Childhood Pain and Neglect
There are some things I’d rather not talk about.
I’ve been realizing lately, that writing makes me feel better. It’s like, a more concentrated version of thinking/reflecting/talking/feeling than I’m used to. I’m new to writing, so I am also new to the benefits. I kinda used to think writing was for rich, dead people–and suckers, no offense. I have been proven wrong.
The more I write the better I feel. It helps me see the big picture. It also almost makes me like myself. I get to paint this dope picture of this awesome person who’s super funny and relatable, but also dorky and just bad enough at grammar to be endearing. I get to talk about funny stories, bad stories, sad stories. I get to talk about my opinions with extra swagger and confidence. A type of confidence I am not allowed in my day-to-day life. People would stare!
I usually stick to topics within my comfort zone.
Things like: sex, gender, sexuality, people that suck, sucking off people, BDSM, fetish, casseroles, music, artists, art, poems, sadness, feelings, anxiety–you know, easy normal shit.
There is something inside me that has been eating me alive. I have been carrying around a weight that makes me unable to fly. I have known this weighty, painful sensation my whole life. I have never been without this pain. I have never known anything other than this burden. It is far worse than any injury I have sustained.
What’s worse, is that society is very angry that I have this pain. Total strangers mock, heckle and disrespect me because of my pain. My pain is very plain to see, I suppose I should be better at hiding it, but I can’t. Others won’t befriend me because of my pain. I have been fired because of this burden, and I have been abused, belittled and ridiculed for this pain. People hate me because I have this type of pain.
People are not understanding of my kind of pain.
People like my family, friends, lovers, exes, relatives, in-laws, coworkers, neighbors, strangers, doctors, endocrinologists, nutritionists, nurses, phlebotomists, check-out clerks, people driving by, people sitting near me, people eating with me, people at the gym, people at the pool, people at the beach–
–So, like, most all people–
Most all people are not understanding or sympathetic to my kind of pain.
I don’t have fibromyalgia. Keep reading.
When I was a kid, I was neglected. I wasn’t left in my car seat so long I didn’t learn how to walk, but I was neglected. I wasn’t abandoned, I wasn’t given up, I wasn’t the worst case of neglect that has ever been. I was still neglected. My kind of neglect came as a bit of a trojan horse. My neglect was a surprise to me, as well. I didn’t know any different. I have only recently been strong enough to see my abuse for what it is.
There are lots of ways to neglect a kid. I experienced all of them, according to my therapist’s explanations. If you want the deets, you’re gonna have to keep reading.
I always knew something was wrong, but I didn’t really understand what was or wasn’t normal until I started seeing a therapist who specializes in childhood trauma and abuse. She has been very helpful with pointing my head in a different direction. I had no idea that neglect was even a thing, to be honest with you.
You had no idea neglect was a thing? What do you mean?
I mean I had the sort of parents who would make fun of sissy-liberal parents who wipe their kids butts and don’t believe in spanking. I was told to shut up, or be given something to cry about. So, I shut up. They didn’t beat me besides spanking, so I never thought anything was up. There are a lot of other ways to beat up your kid. With words, for example.
Words! Words are so powerful. Again, I am gaining respect for them since I have started writing. Boy this shit helps. Brief high-five break for making it this far. I am so fucking upset lmfao this is garbage.
Words can be used for praise, for contempt, for love, for hate. Anything you wanna do with them, really. REALLY. Anything!
Words are the most common vehicle for discipline, right? I think so. People shout words at you with intense meanings and it translates as discipline. I like to make generalizations, it is apparently a symptom of depression. I am depressed, and I generalize–I think it’s safe to say generalizations are a symptom of depression. Is beating a dead horse a symptom of depression? That’d be anxiety.
For as long as I’ve been conscious, I have been told that I don’t have any discipline. I have been told that I wasn’t disciplined, I’ve been told that I have no self-discipline, and I’ve been told that I need more discipline in general.
My parents were “verbally disciplining me” constantly. The idea that I wasn’t disciplined as a child, and that that is why my pain is the way it is, is insane to me. My mother seems to have had a bad relationship with her mother. She told me about it often growing up, as early as I can remember. She would talk to me like I was her therapist. She would tell me about how abusive her mom was, and how much better my life is going to be.
I often tell my actual therapist the same thing, lmfao. I tell her about how I deep-down want to be a parent, because I think I would do it better than they did. My therapist just kinda nods.
