He Promised (Part 2) Final

He was an amazing father, lousy husband.  I wanted him to know how it felt to work and be a full-time parent. I wanted him to sit and wonder when I was going to walk through the door. I wanted tears to roll down his face when he was sitting at home alone painting pictures in his mind of what I could be doing and with whom.  Mostly, I wanted him to hurt the way he hurt me.

 

I had my first child at 20, my second child at 21 then married 3 days later. Soon after, I became pregnant with my third child. I had no idea the amount of work that had to go into a marriage and now three small children under 3 years old was taking its toll. I couldn’t handle the feeling of being trapped.  The angel in me said, “You need to settle in and be a mother to these innocent children. You made a promise to God to love your family.” While the devil lustfully whispered, “You deserve this. Run. Be free. For the first time in your life… feel good.”  Yes! This is the final time I allow myself to play victim to my husband’s affairs and broken promises! So I ran. I became selfish, greedy, and reckless.  Atlanta became stomping ground to foggy nights and late mornings. I left my past and reality in rum and coke and kissed responsibility goodbye.

The daily and nightly games may have been fun in the moment, but I missed my kids. I wanted to see them but thought that it’d be best I stay away. I wasn’t healthy. I didn’t want them having a part-time mom bouncing in and out of their lives. I never said I made good decisions. When I saw my kids again, they didn’t know who I was. It was a sad sight. To them, I might as well have been gone 20 years. That killed me but I knew I deserved it so I sucked that pain in and felt every inch of it cut through me. I abandoned them. I left them for my own selfishness. Their mother was a stranger and it was my own damn fault. It took time to heal but we learned how to be a family and how to handle the speed bumps along the way. We learned to move forward and love each other unconditionally. It was nice to have my babies back.  I could hold them whenever I wanted. Kiss their chubby cheeks and laugh at their innocent jokes. I felt needed. I felt loved. All this time I was looking for myself and it was right here with them. There was a piece of me in each one and it made me laugh to see how they brought that out in themselves. As for my ex-husband, we eventually became friends. It was exhausting hating him so I had to do it differently. I prayed that he would find someone who would never put him through what I did. Me? This time, I promised. I promised my children that I was going to do whatever it took to be there for them, to love them unconditionally and to never leave them again. That promise is one that will never be broken.

Where’s the Starving Fat Lady?

I want to jump into where I’ve been and what I have been doing and the reason for my absence quickly. So let’s begin.

Depression is nasty. It debilitates you and leaves you numb, causing you to separate yourself from life, family, and friends.  The devil entered my life at a point where I felt weak and vulnerable and he used that to scratch his own itch. It can last days or months; in my case, months. You are able to function at some small level but anything after that takes energy you don’t have. Reaching out for help is out of the question but I’ve been blessed to have friends and family who give me my space and time to heal. For that, thank you.

Time for the big news! Thanks to all of your comments, feedback and positive prayers, I have decided that I want to share my story with the world. I am writing a book! My own little autobiography. When you read my blogs (and book) I want you to be able to say, “Me too!” You are not alone in the struggle and the struggle IS real! The book is titled, “The Starving Fat Lady – Binge eating, abuse, and mental illness.” I’ve been working on the first chapter these last few months and am hoping to have it proofread and finished in another few weeks. I have years of work to do but it will be worth it to have my readers know they are not alone.  When I think about being isolated, I sometimes think about grade school. It seemed I always befriended the outcasts, the rejects, the mess. Or maybe it was the other way around. They accepted me. I, too, was the outcast, the reject, the mess. Either way I met and know some extraordinary people! Those that knew I was worthy and believed in what I did, even if I failed, thank you!!

I leave you today, with this: You will get better. With time and support, life does open up and bring you sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it seems the darkness will never go away but trust me when I say, it goes away.  Thank you to those hanging in there with me and putting up with my bouts of depression. I can’t express to you just how much it means to me.

Much love,

The Starving Fat Lady

 

 

Failing Success

You’d think a wake up call would magically appear and scream, “Get your ass in gear!” Why can’t I just eat what I want? What I’m used to? When I was younger I remember binge eating and then telling myself, “OK, that was a lot so for the next few days you can’t eat nearly as much and you won’t gain weight.” I really had myself convinced it worked like that. Now….forget about it. I can’t shed an ounce no matter if I starve myself or not. My old body has slowed to a halt. I swear I heard the brakes screech at thirty.

