Monday, November 28, 2005

Pancake Trauma

I was a chubby kid. I think I started dieting when I was around 10- exercising in spurts, not eating, obsessing about my stomach. Oh the things we do to young girls in this culture. I bought into it and am still trying to recover from it at the age of 32.

I remember one particularly traumatic experience. I must have been about 12. My sister and I had spent the night at our neighborhood friend's house. She was between my sister's age and mine so we both were friends with her. Her family was Scottish. They had plaid everything and her Dad could very likely have inspired Mike Meyers in his "If it ain't Scottish, it's crap!" character on SNL.

We awoke to the smell of pancakes being made in the kitchen. Dread set in my stomach and I knew I would have to speak up. I was on one of my diets.- both me and my sister were- and pancakes were strictly off limits. I mentioned this sheepishly to our friend and she went to the kitchen to break the news to her Mom. Her Mom, who was once so mild-mannered and nice, turned on us. She got very angry and said we were rude for not eating the food she made. My sister and I gathered our things and walked the few blocks home to our house, crying our eyes out.

My Mom was alarmed as we walked in the door earlier than expected, tears streaming down our faces. We were inconsolable. The humiliation! We were just trying to have willpower and to lose weight! Our friendship with our neighbor was never the same. I hated going to her house for fear her Mom would give me the evil eye or force bread down my throat. I learned a lot about people that day.

Fat makes people uncomfortable. Most people don't want you to be fat but they sure will enable you to stay that way. Or at the very least, shame you on your way to trying to fit in.

18 comments:

Jenny said...

i hear ya. don't get me started on my airplane experience. people suck.
glad you are back :)

goldmoon said...

Ah, Siz. I feel for you. People are terrible. We make others feel bad for being fat, but try to make sure they stay that way through our actions. It sucks.

Her Daddy's Eyes said...

My stepdad's side of the family tends to gain weight easy and because of this he has an obsession with food and weight. When I was about 13 we were at the ice cream shoppe...I was standing at the counter and he was sitting at the table saving our seats. He shouted across the shoppe..."Oh, those pants are getting tight on you. You better order yogurt instead." I was humiliated and refused to eat ice cream OR yogurt while we were there. I hated him for that. And I will never forget it.
Up until about a year ago, I was obsessed with thinking my ass was huge...it must have been because that's what he was looking at when he said that to me...bastard.
It's an awful thing...people should keep their f-ing mouths shut and respect what we want to eat or what we DON'T want to eat.

I'm done blogging on your comments now...
~Eyes

circe said...

Awwwwwwww, that was soooo sad. And how mean of that mom!

(((hugs)))

circe

ocg said...

I have a girlfriend, whose mother put her on Jenny Craig when she was in 3rd grade to lose weight, because her mother felt her baby fat was too much.

I am sorry for the trauma, doll...

Bex said...

that's terrible, as if it's easy for you to go on a diet, people have to make you feel bad about it!
i tried atkins once, just to see if it worked. people made me feel like shit for trying to lose weight and tried to force carbs on me. granted, atkins sucked, but i needed to find that out for myself.
totally inappropriate actions on the part of your friend's mom. way to scar a little girl!

sandra said...

Triple ugh. I think people tend to forget how fragile kids' psyches are. So, so, so not nice.

Food thing when I was little - I LOVED yogurt. My friend Colleen's mom always stocked a lot of it, and I liked to eat it in vat-sized portions. Her mom was so good about saying, "do you think you might want a smaller bowl?" without making me feel weird for snarfing all of their food. Although I suppose I wasn't on a diet at the time...anyway, that was a better example of how to handle things!

Melissa said...

Grown ups... they never fail to project their fears onto those with far fewer defenses. Be what makes you happy, those who can't support what makes you happy just aren't worth the bother.

The Witch said...

Society can handle drug abusers better than food abusers. It is sooo not ok to be "fat" but let's tempt you every where you look! Fuckers!

Bill said...

It's not about being overweight. People, stupidly, think everyone must be just like them. "If I like it and I want to eat it, so do you."

I'm skinny; I've always been skinny. Do you know how often I've been force fed till I puked? You can talk till your blue in the face - "I'm full; I can't eat anymore." Don't care - have another potatoe. Have more meat.

There's an Italian family in Toronto that damn near killed me - but that's another story. Bottom line - if people want to eat, let them. If they don't, leave them alone for heaven's sake!

(This must really bug me because I feel quite fiesty as I type this.)

Tom said...

Fergit about weight. I was happier when I was a kid eating stacks of pancakes. Nowadays, I notice my son does better in school (and I do better at what I do) with a full belly of pancakes and such, and we still have reasonably athletic builds.

(So, maybe, next time when we hafta eat and run, we don't 'pologize, but go running?)

Amanda said...

That's really very sad. I'm sorry.

gronce said...

I was absolutely terrified of being fat when I was a kid. I saw how overweight girls were ridiculed. I was always careful about what I ate and people would give me a hard time about it. They'd tell me that I didn't have a weight problem and why wasn't I eating more? It always, always sucks!

Sorry that happened to you.

Kerry said...

I've always been obsessed with food and my weight. My grandmother was overweight to the point she couldnt leave the house much and she sure couldnt get on an airplane. My grandfather did all the shopping, errands, etc. She tootled around in the house and yard and occassionaly they loaded up and went out to eat. I watched all this growing up, and apparently made some mental note that I dont want to be overweight.

I think food/weight issues are common... and your friends mommy shouldnt have been so brutal. I'm sorry...

Lushy said...

People are even more uncomfortable around happy overweight people. They always try to find a way to bring you down, make you feel bad about who you are or try to make you question whether you really are happy or not. They can't fathom that an overweight person can be happy in any way and need to sabotage that. Bastards.

That mother should have praised you for being in control. The truth is, she was mad that you didn't eat the pancakes, but had you indulged, it's likely that she would have thought to herself that you shouldn't have. You couldn't have won. People like that don't understand and ultimately don't matter.

sue said...

What a bitch. No, not you, silly...

I find I'm happier when I just let it go... eat what I want and don't worry about it. I actually then tend to lose a little weight. When "dieting" I'm always obsessing and it bites me on the butt in a big way - I gain because I'm always hungry and stressed.

Everybody's different. I've been skinny as a rail, and heavier than is good for me. I applaud you for doing what you felt was right for you and unfortunately you can't go back and punch that lady out.

Oh. That sounded rather violent, didn't it? :)

The Zombie Lama said...

You are not kidding. Why can't people just respect what you are trying to do, and keep their mouths shut?

Moonchild said...

i was a slim kid growing up. and then puberty hit and i got boobies and a little pudgie but that also went away.... i was ok in high school and college and then was put on medication that made me feel funny and stuff and every single side effect including gaining a ginormous amount of weight, i did and got and have been suffering since. regardless i feel your pain cuz even now people assume im big cuz i eat a lot of pancakes.