About Charley…and about food…and about other things…

Working on tomorrow’s updates, today. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. Sometimes I forget how much I truly love working on this site.

It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite foods, hard-boiled eggs. Though they’re cheap and very quick and simple to make, I don’t usually remember to add them to my list of favorite foods. I hadn’t had any in like a year until two or three days ago when suddenly I got the worst craving. I went out and got a dozen and boiled them and wound up eating ten in one day. Lunch: four eggs. Dinner: four eggs. Midnight snack: two eggs. The only reason I didn’t eat the entire carton is cause I shared them with Michael’s dad. Several of the eggs I ate right out of the pot–the best way–and they were so hot they burned my tongue and it felt funny for the rest of the day. Eating those fresh, hot, steaming eggs was just ecstasy that’s kind of what working on Charley feels like now.

(On a quasi-semi-related note: the anniversary of the attack was two weeks ago. I deliberately wrote and said nothing about it on that day because I decided to stop marking it, but it was very much on my mind. But very few things are ever so bad that nothing good comes of them. I can think of several good things that came out of the attack, and boiled eggs are one of them. In the immediate aftermath I was so stressed that I basically stopped eating. I lost TWELVE pounds in a month, and I really didn’t have it to lose. That was ten percent of my body weight at the time. My arms looked like sticks, my shoulders like doorknobs. My family doctor told me quite firmly that I MUST start eating again because I’d already lost too much weight.

So I started forcing myself to eat at least two meals a day, and they had to be good, nutritious foods, like beef and barley soup and such things. And I tried hard-boiled eggs for the first time, knowing they were good for you, and discovered how much I loved them. Sometimes I’d take several to work for lunch, each one inside a sock to stop it breaking. By the end of the summer I looked like my normal slender-but-not-skeletal self again. The eggs really helped. So did Campbell’s Chunky Chicken and Dumplings Soup, another food I discovered I really liked and will eat cold right out of the can because I’m totally uncivilized. This is actually a big deal, the eggs and soup, because I have sensory issues related to taste and there are VERY few foods I can eat without discomfort and even fewer I actually enjoy eating.

Other good things that came from the attack, more significant than food: I found out who my real friends were, I gained trust in the competence and compassion of my psychiatrist who handled my post-traumatic stress reaction so appropriately, and I realized anew how much my boyfriend and parents loved and cared for me. And I learned how strong I was, how I could survive something that shattered many people. I was knocked off my feet, yes, flat on my back, but I managed to get back up and keep going. You can’t get over something like that, but you can pick it up and carry it with you.)

7 thoughts on “About Charley…and about food…and about other things…

  1. Jaclyn July 5, 2013 / 7:12 am

    I have been following you for about three years now and I believe I completely missed your story about an attack. Whatever happened, I am truly sorry. I did not have something like that happen to me, but I lost my son in a very traumatic and sudden manner, he was 28 years old. Shortly after his death, I became interested in missing persons, which I associate with having never actually seen his body after he passed and was laid to rest. Trust me, I am not a nut-case, I just think losing him gave me such compassion for those that have no closure to their loss so I began following missing persons on Charley Project. Anyway, I just wanted to comment on your last paragraph about “other good things that came from the attack…” I too found out who my real friends were after the trauma of losing my son, and I also found true compassion and support through a great psychiatrist and a dear couple that treat me with enormous love and respect. Also I have learned how strong I am through it, even though I carry it with me daily and have not “gotten over it.” Meghan, I respect you and what you are doing. I also enjoy your wit, your transparency, and your intelligence. You are a gift and a treasure. Thank you for being you!

    • Meaghan July 5, 2013 / 7:26 am

      Thank you for your kind comments. I have a brother who died in a car accident and, though I don’t really remember it as I was only two at the time, I’m sure it was absolute hell on my parents. My mom has told me about how people had a hard time talking to her afterwards and some people avoided her.

      The attack was actually four years ago, so if you’ve only been following me for three years that would be why you missed it. June 16, 2009. I blogged about it when it happened and periodically since. I was beaten and raped by a stranger who threatened to kill me. After two hours I was able to talk him into letting me go, and of course I went to the police immediately, but they weren’t able to identify him for over a year, by which time he’d gone and raped someone else. And I have good reason to believe he raped a woman before me — and impregnated her. He’s in prison now and when he gets out he’s being deported to Sudan, a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  2. kim July 5, 2013 / 7:13 pm

    I am so sorry about your attack Meaghan, but I am very happy for you and how things turned out. It had to be wonderful to find out when you are at your lowest that you are truly loved and for no other reason than being who you are. I am glad that you had that experience, and to find out that you were a stronger woman than you knew and could face things and grow from them without losing yourself to them. ❤

  3. aphra75 July 5, 2013 / 11:28 pm

    Meghan, I am so sorry about what happened, but it is a testament to your great will and strength that you were able to openly share what happened to you and get right back to the business of living, although I know it was a difficult road. (And by the way, I’m completely furious that anyone DARED question you about the attack. You were way more composed about it than I would’ve been! I cannot believe the way that some people treat victims. They need to get a life, seriously.)

    You do so much good for so many families of missing people–you are truly a hero. Please keep up the good work.

    • Meaghan July 5, 2013 / 11:43 pm

      In a way, those people calling me liars was more upsetting than the rape itself was. The rape, horrific as it was, was “nothing personal.” The man was a stranger, one who happened to hate women, and I was one, and this was why he hurt me. It had nothing to do with me as a person and I could understand that. But those people accusing me were people I thought I knew, people I thought I could call my friends.

      Oh, well. Their loss. I can say that now, years later. But it took a long time to get to that point. And I was lucky in so many ways. Lucky that he didn’t kill me, lucky that I got good psychological help, lucky that my family and boyfriend and real friends supported me, etc.

  4. Jaclyn July 6, 2013 / 12:00 am

    Wow, Meghan, that is no comparison to anything else, IMHO. I am sorry that I even dared compare my situation to what you went through. I hate it when people do that with me, actually, so my apologies for likening my loss to yours. So glad you have quality people around you. What a gift.

    • Meaghan July 6, 2013 / 12:40 am

      Believe me, Jaclyn, being raped is no comparison to losing a child. I think having a child die is about the worst thing that can happen to you — except having a child go missing, which I think is worse, just because of the ambiguity (not knowing what happened, not having any place to go to visit with your child and grieve). You do not need to apologize to me.

      I sometimes wonder how things would be different in my family if my brother had not died. Things were pretty dysfunctional when I was a child. I don’t mean to say I was beaten or anything like that, but there were a lot of problems. I’m sure Brian’s passing didn’t help.

      I hope you got grief counseling or something. My parents joined a group called the Compassionate Friends, which is an organization for parents who lost children. They found it helpful and went to meetings for years.

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