“I lost a whole lot of weight,” she said, her voice almost a whisper.
No eye contact was made; instead she seemly excessively absorbed in staring at her shoes. “But now, not only have I put it back on, but I’ve added 20 more pounds. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I can’t stand to look in a mirror. I don’t know what to do.” The sadness she felt practically dripped from her pores.
“That’s got to be frustrating,” I replied.
“…and frightening too!” she added. “When’s it going to stop?”
“Good question,” I answered, “What seems to be the cause?”
“Well, I’m obviously eating too much.” She tried to make it sound like an “ain’t-it-obvious” joke but the pain was louder than her laugh.
“That’s what’s so embarrassing,” she continued. “I just don’t know. It seems like I start out every day with great intentions. The problem is I work near a little mom-and-pop bakery. They make the best cakes and pies. So, on my break, I’ll find myself buying just one small slice, saying I’ll control myself. The next thing I know, I’m like a machine that’s eats everything! Then my inner voice says, ‘Well as long as you blew it, you might as well really blow it. You can always start tomorrow’ and I really go crazy! Every day is just like the previous one; same broken promises, same result.”
She paused; the gold hoop earrings she wore swung slightly under her brown shoulder length hair as she collected her thoughts. Picking up her gaze, she asked, “What do you think I should do?”
I always find that a difficult question.
I mean, to be honest, I have enough trouble running my own life. I’m not sure anyone else wants me piloting his or hers also. Besides, the answer is different for each one of us, and the honest truth is people are more likely to stick with a plan they created than one foisted upon them.
So, we sat across from each other and I listened as she explained that so much of her life was run, run, run. From the time the alarm bolted her out of bed to take care of her two young kids and her one “older one” (her term for her husband); until the moment her head hit the pillow, there was no “me time.” She was mom, friend, wife, counselor, lover, cook, employee, and daughter. Nowhere was there simply space for “Kate.”
“What do you do for you?” I queried.
“Honestly? I eat. I mean since I already blew it at the bakery, the rest of my day becomes devouring everything from chips to cheese. It’s like I become possessed. I know it’s not healthy but I do it anyway.”
“What would you rather do?”
“In a perfect world?”
“Sure, even in a pretty good one? What would you do instead of go to the bakery?”
Her posture changed slightly, reflecting more the presence of her inner girl instead of besieged woman.
“I’d like to write. I just don’t have the time.” As she vocalized that, her expression softened as a thought floated past.
“Maybe I’ve looked at it wrong,” she softly said, almost thinking out loud. “Maybe if instead of heading to the bakery on my breaks, I could pull out my laptop for a few minutes. It would sure take my mind off the food. It’d be healthier too — and even more fun! I think that’s a solution!”
“Can do that?”
A knowing grin crossed her lips as she rose from her chair and headed to the door. “Piece of cake, my friend, easy as pie…”