Sticks and Stones Will Break My Bones, But Words Will Break My Spirit

“You’re never going to find anyone to love you because you’re fat.”

“You’re never going to amount to anything in your life.”

“Ugly people will never be successful.”

“Fat people are worthless and lazy. No one with any self-respect could care for a fat person.”

“You’re a useless human being. If you didn’t exist, it would. not. matter.”

This sort of internal dialogue is harmful, clearly. It should never be a part of your inner dialogue because it will only hold you back. We all know this. Even those with this sort of dialogue know that it’s irrational, even though they can’t help it – they know it’s irrational thinking.

What happens, though, when this sort of dialogue isn’t internal?
What happens when this dialogue comes from someone else?

It’s only words. Right? And we’ve all been taught that words can’t hurt us – So, you ignore it. You avoid this type of person. Don’t listen to it.

What happens, though, when the one using the dialogue is a loved one? A family member you love and have a great deal of respect for.
What happens when the one telling you these things is a parent or legal guardian?

For the first 23 years of my life, the above listed things are the things I was told – pretty much on a daily basis.

If you’re familiar with me or my *Clean* Funny Pics page and site, or my book, “Life of a Nut, Shell”, this may come as a shock to you. Listening to my stories and the great times to be had, it sounds like I had a great childhood and relationship with my parents.

That’s because I’m cut from the “Your past doesn’t define you” cloth. I don’t believe in the “poor me” attitude. The “feel sorry for me” kind of thing – but these negative thoughts are still a very large part of my life. It is still a part of my every day life and plays a HUGE part in decisions I make.

25f1eb0889b5220b00d0b0f948fa12edDon’t get me wrong though. I have very much forgiven the speaker of those words. I love them and care for them deeply. They’re a big part of my life, but so are the words they spoke so long ago…

The funny thing is, that for those 23 years that I heard the negative things, like “You’re fat, ugly, stupid and will never amount to anything” I wasn’t fat or stupid. Ugly… Well, that’s a matter of interpretation, so I don’t put much thought into that.

I’m 5’8″ and not only was I on the Dean’s List at college, I weighed 130 pounds and was a size 10. I definitely wasn’t stupid and even though by Hollywood’s standards I wasn’t thin, I certainly wasn’t fat. Even though I was told – daily – that I was. I was practically starving myself and busting my rump at the gym 6 days a week, and I was still told I was “fat”.

I remember one time when I had some pictures done with a local photographer. I got my proofs back and was told “Those are nice. You should lose weight and have them taken again…”

I ended up not buying the pictures and even though I still have the proofs, I don’t ever look at them because they’re forever associated with that memory. Actually, just about all pictures I had of me, or that I was in, were ridiculed in some way.

This why you won’t see pictures of me on the internet. I don’t mind people taking my picture – as long as it doesn’t make it onto the internet and as long as I never see it. It’s also the reason that you’ll never see anything on any of my pages making fun of the way someone looks. I’ll poke fun at a person’s clothing style, the way they choose to cut their hair or if I think they’re movies and/or music is lame – but never EVER their physical traits.

I’m still 5’8″, but I’m no where near 130 pounds anymore. I won’t sit and blame my myriad of medical conditions for my weight gain, though I will concede they probably do play some part. Truthfully, I started putting on pounds out of spite. I’ll explain…

Through all of the working out at the gym, starving myself and getting to be 130 pounds… I was still being called ‘fat’. I was told this was to motivate me into wanting to be skinny. This doesn’t work. People become what they’re called. This is something that’s not only proven so in studies of children, but even in adults, telling someone they’re fat doesn’t help. It has the opposite effect, actually.

That’s what, basically, happened to me – though it was my choice… See, I finally realized that I was *never* going to be good enough. It didn’t matter what I weighed, how I looked – it was never going to be enough – so I rebelled. I got so tired of being called names and controlled that I set out to prove that I wasn’t going to allow that kind of control anymore.

Even though an adult, this was specifically from the ages 21-23, I was told what I was and wasn’t allowed to purchase in the way of food. So much so that our trashcan was checked – daily – for boxes or wrappers of food that had been outlawed in my home. When I quit the gym, the food monitoring got even worse… What time I left work and how long it took me to get home was monitored so I couldn’t stop and get fast food or a candy bar at the convenience store…

What I would do, to get around that, was stop at fast food restaurants, buy value meals, and cram as much of it as I could in my mouth on the way home. I’d stop at the dumpster just before my road to throw away all the wrappers and proof, as well as whatever was un-eaten. I would go to a grocery store on my breaks, while at work or school, buy pop tarts, chips, etc., sneak them into my home and hide them in places in my room. Then, when I was finished with whatever it was, I’d throw the boxes and containers away in my neighbor’s trashcan.

