One hour. That’s all it took before I felt like a big, ugly oaf. That is when my mom brought out the clothes she had brought from Taiwan for me. This year, the fashion over there is skinny pants coupled with long, slim shirts. Now, even in my best of times, that is not a look that works for me because I have BOOBS and HIPS which most women over the age of twelve have. Well, except in Taiwan, apparently.
I eyed the pants, and I knew immediately, they wouldn’t fit. I tried them on, anyway, and guess what? They didn’t fucking fit. Not even close. I sighed as I yanked them off before trying on the shirts. The first one gathered at the waist and had horizontal stripes. I looked hideous. The second one was more forgiving with a formless waist and zebras. I like zebras. Still, I looked huge. I turned away from the mirror in despair.
It didn’t help that my mom modeled her new outfits for me. She’s been fanatical about losing weight for the past year or so, and she looks great. She was skinny to begin with (except for her stomach), and now, she’s tiny. Yet, she was nattering on about wanting to lose five more pounds. She’s wanted to lose five more pounds for as long as I can remember. It’s not for health–that’s for sure. Then, she tried on the pants she had bought for me and went on and on about how big they were on her. Granted, she’s 5’2″, and I’m 5’6″, but I still felt gargantuan next to her. If she thinks she needs to lose five pounds in order to be presentable, then what the fuck does she think about me?
Three hours. That’s how long it took for me to seriously contemplate going back to my disordered eating in order to lose weight. My mom was watching me as I got ready for us to go to lunch (yes, I am aware of the dichotomy of my mom harping on weight and being so invested in eating). I tightened up because I knew what was on her mind. In a careful voice, my mom said, “Have you gained weight?” I said tersely, “Yes. Some.” My voice screamed, “Back off, bitch,” even though I would never vocalize that to her. She took a deep breath and said, “Are you exercising? Doing your 10,000 steps? What are you doing about it?”
“I have to go bathroom.” I shut the door in her face. I’m not proud, but I couldn’t stand to listen to her any longer. Sadly, she kept asking me questions through the door until it was clear that I wasn’t going to answer. Then, she walked away. At lunch, I had to tell her that while I am concerned about my weight, it’s not open for discussion. In other words, dear mother, STFU.
Ten hours. I officially fall into despair. My mom is rattling on and on about losing those fabled five pounds. She is talking about how hard it is despite her exercising. I try to be noncommital, but it’s hard not to hear the censure in her voice. It may or may not been there, but it’s impossible for me not to hear, “You’re fucking fat!”
My mom put me on my first diet when I was seven. She told me I had such a beautiful face, if only I would lose weight. Any time I did lose weight, she never asked if I was being healthy about it–even after she knew about my eating disorders. Whether she realized it or not, she was subtly encouraging me to be disordered by her rah rahing when I lost weight and concern trolling when I gained.
The message I heard: Your weight is of utmost importance as to your worth. Because you are a fat, huge cow, you are worthless.
On the other hand, she brings me food from Taiwan, fattening foods. She wants to go out to eat more often than I normally would go. She wants me to eat, eat, eat, but then gets worried because I’m not skinny.
She doesn’t understand that there is no way for her to approach the subject with me. There is no way for her to voice concern without it sounding like a put down. Because of her own obsession with losing x number of pounds, she has lost all credibility with me when it comes to my weight. There would be no health benefit in her losing five more pounds. None. Therefore, despite her protests to the contrary, it’s not about her health. Therefore, whatever she says to me is bullshit.
Translation: She doesn’t want a fat cow for a daughter who would reflect badly on her.
Sixteen hours. I am now sitting in front of my computer. My mom is asleep. I keep thinking about how fat I am. I am getting her issues and my issues entangled, and I hate it. I know I want to lose weight, for me, roughly 50 pounds. I want to do it in a sane and safe way. I want to do it for my health.
No, I lied on the last. I don’t really give a fuck about my health in this matter. I want to be thin for the sake of looks. I am ashamed to admit it, but it’s all about the looks for me. I hate the way my stomach bulges and how round I am. I hate the way my thighs brush together as I walk.
I want to do it the easy way–the old way. I want to embrace the demon until it devours me. I want to whittle away my body, melting the fat until only the pure essence of me remains. She is very seductive as she whispers her lies into my ear.
“Follow me, and you’ll be the most beautiful girl in the world.”
“Follow me, and you won’t have to think about anything ever again.”
“Follow me, and I can give you everything your heart desires.”
“Follow me, and I can transform you into someone hot, beautiful, and thin.”
She lies. I know she lies. In this moment of weakness, I don’t care. I want to listen to her lies because it’s so fucking easy to do it her way. Yes, easy if you don’t mind devoting your whole life and soul to her. She’s a demanding mistress, and she doesn’t give any quarter to the faint of heart.
I know all this. I know it with every fiber of my being. And yet. I am thisclose to taking the hand that she offers me. I am a sucker for her lies.