I lose myself in food because I hated who I was by about 7th grade onward. This is an open letter to no one and everyone:
I was never bullied. I didn’t get hit or ostracized. Marks weren’t left on my body, but bruises and scratches were committed on my self worth and body image. My body was not hit, but my heart and mind took a beating.
Growing up as a mixed Vietnamese girl, who had bones bigger than the norm I was the topic of poor body talk within the communities I was apart of. There’s so much in my past that is invisible to me – yet has affected me in ways that I can’t even imagine, that if I was aware of it, I might be better off. But that’s based on assumptions.
The point being, I was the subject of teasing growing up in the temple. I hated that place. It was filled with tiny vietnamese people who seemed to only carry judgement and hurtful remarks. I know not everyone was like that, and sometimes I think I only needed one person to throw me a rope, but no rope was thrown and I felt incredibly alone in the battle. I internalized it and turned it into something I truly believed in, that affects me to today – that I’m ugly and not good enough.
I was teased for being bigger. Remarks like, “You’re just as big as your mom”, or “You’re the youngest but the biggest”, or “Vien, eat this for me, your bigger so you can eat more”, or “Why can’t you be skinny like me, you can’t fit this costume”, god, I lived my Sundays in hiding. My mom forced me to go to a place where I would just get teased. Without a rope being thrown or tools to defend myself, I just soaked up all the comments up. Almost a decade later and I am still working through the scars they’ve left on my heart. I develop close relationships because close friends won’t judge me for how I look. I avoid groups because I’m trained to be put on the spot for the way I look. Temple really fucked me up.
This is the resentment I carry with me in my heart. By nature, I think I am outgoing. I use to want to play soccer, I use to want to be in dance with temple friends, I use to love hanging out with friends, but somewhere along the road, I stopped. Somewhere along the road, I let myself become isolated on a Saturday night. Driven to binge, and purge, and binge again.
How do I dig myself out of this hole that I allowed others to dig and put me in? Even forgiveness wouldn’t heal me, would it? Today I am fit and get less comments because I’m not around Vietnamese people. But if I were still overweight or still around Vietnamese people, that scar would be reopened again, and again… what would forgiveness do for me then?
I usually have a positive answer for problems I have in life, but this one, is the biggest hurdle I’ve ever had. Healing a deep wound without the help of those who put the wound there.
If I compared this to being shot, I wouldn’t care to be friends with the shooter, would I? If he shot me because he singled me out for whatever reason, it was not in my control. It was what he wanted to do. Once he shot me, I’m not going to run to him and beg for his approval. I would take the arrow out, and I would seek refuge elsewhere. I would recognize the decision the shooter made to shoot me, and judge him for his decision, rather than believing in the reason why he chose to shoot me. Perhaps therein lies tool that would have helped me then… it’s not too late, I can still use this tool now.
The belief system I had last night that led me to binge and purge was faulty thinking. So what if I was alone on a Saturday night, so what? What does that mean about me? It only means what I want it to mean. It only means what I allow myself to believe. Like I allowed myself to believe I was fat and uncool then. I just didn’t fit in
I didn’t fit in… I didn’t fit in anywhere.
What if I didn’t try to fit in? What if I just was me, and just observed things then, and now? Especially now? What you resist persists…
I resist not fitting in, I resist not being socially awkward, I resist wanting to be alone on a Saturday night, I resist foods that sounds delicious, I resist not being hurt by hurtful remarks. I’ve lived a life of resistance…
I’m not resisting anymore. Instead… I’m cooperating with who I am now… I’m not going to try to fit in or be liked. I’m not going to beat myself up for not having plans. I’m not going to stop myself from eating what I want to eat.
I’m going to start cooperating. It’ll be hard at first. But, this is my goal. To cooperate with my true self. I’m not fighting anymore.
I still need to practice getting out of my head. I will always need to practice this.. to be mindful. But I’m going to also start practicing cooperations with myself.