I have been depressed since I was a little kid. I had a whole huge meltdown in grad school, where I would not have ever been able to write a blog or function like this. However–
Lately, I have been inconsolably troubled, for about two years now. Things are getting worse, not better. I am not a big believer in the “it gets better!” project, at least for people with my kind of pain. Depression, anxiety, health problems out the wazoo. If my body wasn’t so broken, I would be an alcoholic. Alcohol makes me lose feeling in my butt, so I don’t drink it. Instead I cry a lot, write sad poems about being gay and daydreaming about being a man. Oh, and I smoke a heroic amount of marijuana. When I’m not playing music, writing music, writing poems, making a podcast, working as a teacher, working as a performer, working at my office job, or helping out my girlfriend, I’m at the gym.
Ahhhhh, the gym. My sanctuary
The gym is my temple, bruh.
Let’s see. There are 365 days a year. I spend an average of one hour at the gym, an average of three days a week. I have done that since I was 15 years old, with only brief interruptions for major surgeries. I went to the gym leading up the surgeries, and went back too early from the surgeon’s recommendations.
Some years I went 6 days a week, some years I went 2, some years I went 3. It largely depended on the sport/activity/focus I had at the time. Either powerlifting, running, cycling, swimming, or at first–long basketball sessions.
So… on average 3 days a week. That’s how I got that figure. On average one hour per session, although it was often much longer.
3 days at 1 hour per day= 3 hours per week
4 weeks per month
12 months in a year
= 144 hours per year at the gym
8760 hours in a year, 2920(estimate) spent sleeping. 144 hours is a lot.
When I was competing in powerlifting, I would spend two hours a day, five days a week. I did that intensively from August 2013-April 2014.
Factor in transportation time and it would be way more, but I used to be able to walk to my gym, and I often walk/run outside and don’t have any transportation time.
Why am I clarifying? So that you know how modest my next estimate will be.
I’m 26, going on 27. I have been going to the gym persistently since I was 15. That’s eleven years I have been prioritizing health and fitness as a top 5.
So, 11×144=1,584 hours
That is the most modest estimate I can safely give. I would guess, it is double that. I usually swim for two hours.
I have been counting calories for longer. I have piles of journals filled with calories and foods. I know how many calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates are in almost all foods right off the top of my head.
I have never not been on a diet. I have never come off of my diet. I don’t binge eat, I just diet. I stick to it. I am persistent, I am disciplined. It comes easily to me, so many parts of my life are discipline oriented. I love discipline, I often take it too far.
I have been obsessively studying nutrition labels since I was 8. I loved reading the words, and learning the numbers. I have always had a bit of a fascination with numbers. I’m a huge geek. It was very easy to convince little baby 8 year old Becky WTGH to count calories and care about nutrition labels. Thank goodness random strangers have been continuously reminding me to do this on a regular basis.
Why do random strangers remind you about this, Becky?
Well, glad you asked, random stranger!
My pain is plain for all to see.
My pain is Childhood Obesity.
I was put in clinics for my pain since I was 6. My parents were very aware of my obesity, and very ashamed of it. They did not accept any of the responsibility for it. They took me to doctors, nutritionists, specialists. I was hooked up to machines, taken to group exercise classes. I was lectured, poked, prodded, made example of, and was a living caution sign. A study, not a child. A national embarrassment, not a person.
“Your parents took you to all those places! They didn’t neglect you, they tried to help you! You’re just ungrateful and unable to accept responsibility for your own life and actions!!!”–My inner demon, and 99.99% of society, including nutritionists, doctors, and friends
Enter Becky breakthrough? Hopefully.
Sure, there are probably some obese people that live in denial, and refuse to try and help themselves out of their situation. I don’t know any of those obese people. I’ve never met one of them. I’m sure they exist! We humans are a very diverse species.
I was never given the luxury of being in denial about my weight. I think some men are able to get away with it. Women are not usually able to be in denial about their weight–even non-binary people who were assigned female at birth.
I was never not fat.
Childhood obesity is a lifelong struggle
My earliest memories, I remember being fat.
My earliest memories, I remember being shamed for being fat.
I knew I was fat, and that I needed to stop eating, before I knew my home phone number.
My family kept me on a steady diet of fast food and whatever I could reach in the pantry.
