As they were going through this process, I felt such a connection to so many of the things that they were saying. I am not 300 pounds, but I am overweight and have been for many years. Many of the issues that these teenagers face are the same ones that I have been facing for 20 years. How sad is that? I was so happy to see them starting to deal with them and at least talking about them.
One exercises that they did at the end of of the hour was an "If you really knew me..." exercises where parents and teenagers completed the sentence. They have documented the exercises here and I was in tears. There is so much about me that I have never documented out loud to anyone, especially my family. I started to make my "If you really knew me...." list. The safest place I know where to share it is here to start. I believe that by at least sharing it here, I will begin to process it slowly. Many of these things I have said before, but have not vocalized in a list. Some are petty, some are big, some are personal, some are ridiculous. What it is, is my list of things. They cannot be criticized, no one can say that they are not true. They are how I feel. Right or Wrong.
"If you really knew me, you would know that:
- i cannot budget
- i cannot look at myself naked in the mirror
- i love my sisters, but sometimes i am so jealous of one of them, i just want to hit her
- being told constantly that you are fat, will make you fat
- i have a shopping problem, because it fills a void
- i do not believe that i am worthy of being loved by a man
- i was not fat when my father started telling me i was when i was 4 yrs old
- i eat to rebel
- i need to buy people gifts and other things to ensure that they will like me
- i am more comfortable hanging around gay men, at least i am sure they won't be sexually attracted to me
- i really want a baby and a husband and a family of my own, more than anything
- i would do anything for my friends
- I will never be as smart, as successful, as pretty, as skinny, as perfect as my middle sister and she knows it, so does my father and my mother. they let me know it too.
- i will never be as smart, as successful, as pretty, as skinny, as perfect as my baby sister and she never makes me feel it. not once. she loves me unconditionally. she is the only one.
- i am really ashamed of myself
- i hate to look at myself in pictures, it captures how horrid i look
- most days, its easier to be funny Stephanie than serious Stephanie, people don't get too close that way
- i can't handle life without two little white pills a day apparently
- i used to think about taking my life often without these little white pills, it would have relieved a lot of shame and stress on a lot of people
- i used to eat in private in my bedroom in high school, forget drugs, food was more painful rebellion tool for my parents. You can't hide weight in public.
- I have been sad for a very long time. as long as i can remember.
- i think that buying great clothes, shoes, handbags, having awesome hair etc. will hide the fact that i am fat. it hasn't worked so far
- my parents are ashamed of me. i think that it would be easier if i was a drug addict. at least they could hide that. ship me off somewhere to deal with it. This is always out there. I am always fat, it is always when we are in photos, when we are out as a family. It make my mother nauseous and my father angry. They do not really love me unconditionally.
- i have not really dated in a long time. i do not think that men will find this attractive and what would i do if they did? be happy?
- i am happier being miserable than happy i think. it is what i am used to.
- i am very angry about so many things but can't express it. i worry what will happen if i open that can of anger.
- i will deal with mental illness for my whole life, just as generations of my family has before me. i will be aware of it and manage it to the best of my ability
Unfortunately, this is the list as it stands. I know that it will grow, but I feel good about this start. It is negative, but that is the point i think in my thinking. If I had meant it to be positive, it would have been a different list. Many of them are weight related, but this is where my head was given the topic and the thoughts around it. Anyway there it is.