As a result of my rebellion, I gained weight. The name calling that was bad enough when I was size 10 weighed 130 pounds got worse when I went to a size 12 weighed 140. The torment, the mental anguish was unbearable.

“You need a better job, but no one will ever hire someone as fat as you.”

♫♪”No one’s getting fat, except for Shelley”♪♫

Keep in mind, this is a full grown adult saying, doing and singing these things… my ‘caregiver’…

“I didn’t take any pictures of you at your college graduation because you’re too fat.”

Then they would attack things I liked. They’d attack TV shows, singers…

“It’s a good thing Wynonna Judd has a great voice. She’s too fat to make it anywhere else.”

I was either going to end up dead or in a nut house. It was when I seriously began to consider checking myself into an institution – just to get a break – that I realized I had to get out of there. I had to leave. So, I loaded up my stuff and left. The day I was packing and loading up, they followed me from room to car, name calling and insulting me.

“Yeah, run away. You know you’re worthless.”

“No one will ever want to marry you. Anyone that would want to marry you is a worthless person. Someone who contributes nothing to society.”

So, I got away from it. Or so I thought…

My internal dialogue picked up where their verbal one left off and has never stopped. That was 18 years ago that I last lived with that person. 18 years ago that they last said any of those things to me – and I still hear them in my mind.

The thing is, I know I’m not stupid, I know I’m a good person and I know – because of the comments and emails I get – that I do matter and affect people’s lives in a good way.

But…

None of those people know what I look like. None of them know how much I weigh, how attractive I am or aren’t. Facebook is perfect for me because I can do what I do best without anyone knowing what I look like or how much I weigh. My internal dialogue dictates that if they did know they’d no longer feel that way about me.

I know this isn’t rational thinking, but it’s also not far off base. I mean, when national surveys show that men would leave a woman that gained weight after they married, or that people think fat people should be shamed (as though they don’t already shame themselves) or that society should be mean to fat people you kind of have to wonder. Even if they wouldn’t openly admit it, most are thinking it…

These things that the majority of the population thinks about obese people… That internal dialogue of “no one is going to love you” is the reason I question – daily – why Tom loves me as much as he does. The majority of this world, and all of my internal dialogue, says he’s wrong for loving me – that I’m undeserving of love. The majority ridicule him because of his choice of a wife – and that saddens me for him. He deserves so much more…

Even though he’s been telling me otherwise, for the last 16 years, the thoughts are still there. The thoughts of my burdening him… Bringing him down…

Some days are better than others, but sometimes I go through periods of time where I don’t leave my house. I feel like I would burden people with my ugliness. My disgusting looks.

It’s even prevented me from doing things. I didn’t go see my best childhood friend, Brian, because I didn’t want him to see me now. Something I deeply regretted from the moment I heard about his death. And even now… There are people who want to meet me, people I’d like to meet too – but I don’t because I don’t want them to see me… I’ve got emails from a relatively famous person that states they want to meet me – but I know it will probably never happen…

The world is a cruel cruel place. Make sure your words don’t make it worse. I don’t believe words like “normal” or “right” or even “boys” and “girls” are harmful words. I don’t buy into that mode of “Words are hurtful” liberal mindset. It’s not the individual words that hurt. It’s the way they’re grouped together. The way they’re used.

Just like people will question every good thing they hear about you, but accept the bad without a second thought, people will question every good thing that people say about them and accept the bad without a thought.

I’m proof of that.73300b53d772baa8b5c31b9fec15f673

In the last 17 years, Tom has told me – daily:

“I love you.”
“You are the only thing I need.”
“My life is better because I met you.”
“You’re worth so much.”

In the last 3 years, my follows/fans on Facebook have said:

“You’re kind and caring.”
“You’re very loyal and loving.”
“You speak so eloquently.”
“I love the way you write.”

Yet none of that erases what was said 18 years ago:

“You’re fat, ugly, stupid and will never amount to anything.”

None of the positive has the power to erase:

“You’re a useless human being and if you didn’t exist, it Would. Not. Matter.”

Nothing ever will.

Nothing.

 

 

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