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. 

3 comments:

  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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