Eating My Way to Heaven - Chapter 4

eating2heaevn By eating2heaevn, 10th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Recovery & Coping

His chapter chronicles my struggle as a depressed teenager, overweight, a stranger in a strange land.

From Yous Guys to Yual

The three years following the Alexander’s incident are pretty much gone from my memory. I don’t remember most of my teachers or classmates. I recall little or nothing about the sports I played or the activities I participated in. I can’t even remember any crushes or boyfriends I had, other than the “too shy to hold hands” guy, Robert. I walked through those years an empty shell.
In the middle of my freshman year of high school in New York, I was informed that we would be moving to Houston, Texas. David had been asked to develop a safety division for Texaco. To his credit, I recall his being quite overwhelmed by the whole thing. He admittedly knew nothing about the department he was about to create and head up. But as the consummate professional that he was, he ended up doing a stellar job. In later years I found the courage to master many projects that were out of my league. I thank my father for that courage. As you can see, the love/hate relationship I had with him has been the source of much of the turmoil in my life.

The land of red sweaters

My parents had decided to wait until the end of the school year to make the move so as not to disrupt my studies. I was anxious to go, considering my father’s heartfelt comment about how I would be spoiled in Texas. I spent many nights dreaming of the horse he would buy me and the beautiful country estate we would live on. I thought a change of venue would change my life. Oh it did, but it wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned.
We ended up living in a very pretty place on a championship golf course. Fabulous, if you happened to be sixty or better and have a wardrobe of plaid pants and fire-engine-red sweaters. Not exactly a teen haven.
I made one friend in Texas before I ever even left New York. My parents had gotten Susan White’s name and address from the real estate agent. We became pen pals. Her family lived just a few blocks from our new house.
Our first day at the house, we found that the furniture hadn’t shown up yet (it was basking in the Kentucky bluegrass or someplace), so my parents decided to go off to the nursery to get some shrubs and plants. They left me behind at the house.
The temperature was a moderate 110 degrees, typical for August in Houston, as I was to find out. I was standing in the backyard (which actually was the rough of the fifth fairway of Champions, one of the top golf courses in the country) when a golf ball came flying into the yard, barely missing the wall of windows on the back of the house. Not knowing squat about golf, I picked up the ball and chucked it back onto the fairway.
A few minutes later, here came Mickey Rooney, in the most ridiculous outfit I have ever seen, looking for his ball. He was quite pleased to discover where his shot had landed (with a little help from a friend). I was thinking, “Cool. The first person I met in Texas is a movie star. This place is gonna be a blast!”
A little while later I noticed a whole group of black men coming down the fairway with golf bags slung over their shoulders. I burst out laughing. My father was the most bigoted person I’d ever met. I thought, “Wait til David sees the neighborhood he bought into. This is great!” It turned out that on Mondays they would let the caddies play the course.

What's your naa...yah...mmm honey?

My next encounter was with Agnes Weeren, the real estate agent. She was a pip and as pure Texan as they come. Agnes had the beehive hairdo, that wonderful knack for hospitality they all seem to share, and the thickest drawl I have ever heard. My mother used to joke, “How do you make a three syllable word out of Pat?” (Pat is my mother’s name.)
Although I haven’t seen Agnes since I was a teenager, I hear she still circulates this story too. I don’t know if I can do it justice on paper, but I’ll give it a go.
My parents had gone to Texas to house hunt without me, and apparently Agnes had gotten the impression that they didn’t have any children (my siblings were no longer living at home). That first day in Texas, while I was alone at the house, Agnes stopped by. She introduced herself and asked me my name. I replied, “Denise.”
She noted, “That’s (pronounced “they ats”) nice honey, but what’s your naa…yah…mmm?” (Another three syllable word.)
I repeated, “Denise.”
I didn’t speak the language. After some further discussion I finally deduced that she thought I was trying to relate to her that I was their niece. And so it began. That was my first day in Texas. Besides being scorched by the heat, I had concluded that my father had bought a house on the wrong side of the tracks, met a movie star, and was now convinced that I was in a foreign land, unable to communicate with the natives.


I was excited about meeting Susan. I had developed quite a fondness for her through our correspondence and a phone call or two. She, too, was a native with a southern drawl, but hers was adorable, not impossible to decipher.
By this time, puberty and my sugar addiction were taking their toll on me. I was a little overweight, had short, uncooperative hair, mild acne and my self-esteem was in the dirt. The new breasts were quite large now, offsetting my excess weight a bit, but I would have gladly traded them in for a size-four body and clear skin.
When my mother showed Susan into my room, I stared. Son-of-a-bitch if she wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous. Susan was tall and thin. She had porcelain skin with just the right splash of freckles and legs that went on for miles. Goody. If that wasn’t bad enough, she was so sweet that I couldn’t find it in my heart to hate her. God knows I tried. Worse still, she was aspiring to go to modeling school.

