I’ve been considering whether or not I want to tell the entire story of how I became fat. I think I sort of touched on it early on, but I really don’t know if I went into detail. I don’t even know if I mentioned that I was actually a very healthy kid. So today, I am going to at least start the story, and we will see how long it goes. It may have to be a multiple part story. Of course, I am ok with that for the sheer fact that it means I don’t have to think about what to discuss from my day :).
So let’s start from the beginning. When I was a rather small child, I can remember loving things like carrots, broccoli, strawberries, and tons of healthy foods. My mom tended to like healthy foods and wanted to instill that desire in her children.
For the most part, she succeeded. Even as a child, I wanted to pretend to be Littlefoot from The Land Before Time (Excellent children’s film if you’ve never seen it; there are even about a billion sequels, I think), eating all the “leaves” off all the “trees” she put on my plate. Sometimes, it would just be a container. Either way, I ate them happily.
My weight gain started when I became a school going child. I’ve always had confidence issues, being deeply self-conscious of what people thought of me. I was always a very nice, polite child, but I was quiet. I didn’t know how to be myself, and I wasn’t sure I trusted people to like me as I was.
I don’t know if that was what led me to be a target for bullying, but I was. In first grade, a kid in my class, named Eric, used to beat me up everyday on the school bus. I was still small and pretty much a healthy weight then, and I remembered being terrified to be around him because he always hurt me. It didn’t matter how hard I tried to fight or run; I wasn’t strong enough not to be overpowered by a boy.
That stuck with me. I still have a hard time trusting men because I’m always wondering when the time is going to come that they are going to snap and hurt me. Also, that was about the point that I stopped wanting to be a kid. I thought, “I want to grow up so I don’t have to deal with the other kids hurting me anymore.”
Why did I not always ask for help? Well, you know those stories about kids who get bullied worse after asking for help? I was one of those. My mom talked to my first grade teacher about getting us separated at least in the classroom. He would just find reasons to walk by my desk and hurt me while the teacher wasn’t looking. Which, to be completely fair to my teacher, she couldn’t watch me like a hawk. She did the best she could.
I tried to find common ground, to be nice even when he was mean. He still often threatened to kill me or would continue to physically assault me on the school bus.
What does this have to do with my weight gain? Well, because I think people like me, who don’t have a physical health reason to attribute to our gain, tend to have some sort of mental health trauma that starts the process of apathy towards our physical health. This situation really destroyed the confidence I should have been building at that age.
I know now that it wasn’t my fault, that things are beyond our control. At seven (which is the approximate age of first graders in the U.S., if you weren’t sure about school years in the U.S.), I was dealing with the kind of bullying that you don’t really expect a child of my age to go through. It happens, yes, but I think people don’t want to think about a seven-year-old handling shit that heavy.
So, to me, that was when the process started unfolding, even though it would be a couple more years before I would start physically gaining the weight. Yeah, this is going to be a long-ass story, and because that is a good ending spot, I will pick up from here, tomorrow.