As a kid I was fat, but to be politically correct about it, I will just say chubby. I was a book worm. I would rather read a book than dodge a ball. I loved to write, I loved to color, and I loved food. I turned to food when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was bored, when I was being social… food was my life. But I was not eating to live, I was living to eat. With a lifestyle like this, you can imagine that my young years were husky years. I was, and still to this day could not tell you, if I was hungry because my body needed fuel to work or if I just wanted food because it filled a void.
The fat led to being teased by everyone. Not getting invited to sleep-overs, not playing with the popular kids, and all that. That led to my burying my face in cake, pizza and whatever else I could get my mitts on. I can trace this back to kindergarten. I was fat my whole elementary school carreer and my middle school years… sixth, 7th and 8th grade. I can remember being in gym class and being laughed at, made fun of, and well… gym was a nightmare. I spent a lot of time crying and eating away my sadness. Being picked last for all the team games and thanks to the alphabet, I was stuck in the middle of not just the popular kids, but the jocks, the football players, and yes, the girl volleyball teams. Then there was the dance unit and the poor middle school boy who got stuck with me, who not only made fun of me during class, but with all the cool kids after class. Then there was the swimming class unit. Yuppers… a swimsuit in front of everyone when they called me Roseanne Barr… and that was some of the nicer things said to my face. I do not mean to offend Roseanne. I actually like her, but you get my point. This led to a lot of self hate. I was a lonely kid. I just wanted to fit in. I would do anything to please people and I became a doormat.
I skipped school a lot. I got all my work in and excelled in my grades, but I just did not want to be there. It was just horrible to be there. Then something happened the summer before high school.
To me it was a miracle. I had dropped a ton of weight over the summer. To the point that when I got back to school, kids did not know me that I had been in school with my whole life. This was very evident in Gym class… yes the third ring of hell for any awarkd, fat, self hating kid. “Has anyone seen Melissa? She usually has a locker next to me (yes the alaphbet strikes again) but I have not seen her here or next to me”. I will leave the name of girl out to be kind, a courtesy they did not extend me, ever. I said “Hi, it is me.” Now the look on this girls face was priceless. Her mouth dropped to the floor and for the first time ever, “Miss yearbook, volleyball, basketball, everything girl” who could do no wrong was stunned and silent. “Oh… so sorry. I just did not recognize you.” she said. That was not a surprise. I was now down to 105 pounds, and the smallest I have ever been since I crawled out of the womb. I just smiled. As you can imagine I was the subject of the gossip mill for the first few weeks of school.
All of a sudden I had so many friends. I was now okay to be around because I was within the worlds standards of acceptable weight. I continued on a path of working out at 5 am till 7 am, at lunch at school, after school, and eating no more than 800 calories a day. I was using Epicac to make myself puke, and laxatives to make myself poop out all my food that remained. If I ate, I felt guilty. I ate diet pills like candy. After about a year of this, my family started to notice. So did people around me. Yet, few of my so called friends tried to help. In fact, they fueled my eating issues with being so proud of how I had lost so much weight.
To be continued in Part III tomorrow, “Early adulthood”