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Big Bottom Blues

Dedication

 

 

This book is dedicated to my Father, Mother, Husband, My Little Girl Lost, Lulu, My Tree, and My Fellow Survivors.

 

Daddy: God took you from me much too soon, but I give Him thanks for the day you looked into my eyes and said, “Bravo my Lulu, bravo!” How different my life would be if you were here to see me now. Love you, Daddy!

 

Mother: Thank you for not aborting me in your womb. Our tumultuous relationship over the years left me with sadness and tears. I know you loved me in your own way. For that I give you thanks.

 

Staffan, My Beloved Husband: Words can never describe the love I have for you. You’ve proven to me that true, unconditional love does exist. Thank you my love!

 

My Little Girl Lost, Now Found and Healed: I will never lose you again!

 

Lulu, My Beloved Swedish Tree: Without your strength and comfort, I would have never been able to write this book.

 

Jamie White Wyatt: Thank you for being God’s light and voice on the subject of Forgiveness. Not an easy thing for me, but your counsel and wisdom have helped me gain clarity and a better understanding of my trauma.

 

My Fellow Survivors, All Around the World: Please continue to stand strong and love yourselves!

 

 

 

 

Table Of Contents

Introduction // 3

 

1 // My Father // 4

 

2 // My House, That Tree, The Broom // 7

 

3 // Not Much of a Happy Home // 11

 

4 // The Rape // 13

 

5 // Pay Back is a Bitch! // 16

 

6 // Social Isolation and Detachment // 20

 

7 // Mirror, Mirror on the Wall // 24

 

8 // My World of Bingeing and Obesity // 29

 

9 // Knock, Knock, I’m at Your Door // 35

 

10 // Getting Real and Finding the Courage to Heal // 39

 

11 // The Healing Begins // 42

 

12 // My Little Girl Lost // 45

 

13 // Coping with the Aftermath of Childhood Abuse // 49

 

14 // Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See? // 52

 

15 // Triumph Through Telling // 55

 

16// Message to My Brother // 58

 

17// Epilogue // 60

 

Acknowledgments // 67

 

About The Author // 69

 

Introduction

 

 

Let’s get real! I’m not going to sugarcoat my journey. My wish is to share my story, as raw and as real as I can.

 

I’ll avoid nice and fancy words. If you’ve experienced similar trauma, you understand there is nothing fancy or nice about abuse.

 

There is no way to intellectualize a traumatic childhood and its lasting, devastating effects on survivors. Too often, we get caught up in trying to say and do things in just the right way, to satisfy and please others.

 

The struggle was, and still is, real. This book is for everyone who has gone through similar experiences. Our experiences connect us in ways like no other.

 

     This book is for anyone who has struggled with loathing his or her body, as a result of rape or sexual abuse. It is for anyone who has looked in a mirror without being able to see handsomeness or beauty reflected back. I understand.

 

My name is Lucie B, and Big Bottom Blues is My Story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

My Father

 

 

I barely knew my father, but I remember his love for me. His name was Jacques.

 

To better understand my story, we must travel back to where it all began. My father died when I was two-and-a-half-years-old. My whole world tumbled down around me.

 

One incident illustrates my father’s great love for me so poignantly, I remember it as if it were yesterday. My dad accidentally locked me in the master bedroom one afternoon. I heard his panicked knock on the door and worried voice begging, “Lulu, open up for Daddy, open for Daddy.”

I ran to the door, pressed my ears firmly against its smooth wooden panels, and listened to my dad’s instructions. Understanding he wanted me to open the door, I climbed on a chair and turned the doorknob.

I fell to the floor as the door swung open. My father, with his big eyes, wide smile, and blazing white teeth, stood before me. His strong arms lifted me off the floor and affectionately threw me in the air with great joy! “Bravo my Lulu! Bravo my girl!” he celebrated. He showered me with t

ons of daddy hugs and kisses.
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It is the one memory of my father I cling to most tightly. As young as I was when that incident occurred, I never forgot that day. I never will. It is the only memory I have of my daddy, before the haunting memory of his funeral.

 

 

 

The Funeral

 

The day of my father’s funeral was the death of *me*. The memory of that day stays with me, like a moth drawn to a furious flame. I remember the dark funeral parlor. It was filled with folks all dressed in black. The men wore red ties, and the women carried red roses. The sounds of lamenting and sobbing were overwhelming.

 

My mom was the focal point of the room. She was visibly distressed. I focused on the massive size of her thighs and legs! Still, I thought, “Oh, how pretty she is!”

 

She was so distraught. Yet, she sat there, so elegantly dressed with perfectly combed hair. The smell of fresh roses and cinnamon incense served as the backdrop for her beauty and misery.

 

My mother was considered a real beauty. She was very proud of that fact. I remember being transfixed by how stunning she was, and wanting so badly to have her gorgeous face.

 

Someone placed a red rose in my hand and walked me over to the coffin where my father lay. A tall, light-skinned, rather severe-looking woman hoisted me up. She asked me to place the rose on my father’s chest.

 

I remember feeling confused and dazed. I saw nothing but darkness all around me. I was staring straight down at my father who, to me, looked like he was sleeping.

 

I was perturbed by what I saw. Daddy’s lips were unusually dry, chalky, and cracked. His somber face scared the hell out of me.

 

That was the last time I saw my father.

It was also the day I lost my innocence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

My House, That Tree, The Broom

 

 

My House

 

When I close my eyes and rewind to my earliest memory, I see our old house in Brooklyn: the house of my joy, the house of my pain.

 

I loved my house. It was huge and made of solid red brick. It was crafted in the Victorian style and it was so special. It was a pretty house; different from all the other houses on the block. At least, I thought so.

 

It had a glorious front porch adorned with big, white, round flowerpots. Oh, how I loved that porch! That porch made me happy.

 

Our driveway was magnificent. It was long enough to easily fit six stretch limousines. It had rusty black iron gates, which opened like those of a palace.

I used to stand in front of those gates and daydream of being in a faraway place. I opened the gates, heart pounding with excitement, and strolled down that long, beautiful driveway, feeling like a princess. My head was all in the clouds. Oh, how I loved that driveway! That driveway made me happy.

 

Then, there was the beautiful oak staircase. It started at the bottom of our basement, and curved right up to the very top of the third floor. I remember its snake-like look at the turn of every floor. It was glorious.

 

I remember the funky, 1960’s, paisley tile. It had a total hippie vibe. I was crazy about the pattern; almost obsessed. I used to climb those stairs really slowly, taking in the lovely blue-checkered wallpaper and vintage light fixtures overhead.

 

 

 

That Tree

 

We also had a magnificent cherry tree, perfectly set in the middle of our backyard. It was the most gorgeous cherry tree I had ever seen. What I loved so much about it was the smell of the cherry blossoms. They fragranced my bedroom when I opened my windows in the summer. That tree was my joy, and my escape, from all that ailed me in my young life. It was my comfort when I cried and when I had no one to talk to.

 

I wanted to build a special tree house right in the midst of its branches. It was my place to hide away from the world and be alone with my thoughts. I begged my mother for that tree house. She looked at me like I had five horns growing out of my head.

 

My mother couldn’t understand my obsession with having a tree house in our backyard. She made it clear that tree houses were for boys, and quickly dismissed my pleas. She flippantly described my plans as “insane foolishness.”

 

She did not understand my need for total freedom and detachment from the family. I needed an escape from those who had been hurting me, in the most brutal ways, right under her nose.

 

Before I turned eight-years-old, I taught myself how to use a hammer, saw wood, and paint. I was absolutely determined to build that tree house myself. And I did! It fell apart after only 3 months, but I built it with my own two hands. Oh, how I loved that tree house! That tree house made me happy.

 

 

 

The Broom

 

Around the age of seven, I developed an almost supernatural obsession with brooms and sweeping. I especially loved the big, strong straw brooms with the long bristles. At first, I swept the front porch once a day. But then the obsession grew, and I began sweeping the entire house, inside and out, from the basement to the third floor. I left no corner un-swept.

 

The tenants who rented the second and third floors of our home were bewildered. They often asked my mother why a young child would be sweeping all the time. The house wasn’t dirty. They all thought I was weird, and maybe I was, but I loved it.

 

While the neighborhood girls were outside playing with friends, I’d be inside, sweeping the house. Before school, after school, and before bed, I swept uncontrollably. I found comfort with each and every stroke, particularly down the long driveway.

 

Sweeping was my way of fighting back against my aggressors. It helped ease the pain inflicted upon me. The broom was a symbol of strength that allowed me to metaphorically sweep away all those who stole my childhood and innocence. I wanted them all to be swept to hell, right where they belonged.

