Let us start at the beginning, shall we?
Imagine the following:
A young woman of 19 becomes pregnant, when she tells her boyfriend of two years, he claims he’s too young to have a kid and then leaves to live his own life. Giving up this baby in any way was not an option for this particular young woman, lucky for me. She has a love for horses. she and her parents and her brother live in the country on the farm, but after the news of the baby, it seems that a change of pace is needed. They decide to move to the mountains, where the young woman and get a job guiding trail rides at a local ranch, basically her dream come true. She gives birth to a healthy baby girl in the spring. In the fall, the young woman, her infant baby, and her father set out across the prairies to start their family’s new adventure. They leave to find jobs and a place for their family to live. Her mother and brother would stay behind and tie up loose ends at the farms and meet the rest of the family in the mountains when their house was sold. That was the plan anyway.
One morning, as the sun was rising, the young woman and her daughter drove with her father to his job. She wanted the car for the day to go shopping while her father worked at the local dump. The baby was nestled in her car seat, facing backward, naturally, while her father drove them down the highway, skirting the edge of the mountain with a clear blue river on the opposite side.
That same morning, a young man, known for his recklessness within the community, was late for work. As he came upon a slight corner in the two-lane highway, several cars stood between him and getting to work on time. It was then that he decided to pass these cars around the bend. That is when he met the young woman and her father.
The young man, only a couple of years older than the young woman had almost completed passing the string of cars in his way. He was in the process of passing the last car, at this point going close to 120km/h, when his vehicle attempted to occupy the same space at the vehicle the young woman, her child, and her father were in. I’m sure you know this, but there is a law in physics that does not allow two objects to occupy the same space at the same time. And so the two vehicles collided. Shortly after the young man collided with the family, the car he was trying to pass also attempted to occupy the same space as the family’s vehicle. This resulted in the engine block of the family’s vehicle finding a new home on the lap of the passenger, in this case, the young woman. Every person survived this ordeal except one. The young woman. Later, in court, other drivers describe the screams that were heard coming from the family’s vehicle. The father’s screams at the EMTs to save his daughter rather than himself. But the EMTs knew better. They knew she was already gone.
Through this all, there sat the infant child, in her car seat. Not a single scratch from the same carnage that killed her mother.
Now I’d like to say that the above story was a work of fiction, that I came up with it on my own, from my imagination. That is not the case, however. I was the infant daughter. I am the one who lost her only parent to a reckless young man who was late for work. Seems a little silly, doesn’t it? I tell you this because this event shaped my life, every aspect of it. The young woman’s father survived, but only barely. He lived in intensive care for more than a month, but slowly recovered. He is wracked with guilt every day of his life. He feels responsible for killing his daughter, though no other person blames him. He suffers from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and still has flashbacks from time to time.
The family spent the five years they lived in the mountains, in court. Fighting for some justice for the young life lost to such reckless behaviour. The young man was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison, but served far less than that. It wasn’t enough, but it was something.
The mother and father of the young woman decided to raise to me as their own. That way I would not be questioned at school for why I lived with my grandparents. To this day they are my mom and dad, I don’t know anything different. They are, however, different people raising me, than they were with the young woman and her brother. So from here on out, the young woman will be referred to as Tina, her brother (which is technically my uncle) will be referred to as my brother Paul, and her parents are my parents, Irene and John.
That was my beginning, and although it may not seem like it, this has a lot to do with my grand narrative surrounding being fat. Let me explain. My parents were in immense grief. They had just lost their daughter and were battling in court and were living well below the poverty line. My mother’s sister owned a very popular and successful restaurant in the area. We ate there a lot. My parents made extra sure that I was fed and happy, because there was no way they were losing me too. So this meant that I ate a lot of rich restaurant foods for most of my young childhood. Don’t get me wrong, I was never a small baby. I was 9lb 9oz at birth. But after that, I never stopped growing. I just got bigger and bigger, my height never being able to quite catch up with my width. I also don’t want to blame my parents for all of it either. I was bullied for being fat, sure. But I developed unhealthy ways to deal with stress, mainly binge eating which I would later discover had progressed into Binge Eating Disorder. But more on that later.