Click here to read part 1.
Like so many people who have issues with food (and subsequently, their weight), I remember the defining moment when all my problems started. Outside of the fact that by this time my father had left, never to return; and I was watching my mother go through abusive relationships with various men who weren't very nice to me, either.
All of that aside, this is the moment when I started lying to my family, binge closet eating became my comfort and my weight became a shield...
I remember initially feeling good with the attention I was getting. A cute older boy was telling me I was pretty, when I still had no real context for what that meant or why it was important in society to be considered attractive.
We hung out there a lot that summer - playing in the park behind their house, sharing root beer floats around the kitchen table, and playing games. All very normal 8 year old activities.
What wasn't normal was the first time he called me into the garage and sat me on his lap.
Giving me money and telling me not to tell anyone was almost the worst thing he did.
Until he touched me. In ways that no 8 year old should ever be touched.
And the hush money that he gave me? I walked to the store and bought junk food. Candy, chips, cheezies, chocolate...you name it.
When I got home and was questioned about where the money had come from, I lied.
And for reasons that even I cannot begin to understand, and on some level knowing it was wrong, I went back to that house. And each time I did, I was called into the garage, and each time I left with a handful of change and went directly to the store to buy food.
I started getting sneakier about the money and the food though, and simply shovelled it in when nobody was looking - unknowingly walking right into the shameful world of closet binge eating.
The final time I was ever in that house, I remember forcefully being pinned down at the top of the stairs, and begging to be allowed to leave. I was crying and pleading, and eventually I started screaming and demanding he give me my jacket back. I screamed and screamed and screamed until he finally let me up and I bolted out of there in tears like I was on fire.
I never went back. I also never told anyone why I wouldn't go back.
From that point on, at the ripe old age of 8, I didn't need anyone, or anything, and I could take care of myself. I developed an I-don't-give-a-fuck attitude and kept the majority of people I came in contact with, at arms length.
I gained weight, became fiercely loyal to the few select friends I trusted, and I ate.
I lied to my mother constantly, and I started destructively seeking attention from boys.
All behaviours that have carried me through to adulthood.
All behaviours that I have felt ashamed of, and continue to try to work my way through.
All behaviours that I don't normally discuss with anyone.
All behaviours that ultimately may have served and protected me to a degree, but none of which were positive, constructive or showed my truest potential.
I needed unconditional love and patience, but I couldn't ask for either.
I needed to be able to talk about how I was feeling, but I didn't know how.
Often times I still don't.
That summer when I was 8 years old defined who I would become in life. An overly sexualized, closet binge eating, lying, emotionally unattached tough girl who could smile and eat her way through anything.
But as time passes, and with every positive person and experience I allow over the walls and into my life, I am learning that I am so much more than all of that.