Today felt like the first real day of spring, and it was beautiful here--60+ degrees, sunny skies, and a little bit of a breeze. I met up with my good friend Dan after finishing up a grant proposal draft that I've been chipping away at for over a week, and it felt like we just needed a little bit of fun.
We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day we had in front of us, so we started wandering around the West Village, exploring a bit. I was telling him about how amazing this Indian/taco fusion place, Taco Mahal was, and as soon as the sentence came out of my mouth, we rounded the corner and literally ran into it! In a split second, we both had the same idea, "Want to get one and split it and do a food tour today?"
When there's tacos made out of fresh garlic naan, the answer is obviously yes.
As we made our way back towards Washington Square Park we ran into Hormon's Pickle Stand, where they sell pickles on a stick and every sort of vinegary treat you could think of (the sauerkraut looked amazing!). I'm a huge pickle fan and obviously had to get a pickle on a stick, which was an amazing surprise and so needed.
We decided to make our next stop a Belgian french fry restaurant: Pommes Frites where the list of sauces was so long we stood and backed up the line for a good 5 minutes trying to decide what to taste. We ultimately ended up with what resembled a boquet of french fries and a crazy Vietnamese pineapple sauce, and all the malt vinegar that one could ever need.
After this, it was clear we needed one final stop on our tour. So we headed back out to Washington Square Park to enjoy the weather and scrounge Yelp for crazy desserts that weren't too far away. This is where Duchess cookies came in. They had the most beautiful, Instagram-worthy (glitter included!) cookies I had ever seen. No matter that it was a 20 minute walk--it was beautiful, let's do it!
So we walked, and we explored, and we enjoyed the fresh air. We finally came upon the cookie place in a cool market near the Highline. And we decided to take our fresh baked cookies and enjoy them outside on the Highline. Dan was a trooper and let me break them open to get a more aesthetic shot of them, and even held them up while I took one too many pictures of them.
We finished the day sitting and enjoying the views as the sun started to set a bit, before heading back near NYU.
It was one of the best Wednesdays I've had in a while, and I have to thank recovery for that. There is absolutely no way I would've spontaneously been okay with this even a month or two ago. While I was in my eating disorder, there were so many rules about what I was or wasn't "allowed" to have, and when I got back from treatment, I was so intent on strictly following the exchanges set out on my meal plan that this would've sent me in a spiral if it was "too much".
And that's the thing that was so amazing about today. I didn't feel the need to count the walking we did as compensation for what we ate--I just enjoyed being out in the nice weather, exploring with a good friend.
I didn't feel the need to leave parts of the food behind or even to justify to this blog post how much of each cookie I did or didn't eat--I ate until I felt satisfied and listened to my body's cues.
This is huge. I've been ignoring my body for so so long that I've stopped believing that I can trust it. And yet, here I was. I had an amazing day, exploring, enjoying amazing food in an amazing city, all because I was able to find the flexibility that is recovery.
My eating disorder robbed me of moments like this, and recovery has allowed me to be a little bit more spontaneous and just let go of focusing solely on the food and the movement. It's allowed me to enjoy the moments that go alongside food, which is a huge part of it too.
And it's allowed me to write a blog post where I post pictures of delicious looking food, excited about what I tried, without feeling shame or guilt or judgement about what I had. There's some lingering thoughts that tell me that this is why my body is "bad" or "the way it is" and that people reading this will cast the same judgement on me, but I recognize that this is an old story. This is an old story that tells me that I am not enough, I am inadequate somehow, and tries to place the blame on my body or what I do.
But it's just a thought. And I am not my thoughts, and not all of my thoughts are helpful or serve me. So I tell that thought that maybe it doesn't need so much place in my brain, and that actually, I am going to enjoy my spur of the moment Wednesdays in April.
Because recovery means enjoying nice days because that's a part of life, and I'm allowed to enjoy it, too.
Hi, I'm Charlotte! I'm a 24 year old navigating life in NYC and mental health recovery. I am passionate about public health and eliminating stigma.