Chapter Two: Losing Patience
Nyle slurred in my face, “You are so ugly. Look at you.”
His breath reeked of beer. Cringing, I turned away and looked at the wall.
He shoved a photograph in my face. “Look at the picture, Tami! Look at how you looked then. You were thin. Now, look at you, you’re fat.” His gaze moved from my head to my feet.
I knew the photograph; it had been taken in a park before we were married. In it, I was about 125 pounds at 5’5. What was I supposed to say? I knew I had gained 80 pounds during my pregnancy. I could see it daily.
With a drunken sway, Nyle walked down the hallway and around the family room while holding the side of the walls to keep his balance. My anger seethed at the way he was treating me, and though I knew my words would fuel his anger, I began to yell too.
“You’re an ASS!”
It was as if the energy of the room exploded. His anger erupted as he picked up and threw the magazines and ashtray across the room. He kicked over the coffee table and kicked it again, slamming it against the couch.
“I fucking hate it here! We’re stuck here and we have no fucking money! I HATE MY LIFE!” Nyle yelled.
In that moment, I didn’t know what to do and his anger seemed uncontrollable as he picked up books that were on the shelf next to the television and threw them across the room. He pulled the pillows off the couch and threw those across the room, too. He seemed to be looking for things to throw and not seeing anything in his immediate reach, he kicked the side of the couch and started to fall backwards and grabbed the wall for support.
Ignoring me, he went back to the kitchen and pulled out another beer. He drank it with an insatiable thirst. I left him and went to the bedroom to be near Bethany, only to hear him hit something before he passed out on the couch.
Later, lying in bed and feeling depressed and upset, I recalled my elementary and junior high school years when I was taunted for being overweight.
The bullying for me began in fourth grade, which is when I began to develop breasts far earlier than most girls. Up until about sixth grade most of the things I remember are of being ridiculed and shunned, of feeling humiliated and ashamed. But things began to get more intense as we all entered the latter elementary school age and one of my most painful memories is of an incident that occurred in sixth grade.
Prior to and into the sixth grade, both boys and girls would come up behind me and snap my bra when teachers weren’t looking, and most of the time I ignored this. But one day, three girls cornered me in the bathroom and demanded that I remove my shirt to prove that I needed to wear a bra. As they made fun of me and continued to corner me, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just kept saying no and kept my hands up to fend them off. One of the girls lifted her shirt to show that she wasn’t wearing a bra. I quickly looked away and I felt ashamed for how I looked…my large body compared to their petite and small-boned ones. Pushing my way through their wall of unity, I stormed out of the bathroom.
It wasn’t until seventh grade that I became reactive; prior to then I was quiet, docile, and certainly I never let anyone see me cry. But one day all my rage and stuffed-away frustration exploded when a boy who had been incessantly taunting me about my weight started in on me when the teacher left the room.
“Look at Tami, she’s fat,” he said laughing, getting the other students to laugh along with him.
“Hahaha, look at Tami. How much do you weigh? A ton?” he and the others continued with their laughter.
After what seemed like an eternity with no one defending me, all of my rage exploded, and I got up from the desk, quickly walked over to him, grabbed his shirt with both hands, and threw him across the room. Tripping over his own feet and attempting to catch his balance, he just looked at me in shock.
The teasing and taunting let up after that—nobody was about to mess with me after seeing just how strong I actually was—but the damage had been done. As the years passed, my body slimmed down and other girls caught up to my level of development, but I remained sensitive to how other people perceived my appearance. And Nyle’s drunken insults added to the damage still unhealed from my youth.
Sighing and wiping the tears from my face, I turned over in bed wondering if we would ever be happy.
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Genre - Memoir
Rating – PG-13
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