I know I’m a little delayed, but before I move along, I want to tell you about my Thanksgiving this year. I hope yours was filled with family and love, and of course delicious food!
Thanksgiving. To a normal person, Thanksgiving is an exciting time to be spent with people you love and to remember all you have to be thankful for. And if we’re being honest, most people look forward to the food more than anything. Ah, the abundance of delicious sustenance! So you sit down, say grace, fill your plate 2 or 10 times, and all is happy and well. That’s normal.
Now let’s look at Thanksgiving from an eating disorder perspective:
Food. Lots of it.
People. Lots of them.
This should be fun.
Everyone is going to be looking at me and looking at my plate and someone is going to make a comment about my weight because that always happens and then someone is going to shove some pumpkin pie in my face and expect me to eat it and enjoy it and OH GOSH OH GOSH OH GOSH….Can I just move to Canada for the day? Do they have Thanksgiving there?
And then of course there are the potential triggers that will likely come up, like someone talking about a new diet they are on, or how forbidden the consumption of bread is, or that they need to go work out to burn off all the calories they just ate, or how the stuffing is gonna go straight to their thighs and then they’ll blow up…
And then perhaps the most dreaded thing about Thanksgiving for the recovering convalescent is the fear of hearing these 5 words: “Have you put on weight?”
ANXIETY. ANXIETY EVERYWHERE!
I was nervous; I’m not gonna lie. But do you know what? None of that happened. I had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!
Absolutely wonderful, it was! I went to Chicago for the holiday, and I got to spend it with both my Mom and my Dad, which I don’t remember ever doing before. We went to my cousin’s beautiful house in the Chicago suburbs, and we all had a magnificent time. My first Assyrian-style Thanksgiving! Yes, we had turkey, but there was also a number of Assyrian dishes, as well. Once I got there and was surrounded by friends and family, get this—I completely forgot about my eating disorder. I felt normal, healthy…hungry! So I did what any normal, healthy, and hungry person would do, and I filled up my plate with a little bit of everything that looked good, paid no mind to the calorie content, and enjoyed my dinner. Bite for bite, I ate it all! (Well, all except for a mushroom-based dish that I didn’t care for.) I didn’t eat to the point of being uncomfortably full, but I made sure to eat until I was genuinely satisfied. And a little while later, when it was time for dessert, I indulged in some fresh fruit and hot chai! It was heavenly. I felt really good.
None of the things I had feared would happen, happened. No one judged me. No one forced me to eat any more or less than I wanted to. No one suggested that I try out some fad diet with them. No one made me feel like a sinner for eating bread in all its carbo-licious glory. And while no one commented on my weight gain, during the entire trip my Baba (dad in Assyrian) couldn’t stop saying how much healthier and beautiful I look since he last saw me. I truly had a Happy Thanksgiving.
And I am thankful. For family that loves me, for a Savior that thinks I’m worth dying for, for living in a country where my family is free from persecution, for my health, for Hugh Jackman’s smile, and for my continuing recovery. It’s a long, hard process, but it’s worth it.
I have said before that surrounding oneself with Assyrian people is the best treatment for anorexia: they’ll feed your body and your soul. Shlamalokhun, peace be with you all!
Assyrians are the indigenous people of Iraq. The Assyrian Christians are persecuted for their faith and have been forced to flee their homeland or be killed at the hands of ISIS. To learn more and find out how you can help, please visit www.assyrianaid.org. And to learn how to cook up some delicious Assyrian cuisine, visit my cousin Atorina’s website at http://www.assyriankitchen.com. Your taste buds will thank you.