I can’t count how many times I’ve laid in bed at night thinking of all the spectacular things I planned to start in the morning. Clean out a cupboard, eat healthy, help an old lady cross the road, conquer the world, you know. I wake up with the best of intention. Then….noon hits. I’m tired and over it. Mission aborted. Like I said, my intentions were good. So good in fact, that I’ve successfully started and stopped several “diets.” HCG, grapefruit, Weight Watchers, juicing, nutritionists, smoothies..the list goes on. My failing success. 

I think it’s a common misconception, by some, that obese people sit, do nothing,  and eat all day. Reality is, that’s not true for everyone. There are days I do nothing else but run, (figuratively speaking of course). Of course, I still find time to take in a ho-ho or four.  Take, for example, my youngest daughter. Skinny as skinny can be and that 16 year old does……….nothing. She eats, sleeps, checks her iPhone, eats, and sleeps again. I see her two times a day. She emerges from her room, uses the restroom and checks to see if I’ve cooked anything. How she manages to stay so thin is beyond me.  My point is, finding something that will aid in my weight loss may be different from anyone else. An overweight person can eat and starve and still be obese or exercise and be active but make the wrong food choices, thus, stay overweight. What worked for Joan may not work for Jane. I hope to one day find that miracle “cure.” For now, hand me that plate of food and back away!

 

Two Pieces of Clothing and The Devil Himself

It starts in the dressing room and two pieces of clothing…

I slide my shirt over my head and pull it down over my curves. Wait. This is a T-SHIRT, right? I take it off and look at the size. XXL. How the hell is it so short? They are charging $2 extra for plus size yet they forgot to somehow sew the bottom half of the shirt on! The pants are next. I slip those over my thighs and pull up over my stomach. High-waters. How is this possible? I haven’t grown. Well. Maybe I have. Around but not up! This is impossible. I leave the dressing room and angrily hand my clothes to the attendant. I’m angry at myself for not being able to fit into simple clothes. I’m angry because they want to charge me more for plus-size clothing but not give me enough clothing to wear! And I’m angry that I’ve done nothing to fix it.

I admit that I’m the most contradictive person alive. I complain that I want to fix it, yet do nothing about it. I give advice to others, but don’t practice it myself. I’m safe here. You will hear me refer to my obesity and addiction to food as the devil. It’s a mental fight I have daily and that fight is visualized as cruel, dark, lonely, hurtful, sad… the dark list goes on. The push-pull of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. I share this with you not to make you sad or feel empathy for me. I share it because sometimes I struggle with the darkness and I want others, perhaps you dear reader, to know……you are NOT alone.

As I’ve become older, I’m at a point in my life, that I’m learning to come to terms with obesity. Accepting it. Feeling safe with it. It is what it is, so to speak. Obesity gives me security. Losing weight would only put myself out there to predators so I’m safe being fat. No one wants a starving fat lady.

 

 

Losing Weight Is More Than Being Healthy

First and foremost, let me apologize to you, my readers. I took a last-minute trip out-of-town and didn’t prepare to stay as long, thus missing a blog. So let’s get this started shall we? 

 

“Tonia. Are you paying attention?” I snap to. I look at my doctor blankly. “Could I really lose my feet?” He looks at me seriously, “Yeah. You could lose toes, feet, legs. Your life. This is your life. Do you want to live it?” I sigh and start to think about what he just said. He leaves me to type out my release paperwork and I take that opportunity to reflect back to a few words my ears picked up on. “Your life. Losing limbs. Heart disease. Life. Living. Death.” My anxiety starts to rise and I can feel panic settling in.

