Saturday, December 26, 2015
When I was about six years old my best friend’s sister said that I had a large build and would always be fat.
When I was about eight years old my brother wrote, “Alex is fat” in permanent marker on my wardrobe. I tried everything to get rid of it but I could always see the outline of those words – and I looked at them often. I don’t remember my parents helping me to clean it or my brother getting in trouble for writing it.
When I was about ten years old I sat in a chair while wearing shorts and watched my thighs spread out. I thought they looked enormous but I reassured myself that if I stopped eating then they would stay the same size and as I grew they would eventually look skinnier. I never was able to stop eating.
When I was about thirteen years old I told my father that I had lost two kilograms since the start of the soccer season. His response was, “Good, you wouldn’t want to get any bigger, would you?”
When I was about fourteen years old I was lying on my front reading a book. I heard my brothers laughing hysterically behind me and I asked what was so funny. They told me they were laughing about how fat my calves were.
When I was about sixteen I went shopping with my mother for a dress for the school formal. I found a dress that I loved but it was quite expensive. There was one in stock that was a size too small for me but was on special because it had a small defect. My mother said, “People diet to get into their wedding dress, you can diet to get into your ball dress”. Instead of helping me understand how to lose weight she baked a Weight Watchers cake and put portions in the freezer for me to take out for school lunches.
When I was about eighteen years old I was in a club with my friends dancing on a table. I had had too much to drink and stumbled off it. A random guy told me that wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t so fat.
I have been the chubby kid who turned into a fat teenager who became an obese adult with multiple issues around body image and food. My entire life I have been reminded that I am always the largest person in the room and that I am different from everyone else. I have been mocked and taunted about my weight by strangers and by my own family.
I grew up in a household that ate very large portions and where you got made to finish everything on your plate. My mother was always on a diet and my father sneaked sweets. Dessert was served almost every night.
My past is not my future but it is what I must fight through to get to the future self that I want. It is painful to relive these memories by writing them down but maybe by acknowledging the power they have had they will not be so powerful anymore.