Friday, March 25, 2016

Body Image

I never would have thought we’d see a plus-size model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Much has been made of body size and body image lately.

Wish it were going on when I was a kid. For me, being fat brought shame and misery.  I was the only one in my family with a weight problem.

My pretty sister was a popular cheerleader with great friends and devoted boyfriends. My mother was newly single, pretty, smart and dating happily. I was fat with braces, acne and frizzy hair.  Suffice it to say, I did not date. Not for many, many years.

School meant teasing and loneliness. To comfort myself, I just ate more and continued to gain weight, outgrowing clothes on a regular basis.

Mom was a single mother who supported the family as a piano teacher. Often, she begged me to stop eating so much – she couldn’t afford to keep re-stocking the refrigerator or all the new clothes I’d need with each new size.

Being fat felt like the worst, most horrible thing to be. I hated myself and my body.

In my 20s, I starved myself down to skinny and that brought more misery. The severe deprivation brought weakness, anger and desperation. At 30, I found alcohol, which I’d never drunk before because I had food to fill my emptiness. I decided to drink instead of eat. Soon, I was doing both – binge drinking and binge eating.  Bulimia set in.

After several horrible years of getting drunk, binging and purging all night, I was introduced to crack cocaine, which seemed the answers to all my problems. I wasn’t interested in anything else – so I felt crack cured my alcoholism. I lost all interest in eating, so weight wasn’t interesting, nor was binging, purging nor starving. I was thrilled.

But, of course, crack, as it does, took me down very very badly, almost irreparably.

I was one of the lucky ones and 12 miraculous Steps resolved all for me and now at nearly 52, I walk free of all my addictions.

But, imagine what my life would have looked like if my weight and my looks hadn’t meant so damn much. Bring on the plus size models.

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