I am a textbook emotional eater. Textbook. When things get crazy, I work out more often, run a little harder, break out my resistance bands, smooth out my yoga mat, and do all kinds of creative visualizations about escape, eradication, and transcendence. I run away, run inside, run through it, and find my way clear.
But when life gets bad? When things happen that make me feel sad and scared, small and broken, weak and helpless.... Well, I eat. A lot. And we're not talking about carrot sticks and granola. Oh, no. We're talking about french fries, burgers, greasy popcorn, ice cream, chips, cookies, and chocolate in all of its heavenly forms. And if those aren't available? Anything sweet or salty will do. Dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, an extra teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, an extra tablespoon of honey in my tea. I have made brownies at midnight because I needed them. Like, needed them. And was willing to give up a whole blessed hour of sleep just so I could eat them all as soon as possible. When my son was in the worst of his colic, I ate a kilogram of M & M's every week. At least.
No, I'm not kidding.
This has been a bit of a rough month for me. It was almost exactly a month ago that my Auntie Joan moved into hospice care. I worked hard at staying positive, got out to see her as often as I could, made some plans for next spring's racing season, and continued to hold my breath about grad school. Little things stopped getting done. First, not as quickly. And then, not at all. My bed got made every few days, instead of every morning. The laundry piled up until the kids had used up their very last pair of pajamas and were put to bed in my old t-shirts. I cooked less. We had thrown together snacks and suppers. Many more convenience food and take-out packages went out with our trash. Dust accumulated.
I get that this is okay. As long as this doesn't go on for months or years. As long as I don't let myself pretend to live while going through the motions. As long as I keep moving forward....
Last night I had a bit too much wine, on top of pizza, ice cream, chips and a chocolate bar. I fell into bed with a headache and an overwhelming desire to scrape my life clean. I dreamed that I was three again, up too late while Mum and Auntie Joan sat at her old melamine table playing cards and drinking cowboy coffee. I dreamed that I climbed up into Auntie's lap, the way I always did.
She laughed, "This girl, she can do anything she wants to do!" and held me close so I could see her cards and draw me into her conspiracy.
I can't remember if she won, that night. I hope she did.