|(13 years old)
Even in that moment I didn't understand what the big deal was. I played on every sports team, tap danced 2 times a week, rode my bike while playing in the neighborhood and ate just like every other kid on the block. So, why was I at Weight Watchers? I thought I was doing everything right. From then on the sentence I heard the most was "Amy, you can't have that!" What!? Everyone else is having that?
The shame, guilt and hurt that comes with having someone point out every single thing you eat and then physically take food away from you and say you can't have food that everyone else is having, was something so difficult for my innocent mind to understand. Having to account for everything I ate throughout the day and being criticized for it was even worse! Was I not good enough? Was I not deserving? What was I doing wrong? Why could everyone else around me have donuts and I had fruit? I couldn't even buy snacks at the snack shop without my mom having to discuss with me why I couldn't have what I got which was because i was FAT. If you're wondering how she knew, it was because she would ask the moms who worked at the snack shop to report back what I was eating.
I never really thought of myself as fat. I knew I wasn't skinny like the other girls but since I was always picked first by the boys to be on their team in sports, had a lot of friends, always had a boyfriend, did great in school and was always the funny one, my weight never seemed to bother me. It wasn't until I was scrutinized by my mother and my grandmother with constant attention to what I was eating and verbally tormented by my brothers on a daily basis, did I start to have a disordered relationship with food. What was wrong with me that I wanted to eat things and couldn't control my want. I would quietly accept what I was given but then later would sneak into the pantry. Instead of having that one donut I wanted earlier, I would have to eat 3 or 4 because I felt like I wouldn't ever get one again.
Oh how delicious that simple chocolate Entenmanns donut tasted. I heard no sounds, felt no pain, and basked in the pure bliss of how wonderful those donuts made me feel. Always so short lived though. The self hate came shortly after. "This is why your mother doesn't accept you as you are. You don't deserve to eat treats like everyone else. If only you could just be skinny then you would deserve to eat what you want and your mother and grandmother would love you for you" Always along those lines.
The message was loud and clear. Unless I lost weight I wasn't good enough to love how I was. It wasn't just food though. It was everything! It was like my mothers acceptance and love was solely based on being what she envisioned me to be. Always a comment or critique on everything. How I made my Mother look to the world was much more important then how I felt on the inside. So, I just kept it in and silenced my emotions with the delicious tastes of "forbidden foods."
I tried! I always tried so hard to do my best but it became harder and harder to hide all the negative emotions that come from having the people who are suppose to love you the most unconditionally, have conditions. Even if I told my parents that my brothers were calling me fat and saying awful things, they would just say "Stop Guys!" Never once were they sat down and explained about how harsh words can be and told they would have consequences for what they were doing. The only person with a consequence was me and that was called portions and a diet.
The more pain I felt, the more the trips to the pantry to sneak food became frequent. It was a never ending battle. Try to be perfect with food, want to be normal like the other kids, be verbally singled out and told I couldn't have that (you'll have your special dessert at home) ... Pain, shame, hurt and guilt!
I knew that unless I was skinny I would never hear the end of it. There were so many times I thought I was at my breaking point! Even things like my older brother having a group of kids sing a song about how fat I was at summer camp, didn't break me . The constant torment at home from my brother and the constant attention to my weight by my mom didn't do it either! But when a stupid classmate, after being told they spotted whales along side our boat on the way back from a school trip to Catalina said "Hey Amy, why aren't you swimming in the ocean with the rest of the whales?" I broke.
Everyone was laughing, which meant everyone agreed. I AM A WHALE!