Eating Disorders/Healing, Eating/Food, Guest Posts, healing

You’re so Beautiful, But…

March 25, 2014

You’re so beautiful, But…By Erin Jay.

A while ago, I was having dinner with my dad.  This is an anomaly in and of itself, but it happened.  I remember that night clearly because I cried.  Crying is a rarity for me; especially in front of people.

I don’t remember what brought on the statement.  I don’t remember what led into it.  All I remember is sitting there, across from the dad, eating some chilli, and my father spoke these words to me, “If you just did something about your weight. I don’t know what I did to deserve two daughters, two beautiful daughters – your sister and you… I don’t know what I did to deserve you.  You’re both so beautiful… but if you would just lose some weight…”

Just lose some weight?

As he said this, I fought the tears and nodded my head in understanding like a good little girl. You have to understand, quick delivery is not in my father’s repertoire; I wasn’t sitting before him shamefully fighting off tears for the short amount of time it took you to read that sentence or took me to type it.  And whatever he meant is not what I heard.  Or maybe I heard exactly what he meant.  Or maybe he didn’t even know what he meant.  But all I heard was “you would be so beautiful if you lost some weight”.

I was afraid to take another bite of food during that meal.

I was already struggling with an eating disorder.  I’d developed erratic eating in high school; my best friend and I would commonly walk up to the store at our lunch period and buy nothing but clodhoppers and diet Pepsi, or packages of Fudgee O cookies; three or four nights a week, I made and ate my own dinner before either parent was home from work because I had to be at my karate dojo for training at suppertime, which for me meant Kraft dinner, pizza, soup or fries.  This disordered eating worsened when numbing the pain of the next chapter of my life seemed to only be possible while using food to gain a sense of control.  By the time this comment was made, I was caught in a vicious cycle of binging completely on sugar then starving myself for days. Slowly my weight crept up.

My father had never commented on my weight.  Home had always been a safe place for me as far as that went.  I was heartbroken.  I was embarrassed. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to say things that I would never say to my parents, in tones I would never dare speak to them in. I wanted to ask him if he knew how much I thought about how I looked; how those thoughts had completely overtaken my mind on an hourly basis.  Or if he knew how healthily I tried to eat.  Or if he knew how impossible it seemed to be to lose weight.  I wanted to tell him that he was the worst kind of father, to say something like that to his daughter, who he is supposed to think is beautiful regardless.  I wanted to be angry at him, but I was just ashamed that he was so disappointed in me.

I still don’t like eating in front of my father.

Erin

Erin Jay is a jack-of-all trades with seemingly endless opportunities to take on “odd jobs” including photography, writing, hair-styling, pet-sitting and tutoring. She is a soccer fanatic and Starbucks addict who could never live far from the water. Erin is the co-founder of uglyducklingsinc.com a podcast co-host and kindness lover who aspires to become a proper adult.

Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer living on an airplane. She’s the founder of The Manifest-Station. She’s leading a weekend retreat in May to Ojai, Calif as well as 4 day retreat over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing for all levels. She and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out her site www.jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up is Costa Rica followed by Dallas, Seattle and London.

She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

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No Comments

  • Reply catfishmom March 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    How about, “are you pregnant again, or are you just gaining weight?” from my father…you don’t forget those…

  • Reply Jenny Taylor March 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    When I was 16 my ex-boyfriends awful brother told me I would be a “10” if I just didn’t have that bump on my nose and lines on my forehead. Words are powerful weapons. It takes a long time to learn to let them bounce off you instead of into you. Thank you for sharing your story and everything you’re doing at uglyducklingsinc! Shine on.

  • Reply hiddenblessing March 25, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Wouldn’t the world be a kinder place if people would remember that you can never “unsay” hurtful things said? I’m sorry he hurt you.

  • Reply Victoria March 29, 2014 at 8:18 am

    This story touched my heart. I am so sorry for your pain. When a parent does not choose their words carefully, or their actions for that matter, the hurt stays with us for a long time…some times forever. My father chose to disown me at the age of 42 years old. I was his “perfect” daughter until I chose to date “outside of my race”-although those were not his words…I had been through a cancer scare a year before and was recently divorced. He just cut me off-as well as my two daughters. I was raised to accept and show unconditional love and not be judgemental. It has taken me years to realize that I did not do anything wrong. My father was the problem. The hurt and guilt that I suffered for years was unbearable until I realized that my father was the one who lost. When he passed away in 2006 we had not resolved anything. The last time we spoke was in 1993. Not that it matters, but my father left all of his assets to an Endowment Scholarship at the University that I attended. He left nothing for his 3 daughters…and had disconnected in some way from all of us and I assume that his point was “to show us” The positve in all of this is that I know that I am a loving human being and learned that life takes unknown paths. You must make the best of your life regardless of what happens because before you know it, years have been wasted on negativity and sadness when your life is here to live once in a joyous manner. I wish I would have realized all of this then, but I am grateful that I know it now.

  • Reply You’re so beautiful, but… | We Are the Real Deal April 23, 2014 at 3:01 am

    […] Pastiloff is a writer living on an airplane and the founder of The Manifest-Station. She’s leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is […]

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