I thought saints were born saints
I looked in the dirt
and found wisdom is learned
through a costly process
of success and failure-Atlas Sound “Quick Canal”
Everyday after work, I would drive to McDonald’s and get the following order:
- 4 Double Cheeseburgers
- 2 Large Fries
- 10 Piece Chicken McNuggets
I had a special bag for this food that I would keep in my front passenger’s seat. Before walking into the house, I would take the food and place it neatly in the bag, go inside, and walk upstairs into my room. In my room, I would frantically take out whatever my hand reached first and proceeded to eat everything within the bag. Sometimes, I never finished the food. Other times, I did. After it all, I would rest on my back and feel the heaviness of my body. It felt soothing and terrifying at the same time.
I am sure in some way the employees at drive-thrus knew. I ordered two of everything, so they wouldn’t think poorly of me, yet I’m not exactly sure why I cared. As I would drive up to the first window, I would look away the entire time. Do they remember me from yesterday? Are they on to me? Do they know that I eat all of this? Embarrassment didn’t stop me from going. But I suppose some part of me wanted them to know. No one else knew these secrets and who better than people who would read out my order, swipe my card, and say, “Have a good night.”
For some reason, I thought my actions were normal. Because everyone hides food in their bag before they go home, right? And when the quantities of food got larger, along with my debt and my body, I wondered who exactly I was becoming. What was I in my room when no one else knew what I was doing to myself?
I thought I was saved. I thought that I had encountered the worst in my life, and it would be impossible to go through the same events again. I didn’t realize that I was repeating my past in my own way. All the pain I had was remembered and relived through nightly binges. And like anyone in deep denial over their life, I thought I was completely fine.
I don’t know what happened to me when I decided to change everything. I was just lucky enough for my body to take over. I was at a point where every decision I made was impulsive. And that first night as I drove home, I passed all the places I was so familiar with and changed my life.
I stopped saying maybe tomorrow and started immediately. I could barely walk for fifteen minutes, but I went through it. And as I felt the sweat on my forehead, I looked in the mirror. I felt something in me shift and align. My body was refusing to put up with my shit anymore.
And I learned in steps. For the first time, I stopped trying to peek into the future and the big picture we so often see when we begin our first step. With food, I felt like I had to eat everything. And that was how I handled my life. I had to do everything or nothing at all. And as usual, I would get overwhelmed, exhaust myself and stop before any real progress was made. What is the point of tackling the whole world if you can’t even understand the dirt?
Things started to come to me in sections, little morsels of progress. Just do this one thing today and keep doing it until its second nature. And as I mastered my mind, my body began to give me a little bit more control until it knew finally that it could trust me.
And everyday, I speak to my body. I thank it so much for surviving when I could not. And really, I just want to thank it for giving me a kick in the ass.