 

I, also, wanted to be swept away, far away, to the place where my father went. I wanted to sweep away the house, that on one hand, I loved, but on the other hand, vehemently hated.

 

I realized, later in life, it wasn’t really the house I hated. It was the cruel people in it. They turned my childhood as black as tar, and my young heart as cold as stone.

 

That summer, before all hell broke loose in my young life, I remember I painted the entire front porch bright red and black. My mother freaked out, and I received my lashings for it. She asked what kind of fury could cause me to do such a thing.

 

She was soon to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Not Much of a Happy Home

 

Sadly, like millions out there, I come from a very troubled and unhappy home.

 

After my father’s death, my happy life fled. What remained was a household filled with troubles, anger, and sadness. I remember a mother who was perpetually stressed out. She left for work early, and came home late, to find her home riddled with sibling rivalry, arguments, and discord.

 

I never got along well with my siblings, nor they with me. I was always the black sheep of the family: different, apart, separate, and in my own world. While my younger sister enjoyed a normal, blissful childhood and cohesiveness with our older brothers, I was being beaten and sexually abused by them.

 

My mother – God bless her soul – was a very hard-working Caribbean woman. She put in long hard hours to take care of her children and pay the bills. At the end of each day, she did not have the energy to handle all the problems brewing in her household.

 

My home was not a place of happiness, but one of constant chaos and malady. It certainly was not a safe place for a traumatized and sensitive child.

 

During that time my mother was away from home, there was no “law and order” in the house. My ol

der brothers did as they pleased. I was their punching bag. They taunted, teased, and beat me. They called me all sorts of horrible names. They said I was too fat, too ugly, and too sensitive. I cried at the slightest insult.
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My mom was too overwhelmed to see what was happening right under her own nose. I hated them all. I was angry all the time. I had no connection to my family. My siblings were my aggressors, and I had no love for them.

I had a particularly vicious half-brother by the name of Frantz. Boy, was that fucker cruel! That half-breed brother of mine pinched my skin until it bled. Then he laughed about it. He often reduced me to tears with his demeaning insults. However, nothing he did was nearly as damaging as what my full-blooded brother did to me.

 

By the time my mother found out and acknowledged what had happened, it was too late. I had already built a fortress of hatred and anger that was pretty much impenetrable. I have long since forgiven my mother, as she had a very tough life. But forgiveness for my brothers, particularly the one who brutally raped me for seven years? That, quite honestly, is an ongoing struggle. Today, that brother lies in his grave, life taken by cancer.

 

Death will never cleanse his biggest sin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

The Rape

 

It started when I was five. He was thirteen.

 

I had noticed the strange and dirty looks my brother gave me. I felt so uncomfortable around him. I told my mother I didn’t want to be left alone with him, but she dismissed it as childish talk. One morning, that which my mother termed “childish talk” turned into my seven year nightmare.

 

As soon as my mother left the house each morning, he came into my bedroom, pulled the covers off me, ripped off my pajamas, pulled down my panties and rubbed his hands up and down my legs and thighs. Each time, he told me how fat my legs were, and that little girls should not look like I did. He squeezed my thighs until he reached my pubic area.

 

I tried to tell my mother what was happening, but she shooed me away. I did not know the right words, and she was too tired and too stressed to listen, or even notice, the bruises on my body. She couldn’t see my small battered vagina and shredded innermost parts, which were hidden beneath my clothes.

I screamed. I kicked. I spat on my brother. I tried to bite him, I tried to fight the monster off me, but he pinned me down with his rough hands and arms. My brother was quite heavy and husky, with a smelly, sweaty body and nasty breath.

Every time I fought back, he punched me in my belly. He threatened to kill me if I didn’t stop fighting him. I was so afraid; so afraid, and so scared. I was no match for this monster.

 

My brother’s sadistic meanness and vileness were relentless. Sometimes, he became so enraged by my resistance; he crammed plastic bags into my mouth to shut me up. Other times, he forced plastic bags over my head and held them there until I passed out.

During each violation, he said I should not look the way I did. He said because I looked more like a plump woman than a girl, what he did to me was ok.

After every assault, my brother, the beast, pushed me into the bathtub. He threw a towel at me, and said, “Clean yourself up quick, you dirty, ugly, fat girl. Clean yourself up quick.”

I stood naked in the bathtub, bewildered, bruised, and violated. I did not understand what was happening to me, or why. I kept asking myself what I did to deserve this. I stared down at the strange, wet, slimy, blood-tinged white gooey stuff dripping down from in-between my thighs. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it came from my brother’s ‘thing’. I was so scared, but I had no one to turn to; I couldn’t tell a soul.

 

He made it very clear that if I were to utter a word to our mother, he would kill me. Oh that bathtub and them dingy blue walls and the awful smell of Colgate toothpaste. These three associations still nauseate me to this day.

 

I wasn’t even six years old, yet I was convinced that death was better than living. I was afraid to die, but at the same time, I begged God to take my life. He didn’t. Instead, he gave me seven years of hell on earth. Seven years of brutality at the hands of my own brother, in my own house, in my own bedroom, in my own bed, and in my own bathroom.

Eventually, I didn’t have the strength to fight. All I could do was scream and cry as I clenched the white handkerchief my grandmother gave me for my fourth birthday.

That handkerchief was the only thing that buffered each rape. Every time he pushed himself inside me, I held on tighter and tighter to my handkerchief. For seven years, the rapes continued, and for seven years I clung to my handkerchief. It was the anchor that connected me to my grandmother by the narrowest of threads. It kept me from being totally destroyed my brother’s evil nature.

 

My life was no longer important or valuable. I was no longer a child. I was forever marked, forever tainted, forever traumatized. That beast of a brother stole my happiness and innocence.

 

My entire life and world changed for the worse. I didn’t feel human. I actually didn’t feel much of anything. I became distant, detached, aloof, introverted, and silent. I felt so much rage and anger within me.

 

I was unable to express my emotions due to the threats from my brother. I felt unworthy and riddled with shame. I lived in an endless space of darkness, sadness, and loneliness.

 

Why didn’t God just take my life?

 

 

5

Payback Is A Bitch!

 

By the age of 11, I was filled with rage and anger. I wanted nothing to do with my siblings, or even my mother for that matter.

 

While the world saw a young, happy-go-lucky girl, I was nothing on the inside. I always had the biggest Kool Aid smile for the world to see, but the minute I stepped into my house, war-mode Lucie was automatically unleashed. I walked around in perpetual anger, ready to verbally attack anyone who bothered me.

 

Instead of my mother sitting me down to have a conversation about my behavior toward her, and everyone else in the house, she bombarded me with insults. You are a raging maniac. You are crazy. You are psycho. You are no good. You are a nasty girl.” Sometimes the insults occurred in front of my brothers. Of course, I got “the look” from the brother who had vowed he would kill me if I opened my mouth about his abuse. I was terrified of him.

 

Clearly I was acting out for a reason. Clearly my anger was a major red flag. Clearly I was crying out for help! If only my mother, or someone else, had really listened or understood.

 

God finally answered my cry for help! The courage I prayed for, for so long, arrived.

 

At this point, my mind was totally steeped in trauma; I was willing to die to defend my young body from being raped again. At age 11, I decided to stop the monster. I truly believed I might die trying to stop him. But I was going to die fighting!

 

I found a humungous diaper pin on the school grounds. I knew the Virgin Mary had heard my prayers! This was to be my weapon. I was armed for my fight.

 

One morning, as my mom prepared to leave for work at 5:30 a.m., I prepared myself for the battle that would begin just thirty minutes later. I was so looking forward to joining my father!

 

I quickly snatched the diaper pin from my school bag. I held it in my right hand, got back into bed, and threw the covers over me. For the first time in seven years, I eagerly anticipated my brother’s walking through the door.

 

6 a.m. rolled around. Like clockwork, I heard the monster walking toward my door. My heart was pounding in my chest. I thought it would be the last I would see of this life, but I knew I was not going to let him continue hurting me! No more!

 

He walked in, closed the door, and walked toward my bed. The night before, I decided to wear a very tight pair of pants and a loose purple sweater. Surprised to see me in pants, he got angry and pulled them off. This time I didn’t fight, which seemed to perturb him. Little did he know what surprise I had in store. He proceeded to TRY TO do what he usually did. I said not a word. I made not one sound.

 

Right before he tried to push his penis into me, my rage erupted. I opened the diaper pin in my right hand and stuck it deep into his penis. I pushed it in as hard as I could and yanked it straight down. All I heard was a death-scream from above me.

 

He fell to the floor in agony and pain, clutching his piece of meat, diaper pin fully inserted and blood gushing everywhere. It was the most beautiful color red I had ever seen! I jumped out of bed. I found one of my school shoes with thick platform heels, and beat the diaper pin even deeper into his penis. Then, I watched him suffer and writhe.

