The morning sun kisses the back of my neck, wrapping itself around me from behind. Its warmth makes me feel secure and safe. I sip on hot coffee and let the steam blanket my face as I throw one leg up on the bench next to me. The large oak tree stands hundreds of feet tall; its over-worked branches hang low. A yellow leaf glides, rocking back and forth as it floats peacefully to the ground. The green fields are peppered with black cows grazing and every once in a while you can see a small farmer among them. In the distance, a man-made lake sits quietly and still. When a breeze blows you can see ripples of diamonds dance across the top.
I close my eyes and listen to the cars on the highway grow louder as they get closer. One by one, “Whoosh. Whoosh.” Chirpy birds sing and flutter around the yard. They make small conversation with each other for long periods of time. They fly in and out of a small bird box on the power pole in front of me. One is angry that another bird is there. Such is life. Yaks wearing fur coats line the fence. Babies jump and play. They aren’t the cutest things I’ve ever seen. In fact, they are downright ugly with their funny horns and long fur that seems choppy, bulky, and heavy. The taste of warm, sweet coffee hits my lips and warms my insides. My cold nose warms in the sun. Jagged mountain tops, now cleared of snow, stand at attention. A frigid breeze pushes lightly off the lake sending a shiver thru me.
The sun starts to descend, the air is cooling and there are noises that can’t be seen. The ringing in my ears becomes louder as I strain to listen. Coyotes howl in the distance calling out to each other across the darkened field. The once clear, blue sky is now a dark dome pebbled with bright stars. If you look close enough and watch long enough, you will see stars fall right out of their place and disappear like magic. The moon is large enough to touch if I stand on my tippy toes. It whispers goodnight and as I close my eyes for the night, I dream of sweet sunsets and tangy views.
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.
He promised he would try harder. He promised that things would be better. So when that phone call from a friend came in, I was devastated. “Tonia, I saw him today with that girl. I saw him kiss her in YOUR car!” My heart dropped.
This is the last time he will cheat on me. I gather clothes, pictures, and personal hygiene products. I stuff them in the bag and wait for him to come home. My stomach is turning, I’m shaking with anticipation. My hands are sweaty. I know this is the final time I will be with this man. I will no longer take second place to his whore. He walks through the door. His kids yell his name; running to him with their arms out. He uses his affair-tainted lips to kiss our children. I want to rip his face off.
The bag I packed earlier sits by the front door. Of course, he doesn’t notice. He hasn’t noticed anything in years. He no longer notices the clean house and the hot meals. The happy kids. The sad wife. Maybe I play a part in this disaster too. I mean, I’ve gained weight. I no longer do my hair or makeup. I get a shower in every two days. Maybe I can’t blame him. I’ve let myself go so that I could grow, bear, nourish, raise, and love his children. I shake the guilt off. Flashes of white rage go through me. Oh God. Did he touch her and then touch me? My mind flickers with snapshots of them together and all the moments we shared afterwards. Them kissing, touching…fucking! Then he came home to me! All the nights we made love. Was it after her?!? Was he thinking of her? I can’t take this.
I walk over to each of my kids and kiss them and whisper, “I love you.” I look up to see my husband. MY. HUSBAND. The look on his face is one of anticipation. Is he waiting for me to kiss him and tell him that I love him, too? He’s sadly mistaken if he expects anything more from me. This. Is. Over. I slowly pushed my way past him, grabbed the bag next to the door and left. It would be 1 year, 5 months and 9 days until I would see my children again.
To be continued…
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.
The Starving Fat Lady
Totally fell for this boy. I mean hard. I know I’m only 13 but he’s super cute and super nice. He smokes but I’m okay with it because I smoke too! Hopefully mom and dad don’t find out. Keep it under lock and key, diary, okay?
I can’t believe it!! We kissed for the first time! My stomach was in knots and I was afraid he was going to want more but he didn’t! Hate how he always talks about other girls though. He’s talks to one girl and I can’t stand her. Her blush is as thick as molasses! Gag!
I was so stupid. Why did I tell him how I feel? My heart is broken! He told my best friend, Allie that I wouldn’t “put out” so he was going to go out with red molasses face! Oooo I’m so mad!
Just got back from school. HE CALLED ME FAT!!! He told his friend and he told Allie who also told Stephanie, which by the way I am so ticked off at, that I was fat. Yeah? Well let me know what molasses face really looks like when she scraps off her makeup!
Totally fell for this boy. I mean hard. I know I’m only 13 but he’s super cute and super nice……..
This blog was created by the 13 year old in me. This is a true story with as much detail as I can remember. I think sometimes we just need a reminder that as children, we so easily move on from some of the disappointments and heartbreak we experience in life. But in adulthood we seem to grasp onto the negative and forget the positive. When did we let that go and why? So remember this: Why worry about what you can’t fix in this very moment? Try not to lose focus on something that’s out of your control. Your bills, your kid smoking pot, your car breaking down, getting to an appointment late. whatever it may be…..embrace that moment, breathe, gather yourself, and hit that sucker tomorrow. You got this.
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.
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.
I get in my car and drive to the store. As I open the car door, my heart starts to pound heavily. I look at the people walking in and out and I start to slowly skip breaths. I dart my eyes around the parking lot as I head in and see several people sitting in their cars, no doubt waiting for a spouse or friend to do their shopping but staring at me as I walk in. The double doors slide open bringing a smell of deli food and bread.
Is that person staring at me?
Did those girls just laugh?
I swear everyone is judging me.
Did that person just look at me twice?
Oh God. I gotta get out of here.
I divert my attention to my phone. If I can’t see anyone, then I can’t see them staring. I grab my items and quickly leave. I get to the car out of breath and nearly in tears. Panic is setting in. I can’t breathe. My finger tips are tingling. There is a huge weight on my chest that is stopping me from breathing. I’m going to have a heart attack and die right here. Everyone will see it. Will the paramedics know to call my family? People are staring. My vision starts to blur. I’m dying.
After 20 minutes, the Clonidine taken earlier, kicks in. I start to relax and forget those around me. I start the car and drive home. I feel angry at myself for losing control emotionally and for not holding it together. Even if I did make it home alive with my groceries.
Anxiety and panic is real. It’s debilitating. It can be triggered by anything. We can’t ask the world around us to change therefore, it’s up to the person with the disorder to learn how to cope. I’m still learning and I’ve made huge strides. I wrote this blog in hopes that people know that others do understand what you are going through. I want you to know you’re not alone…even if it seems like the loneliest place in the world.
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!**
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.
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.