Thursday, August 12, 2010

How I Got Fat

Okay... Let's talk childhood.
I was born and raised on the prairie. I was a free range child, walked to elementary school with my older brother and sister and later alone, wandered the neighborhood after school, biked the neighborhood, explored the sewer system, etc. I was long and lean and tan, constantly a foot taller than my classmates. I had difficulties with my feet and breathing problems, so it was near impossible for me to run. I liked exploring on my own or with a buddy, but really disliked school -particularly gym class. I spent most of my time reading or drawing. I liked art class and liked to draw at home. By 5th and 6th grade I'd become a pro at faking injuries (even using fake blood and ace bandages to complete the effect) I managed to get out of participating in gym nearly every class.

I was a nerd, a thief, a liar, and a crybaby. I learned the art of manipulation very early on. I had very few friends.

My older sister commented once that I could eat anything and never gain a pound. I took this to heart and for some reason thought I really could eat whatever without any side effect.

Growing up, we were pretty poor. It wasn't until my younger siblings were born that we had luxuries like TV, new clothes, and vacations. Although my parents were always short on cash, there was always more than enough food in any one meal. My mom always needs to provide excessive amounts of food. I got nicknamed "garbage bin" by my older brother because after every dinner my mom would say "we can't have leftovers, who's gonna eat this?" and when no one else offered to, I always would.

Then came puberty. And with it came hips and breasts and chubby tummy. It worked out okay, I would chub up and then grow a couple inches taller and look okay and then repeat. 

* * * * *Skip this part if triggered by abuse/death stuff* * * * *

I got my period at 11. At 13 I got an old old nasty old man. My "boyfriend" (who was also 13) was a homeless orphan, passed between foster homes. He was a troubled young man often in detention. His parents had been killed in an automobile accident. He and I bonded at school, we were both social rejects. He helped me with athletics, I helped him with reading. We would often dream of running off together, I kept a bag of essentials packed at all times for an easy getaway. I was happy in my home life, but school was difficult and there was the issue with the old old nasty old man. When I learned I was knocked up, he said he'd "be like the dad for him and stuff" and we could get married later. I lost the baby - not very far into the pregnancy. I told my boyfriend. He wasn't at school the next day, or the next week. I found out later that he had hung himself.

* * * * All clear * * * *

Phew, okay stick with me.

So the school year ended and we moved cross country. I started high school. I had good reasons to be depressed. But everything from "before" seemed so small compared to "now". In high school in the new city most kids wore designer brand name clothing and frequented the mall (I'd never been to a mall before). I was behind in all my classes except English. I had to study about 8 hours a night to keep up with the work load. I lost contact with the "before" friends. I didn't make any "now" friends. I was bullied at school - I was pushed down staircases every day, knocked on my ass in the halls. It was total culture shock, to go from mostly impoverished, white and native american people to a large school of wealth containing every ethnicity. To go from a town where everybody's daddy works at the same company to a city of working parents and daycare, where social status rules.

I cut myself on and off for a few years (I really regret it now, just didn't think I'd live long enough to care). I tried to kill myself more times than I have fingers. Probably what worries me most about this blog is that my folks would have me locked up for how I'm eating, and it's a valid fear since they've gotten me committed for refusing to answer a question before. Except now that I'm an adult, they can't do that - so the even bigger fear is that I'll be kicked out of the house, uneducated and unemployed.

Here's my weight, by school grade:
7th - 120
end of 8th - 135
end of 10th - 200
end of 12th - 240
end of first semester college - 215
psychiatric medication - took me up to 240
current - I've been stuck the last few years around 220-230.

I eat when I'm studying, or trying to concentrate, or upset, or bored, or depressed, or uber happy. So I know how the pounds get on, I just don't know how to take them off.


Dot said...

I think you are incredible to be doing so well considering your past and very brave to share it with strangers.
I think that strength you've gained from your past is what will help you get to a place you want to be weight wise.

sadhana said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I was really enjoying the beginning of it and then stepped in that old old dirty old man and I became really upset! I'm sorry - and I'm sorry that you had to go through such experiences! But I think that the person above me is right, that you gather strength from your past. You are an incredible person! I really appreciate you sharing your story! Not to mention everything else you share with us.

Samantha said...

Thanks for both comments! You two are so sweet <3

@Dot - sharing with strangers in an anonymous way is much easier than telling people in real life who know me. Especially people who should have noticed what was going on and stopped it.

@sadhana - I've now put in a trigger warning so folks can skip over that part if they want. Sorry if reading caused you any discomfort. Thanks for your comments though :)

sadhana said...

Well it did upset me because it reflects parts of my life as well, I guess. I noticed the warnings. I thought those were great! I am really grateful to have this better understanding of who you are though - I can't express how appreciative I am. It is such a scary thing to write it all down, as well. And I know there is more in detail there you are expressing. I bet that was hard for you. Good job taking it on! What you went through as well as telling us all about it!! :) <3 and hugs from me :)

Rabbit said...

What an amazing story. You're so very strong for coming through all of that. I was in foster care for a short amount of time and it's a very depressing place to be. I was beat up a lot when I moved to the city as well. I would cut myself and cry in class, so I was sent away to a different school. Everyone called me emo (I dress in a gothic manner, which is different from emo) but I had valid reasons for being depressed and so did you. Thank you for sharing. ♥