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Eat eat eat

As I walked with Gloria around the little loop in the compound, now weighing easily over 200 pounds I wondered how it had all gotten so out of control. I was in my 8th month of pregnancy but this excuse had been used throughout the years and now I weighed a good 90 pounds more than I had in college. Weight had always been an issue in my life but with each passing pregnancy extra pounds had been easily added on. I had five babies in 6 short years so there wasn’t much time in between to hit the gym and lose the weight. I settled in to the busy role of mom, and life moved along without thinking about diet or exercise. But now as my hips and back ached I thought about this sore subject that had followed me for years.

I stood and barked like a dog with a little woof woof, the whole class erupted in laughter and the focus was then switched to the class bully who only moments before had made a comment I had become accustomed to hearing. “ Lynn could use Cycle 4 dog food for over weight dogs, ha ha get it??? ” her voice rang out in the 7th grade home-Ec class, everyone sat staring at me, waiting. The whole room tensed and a sick silence fell as they all focused their attention on the opposite side of the room. Students stared at me while I sat nervously tapping my pencil against the desk. All eyes boring down on this 7th grader who stood at 5 foot 2 inches and weighed a mere 105 pounds.  It had all been said before, “pleasingly plump” “chubby” and of course, “over weight”.  I did what I had learned to do after many comments like this one, I  stood with ease and made my snarky retort .

It was my second year of University when I made the decision to shed the 25 pounds I had gained in high school. I woke at 5 a.m to swim at a near by pool, jog and walk around campus, drastically cutting my calorie intake. I lost the weight and faced the fact that I was not fat. My sister looked me over and informed me that I had a “fat” image and needed to change how I felt about myself before I would be successful in keeping this weight off. She challenged me to really look at myself and see who I was.  Looking back I had never really been “overweight” until I hit high school and I gained 25 pounds. Still I had spent my youth hearing every bit of advice regarding my fat body. I was an extrovert but had grown shy to enter a room or sit with people who I knew would make jokes about fat.

The following summer is when I met him, a thin, well mannered, beautifully tan and soft spoken man. We spent that summer locked in a lover’s bliss that only true love can elicit. I had transferred Universities to be near him and continue with our relationship. Over the summer I had gained back 5 pounds of the 25 that had been shed. As school started I got back into my routine and lost the weight easily. I started exercising again and vowed to continue to be at my best and healthiest. Our communication was accompanied by hand gestures, dictionaries and often his friends with better English threw in the odd comment to help out. He had been in the U.S. for 2 years but his comprehension and verbal skills were still rough. One message I got very clearly was that I needed to eat. He insisted on feeding me and wanted me to be “healthy” as he put it. At first this was endearing and sweet that he cared so much and didn’t seem to care about my weight.  But I was happy with my new body image and chugged along sticking to the plan. I didn’t have a scale but a tight pair of jeans did nicely to gauge whether I had gained or lost. The school year started at the new University, classes were large, sometimes 500 students, strange faces every where as I had left my jazz singing buddies behind. Fall leaves were making their way to the ground, creating a colorful blanket under trees and holidays would soon be approaching, but I still forged on and kept my promise to be healthy. We got to know each other better and he proved to be the man I had dreamed of. He was kind to a fault, he stood beside me at the grocery store unable to chose a salad dressing to purchase, pushing me to make all decisions. He was strong in many ways, he was not afraid of anyone or anything and encouraged me to stand up when I felt weak. We spent our days separated by 10 miles being at different University campuses, but he still came to see me every couple days. As Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas approached  he easily took part in every festivity. He purchased a 14 karat gold necklace, a leaf, lined with intricate details hung from a delicate chain.  He did not have money, his father owned a shop in Damascus, Lira did not go far in America. He still he insisted on buying gifts for me and for my parents. Life was sweet being lost in a haze of love and romance. As each day passed I felt more and more enthralled with him, his life and his background. The only constant disagreement we faced was over my calorie intake, a small issue it seemed.  I managed to stick with my new healthy image for several years and stood my ground on this issue. As time went past and I had several pregnancies it seemed lovely and sweet that he did not care as others had about my weight.