I would eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat
I would eat anything!
No one ever noticed my physical symptoms, or my mental health. They only noticed my weight, and would shame me for it. They would lecture me in public, so that everyone saw that it “wasn’t their fault”. If everyone saw me being shamed in public, then they weren’t as embarrassed by my presence. Having a 250lb 8 year old is embarrassing, ya’ll!
My parents both worked full time, and were disgusted by me. They pretended not to be related to me in public. I was “lost” in stores often. I became very familiar with the procedure of waiting at the security desk.
I loved food like it was my mother. It kinda was. Food was exciting. Food was entertaining. Food was friendship, food was pain. I would eat and eat and eat. I would get sick often. I had heartburn nightly from age 8-25. Turns out, my thyroid disease was agitating my GI tract, too. It wasn’t just being raised on Cheetos and oatmeal cream pies.
Throughout elementary school I would eat so much that I would throw up in my sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night, soaked in vomit. I would cry, and I would go to my mom. She would put me in the shower, change my sheets. She wouldn’t get mad at me, she would just be frustrated. I think she was very sad. I was very sad.
The first few times, she helped me clean up. But after that, I had to clean myself up. In her defense, she worked full time as a nurse, and didn’t have the energy to be stripping a bed and bathing a kid in the middle of the night multiple times a month.
I have a very bad relationship with my sister. She greatly contributed to my pain. This post is already way too long, it will have to be on a separate post.
We went to this nutritionist. The nutritionist said I was eating too much sugar, and that I needed to cut out orange juice. The elimination of orange juice was mystifying, to my mom. It made no sense to focus on that. They taught me about portion sizes, but “my eyes were bigger than my stomach”. My mom would take me home, and we would stop at McDonalds because I was so upset. She said fries made me feel better. We’d get cokes and fries and cry and laugh and feel better.
I’d keep barfing and keep eating garbage, because my mom liked the foods we ate. She didn’t want to stop eating what she wanted to eat.
This was mostly during elementary school. By the time I got into middle school, I started to be painfully self-aware. I would run on the treadmill, I stopped eating with reckless abandon. I started dieting. I started learning about all the “self-discipline” I was missing.
I became a vegetarian, and I worked out in the basement. My parents bought me a treadmill, and my mother complained every time I used it.
“It’s too loud!”
“Ooooohhhh big shot has so much discipline”
“ooohhh willful devil child, what’re you running from”
She made sure to have my favorite snacks available at all times. If I didn’t eat much, she would ask me what was wrong.
By the time I reached puberty, I was almost 300lbs and I had many obesity-related diseases. None of them were diagnosed properly until I was 23 and independent. My family doctor at the time told my younger self that “those diseases were for adults, not kids!”
The thing about obesity, is that regardless of your opinion on it, it is a disease. It functions as one. It perpetuates itself. If your pubescent body is disordered, you struggle for the rest of your adult life. That has been my experience.
She was trying to love me the best way she knew how. I also think she was trying to make me dependent on her. She still tries to manipulate and control me. We have grown apart, mostly due to my sexuality. She has said “I know you didn’t have the best childhood”, but she refuses all responsibility for my weight as a child. I have confronted her about it, but it almost killed me. I don’t have plans to do it again, it was very re-traumatizing.
Bring on the daddy issues….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My dad wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t hug me. He never told me that he loved me. I remember when I was young, I brought him an invitation to a father daughter dance. He went, but he wouldn’t dance with me. He said that “people were staring”.
I don’t understand, it was a room full of dads with their daughters dancing and eating cupcakes. What was there to stare at? Oh right, me.
I don’t want any sympathy, or empathy. I just want people to understand. I’m sure they won’t, none of the people I need to convince will read this.
I especially do not want pity.
Pity has been the go-to response from people, besides hatred and contempt.
Ohhh poor obese child! How awful that their parents did that to them
Ooohhhh poor me!!!
Fucking no more, please.
I’ve had it up to here with the fucking pity
Pity is worse than contempt.
Pity is a form of contempt.
My problem is not worse than anyone else’s problem, and it does not require a uniquely pitiful response. It is not my fault this happened to me.
It is my responsibility to fix it, but you don’t need to remind me of that.
Did you hear that?
HERE, I’LL SHOUT.
IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX IT,
BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO REMIND ME.
I have been reminded
By many, many entities.
