Am I Ashamed or Not Ashamed, That is the Question

Human being are just walking accumulations of love and regret

– Mark Russell, Flintstones comic book, issue # 2
Excellent comic. And don’t judge me, Dear Reader. Comic books are waaaaaay underrated.

The first time I forced myself to throw up, I was 15. Or maybe 14. Or just as possibly, 16. Who knows, at this point.🤷‍♂️ It was damn close to 40 years ago, after all. If I can’t remember where I placed my keys or what I had for dinner yesterday, good luck with the details of events decades prior.

What I do remember is my bitch-of-a-Mother telling me I had an ugly body. Telling me that I was ugly. Now those comments, I remember, despite the passage of time. I can see the smug look on her face, proud of the emotional pain she caused.

My Mom also said:

  • She wished she never had kids
  • She hoped I would die
  • “Why? You’re just going to quit again.” (Referring to when I quit wrestling for a day, rejoining the next). Geez, this one still stings. It seems so trivial, but in my mind, hearing that you’re considered a quitter and not just that you quit a specific event? From your mother? That comment threw another pile of mud on my already depleted self-worth.
  • “Your brother’s the smart one. He never has to study and he still gets straight-A’s. In Honor Classes, no less. You? You need to put in the work and your lucky of you can get a B.” Translation: you’re stupid, Mark. Why can’t you be more like your brother.

Look, my parents weren’t completely evil. They didn’t sexually abuse me and they provided a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. We were kept nourished and given toys for Christmas and birthdays. They checked those boxes. But they didn’t give love, tenderness or concern for our emotional well-being. Those skills were decidedly not in their repertoire. They lacked basic empathy and compassion for their own children. They were apathetic and narcissistic. It’s possible calling my Mom a bitch was an understatement; the C-word is more fitting, despite my inability to type that offensive word in my blog.

Somewhat interesting aside: Yes, my ears are little sensitive to the C-word. I just find the word a little ugly. My fiancé, on the other hand, has zero issue with the word. Her argument?

“It’s just a vagina. You’re gonna call me that? I’ll take it. A vagina is the Giver of Life, the portal to infinity, a magical place of warmth and beauty.”

– Keeda

After reading my fiancé’s quote, I concede (particularly the part about the vagina being a place of warmth and beauty). The cunt word isn’t so bad after all.

“My Mom is a cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt.”

– Mark

Yeah, my Mom was a cunt. Still, I was lucky to have the upbringing I did, compared to all the suffering out there. But her cunty behavior did leave me with all sorts of baggage and insecurities. And her comments and cruelty spawned the eating disorder that I mentioned earlier.

You want details, Nosy Reader? Fine. The daily routine was simple:

  1. Starve myself because I hated my body
  2. Gorge on Ding Dongs, Doritos or M &M’s.
  3. Stick my finger down my throat repeatedly, until any remnants of food were discharged into the sink
  4. Repeat Steps 1-3.

Interesting aside: I kinda repeated steps 1-2 for a good bit of my life, over longer time-cycles. Let me explain: I’d deprive myself of the joys of food, for long periods of time, measured in years (Step 1, above). Then, I’d completely fall off the wagon, eating whatever I felt like, with zero concern for the consequences. Two sausage, egg, cheese, bagel sandwiches for breakfast. Nachos and four tacos for lunch. Ice cream. Etc., etc. Zero willpower and zero regard for my midsection, which I despised. If you need me to clarify, all of that is Step 2, above. Not Ding Dongs and Doritos, but hopefully you get the analogy.

I’d yo-yo diet like a m’fer. I’d be pudgy or “husky” as it was called back in the day, for a few years. Then, disgusted with myself, I’d go on a starvation diet of perhaps 700 calories per day. The weight just had to come off, and quick. That whole mess lasted into my 40’s.


(Sarcasm at its best. Actually “Mom,” we haven’t spoken in years, and I’m thankful for that. You’re a hateful racist, and I don’t like you. But I guess I’m still thankful for you, for giving me life. I just wish you did substantially better at a lot of things. Like not wishing I were dead and telling everyone you meet that you only have one grandchild, as you consider my three daughters “dead to you.” How could you disown your child and ruthlessly discard your grandchildren so completely? Because, in my estimation, you’re simply NOT a nice person.)