More beautiful chics

I had a knack for befriending the most beautiful girls in the school. It must have been a manifestation of that invisible me that had ceased to “be.” Try hanging out on a Friday night with two or three of the most beautiful females on the planet and see how much attention you get. Actually, the guys gave me a lot of attention. They wanted inside tips on how to get in so-and-so’s pants. Instead, I ran interference for my friends and began my career as a caretaker/bodyguard.
Cindy Sempe and Kathy Abbott were two of the most stunning females I have ever met. We all sang in the choir and hung out together. Cindy had black, silky hair down to her butt, gigantic brown eyes, a tiny little body and a radiant smile. Kathy Abbott had thick, blond hair down past her waist, enormous “come hither” blue eyes and a body like Pamela Anderson’s (except Kathy’s breasts were real).
They both sang like birds. I sang okay. I was the smart one, the funny one, the tough one. Much as I wanted to hate them too, I loved them. I learned a lot by hanging out with them. I would have lopped off my right arm to look like either of them, but their beauty did have a price.
They were a lay, or a trophy, that almost every male wanted to score. Some of the really cool guys they were interested in never even asked them out, evidently suffering from the “she’d never go out with me” complex. Cindy and Kathy were rarely admired for their wit, their talents or their opinions. The guys couldn’t see past their physical beauty and the girls hated them for it.


As if Susan, Cindy and Kathy weren’t bad enough, Farrah Fawcett’s family lived down the street. I vividly remember my father remarking one day, in my presence of course, “Her parents are so lucky to have such a beautiful daughter.”
Despite the fact that I had a lot of firsthand knowledge about the pitfalls of beauty, I still believed it would gain me my father’s approval. I’m no ugly duckling, by the way, but admittedly a notch or two down the scale from Farrah, Susan, Cindy or Kathy. have its price.
I was a good student, aspiring to go to medical school. I sang in the top choir in the state, designed a lab manual for the science department, played the piano and the guitar, played a number of sports well, and was the youngest assistant manager that Big H Fried Chicken ever had. It seemed that none of that stacked up against Farrah’s beauty. That comment did more to drive my addictions and my eating disorders than any other event in my life. It stayed with me like a record with a scratch, playing endlessly in my head, for twenty-five years.

When Farrah made a couple of questionable appearances on late-night TV a few years back, the tabloids claimed that she was high on cocaine and crucified her. I felt guilty for wishing her ill all those years, and finally let it go. I’m sorry Farrah; it wasn’t your fault.
Farrah obviously has aged gracefully (She was alive at hte time of this publishing). I can’t help but wonder how Susan, Cindy and Kathy have fared. I sincerely hope that they are all healthy, happy and as beautiful as Farrah. But now that I am sleek, with clear skin and long hair, I have to admit that it would be poetic justice to find them all overweight and saggy, with bobbed haircuts.

Descent into hell

Halfway through my first year in Texas, which was my sophomore year of high school, came another of those life-altering events. I was told that I would be participating in a fund-raiser for the choir. They handed me a box of those over-sized chocolate-almond bars to sell, twenty-five pounds of them. That is akin to giving an ounce of cocaine to a coke addict to sell for charity and saying, “Now don’t do any.” Yeah, right! I may have sold a bar or two to my parents or a neighbor, but should the truth be known, it is my recollection that I devoured the bulk of them.
Having to pay for the chocolate bars out of my own pocket was nothing compared to the twenty-five pounds I put on, the vicious acne I got, and the negative emotional roll it put me on. With each pound I gained my father became more distant. He was dreaming of a child who looked like Farrah Fawcett; I was not even close to measuring up. He not only didn’t speak to me (a longstanding habit by now), his energy reeked with disgust.
My mother turned me on to saccharin and my father made little remarks to try to curtail my eating. If I ate too much or reached for a snack, he made some snide comment. If I skipped a meal, my mother would insist I eat. I couldn’t win.
I truly believe they meant well. They knew my being overweight in college and in the work force would hold me back, but their efforts just made matters worse. I did more drugs, more alcohol and more junk food.
I turned to God, that ever-present voice that had guided me through childhood, that love and presence that I could always count on. I prayed and prayed. The voice had stopped. The presence was gone.
I got angry with God. I raged at him, “How could I have ever believed in you? A loving God would not let children be treated the way I have been treated. A loving God would not ignore the call of a desperately lonely teenager.
How dare you abandon me now!” I became an atheist and entertained thoughts of suicide. It was as if I had this little devil standing on my shoulder who kept a constant, negative, running dialogue going; a litany of my father’s voice and my own, expounding the shortcomings of Denise. I couldn’t stop that voice and I couldn’t hear God’s. But apparently God could still hear mine. He sent my brother home. I had an ally.