Each tear made a drip drip drip down onto the plates and into the kitchen sink. They fell into the sudsy water, melting and gone forever. Tears mixed with soap and water, tears of confusion and sadness as many tears are.  The clanking of dinner plates, the tiny scrapes of forks and spoons, happy sounds of eating together, a family. Sounds of giggles and laughter echoed in the empty space. Only a dining room table purchased from “as is” and 8 chairs stood in this bare and vacant room. Things had come full circle 15 years after moving to Riyadh and we were back to where we had started. The older kids did not laugh, now adults, they sat, sullen faces, moving bits of food around on their plates pretending to eat. They glanced to the kitchen where their mother stood hunched over the sink doing pots and pans from that night’s meal. She swept and mopped and finally came in to collect the dishes. Her eyes were red and it was obvious she had shed tears but she smiled and collected plates. She was no longer allowed to eat at the table if she refused to eat the meal she had prepared, banished until she came to her senses and quit trying to lose weight.

142 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alice #

    HE had so much control over you! What a changed man from the man you dated and fell in love with to the man you married! But you did as most women do, including myself, stay with them. After all, our vows were for better or worse!! Keep up the writing, Lynn. I pray you will help other women from your experience!

    Liked by 3 people

    October 21, 2015
  2. Lynn- my heart broke for you as I read the last paragraph. What a description… I felt as though I was watching through a window as the scene played out before my eyes. How far you’ve come! Literally, thousands of miles away from that place and figuratively, your voice is being heard through your stories and recipes. Not only are you “seated” at the table, you are at the head!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  3. We do tend to push food on people as a sign of love. That extra weight is hard on your heart and your joints. We no longer seem to eat to fulfill our needs – it has become a matter of social dictates. Some tricks that I use, Lynz, – brush your teeth after eating, and skip dessert. Most desserts aren’t worth the calories unless they are homemade. (so I stopped a lot of my bakeing too) When I do bake I will splurge. I exercise everyday too.
    Leslie

    Liked by 3 people

    October 21, 2015
  4. That is so heartbreaking, Lynz. You were punished for making decisions over you own body. I wish I could have hugged you back then. But I do it now. 💖

    Liked by 3 people

    October 21, 2015
  5. Food, weight, love, self esteem… Seems like a common issue for us women. I can see how at a young age – or any age for that matter – how easy it’d been to fall in love with someone that loved you like that and didnt pressure you to lose weight. The fast forward and you see his controlling behavior and manipulative tactics. Awful for you. I’m glad you broke free and eat where and when you want. Xo

    Liked by 3 people

    October 21, 2015
  6. Controlling men have no place in a real mans society. All it shows is a total lack of respect for others they are supposed to care for and love. They are immature and childlike never fully understanding that things could be so much better if only they let the other person spread their wings and fly.
    Well done for taking your life back Lynz, you must be so much happier now.

    Liked by 5 people

    October 21, 2015
  7. Wow what a monster!

    Liked by 2 people

    October 21, 2015
    • well at first it seemed so nice, I heard about weight non stop jokes, after my senior pictures, the photographer called me said they were done, but added I had looked like quite a cow so he would do a reshoot for free! so I heard it always, having him not care I thought was love!

      Liked by 1 person

      October 21, 2015
      • The photographer was rather bold, don’t you think???

        Liked by 2 people

        October 21, 2015
        • I do, but at that time I was just embarrassed, I had gained about 20 pounds not big really, so I went back and did the pictures again, if that happened to my daughters!!!!!!!

          Liked by 1 person

          October 21, 2015
          • Ah Mama Bear comes out I can relate!

            Liked by 1 person

            October 21, 2015
          • yes no way!! I tell my kids you are all beautiful inside and out and it does not matter, the outside beauty fades!

            Liked by 1 person

            October 21, 2015
          • Words can cut like a sword! Unfortunately some people can not choose their words carefully. It is disturbing. Too many people mind other people’s business too much. They need to focus on themselves. Nosy bodies I call them. I have no problem setting them straight!

