Growing Up Fat
I figure where’s a better place to start talking about the source being fat than your childhood? While different psychologists may disagree on the stages on childhood development it’s pretty much agreed upon that the root source of all your problems begins when you are a kid. As far as my childhood goes, there are two separate sides to write about. But I think writing about sexual abuse is a little too heavy of a topic for a second entry.
That being said, I’m not going to sit here and whine about being an unhappy kid from a broken home. Because most of the time, I wasn’t unhappy and I never once thought my home as being broken. As far as I was concerned, having a single parent was normal and the thought of having a dad around with my mom was unfathomable. For all the girly games I played, marriage was never one of them. I didn’t pair off my toys and Barbie never married Ken; they were strictly just boyfriend and girlfriend material with the occasional sleepover. I wasn’t against marriage, I just never put much thought on it. I knew from watching countless Disney movies that the Prince eventually married the Princess but I was so caught up with being the Princess that I never thought much on the ever after part.
And as I grew up, I knew I was lucky. As I started making friends, I began to learn that their were other lifestyles different from mine. Some were more fortunate and others less so. And I began to appreciate the uniqueness of my life. None of my friends lived in a house like mine, built by my great-grandfather who was also an infamous rodeo cowboy. None of my friends lived literally right next to their hippy grandparents nor did any of my friends run around their neighbor’s roof chasing rabbits. But the thing I did share in common with my friends were their mothers. My two best friends growing up were also single mother parents but even among my other friends, the majority contact I had been only with their mothers.
So it should come as no surprise that it was the females in my life that taught me how to feel bad about my body. Despite the two incidents of sexual abuse, the main male role model (my grandfather) never laid a finger on me. It wasn’t him pinching my nine-year old belly telling me I was fat, it was my grandmother. It wasn’t my male classmates at school antagonizing me to cry, it was two or three female ones. While my mother tried to placate me and constantly reassure me that I was beautiful, inside and out, I would still sigh enviously at my best friends cuter, slimmer clothes. And while I can look back and know I didn’t even so much as have a chubby round face for the majority of my childhood, I never had a pixie thin body.
My friends would over to my house and we played dress up like most little girls do and pretended to be Ariel or whatever Disney Princess I felt like at the time. But when I went over to my own best friend’s house and played dress up, I was always borrowing her mother’s old clothes. I didn’t really mind, as I would use any excuse to play. But come middle school I was too big, literally, to play those games anymore and I sank into apathy. While my besties still loved me, I didn’t feel like I… fit in anymore. So I developed my own niche. On the one hand I was the chick who openly refused to follow any crowd or label myself into any specific genre. At best you could always say I was the loner who was always with someone. I had a finger in just about every pie, or in this case at least one friend from every social group, but I only ever hung out outside of school with usually at least one of three people.
When I think about growing up fat, I honestly think I was unhappy most of the time. I found solace with my love for all things internet, reading and ordering take out instead of being proactive and a social butterfly. The only thing I know that has ever been stopping me to even this day, is me. I let my weight effect the simple act of bonding with people. And because I’ve been a recluse for so long, I’ve lost my ability for the simple art of conversation, with most people. Which is sadly ironic since, besides light administrative work my work history has been in customer service. Go figure. Most of the time I am hesitantly half mumbling incoherent thoughts or a question, hoping to start a dialogue. Or I will take a situation and develop it into a story that I share with just about everyone. Like Martian man (an entry for another time). I develop and overshare a story so I can fit in and say something besides Hey, how’s it going? for the fiftieth time in a single day.
The trouble is I don’t know how to talk to most people. I don’t know how to connect. On the internet my thoughts can be erased and retyped as many times I need them to be before I share, hitting the enter button. Thanks to sites like Facebook or MySpace (not a Twitter follower), I don’t even need to chat with my “friends” to even know what’s going on in their lives.
I feel like my life is a giant operator switch board. I keep trying to plug-in and connect the right line to the right line because somewhere along the way growing up, I disconnected myself. Occasionally I do get the right cord plugged in and I connect with a person even if the line is full of static. It never seems to stop me from trying, as foolish as I make myself at times.
Hello Operator, Can you give me number nine? Can I see you later? Will you give me back my dime?