Saturday, October 05, 2013
I've been cognizant of my weight since about middle school-- I think it was the summer of my Fifth grade year when this neighborhood boy followed me to the mailbox (it was around the corner and up the street/like a big community mailbox-- since we lived in a trailer park) with another boy (the boy I had a crush on) and chanted "Stephanie has thunder thighs", I remember being mortified and crying. I wasn't overweight. I was one of the tallest girls in my class, athletic and perfectly healthy. I remember being so sad though-- that I wasn't pretty enough. Enter Middle School-- All the girls are going through puberty but not me, my face gets chubbier-- and I look, well, like a kid-- but at the time, I never felt pretty enough, good enough-- add in that people started making fun of me for living in a trailer-- and middle school couldn't have ended quickly enough. Once my TOM arrived (at the end of 8th grade, yup, later bloomer), everything changed-- I thinned out, body changed, (DUH) and I was moving on to High School. We moved from the trailer into a large house! My best friend was never over 100 pounds, she was Olive Oil (Popeye) skinny-- no curves, just slim. I was opposite, I was thin-- size 3-5 but had curves-- at the time, I couldn't understand why I wasn't skinny (although, I was!!) I used to walk everyday-- I used to play basketball 5 days a week-- but I got pretty obsessed with not being Enough-- pretty enough, cool enough, skinny enough. My freshman year of high school-- I limited my calorie intake a lot. I didn't eat breakfast, I barely ate lunch-- if I did, it was an apple juice and maybe a "light" coffee cake snack, which I'd give the other 3 cakes to the hot guy that would come around and pander for money for his cigarettes-- he'd sit and flirt and eat the cakes... I'd try to skip dinner if I could, but my parents were pretty stickler about sitting around the table for a family meal, so I'd push my food around my plate, eat the vegetables-- a few months into my Freshman year, my dad caught on that I wasn't eating like normal, I'm guessing he noticed my weight too. He actually made me sit at the table one night and eat a steak with him. I thought I was going to die! He knew something was up. Mom started making me drink Carnation Instant Breakfast before school and they were both on-top of me about having family dinners-- looking back, I know they caught me before it got way too bad-- I was battling body image issues and beginning on the eating disorder journey. Throughout High School, I maintained a 5-7 pants size, no issue, very active, never any formal exercise other than gym at school or walking or basketball with friends-- the coach wanted me to go out for the team, but I was too busy worried with "hanging with friends".
College-- I put on the Freshman 15 like many others-- too much drinking-- I battled my weight gains throughout my college career-- never over a size 10, but back and forth between a 6-10 isn't healthy for any metabolism. I continued to struggle with the good enough complex, all my peers came from families with money, I came from lower middle class (at best). I remember my parents doing their taxes so I could do the FAFSA for freshman year of college-- My dad made $18,000 that year (2001)... anyway, everyone at school "had" and I have always felt like a "had not", never good enough. I made some good friends though and was able to find my footing by sophomore year-- though my first semester of sophomore year was the most difficult, I survived. By the summer of sophomore year, I had gotten myself together-- I was in really great shape when I started back for my junior year-- I wasn't, but the weigh crept back on, a very dysfunctional relationship with a guy-- who wanted to keep me at home and do nothing but feed me-- no joke-- my mom even said he was trying to make me fat, so he could 'keep me'-- it was a really bad situation. By senior year, I had crept up to a size 10, was not happy and was pretty miserable. It took me the entire year to kick the bad relationship to the curb, and during that time, I got into walking and swimming and better eating (thanks to slimfast, too) and I shed the weight.
I think junior/senior year is when the emotional eating really began-- so "stuck" and the only comfort there was, was food and alcohol. I drank a lot throughout my teen and college years. There was little to do in the little town we grew up in and though my friends and I were always honor roll students, we drank. A LOT. It was our weekend ritual really. My parents were quite strict, but we would go to one of our other friends who were less strict and drink. There were 5 of us in the group-- and 4 of them had lenient parents...
This ramble has a purpose-- trying to locate where and when it all started. I've never felt good enough, and some of that began with my mom's issues-- of being embarrassed of having to live in a trailer for a while, of feeling the ignorance of others, that automatically assume if you reside in a trailer, you're trailer trash-- my parents were good, nurturing parents-- they were strict and held us accountable. They produced 3 decent members for society-- but none of us are without our flaws. My mom never felt good enough-- and that was cast over to me, the eldest-- she always cheered me on, but her feeling that others judged her, made me weary of the same-- add in the bullying over my clothes not being "cool enough" (I'll never forget the day I came home from 6th grade crying because the kids were making fun of my new shoes-- walk america tennis shoes-- and my dad went out and bought me a pair of Reeboks, even though I know to this day, we didn't have any money)
I'm going to free myself from the emotional eating, one way or another-- I will beat it. I will stop associating my worth by the number on the scale and just get healthy. I will be ENOUGH.
We all have a story-- a tale that tells how we were shaped, how we developed, how we became who we are-- The story is up to us after a certain point, though-- It's time for me to shed my chains-- to let go of never feeling "enough" and to embrace my strengths and move on.