Monday, March 15, 2010

History of Holly - Part 2: The Teenage Years

If you didn't catch History of Holly-Part 1, read it HERE

Me & Ryan (my nephew) Summer of 1990
(I was 16 years old)

When I was 12 years old, my family packed up and moved from warm Texas (where 2 inches of snow would cancel school for several days) to the North...up to Iowa, the state where my mom was born and raised.  We moved to a university town (U of IA) where my dad took a job as a computer programmer.
I was pretty used to moving, but was sad to leave a school I liked in TX, and my best childhood friend Colleen.   But we made the long drive north - Dad & two older sisters in the U-Haul, Mom and the other 3 kids in the Chrysler LeBaron...which is one boat of a car!  Starting 5th grade in Iowa, I was a novelty because of my southern accent.  So I made friends quickly...and felt special that my classmates sat around me at lunch asking me over and over to say random words in my "cool" accent (which is entirely gone now, by the way).

I liked living in Iowa (which is still where my parents and one of my siblings and several nieces/nephews still live, incidentally).  Iowa City was a big enough town, but yet small enough that it was entirely safe for families and kids.  I remember taking the city bus to the pool with my younger brother and sister...when I was only 12 or 13 myself!  No way I'd let my 12 year old son escort his younger sisters across town on the bus.  Different times.  And, perhaps, I'm a bit overprotective?!

But it was after our move to Iowa that I started to gain weight.  Part of that was simply because I was a pre-teen, just coming into puberty.  Those lovely awkward ages.  I was gaining weight, growing, developing, sprouting pimples and dealing with the new realities of a changing body.  But, this was a time when I first began to comfort eat.  Though I had moved a lot in my growing up years, this move hit hardest of all.  Perhaps it was because it was clear across the country, or because I was so well-rooted in my previous school and with friends in my former TX neighborhood.  And perhaps my changing body added to the self-confidence issues I found myself battling with this new move.  At any rate, I remember making weekly (sometimes more than weekly) trips down to the corner convenience store, where I'd blow all of my $5 allowance on candy, which I'd cart back home and keep hidden in my room, snacking on it all throughout the week.  Soon I started babysitting.  I'd save a portion of my money in an account my mom managed (I later used money I had saved to fly all by myself at age 13 down to Texas to visit my friends).  But another portion I'd withhold to use to buy treats from the store.  I also became quite adept at discovering my mother's hiding places for M&M's, her favorite treat (which she had much better restraint with than I...a pound bag of M&M's can last her 2 weeks or more!)
 Me at my aunt's wedding - probably Summer of 1993
(I am 18 years old)

But I stayed pretty active, playing 3 sports a year, junior high through most of high school...volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in the spring.  So weight crept on, but it didn't become a big issue, at least not right away.

When I was 13 it became pretty clear that my oldest sister was struggling with a pretty severe drug problem.  She ran away from home then and was gone for a week or more.  She was only 16 at the time, and I remember how much it worried my parents as they tried to find her.  I was scared too, even though my parents tried their best to protect us younger siblings from their worry.  My sister came back home, but it was clear that she was heading quickly down a very destructive path.  Another hot & humid summer night, as we all slept in the living room (the only room with a window air conditioner), Debbie was brought home by the police.  She had been beat up by a boyfriend.  I remember my parents talking in hushed voices with the police officer in the dining room, while my sister sat crying, bruised and battered by some boy none of us knew.  I pretended to be asleep, but instead I had tears falling onto my pillow as I worried for my big sister.  The next year she was pregnant with her first child, my niece (who is now 21!).  She had 4 more children in about as many years.  Two she placed for adoption with the same family at birth, the other 3 my parents became permanent guardians of as my sister continued to struggle with drug abuse, despite multiple rehab experiences.  One time my sister disappeared again, only to call my parents weeks later after the group of 'Deadheads' she was traveling with abandoned her at a hospital in Portland after they were all in a car accident, but my sister was more seriously hurt (though she recovered fully).  Though I watched my sister and my parents struggle with this from behind the scenes, it took a toll on me too. 

