I became pudgy, I think, when my parents separated and I got caught in the middle of some pretty serious things that no child should ever really get in the middle of. I think food was my outlet. My father fed it to me as a coping mechanism and my mother rationed food greatly (the bad stuff). However, because my food was rationed or banned from my house, it was all about sneaking and binging. I snuck more food into my room before my mother got home than I can even imagine. My staples were Twizzlers (the jumbo pack) and cheese puffs. I would polish it all off and hide the evidence long before my mom would come home.
I could tell, for a lot of my young life, that my mom was ashamed of my body. Always asking if I was sure if I wanted that piece of bread or if I needed to finish the entire meal. Now, don’t get me wrong. My mother was also one of the greatest human beings I EVER met. She was my best friend and the greatest supporter a little girl/young woman could ever as for. This was one of her few flaws.
All I ever wanted was shitty food simply because I couldn’t have it. It became what I thought about at all times. I would wait for my mom to go to bed so that I could grab the wrapper that was under my pillow, or race home after practice before she got home so I could stuff my face with anything from her Wise chips to the Quick cocoa mix that was in the cupboard. I HAD to get it in before anyone could know.
Now, this obviously translates to my adulthood. I still crave the shit out of the bad foods at times, mostly when I am bored or need a break from work. This is something that I do amazingly well with some days and others not so much. I still don’t want people watching me eat certain foods because I’m worried what they may think and it still makes me feel like garbage to think that way.
But, here is the thing. I want to pass none of this along to my daughter. My daughter a few months ago asked why I was fat. I had been frighteningly waiting for that day to come, however, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I am very upfront with Lillie, if she asks something, I don’t hide the answer, I tell her in a manner that is acceptable for a five year old to hear and I tell her the truth. So I explained why – how I wasn’t eating the right and healthy foods for a long time. How I ate more “sometimes foods” than healthy foods.
I need my daughter to have a good relationship with her body and I think that starts with me. As women we CONSTANTLY put ourselves down. We look at ourselves in the mirror as we’re getting dressed, putting makeup on, washing our faces and we make comments. And, sadly, generally we make negative comments. We are trained to feel comfort in disdain for ourselves. We are trained to think we should fall back on putting ourselves down instead of raising ourselves up and, guess what, our kids, nieces, nephews, neighbors kids, they all hear it. They hear it and they put it away for when they can use it themselves. As adults we have the responsibility to love ourselves not only for ourselves, but for our kids. For all these kids. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be if your daughter, niece – whomever – saw you look in the mirror and heard, “wow, I look really beautiful today.” Can you imagine how your sons would all of a sudden have a new respect for a female’s beauty? How maybe they would see a little aging and a woman in her natural facial state – sans makeup – could be beautiful?
What if we stood there a few pounds overweight and said, I’m beautiful. I sure as shit want my daughter to look at herself regardless of her state of being and feel beautiful, but if I don’t put that image out there for her, she most likely won’t understand that it is not only acceptable to love herself and her body how she is, but that it is OK and a beautiful way to be.