Thursday, December 16, 2010

She's Just Fat; She's Not Flawed


I am still seething. And I know it's more about me than it is about her, but I am so angry.

My aunt (Dad's little sister) called me tonight to chat. She lives in my home state and she was giving me the rundown on the rest of the family. And I've decided tonight that I don't like her very much anymore; which is tough, as she was always my favorite aunt. Her son (her pride and joy) was killed in an automobile accident several years ago. He was the divorced father of three.

The aunt was telling me about the Christmas card she's received and how her grand daughter looked in it. I think the granddaughter is probably 10 or 11 and from what I gather is rather overweight.

"She just looks awful. She is so fat and she's wearing a bright green t shirt and it's three sizes too small. All you can see is her big belly. I don't know why she didn't stand behind Santa to hide all of that. Her Dad would roll over in his grave."

I said "She's just fat, she's not flawed." And I got off the phone as quickly as I could.

I don't know this child. I don't even know if she is fat. I do know that being fat in that family was the worst thing you could be. You see, my Grandmother was fat and everyone, including her husband and her children derided her about it. My father had me on a diet at the time of his death - offering to pay me a dollar for every pound I lost because he didn't want me "to look like Granny". It's only been recently when thinking about my grandmother did I remember how much she actually endured at the hands of her family. And I grew up thinking that I was this whale of a child.

I am angry for me. I am angry for Katie. I am angry for my grandmother. I am angry at my grandmother for allowing her children to disrespect her so.

9 comments:

  1. why is it that older generations are always ALL about the weight? I had a relative who was obsessed about another relative not being married (even though it was by CHOICE) because supposedly she was too heavy to 'land a man'. This kind of primitive thinking is just beyond me.

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  2. Such a tragedy...for all of you. It breaks my heart, and I share your anger for this little girl and what she is on the receiving end of..And it sucks when those we once looked up to show their feet of clay. The sun dims a bit on those days...

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  3. I love that you said something...alot of people would have just let it sit there but you didn't. Maybe you can get up the gumption to just let her rip one of these days and tell them the damage they did.
    I hope they don't talk this way to that little girl..and if the girl in the picture is you.you weren't fat.

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  4. That is just sad. I'm glad you said something to your aunt. I feel bad for the little girl - having a grandmother like that means her life is not easy. :(

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  5. Good to say goodbye to that,
    and grant it some peace!
    Excellent line about fat and flawed.

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  6. this post made my heart ACHE

    every time I read it.

    and each time I read it I was uncertain how Id react.

    I fear in the SHOCK of it all I may have responded with silence.

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  7. Hugs to you and blessings for standing up for your little cousin. I hope you can find some peace as you process this.

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  8. Your family and my family. And many other families, too. Sometimes it sounds trite, but I guess all we can do is "be the change."

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  9. If there is one thing I hope to instill in my daughters, it's the idea that extra fat is not a MORAL issue-- not a character flaw. It's how a lot of bodies respond to the Standard American Diet.

    On the other hand, being too fat is not what I would wish for them. I want them to have the best health, the most opportunities. I wish for them normalcy, admirers, all that jazz. So that's why I try hard to help them have healthy bodies as well as healthy body images. It is not easy to promote a fit, pretty shape without making it seem like the opposite means you are any less delightful as a person.

    So sorry your relationship with your aunt has not aged well. I hope she will recover some of the characteristics that made you love her in the first place. Best wishes.

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We'll try this for a while.