“Let’s play a game. Everyone go around the table and say one thing you love about everyone else.” I say to my family at the end of dinner some years ago.
“What is this? Do you need everyone to tell you how great you are? Is your self-esteem that low?” My dad retorts.
“No…” I say, slightly crushed. “I just thought it would be a fun way to spark conversation. I’ll start!”
I went around the table and told everyone a favorite quality I love about them, and then the game promptly died because my dad can be an asshole.
I did need to hear something from my parents that they admired about me. But that wasn’t the point. My family can’t broach feelings even in an easy, friendly, probably alcohol-induced, game format.
We had ham, not turkey, because my uncle hates turkey. I don’t particularly like ham, and did not want anything to do with it. But I couldn’t refuse it and I remember thinking that I had two choices: leave it and be chastised or force myself to choke it down, and feel absolutely terrible and gross and sad.
I wanted seconds but I had only run a 5k that morning, and my time wasn’t satisfactory. “You only ran 3 miles today, and you’re getting seconds!?” My dad says with a tone that makes anyone want to crawl in a hole.
One thanksgiving in my mid-twenties, after 3 years of not purging, I suddenly became overwhelmed and went on a run just so I could find a place to purge the meal out of sight.
The following thanksgiving I was alone and had plans to attend a “friends-giving” since most of our husbands were deployed. I woke up that morning planning to cancel, feeling engulfed by depression and unable to get out of bed. I did cancel. But those friends lifted me up; said they didn’t care what sort of shape I was in, and that I was showing up or they would physically come get me.
Last year I ran 9 miles the morning of thanksgiving, and 42 miles that week.
Thanksgiving is historically hard. Very hard.
If my mass increases at all, I won’t be loved by anyone.
A n y o n e.
I used to think it was more along the lines of if I become obese, no one will love me. But that’s a gross exaggeration of what I perceive to be “too much” to gain.
It’s illogical but I don’t see how this core belief built of steel will ever crumble.
Thanksgiving is the culmination of all my greatest fears in one place on display for everyone to witness.
Ugh. Help me.