Pardon me for interrupting this regularly scheduled program, but I’ve to announce…Food Memories is in a real live bookstore! This is The Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville, WA where the virtual has become reality:
This is so exciting. Said bookstore has arranged a book signing for me to enact my author identity with others…and I love a good role-play :}. I’m also honestly nervous to becoming more visible as the author behind this book…but I’m giving it the good ol’ heave ho. The soul creation that is this memoir deserves it from me.
I am also incredibly grateful for this unexpected opportunity and look forward to meeting the Coupeville community that is welcoming me. You can read more about The Kingfisher Bookstore here: https://www.whidbeylocal.com/article/view/2615///the-kingfisher-bookstore-in-downtown-coupeville-has-doubled-its-size-providing-an-even-greater-selection-and-space-for-events to find out about the deliciousness they’re brewing up (Coupeville = filming location for Practical Magic).
So stay tuned folks, I’ll be headed to Coupeville/Whidbey Island to accomplish this task next week and may have more of the adventure to share!
If you’re not familiar with the book I’m mentioning, here’s additional information:
From the back cover:
“In this deeply moving and honest memoir, successive food memories take us on a journey through the author’s struggles, joys and ultimate awakening to her relationship with food and body. In her narrative, Reagan forms a provocative question: ‘What if the symptoms of an eating disorder and of depression can ultimately be something sacred? Not something to fight against but instead one to learn from and work with as a teacher?’
If you have struggled with food and body and found yourself wondering if there is something more to the wrestling; if you have been in recovery and found yourself caught in reoccurring symptoms you know have deeper meaning, these words may meet you. They may also challenge you. Recall, and perhaps re-write, your own story of food and body issues in ways you never imagined as you read along. Come, step into Reagan’s journey…and understand your own.”
“In this heartfelt and creatively arranged memoir, Reagan takes the reader inside her life-long relationship with an eating disorder. Her journey gradually unfolds, refolds, unfolds, and refolds through poetry, reflection, and powerfully rendered memories of eating. More than a recovery story, Food Memories is a thoughtful exploration of how to care for ourselves in the midst of pain and loneliness, and welcome our “dis-ease” as a soulful path of transformation. Honest, brave, and illuminating.” ~T.H.
“The tales and the writing in “Food Memories” are not only joyful, at times sorrowful and intriguing to absorb, the experiences shared here about first-hand experiences with the nuances around food and eating and the struggles as well as the triumphs are artfully rendered and reflected upon. This book helped me connect with deeper layers of my own challenges with food and I heartily recommend it to others who want to find deeper perspective on eating, food and ways to work with these in fresh ways.” ~C.C.
“A disciplined and visceral memoir covers the authors journey with anorexia from childhood through her ongoing struggle to understand the messages of her body. These vignettes offer insights into the state of mind and trauma psychology of eating disorders, but go beyond the usual obsession with body image and societal messages of thinness. Her story becomes a rite of passage and a search for initiation. The journey to wellness as the author grows compassion for herself in turn made me feel cared for and offered numerous insights into the complexity of growing up female. Her desire to help others in the same predicament and how she learned to get help for herself speaks volumes about how little we really support or understand women. A brave and courageous act of self invention as well as a compelling piece of writing beautifully written and artfully put together with intermittent third person summations and poetry.” ~B.T.
“This book really opened my eyes about the complexity of eating disorders. Detailed, sensual descriptions of food experiences tell the story of a truly human love-hate relationship with food and family. The brave vulnerability demonstrated by this author is healing in itself. It includes some lovely poetry, mystical experiences, ugly and beautiful interactions with others, all strung together by miracles generated by forgiveness.” K.M.
“My friend recommended this book to me as I have numerous friends that are struggling with eating disorders or have family members struggling. I really like how this book chronicles the author’s experiences over time and it gives great insight into how some people enter into this situation. I felt like I was on this journey with the author and I could empathize with many of her issues and situations. It is written almost like a poem going in and out of memories and I found it very powerful. I recommend this book.” ~P.
Food Memories is available through all major online booksellers. If you’d like to support a small bookstore through your purchase you can go here:
or search for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.
