It also stands to show that no matter how bad you feel about yourself or your life that things will get better. This story is why I feel confident that I will succeed in my goals because I feel that of all the times in my life, this is when I was weakest.
During my preteen and teenage years, my own devices led to a great inflation in my weight. Some of this paragraph I briefly described in the About Me section. I was bullied from midway through my seventh grade year up until the mid part of my 9th grade year. To shed a little light on the situation, one girl focused in on me as her target for verbal warfare. Being introverted and not wealthy, I valued my thoughts and imagination more than I did of material or social status. My mom cut my hair (And she did a good job), my clothes were part thrift store, part Walmart, my shoes were generic, and I didn't shower as much as I should have so I smelled sometimes (I never got any complaints and I never smelled myself so this is more of an assumption). This was more than enough for the girl to build her army against. Since both of our last names were towards the end of the alphabet we always ended up seated near each other. And when seating wasn't assigned at the beginning of the term, she would always find a desk behind me. At first she would make comments and I would just ignore her- take the higher ground. Not to be outdone she would increase her efforts. She would talk about my haircuts being bad and my shabby clothes. She took it to the next level and talked about how I was fat and smelly. It hurt, but I wouldn't show it. I just kept on trying to live my life as low profile as I could. She then would follow me around between classes, a few people back, and talk about me to other people loud enough for me to hear and they would all laugh. I would tell the teachers and they wouldn't really say or do anything. Eventually during a play in 8th grade I snapped and I stood up and yelled at her in front of the entire school. She got suspended for a couple of days but Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Now at this point, my self image is destroyed. She had my number and she pulled it several times a day. It was rare that during a week of my 8th grade year I didn't walk home crying or ended up crying alone in my room. I wouldn't fight back. I was defeated. I was doomed to be fat, smelly, poor, et cetera, et cetera. I believed her and I hated myself for being who I was. My grades plummeted. I was suspended for arguing with a teacher. I had never even been scolded at school before. I got suspended again for fighting on the school bus. I got the idea that if I was super tough that people would leave me alone. Instead I got the rap of being a hothead and that just increased teasing from others because they knew they could get a reaction out of me. It all stemmed from being bullied... My mom would try to comfort me at home and tell me that this girl had serious issues in her own house and she was just pushing them off on me. She told me I was a beautiful person and that I meant so much to so many people. And even though everything she said was completely right, I'm living in the situation. I'm the one who has to go through this every day. At no point could I even fathom comforting myself knowing that she was just as miserable as I. Or that she may have even had it worse than me. I would put on a brave face and try to smile and agree though but it wasn't enough.
Mom's hugs and tears couldn't stop me from feeling sad every day. Things like Pizza Hut and McDonalds would take the edge off my dilemma. The bliss of biting into a Whopper Jr would take away my pain for a while. I also have another medical condition called keloids. What happens is this- if I get cut in any way, shape, or form in certain areas of my body then scar tissue is over produced to prevent being cut in that area easily again. It's actually kind of cool. I'm like a futuristic evolved person that after being attacked will be impervious to damage to that area again! Unfortunately, it doesn't look cool. From the chicken pox I had in 5th grade I had a bright pink scar an inch high and the size of a quarter behind my left ear. This was a favorite target of hers. For a few years we went to dermatologists to figure out how to get rid of them. I say them because I had a small one on the right side of my forehead and one on my chest and lower back. They suggested Shriners burn hospital in Cincy. So I insisted we go, and after a year of appointments and checkups they agreed to remove them. At the last appointment the surgeon observed my heavy frame. He offered a procedure that I instantly accepted because I thought that this would get people- especially her- to leave me alone. I agreed to have a breast reduction. Besides my immediate family, there is only one other person that knows the truth behind my scars. I was so desperate to be accepted, or at the very least end my torment, that I agreed to have it done without a moment's hesitation. I had no idea what I was getting myself into... (More on this later.)
