You are too fat.
If you act like that no one will want to marry you.
Why can’t you look more like her?
I love you but I would love you more if you were skinny.
I wasn’t a fat kid. I was a girl with a wild imagination who believed wholeheartedly in the existence of fairies. But I was born to mom who didn’t love her body and she was born to mom who didn’t like her body...and so the disapproval of large thighs and arms trickled down through the generations.
Growing up I dreamed that someday, someone would take a romantic interest in me. As a teen I would tell people I had no interest in boys or getting married. It was it was less painful to lie than publically admit I was afraid no one would want me because of the size of my thighs.
I knew I was ugly because my mom reminded me of it everyday. She masked her destructive comments about my undesirable body under the guise of motherly duty. Her refusal to accept my body unconditionally put conditions on her love for me. I could never live up to her standards because the standards ebbed and flowed with her volute mood.
By 5-years old I knew this for certain...the smaller my body, the greater her approval. Motherly acceptance required small thighs and a tiny waist. But I could not achieve her ideal and I felt like I had failed. What is worse is I felt it was my fault. I was fat, ugly, and disgusting because I was bad at controlling what I ate. And because I could not control what I ate that made me a bad person. And who wants to hang around a disgusting, fat, bad person? Certainly not anyone interested in marrying me.
Mom thought her words echoed motherly concern for my body but I heard rejection. And if my mom rejected me then why would anyone else accept me?
It’s a girl...I have a daughter...the cycle stops here.
One day as I prepared to weigh myself on the scale, I heard this soft voice whisper, “You no longer need the scale to tell you are worthy.” And I thought, “Okay” and walked away from the scale and into therapy.
“Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is believing you’re worthy of the trip.”
- Glenn Beck, The Christmas Sweater.
Change didn’t happen over night. Learning to love myself was a painful process. Healing pain differs from abusive pain. It is cathartic, cleansing, hope giving, and alive. The arms of my husband provided a safe space for me to grieve and grow. The unconditional words of acceptance from older women who loved me through the years reminded me of my worth. Good friends wiped my tears with kindness. I knew the answers would come in love and time...and they did. Some days my mom’s words will reverberate in my head, but now my heart, head, and that small voice remind me of the truth....
I am enough. I am loveable. I am worthy. I am beautiful. So are you.