 

The sound of his pain, contrasted with my feeling of ecstasy! An otherworldly feeling came over me. As I stood there, in a state of shock and disbelief. I screamed at him, “No more will you put your filthy, dirty, wretched shit inside of me! No more! No more! Try to kill me now, you beast! Best be quick about it ‘cause I’m going straight to the cops!” Then, I bolted FROM the house.

 

That was the day I was finally free from brutalization. I was 11-years-old. I escaped my tormenter, and I was not dead. What happened next is enough to fill its own book. All hell broke loose!

 

I ran out of the house and across the street to our neighbor, who was a family friend. I told them what happened. They told my mother, who, at first, didn’t believe a word of it. What I received from my mother was a major lashing for having “put the family’s dirty laundry out to dry for the world to see.”

 

Did she not understand what the neighbors just told her? Her daughter was raped and violated by her own son, and her concern was over what our neighbors would think of us? Needless to say, my rage intensified.

 

I decided to seek counsel from a priest and nun with whom I was very close at my Catholic school. They were the ones who sought justice for me. They were the ones who took me to the hospital for medical attention and verification of rape. They were the ones who gave me the courage and conviction to tell.

 

The priest and nun cared for, believed in, and stood up for me when no one else would. One day, after my Holy Communion, I remember the priest sitting me down for a pep talk. He said I should never feel ashamed, or guilty, for the evils of another.

 

This was the first time I heard someone say the abuse was not my fault and I did not deserve what happened to me. Unfortunately, the damage was already done.

 

I continued to feel extreme shame for many years…

until I decided to turn it all around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Social Isolation and Detachment

 

Childhood sexual abuse is traumatic and insidious. It leaves a deep, dark, black hole in the chest of its survivors. Many of us suffer a myriad of psychological, mental, and/or emotional disturbances in our adult years. It can make life a living hell. One of my most problematic issues is the feeling of detachment and social isolation.

 

It began at age five and worsened through my adult years. I honestly thought I was going to be saved, loved, supported, understood, and believed by my family, especially my mom. When the bomb dropped about what my brother had done, I was scolded, shamed, and ostracized for having disclosed our dirty family secret.

 

I spent seven years of my young life tormented and believing I would be killed if I told anyone the truth. When I finally defended myself and spoke out, I was stunned and devastated that my family sympathized with my brother. How could anyone think I was responsible for my brother’s raping me!

 

My mother’s disbelief turned my world upside down. Surely my mom would protect me and punish him, I thought. But that wasn’t the case. She beat, scolded, and punished me for telling! This caused me to completely distrust and detach from her.

 

At age 11, I learned that my family was my enemy. I would never love or trust them, ever again. Instead of helping me cope with a violated childhood, I was barraged with insults and accusations for making false claims against my brother.

 

Family members who caught wind of the chaos, reiterated the belief that I was the one who had done something wrong. I was told I should have never exposed

the truth and made the family look bad. What kind of “family” turns on a battered and wounded child? Clearly, those people were no longer MY family.
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At that point, I made a clear and conscious decision to sever all ties with my bloodline. In my mind, I no longer had a family. I did not need a family. I WAS my family.

 

I was vindicated, and my truth was validated 14 years later. My brother finally confessed the truth to my mother. One evening, when I was 25-years-old, I received a phone call from my mother.

 

She told me my brother, the monster, had recently confessed that he did all the things I said he did. I finally heard the words I’d been waiting for. My mother tried to apologize, but she did not sound sincere. This upset me even more.

 

Hearing her words sent chills down my spine. They took me back to the moment, years before, when I first disclosed what was happening to me. I remembered the shame she cast over me for sharing my horrors.

 

I remembered how she hugged and comforted my brother, as if he were the victim. I remembered the way she neglected to see my suffering all these years.

 

“No,” I said to her, “don’t apologize to me now. It’s way too late. The damage has already been done. Please leave me alone.” I hung up. Our relationship deteriorated from there.

 

One year after that, when I was 26, that same monster brother sent me a 13-page letter filled with apologies and remorse. I read the letter and my blood ran cold. It was too little too late.  

 

I pulled out a red marker, and on each of the pages I wrote “Too late, apologies will never be accepted.” I mailed it back. I never saw this brother again until my mother’s funeral. A few years later, I vowed I would never again mention my brother, or his existence.

 

As a child, I never felt loved or accepted by anyone, certainly not by my family. I always felt alienated, different, and dirty. These feelings spilled over into my adult life. Sometimes, I struggle with them still.

 

I found myself, on the one hand, loving the company of others. Yet, on th

e other hand, I had an insatiable need to be alone and apart from everyone. Sounds very confusing, right? But that was exactly what I felt.
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I had a terrible fear of my past being exposed. I had fears of being judged and rejected. Therefore, I avoided all social activities, particularly those where people asked about my family relationships.

 

By my late 30s and early 40s, I was a bit of a recluse. I became overwhelmed in the presence of people. I just wanted to run away, far from everyone, as fast as I could. I wanted to find a dark room, shut the door, and just be alone with me.

 

For over 40 years, I carried and hid my shame and guilt. I was unable to trust anyone or form lasting bonds. Social isolation and detachment were my safety, comfort, and protection.

 

Feelings of Shame, guilt, and isolation are normal, but need not be permanent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

 

Weight and body image distortion had disturbing and destructive impacts on how I saw, and treated, myself. For so many years, I lived with a defeatist’s attitude.

 

My entire childhood was riddled with negativity and put-downs. It was reiterated to me, by family members, that I was a “nothing,” so I saw myself as such.

 

My mind believed I was not capable of being a better version of what I saw in the mirror. So I stayed stuck, and didn’t change. The fact that I continued to put on weight, despite all my efforts to lose it, made me feel even worse. I internalized my unhappiness, and manifested the opposite of what I wanted for myself.

 

I remember the first time I really looked at myself in a mirror. I was about six-years-old when I noticed that my body, and body parts, did not quite look like those of my friends in school. I was visibly meatier, heftier, thicker, fatter, wider, bigger…different.

 

I stood in front of that mirror for hours, staring at my thighs, wondering why I looked the way I did. All the while, my brother’s verbal abuse was running through my head: “Little girls should not look like this.”

 

I could not rip his words out of my head, no matter how hard I tried. What I saw staring back at me in the mirror was beyond revolting. I saw something strange, like half little girl on the top, half something else on the bottom. That big, huge bottom. My calves looked like tree trunks, my th

ighs like an elephant’s. I studied my body even more intensely.
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“Yes, I’m ‘something strange’,” I thought. I was not a little girl. I was an abnormal thing. My thighs looked like someone had stuck in a straw, and blown them up with air, to a grossly distorted size. I just did not look normal.

 

Every time I stared at myself in the mirror, something else stared back. The more I was violated, the more enormous by bottom became. What I saw in the mirror was a physical manifestation of the suffering and assaults on my young body.

 

When I was seven, I started hating the way people looked at me. I’d catch their eyes as they glanced from my face down to my legs. I was putting on weight at a tremendous rate. The more weight I gained, the more everyone criticized me.

With each passing day, until age eleven, as I watched my body changing grotesquely, my thought process became more and more toxic. I wondered if my mother looked like this when she was my age. She, too, had a ginormous bottom. I hated it! I did not want it!

 

I hated myself for looking like my mother! I hated my mother for making me look like her. I hated my mother for bringing me into this world. Had she just aborted me, I would not be going through all of this physical and mental distress.

 

I heard it everywhere I went: from my friends, to my teachers at school. They said, “Lucie you are getting so fat!” Family members commented on the disparities in my body. It was obvious my bottom half was much larger than my top. Everyone reinforced my negative self-talk.

 

I WAS the Big-Bottomed Girl! This made me feel so gross, so abnormal, and so badly about myself. On and on it went. With each insult, I withdrew more and more. I internalized all the negative comments.

 

I was a very sad little girl. I did not want to be seen. But no one cared. The smile I put on for the world was only a façade. It masked the rage I felt against my body, my brother, and myself.

 

My main issue was not the number on the scale. It was what that number looked like on my bottom half. My weight was a major problem, because it affected the way I felt about myself.

 

I did not know it at the time, but I was dealing with body dysmorphia (BDD). I had nowhere to turn to for help.

 

My childhood summers were horrible. While the other girls on the block wore cute little outfits with shorts showing off their small, thin legs, I had to wear long skirts to hide my bottom parts. I remember wearing shorts once, and going out to play. The minute I stepped outside, I was teased for my “fatty boom-boom legs.” That’s what the neighborhood girls called them.