Thank you :}
Soft mound melting roof of mouth
Vanilla cream trickling throat
Chilled silver resting lip
Beastmaster and misty swaying pines
Electric green moss carpet beneath hand
Arranging mushrooms, leaves for tiny folk
Croaking of gulls at seashore
Lighthouse moans in fog
Fingers squishing anemone
Coffeemate crumbles dissolve across tongue
Kitty fur, purring
Closed bedroom doors, horror pages turning
Crisped edges salty potatoes
Glistening crackles lemon chicken pan
Forest nooks and fortresses, wild onion and sorrel crunching
Warm sun bakery window scone
Early morning farmer’s market bustle, auntie’s basket heavy
Echoing awe gregorian chant episcopal stained glass sunbeams
A quiet night, safety
Schoolwork structure, pencil scribbling
Strumming cardboard guitars, mommy’s black knee high boots
Vampire bites from neighbors
Mommy, sleeping, working
Mommy not screaming
Mommy not grieving
Mommy not drinking
Mommy not self-destructing
Weight watchers rules, measuring cups
Substitute psychiatric mothers
Concerns in eye
The auric field of wolf protector
Gooey pancakes, assigned and accompanied
He who fights for me
His arms holding in sweaty roiling pit
Mildewy stone wood cabin shower
Marie Callender flaky pot pie crust, juicy chunks gravy
Being forced to eat
White, bleached linens
White, bleached linens
White, bleached linens
Being sick enough
Low blood pressure readings, dizzy
Cafeteria coffee smells
Treatment team “not ready” declarations
Ensure, ice cubes bobbing, slowly straw slurping
Watered down amazingness hitting tongue
After crossing fasting abyss
Someone to take care of me
Someone to protect me
Feeling not alone with it
After so many years a parent-child
Veggie burger patty melted cheese
Cafeteria privileges, grown up coffee drinking
Crazy talks with other crazy birds
Worry in whitecoat eyes
Not having to fight Her
That this time’s the last
Greetings, beings :}
Just wanted to share that I was on a radio show called “Healing Journeys” this week, and aside from some lovely “um’s” I think the conversation went pretty well!
Along with discussing what I “do” in the world, we covered a broad variety of issues–eating disorders, body/illness advocation, shadow work, even the concept of “nothingness sessions” and the perplexity of how to market such a thing.
If you choose to tune in, I’m on the November 17th episode. Enjoy!
To the first peoples of Switzerland, who were colonized
To the first peoples of Germany, who were colonized
To the first peoples of Scandinavia, who were colonized
To the first peoples of Lithuania, who were colonized
To the first peoples of the Netherlands, who were colonized
To the first peoples of the British Isles, who were colonized
To the first peoples of the Americas, who were colonized
To the first peoples of The Great Utah Basin, who were colonized
To the first peoples of the West Coast of the Americas, where I now stand, who were colonized
To the first plant, animal and living beings, who were colonized
To the meat, vegetable, herb, tree, crops, who were colonized
To the plots of land that will never see the sun, under concrete, colonized
To the trauma, disconnection and forgetting that lives on in my bones, blood and gut, colonized
To the sicknesses that are trying to help me see
May I find a way to understand
May I find a way to respect
May I find a way to honor
May I find a way to clear
May I find a way to remember
These white hands, open
These blue eyes, open
This raw, beating heart, open
To all who have been a part of me
To all who have suffered
And to all I am a part of
May we find a way
May we find
From Food Memories, by Reagan Lakins. Posted in honor of Indigenous People’s Day, October 11, 2021.
“Raspberry Leaf is an astringent and an anti-inflammatory. Raspberry Leaf aids pelvic circulation in the female reproductive organs and also aids in childbirth. As an anti-inflammatory, Raspberry Leaf is used for fevers and is good for nausea and motion sickness.”
I chose this card in hopes of finding some sort of inspiration for writing today…I seem to have been dropped into a wide Void this week as far as creative confidence goes.
Of course, The Queen of Wands would come, to stare at me, to give me a complete opposite to gaze upon–she of utter passion, determination, motivation and confidence. She, surrounded by Raspberry Leaf, the herb of fertility and preparing the body for birth.
It makes me think of the birthing process, and if, once again, I am in another one. It makes me wonder (having never birthed physical children) whether pregnant mothers come upon these strange pockets of blankness, of “what the hell am I doing?” during their pregnancies. Whether they hit long stretches of doubt, cloudiness and lack of surety about what they’ve decided to enter into creating.
