I surrender. I give up. I resign. I cannot hide from my past. My past defines me; it has shaped me; and it has built the road ahead of me. And now, I have realized that I need to embrace it, or I’ll never have peace with myself.
When I first arrived in USC, I wanted to escape from my past. All 7 years in Virginia—from the moment I started to toy with the idea of dieting, to the slow decline down the slipping slopes of Anorexia, to the horrid hospitalizations, to the pitiful stares of my neighbors and stranger—I wanted to obliterate them all.
I wanted a brand new start. I wanted to create a new image of me, a Sophia Lee that has not the slightest trace of that sickening ED-stigma on my forehead. I envisioned a fresh, blank canvas, where I would create a clean person, someone who is known for her personality, her talents, her opinions and thoughts—and not Sophia the Anorexic. I was tired of having my name on the prayer list under the “mental disorder” category. I was sick of having strangers tell me they were “praying for the ED-devil to depart” from me. I just simply…didn’t want any single soul to ever, ever find out about my ED past.
But…God had a different plan for me.
Somehow, someway, I find myself meeting people who went through similar experiences as me, amazing, beautiful people who tug at my heartstrings.
Somehow, someway, my friends find out about my blog and discover my past, but don’t judge me in the least.
Somehow, someway, I just cannot ignore the fact that wherever I go, my ED-radar senses evidences of eating disordered people all over my school campus.
Somehow, someway, I get numbers of emails from fellow ED-sufferers, emails that cut me to the heart and make my eyes tear up with empathy and compassion.
So, I yield. I’m going to throw away my pride, and I’m not going to be ashamed and hide my past. If anyone asks, I will flat-out admit that yes, I am—had—an eating disorder. That doesn’t make me less of a person. Whether I like it or not, my eating disorder is a huge, significant part of my life, and without it, I would not be the person I am now. In fact, I think without my eating disorder, I would have been one insensitive, arrogant, self-righteous, self-glorifying jerk.
Not that I’m such a great person now. No freaking way! I still have much left to work on. I am still riddled with flaws and weaknesses— but heck, at least now I know and acknowledge it, and that’s a critical step towards self-improvement.
And because of my weaknesses, I am able to understand other people’s own struggles, and sympathize with them. I know all too well that real and gripping fear of eating a simple plate of spaghetti, or stepping out of a rigid routine. I understand all too much that terrible, perpetual obsession with food, the never-ending cycle of starvation, self-hatred, self-absorption, and control.
Eating disorder…is an incomprehensible, exasperating disease. Who can understand us? We cheat, we lie, we manipulate, we care about nobody and nothing except ourselves and our disordered habits and thoughts. Who can love us? Who can care for us, and bear our outrageous tirades, our irrational fears, our anger, our bitterness?
Even our parents have a limit as to how much they can understand. It takes someone who has walked down the same path, someone who has experienced the same hell-hole, to be able to truly understand.
I don’t know exactly what God has in store for me, but I do know that I will forever be surrounded by people like me. And I don’t believe it is a coincidence that I have a burning desire within me to reach out to these people and help. God, I’m here…will you heal me? Will you…use me?
Wow. Heavy words. For those of you who are just here for the food, it’s okay if you scrolled all the way down all that rambles straight to the pictures. What I said up there, is just a jumble of mixed emotions and thoughts that I just had to express in real words. But I promise there is food. And good food, too!
Now, you all know how much I adore sandwiches. Especially if it’s got good bread, as I delightfully showcased here. Well, the world has come to an end, because I am all out of bread. Tres horror!
Well, what to do? Time to get creative. I stared at an eggplant and an eggplant stared back at me. Hmm…
Stuffed and Grilled French Toast, Eggplant-Style
(Help me think of a better name for this!!)
For the “french toast”:
For the filling: Topping: For the “french toast”, first blend the cottage cheese, eggs, and seasonings together in a blender until smooth: Once the sweet potato is roasted, let it cool for a bit. Meanwhile, grill up both eggplants in your George Foreman, until cooked through. Once cooked, start stacking up! First, your grilled eggplant “french toast”: Sigh. I really need to look for bread, but there is no good bread in the USC vicinity. They are all limpy, fluffy, bread-imitators. This is one instance when I actually miss my past…living walking distance to Great Harvest! T___T;;; Question of the day: What is your secret past? Haha, kidding! Nope, in light of today’s…rather heavy topic, today’s question is gonna be light, but not trivial…Do you freaking love carbs (That’s a rhetorical question)?!!
Next, dip the two eggplant slabs into the egg-cottage cheese mixture:
Let soak and set aside. Start roasting the sweet potato in the oven. About 20 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Twiddle your thumb, or you can start assembling the filling ingredients.
Then layer some cottage cheese, sprinkle on garlic salt, pepper, whatever seasoning you wish…
And then the huge slab of sweet potato:
And then on goes the ham and tomatoes:
Finally, stack the second eggplant “french toast” on top, and top with salsa and feta cheese!
This was like whoa!! (Tee hee, Nicole!)
Have you seen anything like this? I think not! ;-p
Look at that cheese oozing out…
Hefty, big, and tasted glorious! I loved how the eggplant sort of tasted like pancakes, the meatiness of it, and all the chewy and soft textures in there!
Of course I still needed more carbs than that, so I used the remainder of the sweet potato for fries:
There is no better accompaniment than baked sweet potato fries! Sweet and savory, chewy little goodness!
I have to admit, this is quite labor-intensive though. And the eggplant “french toast” was definitely extraordinary, but…there is a reason why french toast is made with bread, because when it boils down to taste…there is nothing like bread!
But at least it was quite an experience! I did have some of the cottage-cheese/egg batter left, so I made it into a fluffy sort of omelete/pancake:
I was a bit distracted and let it burn, but otherwise it was delicious! But nothing compared to this:
Welcome to Sophia’s Kitchen! Mimi and Kathryn, aren’t you guys glad you go to the same school as me? ;-)
For the filling:
For the “french toast”, first blend the cottage cheese, eggs, and seasonings together in a blender until smooth:
Once the sweet potato is roasted, let it cool for a bit. Meanwhile, grill up both eggplants in your George Foreman, until cooked through. Once cooked, start stacking up!
First, your grilled eggplant “french toast”:
Sigh. I really need to look for bread, but there is no good bread in the USC vicinity. They are all limpy, fluffy, bread-imitators. This is one instance when I actually miss my past…living walking distance to Great Harvest! T___T;;;
Question of the day: What is your secret past? Haha, kidding! Nope, in light of today’s…rather heavy topic, today’s question is gonna be light, but not trivial…Do you freaking love carbs (That’s a rhetorical question)?!!