My Story

I was borne of mutilation: my arm roughly pulled through Mom’s birth canal then her belly flayed open horizontally and vertically when the doctor realized she had grabbed my hand, not my foot. I was pulled into life, confused and alone, my mother dead. Blessedly, she was revived 5 minutes later full of life and donated blood, to welcome her 6th baby girl, Alayna.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

One year later, uprooted from friends & family and moved to the plateaus, hills and canyons of Cumberland, TN, to be raised Mormon in a rural Bible Belt town with signs reading, “No Dogs or Mormons Allowed”.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Age 4, crashed with Dad, Doctor of Dreams. He belted me mere moments before the ditch then weeks later, the pills crashed him again and alone into rehab. Anxious for money, my family turned to the LDS food bank, and I began to covet and hide food as my family avoided all discussion of Dad’s absence and eventually re-admittance to small town surgical practice and our home.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

I was the 6th child born 4 years after the 5th child and 6 years before the 7th child. Loneliness was my playmate. Fantasy and imagination (fueled by food obsession) were my friends.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Age 8, heavy and awkward, I witnessed my 2nd oldest sister’s nearly fatal car crash. I saw her lifeless, bloody and slumped over the steering wheel. I saw Dad leap from the ambulance, through the sunroof next to her. I saw him stabilize her neck while the Jaws of Life began to free her mangled body. I saw my mother crying, distant from me. I was pulled away by a neighbor to be soothed by TV, soda and food. I don’t remember seeing my parents for days while my anxiety escalated to previously uncharted territory. I was convinced my sister was dead and everyone was lying to me that she survived and was in the big city ICU. I was dressed up by my sisters so I could pass for 13 and see my sister’s fragile life in ICU, disoriented and fevered. I transferred my anxiety to Mom and spent months and months clinging to her. I didn’t shower for fear she would leave me at home. I was convinced Mom would get into car accident and I wanted to be with her in the hospital when the accident happened.

My family continued the path of not talking about difficult or uncomfortable topics.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Ages 9 to 12, I zombied in front of the TV while I hoarded and consumed vast amounts of food.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Age 12, hormone changes instigated the onset of Bipolar II disorder though I had no name for my mental illness until age 28. The pain of mental illness, obesity and Mormon shame for my budding sexual urges all combined to overwhelm me. I turned more and more to food, books and TV to escape.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

The Spring of my 14th year, I failed at softball due to panic attacks and hyperventilation. My sisters all excelled at academics, sports and music, so my failure served to further convince me of my essential wrongness.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

The Summer of my 14th year, I fell earnestly in pretend, fantastical love with my best friend’s ex. I began to starve and overexercise. I used a back of Seventeen magazine order form to get a diet book. It had helpful tips like: “Look at this picture when you’re hungry”

hippos

OR “Dump salt on your food when you feel like eating”.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Later that summer, as I was losing 80 pounds in 3 months, I began to cut and self injure in response to my beloved piano teacher’s abrupt move. She didn’t say goodbye. I no longer had a creative outlet and no teacher in my small rural town could replace her as I was advanced. The cutting relieved the pain.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Age 15, still fantastically in silent love with the boy, I wrote him a confessional letter of love and acceptance that he’d never want to be with me. He never responded to me other than to commend my writing skill and later apologize for ‘manipulating’ me to fall in love with him.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

The summer before sweet 16, my weight plummeted as anorexia, bulimia and overexercise chiseled away my barbed wire flesh blanket. Boys actively sought to date me. I pushed away all the nice boys. Just after my 16th birthday, I picked a 21 year old predator for my first pick up date. I expected fireworks from my supposedly strict father. Instead, he shook the hand of the man who would later get me drunk and rape me.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

The night after the rape, I swallowed a bottle of Tyenol PM and other assorted pills. I took too many and my sensitive, bulimic stomach puked them while I slept. I was on my side so I didn’t aspirate. I slept for 3 days. My Dad tested me for cat scratch fever because he finally noticed the self injury cuts.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

The shame of the rape plummeted me deeper into self injury, binging, purging, overexercise and depression. I began to be promiscuous as I no longer saw my inherent human dignity. I began to work at a grocery store as a distraction. My rapist began to work at the same store and told everyone I was a slut.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

The one friend I told about the pills reported me to the school counselor who insisted I tell my parents about my depression. I did tell my parents who took me to therapy. I stonewalled the therapist who told my parents I was a normal, introverted teenager. A few weeks later, I tried again to kill myself. My dad told me, “I’ve seen worse suicide attempts than this in the ER,” as he stitched my wrists. I was put into a mental hospital and medicated with Zoloft. I told my parents about the pill suicide attempt during the one family therapy session we had. My dad’s only response was, “So that is where my giant bottle of Tyenol PM went.”

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

I returned to tiny town, TN, post hospital doped on Zoloft which made my diseased, bipolar II, teenage brain more sick. I was put in control of my medicine (WTF?) and began to drink heavily. I began to unravel more and more as my 2 best friends abandoned me due to my drinking.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Age 18, I graduated and moved to Southern Utah for college. Bulimia and sporadic restriction and overexercise continue. I moved back to TN the summer before my 20th birthday. I lived with my new, awesome best friend who wouldn’t let me push him away. He gave me the courage to tell my Mormon family of my Wiccan ways. I gave me the courage to say for the first time that I had been raped.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

The Winter of my 20th year, I met my wonderful husband in a random chat room. I tried to push him away, but he also wouldn’t let me destroy our love. He helped me through my land of sexual confusion, disassociation and shame.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

Securely married but living in addiction instead of recovery, I drifted through my early and mid 20s in a haze of alcohol and food. I dropped in and out of college 4 times because of debilitating depression. At age 28, a deep depression and the associated suicide ideation finally scared me enough to accept therapy and medication. I was properly diagnosed and medicated. I stopped drinking and began to heal. However, I continued to abuse food. I got pregnant at age 29 and stopped my medication due to worry about the effects on my son. He was born healthy but I didn’t go back on medication. I self medicated with food and hit my peak weight of 360.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

At age 32, afraid of obesity related disease, I began to earnestly diet and exercise. The bulimia mostly ceased but I picked up alcohol again when my son was asleep. Nevertheless, my love for my son propelled me tot return to college and graduate. I was then thwarted numerous times to get my teaching certificate. I finally took a year off work to be with my then 4 year old son and prepare for our move to New Orleans. I turned again to food and regained the 90 pounds I had lost by completing a half marathon.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

I moved with my husband and son to New Orleans last year just before I turned 35. Another debilitating depression spurred me to medication. I attended a Suicide Prevention Walk with my therapist mother-in-law. As I stood there listening to survivors of suicide share their pain, I thought about my son and how he would feel when I eventually died of some obesity related illness. I resolved to find an OA meeting. Two weeks later, I walked into the rooms.

crook-ed little girl hiding in your 

crook-ed little house of pain,

it’s not your fault.

It’s NOT your fault.

Your parents are sick.

You are sick.

You hold no power to free.

You hold no power to heal.

Powerlessness, your only power, to let go and let loose the pain,

Ask for help and abstain.

My life has changed profoundly since entering OA and working the steps. I am experiencing the realization of some of the Promises in the Big Book. I have released a lot of weight. I have gone down 4 pants size. I have not overexercised or purged. I still struggle with binges but I am blessed with a current abstinence of 7 days. I know life will only continue to open for me as I work my program.

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One thought on “My Story

  1. This is beautifully written, and I identify with it so much. I am so glad you are finding love and support in the rooms. If you want to see how much your work touched me, go read my post “Berries in a Cup” and you will know. Good luck.

    Like

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