Confidence Chronicles: The Fat in the Hat

Monday, August 22, 2016

Growing up as a real gangly thing (think, snowman, without the snow), I will never forget when our fourth grade P.E. teacher took it upon herself to warn us of the dangers of... our future weight issues. The whole thing was sort of odd, and completely out of the blue, as she announced to the girls in class “now girls, in high school, you're going to think you're fat, but just know that you aren't, okay? It's all in your head.”

Weird, right? Were here pants too tight that day? or did she really think she was doing us a favor?

Anyway, she said it, and I remember turning to one of my best friends at the time who was very thin herself and saying, “Oh, well we don't have to worry about that” and without skipping a beat she goes, “Oh, but you have to.” I can't remember the exact wording that followed, but it was something along the lines of, “if you don't think you're fat, you're never going to fit in {and} It's expected of you.” Being nine-years-old and highly impressionable, I instantly believed her. I wasn't sure why she was right, but I was certain it was the truth.

Clearly I don't blame my, then BFF (BEST FRIEND FOR LIFE!), for what she said. But it makes me wonder, where did she create the story? Who told her to worry about her weight? Why did she feel this expectation, and further, why did she feel the need to impress it upon me? Beyond the BFF, why did our P.E. Teacher bring this up in the first place? Why did she feel the need to prematurely instill anxiety about our weight? And to so clearly place it as an issue to the women little girls, in the room. Almost as to say, “Hey boys, keep eating! And Ladies, keep eating, but just so you know, you're gonna wish you hadn't.”

But the thing is, following that day, my mind became just as distorted as theirs. Being so impressionable, and believing what I was told, weight concerns were now a part of the story that I carried; But at 54 pounds, that ain't right.

My story continues from here, and it doesn't lead into any sort of disordered eating or any other type of textbook “disorder(ed)” issues. But you know what is disordered? THE STORY. The story that I learned to tell myself and the story we learn to tell OURSELVES that then becomes the story we tell our daughters, nieces, PE students, and friends.

I don't blame you, friend, because at some point along the line, your BEST FRIEND FOR LIFE (which is a bullshit term anyway. It just means you have matching necklaces and I legit don't even know if that girl is still alive) told you a similar story. “It must be true” you thought, and then you hated yourself forever, and so did all the other women in the land, the end.

But in all seriousness, it's time to change the story. It's time to realize that happiness and acceptance have nothing to do with our pounds or hair color or nail color or whatever bullshit we've been told that “I will be accepted when __________________.” That's a marketing scheme, and a pretty rude one, if you ask me. So maybe let's teach our daughters that they're enough, and then maybe word will get around that we are all enough, and maybe, just then, we'll all believe it.

Original artwork by Lauren Taylor. I know, you're shocked, it's just, so amazing. I'm so talented. Blah blah blah.

No comments:

Post a Comment