Right now, as I’m typing this, an eight-year-old girl I know and love is sobbing on her bed.
Before I tell you why she’s crying, let me tell you about this eight-year-old.
She’s at the top of her Grade 3 class. Loves swimming. And jazz ballet. Can sing every Taylor Swift song off by heart and – even though she says it’s for ‘little kids’ – she’ll often sit down and watch The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Foxtel in the afternoons. She believes in Santa and Mademoiselle Tooth Fairy and will always ask for a second dessert. And she’s tall and strong with a nose that’s been seasoned with freckles.
And you know why she’s in her bedroom tonight sobbing into a Peppa Pig cushion? Because she’s fat.
Or she thinks she is. Worries that she is. Tonight this eight-year-old became convinced that her perfectly normal round tummy was fat. That her legs – her THIGHS – were fat. And what she wants to be? Oh you already know the answer to that one. She wants to be THIN.
Her mum – one of my dearest friends – rang me tonight in total absolute shock and bewilderment.
This flip out or meltdown or whatever the hell you call it has come out of nowhere. NOWHERE. (My friend is not a weight-obsessed kind of gal and talk in their house – if body shape has ever come up – has always been about being strong and healthy not thin).