 

Eventually, I couldn’t take the teasing anymore. I just went back in the house and stayed. That’s actually when I figured out that covering my bottom half was a direct way to stop some of the taunting and teasing.

 

I started wearing only black clothing, which to me, was symbolic of killing the beast below. I felt so badly about myself. I asked my mother why I looked the way I did. Her reply was that I needed to accept the fact that I inherited her body type and not even God could change that!

 

Oh, that pissed me off! I did not want to hear that. I wanted to be rid of what I saw in the mirror. I developed a smoldering hatred for my “self,” my body, and my mother. I was a wounded child trying to process my life all alone. It was extremely difficult.

 

Why the hell couldn’t I look like the other girls at my school? All of them looked so cute and normal in their uniforms. But, me? I looked like an overstuffed turkey with two tree trunks sticking out below.

 

The hurtful comments left me overly sensitive. I had a male cousin who made it his mission to remind me, unceasingly, that I would always be a “fat-ass” and I would always look like Miss Piggy. I remember running to my bedroom, locking the door, standing in front of the mirror, and bawling my eyes out. I felt so fucking ugly and disgusting. I wanted to die.

 

My self-esteem plummeted. I no longer wanted to play with friends or associate with anyone. I tore up every photo I could find of myself. My childhood was tragically traumatic.

 

Self-doubt and excruciating insecurities about my body brought me unspeakable distress, shame, guilt, and anger. The size, shape, and heaviness of my bottom half, made me feel absolutely abnormal.

 

I did not feel feminine, attractive, or even remotely sexy. What I saw staring back at me from the mirror was vastly different from others I saw in my world. I hated my body. I hated myself.

 

Sometimes, I still struggle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

My World of Bingeing and Obesity

 

My childhood adversities became a psychological crucifix that I carried throughout most of my adult years.

 

Until I was in my late 30’s, I was unable to admit, even to myself, that my past traumas still haunted me. I lived like a zombie. I blandly went through the motions of my life. Underneath, I was frantically applying figurative ointments and bandages over deep, unhealed wounds which continuously gaped open and oozed infection from my past. Although I kept up a nice appearance of stability and happiness, I was overwhelmed with feelings of dis-ease.

 

On the outside, I seemed to be an outgoing, smart, and happy girl. I was acing school; I was the teachers’ pet; my peers liked me. On the inside, though, something sinister was brewing.

 

I began binge eating when I was six-years-old. This correlated with the barrage of teasing and negative comments that I endured about my body. When you’re young, traumatized, and suffering in secret, your psyche becomes quite fragile.

 

I did not have a support system or family to turn to. I confided in no one. It was just me, myself, and food. At the slightest challenge or obstacle, I ran into the arms of my comforter: Food. Food was my best-friend.

 

The only way I could cope was to hide from the world and eat. Eating in secret resulted in a life of isolation and fear of judgment. Unfortunately, this friend was also making me unhealthy

and very fat!
p<>{color:#000;}.  

I remember the first day my brother assaulted me. I fled downstairs to our basement. I walked into a small, dark closet, locked it from the inside, curled up into a tight ball, and cried for hours.

 

My sobbing was uncontrollable. I was completely disoriented and confused. I remember lifting my head up from the fetal position, opening my tired eyes, and seeing two candy bars on a shelf. I quickly shoved them in my mouth, paper wrapping and all, and chewed until my teeth perforated the candy within.

 

Like magic, the crying stopped! At that very moment, I felt a wave of warm motherly comfort emanating from the sweetness of the candy. I longed for that comfort from my own mother.

 

The taste in my mouth and the act of chewing became euphoric. That’s the day I realized food was my comfort and the exact moment when my emotional binge eating began. Every time I put food in my mouth, I felt good and I felt guilty at the same time.

 

I knew early on what was driving me to eat so voraciously, but I could not express it. As the rapes continued, I knew I needed another way to hide my pain and distress. But the more I ate and binged, the bigger I got, and the more I received criticisms from the outside world. It was overwhelming to me.

 

This became a vicious, unhealthy cycle. The more I internalized the criticisms of my body and weight, the more I binged, and the angrier I became at my aggressor, and at myself for not being able to speak up. Bingeing became a holy ritual in my life. That dark closet was my holy temple. The high I got from stuffing my mouth with food was truly like being on drugs. There was an intense pleasure that came from gorging on food.

 

With every bite and chew, came a rush of relief. Eventually, I skipped the chewing and just started swallowing everything I put into my mouth. The more I was violated, the more intense my binges were.

 

Instead of saving my allowance, I started buying and hiding food in places where no one would discover it. I ate uncontrollably. Whatever was in my sight, I ate it!

 

I could consume several loaves of white Wonder bread, several packages of Entenmann’s cakes, and 24-packs of honey-glazed donuts, in one sitting! Hamburgers, French fries, potato chips, oatmeal cream pies, cream-filled cookies, huge containers of vanilla pudding, slabs of sharp cheddar cheese, candy, and so on. You name it, I ate it, and fast.

 

Every time a negative comment came my way, I ran to food and consumed loads of it, while sobbing my eyes out. The food disappeared into the bottomless pit in my stomach. Before I could even stop to think, I had ingested more than 10,000 calories in less than two hours. I was so disgusted with myself, but I did not know how to stop my destructive behavior. The worst part was when I had to leave that holy temple of mine, to face the cruel world for yet another day.

 

The binge eating worsened when I turned eight. My mother had gone grocery shopping and purchased a month’s worth of food for our family of five. Less than a week later, my mom noticed

many of the snacks she had purchased were gone. She asked us children about it. All eyes turned to me. The shit really hit the fan!
p<>{color:#000;}.  

Of course, I lied and said. “It wasn’t me.” But, it so was! The next day, my mother was clearly angry. She told me to stop eating all the food in the fridge and the cabinets. She knew I was taking all the snacks, so she hid them in a locked cabinet. At night, when everyone was asleep, I picked the lock and ate as many snacks as I could, then locked the cabinet again.

 

By the end of that week, all food my mother had purchased for the family was gone. It was as if someone had come into the house and removed it. In truth, I had stolen all the food, stuffed it into a garbage bag, and run to my closet in the basement. I just ate and ate, till it was gone.

 

On Friday night, my mother finally found where I had been hiding for years. What she discovered in that closet revolted her. She pulled me out by the hair and beat the shit out of me.

 

The next morning, the bruises on my face and arms became amusement for my siblings. My mother didn’t speak to me for one whole week. She never asked me why I was eating so uncontrollably.

 

The following week, my mother took me to see the pediatrician. He informed her that I was clinically obese. I tipped the scales at 200 pounds as an 8-year-old. He told her I must stop eating so much and I had to start losing weight.

 

I remember the look on my mother’s face. She was disgusted with me and with my situation. I was angry at the doctor! His words and tone were so harsh! He had no idea what I was going through! They both wanted to take my friend away from me, my only friend—my only comfort.

 

After that doctor’s appointment, I avoided all social functions involving eating around other people, including family dinners. There were no more Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas dinner celebrations for me.

 

The larger I grew, the angrier my mom became. She was tired of fixing broken zippers, letting out skirts and pants, and buying bigger clothing for me. She said I was costing her too much money. Her comments made me feel terrible inside. I did not have the love, u

nderstanding, and comfort of my mother when I needed it the most!
p<>{color:#000;}.  

Bingeing disorder is complex. It can affect anyone. It is not an easy issue to deal with, particularly as one grows older. You’d think that the older, wiser, and more in control you become, the easier it would be to deal with binge eating, right?

 

Well, in theory, the answer is yes, but in reality, it is no! Many unresolved problems in our childhood spill over into our adult lives. They often manifest in unhealthy and destructive behaviors such as alcoholism, drugs, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorders, etc. There is no “one cure fits all.” Our individual coping mechanisms are all very different. Overcoming addictive behavior requires a lot of patience and understanding.

 

Food was my best friend. Food was my worst enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

Knock, Knock, I’m at Your Door

 

 

I had been on the run, from that which has haunted me since my disclosure at age 11. My unhealed trauma impacted me in a severely negative way. I did not realize its full magnitude until over 40 years later.

 

I secretly lived in a world of self-loathing, embarrassment, and shame. I tried ceaselessly to repress, suppress, and bury the trauma of sexual abuse. Leading a life of secrecy resulted in isolation, confusion, and loneliness.

 

The worst part was all the pretending! I forced myself to pretend that everything was ok. I pretended to have a happy life. I put on a jolly face and preached positive words to brighten up the days of others. Yet, all along, I was dying inside.

 

The mask I had worn since the age of five became too heavy a burden. I could not wear it anymore. As my life unraveled, the mask disintegrated. I was more and more afraid my secrets would be exposed.

