For the first time ever someone very close to me, someone I care deeply about, said something that hurt me. They didn't even realize it because it was just an offhanded comment. I still haven't processed the feelings completely or responded back to them in regards to the comment. Why? Because I used to act out of anger which never helped a situation; instead it left me more upset and hurting. So, now I try my best to not respond out of anger/hurt. Instead, I try to process my feelings first and calm down then approach the subject.
Anyways, it was something silly. Scratch that, when it comes to food and the issues I've had and still struggle with sometimes…it's NOT silly!
It All Started A Long Long Time Ago
Let me back up for a second to give you a little background information about my relationship with food. It's always been an unhealthy one. I grew up eating processed foods, bar food (you know the greasy goodness of a bar burger & fries? mmm, yum!), lots of pizza, microwavable things, etc. I ate a lot of junk food too – Little Debbie cakes, potato chips, candy bars… the list goes on. You get the point right?
The older I got, the “bigger” I got (my biggest being a size 12 at that time) and I started getting picked on about it. Not just from kids, from someone (an adult) who sure as h*ll should know better as she continuously told me I was eating bad food, making bad choices, if only I lost weight, blah blah blah. This all started in 5th grade and progressed throughout the years. So I was taught at a young age that there was “good” food and “bad” food and I was bad if I ate the bad food.
Being denied fun & food at a birthday party
I was locked, yes locked!, in a bedroom during a birthday party while all the other girls were out eating cake and ice cream because “you can't have that, it's bad for you!”. And later that evening when the snacks were brought out (nacho flavored Doritos – my favorite at the time, Little Debbie snacks, gummy worms, and more I was handed a bag of celery and carrot sticks and again told “it's bad for you, you need to watch your weight and stay away from the bad food”. As everyone continued to have fun, I curled up in my sleeping bag and cried myself to sleep…no one even noticed I wasn't participating in the movie and snacks.
And that's the day that changed me!
That's the day I began hating myself and everything about who I was and my body. That's the day the unhealthy relationship with food started. And it was all downhill from there…
I starved myself.
I exercised excessively.
I used laxatives.
I used diet pills.
I binged and then purged.
I ate when I was happy.
I ate when I was sad.
I ate for no reason other than I just wanted food.
I hid food and ate in secret.
Binging and purging scared me after I had been doing it for awhile and started throwing up blood, so I stopped and just did it periodically (and my best friend's mom walked in on me doing it once – can you say AWKWARD?!). Diet pills scared me after my mom had to rush me to Urgent Care because my heart was beating so fast it felt like it was beating right out of my chest (and boy did I get a good lecture from the doctor & my mom!). I didn't like laxatives because well…they required me to always be near a bathroom.
Fast Forward To The Present
Coming back around to where I was going with this post and the comment that hurt me:
“Are you really going to eat all those?”
It was 5 pieces of Rolo candies.
5 FREAKING pieces. FIVE! That's it.
Compared to what I can put down, that's nothing. I could eat the whole damn bag of Rolos and not bat an eyelash or even realize I ate the whole bag until I reached for another one and there weren't any (yeah, I still have food issues that I struggle with sometimes).
But that comment stung. It was like deja vu and I was instantly back at the birthday party as a little girl when I was being denied food because my body and me weren't ok just as I was. I felt like I was being ‘policed' again about food and it didn't feel good.
But this time I didn't curl up in the fetal position in a sleeping bag and cry myself to sleep. Instead I unwrapped every single one of those five pieces of Rolos and popped each one into my mouth. Hell yeah I was eating them. I wanted them. I like them. So, yeah I was eating them! And while I didn't respond how I used to, I did say with a little tongue-in-cheek humor “next time I'll eat the whole damn bag.”
I'm still processing my thoughts and feelings around the comment and why it's triggered so much hurt and emotion. I want to have a conversation with the person about it, but I want to do it from a place of love and not accusatory or make them feel like they were wrong. I just haven't gotten to the point where I'm ready just yet.
Oh and, as for the hating myself and my body?
I don't feel that anymore. I love myself and the woman I have become. And I accept and love my body – jiggly thighs, flabby arms, big stomach, stretch marks, scars, and all.
So…what do you do when someone close to you says something hurtful? Do you respond back angrily? Do you think about the comment, pray about the situation? What do you do? I want to know! Leave a comment below and let me know.
One of the things that have helped me through the years is using affirmations. After this incident, I had to remind myself that I Define My Own Worth (and God!) not outside sources including my boyfriend! I very easily could have let his comment send me back into a bad mental space where I think my worth is defined by others and my body – so glad I didn't go back there!
Speaking of affirmations and defining our worth, I have a set of 10 I Define My Own Worth affirmations. At the end of the affirmations there are 3 self-reflection questions so you can spend a few minutes diving into some self-reflection and you can get them for FREE! Just enter your name and email address below 🙂