This is writing prompt #2 from Curvy Girl Brittany Gibbon's blog. I have a feeling these are going to get tougher and tougher as the month goes on, but here goes...
"When was the first time someone called you fat? How did it change your life?"
This is a tough question. I honestly cannot remember if this was the ACTUAL first time, or if it is the first time that I can remember.
I was 13 years old. My mother had been institutionalized for six months at a mental hospital. They thought when they told me that she hurt her back that I would believe them. I always knew something was wrong with her. She just wasn't like other mothers. She always stayed home, in the dark, smoking her cigarettes, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. When people would ring the doorbell, she would have us hide and pretend we weren't home. Sure, it would sound weird to you, but to me? This was my normal.
While she was away, recovering from her back injury (read: SHOCK TREATMENTS), I was in charge of things. My father worked full time, and I have a brother who is three years younger than me. At 13 years old, I would come home from school first (junior high always got out earlier than the little elementary school) and run straight to the freezer. Ice cream - specifically, Hood Almond Praline Delight ice cream - was my savior. I would eat half of the half-gallon container, and hide it in the back of the freezer before my brother came home. I was ravenous, partly because I didn't get any lunch money and partly because my heart was hurting and I needed to fill this void inside of me.
When she came home from the hospital, I remember her sitting in the kitchen, smoking her cigarettes and snarled at me, "You're fat. You're ugly. Nobody is ever going to love you."
I am now 42 years old - almost 30 years later - and I still have that strong self-loathing because of what she said to me. I KNOW - at least the rational side of me knows - that it was just the rantings of an angry, mentally ill person who happened to have given birth to me, but the emotional side of me - also known as my enemy - tells me that she would be the one person who did know me and what she said was true.
Since that day, I have hated myself. I have been hurt. I have been angry. I don't like looking in the mirror. I cannot allow anyone to take pictures of myself.
I have never believed ONE PERSON who has paid me a compliment. I always question their motives, and even my husband has given up trying to make me believe that I am not ugly and that I deserve love.
I wish I could truly tell an inspiring story about how a 13 year old girl got her feelings hurt, and turned into this incredible person who empowers others, but I can't. It's not true, and I don't believe it ever will be true. I have gone from having anorexia to having a binge eating disorder. I even gained 100 pounds in one year - Ben and Jerry became my best friends after having a miscarriage 15 years ago. I hated myself even more because I couldn't even do that right. I locked myself in my apartment after coming home from work and would eat. I ate until I got myself so large that I couldn't feel. Nobody would look at me, nobody would talk to me, and I was alone because that is what I thought I deserved. I protected myself from hurt by getting large.
This sucks. It really does. I wish I had a daughter so I could give her all the strength that was sucked from my own soul, because no girl deserves to feel about herself the way that I do. I know that I am not alone, but it sure as shit feels like I am alone. All. The. Time. My poor husband. He doesn't know how I truly feel about myself... but you, whoever you are, now know my ugliest truth.