The whole self-loathing lasted well into my 40’s also. Examples:

  • I’d hate the roll of fat at my belly so much that I’d pull at it, viciously trying to discard it from my body. I had visions of slicing the fat off. Healthy mentality, huh?😒
  • I had a deviated septum in middle school. I think it was the result of wrestling. Anyway, my nose was bent ninety degrees, approximately halfway down the bridge (And NO, Skeptical Reader, the ninety degrees bend was NOT an exaggeration). It caused breathing issues, as one entire nostril was blocked by deformed cartilage. My parents refused to fix my nose. For several years in middle school. Middle schoolers can be very mean. In the interim, I’d try to bend my nose manually, causing a cracking sound on many occasions. I did this every single day, multiple times each day. I hated both my body and my face.
  • I had this massive fear of balding. I felt like I was losing my hair, at 17. I started using Rogaine, while still in high school. Shit was expensive and I was a broke teenager. But, I was desperate. My pizza delivery earnings went straight to a hair product. But it was worth it, if it reduced the time spent on my daily ritual of staring at my hairline. I’d literally stare at the mirror, hating my nose, hating myself, inspecting my thinning hair and freaking the F out at how ugly I was. Depending on the severity of the mania, my conversation with the mirror could last an hour. I wish I remembered what released the mirror’s daily hold on me. I certainly wasn’t me engaging in any positive self-talk, as that simply never happened. The most likely reason why I stopped gazing at the hideous site reflecting back at me? It was probably just someone having to use the bathroom to poop.🤷‍♂️

Interesting aside: My brother and I despised each other, growing up. We’d get in literal fist fights, weekly. In between those fights, sprinkle in heated wrestling matches with pinching and biting, and occasionally, spitting in one another’s face. In moments where my brother had the upper hand, he’d pull my hair, well-aware of my baldness phobia. With a handful of hair, he’d release it slowly, raining it down mockingly into my face. The result? I’d go completely apeshit. Easily the most enraged I’ve ever been, in my life.

Interesting aside #2: My brother and I actually have a good relationship now. It only required 40 years to get there.😬

Many years later, I’m better. Substantially. I could wish my healing happened earlier and that my mental instability didn’t cause collateral damage to those I love. But I don’t play that game, wishing for the past to be different. So don’t bother me with asking, “If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?” The answer will always be the same: nothing, for two reasons. One, I can’t change the past. And two, the past forged me into who I am today.

And I like who I am, today! So thank you, my past. Thank you for every single thing. Take one of those things away and who knows how drastically different my life would be. Would the course of my life be altered in such a way that I never quit my job, never relocate, never click on a dating app and meet the most perfect person?

If you zoom in on my nose (which I DO NOT advise), you can see the cartilage, still partially obstructing the nostril. See?! I don’t lie! You can trust me, Dear Reader!😘

The point of this post? Maybe it’s simply this: live in the moment. I’m constantly trying, every day to do exactly that. But my mind doesn’t always cooperate. I’m chastising myself for events decades ago, beating myself up in the process. And when my fiancé and I have a disagreement, which is pretty rare, it takes hours and hours to stop replaying the argument in my head. My racing mind is a bitch, sometimes.

Journaling helps to quiet the noise inside my skull. Meditation helps (And if I can pat myself on the back a moment, I haven’t missed a day of meditation in over 4 years.). And every chance I get, I look around for reasons to be grateful. Like yesterday:

I love Pho. And I love the beautiful women I’m blessed to share a life with. And NO, Dear Reader, I do NOT shave my legs. How rude of you to suggest otherwise.😠

It was a everyday instance. Just a Pho lunch (which was delicious, satisfying my craving for the complexity of Vietnamese cuisine), sitting on a porch. But the smiles. The joy, evident on their faces. And me, taking it all in, as a witness. I cherish those times, jotting them into my journal’s “Happiness Log,” for review later. That way, I get to smile all over again, recalling those moments.

I’ve got pages and pages of this stuff, helping to put a smile on my face, every day.
Adding a new Happiness Entry always brewing me joy.

Whatever your method of choice (journaling, consciously breathing, meditation, etc.), I encourage you to use the tools consistently and to Be Here, Now. So many of us fret about the future, projecting possibilities that are unlikely to ever occur. We have very little control over the future, and we sure as shit have zero ability to change the past. Yet, that’s where we spend most of our time, missing the events playing out right now in front of our faces. Don’t do it. Don’t miss savoring that ice cream cone because you’re arguing with yourself over the way you should’ve handled a this-or-that. It’s not easily, certainly. It’s a daily battle and one that I frequently lose. But I try. And in the end, isn’t that the best we can do? Just keep trying, my friend. Keep showing up. And when you fail, which you will, be gentle with yourself, pick yourself up, and move on.

3 responses to “Am I Ashamed or Not Ashamed, That is the Question”

  1. Nikkita Frazier Avatar
    Nikkita Frazier

    🥹🥹😭💔❤️ I hate that you had to go through that but I love the man you have become. Thanks for your transparency 💋

  2. […] aside: I’m more a fan of larger dogs. A Pomeranian is not a breeds I would choose. My mom, who I’ve previously mentioned is a certified bitch, preferred littler pets. So that’s what we got. My mother was hateful even when she got what she […]

  3. […] feelings of inadequacy were deeply ingrained by my parents. Remember, I called my mom a cunt, reflecting on the past? But after college, I did have a period where I was truly proud of myself. […]

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