That’s how I feel now.
You see, I’ve decided to create a workshop around the Food Memories book/process…I actually have the whole thing written out. My business mentor asked me last week, “Ok, so now we need to get really clear on who this is for.”
And that’s when the blankness set in. Or rather, the swirl of possibilities–but nothing clear. I spent time at the drawing board, trying to mentally plot out objectives and goals for each of the clientele I felt come into my mind. But then those swirled wildly around too. Now there was a lot of goals, and a lot of client types, flying around like wicked monkeys in here.
So I stopped. I stepped back. I asked the deeper parts of myself and whatever may be co-creating with me to send me clues about who the hell my offering would best serve. And waited.
And only silence met me.
Again I think back to the pregnant mother, drinking her Raspberry Leaf tea, preparing her body, all the while feeling a blankness as to how she’ll ever be able to do this. I think about the courage it takes for a woman to face that risk, not knowing what may happen, but committing to the gargantuan task anyway.
And I think of her praying in the dark of night, calling out for support, and feeling only silence. Wondering if she’s making a mistake, wondering if bad things will happen, if she is healthy enough, or if she decided to conceive too soon. Wishing, yearning for her internal guidance, and external forces to show her the way through her doubt and fear. But hearing only silence. What must she feel in those moments, those terrifyingly silent moments in the night?
Again I look to the card. I see this woman, who seems grounded and wise, facing forward. She holds the staff firmly in hand, but not to prop herself–it is an extension of her internal power. I see the Raspberry plant winding around her, framing her, supporting her. I see the white cat, her familiar, by her side.
Looking into her eyes, and upon this whole scene, I feel my sense of lostness transform into hope again. She seems to be saying to me that I have her in me, that I am on this birthing process, and that I just need to keep going, keep trusting in that process. She seems to be holding one of the Raspberries in hand…almost like she is offering it to me.
It’s all a very non-linear directive, but I’m trying. I’m going to go make myself a cup of Raspberry leaf tea right now, envisioning it nourishing my creative centers, my deep internal strength. Despite my internal agnostic, snickering, I will also make space for the possibility that I too, have a spirit familiar, helping me somehow.
I will sip and let the possibilities grow, and let the blankness be okay. I will let the Raspberry and the energies of the Queen of Wands infuse me, and see what happens.
Thanks for reading :}
From the old, outdated
Within my own tissues
Rule and fear based
Free me from the fear
That I will have nothing
Beyond worrying about food
If I eat enough to not be starving
Beyond the plotting, planning
Free me from the fear
Of feeling too full
Of old, archaic terrors
I’ve no real understanding of
Nor skill of navigating through
Free me from feeling unattended
With this struggle
Unmet and misunderstood
Free me from eating less
In fear of all of this terrifying mystery
In fear of whatever this is
That keeps me in this hidden
Of depending on measuring spoons
To hold me
To hold it
From whatever it is
That keeps me focused on this
From the fullness
Of what I could be living
Of what I really desire
Of the sheer and overwhelming
Would look like
Truly feeling my body tell me its hungers
Truly knowing what would feed it
Truly giving myself that
Truly knowing when it is enough
Truly feeling the result of a met desire
Beyond the calories
And meal plans
And measuring spoons
And fear of fullness
And orchestrating my whole entire fucking existence
Around this constant
Around this constant
When I haven’t just collapsed into numbness
Of just accepting that this
I pray so hard
So goddamned hard
The spit chokes me
I pray so goddamned hard
For something to support me
In this unimaginable transformation
One it seems I have tried
Every position of attempt
And arrived at
Covered in this slimy residue
I want it so bad
To hear this desire
To know how to feed it
To feel myself feeding it
To feel myself feeling full of it
To feel myself enjoying that fullness
Is it possible
Is it possible
Is it possible
To feel something
Your complete and utter
Lack of response
I’m crying out
~Written for “Liberty: Breath, Death, Soul” ed. Pamela Eakins. If you’d like to view or purchase this literary collection, you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Liberty-Sisters-Holy-Pamela-Eakins/dp/B098GV1D19
The heaviness is here
Weighty lump in throat
I risked it
For the ancestors
Opened the grimoire
Revealing today’s assignment
Eating with the dead
My dreaded Book of Shadows
First, scouring the aisles
Finding perfection to match them
Settling for enough
To avoid familiar choice overwhelm
Second, scouring the picturebooks
Sadness and memory emerge
I find their faces
Years before the beatings
Third, setting the altar
Lighting candles, preparing plates
Roasting garlic wafting through
Arranging the items
Setting them there
Four, turning on music
At first a thirties Benny
And then back, way back
To weaving voices and clinking water jugs
For reason to break routine
Over and over the same
The typical fare
But this time, new delights
Welcoming the dead
I pick up the knife and smear
Chunky pimento cheese matter
Onto cracker and lift
Teeth pierce through cold substance
Breaking through crisp leavened wafer
And chewing begins
Pimply cold cornichons
Rolling in between finger
Burst through skin and onto tongue
And stomach turns
Still, I continue
Perhaps it will settle
Roiling and rumbling
All kinds of voices
Black chanting obstacles
Back and forth in hand
Hot breadstuff matter
Lifted to nose
A sweet smell
Will it save me?
