Caution: I apologise in advance if this might be triggering.
I can’t believe I’m about to write about this and publish it. *takes deep breaths*
“I’m horribly addicted to food.” This was one of the lines I wrote in my journal when I was just fifteen years old. I’ve always known that I had a problem with food from very young. As a child, I would be aware of my surroundings and the occurrences around me earlier than most children my age, and I knew that this was a problem I faced from as young as six years old. I just hadn’t realised that it would become such a huge part of my life until one addiction led to other problems. I knew that food become an emotional outlet for me. It became ‘the’ emotional outlet among other outlets. I didn’t just eat to live, but I lived to eat. I still can’t believe I’m here about to post this on my blog, but I’m doing it for humanity. I’m doing it because I have accepted my flaws, and I know now that no one can use them against me. I’m doing it because I want others who feel they are alone in this battle to know that they’re not alone. I’m doing it because I want people to know that they have a voice and they’re loved. I’ve realised that many people face this problem and it’s not always easiest to talk about. It still isn’t the easiest for me.
My love affair with food started when I was really young as I had lost my mother. As a result of that, I grew up with relatives, and I was nurtured by my grandmother. She spoiled me rotten and she still does that till this date. She and my aunt are everything to me, and my uncles have always been supportive of me.
The thing is when dealing with that kind of personal struggle from very young it definitely takes a toll on you in your adulthood as much as you try to avoid it. I kept trying to convince myself that my father was still healing, that he doesn’t know how to show his emotions, but the more I covered his flaws and the more I felt sorry for him, the more I concealed and neglected my pain. I realised presently and emotionally I didn’t have that much of a relationship with my father, and it has remained the very same. I’ll never blame anyone for my addiction but myself, but did some of the circumstances I had to go through contribute to it? It sure did.
From an early age my love for food intensified and more complications arose. I became a victim of bullying and body shaming in primary school. I was called the worst names on the planet. You name it, I’ve been called it: fat, fatty, pig, ugly, blob, earthquake jokes were made about me. I encountered a lot of trauma in primary school, but I learned to ‘eat’ or swallow the pain from very young, and I pretended that it didn’t bother me and laughed along as well. I learned by force to take it out using other mediums. ‘Food’ being one of the first ones, I would go home and sneak chocolates, biscuits, coca cola, wafers and every candy related thing that I could get my hands on. I tried my best to fit in in primary school, but I never looked like the other girls in my class. I never looked slimmer. I knew I looked different, and I knew that was also my fault because apart from having to deal with that entire trauma in school, my family made it difficult for me as well. My external family members would gossip about my size and the way I looked. I got it all around, and it has never been easy.
In secondary school, I thankfully got a group of friends that loved me for me, and it was so much easier to relate to each other, but that didn’t stop the bullying because during the first two years of my secondary school life, I was bullied about my appearance as well. That’s when it started to really get to me, and I really believed what they told me because those years are often the hardest years, and that’s the years where consciousness really kicks in. It really affected me, and like many others, during that time I was battling other issues at home as well; this is when I started binging. I would binge, and purge and I even tried to starve myself but it didn’t work out so well, neither did the binging.
But, food and music felt like the only real things I had in my life at that time. I became so ashamed of the fact that I loved food so much that I denied I would eat certain things. I denied that I liked fried chicken, and that it made me happy. I would try to avoid food conversations as much as I could have, but that didn’t help me behind closed doors. Behind closed doors, it was where the real ‘secret’ romance happened, and I would binge. I became a typical emotional eater by then. If I was nervous for an exam, if I was worried, if I needed to calm down I would turn to food.
During this time around fourteen, I was busy with writing music and helping my friend with her song writing as well because we were convinced by this time we were going to be the next Avril Lavigne and Amy Lee so that kept me occupied. I started to hang out with and chat with older people, and I realised how alike we were. I made a whole group of new friends. It was electric, really. I was fifteen when I had my first cigarette. I stole one from a relative of mine, and I really liked it, and how it made me feel, but I never got addicted to it, neither was I forced to have one by anyone.
After these years when I entered University, I really started to take my health a bit serious, but still I could never give up food and now the added alcohol. I gained and dropped, gained and dropped weight. However, the relationship with food was really something different. I started to think of food during that time even as a ‘friend’ who would never leave me. I really became that kind of emotional eater, but it was harder in Uni because everyone looked ‘perfect’ to me besides ‘me’. Of course, no one is perfect, but it became a place for me to express myself truly, honestly, and I met friends and people who allowed me to be the person I was. I really felt accepted and loved. I felt like I could be my total self with them, and I still feel like that. We all expressed our love for food and Uni became the place where we tried different types of foods, but still I don’t think anyone felt the way I felt about it.
I realised till date that I never actually grew out of this kind of addiction. I’m not blaming my addiction on me being plus sized because I always was, and I know it contributed to it, but not everyone who struggles with food addiction is plus sized, but for once I can say I’m finally trying my best to accept myself for who I am. I’m not ashamed anymore for being plus sized. I am working on my health and my journey, and I am learning to really understand myself more. I am learning to discipline myself sometimes, but it has been difficult.
I do limit some of my foods, and I’m not as obsessed as I was about it, but I still struggle with it, and I am still an emotional eater. It is still an outlet for me as it is for many others. I still binge eat, and I still pour it up when I’m stressed at times, but I am learning.
Every day I’m learning to be patient with myself and not be ashamed of who I am anymore. I am learning that nothing is worth my mental health. I love food, and I will always love food because it will always be an integral part of my life. I can’t wait to try foods from around the world, but I will be careful with it and how I use it, and I am always fluctuating with my weight, but I am learning to trust this journey and to believe in myself. I’m only human, and one day I’ll get it right.
For now, I write this for the person out there who feels that they’ve been let down by people who’s supposed to be there for them; I write it for the person who feels that no one understands them, and who feels that they are pressured to be perfect. Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect. Everyone out there is beautiful, and you are too. Never let yourself think otherwise. Be patient with yourself and never let anyone make you feel like you’re not worth it. I’ve spent years battling with myself, and I still do but we’re all in it together. Stay strong.
My inspirations for writing this post are: Lilly Singh, Demi Lovato, Nabela Noor, Jeffree Star and Manny Gutierrez (MannyMua). Thank you for your sharing your stories with us and inspiring us in so many ways. I love you guys so much!
All my love,
Ambivalence and wine ©