Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

My weight has haunted me my entire life. It stalked me through seemingly harmless comments made by friends and family. I don’t want to hear comments on my body from the gorgeous, slender girls and women who all men want. Stop throwing your insecurities on me. Just keep it to yourself and stop comparing us. Unhappiness is born out of comparisons of things you can’t change. I can’t change the way I was born, so please stop making me feel bad for what I can’t control. Don’t watch me eat with your criticizing eyes. Don’t look surprised by the fact that I love food. Why shouldn’t I?

My weight hid behind the corner, a constant guilty feeling for not being as healthy as I should. I played sports for most of my youth and high school years, and maintained a fairly muscular physique. But, whenever I failed to be active, my weight flopped right back to where it was. As a child, my family doctor once criticized my mother for allowing my weight to get to that gross point. If that doesn’t make you feel unhealthy, then what does? I may not remember that day, but my mother took offense and I lived that moment through her memories more times than I care to count. Really, Mom. Please stop already! It’s been twelve years.

My weight breaks relationships. People reject me due to my weight, even if they aren’t aware. Sometimes, friends refused to even hug me. In the nightclubs, every guy immediately looked past me toward my more attractive companions. Attractive friends are usually useful, but sometimes you just want to be the one people notice first. The one he sees across the room and appreciates, anxiously deciding whether or not to down some liquid courage, grab a wingman and find a way into her conversation. Or maybe I could be the one he never got the courage to talk to. At least my friends have to deal with all the creeps that come with their delicious appearance instead of me.

If you live in American or some western cultures, I’m willing to bet that you identified with most of this, nodding along when a moment in my life struck a chord. The culture nowadays makes every woman feel fat and useless. It is almost an expectation that you degrade yourself as being overweight. Frankly, I can’t stand it when people obsess over their bodies. If you want to be healthier, then do it. But don’t stress out your body by trying to be more fashionable. Someone healthy and comfortable in their own shoes is far more pleasant to be around than someone who hates themselves publicly. The people who hate themselves publicly also make the people around them feel more self conscious. It’s an epidemic that has taken over how we think and how we live. It’s not okay. If you were still on the same page as me, you probably assumed the societal norm.

I struggle with being too skinny, not too fat.

If I forget to pay close attention or have stress on my plate, my size 2 jeans fall off my bony rear. I don’t even have to unbutton them some days and as I type this, I just accidentally flung my once-tight ring across the room because even my fingers are becoming skeleton like. At 5’10” I should not be able to fit in a zero. Clarification: I don’t consider myself unattractive. I like my body. I like myself. I just want to be healthy and strong. My goals are modest ones.

Comments from people around me still hurt my self confidence. I usually felt comfortable in my own shoes and eager to live my life and love myself. But, friends and family constantly compared themselves to me, making me think about my image critically. They all harbored hostility towards the fact that I am thin, shoving the blame for their problems on my shoulders. My body became a burden, hurting those around me by existing and the negative feelings constantly surrounding me wore me out. I couldn’t go shopping with people. I wore baggier clothing.

They all accused me of wasting myself by not being a model. I don’t want to be a model. Never have. I don’t want to be in an industry that makes me feel insecure to the point of trying to be unhealthy.

My family is the worst when it comes to harboring hostility for my body type. My mother is notorious for her self degrading comments and my sister has picked up the same habit. I want my sister to love her gorgeous body, but she won’t listen to a word I say because I have what she wants. If I compliment her, she is hostile. All she knows how to do is be resentful of what I was born with. I will not be attacked for something I cannot control. I’m done with that attitude, but I also won’t tolerate her talk of skipping meals. The girl is one of the most popular in her high school and she attracts all the boys like flies. She is slender and gorgeous and I can’t forgive society for doing this to my baby.

Many times, people refuse to hug me or cuddle with me because my hipbone stabs them or because I’m just plain uncomfortable. I envy curves, even the subtle ones, that make a woman look womanly. In the nightclubs, my curvy but slender friends are always noticed first. They don’t notice.

It wasn’t always that way. Way back when, people recognized being skinny as unfashionable and unhealthy. Obesity may have been unattractive as well, but at least they saw two ends of the spectrum.

But there is no place in society for people who don’t feel fat. Even super skinny models admit to feeling fat. Society only accepts complaints about being fat. There is a spectrum with many varieties, but it is only allowed to move one direction. Skinny people are, honestly, not allowed to discuss their bodies at all. It is a taboo that will earn you an onslaught of indignant replies. Anorexia would be more accepted for someone of my stature than an overactive metabolism because at least the anorexic person was traveling the right direction down the scale according to societal norms.