Billowy, corn laced
Cake onto tongue
And chewing seems to soothe
Swallowing with no idea
Of the later effect “too much”
These dead, beloved ancestors
Ones who inspired palm reading
And ones who left grand story
Ones who kept going
Despite the crumbling world soul around them
Perhaps, this time, it will be okay
Perhaps, this time, eating “freely” won’t hurt
Perhaps, this time, the ancestors will spare
Later, the wishing is wrong
Later, the stomach is roiling
Later, the anxiety peaks
And the fullness haunts
The scrambling and unexplainable terror
Comes over once more
But this practice
The ones for the dead
Is one I’ve committed
And every so often
And old folk voices chanting
I risk entering into this territory
I sacrifice this weird first-world problem
And hold on
Until the rumbling freight train
Thank you, grammie and granpa
For pushing me to live
Crisp celery chunks
Bursting between teeth
Limp, browning lettuce
A lukewarm acidic coffee
And salty, salty sadness.
Body threatens to hurl
External drama absent
But oh how it roils inside
Will I die like you did?
No one knows me like you did
I miss you
Keep thinking of you
Calling out Death
While the Summer of Love played on
Alone on the cigarette burned bathroom floor
I wasn’t there
The same traffic prevents me
The terror of ancestral repeating
Ripples through my core
With a soggy, limp assignment
Our egg salad sandwich
In the same ol’ car
But that seat is empty
And you’re not complaining
Dust to dust
This dungeon parkway
So many memories
To match our Last Supper
My first committal
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
The bowling lawn
And the day I found you on the bathroom floor
Yet here I celebrate
On this noon of Lammas
The egg salad sandwich
You and I amazingly shared
With creamy substance
Lumpy mustardy mastications
I look across this concrete underworld
At those familiar sliding doors
They knew you so well
You made them laugh
And sometimes, stare in shock
So many times
This place held you
When you’d let no other
Mama, I eat this egg salad sandwich
Remembering this long fucking strange trip
I’ve been living
The same car
The empty seat
And the Emergency Room doors
Other than our own
CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP
Dust to dust
The egg salad sandwich
The memory of you
HERE LIES THE END
OF FOOD MEMORIES RE-ENACTMENTS
MAY THESE STORIES BE READ
MAY THEY LIVE ON
FOR WHOMEVER NEED READ THEM
EVEN IF IT’S ONLY FOR MY OWN
IN YOUR MEMORIES
AND IN MINE
December 7, 2020-August 2, 2021
*Thanks for reading and following my journey. I now return to the Void to see what next arises :}
**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I’ve been referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here:
or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.
For the next two weeks I am choosing to explain my re-enactment in prose form. These are my last two opportunities to re-experience the ending chapters of my memoir, “Food Memories,” and I’d like to say more than a poem can about them and my process :}
This week, I chose to re-enact the memory of me going to Rite-Aid to challenge myself with an ice cream cone for afternoon snack. This wasn’t a long-ago memory, it was just a few years ago in 2016 that I decided to put myself through day treatment to help me with eating issues after a long time struggling alone.
In the memory, the dietician suggested I choose something that brought back good memories, to go purchase and allow myself to enjoy that. If you’ve been on this journey with me from the beginning, or have read my book, you’ll remember that Vanilla Ice Cream was my first food memory, and was one particularly filled with joy. So it was this food that I wanted to challenge myself that day.
