Alright, truth time.
I have faced my own difficulties in regards to feminism. There are things that I am obviously deeply opposed to, more so than just disagreeing. There are things that send me into a blind rage. I’m talking full on Zombie mode – screaming, violence, cursing, throwing anything I can find. And this happened, just a few minutes ago.
If you might have noticed, I am not on speaking terms with my father. Domestic violence is simply one of the things that trigger my violent rage and my relationship with my father has simply not been able to recover. This is a part of my life that I have simply grown used to. My mother on the other hand, has not. A fight escalated. As I work through all of the long holidays, it was brought up once again that I still depend upon my parents. I try to help by paying for things on my own as much as possible, which I can do because of my job. One of the things that I now take care of is buying most of my clothing for the past two years.
My mother responded with something along the lines of well of course you would with a body like yours, nothing I bought fits anymore. Then continuing by saying that I should start taking care of myself, how terrible I looked and that I should eat less chocolate. I had gained quite a bit of weight when I started my job in the restaurant because of the very long hours and free food (duh). I very much struggled with my changing body, my mother struggled even more. She felt the need to sit me down and have a talk about my weight, my dad made fun of me, and I hated the body I was trapped in.
My body issues had been prominent for years. I assume my mother was raised the traditional way – skinny is beautiful. She was a very skinny child and never could understand that I was a chubby-ish child. I was very small when she told me to suck in my tummy because it would make it flat. When I got my hips at age 13 she felt the need to tell me that I need to do something about it because my hips were getting too wide – this was not criticism to her, but rather friendly advice.
In the summer of 2011 I spent most of my time sleeping and crying, too depressed to eat, resulting in quite a drastic weight loss, much to my mother’s excitement. It seems she has no problem buying clothes for a child that had gotten smaller, but has no time for someone who has gotten bigger. Either way, I don’t think I will ever be able to look t my body and not lift up my shirt, turn sideways, and find a flaw.
Recently I have moved towards becoming more accepting of my body. I know I will probably never be as skinny as the majority of society expects of a woman my height and age, but I don’t think about it much anymore. I became a bit more confident and comfortable, I became so immersed in my intellectual satisfaction that my physical shortcomings seemed so tiny and almost irrelevant.
So when she said that to me, I lost it. I lost it completely. I started screaming at her that there is nothing wrong with my body and that she was raised wrong, (“I never needed to be taught skinny was good”). As much as my father’s arms around my mother’s neck angered me, I found myself reaching for her neck – I just wanted to hurt her as much as she had hurt me. It’s not even that I had just learned to start accepting myself, but after more than a year I was down a jean size – a size that I normally was and one that I was harry with and it just seemed that to her I was fat – and that’s all that mattered. It didn’t matter that I was smart, that I was loved by great friends, that I worked hard, to her I was fat and that will always prevent me from being good enough to be her daughter.
My dad came in to tell us to shut up. He didn’t say anything to me. I threw a book at my mother and it hit my dad. He fell to the floor. I ran to help him up. Through all the anger between us, no child should have to see her dad like that. He didn’t take my hand. They walked away. Last thing she said was that I should just go back home and figure out how to pay my rent on my own.
So once again I find myself in tears in this god forsaken house. This is the second holiday home in the new house and so far these four walls have held nothing but screaming, anger and tears. There is no love and no laughter in this house. And this is not my home. But it does not mean that they are not my family. Despite all of these horrible things that have passed between us, the child in me wants a hug from my dad and to go crawl into my mother’s bed but I also think it is time to acknowledge that the time in my life where everything promises to be okay has passed.
And as for anyone who listens (or reads), please, please please can we stop teaching our children that their bodies are ugly? Can we be angry at them without breaking their hearts or sitting them down and telling them that they’ve gained weight and this is somehow considered less beautiful? Can skinny stop being the default where everything else is wrong and ugly? Can we be allowed to shape our own opinions of ourselves without the voices of television and magazines and even our parents telling us our hips are too wide, our skin is bad, our hair needs to change, our teeth is crooked, our noses are too long – whatever. Please guys, we’re hard enough on ourselves as it is. I don’t need to stand in front of a mirror tonight glancing at myself in my favorite pair of sweatpants on my first off day in two weeks and wonder if it’s how big my butt looks that made my mother say these things to me.
As for me, I need to find a way to control the rage I feel when confronted with these things. Maybe all of this happened because I tried to save two people who didn’t want to be saved, ending up more damaged myself. As much as I believe that there is nothing wrong with my body, and equality in a marriage is the most important thing, these are things that I had to go away to learn. This is their life, I am currently and for the next four weeks, in their life and not my own. And I need to learn that this is not my world and I cannot fix everything.
As for tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, I don’t know how I will manage to survive in a house where I am the enemy. I don’t know how or if my relationships will mend and I am scared. For God’s sake, I don’t even know how I will