            Liked by 1 person

            October 21, 2015
  8. I’m with Cameron, control is a sign of weakness. Actually no-one be they man or woman, parent or child should control – it is an isidious form of bullying. And yours was quite the expert. Great episode. Great story. I’m just sorry you had to live it …

    Liked by 2 people

    October 21, 2015
  9. Oh my goodness, Lynn. I feel for you. I spent my school years being tauned for my weight. Of course it’s still a struggle. I can’t imagine being banished from the table like that. That man was an evil genius. Of torturing you. You were a hostage your whole married life!
    Now that you’re in America, do you feel free yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  10. I just want to give that woman crying at the sink a big hug. In hindsight, you see how controlling and abusive that relationship was, so there’s no need to point it out. I’m so glad you freed yourself. It takes unbelievable courage when you have a host of kids to keep safe and reside in a culture that keeps you dependent. My cheers to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  11. Uhh! This story is so upsetting! 😦 It’s a good story but it’s just really upsetting.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  12. Oh…this “chapter” surely hits home for me having struggled my entire life with weight issues. For me, the “him” in my life was not okay with a few extra pounds. I spent most of the years my children were growing up dieting (aka: starving myself) subsisting on lettuce and hard boiled eggs to be thin enough. As women I wish this was not an issue on either extreme, for we risk becoming obsessed by it. To not allow you to dine with the family is the final blow though. How sad for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  13. I believe that it was out of love and trust that you gently handed the reins of your life over to him only that he emotionally abused it by turning about face and becoming an entirely different person from the gentleman you fell in love with. Mama, your strength and resilience shines through and your words will offer succour as well as much needed comfort to others in need. You are victorious because you came out stronger, refined and undefeated! Much love 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    October 21, 2015
  14. Oh Lynn, I wish so much I could have given you hugs back then, too! You are beautiful and such a precious friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  15. You are really so amazing a woman Lynz, big hugs to you. I hope for you to gain your totally freedom, so you don’t need to fear, that he will be back again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  16. Always so moving, Lynz.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  17. This for me is the most hard hitting post yet Lynz. You are now a prisoner in your own body, not being able to control anything, not even your weight!
    Is this a cultural or control thing – or both……
    I think that weight and culture is very interesting and only today I was reflecting upon this.
    In the UK, I was in the slimmest 10% here I am in the fattest 20%. I colleague gave me a packet of 4 small biscuits last week and I just took one, saying that I had gained 2-3 kgs since moving to France 6 years ago (about 5lbs!).
    In the UK they would say ‘go on eat them, you can afford to, there is nothing of you’ here, she snatched the biscuits from me and all the other women in the office began telling me how I must take care, and offering to come running in the lunch break with me and telling me to stop eating cheese!
    I am a size 10-12 in the UK 38 in France, not sure what this is in US – maybe 8? and weigh 130 lbs
    All I can say is that from the bottom of my heart I am so glad that you are now free to be as thin – or fat as you like. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    October 21, 2015
    • thank you so much! I think it t might be culture old times, they thought ok your fat thats fine, your thin ok, but for him I see now control.For four years not allowed to eat at the table, I said ok I will eat salad, he said then me and the kids will eat that as well I siad no the kids need more nutrition, so I didnt sit there, then I agreed to eat, then he said do not speak to my kids at the table!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      October 21, 2015
  18. This just beggers belief, I can’t begin to imagine how that must have felt. I am heartbroken for the woman who was, but so proud t know the one that is xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  19. This one was a heartbreaking one to read. Like many of the commenters, I do wish that I was there to hug the woman in the kitchen. How trapped you must have felt at that time. He sounds like a very different person at the end of this then when you first met. Do you think he was always this way or did he develop these controlling issues over time?

