Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Catharsis....kind of

Today I was reading Green Apples blog, and her newest post struck me. You can read it here.

So this is my response, or at least my gut reaction.

I was struck by someone who is so very thin ever having a worry about their weight. She is tall, and lithe, and clothes look fantastic one her. But her stories about growing up and the constant reminders that fat was just one bite away reminded me of my childhood. I instead of becoming obsessed about calories, went the other way and became cavalier about my eating habits.

I should preface the rest of this post with, I love my mother deeply. The rest of the post may make her seem insensitive, and at times mean. But no parent is perfect, and she was the better of my two parents, especially during an abusive upbringing with my dad.

One of my earliest memories with my mom, was her putting me on a diet at age 6 or 7. That time we ate tons and tons of pickles, because they were calorie free, or at least much better than potato chips. Today I like pickles, but, I would never eat one buy itself. This diet was followed by many more.

She would tell me:

"I was a butter ball. I didn't want to get fat because I would be made fun of, and not have friends. I didn't want to be know as the fat girl. I had a pretty face, but I needed to stay slim to have boys like me. "

I got the message that my self worth was dependent on my body type, and the only body type that mattered was a slim one. In the summer between my 8th and 9th grade years of school I finally lost my "baby fat", because I started walking everywhere, and biking everywhere,I just couldn't stand to be home. I got really skinny, like scary skinny. I remember thinking, my mom would let up on the weight thing, but instead it became not losing the weight, but not gaining it back. If I gained it back I was failure.

I then spent my teenage years attracting boys, being flirtatious, being whatever I thought they wanted me to be, to show my mom that someone did like me. I also treated those boys like crap, because once I got them, I didn't want them, and I used them to boost my ego. I had one boy in particular that stayed around, and we eventually got married. I didn't love him, I just wanted out of my house for good.

I wanted to be excited about my wedding, because at that point I was still fooling myself into thinking that this was the man I was going to be with the rest of my life. I let my mom plan most of it, but the one thing I was interested in and was excited about was my dress. I didn't have ideas of what I wanted, but I knew I would find the perfect dress, and that did make me excited. I found the perfect dress. I loved it, and couldn't wait to wear it. But my mother turned that dress into something to hold over me. By the time I got married, I hated the dress, and I just didn't care about the wedding at all. I had the dress a full year before I wore it. My mom told me that if I didn't keep my weight off and in fact lose some more that I would have to pay for the dress. Every dinner was torture, I was forced to go on walks with my mom every night. That dress became my nemesis. I was so young and naive, I thought my mom could make me pay for the dress. Not only did we have a strange relationship about my weight, but also about money. It seems my life revolved around the two, and were often intertwined. My feelings on my wedding day were ambivalence. Getting married was the lesser of two evils, and at least in the new scenario I was going to be in control

After the marriage, I started to think on my own for the first time. Before that my life had been survival mode, stay under my dad's radar, don't upset my mom, and try to find peace in my own way. I won't say I bloomed, because that would make it sound like it was an easy wonderful thing. I would almost say that the process was of me struggling up through the soil to find some light. I got really dirty, and it was painful, and hard, and tiring. I started to gain weight at that time, and haven't really stopped since. I was bullied in my old home, my weight was made fun of, and when I was finally on my own, I could thumb my nose at it. I didn't have to explain to anyone why Ben and Jerry were my best friends, and why I had a third helping. I was free of the constant criticism. My first marriage didn't make it 2 years, and I feel bad that I married him, but we both didn't know better.

I am still trying to reconcile being healthy and the old feeling of not being good enough if I wasn't skinny. I struggle, with wanting to show my mom that I am just as lovable at 200 lbs as I am at 115. That my weight doesn't change my core being.

Obviously that post hit something visceral in me, and I need to let go of some of the weight that has been on my shoulders about this subject. Thank you for reading it......


jadedj said...

I love you, baby.

Anonymous said...

Georgia, I am moved by this heartfelt post. Your sincerity shines through in each of your words and they serve to remind us how fragile we are as humans. For some, it's a struggle with weight, for others, with self acceptance no matter what their size. I have known thin people who are miserable; who don't feel good in their skin and I have known overweight people whom are too depressed to get out of bed. I struggle with body issues on a daily basis. I worry that a "fatty" roll may make an appearance, that my tummy's not flat, that my arms are not toned. I eat one meal a day and still think that it's too much. What can I say? It's a process. I'm continuously reaffirming my self worth by telling myself that I'm beautiful just the way I am. And we are you know? Because there's more to beauty than aesthetics. Thank you for sharing your story. Great post, Georgia!

Mama Pants said...

Thank you. You too seem so put together, and happy, not worried about others perception. You have the confidence I lack.

I think too many of use suffer in silence.

Corinne @ Everyday Gyaan said...

Georgia - Thank you for your openness. Just recently, I looked at old pictures of myself and realized I was not fat all those times my mother suggested I was. Now I most certainly am. Need to rewrite the script in my head for sure. Thank you again for sharing.

Brenda said...

I have struggle all of my life with my weight, traveling through the good, the bad, and the dark, and sometimes I let it beat me. But some while ago I took on that dark mistress and kick her out.. I am remain a work in progress. I wear a size 16 and although I'd like to be a 12, I am happy that I came down from a 24.. I only focus on being strong now and I feel amazing. Wonderful post.