I’m the author of ‘Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat’ my story of Bulimia. I’m a writer, speaker, wife, mother, survivor, and advocate for healing trauma and your relationship with food. Over the past year, I’ve realized, not on my own and not without a lot of resistance that the reason I’m here, my purpose, is to help people recover from the pain and self-loathing that leads to food & body obsession.
‘If you want to know if you’re using food as a drug, you first have to put down the food.”
I grew up mostly in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, youngest of three girls to a single mother. I spent years attempting to outrun my childhood trauma, denying that it happened, and using food to cope. It started with yo-yo dieting, exercising compulsively and focusing on perfecting my outsides so that I didn’t have to deal with how I felt on the inside.
“Pain travels through families until someone is willing to feel it” – Stephi Wagner.
I had no coping mechanisms and no idea that my behaviors with food were not the answer. In my mid-twenties struggling with bulimia, anorexia, laxative abuse, and binge eating disorder I sunk into a deep depression. I wanted to die. Fear of confronting the reasons I used food crippled me. What if every negative thought I had about my self and my worth was true? What if I wasn’t loveable or valued? What if the reason I had experienced trauma was my fault? Could I ever let go of perfectionism? Wasn’t I supposed to shut up and suffer in silence? And how could I ever function without using large portions of food, starving or laxatives to anesthetize my shame?
“Uncovering the reasons we eat is as important as what we eat.”
Looking back it’s a miracle that I made it from there to here because I had no coping mechanisms or place to put my feelings. All I had was the food until it got so painful that I had no choice but to deal with what was underneath. My pain was the gateway for me to finding a solution. Diets don’t work for me because they’re too similar to the trauma/bully that controlled my life. Today, as an Eating Disorder, Trauma Activist I have tools to help me cope and access my feelings without bingeing. When I give talks at schools or events, people often share about their troubled relationship with food and the feeling of hopelessness after a history of failed diets. I wish someone had told me earlier that it was an inside job.
“I don’t care what you eat, I care that you get to the bottom of what’s eating you.”
Getting to a place in life where I can eat without losing control was not a straight line, but along the way I developed tools to help that don’t include dieting and negative thinking. Life comes with challenges and food will always be the way I gauge my feelings, but today I use that as useful information to help me get in alignment with what is going on that I am unwilling or afraid to address. Being vulnerable is key to your recovery, as is deciding that you deserve freedom, and above all, knowing that you are worth it.