Today’s going to be a a bit of a reflective post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago before leaving our old flat. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
One morning, I quickly popped to the supermarket after an run as there was nothing in our flat that I fancied eating. On my return I parked, as I usually do, on the road just off ours with one side of my car partly on the pavement. Everyone on our road and most of the surrounding roads does this. The pavements are especially wide for an inner city area. And I always make sure that pedestrians can still walk on the pavement without difficulty and that I’m not parking across a dip in the pavement that allows wheelchairs, prams etc access to cross the road.
So, my car is parked. I get out and take my shopping bags from the back seat. As I’m doing this an older lady a little way down the road starts shouting at me. I couldn’t hear her at first, so I said “I’m sorry?”. She then goes on about how I’m parking on the pavement, I’m inconsiderate etc, pointing at my car and shouting things that I couldn’t quite make out.
Since I was too tired and starving I thought I’d practice the old Christian saying of “turn the other cheek” so I just walked away. I could tell that there was not a single word I could have said to calm her down. As I’m walking away she shouts after me “that’s it, you walk away from me. Selfish!”. Crazy.
The whole incident only last seconds rather than minutes. However, it’s lingered with me. A number of thoughts have gone through my head after this. Part of me wishes I stopped and pointed at the rest of the cars (about 10 or so) who have parked exactly as I did. Part of me is worrying that something’s going to happen to my car or that I’m going to get some letter or fine from the local council. Part of me is thinking about how I did not deserve that abuse. I’m usually quick to acknowledge when I’ve done something wrong or untoward to others (unless I’m arguing with the Husband, but that’s a different matter entirely). That, I just did not deserve. Clearly the case is more complicated and delicate for this lady than just my parking my car. Even so.
Here’s where I link this back to food (it works you’ll see).
Since then I’ve been ruminating on the notion of deservedness. I did not deserve that torent of harsh words.
As I was chopping up veg to roast and thinking about what food to eat later in the day I realised that often I don’t feel like I deserve certain foods. I don’t deserve to make and eat a dish that’s too rich, fatty or calorific. I don’t deserve an entire dessert. I don’ deserve a hot chocolate. Yet deservedness doesn’t come into the picture when I’m faced with a delicious bar of dark chocolate that I want, or lots of peanut butter, both rich and some may argue “fatty”. Others may use exercise so that they can eat certain foods; “I can eat x now because I’ve done x amount of exercise today”. For me, sometimes I feel as though I don’t even deserve to take the time out for myself to exercise, despite that being what I truly want. It’s funny how old ED habits – the irrational thoughts, the avoidance of certain foods – can rumble in the background, unnoticed, until somehow something jolts these habits into your consciousness. I don’t even think these thoughts are unique to people who have had an ED. Women and men in our society now often feel this way as the pressure to look good and be a certain size permeates through our culture. Yet it is only when such notions enter your fore thoughts that you can acknowledge them and tackle them. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to tackle these. Reflecting on these things help. Sharing these thoughts also helps. Additionally, I’ll probably employ reason, and make conscious efforts to remove foods and other things from my “undeserved” list into my “deserved” list. I’ll probably make more of an effort to be kinder to myself. After all, both my body and my mind deserve to be treated well. As for the older lady, I’ll just leave her be and thank God that we’re moving this week.
What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with the notion of “deservedness”? Are there foods that you feel you don’t deserve? How do you deal with irrational, and potentially harmful, beliefs and habits?
Happy Monday! 🙂