3.25.2012

Words That Must Not Be Named (WTMNBN): Part 2



It took me exactly two days to move out after graduating from high school. I was 17 years old. There's a lot of backstory leading to that decision, but that's another story.

Lately, when I look at my own 18-year-old son, I find myself thinking about the day my parents dropped me off at the International Airport in Amsterdam, Holland and waved goodbye as I strolled to my plane. I was moving to Florida where my 24-year-old boyfriend lived. If my kids tried this, I'm pretty sure I'd lock them up and throw away the key -- 100% remorse free. But honestly, that is also another story.

This story isn't about my kids, my parents, or even my decision to move to another continent and live with a man I barely knew.

This story is about the strange journey I've been on with my body in the past 20 years. Twenty. Years. How is that even possible?

Anyway, back to the story.

I was still sporting my fabulous new 130 pound body when I arrived at the tiny airport in Pensacola, Florida.

That summer was amazing and horrible and eye-opening.

It only took a few months for me to realize that my dad could no longer limit the foods I ate.

So I ate.
And ate.
And ate some more.

I actually remember being elated at the freedom I had found -- I could leave the lights on through the whole house, waste as many paper towels as I wanted when cleaning up a spill, and eat macaroni and cheese by the box-full.

I think my choices really proved how totally mature I was, and definitely ready to be in a serious adult relationship.

By the following February -- just eight months later -- I weighed 184 pounds. This number is forever burned in my brain. It's the number I saw when I stepped on the scale to check my weight on the morning of my roadside chapel wedding.

I'm not really sure how it's physically possible to pile on 50 pounds in eight months -- but I do know it involves things like steak lunches, tons of chocolate pie, and a lot of Taco Bell. Oh, and several years of self-loathing mindspeak rattling around in the brain. That'll do it, too.

A month after the wedding, I found out I was pregnant. I was elated.

Nine months and another 50 pounds later, my first son was born. He was perfect and beautiful. (He still is, but he'll roll his eyes now if I tell him that.)

I'd love to tell you I spent my first pregnancy bathing in a pool of health and wellness.

But that would be a lie.

I was 19 and had a mean addiction to cupcakes and Coca-Cola.

After Uno was born, I attacked my weight like any normal weight-challenged teenager with a baby.

And so began the ever-fluctuating merry-go-round of gaining, losing, and regaining the same 30 pounds once or twice a year.

When the final seams of my first marriage were finally unraveling, I weighed right around 250 pounds. One of my close friends jokes about this time as my "closet days," saying she never wanted to see "Kelly hiding in the closet" again.

There were many reasons I was hiding. 10 years of living with an emotionally abusive, controlling husband had turned my mind into swiss cheese. And let's be honest -- my self esteem was a joke before I met him; so even mild deterioration was apt to cause some big issues.

When I looked in the mirror, I certainly didn't see anything worth appreciating. I didn't see a human being. I saw a bunch of words meant to keep me down. I've always been a collector of words, but in this case, I'd picked up several that needed to be discarded.

Scarred.
Fat.
Irresponsible.
Useless.
Stupid.
Ugly.

I left my first husband in 2002. Not the words, though. They hung out much longer.

But that's another story.

5 comments:

  1. Kelly...the last paragraph is so beautifully written although heart breaking. I connected to your words and to some of the experience. Words like that from a loved one burn into you and it can be hard to get them out. Thank you for writing this.

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  2. I had to go back to Part 1, to see how this began. Twenty years is a long time to be battling. Saying it outloud is a step in being freed from the burden of those words. Your writing is so raw and I know there's more to come. Thank you for opening your life in such a vulnerable way.

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  3. "Not the words, though. They hung out much longer." How very true. In so many situations, I can clearly remember the words said to me and the way I felt. Thank you for continuing to share your story. Thank you for sharing your story. I know being vulnerable in writing can be healing and exhausting at the same time! :)

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  4. What a powerful slice about the power of words. It seems you have a bigger story to tell.

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  5. What an authentic post, that I am sure, so many more than just myself, can relate to! The way words impact us, and stick, is just so heart-breaking sometimes. You shared it beautifully.

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