Nobody is Doomed to be Fat
The first time I heard the word “obesity” was in my early teens. My friend’s mom had told us all about it, and she didn’t mean just the physical kind either; she meant the mental kind too. She explained that if you were obese, your brain would function at half its normal capacity. You’d have a hard time concentrating, you might forget things quickly, and you wouldn’t grow up to be as smart or productive as someone with a smaller frame.
I remember thinking that sounded pretty scary.
I never thought much about it again until one day my mother asked me if I wanted to go out for ice cream with her friends. When I said yes, she looked at me like I was crazy because she knew I wasn’t going to lose weight just by eating ice cream! But then I remembered that story my friend’s mom had told me. Maybe I could do something similar…
So I went to the grocery store and bought some frozen yogurt and a bunch of fruit. Then I sat down at the kitchen table to eat them while watching TV with my family. They noticed I was watching a show about diets and asked me what I was doing. When I explained to them what my plan was, they were less than thrilled.
My dad thought it would make me eat even more, my mom thought it was going to be inconvenient, and my brother just didn’t want any frozen yogurt.
As I sat there eating my frozen yogurt while reading labels, I couldn’t concentrate on anything too much. I’d forget what I was reading three paragraphs earlier. I couldn’t remember what my favorite TV show’s characters’ names were. I couldn’t even remember what I just ate ten minutes after finishing it.
Maybe my mom was right; maybe this wasn’t a good idea…
Eventually, my mom asked me if I was going to finish that or if she should throw it away for me. That got me really mad! Nobody tells me what to do! So I ate every bit of it, even the last little bits at the bottom of the cup.
It was hard work and it made me feel like throwing up. Afterwards, I felt tired and wondered if this was how my mom felt all the time. I also wondered if the diet worked.
During school, I would have really long periods where I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do next. I’m pretty sure I forgot to turn in an assignment. And while I was trying to memorize the notes from my last class, some kid behind me kept poking me. Eventually, I got so annoyed that I stood up and turned around to yell at him…only to discover there was nobody behind me!
It was just my paranoid imagination.
I needed to do something about this diet plan…but what?
Maybe my mom knew what she was talking about after all.
As I was coming home from school, I saw a woman sitting on the ground pushing little stones around with her finger. It looked like she was trying to make a circle but she kept losing focus and picking the stones up again. It made me sad to watch, so I tried to walk a different way home.
Unfortunately, there weren’t too many safe ways to get home from that direction, so I had to walk past her eventually. She looked at me and asked me to hold her hand so she wouldn’t start shaking. She said that it had been happening a lot lately and she was really scared that something bad would happen if she didn’t stay still.
It sounded just like what happened with my diet! Maybe all I needed was to stay still for a while so my brain could recover.
But how could I do that and still get home?
I looked around and realized that the closest person to me was the woman. Maybe I could reach her in time before she started shaking.
I ran towards her and grabbed her hand, just like when I was little and mom would hold my hand so I wouldn’t get lost. She thanked me and tried to pick up some of the stones around her but eventually gave up. She was probably really concentrating on not shaking.
“It’s so nice to meet you. I’m sorry, I don’t even know your name.”
I told her my name and asked hers, but she didn’t tell me. Instead, she just started talking about herself. Her name was Karen, she was 33 years old, and she was from Canada. She said that she loved traveling to America to see the trees change colors.
“Right now, the leaves are mostly yellow and red. I love fall!”
I looked around and realized that she was right. There were a lot of trees with yellow and red leaves. I never even noticed before…which is weird since it’s one of the best seasons.
“Yeah, it’s my favorite too! My birthday’s in fall!”
She smiled when I told her that. It seemed that she wanted to say something but was struggling to talk. Eventually, she gave up and just kept looking at the ground. I tried to start a few different conversations, but she wouldn’t answer me.
I didn’t want to bother her since she was having a hard time, so I just sat down next to her and waited.
After a little while, an ambulance came and they took Karen away on a stretcher. I waved at her and she waved back, but she was still looking down. I wanted to tell her that it would be okay and that I’d see her soon, but I don’t think she could hear me anymore.
I walked home alone and thought about everything that happened. It was a really strange day. But even though it was strange, it felt a little…nice. Like when I was talking with Karen, everything just felt right in the world for a moment.
I really wanted to see her again, but I guess I’ll have to wait until next fall to meet her.
I’ll always remember today. It felt a little lonely at first, but now I’m glad I was by myself. Even if it was just a fleeting moment, I liked seeing the world in full color again.
It makes me want to see it all again, even if it’s just for one day.
Maybe…I’ve finally grown up a little.
Wow, this brings back memories. I wish I could say it’s been a great year since I last saw you, Imoto, but that’s not true. I’m still seeing a psychiatrist and taking medication, but things have gotten so much worse since we separated.
The voices in my head never stopped. They still haven’t, for that matter. But as time went on, they got worse because I didn’t have you there anymore to keep me grounded in reality. I began having more delusions on a regular basis.
My thoughts no longer focused on just random people but included places, things, and events—most of which didn’t exist.
My mother still kept up with your family and informed me about your life during the year we were separated. I knew you moved and made a few friends, though they never seemed to last. It was like you were cursed to live a lonely life.
I read in the paper last year your father finally sold the old family store and that you had moved with him out of the city. I know we both said we wouldn’t try to contact each other, but I really wish you had done it anyway.
Who knows how much sooner you could’ve gotten proper treatment if you hadn’t left it as long as you did?
I was in the middle of writing you a letter, but then I heard that you had disappeared. The police found no leads, no suspects, nothing. It was as if you just vanished into thin air.
My mother cried for days after hearing the news. And I’m sure your parents did too. You were the only daughter in a family of sons. Your mother must still think about you every day and wonder what could’ve happened to you…
As do I.
I want to thank you, Imoto, for showing me how beautiful the world could be. Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can still remember the way the sunlight would make the leaves on the trees sparkle and how their color would change with each passing season.
I hope you’re looking at the same skies and stars that I am right now. I’m sure they’re even more beautiful where you are.
Good night, Imoto.
Sources & references used in this article:
Nobody is Doomed to be Fat by CJ Gotcher – breakingmuscle.com
The man nobody knows by B Barton – 2011 – books.google.com
Let nobody turn us around: Voices of resistance, reform, and renewal: An African American anthology by M Marable – 2003 – books.google.com
Nobody in charge: Essays on the future of leadership by H Cleveland – 2002 – books.google.com
Being nobody, going nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist path by ZN Fischer – 2005 – books.google.com
Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn by K Cuthbertson – 2016 – books.google.com