I want to give a massive thank you to Shaye for being a guest writer. I know how difficult it was for her to write this, so thank you so much.
…Why can’t it be like a fat kid likes green beans, or like a fat kid likes sushi. There are lots of things fat kids like to eat, other than cake. I should know, I have been one most of my life. In fact a lot of skinny people I know LOVE cake, and soda, waaaay more than the fat kids do. This saying has always had a double edged sword protruding out of it and there is no way to get rid of it until the positive body image movement happens, which in reality I don’t see happening anytime soon.
As I type this I have just finished a rather large meal of gorgeous steak with a rather large loaded potato and now am watch my songbird and my charming bake boozy cupcakes whilst I diddle away at the keys. I am not to blame when it comes to using inappropriate terms, nor am I one to turn around and say “Well, since I am a chubby gal I can say it and you can’t”. I’m not THAT kind of narcissist. I keep calling this my “last fat kid weekend”, my final fiesta before I head back on the path toward my weight-loss journey that I started so many years ago. But why don’t we start at the beginning. Before the neurosis and binge eating disorder, before the surgeries and body dysmorphia. There was a little girl. And I do mean little girl.
I grew up in NYC for most of my life, raised by a Puerto Rican and a Scot. Now I have a HUGE family (of whom I spend more time with my PR side) and they love to eat. I grew up in a world full of food. I was a dancer, a softball player and as one of the ONLY girls in an apartment building I biked and climbed and ran and jumped and skinned my knees on concrete for at least an hour or two a day. Looking back on pictures of me as a child I would not in the least call me heavy, but I was always body conscious. My mother had made me that way from a young age, wearing tee-shirts over my swimsuits or shorts, always being “sure” I wanted to put that last bite of food in my mouth, blousing out my shirts so my non existent belly didn’t show. Things were always a bit too big than just fitting r a bit tight. It didn’t help that I developed a chest early and that it grew fast and furious to the point that my dance teacher told me I would never make it to professional when I was about 9.
I went to a private school, where if you weren’t popular you were treated like crap and since I went on scholarship I wasn’t popular. And they would tease me, for being ugly to fat to everything else they could think of. The funny part was a lot of them were bigger than I was was, but I still was not that body conscious I wasn’t prepared for the real world I guess. The real world started happening when I was about 9. When I was 9 years old, they thought I had cancer, after major testing and so forth they found out I had Graves Disease. Graves disease is a form of Hypothyroidism. Now for all you non-medical people out there, your thyroid controls your metabolism and all that good jazz, so when your thyroid is hypo you are under-producing the hormone needed to run that machine smoothly, leading to weight gain, fatigue and many other bothersome symptoms. I was to be put on medications and closely monitored. Well, I was fine for a bit, that year I started sleep away camp and found a best friend, who was skinnier that anything (naturally) and the only reason I was like was because of her, and the next year of school (sixth grade) went by so slowly because my medication seemed off. I started getting hives, swelling up for no reason…something was wrong. The doctors played with my meds and as an effort to kill the hives benadryll and prednisone were introduced to my body. And I blew up. Now if you have ever taken prednisone you know what will happen, if not just think about the hungriest you have ever been and multiple that by like Gremlin after midnight and there you go. I gained I can’t tell you how much weight on my small frame. It was not a good year for me.
As far as I remember it that was the year a few things happened, I put my hands and arms through one of those reinforced wired windows at school while trying to open it, my mom signed me up for therapy which she quickly pulled me out of (I still don’t know why she did either) and I started to binge. Now I never liked shopping for clothes unless I was with my GK. GK never picked at me, she let me go through clothes at my own pace and she just got me when it came to clothes. My mother liked terrible things on me and always made me feel huge in the dressing room. It was the year I was in sixth grade that I would wait until everyone was asleep and sneak into the kitchen and eat what I could, I snuck things into my bedroom, I would hide and eat everywhere I went (Even at camp that year I would trade things for snacks because they were rarely given to me). I was just hungry all the time and even if it was a healthy snack I would hide it and at dinner I would eat and eat until I was uncomfortable or until my mother gave me the look. That summer at camp was a lot harder for me, that awkward age between 10 and 11, boys just really noticing you, my best friend having too many boyfriends and me just wanting to be kissed I was by no means a blimp but I had put on the pounds. My asthma was not good and the hives still came back all the time. Constant infirmary visits.
Between 11 and the summer I turned 13 I went through a lot. I was now in a public school, the same one my best friend went too. I was beginning to be aware of my own body and get very uncomfortable around it. I was realizing that I may not only be attracted to guys (which made the locker rooms a really odd place for me). My friends were all smaller. My hives were so bad I was on a constant stream of steroids and my mother would sit by my bed at night to make sure my throat didn’t close up. We would fight constantly because of my body or my clothes. That summer the doctor that made a decision that would change my whole life, a decision I wish I had more say in, that maybe that had gone about a different way or waited just a little bit longer because it wouldn’t be till soon after that that research would emerge about the side effects. That summer they removed my thyroid.
Now Thyroid surgery is a big deal, if they take out part of your thyroid you are usually better for the long term but since they had to remove all of mine (because they were convinced it was causing the hives…it wasn’t) my whole world changed. You see there has been a proven link between thyroid removal and the switch that keeps the circuit of mental illness at bay. It is like the thin sheet of plastic between the baking soda and vinegar in a homemade volcano, everything is peachy but pull the plastic and KABOOM!!!! I immediately lost all of the weight from the steroids because of the recovery int he hospital, got my first kiss (from my first crush since I was like a year old) and all was well….kinda. I walked back into school that year feeling like a new girl, I was in the 8th grade ready to take my tests for HS and on new meds and actually feeling better. But it didn’t matter, the kids hadn’t gotten any nicer (but I noticed it more, it hurt more), my mother got pickier (so I ate more, it hurt more) and I was getting bigger (everyone told me I was nuts, but I could see it in the mirror). That year, I lined up and took over 200 pills in plain sight of an entire cafeteria full of students during breakfast and no one noticed me. (But that is a whole other story in a whole other post). I couldn’t wait to get out of that school. I tried fad diets and all sorts of shit the teen magazines were peddling but at that point I was just me, and I figured hey this is what I am stuck with, better deal with it. (When I graduated JHS I was a size 12)
Now we are going to speed through high school because high school was a very up and down point in my life, but that falls more on the mental side of things. I was still binge eating, only now it wouldn’t be hiding it just from my mother, it was from certain friends (like the ones you think are friends but put you down because they want to take your bf or are using you for something). When I started HS I was a size 10, I got called fat. I got told i should hide my *insert body part here*. When I graduated HS (After a year of being on bed rest and being in and out of the hospital) I was a size 16. The names never changed.
*Authors Note* As I started to write this I didn’t realize how emotional I would get during it. I am going to piece this out if my darling girl will let me as a guest post or I will continue it on my own blog and my journey has not yet ended and there is so much more to write.
Thank you so much, Shaye, for sharing this. The next part of this post will be posted here soon so please keep an eye out for that. If anyone reading this wants to write a guest post for me please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading x