The feelings have been lurking there for awhile...you know, the bad body image, feelings. It was only a matter of time because:
- I have a history of these sorts of feelings
- I have had two babies and, well, my body shows it
- You can't be hyperthyroid forever
- I'm heading towards the end of my thirties
- I like to eat - a lot
- I have a 4 year old and 4 year olds are honest to a fault
Recently, my son was sitting on my lap cuddling with me. He was stroking the underside of my chin and I was rubbing his back and I was thinking, "Aww, this is so sweet...this is one of those moments you dream about when you imagine having children..." The air was filled with thoughts of smiling cherubs, I could almost hear an entire orchestra playing an ode just to us, the room seemed to glow with the incredible light of love when he said, "Gobble, gobble, gobble". Yeah, you heard me. GOBBLE fucking GOBBLE. I took a deep breath and asked him what he meant by that and he said, "You have a gobbler mama. It's so soft and silky". Now, because I am an evolved lesbian feminist mother who fancies herself co-matriarch of a peaceful family, I did not toss said child from my lap and stomp on him. I allowed him to stroke my neck for about a minute longer before telling him that it was time to go to bed...never mind it was 5:30 in the evening.
But wait, there's more.
Two days later, I was sitting on the bed in my boxer shorts, nursing the baby, when the 4 year old came into my room. I had my legs outstretched and he pushed one of them. Then, he pushed it again. He then said, "Mama your legs are sooooooo wobbly." I said, "My legs are very big and strong" to which he responded, "And soft and wobbly". He continued to poke my legs and watch the resulting quivers much like kids do with the lime jello in their lunches. I tried to be evolved. I tried to act as if I didn't care. I tried to laugh. After 5 full minutes of poking and jiggling, though, I snapped. Through gritted teeth, I smiled and said, "You know, honey, people don't like to think about being fat or having their bodies wobble." He said, "Really? Why?" So cute, so bright, so oblivious. I know that he was talking about my fat legs just like he might talk about my blue eyes. I was hearing, however, "Geez, mom, you are a fat slug who really needs to get some exercise. Aren't your pants getting a little tight? Really, what will it take to make you give up the chocolate?" Ah, why is that pesky higher consciousness so elusive?
I don't want all this body image stuff hanging over me and certainly don't want it hanging over my children. I want them to grow up healthy, proud and strong regardless of the number of pounds the scale shows. I know that society will bombard them with messages about what their bodies should look like and I want them to have the strength to love themselves as they are. I think there is hope for them, though not much hope that I might feel the same way. For now, I have to act "as if"...as if my body is perfect just the way it is. Yeah, that's likely...