Working On Us Week #5

It’s that time of the week again! It’s time for Beckie from Beckie’s Mental Mess Working On Us prompt. Here’s to the fifth week! I’ve had so much fun doing this project.

Prompt #2

I thought I’d write a poem for this photo, but instead it inspired me to open up to you guys about something I’ve been holding back on. It’s something I don’t talk about outside of very close family, friends, and my boyfriend, Ricky.

Here’s a little bit of backstory:

I grew up overweight. I was bullied all through middle school and even by some in high school until I transferred to North High in Des Moines. I made tons of lovely friends who didn’t care what I weighed or how I looked.

But some of my family (and my ex) made me feel worse than any bully at school could. They’d remind me daily that I needed to lose weight, that being too thin is better than being fat. That men wouldn’t like me if I was fat.

But it’s okay if a man is overweight.

This broke my heart. I thought family was suppose to love you no matter what. But I wasn’t feeling loved at all. I was just feeling constantly judged.

I was always being compared to a younger relative, who was thin and blonde and perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I hold no grudges towards her. She loved me no matter what. It was others comparing me to her and telling me what I should look like.

At one point, this same family asked my first serious boyfriend why he was with me since I was overweight. Then they asked him if he thought I should lose weight.

When he told me, I felt like someone had taken a knife and plunged it into my chest. It ached horribly and I internalized every rude comment.

Family, society, and the media told me every day that the only way to be attractive was to be skinny. In the late 90s and early 2000s when I grew up, we didn’t have body positivity, we had Kate Moss.

Once I graduated high school, my weight fluctuated. If I was hypomanic, I was busy and didn’t have time to eat so I’d drop the weight without trying.

Once the energy ended, I’d drop into the pits of depression. When I’m depressed, I hardly leave the house and I eat. I don’t feel that I eat for comfort but more out of habit.

But truth is, I love food.

When I was 23, I was working overnights at Wal-Mart and stocking the entire apparel areas by myself. Once I got into my groove, I’d finish my work and then go help in other departments.

I was killing it.

I was also depressed but I didn’t have time to eat. I’d sleep all day and wake up just in time to get ready for work.

On my dinner break, I’d eat yogurt and fruit. After work, I’d eat something at Subway and then end home to sleep the day away.

I dropped 80 pounds in a year. Despite popular belief, my weight loss wasn’t due to meth. I was only using maybe once a month, possibly even less.

A few years later, when I started using more, I lost another 20 pounds. That was one aspect of hitting the glass pipe that I loved the most, even more so than the euphoria.

It took food out of the equation for me and my relationship with food changed.

Once I got sober, the weight hit me and hit me fast. I was eating to make up for the last four years of ignoring that my body needed nourishment.

Gaining so much weight has brought back all the insecurities I had when I was young. I remember every word my family said to me and every word that every bully said to me.

I even hear the hateful words my ex would fling at me to weaken my disposition.

I was told youth, beauty, and a flat stomach were the only way to receive love.

So, I have a hard time accepting that I deserve love, that I’m even receiving real love from Ricky, and that I need to love myself.

I look in the mirror and I see lines next to my eyes and exhaustion in my eyes. I see the way my body expands and doesn’t curve. I see the stretch marks on my stomach from ever-changing weight.

I see almost 31 years of battling with myself in my aging, swollen, and sore hands.

I’m carrying around this toxic shame of being overweight. I hate the way clothes fit on me, I hate the way my hips widen, and I hate that I look dumpy.

I feel ashamed, as if something horrible is wrong with me and I don’t deserve to be walking among peers.

I feel like I don’t deserve the love Ricky gives me.

This is what we teach our children, what we teach our girls.

How fair is it that men get to walk around comfortable in their skin, while we’re judged from the day we learned to walk?

 

“She’s going to break hearts.”

to

“She’s barely a 5.”

 

 

 

35 thoughts on “Working On Us Week #5”

