Monday, April 21, 2014

The Hunger Games: Not the Story that You Think

Remember how I said that I was going to write more food pieces because of my creative writing class? Well here's another one:

This is not the type of game where the government forced me to battle other kids to the death, as depicted in the books and their movie counterparts. No, it was a battle between my stomach and brain. A battle of "mind over matter".

It was in elementary school when it happened. My family and I had been eating a delicious dinner at The Ol' Spagetti Factory in the city where we live. In the restaurant they had an old train car fitted to have booths for diners. My parents and I were in that old train car eating dinner when it started to get really stuffy and hot. I ate too much food and combining a full stomach with an old stuffy train car did not have a good outcome.

I felt a twinge coming up my throat, my heart started beating wildly as if I'd just finished a marathon, and I ran to the bathroom thinking I'd be sick. As it turned out, that little episode was a panic attack. I'd had them before but I never knew what they were actually called. A week or so passed and nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Then I had another panic attack. I don't remember what caused it, but it was probably food related. After that second occurrence, I found that I couldn't eat anything for fear of another one. This went on for months on end; nearly lasted the whole school year. It got so bad that my mom had to buy me those Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks because I wouldn't eat a single thing.

My stomach was calling for food believe me, but I was too scared to oblige. I couldn't even eat the food at school and that prompted a concerned friends mom to call the school, who informed my mom my lack of eating.

I knew I should've tried, if not for me, then at least for my friend. But I couldn't. Then one day my mom told me it had gone on for long enough. She put a plate in front of me that contained a single buttered waffle and a small bowl of applesauce. And I ate it. Slowly but surely I ate it. After that moment I started eating again.

That span of time will forever be engrained in my mind. As much as I hate it, it's a part of me. So now whenever I don't feel good and don't eat lunch some day, people ask me if I'm anorexic. Really? You see not eat lunch for one day and you say I'm anorexic?

It doesn't matter. I'm my own person. Now that I'm older I think about that moment every once in awhile. And it caused me to have an aha! moment, an epiphany: I was afraid of the fear, not the food.

So that was my Hunger Games. And wow. I've only told a few people over the years and now here I am telling a secret to the world. It was one of the darkest parts of my life but now I can use it as a bright light for my future. And honestly, I'm glad to have gotten this story out there.

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