Thursday, February 05, 2009

Time to get real

Dixie opened up a can of worms in my mind with the latest post she has done; she asked me if that was good or bad and I think it was mostly good. It really got me thinking, evaluating, seeking and adament to change my mindset on something: my body image, healthy body image and the crap the media tries to feed us daily.

I think I was around 14 years old (so roughly 2/3 of my life has this affected me in one way shape or form) that I developed an eating disorder. I don't even know when or how; I didn't set out to be taken over & consumed by this thing. In retrospect it seems like it moved itself into a room of my mind never once announcing its plans, its arrival nor its presence-it just was. Instantly it seemed like a permanent fixture (you know how you can walk around the furniture in your house at night without having to think where it is, you just know it's there?), like it was always there and was supposed to be there instead of being the foreign thought that it was (is).

At 14 years old I was pretty much the same height I am now (close to 5'7") perhaps a couple inches shorter and I weighed 120 lbs; I was always an active kid so I was in good shape as well and I would look at myself in the mirror and see fat. I am not capable of seeing myself the way I truly am right now (even still); I have always looked in the mirror longing to see what everyone else did but instead seeing someone, not just 5-10 lbs over but, grotesquely overweight. At 14 years old, 5'5" (we will say) and 120 lbs I saw someone with 50 lbs to lose perhaps more.

When I was 15 years old my dad showed me a picture of a lady he knew and asked me what I thought of her. I thought she was beautiful. She was slim and simply beautiful. Dad asked me how tall I was and as I answered he made a "hmmmph" kind of noise; he then asked me how much I weighed, again he made the noise. He proceeded to ask me how I thought I could be fat and needing to lose weight when I had just looked at a picture of a lady who was the exact height and weight I was and I thought she looked beautiful and perfectly skinny. I had no answer for him. Logic didn't dictate that I could answer him.

I don't really know how I survived on the food I ate as a teen Grades 9-11 I never ate breakfast, had a frozen, slushy juicebox (orange juice) and an ice cream sandwich for lunch (I threw my lunch out everyday!) and picked and scraped at my supper. The whole day would have probably amounted to maybe 600 calories.

By Grade 12 I was down to 100 lbs, started smoking to replace another meal and I was "good to go". At 1oo lbs I still looked in the mirror and saw that same body looking back at me, the one that needed to lose a "me" worth of weight. I don't know where it came from or what is the deep rooted seed behind this image I have but I do know that it is wrong; I don't look like how I see myself.

"They" say that eating disorders come from a feeling of having a lack of control in ones life and that things like parental divorce or rapes can trigger one to grab control by controlling how much or how little they eat. By 14 yrs old my parents were divorced but I can't say that I felt that much loss of control over it perhaps add to that our house burning down and my grandpa dying the year earlier but still...I have no recollection of feeling life was out of control. That is just what my life was and I think my "support system" was enough that I didn't feel like I was free falling. So I can't see that being the trigger; I was raped/assaulted a couple of times during my teen years which I suffered silently with - this may be the first time some hear this about me even but I think it had to do more with seeing images of what I was "supposed to look like" day after day after day than what I have gone through. I don't really know; all I do know is that it just is and I am sick and tired of thinking I have beaten it to only look in the mirror again to see another ugly tenticle wrapping its way around my throat.

I have come a long way but there is still plenty of road to go and I know that I can't do it by myself. I may not suffer the eating disorder part now but that distorted body image remains and through God's help and hopefully (my friends and family as well) I know that I can shatter that image that has haunted me every time I look at my reflection. Yes, in reality I have a couple of pounds to lose to get to a healthier weight but not the 80 lbs I see surrounding my reflection. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and this is a pretty small thing for a great big GOD. I can all ready begin to feel those chains (and tenticles) begin to stretch and prepare to snap off and crumble to dust. I know it will happen! No! I know that it IS happening NOW!

1 comment:

Paula Joy said...

Unlike you, I WAS fat my whole life. But, I didn't start having emotional issues with my weight until I was assaulted. That's when it went downhill. At this point in my life, I finally feel like I am in control of my weight. Yes, I do need ot lose 60 pounds, but I am accepting and more gracious of myself then before. I am talking small steps to get healthier, and that's a start. No matter what I told myself, or what others told me, I couldn't feel the way I do now until I dealt with the unresolved anger I had towards my abuser. Doing that changed my way of thinking about myself, since I have now let him go, I am free to love myself again.

It is a process for sure. And, yes Angela, with God you can do anything!!!