A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Healing Old Wounds

One of the things that comes along with losing gobs of weight and getting healthier is thinking about why you want to do it in the first place. Chances are, if you're like me, you've got several reasons for wanting to look and feel better....some obvious to everyone around you and some that are rather personal.

I was thinking about these things tonight, started crying, and decided it was time to post again and get it all out. I'm tired of carrying around the secret reasons.....I need to purge my soul. Purging leads to healing and I need to heal. It's part of closing the door on the past and looking forward to a more positive future. So here it goes.

As I said before, I've been overweight since around the age of 12. Not obese, but not thin or skinny by any means. However, I didn't REALIZE how I looked until I was around 14-15. I remember it like it was yesterday.....the moment you realize that you are a fattie. We were on a family vacation in Daytona Beach, FL. We were staying in an oceanfront hotel and I had been out at the pool playing all day with my 2 sisters. We had dinner that evening with my parents at a restaurant that must have been part of the hotel because our table was by the window overlooking the pool. I remember seeing a girl that was wearing a bathing suit that was WAY too small for her and I made the comment out loud that if I were that fat I'd NEVER wear anything like that. My mom very pointedly cleared her throat, said "Ummm..." and looked over at me. She didn't say anything else. She didn't have to. I knew exactly what she meant. I was that fat, and I had been out at the pool in a bathing suit ALL DAY LONG. I wanted to die. I felt so exposed. My entire family was sitting there witnessing this exchange and I had to try to act normal. I could feel the color rising in my face....thank God I had a bad sunburn to hide the shame that would have clearly had me looking like a lobster. I fought back the tears....swallowed them....and absolutely choked on my last few bites of dinner. It was like my throat closed up and I couldn't even swallow because my mind was telling me I was fat and didn't need to eat anymore. That was the first day leading to many years of embarassment and shame due to my weight.

Now please understand. I don't harbor any bad feelings towards my Mom for that night. I really don't. It's actually probably a blessing that she pointed it out as subtly as she thought she could. Who knows? I might be 600 lbs right now instead of 272 lbs if she hadn't of said something. I also know that she would never purposely hurt my feelings. She's known me since birth. She knows what an emotional, thin-skinned person I am. She would have never come right out and said, "Tammy, you're too fat. You need to lose some weight." She knows I would have melted into a puddle right here and she'd of had to scrape me up off the floor. So I appreciate the way she said it. I'm just signifying the day that I realized I had a weight problem. I love you Mom.

From there things just got worse. The very next day I was lying out on the beach by myself while my sisters were up at the pool playing. It was too noisy up there and I wanted to hear the waves rolling in. I wanted some alone time with the ocean. I am a water FREAK. I'll take it in any form I can get it.....creeks, lakes, ocean...bathwater, lol. Doesn't matter. (As a side note, I find this so strange because my astrological sign is fire. You would think that water would be my enemy, but for some reason I'm drawn to it. It's my therapy).

Anyhoo, there I am, lying on my towel, eyes closed, soaking up some rays, minding my own business.....when 2 teenage boys come strolling past me. You can probably guess that this ended badly. I glanced up and saw them and closed my eyes again. Right as they walked past me, I heard them both chuckle and one of them said, "There's Shamu". Now we all know who Shamu is, right? That GIGANTIC killer whale at Sea World? Again, I could have died. I wanted to sink into the sand right there where I laid, never to be seen again. But no...life is cruel....I had to get up and walk all the way back to the hotel knowing I looked like a whale. Doesn't life just suck sometimes?

Fast forward a couple of months to when I left the private Christian school that I attended from K-5 through 9th grade and entered a public school in 10th grade. I was 15 years old. Talk about culture shock. This is no lie.....the entire time I went to the Christian school, I only heard one cuss word spoken out loud, and that was in the 9th grade. I got to public school and my ears/brain just couldn't process them fast enough. WOW. I had some adjusting to do.

As if adjusting to the real world of high school wasn't hard enough....I had to ride the school bus. I am not exaggerating when I tell you I endured 2 years of pure hell on that bus. There was a boy who sat in the back named Eric Fromme. (Names have not been changed to protect the innocent....the little bastard isn't innocent). He tortured and tormented me every single morning and every single afternoon for two school years. When I got on the bus, he'd time his auditory stomping noises every time I took a step.....heavy, like you might imagine it sounding if King Kong were walking down the aisle. And oh how the other kids would laugh. Here's the kicker....this was the icing on the big fat cake. He was fat. ??????!!!!!!! To this day I will never understand how one fat kid gets away with making fun of another fat kid, without being made fun of himself. I'm guessing it was his super quick wit and hilariously funny quips. Funny, that is, if they're not directed at you. I can truly say that I still hate him to this day.

There have been countless other daggers driven into my heart and twisted through the years. One day I was in Wal-mart looking around and I turned around right into this woman. When she looked at me she exclaimed, "Oh my! You must be having twins!! When are you due? It was amazing how fast, without a thought, I spit out the words, "Two weeks". It was a hair trigger reaction. She congratulated me and I got the hell out of there. I guess I had gotten so used to fat comments over the years, little kids asking, "Mommy, is she pregnant?", etc that I just spit something out as fast as I could so I could make my escape.

Then there was the doctor who I went to a physical for. He was an old, crotchety man...kind of scary really, but I had to have the physical for a job I was applying for. He flat out told me I was way too fat. He said it in a gruff, disgusted manner....not in a helpful, concerned, caring one. Fear rose in me because I knew I couldn't leave the office...I had to have that physical. No escape this time. I was going to have to sit there and take it. The nurse tried to smooth things over by saying, "Oh she just needs a little excercise...that's all....she'll be just fine". I appreciated that. Then the doctor said, "The only excercise this girl needs is to lay her fork down and push herself away from the table". That was it. I was now a puddle in the floor. The tears flooded out of my eyes, which unsettled him. He hurried up and finished with me and I literally RAN down the hall, past the receptionist that you're supposed to pay when you leave, and out the door. I didn't pay, and the doctor was the company doctor for the place I was trying to get hired at. I ended up getting the job even though I didn't pay the bill....not sure how....maybe he thought if he let me slide through he could purge some well-earned guilt from his questionable soul? I hate him too. I'd still like to stick my fork somewhere in his nether regions.

Anyhoo.....I have years worth of example of being crucified emotionally but you get the idea. When I say I understand, I mean it. I am hoping that with each pound I leave behind it will act as a little dab of salve on the wounds that have been gaping open for so long. I want to heal. I want to be truly happy with myself for the first time. I want to love me.

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