I am supposed to be in Kentucky right now visiting my mother, typing to you from the warmth of her kitchen table via her ancient laptop. Instead, I am sitting at the computer desk in my apartment listening to the sound of fireworks exploding above trees.
I moved to Virginia last month. Before that, I had spent the last few years in Las Vegas. So leaving behind the brightly lit Sin City for a town where there are more trees than, well, anything, takes some getting used to. The town I grew up in and where I should be visiting tonight is very similar in landscape to this one, though my hometown is much more rural and remote. (Even more trees... even less people). My boyfriend and I wanted to visit my mother and the rest of my family to celebrate the 4th of July. The only problem is our uncharacteristically needy cat, Gatsby. We got in the car today after a bit of a late start, threw our bags in the backseat and the cat up front with me, and began the 8 hour drive east. A few miles out of town we stopped at a fast-food restaurant so my boyfriend could have lunch. He had chicken fingers. I had nothing because 1. I don't eat fast food, 2. I am vegan so even if I wanted to eat fast food, there is nothing on any fast food menu for me, and 3. There is little on a fast food menu that isn't deep fried or so unhealthy it makes the anorexic in me cringe, recovery or no recovery. So I drank a diet soda and pet the cat while my boyfriend attempted to eat and drive. Within minutes the cat, who had been lying near my feet scared but no stranger to traveling in the car, tried to climb up into my lap. And then we smelled it. And then we saw it. And then we panicked. He had gone #2 all over the floor mat. We pulled over in a shopping mall parking lot and the cat proceeded to vomit. And he was drooling and heaving and gagging. Needless to say, less than 30 miles out of town, we turned the car around and took the cat home. We spent the rest of the evening cleaning cat excrement and not visiting relatives. We did manage, at least, to escape to a movie this evening once the car was cleaned and the cat was at home asleep on the couch and feeling like his normal self again. Since the 4th is actually tomorrow, we plan on waking up bright and early to start the trip all over again, only this time we're leaving the cat at home.
Somehow the events of the day did not manage to ruin my appetite entirely so I made a nice salad for dinner. It had romaine lettuce, garbanzo beans, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, and my homemade dressing. At the height of my anorexia I never ate salad dressing. I used to work at a hospital (ironically enough) and each day for lunch I would sit around the table with doctors and nurses and office personnel, all of them aware of my magical shrinking act and total avoidance of all things edible. Skipping lunch was not an option, so I ate a salad of mixed greens and cucumbers. No dressing. Only packets and packets of salt. Even now dressing still makes me uneasy. I like to make my own so I know exactly what is in it, but even then I find myself worrying over the calories and fat in the olive oil. It’s disgusting and terrifying. So I came up with a shortcut. Lately I have been cutting out the olive oil all together and making a dressing of only balsamic vinegar, a shot of dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and the juice and zest of some sort of citrus–I use lemon, lime, or orange (whichever I happen to have). I also bought some “balsamic drizzle” which is basically just balsamic vinegar and grape juice that has been reduced and thickened. It doesn’t have many calories at all. If I add just a splash of that it thickens the dressing and helps to emulsify it. I must say it is quite delicious and virtually fat and calorie free. Is it wrong for me to be scheming like this? Am I supposed to feel guilty? Just because I am in the recovery process, does that mean it is wrong for me to still watch calories and fat? Where do we draw the proverbial line? I don't think eating healthily is a crime. After all, I am eating. That in and of itself is progress. Right?