Who Am I?
I’m twenty two. I feel old sometimes but only because 22 is not nearly as exciting as 21 was, but at least I have 25 and beyond to look forward to! I can’t help but realizing that at this point in my mother’s life she was getting married, while I’m far from ready for that, it’s still weird to realize that I’m a ‘real’ adult. I haven’t come to terms with that yet but when I get my bills and the rent’s due it kind of smacks me in the face though 😀
I am a full time student. I’m less than 10 classes away from my degree so I’ll graduate in the Spring of 2010. I’m graduating a year after my classmates because I took a year off of schooling to do some soul searching and ended up becoming a nanny. For two years, I loved and cared for three little ones who will forever hold a part of my heart. Currently, I work in an inner-city school, in a pre-kindergarten class. It’s interesting, heart-breaking, challenging and most of all character-building. I have never seen ‘this side’ of life before- and while I cry many tears for my little ones who face so many obstacles, I am taught daily to appreciate what I have and to work harder so I can help them more.
I’m a recovering addict. Addict? Yes, I was addicted to food and it has held a power over me for much of my life. I’ve battled my disordered eating for about a decade and for many years the E.D. was winning, but in the past few years I have decided to fight for ME. I miss the girl that I was, the girl who laughed freely, loved greatly, and lived a life full of joy. I lost that girl to because of my relationship with E.D. and I need to find her.
I was born!!!! Good job parents 😉
I was born in the Dominican Republic to my (wonderful) parents and was given the (amazing) gift of two languages since my family, friends, nation spoke Spanish and my father spoke to me exclusively in English. (I’m mixed Dominicana and African American).
I lived a charmed life for sure. I can’t remember anything but greatness in those days. Granted I was a really young child but my family did a really great job of protecting my innocence and I really appreciate that more than I can say.
I had a little brother. He’s way too cute for words. Well, I should say he was but I think the girls back home would say is. Haha.
My family moved to the United States. It was both the worst thing and the best thing that ever happened. I had to leave everything and most everyone I knew. I spent many days crying as I stared out of the window not able to comprehend why I couldn’t bring those I loved with me to my new home in Buffalo. As with everything, it all worked in the end as I would never have had the opportunities, especially academically, had we stayed in the Dominican Republic.
This was the first time my friends and I discussed weight. I remember that I weighed the same as this gorgeous girl in our class. We were also the same height. Yet, I could not believe that we were ‘equal’ and convinced myself that the doctor’s scale must have been wrong because I sure did feel like I was pretty fat compared to her. I now realize that we all have different body shapes and 98 pounds on one girl is not the same on the next. I wish someone would have told that girl that she was not fat. I wish someone would have told her that if she felt bad she should get outside for a walk. Go do something productive. I wish I had told someone I felt the way I did. My family would have been able to help me then, but I started to shut them out then.
This was the year I first realized that I could purge my mom’s delicious, healthy meals. I could eat as much as I wanted and get rid of it. Too bad all the eating disorder talk in health class only taught me how to hide the effects and how to limit myself so it wasn’t noticeable.
I started going to a new school. It was so different from my contained middle school since there were high school kids there. On the one hand the then sophomore boys were chatting up my eighth grade buddies and I, but on the other hand the girls were letting their slams against their bodies and those of our peers fly. No one ever said anything to me, but with a ballet dancing friend and my core group of friends consisting of some pretty serious disordered eaters there was weight/calorie/exercise talk constantly. I always felt like if my great looking friends felt this way, then maybe they were saying all these things for my benefit. Maybe they were trying to get me to pay attention to those things. So, I started paying attention and eating very little became my way. I’d skip breakfast- “too busy”, throw away my lunch- “not hungry”, and then have my dinner with the family because I was sooooo hungry by then!
