I can practically smell the turkey and the green bean casserole cooking in the oven. Hell, I can almost taste the second-day green bean casserole sitting next to a freshly made turkey sammie. I legit cannot wait for Thanksgiving. I am getting hungry just thinking about all the delicious food I am going to consume in less than one week's time.
Now, I wish I could have written that paragraph without the thoughts in the back of my mind wondering if my family would judge me for talking about enjoying food. If they are going to be judging me for getting a second serving of stuffing. Or the memories of holiday's past when an aunt made a snide comment about how she didn't need to eat more crackers because she knew she was going to pay for it later at the gym, as I was getting a second plate of cheese and crackers. I wish I could eat a Thanksgiving Day meal and not have to worry about the follow-up comments about diets, or healthy meal options, or how someone needs to get back on track, or whatever other comments people like to make while eating food.
“Oh those potatoes look so good, but I’m saving my calories for pie.”
“I could eat another spoonful of stuffing, but I won’t.”
“I’m not eating carbs this month.”
“Oh I read this recipe on low calorie, low salt, low fat, low butter [low taste, amiright?!?] stuffing. I’m going to make that next year because this is not good for me.”
“Let’s got Black Friday shopping to burn off our meal.”
“I’m not even going to worry about dieting until after Christmas.”
“Ugh, there goes my diet for this week.”
Blah. BLAH. Fucking Blah!
It takes so much enjoyment away from my meal. It makes me feel like everyone is watching me and shaming me. If I take that second roll, they are thinking, “yep, that’s why she’s fat. She has no control! See, if I just don’t take a second roll like she did, I won’t be fat like her.” As if fat is the worst thing a person can be.
And it’s so weird to write this about family because it’s not as if my family is rude or fat-shaming. They don’t rag on me all day about my health or my appearance. In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever outright said something about my weight. My family is one of my biggest and greatest support systems. I’d like to think most families are support systems for the individuals that make up the whole entity (although, I know this isn’t always the case). But it’s those tiny, off-handed, mildly passive aggressive comments that pack the biggest punch sometimes. I also think families feel as though they are making comments like this out of others’ best interest. Or even out of love. It’s not meant to be mean, it’s to try and help. I have a theory they don’t want other people to make fun of me for being overweight so if they give me suggestions through these less direct ways, it will be a softer blow.
And I think they forget that comments about weight and about what someone is eating or how much someone is eating sometimes hurts worse than it does if it were to come from a stranger. For me, I am ten times more afraid of my family reading my deepest fears and darkest memories. I am more worried about their opinions and viewpoints than I am complete strangers who read my posts or even see something as simple as the outfits I love. So yeah, it’s a much deeper cut when it comes from someone who loves me.
My hope for this Thanksgiving is to hear less about what we are eating and more about my family’s lives. What have I missed since I’ve seen them last? Who has made them happy in the last month? What are their new hobbies, or how are their old ones going? Most importantly, what are they thankful for this year?
My hope for those who also deal with this and worse, is for you to rise above. Rise above the hurt and the pain. My hope is that you find someone to talk to about it with, or write about it, or get all the hurt and painful feelings out some other way so you can love yourself. My hope is that you realize not everyone understands being fat is not wrong, and that maybe this will be the year you have the strength to educate them on this topic in a constructive and mild-mannered way so you don’t stoop to their low level. My hope is for you to be happy in your skin.
My hope if you are someone who makes comments like I’ve mentioned, or similar comments, even if they are out of love, is for you to rethink your message. Maybe focus more on showing the people in your life that you care, than giving them probably unwanted advice. My hope is that if you have negative thoughts about people who are overweight, you keep them to yourself. If you learn anything at all before the end of 2017, I hope it’s this: fat-shaming someone into skinniness is not any healthier than being fat.
*** Please note my grandma is not the reason for the second meme. She has never and would never shame me or anyone. She is my biggest support system. I solely used this because it’s funny as hell and I hope someone repeats this clap back to anyone in their family who dares to make them feel bad for eating what they want.
*** Please understand, my post is not to bring shame to my own family, or to anyone at all. My post is to bring understanding to someone who may not realize their comments and their way of showing love or support doesn’t always come across as love and support. Please understand I am also extremely nervous about my family stumbling on this post or any post and feeling as though I am airing dirty laundry out into the public. My intentions are to show solidarity to people who are going to be going through these situations also so they know they are not alone in this. To show them they are worthy of love and worthy of peace of mind. To show them they are worthy of self love.