Weekend Reading
October 17, 2021

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

One of the big turning points in my recovery was the moment that I started to tell people that I was in recovery. This meant giving a name to my eating disorder.

It’s not as if everyone who knew me didn’t already know that I had an eating disorder. It’s just that I was far too defensive to talk about it. I either denied that I had one, or—later, when orthorexia was especially bad—I tried to pass it off as a health initiative.

It was a big deal, then, to call anorexia what it was, to open up about it and my struggles with it. And it taught me something important, which is the power of speaking truth out loud.

The disorder was a fact whether I kept it a secret or not. But naming it and sharing it with others made it harder for me to push it away, bury it, or find ways of avoiding it.

I learned this lesson again this week, when I shared something with a friend that I’d been holding onto very, very tightly. It was weighing on me so much that it was starting to leak out in weird ways—bouts of anxiety, eyes unpredictably welling up with tears, unpredictable highs and lows. As soon as I stated what was going on, I let out a big sob.

“I’m so sorry,” I said to my friend, who had quickly given me a hug. “I don’t know what just happened.”

“It’s because you said it,” she replied. “It becomes real when you say it.”

It’s so easy to hang onto painful stuff. I don’t know about you, but I’m so accustomed to handling things on my own that powering through a painful moment quietly has become a reflex, the thing that feels like the path of least resistance.

It’s not always the path of least resistance, though. Sometimes things grip us even tighter because we’re keeping them quiet. Giving them a name and trusting that other people can hear about them becomes a form of letting go, a step toward freedom and peace.

That’s how it felt for me this week, anyway. I’m wishing myself the courage to know the difference between privacy and secrecy this week, the willingness not to carry everything alone. And I’m wishing the same for you.

Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

It’s a perfect time of year for a warm bowl of pumpkin curry soup.

Air fryer tofu bites!

Air fryer beets!

I can never have too many tomato sauce recipes.

What a beautiful vegan tarte tatin.

Reads

1. The science of why and how texture can impact the pleasure we take in food.

2. I’ve long been a fan of the Bellevue Literary Review, and I loved reading this portrait of the magazine as its twentieth birthday rolls around.

3. I’ve never really considered the issue of digital remains, or how they—and social media in general—impact grief and grieving. This piece got me thinking.

4. Interesting: looks like the guidance on whether or not older adults with without known heart disease should take low-dose aspirin for heart disease prevention may be shifting.

5. I’m one of many people who’s had moments of feeling as though Laurie Colwin is a friend that I never met. I loved reading this essay about her.

In a couple days, I’ll be sharing a roundup of one of my favorite foods. Can’t wait!

xo

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    4 Comments
  1. Separately — I’m glad you were able to share something weighing on you and not let secrecy further compound a tough experience. Although it’s obviously difficult, it’s funny how even just naming a problem out loud can lighten its hold on us.

    Thank you for writing as always.

  2. Hi Gena — just wanted to clarify that the USPSTF’s preliminary change in recommendations refers to heart attack and stroke prevention in adults WITHOUT known heart disease. It does not change the recommendations for adults who have previously had a stroke or heart attack. (Just wanted to make a note of this in case readers don’t click through and might get confused. Thanks!)

    • Emily, thank you for catching! I’m not sure how I misread the wording of the very first sentence of that article, but I totally did. ‍♀️ I edited the post—thanks for the head’s up.

  3. I was very moved by this post. There is something sacred about the moment we tell something we’ve been holding in and it is heard and responded to like your friend did. “It becomes real when you say it.” For someone to be a loving witness to that birth is just tender beyond words. Thank you for reminding us of that, and how it takes courage to know the difference between privacy and secrecy. Love you Gena <3

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