Eli asks me the other day, "my cheeks are getting more and more chubby. Isn't it? Am I getting fat?"
I have body issues. It started when I was seven years old and was quite active until my mid-thirties. And although I still occasional have delusional ideas about my body regarding its shape, size and weight, I am happy to say that I am pretty grounded. Or at least practicing being grounded.
So, my child of seven is asking me if he is fat. My child is probably the opposite of chubby. If anything he is skinny. And today he is worried about becoming fat. So I ask him, "is it bad to be fat?" And he says glumly without making eye contact, “I don't know…”
So today we have the “fat talk.” And this is what I tell him.
Secretly, you, Daddy, I, the people we know and the people we don't know, all have been breathing in the idea that being fat is bad. No body actually says it. But we seem to be thinking it. We don’t seem to know that we are breathing in this idea everyday and now it has become a real thing in our brain. But this idea is mean and it is rude. This idea is as mean and rude to say that people who have brown skin are stupid. And you know how that feels. In my opinion, it is as inappropriate to say or think that being fat is bad and wrong.
We are all different. In our bodies and in our minds. And that is great and wonderful. But there are all these ideas about how we should think and how we should look. Because we are confused about what we should think and what we should be. And being fat is one of those things that got thrown into the bad pile. But in my opinion we have to actively say no to these thoughts. Because these thoughts are not really our thoughts. And we have to advocate for ourselves--all of ourselves--in all of our forms, colors, shapes, ages, gender and more.
We have to love and respect ourselves just as we are. We are all different and that is a beautiful thing.
Okay, Mama. Can I have a snack now?