As Silvia knows only too well, sometimes it takes getting in touch with our anger (power) in order to know where our personal boundaries are; and having boundaries is necessary to self- care, and self -love. This can be a hard lesson to learn, as Silvia recounts from her own life…
My name is Silvia
And I am an over eater, not too anonymous.
I have a name, a face, a story and a personality.
Few people around me know about my emotional eating. Some people may have no idea.
My relationship with food has always been very complicated. Perhaps it has been the most difficult relationship I ever had in my life. It started when I was 8 years old.
Due a medical condition, I had to use lots of cortisone. As you might be aware, cortisone can cause a big increase in weight. To prevent an excessive gain of weight, my parents put me on a diet – I was already a bit ‘full’. As a result, from the age of 8, I started to develop a complicated relationship with food and my body. Since I was not allowed to eat the “unhealthy food”, I would secretly eat everything I could when I had the chance – and, of course, I would hide the tracks afterwards. When my parents were not home, I would stuff myself with food to compensate my deprivation. I still remember the “treasure hunt” in my house, looking for my precious treasure: chocolate. Or when I was in friends’ house, or outside and I had few spare coins with me, I had no doubt on what to buy: sugar. Any size, shape, taste. Everything was good enough.
Because of my emotional eating, at the age of 21, I reached 105 kg, 40 kg more than I was supposed to be.
It could be easy to blame my parents for my eating disorder, but I know they love me and I know that they put me on a diet for my health, to give me my best chances. They did it in good faith.
Who knows, perhaps if it wasn’t for my first diet at the age of 8 I was not going to be here, to write about my eating disorder. Perhaps, if it wasn’t for this eating disorder, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Now, of course on good days I like to see my “being powerless in front of food” as a learning opportunity. But in other days I see it in a very different way. I would just blame myself, asking myself ‘what’s wrong with me’ alimenting a negative state of mind.
Teen Silvia is a very different person from adult Silvia. I worked a lot on my self-esteem, I worked a lot on my dreams. I worked to build myself out of love rather than hate. When I was 22 years old, I decided to change my life, my destiny. I decided to define myself for how good I was inside rather than how much I weighed – although if goodness was measured in weights, I was winning!!
When I was 22, my heart was crushed. Into thousands of pieces. I had so much pain that I felt like I was going to die. I am not even exaggerating. At that time, I felt like my heart was not going to handle the pain.
It is about a person, you are right, but it is not about a boyfriend. It is about a friend, a best friend, C. We were friends for 17 years. She was like my sister.
C had lots of personal issues; but you know, we all have problems! She had a strong, dominant character. Most of the time she knew what she wanted, and she would have done anything she could to achieve it. This is something that I admired about her. Perhaps, when I was next to her, I felt strong myself.
But the more we were growing up, the more our lives were taking different paths. We used to argue a lot. But, of course, we overcame those arguments because friends are friends, right? Friends are in the good and in the bad. If you love someone, you find a way to compromise and I loved her so much, I loved her like a sister.
Our friendship arrived at a point when we would argue constantly – like an old couple heading towards a divorce. I’d strongly stand up for my values and she’d strongly stand up for hers. Alongside that, C had the tendency of hurting people when she was feeling hurt. If something bad happened to her she would hurt someone else. Yes, you read it right. She would feel better because in that way she was not the only one suffering.
I cannot forget the day when she had an argument with her boyfriend and, consequentially, she was very horrible to me. It happened many times in our friendship, but in one way or another we always overcame difficulties.
I know what you may be thinking; I am a stupid! Perhaps I am. But let’s shape it in a positive way – you know, just cause this blog is about self-esteem lol – let’s say I am a loyal, caring and committed friend.
But this day I said, “no more”. I remember telling her “Look at this face.. this is the last time you will see it!”. And I meant it. And of course, it wasn’t.
This happened just before I moved to Glasgow. After few months, C came all the way to apologise. At first, I thought she did it for me; but of course, at the end of this experience, it turned out that she did it for herself. C lived in Glasgow for one year. It was a very long year with ups and downs. After one year, C decided to go back to Italy. She was missing her boyfriend and her family.
We had her leaving party. We got massively drunk. Yep, there was lots of alcohol involved so I am pretty sure you know that this part of the story doesn’t end too well. At some point during that night I was about to go to the toilet. Before going, I noticed a few flirts between her and the guy I liked. I remember approaching her “I am going to the toilet, please do not kiss him” like if a friend needs to tell you this!
Guess what? Yes, you are right. I came out of the toilet and they were kissing. It was like a slow sword piercing my heart.
I could not stop crying, I thought I was going to die for how many tears I have shed.
I did not care much about the guy, it was not about him. It was about her. I would have never thought she was capable of doing something similar to me, to her sister. That was my last wake-up call.
I never felt so hurt in my entire life. And it was the best thing it could have ever happened to me. That day I found the strengths to say goodbye to all those toxic relationships I had in my life, including food. That day, I found the strengths to be become who I was supposed to be: Me.
That day, a new Silvia was born.