roseomg's Journal, 15 July 2013

I think that my love hate relationship with food must have started at a young age. If I were to make a chronological timeline of my inappropriate, unhealthy relationship it would start before I can remember, but the first memory that I have of involves my mother, of course. I recalled this morning of throwing food when I was young, my first attempt at control of my body.

I must have been three years old, maybe four. My mother largely ignored me because I was quiet and easy to forget about while my autistic older brother was very much a handful. I remember sitting at the table and looking down at my food with delight, as my brother howled and my dad tuned out, my mother sat tired and a cigarette in her mouth. My fork went into a home made potato and cheese pierogi, and to my surprise she had accidently given me a sour kraut filled dumpling. As I think about this dinner, it didn't make very much sense, since my mother rarely had time to cook from scratch when we were young. because my brother required almost constant attention but this night must have been special, especially since my dad was actually there it must have been an important evening for my mother. I looked with disgust at the sour kraut and looked up at my mother, telling her that this meal was gross.

Thinking about it now, I was lacking of some basic communication skills necessary to convey what was actually wrong. I also now know about my mother's own eating disorder, and codependency which in hindsight explains why she took it so personally. I should have told her that I had gotten the sour kraut dumpling, but all I said was that it was gross. She looked down at me and told me to eat it, and at that point I got upset. I shrieked about how I couldn't eat it, and when I did so she yelled back, telling me that if I didn't eat it I would be going to bed immediately. I again refused and tried to explain but by that point she was done talking, and resorting to "Just eat it because I told you so." It was at the point where she was yelling that I felt so defenseless, I picked up the pierogi with my hand and threw it across the room. It was this moment of uncompromising, and inability for her to listen to my complaints that I gained agency over myself. I was sent to my room without dinner, and I cried all night.

When I threw that pierogi I was in control, and my mother was completely out of control. The situation didn't turn in the way that my little 4 year old self had wanted but I was also heard in that moment. It was a time when my parents both paid attention to me, and though it was bratty and the attention was negative, it was raw and honest communication. This may have been where the seed had been planted, and my disorder developed.

I used food, and my refusal to eat as a method of both control and comfort through my childhood, adolescents, and even early into my adulthood. When I look at the big picture, it doesn't surprise me that I became bulimic. I had control over so little in my life, and a dissatisfaction of my body from comments like, 'Well, you should/shouldn't eat that, you'll become fat like me!' drilled into my head, shaming me for being fat far before I was. The sour attitude towards her own body was projected onto me, and I really do believe that I learned these bad habits from her. Now, I pity her, her obsessive compulsive nature keeps her from connecting with people, and isolated her from others through her entire life. As a child, I didn't have the perspective that I do now, and I feel bad for perpetuating her unhealthy attitudes, and feeding into the misery.

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