Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dear Mom, You Don't Know

I want to address this because it's something that keeps coming back to my mind again and again- and that is that people assume they know your eating habits or exercise habits depending on your weight. This works both for thin people and fat people. I'm going to address it in more of a personal manner though and talk about why it was completely false in my case.

When I still cared about my weight, when I still thought being fat made me worthless and lazy and glutinous, I did everything I could to lose weight (Now I know better). At one point I decided I needed my thyroid checked because it was just ridiculous that eating healthfully and restricting calories, and exercising wasn't working (gee, maybe that's because diets don't work.. but I didn't know that). I confided this to my mother who didn't believe there was anything wrong with me, pointing out that I don't exercise much anymore due to multiple injuries. "What about in high school, mom?", I asked. "I know how you ate in high school." was her reply, obviously implying that my eating habits had to do with my weight. I'll be honest- I was shocked. There's very little my mom knew about my life in high school and my eating habits were definitely not part of her knowledge.
grade 6 shortly before first suicide attempt

Now, I want to be clear that my mom worked very hard and very long trying to support three children after my father skipped out on child support completely so I'm not blaming her for not knowing my eating habits as it's clear why she wouldn't. Either she was working or I was at school, with friends, etc.

So why did she claim she knew how I ate in high school when she rarely was privy to the knowledge? Because she assumed she knew what I ate because I was fat.  What she didn't know if that I hardly ever ate at all and, thus, often had fainting spells (which my now husband can attest to). I never ate breakfast, rarely ate lunch, and when I ate dinner at home I ate side dishes because I became a vegetarian when I was 14 (freshman year) and we didn't cook many vegetarian meals- therefore I was stuck with corn and potatoes most of the time. This starvation diet that I was on may account for me being at my thinnest in high school (a size 15/16 US).And certainly starving myself would be the only way to get back there (if you are even thinking of suggesting that then you are one sick fuck).

In addition to eating very little for about 5 or 6 years I also was incredibly active. I love walking. I really want to emphasize just how much I love it- I would walk everywhere I went in high school and would still do so today if I didn't have an ankle injury which causes severe pain when I walk. I woke up, walked 20 minutes to my best friend's house so that we could ride the bus together, went to school where I had marching band practice every day, rode the bus back to my best friend's house, walked 20 minutes home, did homework/watched TV for a couple of hours then walked back. Then we'd walk to our other friend's house (another 20-30 minutes)  just so that we could walk around the neighborhood more. Not to mention that I had additional marching band practices, games, competitions, etc as well as frequently starting new exercise programs with my friend, Beth.

All of this walking with very little food and, for a couple of years, diet pills every day three times a day, throw in the occasional periods of bulimia and it would amaze anyone that I wasn't very thin. I would simply not eat for days at a time- once for two weeks. When presented with this information most people would say that I'm lying. I find it funny that when a very thin person says they eat non stop, no one disagrees, no one calls them a liar, and no one argues.

There are all sorts of assumptions made about fat people which are shown for being ridiculous when the same things are applied to thin people. "Fat people just eat too much" would mean that thin people eat less- so all of those thin people who eat junk food in high quantities should be morbidly obese by now shouldn't they? "fat people just don't exercise" ignores all of the thin couch potatoes out there snacking on pizza and all of the fat people, like me, who were or are incredibly active.

So I want to emphasize, no mom, you have no idea what I ate in high school. You are just as guilty of making false assumptions as anyone else in society. Think about what my brother ate and you'll realize he ate far more than I did. Next time you decide to make an assumption based on facts that you don't even have, please rethink it.

1 comment:

  1. We are all different and that is the way it should be! Love your blog :)