Towards the end of every day, I try to make sure that both Blondie and Brownie have enough space to process events and emotions from the day. Last night, when listening to Brownie talk about school, she mentioned that a couple of the boys in her class were being mean. The boys were making fun of another classmate behind his back due to a characteristic of his mother, who happens to work at the school. Brownie shared that she stood up to her classmates and told them that was not nice. Although, she says they didn’t listen to her, I reinforced that I was proud of her for sticking up for what she knew was right. She then went on to play with her sister. As soon as she left the room, I lost it.
Hello, trigger. Out of seemingly nowhere, I looked at the hubs across the room and started sobbing. Interestingly enough, that thing that those boys were being mean about is one of my biggest insecurities. It’s an insecurity that I strive every day to cover up so that my girls might not have the same one. Although, I’m pretty sure that after my extreme reaction to the trigger last night, it’s time to face it head on. So here we go…. I’m pretty good at practicing exposure therapy on myself. Ha.
The boys were making fun of their classmate behind his back because his mom is “FAT”.
Typing that word now, is stirring up tears for me. That three letter “F” word is something that is not part of my vocabulary because of the negative connotations that come along with it, and the insecurities in myself that it invokes. But why did this story from Brownie specifically send me into a tizzy? Because it’s one of my biggest fears. Because it’s one of my most vivid and least favorite memories from my own childhood. Because I remember as if it was yesterday when my own mother shared that she was sorry if anyone had ever made fun of me because she was overweight and that was one of her motivations for working to improve her health. At that time, in my preteen years, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it had already happened. The “mean boys” had already been making fun of me based on her size. As my heart was breaking during childhood, I never dreamed I would find myself in the same situation once more, just filling a different role. Now I’m the mom and my girls are the vulnerable kids. My heart is breaking once again. I naively hoped kindergarten was safe and kids would just be nice. Oh how wrong I am.
Side note: My amazing and lovely mother worked her ass off (literally) and is now a healthy grandmother who runs whenever she can and would not be someone that even a “mean boy” could call f#@.
If you’re thinking ‘if it was/is “one of your biggest fears” for your weight to be used against your children, why aren’t you doing something about it?’, I don’t blame you. However, I also know enough to know that it isn’t that simple. I have done “something” about it several times. I have tried to lose weight and improve my health. If I’m being honest, I have felt insecure about my body from the moment I understood that it wasn’t socially acceptable to be f%&. I have tried jogging for “fun”. I have tried almost every mainstream diet. I have drank nothing but shakes for 3 months just to gain it all and more back once I started eating again. With every piece of cake I have eaten in the past 20+ years I have thought to myself ‘You shouldn’t eat this. It’s just going to make you fatter. Why can’t you stop being fat?’ I have cried. I have signed up for 5ks 6 months out and not attended. It’s not that simple. It’s not just about cutting back calories and exercising. There are a whole 25+ years of emotions to work through as well.
So here we go. Time to hit this thing head on. Body image. Weight insecurity. Actually being an unhealthy weight. Critical self talk. Addiction. Emotions. Oh the emotions. Little jerk kids. It’s time.
P.S. Please don’t tell me I’m beautiful just the way I am. It may be true, and part of me knows that it is, but a larger part of me hears it as more criticism. So thanks, but no thanks.