Wearing Thin

It sucks when you’re trying to take a thing as a compliment but it doesn’t feel like it.

Words that you’ve been craving for weeks, months, years, over a decade. You hear those words. For the worst reasons.

I’ve struggled with my self esteem and body image since well before puberty. Many young women cite the actions of their mothers as detrimental to their adolescent self image. Mothers who, whether directly or indirectly, reinforce the culture and cult of particular body image ideals in the minds of their daughters.

I remember when my mom was on the cabbage soup diet. I’d read an article in the paper talking about body image and young adult women five to ten years my senior. All of these supposedly average women were between twenty and thirty pounds lighter than me, at adult height and five to ten years my senior.

I put the paper down and went digging in the fridge. My mom was on the cabbage soup diet. There was cabbage soup in various containers in the fridge.
My mom saw me digging through the fridge and asked what I was looking for. I told her it was the soup. “Just because you feel like eating cabbage soup?”

It wasn’t. Not by a long shot. The paper had told me that I was at least ten to twenty pounds too heavy, and my mom had told me that when you figure you’re too heavy or too big, you go on the cabbage soup diet.

My mom was always my biggest positive direct force. Always the cheerleader telling me I looked fine just the way I was.

The same way her sisters told her she looked fine just as she was.

But the fridge was full of cabbage soup.
I doubt the effect of his words ever occurred to him. I’m sure my dad always thought I looked fine, the same as my mom did. I doubt it ever occurred to him that I’d be hurt when he looked askance at my second plate of pasta.

I know he meant to pay me a compliment when he said it looked like I’d lost weight.

I spent nearly two months straight unable to eat reliably. Some people eat a lot while they’re grieving. Some people don’t. Lately, a symptom of my grief has been intermittent nausea. Especially when confronted with nutritious food.

So I’m a little slimmer than I was pre-heartache. I’m not unhappy with my shape or size. In fact, I’m probably the closest to happy with my dimensions I’ve been since I started paying attention, over a decade ago.

It took me a long time to realize that I’d rather be fat and happy than skinny and miserable.

Lately, I’ve been pretty miserable. And I’m probably the slimmest I’ve been in my entire adult life.

And the coordination of the two states means it’s hard to accept a compliment of my physical appearance when I know the reason for that appearance is something kinda ugly.

I know my dad was trying to compliment me. Make me feel better. Happier. I get that. But as much as I like how I look right now, I hate why.

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Comments
One Response to “Wearing Thin”
  1. I have always thought you were awesome, regardless of weight. Come on out, I’ll feed you home made GF Pad Thai and coconut chicken soup… because I can. And you can have 2 plates full.
    PS I still think “he” is an idiot.

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