Small Victories

Milk Orange juice

That prescription at the pharmacy counter

Bottled water

I push my cart through the Walgreens, my shopping list completed, but I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Through the vitamins, past the toys, glancing at the Hallmark cards. I know I should go. Before I do something stupid. It's been years since I've done something stupid.

My mind wanders to the text message my mother sent me yesterday.

Today would have been your dad's birthday.

I had forgotten. A day that used to be filled with so much of my life that was buried with him. His phone number still programmed into my cell phone. His spirit preserved in my memories...

And I forgot.

I shake myself back to the present and find myself in the candy aisle. Grabbing a handful of Snickers bars for The Husband's work lunches, I tell myself that was all I needed and that I should just leave now while watching my hands carefully select expensive chocolate bars and then steer the cart over to the snack aisle where my hands pick up a small bag of Cheetos and another of Fritos.


Buried feelings

I consider a container of bean dip but quickly change my mind. Savoring the taste and enjoying the moment aren't in the plans, anyway. I'm done shopping now.

Avoid eye contact with the clerk. If they ask, I'll mutter something about my husband having a sweet tooth. It sounds like a lie in my head.

Time to get Buttercup from preschool. She asks for a movie. Disney and its princesses can distract her from my thoughts.

I eat clean. I eat gluten free. I provide a healthy example for my four-year-old daughter in the hopes that I can help her grow strong and confident in herself and her body. I tell myself all of these things as I eat one candy bar. And then another.

My days of binging and purging are behind me. I deal with my emotions by writing around through them. With yoga. Reminding myself that I'm responsible for all that she sees and hears. I tell myself these things as I rip into the Fritos and lick the crumbs from my fingers. The Cheetos are next.

It's Tuesday night. Garbage night. Evidence at the curb.

The Husband leaves for his midnight shift. And I have a choice.

My body is swollen with abuse. Breasts heavy. Stomach distended. Auto-pilot will soon find me flushing my feelings down the toilet and ridding myself of the weight I am now carrying.

Instead, I go to bed, heavy and bloated, and hold my daughter close.