So I mentioned a while back that Gabby was making a zine about food positivity. Obviously the deadline has ended and I thought for a long time about what I could submit…until a few days after the deadline I thought of something.
When I was young, my parents were always strict about finishing your vegetables before getting dessert (if there was any at all.) Usually, it was an Oreo (only one, never more) after eating two servings of steamed vegetables. Being in preschool helped me fall for the fact that one Oreo was without question proportionate and reasonable after eating so many vegetables (after all, my parents said so, and uh…if they weren’t right, then who was?) I remember eagerly asking my mother over and over again if it was time, if this was the moment when she would plant the processed gelatin-filled cookie on my small dinner dish, which was covered in dancing bears. “Here you go,” she’d tell me, looking amused. I ate it in about four to five seconds. The process continued throughout elementary school and never failed to make me eat some sort of green food.
Once I started middle school, these things began to change. I realized that one Oreo, like many other things that I’d taken for granted when I was young (including clear skin and Judy Blume) was complete and utter bullshit and that if I wanted more, I could simply reach for them by pushing myself upward onto the counter and grabbing an extra two or three, and then climb down, feeling like the badass I couldn’t be more far away from if I’d started reading Tigerbeat and wearing pink lip gloss (thankfully I was more a Teen Vogue gal myself.)
This was only the beginning of my short journey to carb and sugar independence (or dependence, more like.) After realizing my parents wouldn’t find out about my stealing some exra Oreos, I decided I could take things to the next level, occasionally bringing home desserts that I’d purchased with my own money or that were leftovers of things I baked at friends’ houses. Nobody seemed to mind and that pushed me further into the eternal doughnut hole that is my diet–when I entered freshman year, I was thin, and when I left, I was the opposite. Stress and pressure had built up on me, causing me to gain an obscene about of weight (which I still haven’t quite shaken off.) Though I wished my thick thighs and fat face weren’t existent, it made sense that I’d decided that my dessert needs were going to reach their absolute peek.
I knew my parents were aware of my weight gain–after all, it seemed like every human being I passed was probably laughing at me because of how big I was. So when we moved to a less safe and more urban neighborhood, filled with stores and boutiques at every corner, I was pretty stoked. Whenever I got stressed and for whatever reason, like SOMEONE forgetting to stalk up on my two best friends, B&J (Ben and Jerry’s, duh,) I went out by myself, always after 8 at night.
“Where are you going?” My father would ask me, not even turning his head away from his plate of chicken.
“Out, just walking.”
And that was that. I’d make sure I had at least five dollars leftover from the lunch money my parents gave me as a volunteer at the homeless shelter–10 was superflous, but any less could prove to be irritating in case I needed extra toppings. I thought ahead.
I’d begin my journey into the dark and make sure to get on a bigger street as soon as I could so I’d have more options as to what I wanted to eat. Along the way to whatever frozen yogurt joint or bakery I was headed to, I realized that I loved people watching and people hearing. Everyone was loud on Friday nights, which were my favorites. I could hear people talking about things that seemed peculiar, as I’d obviously hear only the middle of a conversation. I had to try hard to resist the temptation to stand below apartment windows to listen in on why John was obviously not straight or how the latest episode of Family Guy was a total letdown (but it wasn’t that tempting of course, because frozen yogurt awaited me.) The restaurants were loud and so were the people, but the look of relief that the weekend was beginning seemed to be stamped on every person’s forehead, one less frown line or wrinkle than Friday morning. I kept reminding myself to hurry on.
Once at my destination, which was almost always frozen yogurt (though sometimes bakeries for cookies so large they were obnoxious,) I’d ask for a size that was probably too big for my own good, and get all the toppings I wanted (chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, and chocolate mochi.) Then I’d sit outside alone, eating in peace as I heard people laughing and cars rushing by me. If I didn’t finish what I’d eaten, I’d take off my jacket and cover it up as I came inside our apartment building, and then I’d take sneaky bites when my parents weren’t in the room. I never could throw it away in the bathroom trash can because anybody could see it there–my old Care Bear waste basket from middle school suddenly had a new purpose, and one that I was quick to utilize.
While I still admit I engage in such behaviors, I hope they’ll be all worth it in the end. I mean, not to be obnoxious, but yolo or carpe diem or whatever means that you can do what you want without a good rationale all the time, even when if fucks up your health. If my parents ask me why I haven’t gotten any thinner, I’ll simply tell them that I don’t understand why and it’s probably my thyroid. Who’s the question what the quality of your thyroid is? Exactly.