Yesterday, I awoke and found an empty container in the sink. My anxiety rose as I realized it was the Tupperware that had held the last piece of my favorite kind of pie. Whenever I have that dessert waiting for me, I feel more hopeful and excited. Even if my day drags me down into depression and misery, I know that I have something good waiting for me.
However, all of my plans had been shattered. One of my family members had eaten the only piece of pie left – my piece of pie. The piece of pie that could make my day worth living. As if thrown from a bucking horse, my day fell to ruins. On edge and overly dramatic, nothing seemed to go right.
Funny how such a small thing can disrupt one’s whole day. Part of this heightened response is because of my Aspergerian brain. When even a tiny change alters my routine, I freak out. That pie was supposed to be there for me and now it was gone. What am I supposed to do now that things are not normal? How should I react when the normal world around me transforms into unknown territory? Every glitch or alteration is a confusing dilemma that I must muddle through as best as possible.
That, however, does not excuse my rigid thinking or overly reactive behavior. As I continue to grow and mature, I keep learning how to live and function Aspergers. Will I ever be a normal adult with no Aspergian struggles? No, but I can hopefully learn to be a independent, confident, and courageous woman.
Another element that added stress to the pie situation was my eating disorder. Now, I am still ashamed to even admit that I eat. For so many years, people shamed me for my weight and diet. Thus, each bite I take elicits memories of crowed groups of girls whispering, boys staring in disgust, and even my mother preaching about exercise and weight loss. Despite this turmoil in my head, I continue to eat. Even worse – to my anorexic mind – is the fact that I have dessert every day.
There. I just told the world. I am an anorexic who eats dessert because my meal plan calls for it. But even more than that, I like having dessert! As ashamed as I feel about it, having something sweet at the end of the day gives me something to look forward to as well as a way to celebrate each day of life.
When I was overweight, I felt judged for everything that I put into my mouth. Desserts especially made me feel like everyone thought of me as a selfish lazy pig. Thus, I tried not to let myself be seen having sweets in public but snarfed them down in secret. Nighttime trips downstairs to the freezer with a large bowl for ice cream, cookies, and anything else in the freezer became rituals rather than special occasions. Afterwards I was left with an aching stomach, dented spoon, dirty dishes, and -worst of all – a deep sense of shame and disgust.
However, now that I have lost weight, people seem to think that I am entitled to having dessert. “You are small, you could eat it,” is not an uncommon comment for me to hear. These words fill me with both joy at the approval to eat and guilt mixed with fear at needed to meet their expectations before I can feed myself. What if I gain weight? Am I not worth having “junk food” or dessert then?
For past experience, I know how unhealthy it is to binge or have too much of “unhealthy” foods. However, judging a person on their looks or on their food is not helpful for you or them. Unless you are their dietitian, please do not shame others for how they feed themselves! Yes, people can make poorer choices but does that make them unworthy of nutriment or love? Try looking beyond weight – whether overweight or underweight- to see the person deep inside.
Now, as far as yesterday, I know that my family member did nothing wrong by eating that pie. Technically, it was not mine. I hadn’t bought it, made it, or put my name on it. Even if I had expressed interest in it, the dessert might be considered saved for me. So the pie slice was not my pie; it just mine to my Aspergian and anorexic mind.
Situations like this help me to realize why I do certain actions. Although I am embarrassed by my intensity, I learned more about myself so that dramas like this happen less frequently. And in the end, everything turned out fine. Last evening, I found another piece of pie in the freezer. Sometimes, surprises can be joyous even to an Aspergian mind.