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From My Experience . . .

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I intensely stared at the gold slip of paper. It had my name printed in bold at the top along with my school, a list of my teachers, and, my least favorite feature, my grades in all my classes. With the exception of health, dance, and orchestra, I made straight C’s in all my classes. Seventy-five in English and geometry, seventy-four in Biology, and seventy in geography. Strangely enough, this information did not shock me in the least bit way. I did not classify in the category of the grade grubber who went directly to every teacher asking, begging for a mistake or as a complete slacker who actually took pride in these poor grades. No, I knew the hard, cold truth. I decided not to tell my parents about this failure. If I told them this truth, their satisfaction level would drop. I feared they would stop loving me.

I always wanted to walk home from school. In my town, kids classified each other as ghetto if you rode the bus and a spoiled brat if your parents took you. I played the part of the little bear. Not too hot and definitely not too cold. My transportation came up just right. I became independent and worthy when my family moved not too far from the school. Or so I thought. My high school let out at two forty-five in the afternoon, so I usually arrived home at three fifteen. Since my mom always worked late, I received three hours of study time.

I stepped up to I front door, exhausted from the long walk, and struggled to open the difficult lock. I walked in and I back-pack immediately dropped to the floor. I unset the alarm and let I small Chihuahua outside. Spotting I afternoon snack, I reached for the popcorn mini bag and can of Diet Dr. Pepper. Taking these items I plopped down in front of the TV and quickly turned on a movie. When I finished the popcorn and cleansed the buttery bag with my tongue, I quickly made myself another bag. I made sure it popped quickly and used the spray butter to make it even more delicious. When the microwave gave out a punctual beep, I yanked open the machine door and ripped the paper seal off the bag and began eating immediately. My muscles lacked the knowledge to stop. My soul did not have the will to stop. My mind did not possess the knowledge to stop. The disease grasped me with its evil hand, and quitting seemed simply out of reach, so the popcorn process

I lay spread out on the couch. I ate so much I felt like I got used like a wet tissue. When I started to think of all the homework I had from all four of my honors classes that I had not started on, my cell phone rang.
“Hi Sweetie!” greeted my mom. “How’s your homework coming?”
“Great.” I lied. “How’s work?”
“Awesome!” she sang. “I’m leaving work right now, so I’ll be home in about thirty minutes.”
“Ok. I’ll see you then.”

When I hung up the phone, I raced around the house like a chicken with its head cut off. First, I destroyed all evidence of everything I ate by stuffing it as far down as possible in the trashcan and then changing the bag. Then, I whipped out my homework and did a couple of geometry problems to make it look like I at least started on my homework. After that, I grabbed the room spray and quickly sprayed down the whole entire house, so it smelled of lilac instead of buttery popcorn. Finally, I made my mom coffee to let her think I had time to fool around with hot beverages because I had of course done my homework.

My mom arrived home right on time to see me working oh-so diligently on my geometry homework. She always came home happy to see me. She worked so hard, and it kind of makes you feel bad when she walked in the blazing hot or the blizzard delivering mail while working for nasty bosses, and her kid practiced compulsive overeating instead of doing her homework. Anyway, because I wasted three hours of valuable study time, I stayed up half the night doing my homework. At midnight, I decided to finish my homework in my health class the next day and went to bed.

The next day I came home at three fifteen o’clock like usual. Except for I had a horrible day. I did not finish my homework in health class, so I worked through lunch and still did not get it done. So, I felt crummy and not having had any lunch did not help matters. This upset made me want to eat. Only one bag of popcorn, I told myself, just one. After one bag became four and the bread and butter disappeared and the big bag of sugar remained half empty than before, my three hours of study time ended without progress.

In short, the night ended just like the previous one. So, I ended up here at Postville Hospital. Not because I lost my mind or tried to cut my veins with a saw but my because of the compulsive overeater’s support group that went on from seven PM to eight PM. I walked in to see a round table. A bunch of people, most over the age thirty, came and sat down. They all greeted me and welcomed me to their group. Everyone read a page from their book and spoke of their experience. Before they spoke all admitted they were a compulsive overeater. When my turn came, I read my page. I looked up at everyone. “I guess I’m a compulsive overeater,” I said. “My grades are shot, as well as my dignity and self-respect. I thought I could handle it. I guess everyone thinks that. Life suddenly became harder and more stressful when I ate more. I couldn’t stop. I . . .” I spite of my pride, warm tears flooded out from the tiny hole in the inner corner of my eye. I covered my face with my hands causing myself inadvertently to get raccoon eyes. One member of the group wrapped her arm around my shoulder and told me, “I’ve been there.”



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