 

What was the point of living, when all I felt inside was death? Thoughts of death filled my every waking moment. The death of the brutalized little girl, stripped of her innocence and childhood, and the death of my womanhood, riddled with so much struggle, hurt, and emptiness. I felt so alone and so hopeless.

 

Finally, clarity came when I was 40 years-old. As I sat on my couch late one evening, I heard the knock.

 

I remained still and heard the knock again. This time I heard an accompanying voice which

said, “Knock, knock, Lucie, I’m at your door! You can’t run from me anymore!”
p<>{color:#000;}.  

I knew exactly what was at my door. It had tracked me down! How could this be? I had done everything in my power to keep it away! Now, there was no place to run or hide.

I had to open the door and confront my dirty little secret. It was time to boldly look into its eyes of darkness. The day had arrived for me to go head-to-head with that which had tormented me for so long. I knew I must open the door and let it in.

 

To go from a lifetime of running from my traumas, to facing them head on, was absolutely terrifying. Ignoring the major problems in my life had only made things worse.

 

I needed a total life transformation. I was finally ready to heal and begin my journey toward self-love. But could I learn to really love myself, after over 40 years of self-hate? Could I finally look in the mirror and make peace with my body?

 

I knew in my mind that I was blessed with an amazing spirit. But, how could I look in the mirror and see the true me, after believing lies about myself for so long? I knew I needed to see the awesome, strong, and powerful woman inside myself, inside my body. I was ready to take drastic steps to change my life.

 

I walked to the door, and opened it. I looked directly into the eyes of Fear, and I invited it in. I offered Fear a seat across from me.

 

I imagined interacting with Fear as a real person. I realized the time had come for a long overdue conversation. My heart was pounding so hard. I could hear every thump in my chest. Fear was waiting for me to speak.

 

I was reluctant to re-open the wounds from my rape but I took a deep breath and let the words flow. I admitted it had just been too difficult to voice that which I had buried so deeply in my psyche.

 

I owned that I was afraid of my body, my womanhood, and myself. I acknowledged I was afraid to face the shame and stigma of having been raped by my brother.

 

With every word I spoke, awful, deep-seated sensations resurfaced: fear of judgment; fear of criticism; fear of not being good enough despite my accomplishments and successes; fears of not being loved; fear of letting people in; fear of transparency; fear of being discovered; fear of being liked; fear of NOT being liked; fear of rejection; and fear of my past. I acknowledged just how deeply my multiple rapes had scarred me.

 

Through this conversation, I finally realized I had never truly resolved my trauma. I had lied to myself for over 40 years! Verbalizing my fears opened the floodgates to a slew of emotions.

 

Fear took advantage of my vulnerability. Fear started to attack me! I absorbed jabs, left-hooks, and body blows. I felt beaten-up and overwhelmed! The room was spinning. It was as if I were inside a tornado. I had lived with the toxicity of rape for so long, I did not realize I was slowly, but meticulously, being poisoned.

 

When fear realized he could not overpower me, he opened the door and invited his friends to come in. Fear had brought along an army! They filled the room! They were powerful adversaries: shame, guilt, doubts, lies, rejection, insecurity, and many others.

 

 

I fought those lying enemies one-by-one, face-to-face. I summoned up the same determination that had enabled me to survive, virtually alone, for so long. I knew how to fight. I’d been fighting all my life! I was equipped and READY for this battle. Those liars were outmatched. I overpowered my tormenters one by one! Only fear was left still standing.

 

In desperation, the voice of Fear spoke, “Lucie, I took over your life because you allowed me to. You allowed me to darken your soul and extinguish your spirit. You believed you were “less-than” and undeserving. You believed the lie that you were responsible for your trauma. You refused to let go of your handkerchief.”

 

Fear continued, “Because you shut the world out, you let me in. You wanted excuses, so I brought you shame, guilt doubts, lies, and other companions. If you want me to release my grip on you, you must fully surrender to healing yourself. Only then will I exit from your life. Make your decision!”

 

And so I did. I banished Fear.

 

10

Getting Real and Finding the Courage to Heal

 

“Get over it and move on.”

 

Honestly, this advice, too often given to sexual abuse survivors by well-meaning persons, pisses me off. *You don*’t just get over it! If moving on were that easy, we’d all be walking around healthy, happy, and well-adjusted.

 

The truth is, the majority of survivors are not ok. We often rely on things outside of ourselves to validate us. For years, I thought the pain of the past had not really touched the core of who I am. I ignored its effects until it became impossible to ignore.

 

Finding peace, requires us to take a journey into the darkness of our trauma, and face ours fears directly. Be prepared for battle! You will be scratched, punched, and bruised. Just know this: you WILL emerge stronger, braver, more resilient, and victorious!

 

Moving past the trauma of sexual abuse is not an easy process. There are no magic pills, or simple seven-step programs, to rid ourselves of painful pasts. Healing from childhood sexual abuse should not be rushed, nor should it be expected to happen overnight. It often takes a lifetime to recover. So, slow down and exercise kindness, compassion, and understanding, whether toward yourself, or others.

 

Childhood sexual abuse leaves permanent psychological scars. The aftermath of those wounds mess with our heads and render us incapable of connecting with others.

 

I survived seven years

of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in silence. I carried this silence into my adulthood, which in turn, colored every aspect of my life. I was afraid to speak of my horrors. I had tremendous difficulties relating to and trusting others.
p<>{color:#000;}.  

My journey toward healing began only after I had that deep conversation with my fears. It forced me to speak to my shame. Reliving the painful memories and emotions was beyond exhausting, but it was a necessary step toward my restoration.

 

It took over 40 years to learn the negative thought patterns whose roots were buried deep in my childhood. I had to unlearn everything I believed to be true about my rape and abuse. I had to unlearn that it was my fault. I had to unlearn that my young, innocent body was responsible for my brother’s assaults. I had to unlearn that my body is a source of shame. I had to unlearn the hatred for what I used to see reflected in the mirror. I had to unlearn being fearful. I had to unlearn being silent. And, I had to unlearn living in secrecy. Betrayal, assaults and the violation of rape all made it very difficult for me to trust.

 

Allowing people into my life was a major struggle. I had a well-founded fear of betrayal. It was natural for me to push people away. It was this distrust that kept me from seeking the help I desperately needed. I truly believed I could handle everything on my own.

 

 

Boy, was I wrong!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

The Healing Begins

My healing did not begin with conventional therapy. I was not comfortable enough to fully articulate my deep pain and struggle to another person. I had lived with it alone for so long.

 

I had to find a way to walk my solitary path to find the broken parts of myself, and start the healing process. I needed my space and a non-judgmental place of peace, calm, comfort, and silence.

 

For me, that place was deep in the forest in Utanå, Sweden, nestled under my favorite tree. This is the place where I finally became free and found ME.

 

Lulu, My Tree

 

We have a little country house nestled in the idyllic countryside of Utanå, Väddö. I spend most of my weekends there, often strolling deep into the lush forests, surrounded by gorgeous white birch and oak trees. For three years now, this has been the place I go to find peace and calm.

 

One Saturday afternoon, as I walked along my usual trail, I made a fascinating discovery: a tree that resembled a woman’s body turned upside down. The tree was magnificent! It immediately grabbed my undivided attention. Her head and chest were firmly embedded in the earth, while her powerful, bifurcated thighs and long legs stretched far up into the sky, toes intertwining with those of neighboring tree branches.

 

Oh how I loved that tree! That tree made me happy. I named her Lulu, which was my daddy’s nickname for me.

 

This is the tree under which I sat almost every weekend for three years. I cried, lamented, and exposed my deepest, darkest feelings. This is the tree under which I sat to write this book. In the deep forest of Utanå, I finally found my peace.

 

Finding My Peace

 

If I was to truly find peace, I needed to find it within myself first. Being in a constant state of inner turmoil was slowly breaking me down.

 

Focusing on my inner struggles was the way to make critical changes. It was important for me to do my own self-examination and self-therapy. It required reaching deep down in my soul to figure out who I was and what I wanted.

 

Under that tree, I sat rooted to its earth my back against its thick trunk, writing pad on my lap, big red pen in my hand, and I began to write.

 

My pages were filled with my troubles and the darkness of my soul. I continued to write the question, “Lucie, what do you really want?” The pen moved uncontrollably in my hand; I repeatedly wrote, “peace, peace, peace”.

 

With every stroke of the pen, I became more and more aware of my feelings. Being fully present and conscious of what I was writing helped me gain insight, compassion and understanding for what transpired.

 

I came to the realization that accepting what ‘was’ will allow me to accept what ‘is’. Pushing away, denying and hiding painful memories will keep me imprisoned in fear and turmoil.

