Don't Wear My Genes
Submitted by divaraven
When my mother and I enrolled my 2-year-old daughter in gymnastics, I told the teacher that we hoped the class would help break the cycle of "fat ass" in our family. The instructor laughed—and I did mean to be funny.
And yet, I totally wasn't kidding.
As far back as I can trace, the women on my mother's side of the family have been overweight. My mom was heavy (over 200 pounds for much of her life, although a few years ago she dropped 30 thanks to Weight Watchers), her mom was heavy and I heard my great-grandmother was heavy, too, although she died before I was born. As a kid, I was always embarrassed by my mom's girth, and yet I was chubby, too! I was teased about it constantly, and I developed a pretty warped body image.
hit, I started to suffer from what I like to call "Monica Lewinsky syndrome." I made up for my full figure by being funny, sexy and giving really good ... massages. (What did you think I was going to say?!) It's not like I was unattractive; I had lots of boyfriends. But I do think that part of what they were attracted to was the fact that I was easy, and I was easy because I felt like I couldn't stand not to be.
As I grew up, I started to get a handle on my eating and my self-image
. Although my weight went up and down throughout my teens and 20s, I learned to love my body at any weight and consequently was a lot pickier about who I shared my body with.
Once I had a baby and got married
(yes, in that order), I got pretty complacent about my figure. I'm now heavier than I've ever been, and I'd be OK with that ... if it weren't for my daughter.
I worry that when she gets older, she'll be ashamed of my weight, just like I was ashamed of my mom's. I worry she'll have a similar weight problem, and act slutty just to be liked. I worry she'll have health issues. Hell, I worry she'll just be unhappy!
So far, my daughter is the spitting image of her father (and he's skinny). He's the kind of person who "forgets" to eat lunch (feel free to curse him about this—I do every day!). He can also chow down on fried foods for a week and not gain a pound. I'm hoping she continues to take after him, but in the interim I'm doing the best I can to feed her healthy foods and encourage exercise—two things my own folks didn't do for me (and two things that I still don't do for myself). And yet I wonder: If she still turns out heavy, will she hate me? Or worse, will she hate herself?