This is a Writer's Workshop topic from a while back:
Share something mean someone said to you once, why has it stuck with you after all these years?
There was a lot of good topics to choose from for this week's Writer's Workshop but this one stuck out at me. I immediately knew what that something was and thought it would be good to finally analyze why it has stuck with me all these years. Let's do some self-analysis!
The words themselves are not that mean. They are more along the lines of common sense, but before I get to that, here is some background:
I was 13 or 14 at the time. The dark ages, if you will. Puberty had hit with all the angst and feelings of resentment that life had to offer. I had a substantial weight gain just as I was outgrowing the whole "tomboy" thing, and life could not possibly get any worse. As I began to feel more feminine and acknowledged my growing attraction to boys my body did a complete mutiny. I, apparently, was not destined to be skinny and popular. I felt gross and disgusting. Looking back... I wasn't even that big, but at 14 every flaw is magnified and way out of its correct proportion. Soon my mother got involved. Back at that time she was getting into fitness and had joined a gym. She would always be telling me to come work out with her and that I was gaining to much weight. I remember shopping for clothes with her one time and she refused to buy a pair of pants for me in a certain size because it was a larger size than she wore and she didn't think that I should be bigger then her. The problem, however, was that I was bigger then her. I was 4 inches taller, 2 shoe sizes bigger and probably 25-35 pounds heavier. The more my mother would nag or hint around the subject that I needed to lose weight, the more I wanted to stuff my face with fattening foods and sweets. It was an eating disorder playground.
My dad was tall and skinny which I attribute to good DNA and lots of discipline. My younger brother took after my dad and then there was me. My mom would actually give me smaller portions of food at the dinner table. We would sit down to eat and my mom and I would have one size portion and my dad and brother would have a much larger, different size portion. It didn't really matter though. When I would do the dishes I would just eat whatever was left over or any snack foods that were in the cupboards. At one of my low points I remember opening cake mix and eating the powder with a spoon.
One day, my mom made an appointment and took me to see my pediatrician about my weight. I don't remember to much about the visit or even if it was a complete physical. But I do remember the words he said to me that day. I didn't know what he was going to say, but I thought it would be medically sound and maybe even somewhat profound. I thought it would be from a place that the rest of us ,who didn't go to medical school, would be able to chew on and pontificate a bit about the wonders of the medical profession and how advanced the knowledge was compared to my own limited exposure. In other words, I had higher expectations. These were his exact words: "Why don't you try eating less?"
OMG. And that was it. What? Really? Eating less? That is all I have to do? So simple! So easy! Why hadn't I thought of that while I was stress eating my way up to 160 pounds?
Now. Why has this stuck with me all of these years? I believe as I have dealt with my food issues, weight gains and weight losses through the years, I come back to those words to realize how far I have come since that time. There was such an ignorance about proper nutrition, food addiction, triggers, body image, etc. Just the whole emotional turmoil of adolescence swirling around food issues. It was not a good combination for me. My mother was caught up in it and in turn brought me into the fold. But for whatever reason, "try eating less" was the best "professional" advice at the time.
Thanks Doc. I'll get right on that. Just as soon as my mom goes out so I can raid the kitchen in private and eat my feelings.