I hate leftovers. I hate leaving leftovers in the fridge. I hate if they’re in plain sight and anyone can look at them. Or grab it and eat it. I try real hard not to have leftovers, since I am terrified someone will eat my food. It’s the same with groceries. Buying something for myself usually means hiding it away or making sure no one else in the house will eat it.
My mom is a food addict. Seriously she joined Over Eaters Anonymous or Food Addicts Anonymous. She called it the Nazi Diet. My mom couldn’t stop eating if she was full. She was a out of control emotional eater who would eat a whole cake in one evening or a pound of cherries.
My dad is a less conventional. He loves to eat but he refuses to eat anything until the family has finished–citing that he’ll eat our leftovers. Then he hurriedly shovels food into his mouth, without even chewing, constantly eating whatever is left over on our plates or at the restaurant or some free snacks at an event. He stores it in pockets in large amounts, bringing home enough crackers or pieces of chocolate to feed three children for the next 3 days.
We weren’t poor. We could afford produce and groceries. Milk, bread, meat…but my dad’s traumatic childhood of growing up dirt poor left him in this starvation mode. Where everything had to be stowed away for later. Or bought at dirt cheap prices. Only if you really, really needed it. Doesn’t matter if you’re hungry for chicken nuggets–you’re going to eat pasta because it’s cheap and easy to freeze.
My dad froze everything. Bread, juice, several turkeys…he buy things on sale and freeze them till it was time to eat.
My mom would try and go grocery shopping but anything she bought quickly got lost in the fridge and rotted away. Or if she did cook it she didn’t have the attention span for it so it would get burnt or ruined in some other fashion.
Packing lunch for school was the worse. My mom wasn’t functional in the morning so my dad did everything. Some how he managed to pack me lunch between the ages of 6-8 years young yet always forgot breakfast. I started using the microwave when I was 5 years old. It was only in the third grade did my teacher learn I didn’t eat breakfast–not because it was withheld from me, but rather because my family forgot it was necessary. He eventually intervened and my dad started to feed me hot pockets since those too could be frozen…
Lunch was a frozen piece of bread that was supposed to thaw by lunch time. My dad would smash together a blob of jelly and peanut butter in the center of it and fold it in half. By the time I took it out of the bag for lunch, it was soggy and gross. Kids judge you for the silliest things…like sandwiches. My lunch box wasn’t cute like everyone else’s. It was usually a plastic grocery bag tied up into a knot. I can’t remember what I drank. Maybe Yoohoo?
Not having breakfast in the morning sounds so….crude. So negligent. So….
I was always hungry at lunch, begging the other kids for whatever they didn’t eat. If someone had Oreos I would do anything I could for them. Like lick something gross off the table or dive to the ground for them…anything for an Oreo.
I’ve been in a grumpy mood for several days now….I think it’s because Im trying to get over this ugly experience. I just don’t see the point of getting upset. Yes, it was not ok that I experienced this as a kid…but that doesn’t change anything…right?
Apparently I have to do the whole grieving thing to really process something. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself. I don’t want to be angry at my parents. I know logically it was something they just weren’t well equipped for. I suck at accountability–at acknowledging other people need to be held accountable. I want to not fear that my food is going to disappear. I want to know that I can eat whatever I want without feeling remorse.
I want to know that 7 year old me deserved better. And it’s not my fault for having these odd attitudes about food.
But mostly, I just want to stop remembering all the weird stuff I tolerated, in order to survive, as a kid.