"The ax forgets, the tree remembers." -- African ProverbOne of the hardest but most important things for me to write about in Fat Woman on the Mountain was about being sexually assaulted at age 12.
The story about my 120-pound weight loss and quest to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, which will be released Sept. 14, also details my journey up the scale.
I gained 40 pounds the summer after after I was molested. I am not alone, several studies have shown a strong link between survivors of childhood sexual abuse and obesity.
"Abuse also is a form of control by adults over the child victims, and overeating may be a way for abused children to gain some control of their own... Others have argued that being overweight is a way to make oneself unattractive and ward off undesired attention," according to a 2007 issue of Psychiatric News.
I have spent years in therapy trying to sort out the aftermath of what amounted to a few afternoons as a pre-teen.
Perhaps I struggle with food because it was a comfort, a protection. (I wrote about how heading to the pantry actually saved me from one incident). Then, it became a "weigh" of life for me. While the abuse may be a distant memory the eating habits gained after it still gnaw at me.
Still, I do my best to move forward with strength and purpose. I hope to inspire others to do the same.