Did You Get Enough to Eat?

I slide my finger between bone and gristle. Moving it back and forth until I catch a thick piece of white meat and pull it from its hiding place. It shreds as I remove it, one part willing, one part fighting to get away. 

She’s happy, my daughter. Sitting strapped into the straight jacket that is her high chair, her feet kicking endlessly. Thwack, thwack, thwack, until I’m afraid there will be a bruise on the back of her heels. Happy pain. Joyous pain? 

I barely get enough meat on my own plate but I’m transferring, bit by bit, until she has a small white mound on her green plastic tray. Slivers of chicken, slivers of fat, slivers of nail grit that she laps up like a puppy, sucking on her finger tips and looking at me with those big brown eyes. 

I repeat the process with the rice, white but tinted yellow from the melted bliss of sugar and butter. Two large heaps, she likes rice. She pounds on it with her tiny fingers, smushing it down until it’s no longer plump and round. Flat little wafers, scattered.

Sometimes she throws it, white tufts raining down onto the stain streaked carpet that used to be cream-colored, long before she was alive.

I used to get angry. Stop that, stop that right now. We don’t throw rice. We eat rice. It reminds me of all those boisterous kids back when I worked at Pei Wei. How they would file into the booths and grind rice and Pad Thai into the cushions with grubby hands sticky from soy sauce.

Her daddy still does. Get angry, I mean. Stop giving her rice, she’s just going to throw it. But we shouldn’t shy away from things we love just because they are difficult.

Next is broccoli. Tiny little trees, I tell her. Meant to make you strong. Bow your head and thank them. Thank you for your nourishment, I say. Because I’m no longer religious, but gratitude is needed, required, in my house. Sometimes I’ll catch her whispering to her food, and I wonder.

Green is everywhere. On the tray, on her hands, captured on the ends of her curls because she’s piled broccoli leaves onto the crown of her head. I think, wow, she’s beautiful. I also think she’s going to hate me when I wash that out later. 

My own tray is only sparsely so, green having diminished with every transfer. Just enough bought to feed the three of us, just enough bought to balance the budget. It fluctuates, both. Going from here to there. I tell myself that I’m creating a better foodship. That I’m happiest when my stomach isn’t stuffed so full I can barely breathe. When that ache in my chest is gone. When I’m not sitting in front of the toilet, or on the toilet, praying for death. 

She crushes a broccoli head into a mound of previously smashed rice. It blends, whacked once, twice, three times between fingers modeled after her daddy’s hands. I meet her eyes and there it is. That look. That big, brown-eyed look of joy.

I know where she got it from. This…excitability. This innate pleasure for odd things. That toothy grin broken up by a cheek full of chowed meat. Me. I’m that way. Despite the ache in the joint of my thumb, still trying to wiggle loose the last bits of chicken meat. Still trying to feed my daughter all of me. 

I grin back, how can I not? When she’s giving me black girl joy. I raise my hand, the last shred of white at the tips of my fingers, dripping juice down onto her tray, wetting the dried rice. Her mouth is full but in she shoves it, finding space for chicken, and love, and determination, and growth, and gratitude. 

The Fear of Success

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Heya,

Alongside my fear of failure sits my fear of success. It’s just as crippling. The intense and overwhelming thought of “what if I do it? Like, what if I DO it? What then? Can I live up to the pressure to be great?” Part of it comes from my previous lack of confidence. 

I’m not going to say that I’ve cured my insecurities – because they are definitely still there – but I am starting to see the roots of my issues and can address them. After manifesting emotional intelligence and a deeper connection to who I am, I’ve been seeing all the bad habits, all the internalized shame, all the fear that’s been holding me back. 

“Can I get an example? Because this all feels vague,” you might say. 

Alright, I have been struggling to lose weight ever since I had my baby girl. In the beginning, I was very adamant about taking care of my infant, my mental health, and focusing on school. I made sure that the pressure of “snapping back” (when women immediately lose the preggo weight after giving birth – ex. Having a flat tummy the next day) wasn’t something I was focusing on. It was amazing. 

I embraced my body, even though it let me down with each of my pregnancies and losses before Naomi, and referred to my stretch marks as “Baby Ink”. I enjoyed the swell and drop of my breasts and the changes my body went through. It meant that I was finally a mom with a healthy baby. It meant that I was getting my dream. 

Then January 2020, I finally felt comfortable and ready to lose weight. I got my gym membership back, I restarted my yoga practice, and I ate proper portions. I was getting it. Then Covid 19 hit. It set me back emotionally and physically. I was scared for my family, scared for my new baby, and stuck in another state. I had no money, no safety net, and no place to workout. I gained 11lbs due to stress and comfort eating. I could barely read – and I’m usually an avid reader. 

This year so much has happened but I’m ready to restart. It feels like this is my 2020 do-over but it’s much harder than I thought. My old fears have come back up. I know I can do this. I know I can lose the weight: be healthier, be stronger, and more. But I’m also afraid that I’ll try my hardest and that nothing will work. That I’ll start running again and my body will let me down. That no matter how much weight I lose I still won’t be beautiful. This isn’t a “down on myself” type of thought. I believe that I’m pretty, but the fear is of change. 

I expect a drastic change when I drastically change my habits and if it doesn’t work out, where will I go from there? Was it all a waste? Am I really a failure or have I just peaked? And on. It’s the fear of succeeding and not knowing what that feels like that holds me back.

This is the type of negative self-talk I’ve discovered is a daily occurrence for me. I want to change it. Mantras and positive thoughts and yoga sessions to center myself. Running to get in shape and in tune with my body. Changing my style to feel more adult and be more professional, especially because I’m going to graduate school in the fall. Minimizing my belongings so that I can prepare for our move to a new city. Being healthier so that I am a happier mom, student, partner, and business owner. 

I know I can do it all but that fear of success, that rivals the fear of failure, is always there in the back of my mind. 

To circumvent that, I’ve been watching tons of Youtube videos, looking at transformations on TikTok and Instagram, and reading books for mindset. Not to compare myself to others. Well, not exactly. But to show myself what could be possible. To see transformations and know that I’m not the only one in my predicament. That I’m not alone – which is a big deal for me.  

I plan to get up in the mornings to run, which is already hard for me because I’m a night owl. However, the odd thing is that every time I’ve gone running or walking early (in the last 2-3 weeks), I’ve felt happier all day. More productive. More energized. More motivated to get other things done. This is just one of the changes I’ve wanted to make but it’s the biggest one in regards to my weight loss. 

It’s one of my most drastic changes to kill that fear of success. I can do this and I will. 

Watch me.

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Good Readdance,

Jade