Just before we had moved to Houston, Sam had run away from home. He had made it to California and found work as a chauffeur for a wealthy doctor. Once back in Houston, Sam rented a small house, which I helped him decorate. We painted a mural in the bathroom, shellacked the kitchen walls with old newspapers, plastered black light posters everywhere and filled the waterbed. It was our oasis. Just as the last can of paint was being drained, Sam got busted. He was arrested for possessing half a joint of marijuana.
The district attorney gave Sam two choices — go to jail or join the Air Force. After we finished white-washing the freshly decorated house, Sam headed off for Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, after doing time (apparently they call it boot camp) in Biloxi,

Mississippi. I felt abandoned again. I fell deeper into hell.

My last two years of high school are pretty much a blank. I’m sure the shrinks and psychologists would have a lot to say about this. My read on it is: If you spend every waking moment hating yourself to the core of your being, who the hell wants to remember it!

When I went back to Houston eighteen years later, Sam was really hurt that I couldn’t remember most of the fun times we had shared. All I could remember was that I had two best friends my junior and senior year: Susan Pugh and Steve Fischer. I had a couple of memories of Susan, but considering that we had been inseparable for two years, they were few. She was now working in the oil industry.
Steve had become a prominent doctor and was married to a psychiatrist. I was terrified the day my sister-in-law took me to see Steve at his office. I was afraid that I wouldn’t recognize him. He looked familiar, but if I had run into him on the street I wouldn’t have had a clue who he was, even though physically he hadn’t changed much based on his old high school pictures.
Over dinner that night, his wife asked me what I remembered about Steve. I said that I remembered that we had been lab partners for nine months and hung out nearly daily for two years but I had no memories of those times. Steve showed me a movie that he and I and a bunch of our friends had made together. I had no memory of it and didn’t recognize any of the people. We were both stunned.

Died and went to hell in Texas

High school had not been the “time of your life” for me. I worked long hours and spent a lot of time on my studies and my artwork. I never attended a prom, a homecoming dance or a single school social. I slept with older men who used me for sex after pumping me full of drugs.
Besides its oppressive weather, the language barrier, and my horrible life there, Texas had a few other drawbacks. The bugs were the size of small dogs, the snakes were big enough to saddle and the humidity caused you to sweat like a pig the moment you walked out the door. The way I usually describe my run in Texas is that I died and went to hell for five years. (No offense intended towards those who love Texas. It just didn’t work for me.

Food For Thought

What happened to me as a result of bingeing on chocolate was not unique. We now know that refined sugars depress the immune system and often our mental health and our spirits as well. It is the sudden swing of the hormones (insulin) to balance the sugar in our blood that can actually trigger anger, violence, a psychotic incident, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder and more. (Sugar spelled backwards is ragus – rages us!)
I wasn’t really given a choice about selling the candy bars or I would have declined. I knew I couldn’t control my addiction. Let’s get kids and teens out selling earth-friendly products for fund-raisers, instead of having them peddle this highly addictive substance for cash.
Without a doubt, sugar was a gateway drug for me. If we want to fight the war on drugs we have to look at the reasons that kids get hooked, and address them, regardless of the legality (or not) of the substance they choose. More love, more love, more love is the answer.

Just For Fun

On the lighter side… In tribute to plaid pants and fire-engine-red sweaters, this is a good spot for a golf joke. Reverend Mary Manin Morrissey, founder of the Living Enrichment Center in Wilsonville, Oregon, slipped this one into a recent sermon.
Jesus and Moses were playing a round of golf. When they came to a particularly long hole, Jesus pulled out a seven iron. Moses tried to convince him to use a wood for this drive.
“Nonsense, if Tiger Woods can do it, so can I.”Jesus drove his ball into the water.
“I’ll get it,” Moses said, and he parted the water and retrieved Jesus’ ball.
Jesus wanted to try the drive again. Again he pulled out his seven iron, and again Moses suggested he use a wood.
“Nonsense. If Tiger Woods can do it, so can I.” Jesus drove his ball back into the water.
This time Jesus muttered, “I’ll get it.” He walked across the water, reached down and fetched his ball.
Meanwhile, a foursome had come up behind the pair and witnessed this last scene. One of the golfers said to Moses, “Who does he think he is, Jesus Christ?”
“No,” replied Moses, “he thinks he’s Tiger Woods!”


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Meet the author

author avatar eating2heaevn
My passion is writing about natural health, addiction and human behaviors. I have saved my life twice with conscious living and am devoted to helping others do the same.

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