The Skinny – Amy Brunell

Self Loathing Rears it’s Ugly Head —

If you would have asked me before last Friday if I would “punish” myself for my being overweight, I would have responded mightily, “NO!” If you had interviewed me further about my own issues of self-loathing, I would have responded that I really have less incidents of self-loathing and try very hard to not spend one minute hating myself. I would have gone on about the waste of time and the waste of energy one expends in hating themselves. I would have told you that I’m wonderful and that I really like myself and I also would have added that it took me years to get to this place. I have done much inner work and I’ve really tried to change myself and my self-loathing thoughts.

That was before last Friday.

Last Friday while going to the bathroom, I noticed I was fatter. When I put my underwear on, there was a fat pocket on my lower left abdomen that wasn’t there the day before. I poked at it and wondered where the hell that came from. When I put on my stretch jeans, I noticed they were a bit snug, but having nothing else to wear, I thought, “On well” and drove to my destination-a meditation retreat for the weekend.

While I had brought soft pants to wear, I didn’t change into them. Instead I wore the too tight jeans and not only meditated but did yoga as well. And even though they were cutting into my fat, I still didn’t change into the softer pants for fear of looking fatter.

Later that day during the retreat, I burst into tears and started sobbing about what I had done to myself. You see all my actions weren’t totally conscious. I sort of had “half thoughts” instead of fully realizing what I was doing, which was punishing myself for being fat. As I was sobbing and sobbing, I said out loud how I had insisted on staying uncomfortable in my jeans for mediation and yoga because that is what I deserved. And I wailed, “Who does that? Who punishes themselves like that?” I realized at that moment what I had done and realized how disturbing and frankly violent my actions were to myself.

That night while careful with what I ate-meals provided by the facility, I ended up eating too much salad and got too full and had to take a good 30 minute walk to burn off the feeling of too full before the evening session. I was panicked that I would be hungry later if I didn’t eat enough then. And even though it was vegetables, I got too full. To say I was “off balance” is an understatement.

By that night, I did change into my soft pants, which I wore the rest of the weekend. I also explored the 14 year old child within myself, who started those thoughts of punishing herself for being fat. You see my wiring is very, very old. That 14 year old used to pray to God to take away my hunger because I thought if I wasn’t hungry I wouldn’t be fat. I did many many diets depriving myself and then finally, finally allowing myself to eat. She-my 14 year old, is still wounded. She is still sad. She needs love-she doesn’t need more loathing.

So now I’m trying to work on some inner healing. I thought that the 14 year old didn’t have the grip on me that she still has. I thought I was past that point. But you see what a pocket of fat can do to throw someone back into a very dark place.

But I am 49. I’m not 14 and I can make different choices and I can decide on different outcomes. But I will respect this wounded child with a lot more care that I have in the past. I foolishly thought she was buried with my past and I have to respect that she still lives within in and comes out to show me my vulnerable self.

The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Amy for a great piece. I totally get it and find I’ve done the same type of thing. I’m going through the process to have bariatric surgery and have started seeing a therapist to get a handle on my eating issues. I recognize that simply restricting my food intake isn’t going to work if I don’t work on my inner self! Thanks again.

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