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272/365: The Prison

She grew up wondering where her dad was. Ever since she could remember, she couldn't remember his presence. And at that point between sadness and joy she realized there was something not quite right with the world.

When she was nine years old, her mom got married. And there was an excitement and a newness. But she realized there was something wrong. This man wasn't who she thought he had been. And then she thought... she must be wrong. So she tried hard to please him. She never could.

She had always been a picky eater - a skinny girl with "a bony butt" her mother would say. "You eat like a bird."

This man didn't like that. He demanded change. Every night, he would serve up her plate - with much more than a ten year old really needs. And then he would force her to eat it all. it really didn't take much effort on his part. He was scary. So she learned to stuff herself. She learned to scarf food down. To shovel it in. She watched as he criticized her mom, and controlled the food that she ate to make her lose weight. And she watched her mom suffer. She watched her mom eat whatever she could get her hands on whenever he wasn't looking. And she learned it too.

Food was safe. It was good. And it was just about the only right thing in her world. She grew up at age eleven. Whenever she looked in the mirror, she saw a blob. she felt ugly and fat and disgusting in every way. She wasn't. It started a vicious cycle. It ate at her from the inside. She began eating at every opportunity and for every reason - whether she was hungry or not. She steadily gained weight, and steadily her self esteem, her body image, and the way she viewed the world slipped down-hill.

And today she is the same. But she is different. Because now she knows. Its not her fault.

  

The she... is me. Its called compulsive overeating. The thing with it is that people say "you should just go on a diet." or "Well, with a little exercise, you'll be fine." or "all you have to do is..."

and the thing is that with compulsive overeating, there's something much deeper in play. dieting is exponentially harder than with people who don't suffer from the disorder because it's psychological. there are deep emotions tied to it. and I've never been able to explain - or even figure out for myself - why I've never in my life been able to lose weight, why I can't diet. There's something in my brain that goes on that makes it nearly impossible to continue with a diet, to follow it through. food... makes me feel good while i'm eating it. but i eat it to the point that my stomach hurts from eating too much. i have no self control over it. and then afterwards i suffer from this horrible guilt. its a painful cycle. it's a prison.

 

flickr, this is hard for me. this is hard to share with people because i've only now realized i suffer from this and it hurts. its painful to think about. to admit that i hate myself, that i hate my body. it hurts to admit that when i look in the mirror, all i see is this disgusting fat thing that can't get control of her life. when i look at this picture, i see my fat. that is all i see. and that hurts. please don't misconstrue the purpose of this photo or the description. you might wonder why the heck i'm sharing this with people i don't know. the truth is, i looked backwards at my 365 and i'm disappointed in myself. because my photos aren't honest. they aren't the real me. they're distant. i've been hiding. and this is why. and i'm sorry. i'm sorry i haven't been putting all i can into this project. i'm sorry it's been a halfhearted push of a button. and this photo is an attempt at change. and attempt at honesty. i don't know what else to say about this, except... if you're out there, suffering from something, thinking you're all alone... you're not. we all suffer from something. but God doesn't make ugly things. that's all i can say for now.

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Taken on September 10, 2011