Stories from Growing Up: Never Weightless

I always said you did not transfer any of your fixation on weight on to me. It was so normal in our household that I disregarded it as much as I could, but these things have a way of coming up when you least expect them.

You look better with more weight on, you look sickly.
Comparing sizes; I’m bigger/smaller, I’m so fat.
I hate how I looked at your weight.
You’ve been gaining a lot of weight.
Angry because the clothes were too small or too big.
Don’t eat so much.

I would cover myself up in 90° F weather because I thought I was too big. Jeans, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt or sweater. I would grow my hair long and keep it down as if it would hide me. I had “fat jeans.” I was hardly even a teenager.

And today I look in the mirror and I repeat the things you said to yourself. 

Too fat.
No ass.
I would feel better if I could finally be skinny.
Two down on the scale, and I’m getting closer.
Don’t. eat. so. much.
The best praise is when other people notice I’m smaller.

Stories from Growing Up: Treating the Psychosomatics

I sat in the bathroom in elementary school, feeling sick. I didn’t know why.

When I was older, I had a favourite bathroom for throwing up in. I knew the smell of the water in the toilet, and I was comfortable watching for cockroaches coming out from the walls and shooing them. We called it food poisoning. It was a “me” thing, something about a weak stomach that no one else had.

It scared the shit out of me, not knowing what was going on. I would sit up through the night, wondering what was wrong with me and why I was alone.

Worse yet, the nights where I would wake my mother. It felt safe just to sit in the hall and hear rhythmic breathing. If I woke her, she would be angry sitting with and eventually she would give up and go to bed, something I could not do.

So I started to sit alone again. I counted my ribs each night for the fear that not eating would wither me away.

I sympathized with her fatigue, her desire to sleep instead of being with this.

I asked for a doctor. I sat on the couch with my heart palpitating in my ears, my body shaking and the tiny hope that this could be over.

She said no. That was when I started sleeping on the bathroom floor.

I just didn’t feel safe going home after school. I didn’t feel safe growing up. You can’t treat a kid for a problem other people pretend not to see.


Stories from Growing Up: Dreaming of Trauma

I have nightmares when I sleep, more than ever before. I dream about being in physical danger, rage, violation, and about trying to pack my things and leave but never getting out the door.

fragments of phrases; “this doesn’t feel like home,” or inarticulate screaming that never says enough.

When I wake up, I wonder how I could leave them behind but they could still have such a hold on me. Physical departure is not mental departure, but one day I will wake up, having made it out that door.