Until recently, I have held on to a self-made, fabricated delusion. A lie I tell ya; it's underlying truth is something that I have been lying about for years now.
It was June of 2004. I was in my second year of college at the University of South Florida. I was dating my high school crush and at-the-time sweetheart; we'll call him BBW. Him and his friends established a tradition; Spring Lake had become the destination of a yearly golf trip for the guys. They were departing in a couple of days. Being the kind and generous girlfriend that I was, I decided to get them some goodies to take with them. I went to a local Wal-Mart with a plan without a plan; I had no list. My intentions were to walk around Wal-Mart and buy what caught my eye; snacks and drinks and band-aids were all possibilities.
During that trip to Wal-Mart, I had other intentions, too. These intentions were different all together. They were specific and premeditated. Between you and I, it wasn't the first time I made and followed through with a similar premeditation.
Have I mentioned...? I was a new-be roaming and floating around the world of disordered eating. I wasn't always anorexic; I wasn't always bulimic. However, I was surely disordered. At this time, I didn't know what I was doing but I was establishing a dangerous routine. The danger lied in my health, or lack there of, and in my presently clean but unstable legal status. At the time, I would eat protein bars all day, daily, bites at a time. I usually ate specific bars; they were made by Dr. Phil, Shape Up! bars. I always felt like I was getting nourishment but, more importantly, I felt comfort from chewing these specific bars, little bite by sweet chewy little bite.
My goal would always be to limit calories consumed. Sometimes, I threw up some of those bites if the amount of bites I compulsively and neurotically chewed ended up as a whole 2 or 3 bars worth of calories at one time... well, this neurotic and disordered eating lifestyle became expensive. I couldn't live with throwing up money I spent on food all the time. So, totally unnaturally and illegally, she began to provide me with compulsive thoughts of stealing them. The compulsion usually scared me enough to prevent me from giving in to it. However, the impulse won a couple times. This day at Wal-Mart, it won and I seriously lost.
While I was shopping around aimlessly at Wal-Mart, I went by the aisle of nutritional supplements. I grabbed a few, 3 or 4, and I placed them on the opening of my over-sized canvas sorority bag. I knew what I was doing; I knew my intentions. Like I said, this part of the shopping excursion was completely premeditated. I continued to peruse the store, strategically placing bags of chips over the bars so I could continue to discreetly slip them further and further inside my bag. My mind was on compulsive auto-pilot and this same mind was convinced it knew exactly how to get away with what it was doing.
As I continued to shop, I noticed seeing some of the same plain dressed people passing by me. I ignored them and perused for about another 20 minutes. I bought the guys all kinds of things: doritos and gatorade, soda and juice, brownie mix and baked ziti ingredients, to be prepared. As I walked and wandered, my compulsive thoughts of thievery did not dissipate. I was going to go through with it. As I stood in the check-out line and rang up $65.00 worth of items, my heart pounded at the $7 worth of protein bars I had in my bag. Logically speaking, it really didn't make sense to spend $65 and steal $7 but, logic was not on my side, compulsion was.
I paid for the items and started to walk out of the store. I got one foot out. That was it though. "Ma'am, we need to see your bag," said the same gentleman that had been wandering around the store close enough behind me. Undercover security and theft prevention saw through my compulsion.
Immediately, I formed a story that I thought would forever be my story. This story became the truth. I made it my truth and everyone else's; well, everyone else's but that theft prevention character's. He was not even hearing it.
I cried and told them I made a mistake. I said I had forgotten that I put the protein bars "on top of" my open canvas bag. "They kept falling through the cart and on to the floor! I put them there because they kept falling through my cart! I totally forgot I put them there! Please! I will pay for them right now! I just spent $65.00. Why would I steal $7 worth of protein bars!?! Please! I am so sorry!"
They didn't give a damn about my story. Looking back at my telling this story I realize a few things. One is that she was the culprit and she was the thief. I was the one telling the lie to cover up for her. In my right and non-compulsively driven mind, I would have never risked that. I would have never chosen to steal protein bars. She didn't give a shit about my fears or my legal record. She just knew that she wanted those bars to eat and to throw up. And, she wasn't going to pay for them. Not today.
Petit Theft. Forever a misdemeanor charge on my record.
Those 3 Shape Up! protein bars cost me well over $500 when all was said and done.
To this day, I have only told one person the truth. Until now, I have only told one other than finally myself. Someone with an aura of unconditional positive regard came into my life recently. I've felt unconditional positive regard from many people in my life but, I felt utterly compelled to open up to him. I only knew him for a short time but, he changed me. Opening up and telling the truth was like breathing truly fresh air. It felt freeing and releasing. Since then, I have felt like the chains that once held me in contempt have been unlocked. He replied perfectly. "That just shows how far you've come, Jessica. You should not be ashamed or embarrassed. You should be proud of yourself for how far you've come."
Since that conversation, I have been wanting to rescind and repent to those of you here. I have been wanting to come clean with those of you that read what comes from my darkest and deepest places. I have been working up the courage to repent to my readers since October. Well....
I choose not to dwell or to feel ashamed anymore. Like my short-lived friend said to me before... it shows how far I have come. She surely does NOT have that kind of power anymore. She never will again. As I sit here and press the keys on this keyboard, I pronounce that she and her powers that encouraged me and provided such compulsive thoughts of thievery is gone.
I apologize as being the body in which she controlled at that time. I apologize for my dishonesty to all of my friends and family regarding the incidence. I especially apologize to my mother and father. My father was the one who said, "Jessica, if you did it, you can tell me. I will back you up and support you and lie for you til your dying day...please tell me." I didn't tell him... My mother was the one that came to court with me. I practiced my story with her and I told that story right in front of her and the judge. I didn't tell her the truth either...
Even more so, I publically apologize to myself. I apologize to myself for not allowing myself to live in truth and for binding myself in lies and in chains. I am living in truth now. I am living in truth and she is not welcome nor invited here, ever. Never, ever again.
R.I.P. Shape Up! lie.