I want to write about Thanksgiving, but it’s hard to even remember much about it.

My wife’s grandmother passed away unexpectedly a few short days before the holiday, leaving her family scrambling to figure out funeral arrangements on top of holiday planning. Wife has been understandably emotional. Her family is predictably WASP-y, all but ignoring the death of their matriarch.

There was virtually no mention of her during the holiday spent together.

Not a single person asked about me. Or my wife. Or anyone, really. They talked about sports, television, Broadway, politics. There were some heated discussions, which is always confusing since we’re all vehemently liberal. We’re on the same damn side.

Somehow we found a way to argue about politics anyway. I suppose it’s not a holiday without that requisite?

The food was terrifying. I’d made a plan and I mostly stuck to it, but the tiny variation from that plan has me reeling even now. My intake has been dangerously low ever since in some futile attempt to even the balance and prevent imminent danger.

I wish I’d taken photos of what I ate. I always overestimate how much I eat in my head. Sometimes just visualizing what was actually on my plate at a later time helps me understand normal portions.

Whatever that means.

I should mostly be relieved that I went practically unnoticed. I’ve been getting a lot of unwanted attention about my weight recently. Our lab tech has started calling me “Miss Skinny”. Thrice in the past weeks, someone has given me a strangely executed side hug where it seems fairly obvious they’re checking the circumference of my shrinking waist.

And the comments:

“Too skinny.”

“I don’t like it.” “

That’s enough.”

Ugh. If only. If only that was true. I don’t know why people say these things. I look in the mirror and see a very obviously fat person. I am legitimately fat and yet these people make these comments.

Are they making fun of me? Are they trying to sabotage me?

My therapist says people don’t say that legitimately fat people are “too skinny”. They may say I look great or point out I’ve lost weight, but they wouldn’t make such a comment if I was truly fat.

She just doesn’t get it. No one does.

She asks if it is secretly rewarding to hear these things?


No, it is not rewarding. Not only because I don’t believe it, but because I don’t want people to know I am attempting skinny. That is private. It is personal. And I am failing spectacularly. Getting that feedback only ups the ante. It gives me more to prove.

In a dream world, I would just wake up skinny (whatever the fuck that even means) and no one would be the wiser for it. I would have just always been that way and everyone would be content with my appearance.

No comments. No smirks. No weird hugging. No reminders that my body is continuously being assessed and judged by the masses.


My wife’s family entirely ignored me. I may well have just not been there at all. Sometimes it felt like I was not there at all. I wasn’t sure I was even real. In the brief moment I was brave and tried to talk about myself, no one noticed.

I get it – they’re all in a weird post-grief haze. Their life is on bereavement hold while they wait for a holiday-delayed funeral. They have to bury a woman they didn’t even particularly enjoy in her later years, but loved fiercely anyway.

And so is the way of the world. The circle of life and all.

But … I have no family. No matriarch. No mommy. No daddy. No sisters or brothers or cousins to fight with. No rituals or patterns to fall into even though I despise them. No nostalgic visits to my childhood home to plop down cross-legged and dig through old photos and art projects, laughing over the good ol’ days when we were young and innocent while listening to 80’s pop music on ancient cassette tapes that are scratched from years of dust piling up.

There was no young and innocent. And there is no me before now. The memory of who I am is being held hostage inside a house I’d love to burn to the fucking ground.

And who I am now? Who even is that? Who is loyal to me? Who knows me?

I’m not even sure I know me.

There’s nothing.

I am an orphan.

13 thoughts on “Orphan

  1. tstromm says:

    could you like, write a book or something? a memoir? or call it fiction, who cares? you can write. i love your blog, but you need to do more with such insight, intelligence and raw ability to use words to say things that matter. i read at least 3 books per week looking for authors who have that knack… i’m a software engineer with DID, smart enough to know what i’m looking for but nowhere near as emotionally articulate as you are, and the way you write is what i look for in my endless endeavor to find the author who understands what you do, who can express what is so difficult to express. at least consider writing a book?

    Liked by 6 people

    • Andi says:

      Wow, what a tremendous compliment! I am truly flattered and humbled that my words inspired you to leave this comment. I actually do think about writing a book quite frequently. Something to consider more seriously once I finish PT school, perhaps? Thanks for this incredible vote of confidence – it means a lot!


  2. Zoe says:

    You have all the right in the world to feel this way. You were robbed of your childhood. I’m sorry that so many stressful things happened all at once during a holiday that has so much bad crap already tied to it.

    I don’t know why people make comments about other people’s bodies. I want to wake up in a world where no one gives a damn or mentions it. I hate it. Makes me sick. Always feel inadequate no matter the size. Even if you find acceptance of yourself, others always make you question it by pushing their ideals and opinions. People just suck.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rachel says:

    I completely echo what Zoe just said – ‘I don’t know why people make comments about other peoples’ bodies.” I don’t, and I wish that practice would stop. I’m sorry you are vulnerable to those comments and it makes you feel bad about yourself. And, I felt such sadness and grief in reading this post. About feeling like an orphan. You are an orphan, and that is really sad. And I imagine even just allowing yourself to utter those words is painful. And I see it as such a courageous act towards acceptance of your brutal childhood, and who you are transforming into. I think, and this is just my experience, when we really and truly accept how awful our lives were, we start giving ourselves the goodness we need now. And that is available to us now. Not trying to cheer this up or give a pep talk; being an orphan is an experience that deserves attention and recognition.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Anxious Mom says:

    ((Hugs)) to you Andi. I get this to a degree with my family since my mother left when I was young, you know how my dad is, and just having my grandmother. Makes me feel like I’m drifting around this world without an anchor. Such a feeling of emptiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dianetharp70 says:

    Andi, unfortunately i getcha regarding the weight/body image. I developed anorexia/bulimia at age 20 &while I don’t binge/purge anymore, I still calorie restrict. My daughter is having bariatric surgery in mid spring. No one should judge others appearance, impossibly cruel! I’m so sorry for the loss of your childhood. To you & your wife, I’m soo very sorry for your loss. Hugs to you both! 😦 ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cat says:

    People should keep their opinions to themselves. I hate when my family used to say things like, “too thin” “Not a pick on you.” One time I decided to respond by commenting on their weight… they didn’t like it one bit. People think it’s acceptable to say, “You’re too thin,” but they certainly wouldn’t say to someone, “You’re too fat” and expect to get a nice smile and nod in response.. I imagine you’ll be glad to get home!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ambivalencegirl says:

    Sending you love and caring–grandmas can be such a source of healing and warmth. I think about my ED a lot lately but not in terms of weight or being skinny or thin. Sometimes I doubt the veracity of how I view my childhood and I second guess that anything bad ever happened to. Then I realize that my ED is symbolic of everything bad that ever happened. Basically it was the only way I could cry out or dissociate or distract myself from my life. Like somehow all the fear and anxiety transferred to food and it’s been so complicated and I wouldn’t wish AN on my worst enemy as it is the most hellish disorder and ruins everything while seemingly making everything better. BTW, I am an orphan too but in a way it is freeing which is incredibly scary at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s