 

So I let it all go!

 

After years and years of torment, I finally found my peace, deep in the forest, under my LuLu tree. Now, it was time to find someone, who years before, was stolen from me. I closed my mind’s eye and began my journey.

 

It was time to find “My Little Girl Lost.’’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

My Little Girl Lost

 

 

The first step in my healing began with the search for “My Little Girl Lost.” I was desperate to find that little girl. Her life came to a sudden stop the day her innocence was brutally stolen.

 

That little girl’s dark closet was both her prison and her place of safety. Her sorrow was inconsolable. Food was her only friend. She believed herself to be sub-human, a monster, and undeserving of love and a happy life.

 

I needed to find my little girl inside. I needed to call out to her. I wanted her to know that I am here now to protect her and it is safe to leave her prison of darkness.

 

I opened my mouth and called out to my Little Girl Lost: “Lucie, I am here now. You hear my voice. I am here now. Uncurl yourself from that fetal position in that corner and stand up. Stand up My Little Girl, my younger self! Stand up! Take a deep breath and follow my voice. Stand up, look up, and thank the dark closet that protected you for seven long and painful years. Blow it a kiss and follow my voice my little girl. Follow my voice and walk out the door. Walk out the door. I am here waiting for you. You are free my little one. Come out!”

 

And then I saw her, that fragile little girl, with those messy pigtails. She stood at the threshold of the door, teary-eyed. She was sad and completely bewildered.

 

“Lucie,” I said, “you are safe now! I’ve come to heal you. You belong to me and I love you! Look! You didn’t die! You survived! Step over the threshold, close the door, and come to me.”

 

And she did exactly that! My Little Girl Lost ran and jumped into my arms. Her body, at first heavy, went limp and then became light as a feather. She looked up into my eyes and declared, “I am free, and you love me.”

 

Just like that, I felt her spirit rejoin my body. That 44-year-old gaping, oozing, black hole in my heart and soul is now sealed and healed.

 

I cannot describe the waves of emotions that flooded over me, as I sat under my tree. The experience was like no other. Nirvana? Heaven on earth? Maybe. I can tell you I have never felt anything like it. For the first time in 44 years, I was free!

 

And now, the relationship between my Little Girl Lost and me, is solid. I have taught her to let go of the stigmas and shame she carried throughout her life. I taught her to exchange her feelings of emptiness for good memories of the child she was.

 

I helped her remember her sweetness and kindness toward others.

 

I helped her remember her compassionate and loving nature and the kind deeds she performed for the elderly and anyone else who needed help.

 

I helped her remember her intelligence, creativity, and tenacity; the tenacity that allowed her to build the tree house she wanted so badly.

 

I helped her remember how her smile and friendliness lit up her classroom. I reminded her all her teachers loved her and they knew how smart she was.

 

I helped my Little Girl lost, now found, remember that her brothers did NOT kill her compassionate spirit, drive, and determination to survive!

 

It is through this very drive that she now, as a mature woman, finds other lost little girls and helps them reclaim their lost souls. Together, my Little Girl Lost and I closed and locked that dark closet forever.

 

No more living in the darkness of secrecy. We now choose to live in the Light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

Coping with the Aftermath of Childhood Abuse

 

 

Childhood sexual abuse is more prevalent than most people realize. In the United States:

 

*
p<>{color:#1C2129;}. One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays.

*
p<>{color:#1C2129;}. Less than 10% of abused children self-report their abuse.

*
p<>{color:#1C2129;}. 20% of children who are sexually abused are violated before the age of 8.

*
p<>{color:#1C2129;}. Between 75 and 90% of abused children know their abuser.

*
p<>{color:#1C2129;}. To date, there are 60 Million adult survivors of childhood trauma in the U.S.

 

SIXTY MILLION! 60 million adults in the United States are living with the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. This is a mind-blowing number of men and women, whose lives have been ravaged by this perversion.

 

Many survivors are in their 40s, 50s and 60s. We still struggle to cope with the after-effects of sexual trauma. The violation of our bodies, minds and souls often leaves us feeling stigmatized, confused, haunted, embarrassed, anxious, fearful, humiliated and highly distressed.

 

Every aspect of our lives is affected, particularly our physical and mental health. Survivors often deal with post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD.) Symptoms can include: depression, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

 

When will this tragedy end? When more people speak up, tell their stories, and say, “Enough is enough!”

 

To this day, I suffer from recurring nightmares and chronic insomnia. I believe they are directly related to the sexual abuse I experienced decades ago.

 

The effects of chronic insomnia have negatively impacted my relationships, friendships, social life and work. The wounds of childhood abuse do not always heal after the abuse stops.

 

It took me a very long time to admit I still suffer from the impact of being raped by my brother. Feelings of shame and humiliation definitely carried over into my adult life.

 

Although this book helped me shed a lot of pain, it has also awakened unresolved issues and uncovered new problems. I still have days when I have to completely give myself over to the waves of emotions that consume me. It is comforting to know my roller coaster of feelings and emotions are very common to survivors.

 

Always remember that WE are not alone!

 

 

MY BOOK

 

Living and coping with a history of sexual abuse has been another major challenge. After writing this book, I honestly believed I’d be free from my past! That was not the case. Reliving my story has taken a huge, and unexpected, toll on me.

 

Two months after releasing the book, I began to regress. I was overwhelmed. I felt empty, frustrated and somewhat disillusioned. With each passing day, I found myself withdrawing and returning to my friend, food, for comfort.

 

“Shit!” I thought I beat this thing! Bingeing was back with a vengeance. How could I have taken so many steps forward and so easily be set back to where I was years ago?

 

After publishing my book, I could not figure out why I was feeling the way I was. I took a month off, and stayed away from the book and its topics. I knew the book triggered my setback, in many ways, when I started to unravel again.

 

During my break, I realized I was trying to rush the healing process. I wanted to be TOTALLY free of my past; free of the negative feelings; free of the shame and stigma. I had to slow way down, catch my breath, and start my journey of healing again.

 

Re-editing my book, in anticipation of updated print and audio versions, shook me to the core. I thank God every day that I am more grounded and not where I used to be.

 

It was clear that I had hit a bump in the road. I got thrown backwards, and completely off course. But like many survivors, I was determined to get back on track.

 

That is what must be done every time we hit a wall. Battles with bingeing have taken a huge emotional toll on me. Even so, I feel more in control of my life today than I ever have. Patience and gentle self-care are absolutely critical to our well-being and healing.

 

It has been so rewarding to see that already, the first edition of my book has changed—and even saved—lives! Knowing I am making a difference gives me courage to keep moving forward, even if my progress is slow.

 

 

If all you can do is something small, DO it!

Baby steps…keep taking baby steps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See?

 

 

“Mirror, mirror, what do you see? I see a brand new, restored me!”

 

At age 49, I finally found and healed my Little Girl Lost. In the wake of healing my childhood self, I had a momentary flashback while standing in front of the mirror. Growing up, I had an aunt who took perverse pleasure in letting me know how ugly, dowdy, and unfeminine I was.

 

Those remarks continued throughout my teenage years, and well into my late 20s. Her continual criticism chipped away at my self-esteem. The smirk on her face as she said, “Lucie, you’re so unkempt,” reinforced the bitterness and resentment I felt for my family. This was the same aunt who publicly shamed me for exposing my brother’s abuse of me.

 

Recently, it hit me: I have been dowdy my entire life. I never acknowledged it. There was a reason for that. I stopped caring about my appearance in my early 20s. I stopped going to the beauty salon to get my hair done. Instead, I threw on wigs to cover my beautiful, thick, natural hair.

 

I spent my childhood believing what I saw in the mirror was ugly, shameful, and nothing to be proud of. So, I hid myself under big, baggy, black clothing. I was afraid to wear makeup for fear of being judged, or looked at inappropriately. 

I didn’t engage in dainty feminine activities, such as getting my nails and toes done.

 

My healing breakthrough came with the realization that I was punishing myself, and repressing my femininity, because of my shame of rape, and what OTHERS thought about me. I had no control over those things.

 

 

I finally understood: What matters is what I think! I am in control of my body, and how I want to look!

 

The mirror offered me another breakthrough moment. Over the years, I managed to overcome obesity. But no matter how much I exercised, the weight on my bottom half just would not budge. I ended up holding on to that weight as a permanent reminder of my trauma and anger.

 

Once I understood the depth of my anger, I wanted to keep it visible so I could never forget my past. I wanted to hold on to the hatred I felt. I held on to my weight so I would never forget what my brother took from me. I believed, subconsciously, that shedding the weight from my bottom would somehow mean the rapes were erased, forgotten, and forgiven. 

