We finally made it to my mother's house in Kentucky after the failed attempt yesterday. It is nice to be home, to see family, to feel familiar, safe, at peace. But there is sadness here, too. My father passed away in 2003 from cancer and I can't come home without thinking of him. Everything triggers a memory: the mountains, the trees, the air. Simple things like an old tire store we used to drive by or the coin-operated car wash by the side of the road. It is good being home, but it hurts being home.
Since it is the 4th of July, my family had a barbecue like many other families. This is the first time in years, not just for the 4th but the actual first time in years, that I have been around a kitchen table with my mother and brother and the rest of my family that I have actually eaten and participated. In the past, no matter what the meal consisted of or what the occasion may have been, I was always fasting. I didn't want to eat with them, I couldn't. And so I politely refused every single time until eventually they got the picture and stopped asking. I didn't eat much today (an ear of corn, some green beans, and a little salad) but I sat down at the table and I felt like part of the family again. My eating disorder has always made it terribly difficult to feel comfortable eating in front of others. I always felt like they were looking at me and judging me and thinking I was as fat as I thought that I was. I still felt a little of that today, but I didn't listen. And I finished my plate. I held my niece in my lap and watched the fireworks. And I thought of the way my life was when I was a child just like her, before I had an eating disorder, before I hated my body. Before my Dad died. Before I left home and moved to Las Vegas. Things were so out of place and so chaotic for so many years. And though they may never be completely better, I'm far enough away from the chaos to feel a small piece of peace.