In 9th grade I got a job at Wendy's and I could buy my own stuff. I got the idea that if I bought better clothes and shoes that my torment would end... I was gravely mistaken. This girl started attacking me through gossip that I bought fake Tommy shirts, knock off shoes, my pants were still generic, and I was fat and smelled bad. She was more careful of how she attacked me, preferring to stick to gossip. I could not get away from her. The pinnacle of it all was in English class we had to write poetry of some sort and then a few days later we had to read it in front of the class. I enjoyed English and writing and I poured my heart into this assignment. She did too. And she enjoyed it too. She came up in front of the entire class and read her poem entitled "Take a Bath." For three agonizing minutes she sat up there and spewed this garbage. The world faded to black. The other 20 students and the teacher all disappeared into the darkness and it was just me and her. Not once did she say my name nor made any direct reference to me, but I knew every syllable that came out of her mouth was directed towards me. Nobody else cared for the poem, it wasn't done well, but the damage was done. I was utterly humiliated by her and she knew it. At work, I had all of this delicious food around me to snack on and comfort myself from the angry feelings floating around my brain. To compound the situation of my plummeting self image, a year after I had the surgery on my scars and chest, new problems emerged. Just because I removed a few scars and had an operation didn't mean that my condition had disappeared too. Now I had a bright pink scar behind my ear that was about an inch and a half long, almost an inch wide, and thicker than the original one. The same for my chest. The surgeon said that the ones on my forehead and lower back were too small to remove, and luckily they shrunk away. Along with the liposuction to remove the fat from my breasts, they also surgically removed the excess skin. These areas also scarred to the point that one nipple was very misshapen and small while the other was of normal size. All of the cuts that he had made besides around the one nipple had thick, ugly scars. It doesn't end there either.
8th/9th grade marked the puberty days. And I found out that I have hyper-sensitive skin. Peppered all over my shoulders and back were more scars that were growing to be like their fallen comrades that I had removed. These scars came from pimples. Just your everyday, run-of-the-mill whitehead pimple had the destructive power of an atom bomb to my skin. So my self image was at a complete zero. I didn't think that I could ever find a friend like this and I definitely couldn't find anyone to love me like this. I was going to grow up and be some freak; living alone my entire life. But you know what comforted me? Pizza. Subs. Fast food. I had a job, I could get what I wanted cause I had a job. I didn't need to ask my parents to borrow money so that I could gorge myself on the next delicacy. That was all I looked forward to.
Luckily towards the end of 9th grade, my emotional owner found out that she had to transfer schools. I don't even want to think about life had she stayed. I honestly can't even say if I'd be here today. I'm a strong individual, but my limits were tested severely in those two plus years knowing her.
She left though, so I had no more issues! Except my self image. My emotional eating ended after that time, except for the occasional issue that popped up throughout my high school career. I still had a thing for food though. I started to emerge from my shell and become more of the fun loving, happy guy I am today. I made friends. I made lots of them. I had a social life and I went out and did things with people and had fun. But I still came back to food at the end of the day. That plus I had given up hope of ever being a normal sized person. I let go of hope until the day that my dad died nearly ten years later. I don't want to go into any further detail about the post high school years though. (I figure you can get the gist from the About Me section, and on another day I can go into more detail about that time in another post.) Through the Cleveland Clinic we found out about a hormone therapy that flattened out the keloid scars. Some of them would eventually fade as well. Surgery was out of the question because I ran the risk of the scars growing back even bigger. Down the road, I learned to accept me as me. The scars are a part of me as well. This whole ordeal has shaped me into who I am now as well as then. From this I learned that life has more to it than just the here and now. The big picture should always be factored into everything you do. I'm glad that I had the support from family during that troubling time, and I'd like to especially thank my mother for being my rock.
This is all for today. I've had a few successes that I'd like to share with you tomorrow about my progress and maybe *gasp* some measurements or an official weight announcement! Stay tuned for my next update!