I’m wondering when I learned to settle for the crumbs in life. The thought came in the arena of dating and men and that thought was like dropping a pebble in a pond; it rippled out. When I look back at my dating and love life, I’ve settled for men who couldn’t or wouldn’t be fully present. I settled for what I could get- the crumbs. That thought begged me to look at my life as a whole.
When did I decide or believe or learn that all I deserved were the bits that others left behind or could offer? When did I choose to start allowing myself to settle for just what I could get rather than demanding and dreaming of a full, rich, passionate life? From the outside looking in, my life is great. Let’s face it: my life IS great. AND there’s a level of settling that happens. I don’t know exactly when I chose that route. I’m writing this entry because it’s the start of this thought process.
You might be wondering- What does this have to do with food and disordered eating? The connection I see is that the processed, nutrient deficient food I choose to eat is like settling for crumbs. It doesn’t nourish or do anything positive for my body. At some point, way back when, I started to use these foods as a compensation for what I wasn’t getting. I’m hoping in this journey I get to the point where I can access that little girl who made those decisions and figure out her thoughts.
As I type, they are starting to shine through like rays of sunshine through clouds. I get glimpses. Except they feel more like a darkness because sunshine brings smiles and I don’t feel like smiling about this. I have few memories of childhood but ironically I remember a lot of moments of soothing myself with food. One in particular that’s coming up as I type this is of my father’s second marriage. I snuck into the kitchen to eat some of my grandmother’s Sweedish meatballs. I felt so out of place there in a room full of happy, celebrating adults. I’d like to think it was a happy occasion but I know my mother wasn’t happy about this and had unwillingly let me go and participate. I can only imagine that I’d felt stuck between my mother’s happiness and my father’s happiness. My mission as a little girl was to get their love. Sometimes they were the crumbs of love in the midst of what was happening in my families’ lives. (I’m using the plural considering my father one family and my mother another.) Ah yes- here it is- the tears have arrived.
Wow. I needed that cry to feel the compassion for my little girl who just wanted to be loved. I was and I was loved by two young parents who were still growing up themselves. In that situation, I did the best I could picking up the crumbs of what I could get as they lived their lives and gave me what they could. I’m totally aware that my parents did the best they knew how. I believe people do better when they know better. I, too, did my best. I found solace in the cookie, the cake, the chips- any foods that were salty or sweet.
I’m no longer a little girl at the mercy of what others can give me. I’m an adult who can choose and choose I will. When I know better, I do better. Thanks for reading.