I love sandwiches. Grilled cheese or ice cream, point me at a sandwich, and I’m a happy gal. The jury’s still out for me on the “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate, but that’s beside the point. Today, I’m here to talk to you about a very specific kind of sandwich.
A “f*cking sandwich”, to be exact. (Emphasis on the word sandwich, please, else this becomes a very different topic.)
F*cking Sandwiches – The Origins
The phrase “f*cking sandwiches” has been the punchline of a joke in my family for many years. I won’t bore you with the very niche humor that got us there, but suffice it to say, “f*cking sandwiches” is pronounced with all the derision one can muster.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that, in the course of my eating disorder recovery, I adopted the phrase for my own uses. As I sat in my therapist’s office, I wailed about how hungry I was, but couldn’t find a way to eat. “All I want is a f*cking sandwich!” Then, many weeks later, “There’s no way in HELL you’re getting me to eat a f*cking sandwich!” Which was followed sometime later with, “I can’t believe I have to eat a f*cking sandwich!”
The day came wherein sandwiches were officially added to my meal plan. Every day I’d mutter to myself, “mutter mutter f*cking sandwich mutter mutter”, and every day I’d log it in my food record as “Ate a f*cking sandwich.” Without the asterisk.
I always dreaded sandwich time. Every day I’d mutter and swear. And every day I’d wonder why the damned sandwich wasn’t any easier to show up to.
One day, it hit me. As long as I kept muttering and swearing about the sandwich, my opinion of said sandwich had no room to change.
No More F*cking Sandwiches
Removing the expletive took a surprising amount of work. See, it wasn’t just my perspective on sandwiches that needed changing. It was my belief about other people’s perspective on sandwiches that needed changing. Referring to sandwiches this way wasn’t just my way of venting my frustrations. It was also my way of showing anyone who read my meal log that I was NOT okay with eating a sandwich. This was NOT my choice, and I was eating them under protest! That way, nobody could accuse me of actually wanting to eat a sandwich. The shame of that would have been too much for my eating disordered self to bear.
So, I took a baby step. I announced to my therapist that I had decided to stop calling them f*cking sandwiches, because I didn’t think the phrase was helping my recovery. BUT I STILL WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT EATING THEM! JUST SO WE WE’RE ALL CLEAR! NOT! HAPPY!
So the next day, I made a . . . sandwich. And I logged . . . “sandwich” in my food record. My disorder was SCREAMING at me to add the expletive, just in case someone thought this was a choice, but I held out. Sandwich, presented without comment.
Slowly, but surely, I became okay with sandwiches. I experimented with different fillings, and different wrappings. And one day, shock of all shocks, I discovered I actually liked sandwiches. And another day, somewhat further down the line, I discovered I was okay with people knowing I liked sandwiches.
Now, this all didn’t just happen magically. I did a lot of emotional work alongside all the sandwich-eating that helped me get to this new sandwich-laden place. But I did get there, in the end.
Maybe it’s not really about sandwiches
It may not be sandwiches for you. It might be another food. It might be a relationship, or a day without harm, or feelings about your body. Whatever it is, pay attention to the language you use. You don’t have to go from “f*cking” to “glorious” – that’s just not a realistic leap. It also negates whatever very real, very valid things you might be feeling. Just present your challenge without comment, and leave yourself room to grow. Leave your opinion room to change. Leave yourself space to heal.
(You’re worth it)