If I don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist right? I live with the, “It won’t be me. It happens to others,” mentality. Not to mention only my health but also the way I feel. It’s almost normal for me to feel like crap. I don’t know what it feels like to be healthy. Let’s talk about the emotional toll it takes when you go shopping or out to eat or anywhere in public for that matter! When you sit down do you pull your shirt out from your belly area? Do you pray that the cheap plastic chair you’re about to sit in, doesn’t break? Does it raise your anxiety a bit to find out that the restaurant you are going to may only have tables you can’t fit into? And clothing! I haven’t shopped in forever. It’s sort of hard to when nothing fits right. What I do have, I try to squeeze into as much as possible. Here’s an example:

My jeans are just about too tight. I know this because instead of jumping up and down to get them on and zipped, I now have to lay on the bed and zip them. Getting up requires some assistance but the job is successful! There’s no way I can sit because my body won’t fold that way but my jeans are on!! I head out to my meeting. At the conference center I’m having serious apparel malfunction. My zipper won’t stay up! What if my button goes flying across the room, hitting someone in the eye, causing them to go permanently blind and me on their mind for the rest of their lives as, “the fat girl who wore the tight jeans made me go blind.” I realize I may be over thinking but this is embarrassing. This thought sends my mind racing and I have to get out! I have to get out of this room. I finally rise and all eyes are now on me. “Excuse me for a few moments, please.” I dart out of the room, catching my breath outside the door. FAT!!  Think I’ll skip the rest of the meeting and head to the store and see if their donuts are still fresh. Screw it. After buying my shame, I get into the car, unzip my pants and breathe. The best taste of freedom and donut….ever!!

Losing weight is not just about feeling good in your own skin. It’s about being able to enjoy life around you. The simple things like walking to the park, not worrying about fitting into booths and chairs. The freedom to buy clothing that LOOKS good and not just buying it because it fits. It’s also about being healthy. My doctor is right. Bad things can happen to anyone if the problem is not taken care of. Maybe one day I will listen. Hopefully before it’s too late.

 

Preparing To Die

GR

 

I wake up from a restless sleep struggling to breathe. I get up to use the restroom and decide that I should take a shower. You know, just in case the paramedics have to come. I want to be sure I’m clean before they have to revive me. I put pills on my night stand so they know what I’ve taken before I went to bed. I have a sticky note on my phone that shows all medications and allergies as well as emergency contacts. I lotion up and head back to bed, making sure there are no obstacles in the way of the door so that people have easy access to me in a hurry.

Weak hearts run in my family. That extra pound in my chest could be a stroke coming on. Is that tingling in my left hand neuropathy or am I getting ready to stroke out? When I feel dizzy or anxious I think, “Is this it? Is this what’s going to kill me?” Living like this takes away life outside of preparing to die. As sick as it is, I’m ready because I’ve prepared.

What breaks my heart the most is that my kids will check in on me if I’m sleeping too long. Especially my oldest. She comes peeking in the room and I hear, “Mom. You up?” I answer back, “Yes. Just tired.” I hear her exhale heavily and I know that my response put her at ease. Why do I put them through that? How scary their lives must be worrying about their mom’s health. It makes me angry that I’m so selfish.

And the question I have been asking since starting this blog is, “Is that enough to change?” Is it enough that my kids and family worry? Is it enough that my health is declining? That answer…no. It’s this crazy mind fuck game that continues to rule over my life. When I see food that I shouldn’t have and I walk away, I feel as though I’ve lost my best friend. I have literally sat and cried over it. Food is something that will always be there, in my face, tempting me with smells and sights. It’s my devil. It lingers over me like death. My grim reaper.

 

Past Life

In the search for myself, I often wonder what I was like in a past life. Do you believe that your past life shapes the life you have now? Enter: Soul Searching.

I’d like to think that I was a descendant of Alice Ivers. A poker playin’,  cigar smokin’, witty old woman. Yeah. That sounds like me. Although I know NOTHING about poker. Go Fish is more my style. So back to what I was saying. Past life. Where am I going with it? I’m not so sure. Would you believe me if I told you I don’t know me? Strange as it sounds… I mean you are you so you should know you. Right?

Where to begin? Hell. I have no idea. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been told to leave the past in the past but I’d rather not. I really don’t think that packing up and moving on is what’s better for my future. I have a hard time letting go of anything really. Resentment, anger, trust issues, judgments…you get the point. I wish I could just. Let. It. Go. *Insert Frozen movie soundtrack* C’mon. You knew that was coming.

