Monday, July 11, 2011

The Break-Up Meal -- Eating What Ya Wanna

Whenever I go through a particularly Earth-shattering breakup, I find comfort in two things: I will get skinny. And I will get artistic.

Occasionally the artistic photo shoot.
The Break-Up Meal is not something I've ever been friendly with. You see, I'm not one of those girls who chugs down Ben & Jerry's when depressed. Quite the opposite in fact. Generally, you can find me in a puddle on my bedroom floor, my phone thrown across the room in an effort to avoid making poor texting choices that I'll actually end up making anyway, laptop nearby as I try not to Facebook all over the place. Crying until I'm dry and hyperventilating. All in all, not a pretty sight. The stress of convincing myself that I have gone through an emotional amputation not unlike losing my own leg leaves me very little time to eat. The very thought of food makes my stomach turn, and any fresh fruits and veggies I manage to choke down--the only thing I ever can stomach at this time--threaten to revisit me. In the meantime I write emotionally charged short stories and the occasional terrible poem or modern art piece.

It's summer.

This can last for weeks. I go over every last detail in my mind, what I could have done differently, where did it all go wrong, why I wasn't good enough, why I couldn't fix it all.

However, this time, at about week 1.5 I got terribly sick of feeling sorry for myself. This had nothing to do with me, this had everything to do with someone who decided he cared more about himself than me.

Guess what? I'm pretty effing awesome. I have a college degree and a job I love. I am artistic, I am talented, and I can cook better than most people my age. I can sing and act. I have traveled the world. I am intelligent. I have nearly perfect grammar. I. Can. Write. I have lost my father, the most important person in my life, way sooner than I should have. And though I'm never the prettiest girl in the room, I can certainly hold my own and scramble around with my flat iron and makeup and a flattering dress and think, "dang, I look good tonight." I CAN WEAR LEGGINGS AS PANTS--though I would never, ever. I promise. I am a great friend and an even better girlfriend. I put my whole heart into all my relationships, I don't put myself first, and you know what? That's not a weakness in my eyes. It's a strength, it shows I care. Emotion is not weakness, it means I actually feel something. And someday, someone is going to appreciate that and not walk all over me and push me to my breaking point. My breaking up point. Whatever.
I'll be okay.

Sometimes crying on the floor until you can't take it anymore, when your body and mind just let go of everything else--sometimes that is the most exhilarating thing in the world. Submission to a feeling, an utter release of emotion. This is when you can pick up the pieces and make your life exactly what you want it to be, with nothing and no one holding you back. (Read: The Goddess of Never Not Broken)

I'd rather be that helpless puddle than an emotionless statue. I'd rather have my eyes cry uncontrollably than have them be cold and unfeeling. I'd rather be me: flawed and caring too much, than you: standing there blank while I fall apart in front of you. I have loved and lost like so many before me, I have felt that loss with every part of me, and I am better for it. Each and every time.

Sir, you are missing out, and I hope you come to realize that. You will realize that. I stood up for myself and told you what I needed and you refused to even consider factoring me into your life. It's easier to throw me away than to take on any sort of effort on your part. And yes, I got weak a day or two into my decision and tried to un-do the ending, but I now know I did the right thing. Someone who is so unwilling to even try, give the simplest amount of effort to fix a few very simple things after two years of sharing so much together must have the emotional capacity of a crawfish and that's not something I deserve. I give my whole heart, I deserve the same in return. No compromises.

No thank you.


I pulled myself up from the floor. The weight I lose in a breakup should not comfort me. It should just be sad. I did not run from the fridge, nor did I run to it. I was going to eat what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it, and I was going to fix my heart my own damn self. I got a D'Angelos Lobster Roll every day for lunch. I had vanilla soft serve with cherry dip twice. I had some lovely gourmet salads. Many, many Dove chocolates. A few glasses of wine. A hurricane served in a bucket followed by karaoke. Two pulled pork sandwiches. Sushi. Brie and Turkey on a ciabatta at an art museum. Ice water with sliced cucumber that felt damn classy. I started when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. I kept myself too busy to think about the hurt, and when I had time to think I could see it a bit more clearly.

Here is what I think: I've been hurt, and it sucks, but those two years were worth it despite the horrible ending. It was a learning and growing experience, it was my first long term relationship as an "adult" and I had so many amazing experiences. We saw so much together, shared so much, but he was never "the one" and I knew that deep down it would end someday. I just didn't think it would be now, and I sometimes hoped he would prove me wrong in the end. You can't make someone love you more than they're able, or after they've already reserved themselves to not, and it was time to say goodbye. Now, it is time to move on. And eat some food.

Hurricane in a bucket. Sometimes these are necessary.
Tomorrow, I will go shopping, and I will buy a dress and shoes that I can totally rock. And I will eat whatever I damn well please. I will dust off my gym membership too, because that's only wise.

French toast on French bread, c'est parfait.
Tonight, I made BBQ chicken nachos for dinner. I will likely have ice cream for dessert. Vanilla topped with honey mango butter and a dash of chocolate. Because I'm awesome. And I deserve it.


Break-Up Food Nachos
  • 2 chicken tenders, smothered in BBQ sauce and grilled until cooked through, cut into chunks or shredded
  • Handful of small, circular tortilla chips
  • Handful of Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup salsa (I used Newman's Own black bean and corn)
  • Spoonful of BBQ sauce
  • Dollop of sour cream

-On a small plate, arrange nachos, chicken bits, salsa, bbq sauce, and cheese into desired formation. Microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream. Eat, laugh, and enjoy.


*note* This isn't about eating too much, or starving yourself, or any kind of support of emotional eating/not eating. It was basically me realizing that me starving myself was because my subconscious didn't think I deserved to get what I want. I kept all portions reasonable and didn't overdo it. A good rule to go by: start when you're hungry, finish when you're full, regardless of how much is left on your plate.


  1. You go girl! I love everything you said. You are an inspiration to many. Stay strong! And keep blogging

  2. Ha, I was just going to write You go, girl! And then I saw Maris' comment. It seems like the right advice for this post. I always put others first too, and that's definitely the way to go. At least when things go wrong, you know you did all you could and it wasn't your fault. Happy eating!

  3. Amazing, powerful, beautiful post! I am in awe of your strong words, and your wisdom and clarity... You are right, you are awesome and you deserve all things delicious in food and relationships!! *hugs* Thank you for inspiring us girls with your wonderful, insightful prose...

  4. I adore good writing. I don't know you well enough to commiserate over past relationships, but I enjoy knowing you through your words, and, did you mention beautiful in there anywhere? I suppose not something you say about yourself as a rule. Amazing photos! You will go on.

  5. You are fabulous!! Of course, I'm sorry about your breakup, but this post shows that you are totally strong and amazing and you deserve so much better. And will definitely find it. Plus, those BBQ chicken nachos sound out of this world.


  6. ashley! this was such a thoughtful and good post, i know i can definitely relate. I hope you're doing better sister. <3

  7. Nachos sound awesome!!! Any man who doesn't care enough to meet you in the middle isn't worth a lick anyway your better off because this opens the door for someone better than him!

  8. Reading your words is like listening to myself talk, feel, love, fall apart and GET BACK UP. I do believe you are my soul twin and I love you! I truly do :) stay beautiful and stay YOU!!