Your Diet is Boring and Sad (and triggering)

When you talk about dieting, you may be triggering people you care about. If you don’t want to hurt people you like, please stop talking about dieting.

ETA, September 17th: Comments are off for this post for the foreseeable future.

Trigger warning for eating disorders, diet culture, child abuse, emetophobia, and fatphobia.

I don’t know how to start this post, aside from the trigger warning. I know it will need it; I’m talking about things that are hard for me to even think about, let alone speak about. But I don’t know where to begin.

Do I begin at the beginning (for me) — when I was 2 and encountered severe trauma related to food? When I was screamed at for getting dessert on Christmas, when I was so upset I threw up all my food?

That is where it started for me, my rocky relationship with food. Imagine, being told by your loving mother you can have a fancy eclair because you ate enough of your Christmas dinner and it is, after all, bloody Christmas, and then having the other parent in your life unleash a torrent of his abuse on you both until your little body can’t take the stress and you just lose it, everywhere.

That wasn’t the only time my biological sire made me vomit with his anger, either (or his reckless driving). To this day, strong negative emotions and, especially, angry men make me sick to my stomach.

I suppose it’s strange I never developed bulimia, not really. There was a period of time when I was vomiting after every meal, like clockwork, and sometimes it was induced, but it wasn’t bulimia. It was me feeling physically sick all the time, and needing some relief. As suddenly as it appeared in my life, it disappeared.

No, instead, I developed binge eating disorder and, much later, anorexia.

My father didn’t stop when I was two, you see. He continued to abuse me in many ways throughout my childhood and adolescence, including at the dinner table, in restaurants — really, anywhere food was involved, he made sure to give me a complex about eating.

His excuse? I was being spoiled rotten by my mom and Oma, he said. Or I was getting too fat, or eating too much sugar. Or any other reason he could come up with to abuse me for daring to want food.

Abusers always find it easy to justify their actions. It’s for your own good. Always for your own good. It was for my own good when he took me to get a treat at Dairy Queen, said I could order whatever I wanted, and then took that food away from me when I had it and ate it in front of me, saying I couldn’t have it because I was ‘getting fat.’ It was for my own good when he screamed at me at the dinner table because I was ‘too fat’, making me cry and feel too sick to my stomach to eat — which he then yelled at me some more about, because I was a wimp who was crying and why wasn’t I eating? He’d slaved over the stove to make that food so I better eat it or he’d give me something to cry about.

It was for my own good when he made me sit at the dinner table until I finished my food, even though I told him I didn’t like squash, not at all, not a little bit, I had to eat it because it was good for me. And when my step-siblings came in from their after-dinner swim at the pool and saw me sitting there — I was determined to sit there all night, and hoped I peed on the chair, hoped for that small revenge — they told me to take the food and just throw it in the compost, and lie about eating it! I said no — he’d know, he always knew, nothing was safe — but they took it and did it for my anyway, and then dad came back into the room and pulled out squash covered in coffee grinds and other organic waste and force fed it to me, holding my mouth shut until I swallowed it.

It was for my own good when he force-fed me salmon and called me a wimp and weakling for not liking it. To this day, the smell of salmon makes me want to vomit and cry.

He was convinced that every time he put another landmine in my brain with his actions, he was doing it for my own good. He swore up and down that someday, I’d thank him.

Well, he was wrong about most things, so add that to the list.

The for your own good narrative doesn’t stop with my father, though. It continues on every day I am forced to interact with people who have bought into the propaganda of our fat hating culture. Shaming me for my food choices is for my own good. Constantly talking about diets is for my own good. Maybe, if they make me feel enough shame, I will magically lose weight. That’s the belief, so it’s easy to justify with for your own good.

This is all true, and it’s probably important background for this tale. But is that where I start? Is this the best place to begin for this particular story?

Let’s start again, maybe.

Google+ has a function that shows you things from people you haven’t circled. Other people you have circled click the plus button on shares, and those things might show up in your feed. You can’t turn this off, to my knowledge, though I have posted asking people for help finding out if you can.

Continue reading “Your Diet is Boring and Sad (and triggering)”

Dissociation

Dissociating to a certain extent can help me keep the pain at bay until I can deal with it, in small pieces.

And in the end I guess I had to fall.
Always find my place among the ashes.

I can’t hold on to me,
wonder what’s wrong with me.

-Evanescence, Lithium

I was going to do the Weekly Writing Challenge this week and post my story today. I was going to write it yesterday, actually. Or, failing that, early this morning when I got up.

I didn’t, because yesterday I suffered a trauma and have been spending most of the time since in a dissociative state. This is sort of half on purpose; dissociating to a certain extent can help me keep the pain at bay until I can deal with it, in small pieces.

I thought I’d write a story about what happened to me, and post it as part of the Challenge, but I couldn’t seem to make it happen. Sometimes writing a story helps. Not yesterday; I was in a bad state.

Perhaps not today either. I want to talk about it when it’s not so fresh, and today is still too soon. I slept terribly anyway; woke up late. Will barely have the time to finish my work before leaving for the weekend.

Being in a body that’s suffered trauma is never an easy thing to live with. For myself I don’t know if I’ll ever fully heal; I often picture my being as a shattered mug that’s been glued together so many times it’s now more glue than mug, and it functions, which is a kind word to describe its existence. But the scars never really go away.

I have to remind myself that I’m human, and that I regrow my skin. Emotional scars might not fade, but the physical ones do. I can get to a place where physical trauma is, at least, a distant memory; not a noxious cloud that occludes my vision and breathing, that reminds me everyday that I’m broken.

I often read and reread this poem by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins like a mantra:

363_900I don’t even know the title of the poem, but it’s one I keep on my tumblr, scheduled to post in 2017.

Now I suppose I can schedule one for 2020, as well.

 


And in the end I ended up completing the requirements for the Weekly Writing Challenge anyway, so this post is tagged accordingly.