We ordered a lot of food.
Dumplings and bulgogi beef and coconut chicken curry noodles and Thai basil rice and drinks and creme brulee with berries.
And it tasted like excitement, like having my husband all to myself in a little restaurant on a cold January night. It tasted like a perfect date night.
And it was.
After dinner was a frosty car waiting to take us back home, to pay the babysitter, to put the children to bed, to crash on the couch--drunk from sensory consumption--to our habitual life.
I wasn't ready, not yet, to think about responsibility again. The church meeting I had the next afternoon, the obese inbox, the popcorn kernels littering the floor in the den like post-party confetti waiting for a sober vacuuming.
True to form, my anxiety always triggers Fat Talk. The self-absorbed thoughts about my body powerfully disregard health or happiness to zero right in on insecurity. While Chup was paying the bill I exited out into the sidewalk crusted with snow and ice.
Eliminate Fat Talk, Janna said.
The air from my lungs billowed out my mouth and swirled into the atmosphere.
Eliminate Fat Talk, I repeated.
I thought about all the food--the glorious food!--I had ingested. How did I eat so much? How will I feel when I wake up in the morning hung over from pan-Asian spices and meats? I should have denied myself the last four servings! I am faaaaaaaaaaaat!
Eliminate Fat Talk! I chanted with desperate chattering teeth.
And then, something so true and so enabling happened to me, it caught me by surprise.
I heard a voice say, "So what if you're fat?"
And I thought about it. Fat has always been so scary to me. The word, the way it flings out of the mouth when you say it, the way it sticks when it lands. FAT. The Devil's own word to sum up everything that isn't right. I am fat has a thousand meanings, the least being unhealthy, the most being unimportant. I have lived in fear of fat for so long, it eats me furious and terribly and leaves me heavier than any number on the scale.
But here was a thought, holding up a mirror to say, here's fat. So what?
Are your eyes any less blue?
Is your hair any less thick?
Or your body any less vigorous?
Did those noodles taste exquisite?
Was the conversation interesting?
When you cracked the brulee, did it pop?
Does your husband desire you?
Are your children charming?
Is your home still cozy and warm?
If you are fat, are you still from heaven?
Are you always divine?
Down the street there were young kids lined up to hear a band play at a nearby venue. They huddled in small good-looking groups, yellow tights, faux fur, top siders.
The electronic sign from the bank farther down the street flashed 18 degrees.
Chup ducked out of the restaurant and found me. Put his arm around me and said, "Let's take you home."
And the scoreboard for the fight against my body image looked like this:
Courtney 1. Fat. 0
I've always thought I was fat. Even when I wasn't. Especially when I wasn't.
And I should say this, I don't want to lose weight, I've done that plenty times before. I want to heal, to cure myself from the disease of a body image illness. That's the unhealthy.
C. Jane's Guide to Provo:
Win a lunch & eat with me and my famous brother!
Dear C. Jane:
Be sassy in 2011. Here's how.
I am C. Jane Kendrick and it's the small victories, you know? You can contact me personally at cjanemail @ gmail.com or leave comments on my facebook page and if you are on twitter you can find my tweets here. But no pressure.