Monday, February 18, 2013

When I was the Fat Girl

I've been reading a lot about obesity and compulsive eating. As I read, i remember the deep pain i experienced as a - i guess i'll just use the word - fat child, teen and young woman. I was lonely, depressed and teased mercilessly. my family and friends constantly urged me to lose weight and scolded me for eating anything but diet food. my mother literally cried in frustration when i couldn't stay on a diet.

I believed i was heinous to look at. it hurt like hell. i felt i carried 100 extra pounds of sheer pain.

having lost those pounds three times, i eventually learned to keep them off through over 20 years of anorexia and bulimia. Yet, as AWFUL as those years were (starving, fainting, binging, binging, binging, puking), i still knew the greatest sadness from those early fat years.

Strange as it sounds, no one commented on my weight when i was anorexic or bulimic.when i weighed my least, i lived in manhattan, among many a super skinny woman. when bulimic, i was a perfectly normal weight that swung to the high end of thin. i didn't "wear" my illness, so no one teased or taunted

Would i take back a minute of any of those years. No. but i still hurt the most for the fat girl


  1. i hurt for her too.

    it really hurts to revisit places inside yourself...visit the person you used to be. whether you are sad for her or angry at her or whatever, it can always be a difficult and dangerous thing to do. I hope you can give love to her, that version of you. she deserves it.

    that being said, the teasing and society's brutal treatment of bodyshape and size is repulsive to me. Just sick. I remember every word of caution about my weight at age 10, i remember being called thunder thighs in seventh grade. While, of course this was not equivalent to the tragedies many women suffer, it DID shape my view of myself and my ideas the role of women.... and then that was reinforced by every ad and movie i ever saw. and its bullshit. and our ten year old chubby selves deserve a hell of a lot better than that. and now, as grown ups, we can give ourselves that love and give it to other women too. <3

  2. I completely understand this. I'm still the fat girl and it really only got worse because of the teasing and the constant lessons that made me feel worthless all together. And my anger towards those who made me feel that way as a child has somehow survived... I'm working to let it go, but since the hatred of myself became so ingrained, that anger toward those who made it so is just as difficult to get rid of.

    Since I wasn't able to express or even understand my hurt and frustration that I felt as a kid because the people who were supposed to love, support, and help me were often responsible for my pain, the only way I learned to cope and comfort myself was through food--which just led to more ridicule and subsequently immense guilt and self-hatred for not being able to control myself.

    Currently, I'm trying my best to forgive my family for the pain that still sits there under the surface. Recently I read an article about a young man who had always been chubby and then as he entered his teens was rapidly gaining more weight. He finally asked his parents for help and is now a normal weight and got there through healthful means--he credits his parents for being willing to change all the food they had int he house and to eat well right along side him. Reading that brought me to tears because not once did I find that in my family. I was yelled at for not having will power because I also ate the sweets and other treats in the house that the rest of my family had. However, if I had been blessed with a better metabolism I never would have been criticized for eating chips and cookies. It just amazed me to think that my family always blamed me and only me for being overweight. Even though I had nothing to do with the food that was brought into the house or the meals that were made.

    Well, that was much more of a digression than I intended. Ultimately, what I wanted to say is the pain you feel wasn't just because you were fat--it was because you were made to feel terrible by so many people who were supposed to make you feel good. I believe our self-inflicted pain is never so terrible as getting it first from the people we expected to be loving.

  3. Shawna; Thank you so for writing. You're such a good friend. And yes, we need to give love to ourselves AND the rest of the world!!! i wish i knew a global way. or even a small way. sometimes, i wonder where i could volunteer to ....well, i guess hug a chubby 10 year old.

    Gina; Thank you, thank you for writing. i am with you a million percent. my skinny sister baked and ate and enjoyed. i was punished for eating sweets. When i starved down to what's considered a "normal" weight, i was always invited to eat anything and everything. crazy. it's not that i blame anyone anymore -- no one knew any better about how to treat someone who was already struggling with her weight and self-esteem and body image. BUT i wish i knew how to contribute NOW. i hate, hate, hate weight-ism!!!!! and i just don't understand how what anyone weighs effects anyone else!!! or why people feel they have any right to comment on anyone else's body? well, off my soap box. thanks again for writing