Monday, October 27, 2014

Children can be cruel

I filed for divorce a few weeks before Evangeline's second birthday. She's five and a half now.  She is a very well-adjusted child considering the circumstances.  I'm also relieved to say that, at least so far, she has her mother's metabolism and eating habits.  She is a picky eater, which means she only wants to eat about a half-dozen different foods, but she doesn't eat in excess and she doesn't put on weight easily.  

I was a normal child too.  I was not a fat baby or a chubby toddler.  I was a skinny little kid through about the 2nd grade.  Then, I developed Meningitis and Encephalitis near the end of the school year.  Luckily, I survived with no serious lingering issues.  It did, however, leave me with some mild hearing loss and greatly diminished energy.  I was a different child almost overnight.  You can see clearly in pictures where I go from being a "normal-sized" kid to being overweight very suddenly.  

You've probably heard it said many times that children can be cruel.  I think that's an understatement.  As adults, children act very differently when we're around.  So, we tend to forget how mean they can be to each other.  Children can be vicious and merciless to each other.

I'm starting to realize that this may be where most of my self-esteem and self-worth issues come from.  We tend to analyze our family first.  My parents weren't perfect, but I don't think they were the issue.  Next, we delve into our romantic relationships.  Well, mine have not been great.  That's where I've focused most of my reflective energy.  I have deep issues with rejection and not feeling loved.  I always thought it had everything to do with women and relationships.  I think I may have overlooked the children.  

I was ridiculed for being fat, but it didn't start or end there.  I remember being mocked by my kindergarten teacher (and therefore, the whole class) for not paying attention.  I was just an awkward and unpopular child and I remember being the target of bullies most of my life.

In fact, I think this is where a lot of my trusts issues began.  I vividly remember an incident in the 1st grade when an older girl (2nd grade vixen) approached me on the playground and told me that she liked me.  She then asked if I liked her back, and I said "yeah."  At that point the ruse was up.  Four or five other kids then appeared all taunting me for saying that I liked the pretty girl who was, of course, only kidding about liking me.  Then, her 'boyfriend' proceeded to throw dirt at me for flirting was his girl.

Yes...  that really happened...  in the first grade.

No wonder I have so many problems trusting people, especially women.  I'm always waiting to find out that it's just a big joke being played on me.  After all, nearly every woman who ever told me that she loved me later changed her mind.  Maybe it's all just one big sham!

Wait... I got side-tracked.  Where was I?  Oh, yes!  Bullies...

It got much worse after I gained weight.

I vividly remember being scared to get off the school bus and walk home because some of the boys in my neighborhood decided to target me for reasons I still don't understand.  I trained in martial arts starting at age nine, so that I could protect myself from any physical threats.  Unfortunately, it was the mental torment that did the most damage.

The biggest problem is that the majority of kids will just follow the ringleader so that they aren't made an outcast next.  One or two kids decide to make your life a living hell and the rest just laugh or look away.  I am not going to name names.  It would be unfair to blast someone online for something they did 25 years ago or more, but I know who they are.  I only hope that they have become better people as adults.

Sadly, that's probably not the case.  My father told me something when I was in middle school that has served me very well.  He said, "Son, there are assholes everywhere.  You need to learn how to deal with them, because they don't disappear when you grow up."  That's very true.  We all try to protect our kids, but sooner or later you are own your own and the sociopaths are your coworkers, your bosses, or just people you run into.  You need to learn how to deal with them.

Until this very moment, I never equated those terrible experiences with my food addiction.  I guess I just found comfort in food and nothing else.  So, I eat when I'm sad.  I eat when I'm frustrated.  I eat when I'm nervous, and when I'm lonely.

On a side note, in the 6th grade, I had a very large and gruesome bully who was new to the area and just starting following the other bullies' lead by picking on me.  Then, one day on the bus, I told him a joke and he laughed.  He never messed with me again.  In fact, he stopped some of the others from doing so.   I figured out that I could disarm most people with laughter.  It worked in middle school as well.  By the time high school rolled around there were only a handful of bullies left, and by my senior year I had no problems at all.

So, as much as I have those other kids to blame for so much misery, I realize that I wouldn't be the person I am without those experiences.

Furthermore, I owe it to my younger self to be successful.  He had to endure a lot to get me to this point.  I also need to be healthy and get into better shape for that kid as well.  So, I'm not just doing this for me and for my daughter.  I am doing it for that little boy inside me who is afraid to get off of the school bus and walk home.

* * *

I had great week.  I averaged 2300 calories per day and I walked 41,000 steps, which is 11,000 more than last week.

I lost 2.8 pounds since last week and 13.4 total (in 21 days).


  1. Patrick,

    Our issues are almost the same. At the age of 8 I had Osteomyelitis, it is an infection of the tissue around the bone. Unfortunately it was in my foot and I was bed ridden for 2 months and not allowed to do physical activities such as running for a full year. I was on heavy medication including saline (bascally salt water) for three months. I went from being the skinniest girl (my dad could fit his had around my waist) to being a chubby little girl in less then a year. On top of being sick I had gone from private school to public school. (Talk about a change!) The moment I gained all the weight there was a group of three boys who would follow me home and call me Godzilla as they walked behind me.

    I had no trust growing up and I still have issues but I am trying to get better. It will take time and support but we will get through this! You are an inspiration! Thank you for this blog!!!!

  2. Wow...Your honesty is really inspiring. In my own experience, I think all of the introspection and unraveling of the past is really the key to a different future- otherwise we just end up treating ourselves as we have been treated in the past.