Chicken and Stars

Life with anorexia is like a can of Chicken and Stars soup: you always know what you're gonna get.

Damn. That's pretty philosophical coming from me, seeing as I had to drop my ethics class in college because the professor looked exactly like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and I just couldn't quite take it seriously.

But for those who say that variety is the spice of life obviously don't know someone with anorexia and OCD. Because I'm not a gal who likes variety. If variety is spice, then that spice is like doing a shot of pure capsaicin. Not pleasant.

Life without my eating disorder was, to me, quite unpredictable. It was like getting served different soup everyday, only half the time I hated it, and most of the rest was barely tolerable. But then there was the Chicken and Stars out of the can. Not exactly haute cuisine- in fact, basically it was the exact opposite. Condensed soup- does a body good. But every can of Chicken and Stars was the same. It was reliable. I knew what I was getting, and even though it wasn't my favorite, I could deal with it.

Then something odd happened. I didn't just have to have Chicken and Stars soup. I had to buy it from the same store. Then I could only eat the same lot number. And on and on. Soon I found I had to count the itty-bitty stars in the can before I knew it was "safe" to eat.

Now, I'm going back to the buffet table. I don't like this. I miss the Chicken and Stars, I really do. I know there are many many better soups out there, but the safety of Chicken and Stars was comforting. It took the edge off of the anxiety that ruled my life in every other area. I don't like getting different soup every single day.

The problem is that so many people around me (the dieters at work, for example) are discovering the joys of Chicken and Stars, while I am having to leave the familiar red and white can behind. Maybe it's different for them, maybe they can go back to the smorgasbord of soup that is life whenever they want. Maybe I don't have that ability- at least not without hospital stays and years of therapy.

I feel like a toddler: I WANT MY CHICKEN AND STARS, DAMMIT!!!

I am only beginning to learn that life, by its very nature, is unpredictable. And that I have the ability to deal with that, to accept that shit happens, and it will be okay. That I can handle it, head on, that I don't need Chicken and Stars to dull the anxiety. Maybe I thought I did before. I don't like that itchy feeling that comes with uncertainty.

But I am finally coming to ditch the can.

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1 comment:

mary said...

YOU didn't want chicken and stars, your old friend ocd wanted something to do. You deserve to be dreaming of hula dancing instead of observing your food. Stick to chocolate and peanut butter and whatever new foods you're brave enough to try. I know this is hard, some days harder than others. You will soon be leaving all this behind, just keep going forward Carrie. Trust that you will be free of this if you can somehow get past the memories and messages calling you back. IGNORE them. You have new and better stuff to do. Use your creativity well, your best weapons have yet to be forged. Make yourself a magic wand to remind yourself how strong you are when push comes to shove. I gave my daughter one when she turned 21yrs, no particular reason except to remind her that she held part of the magic it required to beat this bugger.We actually brought back sticks [wands] from Lynn Dinas, the lake where Arthur received the sword from the lady in the lake, as legend goes. Sure made for cheap souvenirs! My mom's best gift from us was a little bit of water from the lake, so maybe it's hereditary that I think as I do. I am organized in many things Carrie but if I didn't take my mind outside the box I'd be incredibly bored. I already know you are funny and a gifted writer. What would happen if you wrote some fiction, just for play? I'm thinking that writing is your passion so use it for recovery beyond the ED world or serious stuff. It doesn't have to be here...anywhere you dare to will work.
It's dark and gloomy here, a good night for buttered popcorn and a movie. I will not count, I promise. : )

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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