I am not allowed to mention the fact that I am struggling with my weight.  I am not allowed to verbally acknowledge that I am unhealthy. All I want is to be healthy and in shape. I want to enjoy my food, without anybody making me feel bad for eating. I want to be able to discuss my health concerns with my loved ones without being told to shut up. I want people never to attack me out of their own insecurities. I did nothing wrong. Society conditioned me to be silent, because I wanted to be healthy.

I won’t be silent any longer.

Edited 12/17

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There we were, nowhere and everywhere. Literally nowhere, not that there was enough light to see the endless fields and trees and nothingness. We bumped along in a vacuum of darkness, cut loose and lost as we discussed our lives and explored any road we came across.

Our parents had fundamentally wronged us and abused us.

The continued to do so.

Our brothers were useless.

We were mentally fucked up.

We had no way to fix that.

Nobody would ever choose us first.

There was a rustling in the trunk.

Something was in there with us.

A murderer.

Oh. Shit. Here he comes.

Flashlight disproves murderer theory.

Culprit is crinkly wrapper on water bottle.

I love my sister.

Somewhere on our traditional, late-night drive, I glanced up at my right. In the window, my sister and I were reflected in the stars we had spent so much time admiring. Our little, trembling family of two had somehow become infinite.

People naturally want to protect others. So if, for instance, there really were a velociraptor on the loose, most people would simultaneously hide and call up all their loved ones to warn them.

However, short of a natural disaster or prehistoric beast wrecking havoc, the lines of when to help or allow others to help you is a bit blurrier.

Personally, I lean towards the independent side. I would love to be able to claim it is from this huge confidence that I can handle anything that comes my way. Really, I would. But a lot of the time it’s not the truth. Nobody is that perfect.

In reality, I am just too stubborn, too afraid, and just don’t know how to ask for help.

Maybe it stems from the fact that people are always coming to me for help, even people I don’t know. I need to look like I know what I am doing for their sake and I honestly want to help.

Maybe it stems from the fact that I was always told to keep everything a secret. Problems were not to be shared (especially outside the family)and whining was never tolerated. Not to mention it is unfair to place burdens on people you love. Up until last spring, I never told even my closest friends the most pressing problems in my life.

Maybe it stems from the fact that there was never anybody there for me to rely on, so I told myself I would just do everything myself. Fake it till you make it. Always act like you know what you’re doing and you will find a way to accomplish it. If you don’t do things for yourself, they won’t get done. My first car crash was just a fender bender, but four police officers and five firemen were involved. I was terrified. My dad was over an hour away and I couldn’t call my mom who was five minutes away. She had been unstable the day before, and to be honest I was afraid she would attack a police officer and create a whole host of other problems I had to take care of. In the end, you have to take care of yourself because you never know if someone will be there.

Maybe it stems from the fact that I wanted my sister to believe there was at least one capable person in her life who she could come to. God knows our parents were fair-weather. She looked up to me. Asked me how to do things. I had to explore the world and learn how to do things so I could take her hand and guide her through. Eventually that ended when she got older. Though she still does ask me things, it is as a best friend that I answer her.

No matter why I am the way I am, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m handicapped. In this social world, I don’t know how to accept help from others. Some friends push me away thinking I don’t trust them. I do. I just don’t know how to confide in them or ask for help.

Some friends think I’m arrogant. I’m not. I just pretend I know what I’m doing. I just pretend I’m not scared.

Some friends think they can dump every single little problem on me because I either have no problems or I am mature enough to handle everything. I have problems. I handle them with a good attitude but that doesn’t mean I never get stressed or upset.

Some friends try to be there for me, but I can’t. I just can’t.

Mostly it’s because the less you rely on people, the less you confide in them, then the less they know about you. And if people don’t know what’s important to you, they can’t use it to hurt you.

I learned that one from mommy dearest.

I love snakes and spiders. I find the dark to be comforting. But I have my fears just like anyone else.

1. Showering with the door unlocked.

I’m starting to conquer this fear. Mostly because at my dorm the door to the bathroom didn’t lock. But I still can’t do this at home without standing there petrified, listening for sounds.

The reason: When I was twelve or so my adventurous spirit often got the best of me. Between bike crashes and tunneling through thorn bushes on a whim to conquer, I came home that day looking like a war veteran. My knees and elbows were stripped of all skin and somehow I managed to bang up my shoulder as well. There was a small gash in my shin and my entire body was covered in cuts from the thorn bushes. I liked to think I had conquered them, but maybe they had gotten the best of me that day.