    Liked by 2 people

    October 21, 2015
    • I have tried to figure it out. I think that was just him but abuse just gets worst over time. And that is what happened. I would never have thought that would be us. we had the “perfect” family. But once my boys left, my first huge act of defiance, things got very bad. As long as I went along things were ok but I could not let my boys be stuck there, locked in. So I sent them to the US for school, their country. As soon as I stood up for myself things just got worst, he was losing control.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 21, 2015
      • Before my husband, I was with someone for 5 years who was very similar in nature to what you experienced, and it progressed over the years. I think once the “barrier” was broken and damage had been done, it was easy to revisit it over and over again, each time getting worse.Having control over someone is a complicated thing and the less of it someone like that has the harder they try to grasp at it, no matter how irrational it may seem.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 21, 2015
        • wow so you can understand it! yes I think once they start losing the control then things get desperate.

          Liked by 1 person

          October 21, 2015
          • Completely agree

            Liked by 1 person

            October 21, 2015
          • and as you said once you they pass that barrier all is lost

            Liked by 1 person

            October 21, 2015
          • Yes, exactly. Initially when harsh things were said and done there were apologies but after time the “shock factor” wears off

            Liked by 1 person

            October 21, 2015
          • that is so true so true, he would go to a new level then step back and then forward again with more, you really do know! sick cycle

            Liked by 1 person

            October 21, 2015
  20. Lynn, you are such a powerful writer. This brought tears to my eyes, made me want to take your hand out of the sink and bring you to the couch so you could cry on my shoulder. Much love and hugs to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    October 21, 2015
    • ohhhhh thanks so much! I spent 4 years like that.After my sons left for college he was pretty mad. he didnt want them to go but I insisted so things got much worst. Thanks for the love and hugs!! It helps! hugs back!

      Liked by 1 person

      October 21, 2015
  21. You are such an incredible woman. I don’t know how you sit and write these things without breaking down. The way you tell the story is so fresh it’s like it just happened and I can’t imagine the pain you must still feel from time to time. But I hope you know by sharing your story others will draw on your incredible strength. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    October 21, 2015
    • Thank you I sat today as I re read and corrected and tears flowed. I feel bad for my kids having to feel this. My 23 year old helps me edit and she actually laughed and so did I because now it seems so ridiculous. Thank you for reading and always commenting! It really helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      October 21, 2015
  22. The last para is so heartbreaking Lynn ! I’m at a loss for words ! I really admire your strength and courage , not many people can be as tolerant .. Loads of hugs 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  23. Sending hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  24. Hugs from me too x

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  25. A very gruelling story that grips the heart, Lynn. I find stories about such controlling people very disturbing, and wonder what it is that makes someone want to exert such control over others. Perhaps its a feeling of inferiority in themselves – so that making others look and feel small makes themselves (in their own eyes) look good. They obviously want to dominate. I wonder how his treatment of you affected the children. You said they became quiet and sullen. They must have hated to see their mother treated s badly, and living in constant faer. No matter how you tried to shield them from it all, they would have known. And not wanting you to lose weight, knowing how much you wanted to, was just wicked. Thank you for sharing this, and writing it all so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  26. Hugs Lynz!! Your wonderful just the way you are 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  27. I wish I were where you are now to give you a great big hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  28. I wish I could have hugged you then. I wish I could hug you now.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  29. You’re the bravest woman ever!!! You’re so strong. You are what all women strive to be. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
  30. Oh my….said the spider to the fly….what a complete control freak…and he was smooth…mine was just the opposite…I was in a size 10 when I met my asshole, and after my pregnancy I started to gain, as he tried to control me more I felt the only control I had was over what I put in my mouth…in retrospect I was only hurting myself, but at the time I couldn’t see that….I am so, so, so sorry for all the pain this man put you through..and that your children had to witness this, I am guessing they are not the keen on their fathers action towards there mother…….I hope you tell yourself everyday what a wonderful, beautiful woman you are, and you are one of the most fierce mama bears I have ever come across….nutin but luv for you sister…hugs….hugs….hugs….another chapter done in your memoirs of your Saudi life….glad you got that one out…..thinking of you…….kat

    Liked by 1 person

    October 21, 2015
    • thanks dear Kat, it seems to be one extreme or other for people like these! I feel sad my kids had to watch and the older ones have no interest at all!! hugs to you dear!