So did my past life self have hobbies? My hobbies don’t last long enough for me call them hobbies. Was I male or female? Every time I think about it I picture the old west, say late 1820s to 1880s, and I’m female. Perhaps between the ages of 25-40. The hem at the bottom of my long dress stained muddy from years of walking through the dirt road town and not having proper equipment to clean it. No Oxi Clean here ladies! My house was small and consisted of a small cast iron stove, a fireplace, and a wooden table. The home smelled of butter and campfire. I see people come and go from the house but I don’t really see a family. Which is odd, most females in my age range, were married and had children then.

The next question is, how does that relate to who I am today? I’m not entirely sure. That’s where the soul searching comes in. I think your soul gets recycled, for whatever reason, when you pass. I can see God up there now, in Heaven, standing on a cloud, pushing people out of the Pearly Gates. “Next stop, 1876. Tonia? Is there a Tonia here? Ah yes. You. Off you go!” I’m really hoping He has a plan. What if my past life self was mean and crazy? Well, I guess that would explain many things now.

So if past lives really do exist, can you imagine what our future generation is going to think? Two words. One name. Dennis Rodman.

Judging Others

I stand at the kitchen counter staring at the butter, toast and peanut butter before me. I really shouldn’t have this bread. Maybe I can have it with a tiny bit of butter AND peanut butter. Well, maybe just the butter or maybe just the peanut butter. My mind is fluttering a million miles an hour. Seriously? Over TOAST?? Why is it this hard? I’m so tired of having to THINK about it. Ten minutes later..FUCK IT! I’m eating this damn toast with butter AND peanut butter AND jelly!  I eat in satisfaction that I conquered this quest. I am in control. Or am I?

Addiction is defined as “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.” My substance is food. My thing is habit. My activity is over-eating. It’s a disease. It’s something that you slowly die of eventually if you don’t CHANGE the substance, thing, or activity. It’s not as if I woke up one day and thought, “I think I will eat everything in the kitchen.” It’s a habit in your mind; a routine so to speak. It’s an emotional connection. It’s that satisfaction of doing what you’re not supposed to but do it anyways out of spite and control. I’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol. But food….that’s a story in itself. I’ve broken so many chains in my life but this one keeps me rooted. The nasty, dank, stale air that surrounds my everyday life.

There was a time many, many years ago, where I would see someone obese and think, “Ugh! Why would you want to be that big?” I’ll repeat that. Why would you WANT to be that big? If I was faced with my old self, I’d slap that bitch and tell her to stop eating cupcakes at 1 am. I was always the judge of other people. I was quick to assume in my mind why they looked, talked and behaved the way they did without thinking about the derailments in their lives that brought them to where they were at that moment. I never thought about their struggles with addiction.

Can you believe that there are people who hate obese people the same way they would someone’s religion, sexual orientation and/or color?  I just want to reach out to that person and hug them tight. Perhaps I could squeeze into them the unconditional love I have to offer. Help them realize that their judgment of me is partially why I am the way I am today. My insecurities took over and I became aware of every stare, every whisper, every snicker. I think it’s important to remember that people struggle everyday. The next time you go to judge someone, think about your life and what you’ve gone through and remind yourself, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

**I want to apologize to my readers for my absence. The Mother’s Day weekend took me into a 3 day mini-get away and I wasn’t able to post for a few days. I hope all the mothers out there had a great day!**

 

Breaking The Chain of Childhood Abuse

One thing that has always been important to me is giving my kids the life my parents didn’t. Now that I’m an adult and am able to look back to my childhood, I can say that things were much more different for me than my two youngest brothers. I look back at pictures and see them involved in the YMCA, sports, and community activities. Mom put me in Campfire for girls once and that was great! After that, nothing. I’m not sure what changed that. I made sure that my kids were involved in the community as much as possible. Volleyball, wrestling, football, archery, rugby, soccer, and gym memberships just to name a few. I felt if their time and minds were consumed by something positive, they would stay out of trouble. Which they did, thank God.