  1. Casey, thank you so much for sharing. It doesn’t sound like it was an easy thing to do, so thank you. I can relate to what you said. I wasn’t overweight growing up, but my parents chose to target my face. I understand feeling worthless. My husband and I have been together almost 20 years, but sometimes I still feel like I don’t deserve his love. It’s so hard to believe that we do deserve it. I wonder if all the criticism and judgments will ever go away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Barb! I’m sorry about your parents treating you that way. I know what you mean, because even when I’m feeling confident, I can hear their voices criticizing me. I hope it does go away some day, where their words just roll off.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An incredible, heart-wrenching account of what you have gone through emotionally, physically, and psychology. Casey, I know we have never met before, but you are one of the most beautiful people I know. You have such amazing inner beauty, it shines through with every word.
    I was going to originally going to say, I can’t believe your family would treat you that way, then thought… Hell, my family did, but not about my weight. I was discarded by them because of my mental illness.
    I know this story must have been very difficult to have written, but I am so proud that you did.
    Thank you so very much for participating in Week #5 Prompt #2 “Working on Us”
    God Bless you, Casey!!!! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beckie, your words made me cry. ❤ Seriously. You're so awesome! It doesn't matter if it's mental illness or body image, family should never treat each other that way. That's why the saying "Blood is thicker than water" has always annoyed me. Some parts of my family are great, other parts, I love them but I've always felt like an outsider. I have friends that are closer, including blogging friends like you! ❤ Thank you so so much for your sweet words, Beckie!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww, Casey, it wasn’t my intentions to make you cry. Personally, I can’t stand that saying… “Blood is thicker than water.” The only one I keep in contact with is my mother. My siblings don’t exist anymore.
        I have a handful of friends that I consider family, plus my WP Fmaily here. They are the people that sustain me.
        I cannot even express this enough… I am thilled you have been participating in my series. Your insight and being down to earth is so refreshing. I’m really proud of you, Casey!!! 🤗💗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so happy this is a beneficial series for you, Casey. That’s what this is all about. To be able to speak candidly about our mental health, bring more awareness to certin subject matters, ans most importantly, help one another.
        I’m already looking forward to this weeks post. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It does seem like everyone’s in a funk. Lol. Depression seems like a good topic. It sounds cliche, but maybe how depression affects everyone differently. For me, I have the bipolar depression & the PTSD depression. Some people can’t shower or get out of bed while others are able to put on a fake smile. Or asking about everyone’s coping skills when they realize they’re depressed.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So awful what you experienced. I too have been picked on by my weight, but I wasn’t heavily bullied in this area when it came to my weight. I was bullied in general for being quiet and because I did not muck about in class, and my last name being Fisher, and so called by that or colour of my hair. The weight was just a couple of times. But regardless of this, those that would have known me, would not have said fat, or seen fat. Regardless it only happened a couple of times being called fat, did not mean it affected me in some way. Mainly being body conscious.
    You having family commenting and comparing your weight with another was so cruel. It’s hard enough when strangers do it, but I can’t imagine when it comes from people more closer to home.

    I can imagine this post was very difficult to write, but thank you for sharing. It raises awareness to others on just how damaging and cruel this can be and how no one should be called otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Liz. Just one comment is enough to feel self conscious. I wish we weren’t, as a society, so worried about looks. There’s so much more to beauty than perfect hair and being skinny. I was self conscious of my hair too, growing up. Not the color but because it’s super curly & frizzy. All the girls at school and in magazines had super sleek, straight hair. It took years for me to be able to tame my hair & love it. Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing yourself! It takes incredible strength and courage to lay yourself bare like that! These bodies that we inhabit don’t mean a thing. What matters is the person inside and I can tell that you are a beautiful person! 🌻💪💌

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so sorry. It’s hard to walk around, get through life with such a well of self-hatred. It’s hard when you hate your body. When you are so separate from it, when it feels like it’s against you. If you can find them, Geneen Roth has some excellent books. “Feeding the Hungry Heart” is excellent. I’m so sorry the people in your life treated you like this, so cruelly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very brave and powerful entry, Casey! You’re absolutely right about the double standard and it’s a damn shame. 😢 But you are worthy, absolutely, and Ricky’ll say so, too, I’d wager. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You Stated — “How fair is it that men get to walk around comfortable in their skin, while we’re judged from the day we learned to walk?”

    My Response — Either it is unfair or it is the same for everyone which would make it normal. Your question would be easier to answer if I could find a mentally healthy male to observe.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You Stated — “You make it sound like there’s no mentally healthy men!”

        My Response — I thought I made it sound like I simply have never met one.

        Maybe it’s more like this statement you made: — “I was always being compared to a younger relative, who was thin and blonde and perfect.”

        I’ve never met any thin, blonde, perfect people so maybe you are in a place where mentally healthy and perfect people are fairly easy to find. The people I have met over the years seem less than perfect and generally have one or more mental shortcomings.

        To be honest, until your post, I assumed everyone was damaged. Strange world.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. You Stated — “So, I have a hard time accepting that I deserve love”

    My Response — I don’t think I deserve love for sure but… I wanted it so I went out and got it. Waiting for “deserving” seemed like it would have either taken to long or have required too much cleanup.

    You Stated — “that I’m even receiving real love”

    My Response — I’m not sure what “real love” is, I hear people talk about it but it seems too complicated. I prefer valuable happiness. As long as I’m happy most of the time then it all seems worth it.

    You Stated — “I need to love myself.”

    My Response — I’m not sure what that would be in my case. I don’t really have any negative thoughts about myself since there is no one to compare myself to that seems any better than me in general. I know for a fact that I’m broken and don’t meet someone’s standards somewhere but everyone else also seems broken and people often fall below the standards I would like to see so I figure it must just be a condition of existence.

    I mostly just think about simple things like a soft kiss, a good slice of pizza, or a fun movie when it comes to love. The time in between just seems like payment to get to the good stuff, and if I have to pay to much in “time” between good experiences then I cut people loose.

    Liked by 1 person

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