I trudged upstairs to clean off the mud and the blood, vaguely aware of my mother shouting at my dad in the background. They were always yelling. I hopped in the shower and started singing to myself.

I didn’t hear her coming. I didn’t hear her coming at all. I felt a heavy whack to my head. The next thing I know is pain. I’m on fire. Everything burns and my mind goes into overload trying not to feel.

My mother is shouting. Why is she shouting? I’m trying desperately not to cry as I slump on the floor of the shower, my hands running desperately over my skin. I wanted it to stop. I needed the pain to stop.

Her monologue goes on. She leaves after screaming at me to scrub the shower this instant.

A few minutes go by. I dont know how, but I managed to lessen the burning. I adjust my position and my hand bumps into something. I glance over and see a gallon sized bottle of bleach dripping onto the shower floor. The lid was lazily trying to fit down the drain.

My mother didn’t know and didn’t care, but she had literally poured a gallon of bleach into my wounds. I guess she thought the lid was on.

In the morning, she didn’t even remember being angry with me. I didn’t bother explaining. I just learned my lesson and moved on with life.

She can’t remember, but I can never forget the most physically excruciating experience of my life.

My greatest fear is coming true. My bladder screams profanities at me as fear flicks my eyes in every direction, searching for an escape from this metal cage with ugly carpeting. Oh God, don’t let this happen. The help button has already been pressed and all I can do is wait… but I can’t help but stand on my tip toes and push on the ceiling. Wow! I’m stupid. I have definitely seen one too many action movies. I wouldn’t  know what to even do if I managed to get on top of the elevator, maybe take a leak up there so nobody will ever know my shame.

The scene plays itself in my head as I settle back onto my heels. It’s the same scene that plays in my head every time I step into an elevator, only this time it is a reality: The rescue crew finally opens the doors of the elevator after less than an hour. One grabs my hand to pull me to my feet, only I resist. After a moment, I realize it’s a futile effort and I give in and get to my feet. I see his eyes travel to the puddle I was quite literally sitting in. I see him pretend he didn’t notice, but we both know what just happened. And I am mortified. What sort of teenager is so incontinent that they piss themselves in public?

I hear a frustrated grunt and glance to my left, yanked out of my thoughts as I remember: I am not alone in this elevator. I eye the woman next to me. She is portly with red hair and her eyebrows are graying, putting her somewhere around fifty. Out of nowhere she lets out a frustrated shriek and kicks the wall of the elevator. I flinch slightly but don’t have time to recover as she turns to me.

“I can’t believe I’m stuck in this fucking elevator. When I get out of this I’m going right back upstairs to give my ungrateful bitch of a daughter a piece of my mind,” she shouts as if I’m the one she is angry with.

This was not what I was expecting from a stranger. I unconsciously take a step back only to find a cold wall blocking me in. Trapped.

“What do you think you’re looking at punk?” the stranger danger bellows in my ear, shooting a line of shock through my body. She’s gotten close. Much closer than I like. I murmur comforting words. Generic things. I know how to calm people down.

Her anger turns back to her daughter and I get more information than I ever would have wanted  about their relationship. Her daughter is allegedly a horrible person who wont even let this red-headed lady spend time with her grandchildren. Her daughter doesn’t appreciate everything her mother has done for her. She ruined her mother’s life. She is a waste of space. She makes her mother want to kill herself. She can’t do anything right.

I just keep murmuring comforting words.

Suddenly, this stranger is no longer a stranger. This stranger is my own bipolar mommy dearest telling me what she thinks. I close my eyes and try not to hear as it’s pounded into my head that I ruined my mother’s life. Trying not to think doesn’t block out the fact that I am an ungrateful bitch. I open my eyes and I’m trapped in my closet, mother standing in the doorway. My mother who knows me well enough to know what words hurt the most. I cringe as she throws it in my face that I’m the reason she wants to kill herself. I can’t do anything right. I’m a waste of space.

A waste of space who really has to pee. My twitching bladder gives my mind a reality check and I really open my eyes to look around me. I let out a long breath as I remind myself that I am in an elevator and this woman is a complete stranger. Though, she is a complete stranger who has not run out of breath even with all this shouting. I marvel at this feat as I inspect the ugly carpet once again. Would my pee stain this forever? Will I be forced to face my shame every single time I enter this elevator?

Thankfully this question remains unanswered. I hear noises from outside the elevator and feel thumps against the metal. Help is here. My bladder just might write them a thank you note. And best of all, that woman finally shut up.