I posted this and then took it down. It was a little too close too home. But it was nagging at me, feeling like the words needed to be said. Please know this is not intended to be a pity party post-just an honest reflection of where I am right now. In the wise words of Anne Lamott,
“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”
I just registered for a marathon and that has nothing to do with me.
The 2014 Eugene Marathon has nothing to do with me and it has everything to do with my daughters.
Today Stella looked at me and said “You’re fat”.
It isn’t new to me and it isn’t the first time I have heard those words escape from one of my daughter’s lips. Sophie said it to me when she was in kindergarten. Except she said, “My friend Rishi says you’re fat.” There’s something that is slightly more comforting about your daughter saying HER FRIEND says you’re fat as opposed to when SHE IS actually saying it. It’s only a small difference, but somehow it hurts less.
And it does hurt. It isn’t news to me. I know how I look. I know what I weigh. I battle with the thoughts and actions surrounding my weight all day long. You might consider committing me if you were privy to the ridiculous conversations that play out in my head day in and day out.
“Look at those beautiful mountains,” some might say. I say, “Look at those upper arms.” Plank, woman!
I have memories etched in my brain from the youngest of ages all the way up through last week. Heck, yesterday. The details of these stories aren’t important, the message always remains the same. Thin=good. Not thin=bad. Even the happiest of memories are tinged with the darkness of regret. All of my babies, thankfully born healthy and strong, have a little p.s. at the end of their birth stories: You took my body as your own and I willingly gave it. But could I have it back now?
They never gave it back.
Over time, the memories and the stories you tell yourself become jumbled until you can no longer separate the two. The memories and the stories are one and the same.
And now I have my nearly 35 year old body and a daughter who says “You’re fat”. I think of all of the agony I’ve gone through trying to make peace with my body, and when I hear her voice say those words I can only pray that she never looks at herself in the mirror and says the same.
That’s all I want for them. I want them to say nicer words to themselves than I say to myself. And I try to convince myself that my script is different than it was before.
I sign up for races. I train. I finish races at my current weight and hope that my daughters glean something from those actions. But when they look at you innocently and say “You’re fat” it is hard to believe they are seeing what matters.
I need to have faith they are.