 

I endured tremendous pain and heartache in my life. Forgiveness, for me, meant that brother had gotten away without being punished. I have been in a constant battle with myself, and my Big Bottom, since it represented all my struggles and suffering. In the process, I tore down my body and my mind. I knew it was time to let it all go, for my own sake.

 

Since my turning point, I can look in the mirror and love what I see. I no longer see the “monster,” or the “thing.” I no longer see distorted body parts or hear hurtful messages like “fatty boom boom,” which were hurled like stones at my childhood me.

 

The self-hatred, loathing, shame, and disgust for my body have disappeared. I have come to appreciate the body I have, with all its flaws and imperfections. I have made peace with the mirror on the wall and with photographs and videos. My image now stands fearless, strong, and tall!

 

I’m no longer afraid to accept my body as it is. I am a shapely, full-bodied woman, with ample hips, thighs, buttocks, and legs. I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! I no longer feel the need to hide myself.

 

I have a positive relationship with my body and love what reflects back from the mirror. Sure, I could stand to lose some pounds, but my Big Bottomed body is as beautiful as it is, strong and powerful.
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Every Body is Unique and Beautiful in its own way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

Triumph Through Telling

 

 

Like most survivors of abuse, my struggle is ongoing. Most of us play the chameleon in order to get through our daily lives.

 

Believe me, the battle of dealing with our pasts is very difficult. To say that I have completely overcome all the effects of my sexual abuse would be a lie. I have spent a lifetime feeling shame, and believing I am “less than,” never “good enough.”

 

I have carried the pain of my childhood for so long. Not a day goes by without my thinking about it, to the point of sometimes being physically sick. Only now, at 49, have I realized how much I suppressed my pain in years prior. I have made a conscious decision to triumph over trauma, by mustering the courage to tell my story.

 

Every sentence of this book has been written in tears. Writing and reliving my sexual abuse has been traumatic and difficult, but I got through it. I can honestly say that I have taken positive steps toward my journey of healing, self-love, self-care, and compassion.

 

I cherish this journey because it helped me connect with my brokenness and regain the spirit of my innocence. By regaining my spirit, I am able to reach out and help victims, like myself, who have suffered from childhood sexual abuse, rape, incest, and trauma.

 

Telling my story symbolizes resetting my life to point zero, and learning to move forward in peace. In telling my story, I am learning how to live in the present moment and fully embrace the strong, powerful woman I know I am.

 

Telling my story is my avenue of healing and loving myself. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse know all too well how incredibly difficult it is to truly love themselves. Yet, it is in loving ourselves where we will find happiness and peace of mind.

 

Telling my story has brought me face-to-face with the realization that the past is just that… the past! I am to live in the present! What is done is over and behind me. I have no control of what was, only of what is. I’m learning to appreciate the life I have now and I’m living it as best I can.

 

Telling my story helps me release the stress of my past that had been trapped in my body, soul, and spirit. It released the hurt and guilt of an unpleasant childhood that I desperately sought to hide from the world. My biggest victory is telling my story, in my own voice, in my own way, as it actually happened.

 

Telling my story allows me to say goodbye to the negative attachment to my childhood years. I am not dead! I am alive, breathing, and functioning.

 

Triumphing is a process of releasing and letting go. My message to survivors is that solace comes when we share our experiences. In sharing, we heal one another. But first, you must be brave enough to open your mouth and speak your truth. We must no longer feel shame about what happened to us. Do you know why?

 

BECAUSE IT WAS NOT OUR FAULT!

Whatever was done to us was not our fault!

Read it again, but very slowly this time:

It …was…not…*our**fault. Period.*

 

Let this sink in for a bit. Come out of the closet, survivors! Stand up, speak up, and tell your truth! Be empowered by your strength. We are warriors!

 

We may come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, but we share the bonds of pain and survival. We share the same struggles from coping with the violation of our bodies and spirits. We are not alone!

 

I want to create a circle of support to help survivors move past our adversities and challenges. No matter what age or stage of life, it’s never too late to change our circumstances.

 

We must not try to do it alone! Trust me, I have tried for over 40 years. It does not work. The power is in our unity, encouragement, and support.

 

For anyone who has suffered childhood trauma of any sort, I want you to think back on your life. Think back to the numerous times you thought you would never make it to today.

 

Guess what? You’re here now. And while you may not be totally free from the pain of the past, you are still breathing. You are still alive. You are still standing!

 

Tell your story. Inspire Others.

 

16

A Message to My Brother

 

 

As you lay in your grave, I write this to you. I would be lying if I said I was sorry you died a horrible death from cancer. I believed you deserved it, and more, for everything you did to me.

 

I believe you see everything you left behind from hell, which is where you certainly reside. The years of your torment, abuse, assaults, and insults turned my life upside down. You ripped away my innocence and my happy childhood.

 

However, I must thank you. In spite of you, and partly because of it, I aspired to do great things in my life! I am positively impacting the lives of people all over the world.

 

The pain you forced on me, gave me the gifts of intuition and insight. The tribulations I endured enable me to connect deeply with children on an intimate and emotional level. One look and I just know. I can easily identify with what children are feeling and thinking.

 

What you did helped me help others who have been violated by bea

sts like you. I want you to know that, over the past 12 years, I have feverishly worked to help girls feel good about themselves, especially girls whose lives have been forever changed by abuse.
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I finally found the courage to open my mouth and tell the world my entire story, as it was. You brutalized me and wrecked my world, but you could not break my spirit, brother! You didn’t break me!

 

I am still standing and surviving. I am determined to help others like myself overcome the vileness that beasts like you inflict.

 

I finally let go of that dirty handkerchief. I held on to it for years. It is behind me, just as are you.

 

“I forgive you.” “Rest in Peace.” These words I can neither wish, nor grant you, as yet. I no longer hate you, brother, but to [_fully _]forgive you is a struggle. I have chosen to leave it all in God’s hands, for now. 

 

I do hope, from where you are, you can see what your tormenting did to me. I hope you see the struggles I still face, each and every day. 

 

Not so pleasant, hey? But, that is all your doing, brother. I want you to share a bit of the suffering you inflicted on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

Epilogue

 

I am a woman on a mission to change society’s definitions of beauty and the “Ideal Body”. We are not all cut from the same ‘Cloth’ and should not be forced to accept others’ standards of beauty.

 

I may not fit into society’s model of the “perfect body”, but I AM REAL and POWERFUL. I am beautiful in my own way. I have finally made peace with my body, and am comfortable in my own skin.

 

I intimately understand body shaming and self-hate. From age 6, to well into my mid-30’s, I hated how I looked.

 

Growing up, I was called: “Ape face,” “big-lipped Lucie,” “fish-eyed monster,” “monkey teeth,” and a variety of other insults that included the word “ugly.”

Over time, I started to believe I looked like a monster.

 

People have no idea how much I loathed mirrors. When I looked at myself, all I saw were flaws. In desperation, I broke all my mirrors.

 

My self-image was twisted and warped by vicious, cruel, and ignorant comments. Over time, I believed those lies. I became self-conscious and overly critical of my appearance.

 

If I ever glimpsed myself, reflected in a window or mirror, I could not see the real ME. I actually saw monstrous lips and teeth. Other parts of my anatomy appeared grotesquely out of proportion.

 

I want to help children, and adults, accept and make the most of, the bodies they have. We live in a society that glorifies unattainable beauty standards. 

 

The media utilizes airbrushing, retouching, and editing to reinforce unrealistic images. We are subtly conditioned to believe we must all be slim, fit, stunning, and perfect.

 

When I was younger, I never wanted to be photographed or videoed. If I was, I made sure all images were deleted or destroyed. I ripped up every picture I had of myself as a child.

 

African-American women get a double dose of media venom. We are often portrayed as fat, ugly, and unattractive. For many years, I fought feelings of self-loathing, inferiority, and negativity about my facial features and body. Then, I figured out a way to overcome my issues.

 

How? It’s simple. I take tons of selfies and make videos of myself jumping rope! I disregard all the negative chatter that says I “take way too many pictures,” or I am “conceited” or “vain.” Those critiques are far from the truth!

 

Taking selfies helps me appreciate and love what God has blessed me with. Videos show me how powerful and resilient my body is. Selfies help me cope, and counteract the negative mindset that plagued me while growing up. I have learned to love myself, more and more.

 

Pictures don’t lie! With every selfie and video, I gain self-confidence. My daily selfies prove that the lies I believed about my features are not true. My eyes sparkle, my mouth smiles, and my body is BEAUTIFUL, AS IS!

 

I am no longer afraid of being photographed or videoed. I have chosen to be open and unreserved. I am proud to show the world I represent a new definition of beauty and fitness.

