I used to feel like, all at once, I was too broken and not broken enough.
Not broken in the right ways; the cool ways. The ways that become the fertilizer for a bestselling memoir or movie.
Alcoholics and drug addicts, these people are broken in the right way. They have gritty and shocking stories of rock bottom followed by a colourful path to redemption.
Their bad behavior is behind them and now they teach and inspire with their humility and daily commitment to sobriety.
They are strong in the most beautiful and vulnerable of ways.
They are glamorous and wise.
Their path, while hard, is clear: Drink or don’t drink. Use or don’t use.
Food is different.
When you’re broken with food, it’s sticky and messy and there’s no before and after.
Oprah never picks a book about someone who eats because food is her only true friend.
Reese Witherspoon doesn’t star in a movie about a woman who can never stop when she’s full because the parts of her that are empty can’t be filled with food.
It’s not an Oscar-worthy story of despair replaced by hope.
Instead of dingy, sweat stained hotel rooms scattered with needles and tin foil, it’s just a house in the suburbs with old chocolate bars in the freezer and half-eaten bags of potato chips in the top cupboard.
Heroin is death or life. Booze is yes or no.
Food is sometimes, maybe, moderation, portions, balance, special occasions, too much, just right, back and forth.
With drugs and alcohol you know when you’re winning or losing.
With food you never really know.
Alcohol and drug addicts can share their pain. They can offer up their stories and be received with pats on the back and gold tokens of progress. They can come together in meetings with warm coffee and honesty. They can be forgiven.
When it’s food we have to hide alone. Because it’s just food. It’s no big deal. Just don’t eat too much. What’s the problem? What’s wrong with you? Moderation!
Too broken to be “normal,” but not broken enough to be interesting.
Too broken to be acceptable, but not broken enough to be admired.
Too broken to be free, but not broken enough to warrant compassion.