Friday, August 29, 2008

Confessions of a Second Grade Closet Eater


I used to be a closet eater. I would not eat lunch at school or during slumber parties. From age eight until age 32, I would only eat when no one was watching me. To this day, I worry about what I eat in public.

All through elementary school, I would rush home from school at 3:00 sharp and eat all the food I could. Only so much so that no one would notice my bingeing. My mom and step dad used to have a large glass milk jug that they would dump their spare change into daily. I would quietly pour out the change and get just enough money to take to the Village Pantry or 7-Eleven down the street. That is when candy bars only cost 30 cents. I started getting my candy bar fix with the stolen spare change. Then, I worked my way up to stealing enough change to purchase an entire box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme pies. I would be ever so cautious about this addiction by hiding my wrappers carefully in the garage. This was age nine.

It was at age nine when my mother married her second husband, Graham. He had several children by previous wives. He was domineering and dominated my mother's every moment. My mother and I were best friends up until Graham came along. After all, after my father divorced my mom when I was two years old, it was just my mom and me, living together like roomies in college. During her single years, she dated a lot. And, just like a college room mate would, she'd bring her dates home with her. I think during these years of my childhood, I have more memories being with baby sitters. My mom would travel a lot with her boyfriends. After she passed away, I recovered many photo albums of romantic getaways along with boxes of love letters from these men, some were even married and others were her boss! While she lived foot loose and fancy free, I spent a lot of childhood with babysitters, my drunk grandmother or being sent away to summer camps at the ripe age of seven!

Now my own daughter is six and a half, I couldn't imagine sending her away to a camp or to stay with her drunk grand parents. (Fortunately, my children do not have any alcoholic grandparents so I don't have that as an option!) Another memory I have as a seven year old is riding the Greyhound bus back and forth from my mom's to my dad's! This was a four hour drive with a 'layover' in Cincinnati! I can still recall the mixed smells of cigarette smoke, toilet cleanser and the bus fumes. When I was seven, I thought I was so cool. I was SO independent and since I hadn't eaten all day with either of my parents, I was SO hungry. At the layover, I would buy one of every candy bar and I would stash them in my suitcase for late night snacking as soon as I arrived for my visitation at my dad's.

One night, I got caught eating candy at my dad's. It was far past my bed time, when my step mom opened the bath room door and I quickly hid the candy in my cheeks. She noticed the wrapper behind the toilet and scolded me. I can recall begging her not to tell my dad but she did. It was one of the most shameful experiences of my life. I just wanted to be loved and accepted by my dad and mom. And, unfortunately, I feel like my father has measured out his love for me my entire life based on my weight. He is in a wheel chair now, he comments now on my daughters' weight and what they eat. It saddens me so much! My father and his parents were also plagued with eating disorders.

I was in second grade when my mom started back on Weight Watchers. And, since we were BFF (that is current text lingo for "best friends forever"), she put me on the diet too. I'd go to all the weigh ins with her. We would go to the MCL Cafeteria where we were allowed to eat fish and green beans for most of our meals. This is really what did me in for a life long struggle with an eating disorder. The diet and rejection, not necessarily MCL's fish!

More about my eating disorders in future posts...

11 comments:

Elle said...

Wow. Sounds like it was hard for you. Why do parents do stuff like this to their children?

Margaret Cloud said...

Boy I thought I had a bad childhood, I feel sad for you and hope you are doing well.

Michele said...

Thanks for sharing your childhood experience. It's a good reminder of how imperfect we can be (mother and child); perfection is a ridiculous notion anyway. In the midst of it all, I do my best to believe that we're all doing the best we can.

Nina said...

Sounds like you had a tough childhood. It is nice to see you are sticking by your children and doing what is right for them. Kids need that great love and support.

Tena said...

{{{{{ gentle hugs }}}}
this is part of being a parent, taking the good and the bad from our parents and hoping we can do better ( even if it is not by much) with our own babies, circle of life!
Thank you so much for sharing this post with all of your readers!

Sending some comment love!
Ü

autismfamily said...

Wow, you have awesome memory skills. It is amazing how we can recall these things from long ago.

I am tagging you with my first meme I received. It is six unspectacular quirks.

Here is the post with rules:

http://autismfamiily.blogspot.com/2008/08/six-unspectacular-quirks.html

Karla Akins said...

Thanks for your honesty. I have had an eating disorder my entire life for much of the same reasons as you. I'm going to be going to Celebrate Recovery in a few weeks and hope to learn more about why. I look forward to future posts on this subject.

Lilly's Life said...

You would be surprised how many of us have led similar lives - thanks for your refreshing honesty but do know that you are not alone. I felt I was reading my own story when I read yours. At least we can prevent the same mistakes with our own children. Great blog!

katherine said...

Up until the last year or so, I have always been a closet eater. I would never eat in public or in front of other people. I am sure it had to do with being an overweight child, but even when I lost all the weight I still couldn't eat in public. It can get better. It took years, but it is now.

Tammy Warren said...

Honesty is great and a huge healer. I am taking the time in my life to share and blog about my past. It has not been the greatest. Through it all I have learned to live in today. Hug my children tight. Give them a better life. I know I have to deal with the past...but I don't live in it anymore.

Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth Channel said...

Thank you for being so authentic.