Sunday, December 04, 2011
Sometimes in our journey, we must confront things in our own hearts if we are to make progress. In my case, I didnít get to be 385 lbs because all was right in my world. I carry a lot of personal pain from my childhood that, even at 42 years old, still affects me every day. It seems somewhat pointless to talk about it now but I feel like I should. Maybe it is for no other reason other than to let it all out or possibly there could be someone else out there who could draw strength from it and maybe realize that they are not alone.
I wont go into a lot of detail but suffice it to say, I was bullied severely when I was growing up. It started out in grade school where I was never really accepted because I was the ''fat kid'' and I also had a pretty bad speech impediment. I stuttered and the more anxiety I felt, the worse it got. Reading out loud in class may as well been my version of ''Fear Factor''.
It didnít graduate to outright bullying until I hit Junior High School.
They came like a pack of wolves.
My time in Junior High until about my second year of High School proved to be the worst years of my life to date. When name calling and public humiliation wasnít enough, thatís when the hitting started. I was terrorized almost daily, I still remember the punching, the kicking, the time I got egged in school and the teachers did nothing. I had a paper route and many times I was chased and harassed. Our garage was broken into just to steal my bike on a number of occasions. My parents were powerless to help and the school system did nothing...boys will be boys.
My home ceased to be a sanctuary and I lived in fear all the time, even those few friends I did have left me.
That's where my disordered relationship with food really got started. The only place in the world I felt truly safe was in my room. I would shut myself away, play video games on my Commodore 64, and eat....a lot. It was soothing to me. I was becoming a hard core emotional eater. I would delve into anything that provided some escapism, eating and video games provided that venue.
I hated sports.
I participated in sports mainly because I think my parents were trying to get me to socialize as well as to slim down... Epic fail....
I spent the vast amount of my time sitting on the bench due to my weight and it seemed so pointless, a total waste of time. So I quit. I became a loner and only followed after those activities that provided solitude where I didnít have to be compared to anyone else or judged. Fishing was a big thing with me. It was just me and nature, no people. If I did go with someone, it was with my sister and my dad. Fishing was one of the few times that my dad and I didnít argue.
I guess that's really all there is to it. Thatís me in a nutshell. I am the grownup version of the little boy who never really did fit in, who never measured up, and who has always struggled with friendships.
I try not to let it affect me but those scars are very real and they create the filter through which I see the world. It is difficult to this day not to interpret things that people do as deliberate attempts to hurt or snub me. I donít show it since I know that I cant let my feelings out, I donít want to drive people away but it is so tough. The effects of bullying are far reaching. I feel it everyday.
This whole journey for me has been far beyond just losing a few pounds. It has been about figuring out who I am and healing. This has been a difficult process since it has been peeling back painful layers, but as they are dealt with, I have peace about it. It is this process that ensures that I will never go back to the old Robert.
The whole concept of running and endurance sports has helped me tap into what Robert is really made of, a rite of passage if you will. At no time do I ever feel more in tune with myself than during a good run or just being out there meeting a challenge.
Sometimes the most difficult challenge to meet for someone like me is to earn your own self respect.
On night shift, all I do is think and write. Thanks for putting up with me but this was important for me to get this off my chest.
If there is someone like me out there, take courage, you can get your self respect back. You can believe in yourself and understand that burying your feelings in food is not the answer.
You can do it.