Just like everyone else, I grew up in a relatively normal family; I would consider my childhood more “normal” than the next. My parents were married, and still are. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and my dad worked hard construction. We walked to the school bus, we played outside, and we (I & 2 brothers) were polite and taught well, with a pinch of southern influence. We grew up with dogs, played sports and got good grades. Nothing traumatic ever happened in my childhood, nor did it in my adolescence. As far back as I can remember, I was always a chubbier child, and a taller/stronger/bigger cheerleader for 16 years.

As a child, I simply followed the rules, played the game and made everyone around content with me. I was always VERY shy and very quiet. My teachers at a young age thought I had social problems because I didn’t make friends and talk to people. I was smart, got great grades, never broke the rules, but didn’t really have friends. I remember being by myself at recess and idolizing those who got chased by boys. My best friend growing up was my best friend because our parents were best friends, so whether we liked it or not (which we didn’t until about age 16) we were around each other much and often. She was one of those people, and still is, who can eat anything she wants and a lot of it, and never gain an ounce. I admired her my whole childhood. I always wanted to be like her. She was outspoken, funny, very pretty and skinny- pretty much everything I thought I was not. She had a zillion friends and was always so carefree. She was the best cheerleader on our squad my entire life. I lifted her in the air because she was skinny and got to be lifted. Jealous…yeah just a bit.  She is still incredibly lean and very attractive, as well as still being my best friend.

While I could be perfect in pretty much all areas of life according to adults, I didn’t have many close friends, and I was a chubby kid. I grew up with 2 brothers, and remember being called fat a lot growing up. The comments always came out of my brothers mouths. That’s what siblings, especially boys do. They make fun of each other. Comments and remarks have always hurt me and effected me more than the average Joe for as long as I can remember. I can remember being a child and being so ashamed of myself for upsetting my parents that I would lock myself in the corner of my closet crying. If I screwed up, I felt absolutely horrible about it. My older brother was a twig growing up and he hounded me my entire childhood about my weight. No other comments were made much, because in reality I didn’t do much, so being chubby was an easy target. However, I was concerned with grades because we were expected to be on the honor roll, making my parents and other adults happy, and playing by the rules of the game. That’s what I was good at and it was what was expected of me. I didn’t focus on my appearance, my hair, and my clothes until much later in life. I don’t remember one time “acting out” or getting in any kind of appreciable trouble.

I also didn’t have an opinion, on anything. I looked to other peoples reactions to form my opinions. I watched other people a lot, and found out what worked, what didn’t, and what kind of things were valued. When I tried to please my parents, I looked to their reactions of my actions, and formed my values. I still don’t have any strong opinions on anything. I use other people’s opinions and views to make my own. When people tell me I “act a certain way,” “this way is the right way to do it” or “you are good at this” I follow it all to a T, very perfective because I aim to please.  I do this because I do not in any way shape or form know myself, let alone understand myself. I could never figure out how to form my own opinions. Am I lazy- I don’t know? Am I outgoing?- I don’t know. I still struggle understanding my place in life and what I want to do. I struggle to find myself, and understand my desires. What DO I want out of life?

Growing up it was easy enough at the time. I followed what I was expected to do, stayed out of trouble, and stayed on the down low and quiet. However, come my senior year of high school, I had to make a decision. I was going to college because that’s what I was expected to do and people told me to do it. Again I had no real opinion or desire in the matter. So I applied and got in. Then I had to choose a major, a career path. Holy anxiety… I had no idea. I never had to make decisions for myself. My parents mentioned how I had always had a great rapport with children, so I would make a perfect teacher. Mmkay, a teaching major, and that’s what I did.

Before heading for college, I decided to get myself in good shape, and standing just shy of 5’8, I became a nice looking 125-130lb female figured body of confidence. Give or take it is an average weight for a normal exerciser. I didn’t get on the scale every morning nor did I much care what my weight was; I was happy with myself.

My first semester in college I experienced more than I can remember- thank you Bacardi and beer. With college, came my first experience drinking, or at least getting obliterated and wasted drunk. With drinking, came my first experience eating at 4am with the guys. With the previous combined two, came my first experience having my head in the toilet all morning while someone held my hair. The continuum as well as my desire to party hard and have a good time came with a few attached consequences. I couldn’t hold my alcohol like the guys and I definitely could not eat like them and keep it down when drunk.

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