For as long as I can remember, food has been my savior, and at times my captor too. No matter what swirling vortex of emotions cascaded through my body, I had food there to help me cope. Bad day? Pint of ice cream to take the edge off. Good day? Celebratory taco! Family get togethers, break ups, friends, it didn’t matter the circumstance. Food has been my constant.
I have used food as an armor. Armor that I wore into constant every day battles, and would patch up with nibbles of different foods here and there. Bullied in school? Bag of chips. Bad grades? Pasta.
Not only was food my best friend, but as I got older, it was also my worst enemy. I had so many people comment on my weight. My step mother, my grandmother, various friends and boyfriends. Various people I barely knew. It felt like their eyes were glued to me, studying my every curve for a morsel of flesh that jiggled, so they could comment on it.
Those comments became an ever present noise in my head, bashing me in over and over again, until the semi healthy relationship I had with food, became abusive and punishing. This led to an instance of starving myself, or forcing myself to vomit up everything that entered my system. Food was the one thing I could control.
Until I couldn’t.
After a while of not eating, the lack of food made my dizzy, made me tired. Made me pass out in a public space. One second I was normal and fine, one second I was opening my eyes and staring into my moms panicked ones.
Somehow, that moment was a defining moment, where food and I battled. Long battles where I would binge so much food I thought I would be sick, and long battles where I didn’t eat enough and I was sick.
Finally, FINALLY, that battle is starting to seem a bit “normal”. And now, I learn that my battle with food, still isn’t over. Because the eating habits I picked up, the eating habits that I have had for as long as I remember, are slowly killing me.
The armor I have worn for as long as I can remember, the armor I lovingly repaired with nibbles and snacks, now needs to be stripped off, leaving me more vulnerable than I can ever remember being. And the thought of having to do that terrifies me. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to be that scared little girl I was.
I don’t even know how to begin that process, if I am completely honest. How do you willingly, knowingly, start peeling off that armor you wore, and get rid of your defenses?