From My Father’s Table

Any time that I feel extremely stressed out or am unsure of my next step, I withhold food from myself.  It’s something I picked up in middle school and have never quite shaken.  Some people might see my food restriction as some sort of vanity, but for me, it’s about lessening the pressure.  I want to be smaller.  If I could just make myself smaller and in a way invisible, this will all blow over eventually.

My weight over the years because of this cycle has fluctuated drastically.  I’ve been very heavy and very thin at times.   Right now, I’m about 25lbs heavier than I would like to be, but overall I’m comfortable with how I look.

Still, any little stressor and the alarm bell goes off to make myself smaller; less visible.

When I was in high school, I could go for very long periods of withholding food or eating the minimum possible to maintain consciousness.  My father at the time was a chaotic and raging alcoholic.  I often fought with him because it made me want to claw my eyes out and tear my eardrums to hear my mother cry.  So at night, I would fight with him, and at school the next day I would drink a small sweet tea and maybe eat a chicken patty.  Maybe.

I wanted to be thin, but I also just wanted there to be less of me.  I wanted to be less noticeable; more invisible.  I wanted to disappear at times.  Sometimes I still do.

However, these things within us; these things we hold onto–or withhold from ourselves–they hold us back.  I’ve recently been meditating on removing any blocks I have that are keeping me from moving to the next part of my life.   All the old has fallen away.  False friends have left.  Ex-boyfriends have finally disappeared completely.  I am at peace with all of that.  Yet, just like the story of the Mengele Twins I mentioned in an earlier post- she didn’t need to forgive the Nazis- she needed to forgive Mengele.

My father is my Mengele.  My divine spirit who always knew this was my journey forgives him for all of his transgressions since they have made me who I am today and brought me to where I am in life.  However, the human side wants to see right and wrong, black and white; forgive/don’t forgive…eat…don’t eat.

The human side of me needs to purge this pain.  Avoiding it has not helped to heal it, just as avoiding food does not help me to function as a person.  I need to come to terms with the fact it was awful, it was at times terrifying, and now it’s over and there is nothing more that can be done to change it.  It has made me who I am.  It has taught me to fight things that feel bigger than myself for the greater good.  It has taught me persistence.  It has steeled me.  It also made me a warm and loving mother who could never say “I love you” enough or kiss or praise or hug in a way that felt like it sufficiently said how much my child means to me.  Being raised by a bad parent made me a better one.

I invited my father to my Master’s commencement.  It was the first time I had seen or spoken to him in more years than I can remember.  He’s a quiet man by nature, and never been one to be overly affectionate.  I imagine that’s all he’s known, and I think he loves me the best he knows how.  He came and watched me graduate.  He said he was proud.  He kept his distance out of respect.

I once said I would never forgive him for the things he’s done and hurt he’s caused; the things he’s said.  My father is a damaged fallible person and hurt people hurt people.  I don’t want to be like that.  Holding onto that may hurt him some, but it’s my burden to carry around and to be quite honest I’m tired.

I forgive my father.  I actually love my father.  I just need to work on liking him.

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