These past three weeks have been the most difficult since I made the decision to join the Reliant (formerly Fallon) Bariatric program and once again have weight loss surgery. But I guess it actually all began with a dream that started in 1984.
It was summer time and three years since my original stomach stapling surgery. I'd gone from 410 pounds to 175 pounds. I'd been on television and in the newspapers. The idea of losing weight by surgically closing off 85 percent of one's stomach was a new concept and since I'd lost the equivalent of two full grown adults, a small kindergarten class and a partridge in a pear tree... I was once again anything but normal.
By day, I enjoyed the attention and proudly carried my before photo in my wallet to prove that yes, once upon a time I was probably the fattest person in Northern Nevada. By night, my dreams told a much different story.
Although the nightmare didn't happen every night or every week, it did happen the very same way. So it was much like watching a rerun without leaving the television on long enough to see how the story ends. It was during one of the many hospitalizations that I'd had for dehydration, that I mentioned the dream to the therapist who was trying to convince me that eating only 12 sunflower seeds a day was not what the doctors had in mind for reducing my caloric intake.
In the dream I'm aimlessly wandering around the rooms in a big, old, abandoned two-story house. The wall paper, paint and floor design look familiar to me but I can't remember ever living in this house. I can hear a child crying and as I move from room to room, the crying is getting louder and closer. Finally, as I open the door to the last room upstairs I see a little girl sitting in the corner of the room by a window. Her back is to me and she doesn't notice that someone has walked into the room.
She's about six or seven years old and has blond curly hair. The bright warm sunlight shows toys scattered around the floor as though she'd been happily lost is a world of make believe. But now the bitter pain she feels has her frozen and lost in the corner shadows of the room. I move closer to her and as I reach out to touch her, I awaken.
Each night the dream ends the same way. I do not see her face nor do I know her name. I just know that she is scared and in pain. I also know that with every pound I lose, the dream is getting stronger and more alive.
It's now fall and I'm down to 156 pounds. It was the lowest I'd ever weighed as an adult and the same as I'd weighed in the first grade. With the nightmare happening almost every night, the therapist felt it was time to make the dream play out all the way to the end. Since I wasn't successful with other hypnotic attempts with other weight loss programs, the doctor prescribed a mild sedative that would make me sleepy but not unconscious.
Within minutes I was dreaming and walking around in the old house and although I'd had the dream before, each time was as though I were watching it for the first time. I could feel the heat from the hot summer breeze blowing in through the windows. I could smell the musty odor from the rotting wooden attic beams above me. Wandering from room to room, I'd think about the people and families that had lived there before. Then I heard the sound of a child sobbing and followed the noise upstairs.
I once again open the door and listen to her crying as I move towards the corner. It takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust from the bright sunlight to the darkness but I begin to see her image. My doctor tells me to go closer and reach out to the little girl but as I do the pain becomes so intense that I draw my hand back as though I were about to touch an open flame.
Gathering all the strength I can pull together, I reach out one more time and gently touch her shoulder just as I notice the blood on the floor and on her clothes.
It took less than a heartbeat for me to realize that I was the little girl and the pain I had felt was my own rape. The blood on the floor and on my clothes was my own. I was seven years old and the man that raped me held my round little face in his dirty hands as the smell of his drunken breath whispered, "If you tell anyone, I'll kill your family."
I didn't tell. I stayed in that room too afraid to go home. I lied and told my mother I hadn't made it home in time to use the bathroom and messed in my clothes. She told me to take them off and put them in the dirty wash tub. I hid them in the bottom of the barrel where my father burned the trash. She didn't say a word when the clothes seemed to disappear.
I didn't tell but three months later my father was dead. The California Highway Patrolman told us that he'd been killed by a drunk driver. Although I'd kept the pain a secret and never returned to the old abandoned house, I knew deep inside my mind that it was my fault and I had killed my father. Somehow, that man thought I'd told someone.
As the weight came off in 1984 and got closer to the weight I'd been when he raped me, the secret came back up to the surface. It came back in a dream about a little girl.
So for the past three weeks I've been busy writing about the dream and trying to assure the little girl that we didn't need the wall of fat to protect us then nor do we need it now.
Next challenge? When you take away one obsession, the true addict will replace it with another. Learning to live life without addictions. Does anyone smell chocolate or is it just me?
- Wednesday, 28 March 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ginger Costen's From This Corner