Thank you, Tony.
I woke up earlier than usual today. I wanted to get a jumpstart on my workload. As I was sitting at the breakfast table, feeling very proud of myself for being so productive before 6am (a borderline miracle), I heard Zack yell from the living room. "Maddy, Anthony Bourdain died!" I ran in. No he didn't. That's not true. That can't be true.
You may be asking yourself what in the world Anthony Bourdain has to do with an eating disorder recovery blog, and the answer my friends is that he has everything to do with it, with my personal recovery journey anyway. It may be good for you to know that at this point I have started crying again, so this post may be, uuuhhhmm, let's just call it a "train of thought" style. Bear with me.
One of the most challenging parts of recovery is learning how to eat again. You have to relearn what food is. I spent so much time with the pointy chin voice telling me that food was bad, that consuming it is the worst thing that I could do for myself. I slowly got my own voice back, and started to understand that food was in fact a good thing. I understood it, but I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't know what was healthy, what was normal, and what was "pointy chin." It seemed like the people around me were eating constantly and that food was everywhere, all the time. But was it? How often do "normal people" eat? What do they eat? What should I be doing? What is food, really? Is it fuel? My doctors were always saying that my body needs it, so is it, like gasoline for a car? How do I do this?
These are questions that I still sometimes battle with, mostly when I'm struggling with the relationship between food and guilt. What helps me more than anything, my food therapy if you will, happens on Sundays at 8pm central time, and it's called "Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain." I guess I should say that it was called that. Fuck.
Anthony Bourdain was.... Parks Unknown was.... damn. This is the hard part. If I were a better writer I would be able to explain this but I'm really struggling, here. It taught me that food is not gasoline, it's art. It's culture. It's a gateway to other communities, other worlds that you didn't know existed. It's magic. Sharing a meal with someone is one of the most human things we can do, it's a love language, it's a bridge, it's a tangible yet ethereal connection.
I am not doing this justice. I can talk about eating disorders all day, but I can't explain the beauty of food. Do you know who could? Anthony fucking Bourdain could.
During the Pointy Chin days, I had to close my eyes or leave the room whenever a commercial for a restaurant came on. Close-up and slow-motion shots of food totally overwhelmed me. They made me panic. Since watching "Parts Unknown," I look... looked...forward to them every week.
I was talking with my coworkers about his death and how sad it is. I learned that we pitched him coming here for his upcoming book tour. The idea that I could have met him and now never will, aaahhhh, man, I wish I were a better writer. I wish I wrote like him.