Don't. Stop. Stop. Don't. Don't go in there again. No more. Stop eating. You're done. Enough. Stop. Don't. Please, stop. Please, don't. Please...please...don't...stop. Don't stop. Keep going. Keep eating. You're not done. Don't stop...
The kitchen. It's not my favorite place. It's like the unsettling, nerve-wracking office of a court-ordered shrink; I don't want to be there, but I'll get in trouble if I'm not. It's the room I fear the most and the room I arguably have spent the most time in. Alone. Throughout the day. Late at night, for as long as I can remember.
Last week, we chatted about the process of tidying up my closet and what it's like getting rid of clothes that suggest I've failed; failed at losing weight, failed at keeping the weight off. Truthfully, the kitchen is no different. Simply put: the kitchen has always been a reflection of who I am and where I've come with my eating disorder, which most days, doesn't feel very far at all...
I started with the cabinet above the oven.
And dumped the contents of it onto the floor.
Among the pile of plastic bins, Malaria prevention meds from when I went to India, napkins and a random alarm clock, there they were: diet pills, various weight loss powders and laxative teas-- evidence of a life consumed by weight loss strategies and late-night, and/or daytime, binges, for nearly fourteen years. I gazed at the pile for a few moments and walked away...to the fridge. I decided I was hungry. I opened the package of something or other, and ate it, fast, avoiding the mess I'd made, not just in the kitchen, but in my life as a former chronic dieting, binge eating
I sat on my kitchen floor, ate the whatever (what I ate isn't relevant to the story) and cried. I cried for the nights I'd wait for my dad to go to sleep so I could sneak downstairs and...eat. I cried for the always-empty fridge at my Mother's house. I cried for all the pantries in the homes of the families I babysat for, that were a lot emptier after I left. I cried for the times I ran to the fridge after having sex with my now ex-boyfriend; frantically searching for all the things I didn't get in the bedroom. I cried for the men, women and teens who've felt even an ounce of the way I felt. And I cried for the one and only week my fridge looked like this:
I don't even want to do this, I thought to myself. I didn't know if I was referring to cleaning out the kitchen, eating, or crying but I decided to peel myself off the floor, open some trash bags and do the thing that I'd already done for my bookshelf and my closet.
As I've mentioned, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up specifically says to only keep what "sparks joy". The kitchen is no exception. It wasn't hard to throw away the pills, powders and laxative teas, mostly because they have long since expired. I did keep a couple of my favorite teas, however...
For so long the kitchen, and my closet, have been a symbol for my shortcomings. And in many ways, they still are. But...I know what's in it, now. I know what's in my cupboards and my pantry. I know what's in my fridge and I now know *exactly* how many cans of soup I have. It does feel better knowing and my kitchen does feel lighter.
This is not a cure-all. This is the beginning of a Life-Changing process and like anything, it takes time. My Magic Sponsor said to me yesterday, that the entire purpose of this book is not just to get rid of a bunch of crap, but to bring harmony into the process of living; to harmonize budget with spending, harmonize food cravings with healthy, delicious choices, harmonize daily routine with how the body feels and harmonize closet with my desired lifestyle.
How are you feeling on the harmony scale?