My Mom always used to say I was a “happy go lucky” kid. I remember back when I was just three years old loving my life as a joyful free spirited little girl who loved to play all day, watch cartoons on the weekends and rock back and forth on my rocking horse while singing my favorite songs. I had a big sister and parents who loved me and took care of me. All was well in my world as far as I could tell.
My parents had the typical roles for men and women in the sixties. My Mom stayed home and took care of my sister and me and kept the house in order. Dad worked and was the sole breadwinner. My Mom adored my sister and me. She was always there to hold me and make it better whenever I got scared, or fell down and skinned my knee. I felt truly loved by her. She was fun loving, and loved to laugh and was the life of the party. She also loved to sing and would break into song whenever she would hear her favorite songs on the radio or on the record player.
When I was around five years old I started noticing a growing tension between my Mom and Dad. It seemed to happen more and more often. Mom wanted to talk about things with my Dad that upset her, but my Dad was not into dealing with conflict or discussing feelings and therefore wouldn’t or couldn’t seem to meet her on that level to talk things out. He would either try to ignore her, or give her the silent treatment, but it never worked. She just kept getting angrier and angrier.
All I knew at five years old was my parents weren’t happy, and without them being happy, I couldn’t be happy. I just wanted everyone to be happy again. It made me really sad.
My Dad coped with the pain and stress of my Mom’s anger with food. He went on and off diets losing and gaining 20-40lbs throughout my childhood. He came from a family of dieters. His Dad, my Grandfather struggled with food and weight too and weighed over 300lbs for the majority of his adult life. He said his mother, (my Grandmother) was always putting the entire family on diets. Sadly the diets never really worked and my grandfather died from a heart attack at just 59 years old.
Some of my fondest memories with my Dad were when he would take me with him to the hardware store to buy parts to repair something or for a home improvement project. I was a tomboy and was his little sidekick. I loved helping him build or fix things. On the way back from the hardware store he would frequently ask me if wanted to go to Denny’s for a short stack of pancakes. Of course I was a big YES!
We would always sit at the counter at Denny’s since it was my favorite place to sit. I loved getting to swivel in my seat and watch all the action going on behind the counter between the waitresses and the cooks. I remember when the pancakes would arrive, perfectly cooked, golden brown with plenty of whipped butter and warm maple syrup on the side. I would make sure I got the perfect amount of butter and syrup on each pancake. Then…the first bite, OMG, it was like heaven!
I was around six years old when I started to cope with the pain of the increasing stress and tension at home with food. Over time, I began gaining weight. In third grade I started being bullied by my classmates for being overweight and it continued throughout my years in grade school. The pain of being bullied for being overweight and not knowing how to cope with it made it one of the most difficult periods of my life. Hearing kids calling me names about my body made me feel horribly bad about who I was, ashamed of my body, and that there must be something seriously wrong with me to be so fat. As a result I had terrible anxiety and dreaded going to school knowing that I may have to face being humiliated in public by these mean kids one more time. I was just seven years old when the bullying started.
To read the rest of my story and learn…
How I Overcame Coming Out, Struggles With Weight, Alcohol & Finding Meaningful Work,
To Finally Living My Purpose & Loving My Life! click here