“Poverty. That’s why.” That’s the answer I get from my therapist when I ask “Why is it so hard to get off of “the system” and why are my children struggling?”
She continues to tell me that because my parents grew up in poverty, I then grew up in poverty which in turn, my children grew up in poverty so the likelihood of my children’s children growing up in poverty is very high. “So what, doc? You’re saying that we are just all another statistic?” For whatever reason that angers me to my core. Don’t categorize me and my family! Don’t tell me that my kids will never have anything better in life besides POVERTY!” I leave therapy that day angry and agitated mostly because I know she’s right.
When I get home I start my research. What comes with poverty? How does it affect families? I don’t know why I bothered with research when I already knew my answers. I guess I was looking for validation. According to http://www.debt.org, poverty starts with those that are less educated and less healthy than those not living in poverty. When they say “less educated” I know this is more than just about a college degree. Those that are more educated on healthy food choices, physical fitness choices, financial choices, ect., are more knowledgeable on how to better their lives in each of those areas whereas those with less education in regards to those choices have more difficulty making those decisions. Lastly, according to Gallup, (an American analytics and advisory company), with poverty also comes depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks. So the next time you are standing in line at the grocery store next to an obese mother with 3 obese children watching the cashier ring up their chips, dip, and soda while she runs her food stamp card, this is most likely lack of education with added depression and health issues and not laziness.
So how do I fix this? I guess I start with exactly what I’m doing right now. Educating myself. Research. Read. Learn. Then pass it along to my children by leadership. They are at an age now that giving them verbal information is like talking to a dead horse. I must live the life myself and hope that they see it and follow. If I can dysfunctionally damage them, I can most certainly educate the dysfunction, right?
How do you explain to others that you just want to curl up and die but you don’t want to be dead? The thought of death is simply just wanting things to go away without having to explain why. I want to climb down into a hole and be left alone but I don’t want to be lonely. I want to eat until I’m so fat I can’t move but I’m tired of being uncomfortable in my own skin. I want to go out and enjoy the sun but I don’t want to be around people. I want to feel all these feelings I have and I want people to understand them but I don’t want to explain them. I’m a tornado right now. My emotions are a mixture of giving up and being pissed. I’m angry, sad, confused, hungry. This hole smells. It’s damp, dark and musty but I want to live here forever.
It’s the revolving door. The viciousness of hell. I feel like the hamster on the wheel that just keeps going around and around and if I dare stop I’m going to flip and break something.
I remember where I went wrong. It was a bowl of almond Hershey kisses that sat on a bedside table. I hadn’t had chocolate in nearly a year and to pop one of those in my mouth – well, there was no going back after that. I love chocolate. I have a relationship with chocolate that should be illegal. I eat it until I feel sick and then I wait until that feeling goes away and eat more. Hard chocolate, soft chocolate, creamy chocolate, dark chocolate. I do not discriminate when it comes to my love of it.
They say not to leave sweets in your home because it causes you to overeat and want more. I laugh. I will go out in a storm to get it. I will leave in the middle of the night. You have no idea the lengths I will go to to get the food I want. All it takes to trigger that want is for a commercial to flash across the screen or for someone to mention it and I can’t stop thinking of it. It consumes me until I’m anxious. Until the cuticles around my nails are gone. Until I’m so irritated that everyone around me can’t stand the sight of me. Until I’ve finally broken and gone to the store or fast food restaurant.
So I tell myself – tomorrow. Start over tomorrow. Monday. Next Month. Truth is, if I continue this lifestyle, I may not have tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come. Is that enough to change? Is that enough to stop the revolving door? I thought so.
I’ve been gone and the blog went empty. Where did The Starving Fat Lady go? I have so much to tell you. I want to begin by first saying – I’m back. I’m back to face my demons and to expose my soul. I need to start facing the facts. I was successful in losing 140 pounds and successful in gaining nearly all of it back. We will get to that in later. There are reasons for that. I just know it!
I think there are reasons for why we over eat. There are reasons we are in so much pain that we would rather hide behind layers upon layers of skin rather than be exposed to the world. I’d rather be looked at twice for being overweight and NOT complimented than to be looked at twice and told I’m pretty. I cringe at compliments but no one would know it. I’m a professional faker. I can put on any smile and grit through a “thank you” and make it convincing. Very convincing.
If you are a new reader, welcome. If you are a loyal reader, welcome back. Time to get this party started.
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.
I stand at the kitchen counter staring at the butter, toast and peanut butter before me. Ireally 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 ANDjelly! 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!**