Big, Fat Hello!
Trigger warning: Talk of disordered eating, physical and mental abuse, and attempted suicide
Today, we have the first introductory post from a new blogging candidate. After three guest posts, we will vote as a community on her inclusion.
Hello, nice to meet ya! I am Kitsune Yokai and I am trying out to be a Fierce, Freethinking Fatty.
I am a 21-year-old Caucasian female; 6 feet tall; roughly 350 lbs.; a sophomore in my local community college learning to be an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for the deaf; a “single mother,” in that I take care of my 11-year-old brother alone with child support; an amateur body builder (that fashion model goal is true! I would love to be a plus-sized model for perhaps Lane Bryant one day after college); VERY MUCH a food snob (I plan to write about some of my favorite recipes soon!!!!); and probably more importantly, a Witch. Being a witch actually has a lot to do with my life, the way I found Fat Acceptance (FA) and Health at Every Size® (HAES), and is the basis for my own blog, The Fat Pagan. Don’t worry, I won’t be posting religious stuff here; that’s what my blog is for! Did I mention that I’m a food snob?
How exactly did I get into HAES and FA? Well, that requires some back story…
I grew up in the South, and was born in Georgia. When I was about five years old, I was a cute kid. I had all the confidence in the world, was strong-willed and very happy. Then, I went into kindergarten. My mother cried as I got onto the bus, but when I got home, I was the one crying. I was teased by my classmates for being fat. Fat? Yeah.
Like any parent, my mother brushed it off and probably said some nice words, and I went back to school again in a better mood and wanting to try to win over the other kids’ hearts. It didn’t happen, and the ridicule got worse. Every day, things got worse and worse. Yeah sure, it was just words at first. Then it turned into physical assault, with kids throwing sticks and stones, literally! Punching, scratching, biting, pinching, kicking. My parents became very concerned and contacted the school, but it was brushed off as kids being kids.
So the years pressed on and I continued to be ostracized and ridiculed, with various bouts of physical abuse interwoven into the mental torture. If you think “torture” is a bit too harsh of a word, I would like to see you withstand days, months, years of being told you are worthless, that you should kill yourself, that you are nothing and unloved and hated, despised even. “Go away, you are a failure. You disgust me.” So, I hated myself, loathed and despised my peers for rejecting me, and looked towards adults for some measure of protection, being the teacher’s pet type of kid. I was diagnosed with Severe Clinical Depression at seven-years-old.
Needless to say, I had already turned to food as a comfort and would binge and binge when I got home from school. I would snatch the peanut butter from the cupboard and eat it in my room, consuming it all before my parents got home so I could hide the jar. I hid candy and sweets in my room so I could eat them while I cried so I would feel better. Yes, I became overweight.
My third grade year I had the most awful teacher. Like the kids, she despised me. She would throw my things across the room (she actually broke a ceramic pot that I had made my mother in art class), detain me after class despite needing to ride the bus, and would find fault in every action I did. Around the same time, or maybe just before, I was diagnosed with severe migraine episodes and was prescribed a pain killer. One of the redeeming things about being in this teacher’s class, however, were the animals she had in the room.
One day I got in trouble for some ridiculous thing and she punished me by sitting me under florescent lights and making me hand copy the states and capitals while I watched the other kids play. All through that day I complained of my head hurting. She blew me off all damned day. Between the odors of the animals, the screaming of the children, the lights, and stress, I could not see the paper because of the pain. She only let me go to the nurse when I started to sob uncontrollably. Later, when my mom came to pick me up, she could see something was wrong with me, but me being a stubborn kid, I didn’t tell her anything. The very next day, I woke up with a pounding migraine and two black eyes. The blood vessels around my eyes had burst from the pressure. My parents were livid to say the least.
