It's been over two weeks since I last posted, for which I apologize; I have been in the midst of a major emotional breakthrough and felt that it was more important to feel my feelings than think or write about them.
Let me tell you all a story.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom in the midwest, there lived a king and queen and their three daughters. The oldest daugher, Princess S, was a bright and happy child, beloved by her parents, full of curiosity, energy and imagination. She loved her sister, the middle daughter, Princess A, and frequently led them into interesting adventures.
As Princess S grew older, she realized that her mother was getting sadder and sadder, and would stay up late into the night reading novels and movie magazines and eating junk food. Sometimes Princess S would share her books and magazines, and sometimes she would share her mother's food as well. In the mornings, she and Princess A would get themselves off to school because the Queen would still be in bed, and sometimes the two older princesses would huddle together in fear as they listened to the King and Queen quarrel. But most of the time, life was good and interesting, and Princess S felt that she could grow up and do anything she could imagine.
Then one day, when Princess S was 13 years old, she arrived home from school to discover the Queen dead on the bathroom floor. She ran to find a neighboring queen and stayed at her castle with the littlest princess and the neighbor prince, and later Princess A, watching the flashing lights from the ambulance and fire trucks and police cars in front of her castle, until her father came to get her. "What will become of us?" she cried, as she flung herself into the King's arms. "How do we go on?"
Everyone told Princess S that as the oldest, she had to be strong and take care of her sisters and set a good example. Everyone told Princess S that everything would be all right. Everyone told Princess S not to cry.
And so she didn't. She remembered her mother, the Queen, growing sadder and sadder and eating junk food. And Princess S began to eat, too; she began stuff food into her empty place, trying to keep the sadness and grief and fear from bubbling up and overwhelming her.
The months passed, and life went on. And the King began to court Lady M, who soon became the new queen. Everyone thought that the kingdom would prosper with Lady M as the new queen. The little princesses loved her, and the King loved her and she seemed to love them all with a large and welcoming heart.
But inside, that heart was black as the foulest night, and Lady M nurtured her desire to rule not just the kingdom but the entire empire with a heavy hand and iron fist. "I AM YOUR MOTHER," she cried, "AND YOU HAD NO OTHER BEFORE ME." Like Abraham destroying the idols, she lay waste to all memories and traces of the Queen. Using her wiles and insidious charm, she manipulated Princess S into banishing the late Queen's mother and sister, convincing her that they did not have the best interests of the princesses at heart, since they suspected Lady M's evil core. She rules the kingdom with fear and withholding love, forcing the princesses to curry favor or run the risk of banishment to the coldest reaches of the castle. Princess S and Princess A often huddled together, trying to figure out when the axe of Lady M's wrath would next fall, and on whom. These were dark days in the kingdom.
And yet, to themselves as to all the rest of the world, it seemed a happy family. There was laughter and there were family gatherings, school concerts and vacations and trips to the movies. Lady M, who had been overweight much of her life, saw that Princess S was growing heavy and put her on a diet, not letting her eat the foods she loved, the foods that reminded her of her mother the Queen, and making her feel shame about her body. But Princess S longed for Lady M's love and approval, so she followed diets, and quaked every time she had to step on a scale, since the wrong number could bring down upon her the wrath of Lady M. When she went off to college, she was free at last to eat what she wanted, but would starve herself in the weeks before Parents' Weekend or winter break, dreading the moment of inspection when she came again into Lady M's presence.
To be continued....