I was once told by someone that people who are overweight tend to use food as a “crutch” for some emotional wounds that they’re trying to fill. I’m a firm believer that health is more than just physical exercise and dieting, it’s also emotional and mental. So, I’m gonna attempt to unload all my emotional baggage here so that I can move past it and stop trying to eat away my problems. Prepare for some craziness!
The overeating began young in life. I had my choice comfort foods, and honestly, none of them were healthy. I pretty much lived off of fast food (Mom worked as a famous fast food chain) and that’s really all we could afford. I had a happy meal at least twice a day, every day from the time I was two until I turned six.
When I was eleven, Mom suffered a severe injury at work that left her bedridden. I was an only child, and my father left us early on in my childhood. I was the only one that could take care of us. I didn’t know anything about cooking or caring for someone full-time, so most of our meals consisted of pasta (my comfort food), microwave meals, and take out.
By the time I entered middle school, things changed drastically. By now, my mother was completely addicted to pain pills, specifically oxycotin and oxycodone, which only help to heighten her aggressive tendencies. She hit me, more than just discipline. I was scared of my mother, always had been, but she was the only parent I had, so I thought this was “normal”.
School wasn’t an escape from my terrible home life like it should have been. I was sexually harassed on a daily basis by the boys at school and , at times, the teachers. Why? Because I developed way too early for a girl my age. By seventh grade I was a C- cup. No one noticed or tried to stop it, so I held in the hurt and my depression began to take it’s toll.
By high school, my mother and I were living with her “friends”, people I had come to consider family. I had known them since the first day of pre-school and I didn’t have anyone else. I was know responsible for taking care of my mother (still bedridden and addicted), a woman who was a poor excuse for a mother (she enjoyed men and drinking more than caring for her children, the woman’s brother (who sexually harassed me and raped his biological niece repeatedly during his strung-out drug hazes), and the woman’s three children, all of which I took care of on my own. No one except myself cleaned the house (roach infested and filthy).
I went from a straight A student to failing every class and eventually dropping out entirely when the bullying became too much. The Department of Family Services was called out repeatedly and I would have to stay home from school to clean the house so that they wouldn’t take me away from my mother.
I watched my best friend (the woman’s oldest daughter, she was my age) repeatedly try to commit suicide and spiral into an addiction to drugs and sex as a teen. Both of which she received from her uncle and his “friends”.
When my mother finally caught on to how terrible everything was (she had been blind to everything except my failing grades, which made me a “disappointment”), we moved out and into an apartment with her alcoholic long-term boyfriend. Not much of an upgrade . . .
He almost hit me . . . once. He spent all our money on liquor. We went without food and utilities at times. I was bullied at school because I couldn’t shower regularly because our water and heat were turned off for most of the winter. My mother’s sister finally saw what was going on, and moved us in with her. Things were better for a while. Until my mother took him back.
Eventually, I formally dropped out after moving eighteen times in twelve school years. There was no redeeming my grades. So, instead, I worked from home as my mother’s home health aide. I became immensely depressed, and I developed a fear of people. I became a hermit. It lasted for over two years.
Finally, I was introduced to my biological family (on my mother’s side). I was told that I had a sister and a brother (both older, that my mother didn’t raise). They all loved me when they met me. I felt happy for the first time in SO long! I used my first year’s income tax to move me and my mother (sans boyfriend) down south where they were. It is still the best decision I’ve ever made.