Let Freedom Ring

Happy Fourth of July!

 

I won’t be spending this 4th celebrating with fireworks or a barbecue, instead studying for my anatomy midterm tomorrow morning, but that doesn’t really bother me. I love my country every day-and honestly, I feel like Thanksgiving’s more of the holiday that eclipses “The United States” more than the 4th does.

I am choosing to spend this day being intentional about one word, though: Freedom.

The definition of freedom, at least according to google dictionary, is “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”

I am thankful that, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m celebrating the Fourth of July actually feeling free.

I’ve never felt more free than I did last night, sitting at American Dream Pizza at a rooftop table, eating a slice of cheese pizza with my friend Kyle. It seemed like pretty perfect timing, given it being the eve of the day we celebrate our country’s freedom.

Kyle and I had been planning on going out to dinner for a while. Actually, it was a make-up for our “lunch” that was supposed t0 happen back in March, when I was commuting to school. We met up but…I didn’t eat. So, we decided that some redemption needed to be had! And dinner it was.

I had a place in mind for where we’d go, so I did my meal plan for the day accordingly. Something that’s really hard for me, eating disorder-wise is dairy. It’s also hard on my stomach, and I take a lactaid pill whenever I have it, but as long as I take the pill I’m usually fine. It’s more of my eating disorder that prevents me from having it often (more than once a day). Which, is rather inconvenient, given that it’s specifically on my meal plan to have twice a day!

Anyway, I had my meal plan all figured out, and knew exactly what I’d be eating the rest of the day. This helped eliminate a lot of my anxiety, though I was still pretty anxious about the prospect of eating out, especially with someone who’s not in my immediate support network. Using coping skills and reminding myself of my goals, I got myself to eat everything I needed to, including my turkey sandwich with cheese at lunch. It was “okay” because I wasn’t going to be having cheese at dinner. Or so I thought.

The time came to head out and go pick Kyle up, and we ventured downtown to go have our meal. I was having a good time, but I’d be lying if I said that what we were going to be eating wasn’t preoccupying some of my thoughts. As we passed numerous restaurants, and I pointed out the one I’d been thinking we’d go to, Kyle said, “OH, look-American Dream!! Let’s go get pizza!”

There must’ve been some look on my face, because he immediately followed with, “Do you like pizza? Wait, you’re not like, vegan, are you?”

I could tell he was somewhat joking, and I knew he really would be okay with going wherever I was most comfortable. But I could also tell that he really wanted pizza. And we were right across from American Dream, and the smell of fresh pizza was wafting right to the spot on the sidewalk where we stood.

So, taking a deep breath, I said, “Sure! Yeah, no, pizza’s great! Let’s do it!”

And we did it.

I had so much fun.

We each ordered a slice of pizza (actually, Kyle ended up getting a second, which did make me feel better!), and sat on the rooftop, laughing and talking and enjoying the fresh, cheesy pizza, sliding off the crust. The sun was sinking down into the sky and it was a perfect 75 degrees out-I couldn’t have asked for a better evening. By the time I’d finished, I realized that I’d just had a slice of pizza. After having already had cheese at lunch.

Pizza, and cheese, that hadn’t been on my meal plan.

And I was okay.

In fact, I was better than okay. I was living. I was enjoying time with a friend, and was calling the shots rather than the eating disorder dictating them for me.

I called Brad and told him everything that had just happened. I literally gave him a play-by-play, when I probably could’ve just said, “I just had pizza and it wasn’t on my meal plan!!!!!” and he would’ve been just as proud. But I couldn’t keep it in, I was just SO excited and in shock! I genuinely cannot remember the last time I ate something spontaneously like that. It’s been YEARS.

On the evening of the Fourth of July, I finally felt free.

-Bridge

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