Sunday, September 27, 2009

To my Daddy

On the IPOD "La Isla Bonita" by: Madonna

I want to start off by saying that I love my father. We had an amazing relationship and I miss him terribly, but I feel that there is a lot I need to make peace with. I have been wrestling with the right time to talk about all of this and it really wasn't until a friend of mine commented about her own struggle that I realized that I needed to deal with this now.

Looks were always very important in my house mainly because we were representing my father. Unfortunately for me I could never play the part. I could never fit into the right clothes and when I did they never looked right. I can't even count the number of times that I was bribed with money and clothes to lose weight. At one point I even made a deal with him that if he quit smoking I would lose weight. These bets always ended up with me gaining weight...because it wasn't about the food it was about control. My dad constantly asked my mom, "Have you discussed Amanda's weight with her?" Almost like he didn't think I knew that I was overweight... I have spent my life trying to be accepted by him. He loved music so I became a singer and a good singer at that. But he would make remarks about how I should lose weight so that I could become famous. I became a chef and worked my way up to working for the elite in the Dallas area but it was never good enough or at least I never felt like it was good enough. He made me feel like I was limiting my possibilities of being the best all because I was "choosing" to be overweight. Now this didn't stop him from making biscuits every weekend. And he didn't change his diet so that I even had a remote chance of losing weight. But I was made to feel like I was choosing to hurt him or trying to embarrass him.

When he passed away I felt extreme sadness of course, but I have to tell you that I also felt like maybe a weight was being lifted off. The summer after he died I lost about 30 pounds. The response I got from the world around me was, "Oh Amanda, your dad would be so proud he had told us how much HE wanted you to lose weight." or "Your dad must be looking down at you smiling about how great you look." These were my parents friends, people who had no clue the battle I had been fighting for 30 years. I kept wondering how they could say this stuff to me...didn't they realize that it made me want to quit trying? Why didn't everybody just say, "you look great!" and leave it at that. I wanted to be accepted for me! I didn't want to change for him, it was for me! I hate that I spent my life trying to control my relationship with him with food. I hate that I didn't feel unconditional support.

The truth of the matter is that he probably never really knew or understood the way that I felt. He thought that he was helping me with all the bribes and the constant discussion of how beautiful I could be if I was just thinner. I don't blame him for all of my weight problems so please don't think that, but I do feel like I need to forgive him. So I forgive him, I forgive him for not being there for me in the way that I needed. I forgive him for having expectations that I felt were unreachable. I forgive him for not fully appreciating who I am as a person because it was just too difficult for him to get past my weight. And I forgive him for letting the way I look embarrass him. I love him with my whole heart and I wish everyday that I could just have one more minute with him. It is hard to sit here and not just cry...cry for the battle that I face with my own body everyday and cry for the countless hours that I have wasted feeling this way.
xoxo chef a