My blog colleagues over at Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat, posted this really great article in response to a recent Vogue article where a mother details the diet she placed her 7 year old daughter on. I read the article yesterday afternoon with a tear in my eye. My mom put me on a diet when I was eight. Thus began my battle with my weight and my mother. I’m 36 now and my mother and I cannot have a discussion about food or my weight without tears and resentment.
Today my mother and I were watching Meet the Browns. One of the main characters, Cora, was dieting in order to fit into a bridesmaid dress. She was getting frustrated and unloaded on another character about how she feels about having to struggle with her weight. My mother asked me if I ever felt the same way. I told my mother, “I don’t walk to talk about this right now.” My mother and I cannot have a conversation about my weight. I always feel attacked and that’s because my mother has been talking to me about my weight my entire life. I remember my mother yelling at me as I ran out the door that my ass was getting big. I was sixteen. I remember my mother telling me that I better hope that I can find a boy who will like me for my personality. I remember my mother telling one of my friends that she hopes that I will lose weight so that I can get a date to the prom. I remember last year, dissolving into tears because my mother felt the need to stage a phone intervention about my weight.
I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. That was also a period where I had a major depressive episode. I spent the summer in my apartment eating delivery, watching British period films (i.e. Vanity Fair, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice) and British TV on Netflix. I rarely left my bed. By the time I saw my mother for my niece’s birthday party, a year later, I had gained 73 lbs and was the heaviest that I have ever been. My mother was concerned for my health and after she left that weekend she called me and sister and told me that if I moved in with her for six months that she could help me lose weight. I was furious.
I knew that I had to do something about my weight. But I also had to find a job and a new apartment. I was planning on resuming exercising once I was settled. My mother couldn’t hear that. She kept telling me that my father had a 35 year old cousin with a weight problem and diabetes who just dropped dead one day. I couldn’t take it anymore. I started crying. I’m not a crier.
My point is that what a mother tells her young daughter about her weight and her body and how all that relates to her self worth, will be with that child forever.