I went on a diet with my friends. (South Beach). It was the first time, I’d ever publicly discussed my eating like that. I made off hand comments to my family about needing to lose weight (yes at less than 120 lbs) and they would reassure me that I didn’t. I didn’t believe them. My friends on the diet said “Well we don’t think you need to do this at all, but you’re welcome to join.” My friend, the ballet dancing one with the killer body, said “You’re the only one who doesn’t obsess like the rest of us. You don’t need to go on a diet.” I didn’t believe them either. Too bad. My eating habits were still sprialing further out of control. Now, I had a part time job, where I spent about an hour alone- enter in sneaking food. Yikes. I started packing on the pounds, despite the dieting because of this.
I lost a bunch of weight by sticking to smoothies, salads and smaller portions. Oh my! Healthy eating works? Too bad I was still sneaking and I reintroduced the purging in my life. I went to prom that year. When my mom and I went to get a dress in January this one was a little loose. I had to diet + purge my way into it by June. I was up and down both physically in size, and emotionally.
Senior year was rough another roller coaster year. Lots of turmoil with picking a college, financing it, finishing school, family illnesses and everything. I graduated though! But underneath the robe and behind the smiles I was devasted that unlike my friends in their cute graduation dresses I was stuck in too tight clothes in an already too big size. I was determined to lose weight before going off to Tufts. I didn’t. I gained a few.
I had the worst freshman year. Stalkers, harassment, bad guys, bad roommates, bad friends… too much party, too little studying… Late nights eating two full chinese meals, or whole pizzas (yes), plus the drinks at parties, destroyed what was left of a healthy body. It was the wrong place for me. Home was too hard too. My mom said to me that I couldn’t hide underneath layers of clothes that I was fat and that I needed to do something about it. All true. All devastating. It may have been an overreaction but all I could think of was escape. Escape from reality. So, I ran away to Maryland to be a nanny where I would be stuck in the country all day with three kids and no car to go anywhere. I could pretend to be happy, do what I pleased to my body and forget about all the hurt that the other locales held.
I was about to turn 21. I was terrified. I had no life outside of the children and the layers and layers of fat from the days and nights of binge eating were my shield from the real world. I was lonely and I needed to make a change. I started with food, joined a gym and started exercising regularly. The first time I got runner’s high was a joy. I loved it. I lost 35 pounds in the first half of the year and going strong.
Then the world started falling apart. As the fat melted, the tensions rose in the house. Part was jealousy as I lost weight while the kids mom stalled. Part of it was anger in my newfound desire to live and therefore I was no longer at their beck and call 24/7. I quit my job. I moved to DC. I started my teaching career earlier than expected. I was faced with true adulthood and I stopped all those good habits and gained back about 10 pounds.
The first part of the year, I have just been bouncing around in the range of my lowest post-change of ’08 range. I haven’t committed to healthy eating for more than a few days at a time. Exercise has been worse. The year is almost halfway through and I haven’t met the goal that I hoped to reach by this year. I am recommitting to myself, to weight loss, to healthy eating, to exercising, to living.
I see so much progress in myself.
- I ate a half a piece of chocolate the other day. I put the rest away and ate it another day.
- I look forward to yoga practicing.
- I can look in the mirror and see who I am, see the future of what I want to be, and not hate everything I see.
- I can recognize the signs and triggers of disordered eating and thoughts.
- I can bounce back from setbacks. No I haven’t lost weight but I haven’t gained any either.
- I still get dressing on the side, pick healthier options, crave freshness, appreciate the true flavors of healthy food.
Yet, I know there is still room for improvement in my attitudes.
- I am not perfect, therefore I am a failure. NO!
- I cannot do everything, so I’ll do nothing. NO!
- I am not worth all this effort. NO!
- I will never reach my goal so why bother? NO!
These thought still plague me, but I am learning to ignore them. I learned long ago, from my wise family, that love is a choice. You must wake up every day and choose to love those you care for. Some days they will fail you, they will hurt you, they will disappoint you and you may not like them. However, every day you choose to love them in spite of this. You make that choice because that is true love. Today, and every day I will choose to love myself. It’s the least I can do.