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Four-Year-Old Wisdom

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

I will never forget the first time that I truly saw my emotional eating for what it was.

My little sister was four at the time, which would have made me eighteen. My mom asked me to bathe her, so instead of drawing a bath I just put her in the shower with me. The shower head was turned on and I went about my business, lathering myself with soap. Monica abruptly began to sob. I became alarmed at once. Was the water scalding her? Did I get suds in her eyes? Had she fallen? I gave her a once over, taking in the deep gulps of air and the lower trembling lip and the tiny shuddering shoulders. Nothing was out of place, save for her sudden and acute emotional distress. “What? What is it?” I prompted her, needing to understand.

With her little fingers, she reached up and began to trace my scars and stretch marks, traveling along the angry red gashes that sometimes contrast sharply with my otherwise alabaster skin. Her hands grabbed at my stomach, first my lowest roll, then the roll above that, then the roll above that. She gazed up at me and took in my body, just 15 pounds shy of 300 pounds. Eyes glistening and shiny and wide, she asked me a question that made my heart ache as I began to comprehend what conclusion she had arrived at. “Who did this to you?” She thought that someone had hurt me. And someone had hurt me. I had hurt me. I began to sob, too.

The dictionary defines wisdom as “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.” I was in my shower being showered with wisdom provoked by an innocent four-year-old’s adult-like concern.

The truth is, I have spent years paying for my own self-destruction in drive-thrus, in grocery stores, in restaurants. It has cost me a lot more than cash. I have actively sought out my own demise in cupboards, in drawers, in pantries (often times in kitchens that were not even mine). I ate and I ate and I ate until I forgot what hunger was. But… I was insatiable.

Fast forward seven years to today. I am famished, but for the first time it’s not for food. I am back on SparkPeople with an appetite for life.
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