 

People come in all shapes and sizes. Our bodies are unique and beautiful and powerful. And, we are all DIFFERENT!

 

My jump roping is proof that my body is strong and powerful. It shows the world what my body is capable of doing, at this size, this weight, and this shape. It helps redefine the traditional thinking about fitness.

 

I am on a quest to help others with body image issues. I want to be an example for embracing the body you have, and making it even better.

 

When we think of jumping rope, we usually think of kids on a playground or boxers.  I sought to change those stereotypes. I first picked up a jump rope in my mid-thirties.

 

I wanted my style to be uniquely MINE, so I focused on being different. I did not want to copy anyone’s techniques. I learned I could be strong, skillful, and amazing! I trained myself to be a champion! 

 

I began competing, and have won numerous national and international jump rope championships. I proved that I was just as good, or better, than more traditional jumpers who were skinny and toned.

 

I turned my talent into a business that inspires and empowers kids all over the world. I took my jump rope program into the major gyms and fitness centers in NYC.

 

I created extremely popular jump rope camps, workshops, and events for both young and old in the Tri-state area (NY, NJ, & CT.) I created the first Single Rope Jump Rope team and the first Jump Rope Gym in NYC. These efforts positively impacted both the mental and physical health of participants.  

 

By showcasing my skills, I set out to empower every man and woman who struggles with their weight, or body image. I want to help anyone who is self-consciousness, or reluctant to go to a gym. I am here as proof that you can step out of your comfort zone, and be fierce, at any age and size.

 

One of my strengths is motivating people. I am proud to be a role model, a SheRo, for people like me: those who don’t fit into the “ideal” molds. When an out-of-shape, or overweight, man or woman walks into one of my classes, he or she feels comfortable, inspired, and empowered.

 

When someone sees me, confidently leading the class and rocking out the jump rope, it inspires them. I show them, “You can do this!”

 

When I watch myself jump rope, it makes me love my body so much! I am grateful for my big, strong, powerful legs and thighs.

 

I am striving every day to move toward being a better version of myself: Not skinny, but a more toned and fitter ME! I’m making better food choices, particularly during periods of stress. That’s major progress!

 

Working toward a fitter body means looking better in my clothes (and naked!). It means less stress on my hips, knees and feet. I will be able to move and jump faster, giving me more of a competitive edge.

 

Jump roping gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

 

30 days from today, I will compete at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Jump Rope Championship in Barcelona, Spain. I have challenged myself, along with other ladies, to train, and become our best selves for the competition. I’m challenging the Swedish women to get past their fears of jumping rope. (There is lots of fear!)

 

Being an inspiration for people who look like me, and struggle like me, is important. Am I in a better and happier place, mind, body and soul? OH, YES!

 

Selfies help me appreciate my unique beauty. Selfies document my progress. Videos show how proud I am to be able to do what I do. They build confidence in my body and myself.

 

My quest is to change the definition of what is truly beautiful. It is also to remind us: no body is perfect! We need to present ourselves to the world, as we are, and realize we can do amazing things!

 

I am on a mission to help people redefine their images of fitness and beauty. I want to encourage everyone to showcase him or herself as strong and powerful, and to embrace their bodies as they are.

 

Change is about mindset. We need to rethink what our mirrors reflect. We need to stop looking for what we think we need to see. We need to see, and appreciate, our potential.

 

We need to work toward better, healthier versions of ourselves. We need to realize our best qualities have nothing to do with weight or size or shape.

 

Selfies help me love who I am, and what I look like!! With every selfie, and every video, I consciously counteract negative memories of my body. Selfies in nature and other special places help me appreciate the NOW Me! They add context for every special moment. They help me love, and remember.

I am continually falling more in love with the REAL ME.

 

Anytime I start feeling badly about myself, I just whip out one of my selfies or jump rope videos. I no longer feel pressure to measure up to unrealistic expectations.

 

Sharing my images enables me to encourage others to use selfies as a healing tool. Our bodies are gifts. I want to encourage you to love and appreciate your body to the fullest.

 

I encourage you to just TRY taking selfies! In time, they will boost your confidence and change negative self-perceptions. They will help you fall in love with yourself!

 

Take a leap of faith and snap some selfies. I would love to hear how selfies and videos help you! Email me at: [email protected]

 

This is where I am today: I like myself—A LOT!

If I can change, you can too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

 

I wish to personally thank the following people who’ve indelibly impacted my life, and whose contribution helped me to finally tell my story.

 

Father Joseph and Sister Chrisanta, the priest and nun at my Catholic Elementary School whose quick actions, love, support, and encouragement helped save my life! I know you are part of God’s Kingdom way up above the skies. Love you both!

 

Lisa Boyd Webb, Judy Mezi, Judy Fenelon – The sisters I wish I had but whose friendship and bond are thicker than blood.

 

Kevin Welsh – It all started at Bally Total Fitness – RVC – The best male friend a woman can ever have. Love you man!

 

Monique Welsh – The amazing artist and this book’s cover designer. It’s you and me Moe!

 

Staffan Lindner – My husband: Your ability to rain both heaven and hell upon my life is truly genius, but I wouldn’t have it any other way babe. Thank you for loving me as I am.

 

Gladys Fenelon – Thank you for your love, kindness, support, and comforting hugs. I love you so much mom!

 

The Self-Publishing School, Chandler Bolt / Sean Summer – On Jan 23rd, I took that leap of faith and here I am! An Author! Thank you!

 

Olivia Spears and Jamie White Wyatt - my amazing editors - Your professionalism, constructive, but kind critiques and edits, helped to polish and bring my story to life! Thank you so much!

 

Andrew Purdum- Master E-book formatter extraordinaire! You have been BEYOND man! Thank you for all the hard work you put into satisfying every customer who hires you!

 

 

 

 

Finally, to Michel Fugain- ‘[* Le Petit Nicolas’- It was 1972 when I first heard this song on Radio Soleil and totally fell in love with it…and with you! I was 5. It was your music that kept my frail spirit from slipping into total darkness when my young body was being assaulted. Thank you for the uplifting, inspiring and happy music with which you blessed me, and all your fans around the world! On July 8 ]^[*th]^ this year, I finally got to see you live in Albi, France. Dream Come True!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

 

 

Lucie B Lindner, a native New Yorker, is founder and owner of Lucie B Jump N Fun. This business has shared the joy and art of jump roping with thousands of kids, and kids at heart, from New York City to Sweden.

 

She has recently started her second business, “F3G” by Lucie B, a girl-empowerment program. Its mission is to empower, inspire, and motivate girls to be “Fit, Fab, & Fierce.” Lucie was recently featured in the June 2016 edition of Live Happy Magazine.

 

Lucie walked away from a career in medicine to pursue her passion for jump roping. She wanted to use her talents and experiences to benefit others while, sharing her love of jump roping around the world. Lucie went from an M.D. to an award winning jump roper, claiming numerous Regional, National, and World Championships.

 

She created the first single rope speed competitive jump rope team in New York called The Rock-It-Ropers. Team members went on to win numerous awards and championships. The first team was comprised of 52 orthodox Jewish kids. Later, Lucie B diversified her team to include all races, colors, creeds, nationalities, and ages.

 

In 2007, Lucie B was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. At that time, doctors told her she would be in a wheelchair within the year. But Lucie proved them wrong! Her resilient nature and determination ensured Lucie would not be beaten by MS.

 

Nine years later, Lucie is still standing strong! In 2014, she married the love of her life and moved to Sweden. Her super power lies in her passion to motivate and inspire those who, because of their backgrounds, believe they cannot achieve their dreams. Lucie’s story is proof that anyone can succeed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

70

 


Big Bottom Blues

BIG BOTTOM BLUES is a gripping and emotional story about a woman’s traumatic childhood riddled with sexual and physical abuse and its devastating effects in her adult life. Lucie B takes us through the pain of body dysmorphia, isolation, addiction to food, binge eating disorder, shame, guilt and self-loathing that tormented her long after the abuse stopped. She tells her story from the heart, allowing readers to emotionally connect to her world of pain and tribulation. This is a raw and unnerving story that hits the nerve of every woman who has been sexually abused, particularly by the hands of a family member. This emotionally vulnerable book helps survivor step through their “Ring of Fire” to stand strong with renewal and the conviction to forge forward. Big Bottom Blues is more than just a book about healing from childhood rape: it is a story that inspires and empowers women to flip the script on their trauma and turn it into success!

  • ISBN: 9781370548606
  • Author: Lucie B Lindner
  • Published: 2016-09-03 15:20:14
  • Words: 14815
Big Bottom Blues Big Bottom Blues