Tuesday, July 17, 2012

four chocolate chip cookies. not two. four.--by Portia

I wouldn’t say I have an “eating disorder.” Whatever that means.

 I’ve read a lot about eating disorders, and I’ve worked with men and women that have eating disorders. To this day I would never consider myself to really have one. Maybe I just have an altered view of food. Maybe I’m in denial.

 At about the age of 5 I started stashing food in my room. I would sneak downstairs to eat cookies and frozen pepperoni in the middle of the night so that no one would know. I would hide food in my room and eat it when no one was looking, or stash it away for later. Why had food become so shameful?  I grew with a chef for a father, he made amazing food. And we never once talked about people being overweight or underweight, so that wasn’t it.

 Step back a year or two earlier.  As a child, around the same age as my food hoarding skills began, I was molested by a friend of the family. He was maybe 8 or so and lured me into a closet to see if he could stick his penis in me. At that age he couldn’t figure it, out so he left me all alone in the dark closet as I tried to understand what had happened. The day after that I was spanked until my butt was a deep shade of red. I thought it was because of what had happened in the closet. It was my fault I thought. I was stupid. I am bad. After that I kept secrets and lied a lot. I hid things that I thought were shameful, like test scores from spelling and history. I lied about food that had all of the sudden gone missing. I lied about little stupid things that really never amounted to anything important.  I always got caught for the lies (not the food) and was always spanked. Sometimes I was spanked so hard that my butt turned black and blue.

 I was first raped when I was 18 years old. I was a virgin. He was my boyfriend at the time. He locked me down and wouldn’t let me get up or leave. I found out later he had been cheating on me the entire time.

 I was raped the second time by some guy I barely knew. He told me I was selfish and worthless.

 During the next couple of years and into my early twenties I would eat a lot, not really thinking about why. I was never “fat,” just off and on a little curvier than the average woman. Maybe I was fat, but my positive attitude wouldn’t let me think that. Boys still liked me; I always had plenty of friends and had a job to keep me busy. I over compensated for my sadness with friends, food, drugs and sleeping around. I ignored any feelings of sadness and made fun of my past. I would make jokes like “I’ve always loved sex! I tried to have sex when I was like 5 years old!”

 I was in denial about the things that had happened to me up until I was in my twenties.

 I block out some of the details from my early adult years with food. I’ve gotten better, but I still wake up in the middle of the night to eat food when I’m sad or don't want to think about things. I still eat past the point of being full. I still lie about food. I’m working on being honest about my past and me. I’m working on not using food as a crutch for my sadness and hurt. Starting today. This morning I told my husband I ate 2 chocolate chip cookies in the middle of the night, when I really ate 4.

 I start therapy for PTSD next month. 


  1. My heart hurts reading this! Hang in there. Therapy is so healing. If you go in there with all of your walls down, knowing its a safe zone and you can tell them 100% of everything, in time you'll heal. It only works though, if you are honest. Like they are a diary. It took 5 months of steady hard work in therapy for my life to start changing dramatically. Everyone is different, but the end result is so worth the endurance.

  2. Oh Portia, this made me cry. I admire you for getting help and for taking back your life. You are worth it and deserve to be happy.

  3. I kept trying to think of something constructive but all I can do is send love and empathy, and admiration for you taking control of your life.