This is very difficult for me to write. It’s a complete departure from what I usually write, and it’s putting up with the real me more than ever, so please be kind and bear with me as I write this really difficult 1000 words.
A little over a year ago I was on tour in Dallas working with The Marvel Experience. It was also my mum’s 70th birthday and hers twin so there was a big party but then again when you have a party with my family it’s never a small matter. My mother has three sisters, and they all came with her children and grandchildren, which totaled approximately 18 people, and then there was my family, which totaled 25 people. So there were approximately 50 aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, and cousins running around my cousins’ house. It was a lot of fun and your typical loud Italian party with actual dancing on the tables. However, there was one thing that bothered me, I was always the “fat” cousin, and I hated it more than anything. He always got into my head and affected my experiences. When I saw a photo of me at that party a few days later, I was mortified, and finally picked up the phone and called for help.
I started a nutritional program consisting of two shakes a day with a “knife and fork” meal. There were four days a month that you did a “cleaning.” When my ridiculously large box arrived at the Holiday Inn in Dallas, I had to use the porter’s cart to carry it to my room. I opened that box, took everything out of it, sat on the floor and looked at it, repeating to myself “just breathe” over and over again.
But to understand this post you should go back a few years, like many years. I have always struggled with my weight since I was a child. My first memory of my weight was when I was about six years old and an aunt told me, “If you keep eating like this you’re going to be as big as a house.” When my mom wasn’t home, she would sneak eat me and binge on Oreo cookie sandwiches (4 Oreos between 2 pieces of white bread). This used to be a favorite snack for my two sisters and I when my mom wasn’t home. We would have to climb on the cabinet to get to the top of the refrigerator and get the cookies my mom was hiding from us. What my sisters never knew was that I would come back and have a couple more “sandwiches” while they were outside playing.
Then there was my first husband. When I was married to him, he and his family always found it funny to joke about how much I ate or the size of my nose to the point where I became an excellent mugger when he was at work and taking syrup of ipecac. and ran away. to the bathroom. By the time he got home, dinner would be ready and waiting for him on the table, and he would have no idea. There were all the comments about when I was going to lose my sons baby weight, thirteen months apart, and the comments about how much food was on my plate, causing me to keep a constant supply of syrup of ipecac on hand.
Then there was my second, albeit brief, marriage. This marriage was also not good for my self esteem and at one point I had a small skin tag under my one eye, sort of tiny. My loving ex-husband told me, you know you’d be beautiful if you didn’t have that on your face. Of course, I quickly took the baby scissors and cut them right there in the bathroom. By this time, I had stopped my syrup of ipecac, but the comments were the same. “You know my ex-wife was a size 4” or “you know my last girlfriend could run 15 miles every day.” Fortunately that marriage only lasted nine months, but the damage had already been done.
Now I have a husband who thinks I’m beautiful even when I feel like I’m the fattest, ugliest girl ever. I have two kids who think I’m beautiful, and I seem to have managed not to pass on my bad body image to them, for which I’m grateful. He is understanding and kind when I tell him that I want to try this new diet every few months. So I wasn’t afraid to tell him that he wanted to start this new program, and he was as supportive as ever.
This program works, it is flexible and tolerant. It comes with a support system of people who have similar stories to mine and most of all are non-judgmental. I feel amazing when I commit 100%, and I even feel great when I only give what I have on that particular day, which might only be 25%. I’ve lost over 25″ and I know I’ve lost pounds, but I recently knocked off my scale so there’s no telling how many. But it’s not the inches or pounds while they’re an advantage, it’s how I feel about myself when I’m on the program. I feel good about what’s going on in my body and my body is responding.
Those scars are still there, and I try every day to heal them, but it’s by far the hardest for me personally. I can be nice to a complete stranger, but I often have a hard time being nice to myself. I keep telling myself every day, I’m kind, I’m beautiful, I’m a good person, and people love me. I refuse to give up on myself.