When I was seven, we moved to the same street as my grandparents. My grandfather Poppy was dying of lung cancer and most of my memories of him come from that time. I remember spending the night with them once, and getting up early while the house was still quiet. I went into the kitchen and found Poppy sitting at the old oak table. He smiled at me and invited me to join him in a bowl of raisin bran. It was his favorite cereal, or at least that’s what I thought as a little kid, and so we sat there letting the flakes soften in the milk before scooping it up. It feels like my last memory of him.
Poppy was the only person in my childhood whom I felt like completely loved and accepted me – his death when I was young meant that we never had the inevitable disagreements or disappointments that come with family. He remained a smiling, gentle man in overalls who showed me the special seeds in persimmons and let me comb his pomaded hair into swirls and waves. He was safety and he was love. After he died, I prayed to him instead of Jesus for a lot of years.
Raisin bran is my favorite cereal. But I almost never eat it, because years of dieting and disordered eating and restriction often removed it from the menu. For the last few months, I’ve been doing intermittent fasting (ostensibly for “health,” but I know my secret motivations) and so breakfast hasn’t even been a thing. Most days I wouldn’t eat until well after noon.
But I’m so tired of being at odds with my body. I’ve lost weight and while that is easy to feel good about, it also feels uncomfortable, because I don’t need to lose any more weight and yet I don’t know how to not want to. The truth is, I always want to lose more.
It’s time to make peace with my body and start treating myself with kindness and compassion, and that means intuitive eating instead of intermittent fasting. I’m hungry this morning, and specifically hungry for raisin bran – normally I’d say no because it’s too early and also shouldn’t I eat something with protein like eggs or yogurt?
Today, I’m not going to listen to that voice. I’m going to sit at my own old oak table, pour a bowl of raisin bran, let it soften in the milk, and then enjoy it. And try to remember that I deserve to love myself as much as Poppy loved me.
(photo source Pixabay)