This was the question posed to me by Jeff (my best friend) after he read the first few chapters of Fatty. Our friendship never really took off until after my dad died, even though we met a few months before, so he wasn't aware of all the specifics.
Most of it is true, in terms of feelings. The particulars or the details are embellished just because I've been so good at surpressing hurtful memories for so long that I really only remember bits and pieces.
I created Auntie Dee, who is an amalgam of the worst traits of my family rolled into one character. I really do have an uber-religious aunt she's based on, but she was no where near us when my dad died. Like I said before, the actual events would be changed for maximum impact for story.
But that eleven year old girl that no one comforted after her dad died? That's true.
The stroke was true. The death was true. Feeling different and isolated - all painfully true.
In fact, it scares me how true much of it is. I wanted to use the catalysts to create a character LIKE me, but unfortunately Gina is all me right now.
Ironically I can talk about the sexual assault and my dad's death so much easier than I can talk about the food. Talking about the food makes me feel the most vulnerable and exposed of all.
It's going to get worse before it gets better. As much as I seem to be throwing my family under the bus right now, believe me, my time is coming. Woo boy, is it coming.
I said to Jeff that it would be my luck that this book actually sell and would be the final nail in the coffin with my family and me. He said screw it, write it truthfully and let the chips fall where they may. I've decided that's the best way to handle it. I'm not writing this book to sell, really, which is probably why it will.
My life is kooky like that.
I'm pretty much at the end of my rope with my family anyway. All the feelings that this is bringing up are not pleasant, and instead of pain I'm really feeling a lot of anger. Anger that I get a lot of criticism for being self centered after I was conditioned to take care of myself because no one else was going to. Anger that I get a lot of grief for "taking advantage" of my family just because I accept what bribes they give me so they don't have to feel guilty for hanging me out to dry.
They can't give me affection or trust or unconditional love, so instead they give me grandiose gifts that are supposed to cancel their debt. But because I take it, that makes me a mooch and a freeloader.
So I've distanced myself from them, especially since my mom got her settlement. I've decided to tell them I do not want birthday gifts, and I don't want a dime of that settlement money willed to me after my mom passes on. She can give my part to my kids, but I'm not going to accept it and then live under my sister's ire for how I spend it.
Let her cash in. I've decided that the price of a relationship with them is too high for me to pay.
We had an unexpected financial setback yesterday to the tune of $700, but I refuse to ask them for help. I won't ask for an advance, and I won't ask my mom for a loan. I'd rather pawn my wedding rings to strangers than deal with the guilt I've had to deal with because "it's always something with Ginger."
So I'm going to distance myself from them while I work all this out. My mom probably gets the raw end of the deal in that she's not the main source of my resentment at the moment, but the current situation feels truly like a throwback to 1981 when it was them against me.
Even with my mom buying a new house I was left out of the deal. Even Steven, who has real estate experience.
So, I'm done. Done trying for acceptance and approval. I have to give it to myself and find some other way to do it than with food.
Which is all the time with my family amounts to anyway - going out to eat, going over to their house to eat. Food, food, food. That's their biggest bribe of all.
Someone's got to say enough is enough, and I guess that someone has to be me.