Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Motherly Love

I hate to talk about anyone here within this blog, I really do, but sometimes things happen that are so integral to the mission of the blog that I have to put aside my unease regarding airing of dirty laundry and just do it. Today is one of those days.

I had a big discussion with some friends regarding what to do (or not do) to keep the peace with my mom. We’re different people with different values, and we often let that get in the way of us remaining civil with each other. She pushes my buttons, I push hers. I instantly feel the need to follow that up by saying I only push her buttons because she pushes mine, but I know that’s often not the case. Then again, sometimes it is. I made the conscious decision last Saturday to not push any buttons regardless of whether or not mine were pushed. It was a fine time to make that decision on Saturday, because she broke all my buttons on Sunday.

I don’t know how the conversation started. She likes to tell me what she eats each day and why. I’m sure it was something about her wanting to lose weight – a constant obsession of hers. I then made some off-handed comment about how, “Yeah, well I’m 70 pounds away from a ‘normal’ weight for my height according to the doctor’s BMI chart.” What I hoped would come across from that sarcastic comment was, “Are you kidding me? You’re already thin! You’ve always been thin! You have absolutely nothing to worry about!” The intent was clearly missed, because the following came next:

“Oh, I pray for you every night,” said my mom, “I pray that god will help you lose weight…”

I cut her off, “that’s not what I was saying…”

“I just know that one day god will answer my prayers and you will get down to that average weight!”

“It’s not going to happen, “I say.

“Don’t think like that!” she replied. “I have faith that one day you WILL lose weight.”

“No,” I say, “I have been studied closely by an Endocrinologist – it is not ever going to happen.”

“Really?” she says.

“Really.”

“Well, don’t give up. I’ll continue to pray, and you do the same. God can work miracles.”

Left field, my friends. This came directly from left field. In fact, it was a kind of “look over there!” that she did, and when I looked she pushed my buttons – all of them, over and over again.

I wound up changing the subject like a good daughter. I didn’t mention that I don’t pray, which she knows. I did tell her she could stand to be slightly more supportive in saying something like, “I love you no matter how you look.”

To which she replied, “Oh, I do – I told you that you looked thin in that black dress the other day.”

I can feel my shoulders tensing and my blood pressure rising as I type this. Seriously, I’m not making shit up when I say that she pushes my buttons. If the aforementioned is not a button-pushing episode, then I don’t know what is.

When we concluded the call, J came into the room and said, “Fighting with your mom again?”

“No!” I quipped, “I did not argue with her, even though she was annoying me.”

“No,” he said, “I didn’t hear you say anything argumentative – you just had an aggravated tone of voice.”

“Well,” I said, “sometimes it’s hard not to.”

Ladies, if you’re not mothers already, some of you will be in time. Please, don’t do this to your daughters. You have a chance to break the cycle of poor body image by supporting your kids and encouraging them to be healthy (not thin). Healthy comes in many shapes and sizes, and health is important, but really and truly, being thin is not. And the quest for it (or your quest for it) can really fuck a girl up.

3 comments:

Megan said...

My mom: "You'd be so pretty if you just lost (insert number here) pounds."

Well, I did, and guess what? My mom was jealous, and I was pretty...miserable.

Love your body, ignore what other people say, even moms. YOU know when you feel good in your own skin. And there's plenty of "average weight" women who couldn't make it in derby, so be proud!!

Anna said...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/07/08/o.fattest.ballerina/index.html

DayGlo Divine said...

I'm genuinely surprised my mom never pulled the God angle whenever that topic came up for discussion (which happened often, and usually at particularly inopportune times). Otherwise, I've been there and done that, and the only advice I can give has already been said. :)