An essay for my friend




The government sent us a gift card to buy food. So my dad wordlessly plopped nine chicken wings for us on the table. For three kids. He couldn’t use it all so there would be money for tomorrow. I swallowed my three, thinking I only ate two, and reached for a fourth. My brother raised his eyebrows and stopped me, saying that was his. I started to protest. And then cry. I just wanted to eat. My older sister didn’t want our parents getting involved so she grabbed the wing and put it on my plastic lid plate. I chewed with tears. My brother only had two chicken wings for lunch.

Later that day, or maybe the day after, I’ve lost track at this point, my parents fought over money. I didn’t have an iPhone to drown out the screaming. So I just kind of sat there in my room, to scared to go downstairs. Our dad was as a cold man. He had to be. He moved his whole life to the land of dreams, for us, and he could barely put food on the table.

As I got older, I kind of gave up on seeking his validation. So I went to women, hoping they would like me. Hoping they could make me feel wanted. And for them to like me, they must like what I look like. I started working out so my body would be attractive to them, so maybe they would want to sleep with me. When that wasn’t enough, I would tell myself I can’t eat for x amount of days. So I didn’t. And I lost weight. And I still didn’t feel good about myself. My dad still didn’t give me validation. So I binged. And felt bad. So I fasted again. Maybe if I became a man that could take care of himself, that could go days without eating, I would’t need my dad. I wouldn’t need his validation. That’s what I told myself. Of course you can see I’m not doing a good job loving myself. And I still don’t. Somedays are better. I’m on the journey of healing.

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