Daily, hourly, continuously.
Since I was three.
Also, shove your pity up your buttcunt!
I don’t need pity,
I need respect, a high five
I’ve been doing work for fifteen
Also I’m succeeding, so fucking
STOP LECTURING ME
I have been tirelessly working towards reversing the damage my selfish, damaged, distant and distracted mother did to me. I have been quite successful, if I do say so myself. I am proud of the work that I have been able to do. I am grateful to have functioning limbs. When I broke my back, I lost the ability to walk for a few months. That gave me a perspective that I can’t seem to stop seeing through. I will never take walking for granted, as long as I live.
I eat so healthily. I love eating healthy food. I love not having heartburn SOOO MUCH. I love having healthy thyroid levels. I love eating homegrown vegetables. I love making a fresh salad with lettuce I grew indoors in the middle of winter. I love sharing food with people I love. I love giving people healthy, delicious food and never shaming them about anything. I love feeling better, rather than worse.
I feel better, all the time. I work towards feeling better, all the time.
My problem–is that I am often treated as if I have somehow suddenly come upon obesity. As if I am somehow grotesquely fat NOW, and that I need to “start my journey to fitness and health”.
Start my journey!?!?!?!?!
Go fuck yourself to hell.
I will not apologize
The mere concept that I am somehow unaware of my obesity, or unaware of healthy lifestyle, or unaware of positive change, bewilders and frustrates me beyond belief.
It makes me very suicidal
More than blatant fat heckling does!
I once roomed with a “person” on a very prestigious classical music work trip. We were both getting paid to play at the same high-end gig, in the same section. Upon arrival, she never called me by name. She called me stupid, she said I was disgusting, and she lectured me about vegetables and probiotics. She talked to our coworkers about how disgusting I am and how I smelled, and how I had sleep apnea and she couldn’t sleep.
I don’t have sleep apnea, I have night terrors. There’s a difference, bitch.
Ain’t nothin obstructing my airway, bitch!!!
I’ve had sleep studies done, do you want to review my tests, roommate who is acting like my fucking doctor?!
My nightmares are mostly memories of how I’ve been treated. All the flashbacks of dehumanizing incidences. Too many to count. Too much pain to process. My brain tries when I sleep, and I can’t sleep.
I haven’t slept deeply, maybe ever. I have had sleep studies done, I don’t have sleep apnea. I have depression and anxiety and night terrors. Weed helps so much omg. I sleep much more now than I ever have before. Still, not deeply.
When I lived in Chicago, people would shout things from their cars at me. People would throw drinks at me. People would follow me and tell me about what they like to do to big girl’s assholes.
None of that bothers me as much as someone treating me as if I am ignorant to health and fitness. I have anxiety, I am very smart and obsessive with detail and categorization. I am not ignorant about health and fitness.
I have also, since childhood, seen a multitude of doctors and specialists about my weight. I have successfully logged everything I’ve eaten for about a decade. I know how to cook healthily, I know how to portion, how to balance. I have a food scale, and have had one since I started. I measure twice, eat once.
In addition to dedicated gym time, I also walk after dinner and recreationally to clear my head. When I lived in Chicago, I would walk and bike everywhere. I did not have a car for the first few years I lived there. I got a car because I am a musician, and was hauling too much gear.
I struggle tremendously to lose weight. Most of what I’ve been able to do is prevent myself from getting bigger. I have PCOS, hashimotos, depression, and anxiety. I am in therapy, and have an endocrinologist and a doctor.
Why am I telling you this? Because everyone seems to be very fixated on my weight. I gather from the amount of hostility I have received, all y’all are really interested in the deets.
I have met countless self-righteous people who have never struggled with obesity who feel that they are able to lecture me about my life, lifestyle, and body.
This kind of person often thinks I need to be educated. I need taught how to eat, how to exercise, how to diet, how to plan, how to commit. I obviously don’t have any discipline, because I’m fat! How could a person with discipline also be fat!? And clearly I am lazy, uneducated, undisciplined, sloppy, or lack self-respect.
My favorite is that I have low self-esteem, and THAT is why I’m fat. Thank goodness for your selfless boost to my self-esteem. I don’t know what I’d do without such good friends telling me about how fat I am. I would never have known, otherwise!
I often get unwarranted lectures about eating disorders. Most often from close friends, who are “just making sure”.