Back at home, things went downhill fast. My parents couldn’t control my eating habits and were stressed about my binging. They would buy food for the month, and a week later most of it would be gone. My parents seriously thought about putting padlocks on the cupboards and the fridge. We couldn’t afford to support my eating habits when it was so difficult to get food in the first place. When I couldn’t get food at home, I went to the neighbors and begged them for food. My parents went around the neighborhood telling people not to feed me. I spent my lunch allowance on junk food, so my parents wouldn’t give me cash anymore and wrote checks or deposited money into my school account. I wracked up so much debt in the cafeteria buying junk that my parents instructed the lunch ladies not to put stuff on credit for me. After that, I would just steal money from my parents’ wallets and buy food that way. If my parents didn’t know that, they do now.
When I was about nine or ten, I experienced my first sexual assault. I went to a neighbor boy’s house and he had his cousin over. The cousin, who was two or three years older than I was, said he had something cool to show me and led me to boat shed in the back yard. He trapped me there and molested me. He told me my breasts were “coming in nicely.” Afterward, my own female cousin told me what I should be careful because “that’s how girls get pregnant.” She was the one who told my parents that night, but it was already too late to get the cousin. I didn’t go back to that boy’s house again.
I spiraled out of control in many areas of my life, eventually getting straight up 10s in my classes, where I had previously made 90s and above. I was super-depressed with no help, an outcast with no friends, and alone most of the time. I was going through stages of starvation and binging (I guess it would be called bulimia) by this point in an attempt to be thin.
I would dream every day that I was thin and popular and loved. I would dream so hard it hurt to wake up. Around the same time, my mother’s friend (who turned out to be very much an enemy) and her kids moved in with us because they had lost their rental. The kids were vicious, especially to me and my mother. The kid who was my age started to sneak into my room at night and threatened my life if I made a noise. I believed him, because he was known to have violent tenancies, so I said nothing. In private he would call me his girlfriend, but in public would physically hit me and verbally assault me, saying I was too fat and too ugly for anyone to love and, incredibly, would later say he didn’t mean any of it. I believed him. I was screwed up, but I knew I wanted out. I didn’t want this and I was scared. After quite a lot of pain and family trauma, we moved across the country country to Texas when I was 12. I was finally free of him, three states away.
At 14 years old, I woke up one day and decided to end my life because I couldn’t bear getting up anymore. I hated myself so much that I could not even look in the mirror anymore, nor would I look down at my own body. I had not done so in many years. I went to school that day thinking it would be my last day. I decided to take all of my mother’s pain pills and be done with it nice and peacefully, so I could always be dreaming.
Suddenly, I was hit by a cosmic freight train. I was struck by some Divine power, unable to move or think or breath. It felt like a freezing fire was devouring me, so hot it was cold. Most of you don’t know this, but this was also the point in my life that I became a pagan. I can give details about this part later at my blog; all that needs to be said now is that I did not end my life that night, thank Goddess.
I did a major turn around in my life. I fought off my depression and since I had moved to a different state, I looked around and noticed that the people around me were pretty nice and was only avoiding me because I was distant and aggressive toward them (who could blame me, though?). I woke up from a fog, a deadness, a cold and distant place. I remember one instance when my music teacher told me I should smile and I replied that I didn’t know how because I hadn’t in years. Another was my first hug from a new friend; I was so stunned, I didn’t know what to do.
I clawed and dug and tried to fix what was broken internally. Only recently have I changed my relationship with food after more than a decade of disordered eating. It’s been seven years now since I almost committed suicide, and am happy and thankful for every day I get.
Now I eat in a way that not only pleases me mentally and taste-wise, but also satisfies my body’s nutritional needs (without skipping the sweets! In fact, I just ate ice cream and I didn’t even eat dinner yet!). I eat regularly, five to six small meals a day, and I exercise. My weight increased to 400 lbs. from my devastating depression and binge eating, and I am now trying to find my natural body weight.
Now, I love myself and take care of myself. I am so much healthier than I have ever been in my life. I am happy and outgoing and loved and accepted by my peers (mostly because I only surround myself with people who are awesome), but most importantly, I am loved and accepted by myself. I still have so much work to do, but you know, now I am happy just to walk around lazily until I get there.
For the first time in my life, I am OK with myself.