What ended up happening in the original memory is a full-body freezing response to some sort of unknown sexual trauma. It surfaced as I stood outside of the Rite Aid, licking the dripping white liquid, feeling it run down my hands, feeling people in cars passing by, watching. And what snapped me out of it was a crow, hopping on the telephone line above me, catching my attention.
Fast forward to this weekend, when I chose to go to the neighborhood Rite Aid to re-enact the memory.
As I was planning to head out, a friend asked if I wanted to connect, and I said I was doing a few things if she’d like to join me. I chose to let her into this experience, trusting what it would bring.
I met her in the parking lot, as as we walked towards each other I saw she had something in her hand. When she came closer, I recognized she was carrying a picture of a crow. “My friend said she wanted you to have it.” She smiled.
I didn’t think much of it at the moment, except that it was a sweet gesture from someone I didn’t really know.
We walked over to the Rite Aid and entered the whoosh of the automatic doors, the coolness meeting our skin. My friend excused herself to look for another item while I went to order my ice cream. I saw the “Chocolate Malted Crunch” flavor I also loved as a kid and for a moment wondered if I should get this flavor. I decided to stick with Vanilla for the memory’s sake.
I stepped up to the counter and there was a family of four treating themselves to various cones and scoops. They were all “overweight” body types in the societal judgement of things, except for the little girl that was with them. The clerk serving them was also of this type. I noted this as a possible synchronicity to explore.
But what was also occurring while standing there waiting was this weird hidden shame feeling. The family was acting jovial and cheery, but as I do not fall into that body type I was feeling all of these kinds of comparison, self-judgments, etc, in the field. I am not sure if it was mine or theirs or what. I just felt it.
Another thing to note.
As I approached the counter, I noticed that the clerk wouldn’t look me in the eye, and was fidgeting a lot to avoid direct contact. Again, not ever sure what is mine and what is another’s, I approached him with gentleness and tried to make the interaction as clean as possible. I tried to engage him about what its like working during the summer at the ice cream counter, the rushes, etc (I did this too at that age). He didn’t seem to understand me, and was fumbling. Again, I tried to send good energy to the whole situation, to not create as little embarrassment/weirdness as possible.
That interaction complete, I met back up with my friend and we went for a walk in the gardens outside while I ate. I was a bit nervous of what might happen outside, if I would face a synchronistic sexist comment or situation that would remind me of that day in 2016. But I did not. I was simply surrounded by plant and human friend, strolling in the sunshine, eating an ice cream cone like a “normal person.”
I did struggle with whether or not to eat the cone at the end, and deciding that the ice cream was a big enough challenge, chose not to. (Later I thought about it and realized that this used to be my favorite part, eating the dribbly creaminess and crunching cone all together…I had a full on craving and visual experience of how good that was…and wondered why I didn’t remember this in the moment.)
My friend and I sat in a park afterwards and talked about spirit encounters, Brazilian psychics and agnostic ideas for balance lol. It was a good day.
In reflecting about the experience, I thought about how it both related to the original memory…as well as how it helped me heal/deepen into it. While it wasn’t crystal clear as in some memory re-enactments I’ve had, I do feel there were interesting bits.
Crow, once again, being with me, seemingly helping me to stay present.
The viewing (and possible empathic feeling) of people’s self-judgments about their bodies, about enjoying their senses, as if I was getting an opportunity to see what my own shadow energies around my body and sensuality shame were…from a distance. Without it totally taking me over, immobilizing me.
And then the fact that I was not alone, that my friend met me and was with me. She did not eat with me, but she was with me…which is a rare thing: me eating with others around. Letting her see me want/desire something, letting her see me purchase it and eat it with joy…this was healing. The fact that there wasn’t a gnarly sexual issue that came up was refreshing too. The fact that I could enjoy this, simply eating an ice cream cone without drama, was refreshing.
Thanks, nervous server guy.
And thanks, Rite Aid Vanilla Ice Cream.
Ps. Next time I’ll eat the cone.
*Thanks for reading! Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “Egg Salad Sandwich.” I’ve been re-enacting these memories chronologically from my memoir, and this will be the very last one!
**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here:
or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.