Empty Magic: Dessert

This is the fourth and final essay in Empty Magic, a weekly series from Dani Janae about eating disorders and recovery.

To supplement the excess of a savory meal, you must end with a dessert.

Something sweet with a mix of textures, blending hot and cold. Something à la mode.

When I set out to write this series, I was expecting to come to some shining resolution documenting my now improved relationship with food. My relationship with food has improved, but it is not perfect.

I can usually eat a meal without feeling disgusting or guilty, but not always.

In my life in general, I try to resist happy endings and coming off like an expert on subjects I have suffered with. I’m sober now, but the impulse to drink still creeps up on me. I have recovered from my eating disorder, but the drive to be smaller and to take up less space still gets at me.

And how could it not. We live in a world that values slim. Even as the ideal body type changes slightly, it is still a variation on a theme: no stomach, small waist, minimal body fat.

This is not my body type, and I look in the mirror every day and make the choice to find myself attractive, to find other bodies like mine attractive. When I eat, I eat what I am craving.

After a frustrating work day recently, I only wanted one thing. Caramelized apples with cinnamon and vanilla ice cream. I indulged in that craving for dessert, then again the next day for breakfast. It was of course not the ideal meal to wake up with, but it was what I wanted.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, so I’ll say I think in some ways I will always struggle with my body as long as the global ideal is the opposite of what I am. I will always know how many calories are in a cup of broccoli. How many cherry tomatoes will push me over the FDA’s suggested daily caloric limit.

When I’m not careful, these myths about food that I adopted during my eating disorder will creep up on me and make my day a hell of calorie counting and restriction.

Every day, I wake up and make the conscious choice to be happy in the body I’m in. Sometimes I win. Sometimes the fight comes to my door and pummels me.

I’m fat, and I eat dessert. Despite what every diet and fitness guru advises. I eat three meals with snacks in between and dessert. I don’t want to go back to packs of gum and water as meal replacements.

The truth I know is that I could be thinner. I could live off of less and less and less, but I’ve had that life, and it made me disappear. I don’t want to evaporate, I want to be full. I want to be alive.

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Dani Janae is a poet and writer based out of Pittsburgh, PA. When she's not writing love poems for unavailable women, she's watching horror movies, hanging with her tarantula, and eating figs. Follow Dani Janae on Twitter and on Instagram.

danijanae has written 157 articles for us.


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