Token Black Girl

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The problem with Peanut Butter - A Glimpse into my life

*Note- This is not a story, but a blog about my real life. I have NEVER shared this type of information before, and it was hard to do. It started a a writing exercise in getting 750 words of anything written a day,but turned into this. I know its scattered, broken up, and largely unorganized, but bare with me. This was hard to write.


So today I was thinking about peanut butter. I know, strange right? What could I possibly have to say about peanut butter? The fact is, peanut butter changed my life forever.


I guess its best to begin from the beginning. I was thinking about my weight loss journey today and what fueled my eating issues. These days I have my eating pretty much under control. I'm not fat, but boy was I getting there. Naturally, with me a being a very vain person who cares a great deal about her appearance, I started "Weight Watching" and working out like a crazy person. Furthermore, I had my gall bladder removed in an emergency surgery a few months ago which has a huge affect on my diet. I just can't eat what I used to anymore. Over eating and eating the wrong foods causes me a great deal of pain.



With all this considered, I still eat foods that cause me pain in digesting, and if I don't pay close attention I will eat past being satisfied, which in turn leads to days of stomach pain and digestive discomfort. My body simply does ot digest food well after my surgery and eating large portions always results in pain. A lot of pain. This week, I over ate on two occasions and ate food that I shouldn't have on at least 3. I knew it would cause me pain, and some of these incidents happened while I was already in pain. This caused me to stop and really consider, why I was eating that way. I mean, I'm not one of the foodies who just loves a good meal. I can't even cook. I dislike cooking.

Suddenly, it hit me. I am afraid.

Being hungry scares me. I know it sounds silly, but its true. When I begin to feel hungry, my mind begins to panic. The idea of not having food around makes me nervous. I realize that this must make me sound like some crazy fat girl, but its true (and I'm not fat). Being hungry terrifies me on some level.

The reason for this, I think, is because I learned early what hunger was and what it meant to not have food when you needed. My family was very poor growing up. We lived so far below the poverty level that we thought that lower middle class people were rich. There were times in my childhood where having food really wasn't an option.

Don't get me wrong, my mom made a point to provide us with healthy meals, but sometimes , with 4 kids, things were just very tight. Still she made it work. Honestly, even with my mom on welfare, we would never had experienced hunger at all were it not for my dad. There is a lot I can say about that man, but there just aren't enough words in the world, especially not here withing 750 words.

My dad was, correction - is, a drug addict (at least I assume he still is). His drug of choice was crack. As most know, crack has a way of stealing a persons humanity. It definitely stole his. Word is that my dearly departed granddaddy was a child molester, which is what likely drew my dad to drugs. I don't know for certain if that is truly why he used, to hide his pain, but it didn't matter to me. I was just a kid who did not understand any of that stuff.

Anyway, back from that tangent. When my dad needed drug money, and he'd already stolen anything my mom or my siblings had of any value, he would resort to stealing food. He's done it many many times over the years. My mom would buy food for her 4 kids with her food stamps, and when we were all asleep, he would take food out of the fridge and back to the store for cash so he could get high. Yes, he'd literally steal food from the mouths of his own children.

I remember one night, when I was 6 or 7 years old. My Mom, 3 siblings and I were out of the house for some reason. I think we were at my aunt's house not far from where we lived. My mom had just gone grocery shopping and we had a kitchen full of food. That evening when we came home and my Mom got ready to prepare dinner, we noticed that she was frantically going through all of the cupboards. My big sister and I were big enough to realize that all of the food was gone... all of it.

My Mom was besides herself. She was calling everyone she knew looking for my dad. When you're 6 it is very scary to see your mother that upset. I remember that she piled us back in the car. It had to be fall or winter because it was cold and very windy. We don't get a lot of weather like that out here in So Cal. My mom drove up and down the streets of what I now know to be the drug neighborhoods looking for my dad. It was cold, we were hungry, and it was getting late.

Finally, after a long night of driving around, my mom took us back home. She went into the cupboard and pulled out the only thing that was left... a jar of peanut butter. My big sister and I wouldn't eat it. We didn't want our little sister and brother to not have enough. We watched as our mother cried and our two younger siblings, 3 and 5 years old, ate from a peanut butter jar. I cried as well, until I ran out of tears. Still, to this very day, I cannot eat peanut butter. The very smell of it nauseates me.

I never forgot that day in all of my life. I remember promising myself that if I could help it I would never be hungry again, and either would they. I did everything in my power to make sure that was true, including taking a job with long and hours and illegally low pay in high school to make sure my siblings were provided for (our big sister left when I was in middle school, she couldn't take it anymore).

I said all that to say this, I now know why I always finish my plate, even when I'm done eating. I now realize why it is that when I feel hungry, nothing happens until I eat and make that feeling go away. Hunger scares me. Hunger frightens me. Hunger takes me back to being that scared little 6 year old girl with absolutely no control over her circumstances. By protecting myself from hunger, I have been protecting myself from my past and my pain, even if it left me in pain.Today, it ends. Today I am taking back control over my past and my problems. I am not going to let peanut butter ruin my life.





My Page - The Professional Black Writer

No comments:

Post a Comment