Issues with my size started before I started school. In those days, it was my height, not my weight. I was taller than other children my age, boys and girls alike. Adults would make comments like, “She’s tall for her age, isn’t she?” “She’s only five?” While visiting my grandmother once, an uncle didn’t give me a “horsey ride” on his back like he did my cousins, telling me “because you’re bigger, you know.” These things affect a tall little girl…at least it did me.
That’s how the devil works. He starts early with a calculated plan to destroy lives. He twists what we hear until we hear what was not said and believe what was not meant. By the time I was in first grade, I knew there was something wrong with me, and it was related to my size. My first-grade experience was not a pleasant one, and that added to my feelings of inadequacy.
My diet roller coaster began in the seventh grade. Up until sixth grade, I went to a small elementary school. At 12 years old, I was going to a much bigger school, and I became a lot more aware of my weight. I had begun to put on a little weight in fifth and sixth grades, and at 13, I went on my first diet. I lost some weight, got compliments, felt better, gained it back. It was a process I have repeated all through my life. By the time I was an adult, the gain-backs always brought more weight. And by the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was unquestionably overweight. And the saga continued.
As a teenager, my headspace was tortured. I brought the feelings of being “less than” because I was “bigger than” of my pre-teen years into the difficult teen years. By that time, my inferiority complex was in full force and deeply ingrained. I look back at photos of my teenage years, and I can plainly see what I believed about how I looked was completely untrue. But at that time, I fully believed that who I was and where I fit in centered on my physical attributes, and I believed that I didn’t meet the standard, or any standard!
Because of the lies I believed about myself, I made a lot of very foolish decisions in high school, and even worse ones after high school, life altering, really bad choices. I don’t know what I thought I was looking for, I just knew I didn’t have it. And all this time, I was eating. And eating. And dieting, believing I was a failure in life because I couldn’t manage to keep the weight off when I would lose it.
Shortly after I turned nineteen, I became pregnant by a man ten years older than me. I hadn’t known him very long, but that didn’t stop me from marrying him. We wed on a Tuesday; by Friday, he had beaten me up, and I left him. In a state of confusion, I went back and left him three more times before I filed for divorce. Each time, it was worse. Domestic violence always adds to feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.
I became a very immature mother the month before I turned twenty years old. My bad personal decisions did not end there. I was on a trajectory of actions detrimental to my well-being…all because of the lies I believed. That, and my refusal to come back to God, with whom I’d had a personal experience at sixteen years old.