What I Learned From Not Eating

Starving isn't the worst hobby I've ever had. Bad. But not the worst. That award goes to my elementary self who attempted to live life without stepping on a crack. I'd heard rumors my mother's spine would suffer if I didn't.
So I spent a year walking with my head down and concentration stretching my brow. It isn't as easy as it sounds, not when your school is tiled, your walkways are aging cement, and your roads are brick.

Asphalt and carpet came later.

That was my worst hobby. My second worst, however, was starving myself. And that, in comparison, was very easy. It wasn't about doing an activity. It was about not doing an activity. Not eating.
I was good at it, too. After a few months, I got so good at not eating I could do it in my sleep.

Last week, in the throws of a stomach flu that had more love for me than I had for it, I couldn't help remembering those idiotic days of anorexia. It's been over a decade since I decided a smaller jean size was worth death. These days, I'd rather be healthy than scrawny. Actually, I'd rather not be scrawny at all. Curves, I've found, are actually quite girlish. Who knew.

For days, while Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie were on everyone's mind and plate, I got excited about consuming a fourth-cup of milk. It's a strange situation to find starvation actually feels familiar. A definite sign of youthful ignorance, I suppose. Or the sad fact we women have a hard time ever finding our sense of self.

Now a week later, I'm a little thinner, a lot less dehydrated, and working on wooing my appetite back to it's former glory. I'm willing to slather butter on everything until it does. That's love, my friends. True devotion.

So in the interest of making everything, including a flu bug, educational, I'd like to share the ten things I've learned from not eating:

1. Animals make the best meals.

2. Not eating is a real time saver, except for those moments of blackout.

3. It's totally true. Nothin' says lovin' like the Pillsbury Dough boy.

4. For every meal I miss, I visit it back tenfold.

5. Snickers really satisfies, as do chocolate cupcakes.

6. If you forget to say grace, repeat the meal, as necessary, until you remember.

7. Cardboard sign or not, everyone works for food.

8. Leftovers are a great way to show you believe in second chances.

9. The thing that separates us from the animals is that we chew our food.

10. If you lose your sense of wonder, find it again in the bread aisle.

For everything else, there's muffins.
Tara Lynn Thompson