Yesterday, I took the cake.
My friend decided she wanted Magnolia, and so off we went. I actually didn't want any – well, didn't actively crave it – and so thought about saying no, but I wondered if it might lead to a binge either later in the day or in a few days' time.
I was unreasonably disappointed to see the cake was not its usual height (meaning my piece might not be as bit) and actually asked why, since the van-van was a good inch lower than the others.
"It depends on who frosts it," came the reply. "It just means there's less frosting."
I frowned, embarrassed – as I still am, recounting this -- at how much that made me feel like crying. I love frosting. I thought: I didn't really want cake that badly but now I absolutelymusthaveit and what if the frosting isn't enough? What if it's just those few teaspoons less of frosting that make the difference between me feeling like I've had enough and me feeling like I need to eat another two or seven slices?
"Do you still want it?" the guy asked. I might have yelled if I trusted myself to speak. I nodded.
"Don't worry, I'll give you a good piece," he said.
Feeling impatient (which I was, waiting to pay for my slice) and anxious pre-cake-eating is never ever a good sign. It is almost a 100 percent successful predictor that I will carry on and binge. I knew this, and yet... well, I didn't do anything about it.
My (jetlagged) friend wanted to go back to her place and eat her slice in air conditioning. I almost couldn't wait for her to go and then I tore into the cake like... well, like someone who would have been mighty embarrassed had anyone she knew seen her.
As soon as I'd finished I panicked. Actually, that's a lie – I panicked through the eating of the entire thing. The urge to binge was so strong I thought a cartoon hand would punch a hole straight through my stomach, reaching out and grabbing anything it could. Well, that's what I think in retrospect: In the moment I felt like I was going to explode from it. There was one moment, rooted on a spot on 12th Street, where I felt paralyzed from the strength of it all.
Then I blinked. I breathed. I headed into Cynthia Rowley, just curious to see if the prices there were the same as dresses of hers I'd seen at a boutique in Brooklyn earlier in the day. (Believe it or not, the dresses were more expensive in Brooklyn.) Then I lingered, trying on shoes. I even tried on a dress on sale.
I don't know whether she just was being diplomatic, but the saleswoman brought over the next size up, saying Rowley's sizes "are tough."
I don't like the size and I still can't judge how I look in clothes at this particular size. But I liked that it was a nice dress; a dress that fits at this size, and not one where the waistband or some other part is too tight but oh-I-can-squeeze-into-it. Yes, it would look better if I lost a few pounds, but these days, wouldn't most things?
I looked in the mirror and thought to myself -- no, willed to myself: You are not going to binge.
I bought the dress. Then I went home, grateful I had plans to meet a friend for dinner.
For the first time in longer than I can remember, I slept through my alarm this morning. Not "woke up and hit snooze seven times" but full-on-have-no-memory-of-hearing-it. I woke up three minutes before spin class started, and in a panic about everything I had to get done today, plus things that didn't necessarily have to get done today but have been cluttering my brain for a while.
I felt exhausted, in a fog, and full of rage all day. And all day I kept picking up the decision of when I might get to the gym and putting it down, which probably didn't help. Just before 8 pm, I was more than halfway to a barre class (I'd grabbed dinner a few blocks away from it), but then stood on the corner, wavering. I always wake up from exercise, and I think I really could use the sleep tonight. Plus I have exercised for at least the past five days, so maybe a day off is in order.
Noted: I was on high alert today, and will remain so. I haven't kept detailed notes of the past year of binges the way I've attempted to document these past three weeks, but from what I can reconstruct based on blog entries, there is a 48-to-72-hour danger zone after each strong urge to binge that I manage to wait out. I can't pull the urge out by the roots, it seems.
I realize in retrospect I also felt all day like I was waiting for something (bad) to happen. A binge? Not today. Not yet.