So my parents were going to be in town this weekend, to visit my stepdad’s mother. Mom planned to get together with my sister and I for lunch, and earlier this week, offered to come to my therapy appointment on Saturday, as in the past my therapist has
made me strongly encouraged that I talk to mom about various things, so mom felt it might be beneficial. I agreed, though I was super nervous.
Hooboy. That was… intense, to say the least. I cried almost the entire time. I’ve been rolling it around in my head, and I’m still not sure how I feel about everything that was said. It more or less boils down to “you’re fat, that bothers me, I think Health at Every Size is a crock, I think it’s going to lead to you being 700 pounds and disabled, you don’t exercise or eat how I feel you should, you have bad knees and ankles because you’re fat, you’re always sick and that must be related to your being fat, and your stepdad and I both think you’re really lazy.”
Mom knows my weight is a hot-button issue that she has been afraid to touch on because it upsets me, so she went to town on it in front of my therapist. She claims the only time she’s ever brought it up recently is because I started it. She talks constantly about her weight, what she eats, about food, has a pretty disordered relationship with food… She admitted to seeing me flinch when some weight loss ad came on the TV when I was home, and she said she didn’t realize that things were so anti-fat. I tried to talk about the studies and facts and statistics I know but I was crying too hard to think of anything. And my knees and ankles? I have sprained both of my ankles multiple times over the years as a result of being a klutz. I fell down half a flight of stairs less than a month ago and landed entirely on my knee, which is slowly healing but still not behaving quite right, especially if I’ve been in one position for too long, or it’s cold. It’s a deep-tissue bruise. It’s not because I’m fat. I don’t fall over because I’m fat. I’ve pointed out before that it’s interesting how society is awful to fat people who need knee replacements, but don’t bat an eye when an athlete blows out a knee. Both are wear and tear related- so why is one more OK than the other? She didn’t have a good response to that.
When I got home, I saw that one of my friends wrote the most amazing post about food shaming: On bad food and bad corporate decisions and stupid things people say. I wish I could’ve said things half as eloquently as she puts it here.
I have a crap immune system, and as a result of my mood disorder, I often just don’t feel good, because my brain doesn’t feel good. Mom is of the school that you just power through being sick and doesn’t have a lot of empathy for me, who misses a lot of work, and she doesn’t understand why I don’t just go. I pointed out that I tend to say I don’t feel good, but that usually is I don’t mentally feel good. I agreed to be more specific about what kind of not good I’m feeling, so she won’t be mad at me for not just powering through it (and I guess, infecting the entire office in the process?) My mom still feels that if I could just lose weight, I could be on less medication. None of my medications are weight-dependent. None of them. I don’t know how many times I have to go into “Mom, it’s acting on my BRAIN, it’s not like brains weigh that much different from person to person…”
My stepdad has always thought I was lazy. Even before the internet, I was always reading a book, or writing, and he hates “kids who aren’t doing anything.” He would always pick fights with me when I was a kid. He would take the connector cables to the computer, or TV, or SNES, and hide them when he decided we were all being too lazy. I worked hard in school, I got my homework done, I did my chores, I watched my siblings, but I was lazy. When I turned 16 he demanded I get a job and I did, and still maintained my grades, and did my homework, and did my chores, and watched my siblings, but I was still lazy. I went to college, graduated with a 3.44, worked over the summers and breaks, did my chores, but I was still lazy. I now live on my own, work full-time, make jewelry on the side, and only visit over the holidays, and I’m *still* lazy. I rarely ask my family for anything. His kids? He’s bought all of them at least one (junker) car. Most of them have had multiple cars, now, and that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Mom insisted that they bought me my first car, but I know I did. I paid $450 for my Nova, I paid $500 for my second car, and I later bought two cars off of my parents for far less than they were worth, but I always bought my own cars. I am the only one on the note for my current car. I paid for my own trip to England in high school. I did all the fundraising for my trip to the Grand Canyon with my youth group in high school. When my brother and I co-owned a car when I was in college, and he’d take off in it to points unknown on days I had to work, and I would have to borrow my stepdad’s truck? He would make me miserable over it; even when I asked in advance and he approved it, he’d yell at me later because he’d wanted it when I was gone for whatever reason. My stepdad ALSO had a car, which I was not allowed to drive; he’d just get pissy over the truck. So I bought another car.
Over the holiday, I got WAY overstimulated on Black Friday, and wound up manic until about 6 AM on that Saturday, at which point I crashed and slept until 5:30 in the afternoon. My parents didn’t check on me, they just quietly seethed at how lazy I was being. How dare I be so lazy in their house, to sleep the entire day? But neither came up to see if I was ok. I probably might’ve woken up if someone had come in. Mom asked me what I would have done in their position. “Go make sure I was ok,” I said, not sure why being angry about it would be a parent’s first response, especially when they know their child has a mood disorder.
Mom commented on how I tend to come in the door angry with a chip on my shoulder. I guess it’s just because I’m waiting for the lecture on my weight, or my laziness.