      Like

      October 21, 2015
  31. You are so brave to put up with this for so long, but well done to finally make a break. Enjoy your life and your freedom. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  32. Your last paragraph is heartbreaking. We can all feel some of that pain. Hugs to you, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  33. Another moving post, I appreciate your strength.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  34. Thanks for sharing your story, Lynn. What starts out as love, interest, concern, etc slowly turns to control. I’ve had similar situations in prior relationships. The changes were slow and subtle so I wasn’t sure if it was controlling and inappropriate or if I was being too sensitive. Ugh. I never doubt my gut anymore. Glad you’ve taken your body back!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  35. Oh Lynn, I hate that you had to deal with these issues. On the brighter side your words can help many. As always thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  36. I am so sorry you had the awful struggle with your husband’s controlling ways. Love and congratulations for breaking free and being your own self. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  37. I am SO GLAD that this has received such a massive response.
    It goes to show just how caring a world wide community can be.
    Well done for sharing Lynz but even better well done for getting out.
    I will end by agreeing with all the above comments and also wishing you luck as you get your life back to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  38. First of all, this story definitely didn’t go the way I anticipated! Secondly, I initially noticed that no one was smiling in the pic and you mentioned that in the story. How sad that a whole family can get together for a meal yet it be such a dreadful occasion!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  39. It is no laughing matter, but I guess time and distance allow you and your daughter to look back in some relief to be out of that situation. You are a powerful voice for women (people) under the influence of control freaks. They exist all over the world and some cultures reward them for their cruelty or at least look the other way. I am SO GLAD you got yourself out of there.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
    • Thanks well it was a sad kind of weird laugh you know the kind we both just started laughing like wooo thats crazy, thanks i hope i can be that voice

      Like

      October 22, 2015
      • You ARE that voice! Yes, the laugh or you might cry kind of laugh, I suppose. I really enjoy your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 22, 2015
        • Yes sometimes I just think too much am too worried then I think,this is all absurd or was ridiculous to be in such fear an invisible fence. So a good laugh to lighten things up. Thanks I like your writing so much! Just saw my son race at faragut.

          Like

          October 22, 2015
          • Never demean yourself, Lynz. You’ve suffered enough. You were groomed at a young age and at a very vulnerable time of your life. HE may have been absurd, but your ultimate strength of character trumped his absurdity. You have provided your kids with a wonderful role model of how to change that which can be changed.

            Liked by 1 person

            October 22, 2015
          • Thanks 🙂

            Like

            October 22, 2015
  40. He comes from a culture that sees women as breeders so his attitude about seeing the woman he identified as a potential breeder must be fed well.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  41. I finally read it. I am at a loss for words for what you’ve been through, Lynz. It’s so sad, really. I am in awe of your tolerance and courage. You didn’t give up. He did not deserve you at all. He took advantage of your love. I am just glad that you now live in the US. I hope things get better for you and that God compensate for all those years of emotional torment and continue to watch over you. Nothing can compare to what God in store for you and your kids. I believe you will be rewarded in a great way. Take care, Lynz. Hugs!!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  42. I am so sorry, so sad. How difficult for your children to see. They must be very happy for you now.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  43. Wow, 5 babies in 6 years! You are such a survivor. The last paragraph made me so sad. What mixed memories for you…

    Like

    October 23, 2015
  44. Oh my God Lynz this is such a heartfelt story -I wish to come and give you a biggg hug… you are so amazing friend… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    October 23, 2015
    • Thanks so much Chitra I would love a hug 🙂 you are a wonderful friend as well!

      Like

      October 23, 2015
  45. Oh my Lord, I am appalled.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 23, 2015
  46. This seems like a totally weird problem – what was his issue if you are trying to be healthy? Did he want you to feel less of you so he could take control of you? Sorry I came across as rude but couldnt contain my anger. My heart goes out to you, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2015
    • Oh no you are exactly right! I guess this was the plan from the beginning but I don’t know! I think he took advantage of my feelings and insecurities about my weight! thanks for reading and giving your insight!

      Like

      October 26, 2015
  47. Hey there! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 11, 2017

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