This is embarrassing.
Yesterday my three-year-old son called me fat and it made me cry. Okay readers. Full confession, I’m a bit nervous and embarrassed to write this post however as one of my dear friends said to Le Boss Fox, “Commit, or get out!”
So here goes. I’m committed to telling you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me Gods. (Jewish God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Tom Cruise, Oprah, River Phoenix). Beautiful River, I swear on you.
ANYWAY I digress. Yesterday my delicious, delectable, charming three-year-old boy got into bed behind me, put his little feet on my bare back and started chanting: "You have a big fat bum. A big, fat, bum. A BIG, FAT, BUM!". Then he giggled and chanted it some more and then... I am ashamed to say this... I cried.
As he was saying it I froze. I knew I should shush him and laugh it off. He's only three! The wise course of action is obviously to wait until he's old enough to understand body image, respect for women and fat shaming and have those discussions with him, but I just froze. All the hatred of my disgusting, fat body, the self -loathing and shame, the abject, horrible shame I've struggled with my whole life flooded me and I cried.
I flashed back to being the girl in the dancing class whose body wasn't thin enough. Who got teased about being fat by other girls, and told by dancing teachers to lose weight (it was the '80s). I flashed back to being the only teenager in my friendship group who didn't have a flat stomach. The fucking energy I wasted yearning for a flat stomach!
I flashed back to being at a party in Europe with my dear husband who I'd only just met. A tall, thin, blond and very drunk Italian woman hissed at me: "What are you wearing? You're too fat for that dress. You don't belong here." Yeah, that fucking happened, in front of everyone. It was mortifying.
It's never been good enough
Here's the kicker -- I'm not overly fat but I'm also not thin. And if I look back, when I felt all that pain and shame, I was a lot thinner than I am now. But who and what decides this ridiculous measure anyway? All I know is that all my life, I've never been thin enough. NEVER.
I don't like looking at pictures of my wedding because in my head I wasn't thin enough. Even when I had a brief period of actual thinness in my 20's I still felt fat, because the object reality has never corresponded with what's in my head. I've always felt that if I could just lose a bit more weight then I'd be happy and everything would be perfect.