When I was growing up, I would receive exercise equipment for my birthday from kids with families I had never met or been friends with. My aunt would send me a new Tae-kwon-do video every year. I actually really like tae-kwon-do videos, lmao! It’s pretty good snow-day cardio.
I have been fired because of my weight. I have been reprimanded for it. I have been treated like patient zero. I have been ridiculed, mocked, and dehumanized by almost everyone I’ve met.
I’ve been labeled as angry, difficult, hard to work with, selfish, lazy, undisciplined, ignorant, stupid, slow and unathletic. I really hate the last one, I am like, so athletic. Ridiculously so.
Just the other day, while getting naked and into a swimsuit, headed to the pool to swim laps with my competitive distance-swimming girlfriend–
I was harassed in the locker room at the YMCA for “taking up too much space, fat disgusting bitch. Don’t give up on your weight!!!”
Thanks for the pick-me-up, cunt.
“Oh–THAT’S where this is coming from”–all ya’ll
Get used to being corrected, I’ve had to.
A day does not go by that I do not receive at least one reprimand for my weight.
I experience what others refer to as “fatphobia” very often.
“But you’re not THAT fat”–Everyone, including those that harass
I am so unbelievably curious as to what “that fat” is. Thank you so much for the rating.
I’m not entirely sure what fatphobia is. I suppose it is a fear of being fat. Our society is horrified of being fat. Most all people are terrified of being fat.
Women are taught that their appearance is linked to their worth. Fat, I am gathering, devalues you as a woman. I suppose this explains why I have been treated as less-than by all people my whole life?
I don’t accept that as the whole answer.
There has to be something else at work here, besides just a fear of being fat.
It is much deeper, much more extreme.
I have heard people joke about euthanizing all the fat people. I have heard men say “I told my wife that if she gets fat, I will take her out back and shoot her” with mixed present company, my fat-ass included, to react with uproarious laughter and enthusiasm.
Yay!! Kill the fat bitch, nobody is home anyway, right!
Nobody is home.
That is the summary of my experience interacting with others who are “fatphobic”
There seems to be a fundamental ignorance that fat people are people. That fat doesn’t clog up your ears, or make you dumb, or make you callous. Fat doesn’t make your skin feel less when you poke it. Fat bitches don’t have different pussies than non-fat women. Fat women can still get pregnant. Fat women are raped. Fat women are harassed. Fat women are catcalled–just not as nicely.
There is something deeper than fear at work in our culture and its attitude towards fat people. There is something worse than fear, pity, contempt.
My gender studies teacher said that homophobia is rooted in misogyny, and that if people aren’t sexist, they are usually not homophobic and vice versa. The more sexist you are, the more homophobic you are.
Did I saysplain that confusing enuff?
I wonder what the root of fatphobia is
I can’t tell, yet.
I have lived it and experienced it my whole life, and I don’t think I understand it yet.
It might be rooted in classism?
It might be rooted in sexism/misogyny too…
It could be both!
When I figure out how something works, it doesn’t scare me anymore. It doesn’t bother me anymore. It doesn’t have power over me anymore.
I need to fully understand why society deems my body irredeemable. Then I can stop giving that mystery power. I can take the magic out of that bullshit.
I enjoy being healthy, I don’t need validation for what I’m doing. I don’t post progress pics, I don’t post workouts (anymore at least. Bragging is a bit fun, come on…) I don’t lecture other people about their diets.
I suppose the point of the post is to bring attention to childhood obesity as a form of abuse, and how it affects people their whole lives. I have been dramatically affected by this my whole life. No part of my life has been untouched by my weight, and especially the stigma around my weight.
When you correct, educate, or “encourage” fat people, there is a good chance that you are saying something they know. There is also a good chance you’re saying something that was used in an abusive way, regardless of your intent using the phrase.
Just say no to fat-shaming, y’all.
I will lecture other people in huge generalizations on the internet–but not unprompted. You clicked this link, you wanted to read it! Don’t blame me if you got here and you’re pissed.
Everyone is on their own journey. I’m on mine. Let me be on mine, and I’ll let you be on yours. Until I stop being corrected daily, incessantly, for everything I say do, eat, think and feel, I will keep making this awful podcast and this awful blog.
I have too much to say. I have been silenced and belittled too long. I’m beyond sick of all of it.
Most of all
I am so, so, so, so, so mad about it.