I've lost a fair amount of weight lately. Something in the range of 27lbs. This has caused a few people to notice, including my mother. My mother and I haven't always had the best relationship. Typical of Mothers and Daughters we often found ourselves in opposition over things. For me though, some other problems were present.
I have very early memories of my mother calling me fat. I mean very early- we're talking 4 years old. There was a girl that lived across the street named Heather who was so close to my age that our Birthdays are only two days apart. My mother would refer to Heather as "Skinny Minnie" and Feather because Heather's naturally thin build was, in my mother's eyes, an ideal that I simply failed to meet. In pictures she would always point out what a fat baby I was and how chubby I was, all the while contrasting with her own stories of how she was the thinnest, lightest girl in her cheer squad, or that she weighed under a hundred pounds before she got pregnant.
For a member of the Nintendo Generation, the media played very little part in the development of my body image issues. Realistically, I can't recall times where anonymous talking heads on the TV have ever had the power to make me feel bad about myself. My friends, although all thinner and taller, also never made me feel inadequate. Unfortunately all the positive outside influences were powerless to counteract my mother's mantra with regard to my appearance: "You'd be so pretty if you'd just lose some weight." She repeated this to me on a regular basis through all of high school and into college. The frequency of the comments decreased when I moved out, but they only stopped recently.
My mother and I get along well now. If you need examples of how extraordinary she is, you only need read the article I wrote about her for Reno Tahoe Tonight a couple of months ago. I am grateful to have her in my life, and hope to have many more years with her, but the past still lingers for me- I have to work very hard to graciously accept her compliments without snide references to the horrible things she's said in the past. For me, my weight loss now amounts to more than a victory over my horrible eating habits, or lax exercise routine, or even my negative body image. I'm using this transformation to overcome the lesser, petty parts of my nature. Some days it's hard, some days it's easy, but everyday it's worth it.