I once heard someone say, “beauty is not in your face but a light that shines in your heart”; somehow it didn’t seem to convince me I was beautiful.
– a memory from the summer of 1972.
I sat in the middle of the kitchen with quiet anticipation as Mommy got the comb and bobby pins. Today I was going to get bubbles put in my hair. I wondered if I would have the long ringlets down the side of my face too, they looked so pretty.
As Mommy took the comb to my hair, it suddenly got tangled in a snag; “Ouch” I wailed. “Be quiet!” Mommy yelled as she snapped the comb at me. I cringed.
With each snag, my whelps got louder and Mommy’s patience grew thin. “Stay still!” she hollered as she swung the comb once again.
I froze in the chair as the sting of the plastic lingered.
As I wiped away the tears that rolled down my face, I felt another sudden shake, “I said stay still!” Mommy screamed.
I sucked in the sobs and endured the torture my long hair had brought upon me. I wondered if all the movie stars had to go through this for their beautiful hair.
As Mommy put in the last bobby pin, and announced she was done, she handed me the mirror. As I looked, I saw the reflection of a little girl with red swollen eyes and face.
I saw beautiful bubbles adorning the top of my head but I saw no ringlets. Quietly I looked up, smiled, and said, “oh, the bubbles are pretty Mommy, thank you”.
When I think back to the summer of 72, many memories come flooding back. At a time in my life that was very painful, my esteem was taking a nose dive in vast proportions due to the much chaos that was happening around me. My compulsive eating kicked into high gear. At the age of 10, I was 197 lbs. With much bullying and teasing, I hid the pain and put on a brave front, all the while hiding the compulsive eating as best as I could. Feeling very ashamed and not normal, the many slurs reminded me of it daily; that I was an outcast, derelict and not acceptable. Not even getting pretty bubbles in my hair changed my insides on how I felt about myself. Beauty would never be associated with me. How could I be accepted? How could I be loved?
I withdrew into a world and ate my pain away, but it never went away.
That pain compounded with my inability to know how to react properly. I drew my own warped conclusions and believed every one them as my truth. Dishonesty with self was where I lived. I believed all the negatives and built a cocoon with food to sooth the hurt I felt.
I remember when I was 28, standing at a front desk checking into a hotel. A complete stranger came up to me and said, “You would be such a beautiful woman, if you would lose weight.”. Anger welled up inside me as I smiled, but with past memories in seeing anger and all the bad things that happened, I couldn’t let it out. All I wanted to do was slither away and find something to shove in my mouth. I couldn’t get mad, no, but the anger was like a cauldron inside, waiting to be drowned with something, anything.
I avoided anger. I had watched my Dad in rages that were very bad. I know now it was just bad behavior, for he too had issues with dealing with his emotions. In seeing that, I never wanted to be angry, and I stuffed my anger and many emotions, so not to feel.
My disease progress over the years and by the time I was 48, I was well over 600lbs. With another diet, one of many, I did lose a vast amount, but my disease revolted once again. Nothing I did could stop me. Nothing. Loving myself and feeling beautiful was foreign. I hated me.
I am so grateful for my 12 step program today. The changes that has happened in my life the past few months, it has been mind blowing. The little girl who once felt unloved and not beautiful, is no more. Much healing and changes have occurred. Taking the Steps and working my program, there has been miracle after miracle in my life.
I often think on that little girl in pain, wanting to be like every other little girl. In getting bubbles in her hair, and not feeling beautiful; I hug her. I hold her tight and we grieve for the loss she felt. The loss of feeling neglected. The absence of a childhood, and not feeling loved and accepted. Grief is another emotion that I used to stuff. I didn’t want to feel the pain. Now in recovery, it’s OK to feel. I have a HP to help me, comfort me and I know I will be OK.
That little girl inside me is one beautiful light in my heart. She always was beautiful. I feel her Spirit smile and it warms my heart. Blinded in dishonesty, the 12 Steps made me see, I was always beautiful. My HP & my program gave me back the beautiful me. I may not have bubbles in my hair now but the Joy in my life is certainly bubbling.