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Little Fat Girl
I just watched Kevin Smith’s Trauma is Trauma talk. Yes, I’m talking about the Silent Bob dude. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do, whether or not you feel like you have experienced trauma. Spoiler alert: you have.
Throughout the video Kevin talks about his childhood trauma, focusing on sexual abuse and body shaming. Of course, I related to the sexual abuse part, but the video also reminded me of all of the times people have commented on my chubbiness throughout my life. I can still hear the criticisms (not literally -- I’m not hearing voices). Here are the most memorable, the ones that invade my thoughts every time I look in the mirror.
· We had snack time in first grade, in the portable classroom at Colbert Elementary. When the teacher told us we could snack, I got out a small bag of Fritos and went to town. My thin teacher stopped in front of my desk scowled at me and said, “You can keep working while you eat, you know.” I was 6.
· In my grandmother’s kitchen in Peoria, IL, the step-uncle who had been sexually abusing me commented, “You eat too much. You don’t need to eat every four hours” when I asked for lunch. I was 9.
· In the kitchen, at our small duplex on 24th Avenue, my mother shamed me for refilling my tiny Dixie cup with Diet Coke so I could finish eating what was on my plate. “When my drink runs out, I stop eating!” she snarked at me. I was 11.
· On the shore of the swimming “lake” at TY Park in 1982, a thin, privileged girl laughed at the sight of me in my one-piece bathing suit and orange water wings. “You’re too fat to swim,” she said and laughed with her gaggle of friends. I was 12.
· I was sitting by the apartment building pool with a group of friends when the boy I had been “dating” poked my bare abdomen and said, “You look like the Michelin Man.” I was 15
· Late in my pregnancy, I had to have appointments with every doctor in the practice because you never know who can be on call when the big day comes. When I asked Dr. Z. to look at a rash I had on my bikini line, he stepped back, frowned, and said, “It’s a FUNGUS! And you might want to start watching your weight.” I got a double cheeseburger at Wendy’s on the way home. Guess who was on call when I went into labor? I was 25.
· I stood on the fitting platform in the dressing room at David’s Bridal while the seamstress pinned the waist on the larger size gown I had to get. She rolled her eyes and asked, “Can’t you just get the smaller size and lose some weight?” I was 34.
Like a lot of people, I could go on and on listing the times when I was told my body was not good enough. We often get these messages as children, and then we repeat them to ourselves daily, sometimes hourly, or at least at every meal. I’m sure I’m not the only one who berates myself for eating anything carby or sweet. I don’t have any solutions or a neat little ending. Just know that you are not alone. My inner child is a little fat girl.