I welcome you to join me as I share my story of my own fight for beauty! I’ll be posting once a week a new chapter of my journey, from beginning to end. I’m going to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the embarrassing. My hope is to remove the veil and misconceptions that people have about eating disorders while offering hope to those struggling that there really is a way out.
With that said, here is Chapter 2 of my story. To read chapter 1, click here.
“I think Reed likes me. Kristin said he’s going to ask me to be his girlfriend. My mom will kill me but I’ll have to keep it a secret.” Helena confessed to me as we sat in the backseat of my grandma’s car on the way to the mall. It was my thirteenth birthday and she was taking us out for an all day shopping trip to celebrate. It didn’t surprise me that Reed had a crush on her. It seemed that every guy in our class did at one point. She was the type of girl that guys seemed to be drawn to and she loved every second of it, even though she pretended not to.
As our day of shopping came to a close, my grandma needed to make a quick stop at Target. Helena and I wandered off into the jewelry department where we tried on sunglasses and bags. Eventually we began wandering the store in the hopes to meet up with my grandma. As we turned into an aisle, my heart stopped. I took a quick step back and pulled Helena by the arm as I tried to get out the aisle without being seen.
My heart was racing as I quickly walked through the store to find my grandma.
I have to leave.
I can’t be seen.
Don’t say a word.
When I found her, I lied and said I felt sick and needed to go home immediately. She quickly paid for her things and we left.
The entire car ride home, I began to actually feel sick to my stomach. Anger rose within me as I could feel it burning in my chest. When we got home, I ran into my room and laid on my bed as my mind replayed over and over what I had seen.
My grandpa, hand in hand, with another woman.
I knew who she was. We all did. My poppa, try as he may, was never successful with hiding his affair. He would sneak to the backroom of their house multiple times a day where he would call her. Sometimes, I would stand by the door and try to make out what he was whispering to her. He would lie to my grandma and say he was taking us grandkids out for breakfast. When we got there, she would be there waiting to join us. I remember seeing him reach across the table to grab her hand. My stomach would knot up and my heart would break as I thought about my grandma sitting at home alone.
She was young and blonde and had a Russian accent so thick that I normally would just smile and nod as she spoke because I couldn’t understand what she was saying.
That night, my parents were taking me out for my birthday dinner and my grandparents were joining. As we waited for my grandpa to arrive, everyone was growing increasingly frustrated and concerned because he was over an hour late. They couldn’t imagine where he could be, but I knew. He was with her.
When he finally arrived, we all went to dinner. I remember feeling like I was betraying my grandma as I watched them sit together because I knew he was about to leave her. At the end of dinner, he and my grandma began arguing about something where he made a jab at her weight. My heart stopped.
Is that why he is cheating on her?
I don’t remember the exact timeline, but shortly after my thirteenth birthday, my grandma came home after work and all his stuff was gone. I couldn’t help but feel as though I had let her down. I kept this secret from her. I knew he was preparing to leave since the day I saw them purchasing pots and pans at Target.
I remember seeing my mom and my grandma cry. It was a scene that I had seen played out time and time again. Uncles, family friends, and now my grandpa leaving their wives for a younger, more attractive woman. These women in my life, who I viewed as beautiful and powerful, suddenly became broken and used all because someone failed to see and treasure their beauty. If they couldn’t keep a man, how would I be able to?
I made a vow to myself to never become like them. I would never allow my body to be the reason why someone couldn’t love me. I was never going to allow a man to hurt me in that way. “Perhaps it’s safer to just never marry,” my thirteen year old heart reasoned.
Stay tuned for the next chapter next Wednesday!
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