I decided that I wanted to be as perfect as as not to cause heartache for any loved ones.  And I was a pretty good girl...not getting into trouble, involved in good extra-curricular activities, had good friends, involved in church youth group, etc.  But I wasn't perfect.  And no matter how hard I tried I couldn't ever be.  And that frustrated me and made me anxious.  I remember being talked into going to a kegger party with a bunch of friends.  I hated the taste of beer, but sipped on one anyway to 'look cool'.  Then the party was busted by the cops, and I got cornered into taking a breathalyzer test by the police.  I was sure they'd call my parents and my parents hopes for me would be dashed to smithereens.  Little did I know then that taking 4 sips of beer over the course of 5 hours wouldn't register anything on the breathalyzer.  My parents weren't called, I was allowed to leave.  Meanwhile, I continued to eat...out of boredom, convenience, peer pressure and comfort.

In 10th grade we had an awful volleyball coach.  A bona fide bad one.  After our experience that season, I decided I wouldn't play volleyball anymore if she was going to be the coach.  I went down to 2 sports a year, and went up 15 pounds.  In 11th grade I decided I was done doing track...I was a slow runner and though I did okay at some field events, my heart really wasn't in it.  Now down to 1 sport a year, and up another 15 pounds. 

Summer before 11th grade, I was shocked to hear that a friend a grade younger than me had committed suicide.  He had been drinking and driving the night before, and had gotten caught by the police.  He was arrested and later was bailed out by his parents.  Later that night he locked himself in his room with more alcohol and a shotgun.  He didn't come out alive.  This rocked the world of friends of mine and I...and made me question the choices I made even more.  While my friends dealt with Gabe's death by partying and drinking, I decided to remove myself from that scene.  I stopped hanging out with friends because their only activity every weekend would be drinking...and I wanted nothing to do with it.  As my social calendar opened up, I filled my free time with food.  Gained another 15 pounds.

From junior high on, I felt huge.  I was tall (5'8" in 7th grade).  Friends lightheartedly poked fun, calling me the Jolly Green Giant, etc.  Though my weight for my height was pretty proportionate at the time, I weighed 50 pounds or so MORE than all my itty bitty friends...the ones wearing size 1 when I was already at the high end (size 9 or 11) of the juniors section.  As I went through high school and began gaining extra weight, I felt even more huge.  I remember wearing a size 16 dress to my high school graduation.  Though I look back at pictures now and think I looked beautiful, at the time all I could see was that I was a plus-size girl who had just spilled over 200 pounds on the scale. 

My self-confidence continued to plummet as I went into college and gained not just the Freshman Fifteen, but the Freshman FIFTY instead.  More on that next week in History of Holly-Part 3: The College Years.

Weigh In:  Would like to just gloss on by today's weigh-in, if I could.  It finally happened.  I gained.  Not much, but still a gain.  First gain in ten weeks.  Weighed in today at 270.8, which is a gain of about a 1/2 a pound.  It's not a surprising gain.  I let having company this last week compromise my schedule.  I still worked out 4x this week, but I planned to do 6 workouts.  I also consumed things I try to keep to a rare treat.  Having a ice cream sundae, root beer float, half a piece of red velvet cake, a glass of red wine and an apple martini all in the period of 5 days is not exactly a 'rare treat'.  It is, however, a recipe for weight gain.  Thus no shockers, but thankfully minimal harm done.  Back at it this week!  Shooting for a 3 pound loss or more by next Monday!

C25K Update:  Just finished week 2 last night.  That was jogging for 90 seconds, walking for 2 minutes....for 20 minutes.  However I don't have a watch, so I count off the seconds in my head.  Last night I brought my phone with and at the end of my 6 intervals I looked at it.  Instead of 20 minutes, my 6 intervals had taken 34 minutes!  The upside?  I was actually running longer than 90 minutes.  Downside?  I was walking for longer than 2 minutes too.  I did do over 3 miles though.  But this week has been a challenge, and my shins are starting to hurt a tiny bit.  Trying to be pre-emptive with icing after runs and stuff...I really don't want to get full fledged shin splints!

1 comment:

  1. Couple of thoughts:
    ~"Jolly Green Giant" shot right through my heart. I have an actual journal entry around 7th grade when I was 140 pounds talking about how FAT I was. Like you, I'm tall (5'8) and always felt fat compared to all my friends. I was actually called Jolly Green Giant by friends in middle school too.

    ~Gains can happen. The trick is not letting it become what defines this journey for you. You've accomplished a lot, and will accomplish even more!

    ~Have you visted They have a couple of great podcasts linked up there that will help you run if you have an ipod? I didn't the Christian Indie Track one (which was hit and miss on the songs) and it helped out SO SO SO much!

    ~Finally, I have been DYING to post on your blog. I finally figured out I had to go through Safari (firefox wouldn't let me post). Thank you so much for visiting my blog!