Body of Armor
Growing up one’s appearance was a significant factor that my mother instilled into each of her children. We were told we were beautiful, handsome and take pride in your appearance. As a child I loved to play dress up and shopping for clothing was more than a necessity it was an obsession for myself. Scrolling through my childhood pictures I was ready for the camera at any time. My mother's living room was packed with picture frames of all of her children.
During middle school I found that I loved food more than clothing and accessories and by the seventh grade I was wearing a woman’s size 18 clothing. The suggestion of my older sister she talked my parents into letting me go to modeling school. I learned how to walk properly, apply makeup and again take pride in my appearance. I was soon losing weight, competing in fashion shows and getting attention from the opposite sex. I was subscribing to fashion magazines, watching television and music videos for fashion tips.
While in high school I had to do a presentation for opening a business I focused on shoes and brought in enough shoes from my closet to open a store. My major in college was retail merchandising and my independent study was opening a millinery store. Using the research of my mother’s obsession with hats so I had stores that she frequented to use for pricing, how to purchase etc.
It was during my sophomore year in college that IT happened and I held the secret in with an only a small group knowing what happened to me. My parents and I agreed that my grades weren’t up to par, my financial aid was not being granted and there was an emotional roller coaster I was holding in. I moved back to Connecticut and stayed at a size 14 in misses clothing. I was close to my friends and family and if needed I could be home within an hour compared to eight hours away where my parents felt helpless. I pushed the incident to the back of my mind and slowly I was putting on my body armor.
I graduated college, found a job, and an apartment within months of graduation. I was on my way of finding my way in this cruel world. Whenever faced with stress, fear, or insecurity food became my comfort. By the time I decided to move to California I weighed 250 pounds and was wearing a size 18-20 W. Meeting new people, new job, and dealing with my father’s ailing health I wasn’t focused so much on appearance. I just wanted to recreate a happy environment and figured the weight would come off eventually. So, when I met him and the attention I was given the last thing I was expecting was for IT to happen again. I was questioning what were my actions to cause it I knew I didn’t dress provocative. I had gained weight so I knew it wasn’t my body. All the thoughts were going through my mind. I turned to food again as my comfort. My way of thinking was that if I gained the weight I would be strong enough to fight, I unconsciously wanted to become unattractive, I became the comedian in the group . The big girl who was like one of the boys so that I wouldn't be attacked.
Years later I became reacquainted with a classmate on Facebook and the first thing she asked was what had happened to me? She remembered the old me the teenager from high school . I was offended. I was like don’t people change? Gain weight? Get older? Loose hair? Dont’t other people let themselves go? Now reflecting I might have put the weight on but my eyes told the story. The pain, the loneliness, and the anger that I had masked with the weight. She meant no harm by asking because of her it made me face the reality. Slowly my love of clothing is coming back, losing weight is a priority, and writing.
I sat down and wrote about IT! I told my sisters because my parents and niece never told a soul of IT. They kept my secret. Secrets keep you prisoner and I am now free. Deserving of the love I have pushed away because I didn’t feel beautiful. Years later shedding the scars of the abuse I suffered. Able to utter the words I am a Rape Survivor!
Self Published Author, Patricia A. Saunders was born and raised in Connecticut before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area nearly 23 years ago. She received her Master’s in Management from the University of Phoenix in 2011. After the passing of her mother who had Alzheimer’s, Patricia decided that all the words that she kept to herself were to be released.
Her work has been featured on a Coast to Coast Book Tour at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Toronto Word On The Street, Sacramento Black Book Fair, Tucson Book Festival, Miami International Festival of Books and AARP Life@50+ Spring Convention. Also on In the Company of Poet, Women Owned Business Club Magazine, and Alysha Live! Radio Show and Coach Deb Bailey Secret of Success Talk Radio. She performs locally at spoken word events and Capital Jazz SuperCruise Open Mic with Grammy Award Winner Eric Roberson.
She is a monthly blogger of her own blog Blessed & Curvy who covers today’s hot topics.
She released her first self published book Through the Fire (March 2012) which covered emotions from situations, circumstances, and life lessons that have influenced her over her lifetime. On a mission to complete a book a year in case she inherits the ugly disease she released her second book Loving Me (2013) and third Let It Rain (2014) which is also self published and covers various topics from love, grief, self image, self esteem, bullying, and discovery of self love .Her fourth book (2016) This Too Shall Pass was released by AuthorHouse Publishing. Her latest book is a biography that details her journey and infused with poetry called There Is Sunshine After The Rain: Making It Through Life's Struggles (2018) .
In her spare time, Patricia enjoys writing poetry, traveling, spending time with family and wine tasting.
Her books are available at your local book retailers, at www.patriciaasaunders.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com
You can follow her on social media:
Facebook: @ blessedpoetpat
Patricia A. Saunders
Blogger, Poet, Author