As some of my readers know, mom was abusive. Physically and mentally. I want to blame my grandfather for that but at the same time it’s almost as if, “Hey! Wait a minute. I was abused by you but I haven’t passed that onto my children.” Don’t get me wrong, I demand that my kids have respect and that they learn to be polite and I don’t give two thoughts to swatting them on the ass when I think it’s deserved. Of course, they are adults and teens now but you get my point. Perhaps why they are pretty darn good people today, in my opinion. Mom was a bit more than just swatting on the ass. She once threw my middle brother across the kitchen floor by his shirt. His young body slammed into the fridge with a great big “thump.” She once had me pinned up against a wall for wearing her shirt without permission when she did indeed give me that permission earlier that morning. If you have all week, I’d be happy to go into every fight we’ve ever had. Perhaps that can be saved for another blog.

One thing’s for sure, I knew there was no way in hell I was going to treat my kids as she did us. I haven’t been the perfect mother but I’ve done the best that I can with the tools that were NOT given to me in life. I’m sure as mom got older, she’s thinking the same thing. BUT! Could she have broken that chain? I mean, can I really expect her to learn the same as I did? Did it mean that much to her to change? Was she so stuck in habit that she didn’t really know what she was doing was wrong? I may not have all the answers and as an adult, I’m OK with that. There are still memories that define a bit of who I am today but again, it’s just a memory. I’ve confronted her numerous times over the years but it’s usually the same response. “I don’t remember that.” “That didn’t happen.” “Oh Tonia, that was long ago.” I think it’s best to sweep everything (as my family does) under the rug.  We are very close as adults today and I’d like to keep it that way.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I want to thank Teri S. for the writing idea. Reminding me that everything I do can and will trickle down to my kids and for teaching me that change is possible.

Obesity and It’s Silent Struggle

C and T

Myself and Christina

Christina and I hit it off quickly when I first met my father and his family. She was my sister, not by blood, but by soul. We had a lot in common, including our obesity.

Let me take you back to the 90s.

We tore up the city of Wenatchee, Washington and Dallas, Oregon. I can’t count how many apple orchards we woke up in after a long night of partying.  She quickly became my best friend. We did everything together. She knew secrets about me no one else did and I knew the same about her.

One evening she came home and says, “Tonia, there’s this guy who just broke up with his girlfriend who I know and now he’s single. His name’s Jose.” Now, I’ve always liked my men spicy so of course most of their names were Jose. Ha! I yell from the other room, “Does he have brothers named Pedro and Raul?” Laughter erupted from the both of us. Later, I became pregnant with my first child. Four months in, I lost him. My sister was there the entire way. She always had my back. Always.

I moved back to Montana (a few times) and when I did, Christina and I lost contact. We chatted here and there on Facebook but made no plans to meet up again. The excuses we made were silent but clear; we both had families and not enough time.

I get the text. She’s not doing well. Her kidneys are shutting down. No one knows how much longer she has. I later found out that she had lost her leg, the result of diabetes. She was told, while coherent, that she was dying.  I spoke to her on the phone and all we could do was cry through words. I asked her why she didn’t tell me that complications from her weight were this bad. She cried back, “I didn’t want you to know.” I got that. I really did. Secrets. Nasty secrets. She made it clear that she didn’t want to die and was very worried about her 4 children. I told her I loved her and would be seeing her soon. That night, I packed a suitcase and headed to Oregon. I arrived at the hospital late in the evening. Seeing her in that hospital bed was nearly unbearable until I approached her bedside and saw her grey, soulless eyes. I grabbed her face and wanted to kiss her badly but she had patches of some sort of medicine pasted to her. She was wailing in pain. I have to tell you, the sound of her still haunts my memories. Crying, I told her over and over again that I loved her. That she was my best friend. My only friend. She passed away March 7, 2014.

I went back to the hotel and cried uncontrollably. I was sorry and pissed off at myself for not being there for her. If only we had both been honest about our weight and our struggles. What we were going through was nearly identical. As I watched her dying I thought, “Is this it? Is this what it’s going to take for me to make the change?” Sadly, it was not. I continued to eat. I continued to not treat my diabetes. Being overweight and struggling with your weight is real. Food addiction is more than just overeating. It’s eating away your secrets, your stress, your pain, and worries. Ironically, it’s a way to slowly kill yourself and sometimes nothing, not your kids, not your family or friends, is enough to stop the madness. Rest in peace, my dear sister.

 

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C