I have with money and self care. I have a tendency to control one to withhold the other. I automatically buy imported German water for Marc and grab a pack of La Croix for myself. I go out of my way to purchase small-batch organic hair products for my kids and settle on the Costco special for myself. I chose to get the regular pedicure while my husband, sitting right next to me, deservedly chooses the Delux. And recently, I did not think twice about taking my son D, on a shopping spree to Nordstrom, paying never mind to the overpriced tag because the clothes looked so great on him, while I shifted uncomfortably in my thread worn leggings from the local consignment shop.
“Mom you should get a convertible,” D said to me on the way home from our shopping spree. I was retracting the sunroof on the car while slyly (I thought) eyeing the sleek, red Mercedes with the top down passing us on the left.
“I have a nice car," I said rolling my eyes in a kids these days kind of way, “why do I need a Mercedes?"
“Because you deserve to have nice things,”he said matter of factly before turning the music back up to signal conversation over.
Thanks for the reminder Buddy, but how about we stop at Starbucks first.