(tw: fat shaming, disordered eating, self harm, suicide)
Let me tell you a story.
There is a girl who is 7. She wants a snack but it is late at night. Momma, a great grandmother promoted due to absent parents, says no. It’s too late she says. Bed time is soon. But the girl begs and begs and before long Momma has her at the table with chocolate milk and a slice of bread, the girl’s favorite. Her father comes in, not absent for a moment, to yell and curse. His daughter doesn’t need that. It’s too late. She’ll get fat. Momma tells him to leave. Tells him he doesn’t have the right. The girl is in tears. Momma consoles. The girl gets bread and chocolate milk every night after that.
The girl is 12. Soccer has filled her out. Muscle beneath the sturdy fat frame. She loves it. She feels athletic. She watches Mia Hamm and feels like her. But other girls don’t feel the same. They say “Look at snow white. Look how pale.” “More like a marshmallow other girls laugh. The girl feels ugly and for the first time, feels fat.
The girl is 13 and wants to wear this cute tankini that she found to summer day camp. Mother, biological mother, disagrees. She says “You’ll just be embarrassed ” The girl asks why. Mother pokes her stomach and says “Do you want people to see that?”. The girl doesn’t care. She wears it anyway and is ridiculed by her peers but she won’t cry in front of them. She’ll hit them with the ball while they’re playing kickball and make them think it’s an accident. She won’t cry until she is at home and hiding and digging her nails so far into her thighs that they draw blood.
The girl quits soccer at 14. They won’t let her play anymore because they don’t think she’s “right for it”. She’s good, she thought. Great a defense. Just couldn’t really run. Too fat, her teammates whisper. The girl changes in the bathroom during her last practice.
The girl is 16 and holding a bag of pills. A bag she had made a year earlier just in case. An emergency escape when the scratches on her arms and thighs are not enough. When her mother and father screaming that she is fat because she is lazy is too much. She takes the pills out one by one and sets them side by side arranging them in a perfect circle and thinks. Today might be the day, the girl decides. But there is a knock at the door and little sister is there. She’s five and scared because the girl had been crying again. The girl puts the pills back in the bag and comforts little sister.
The girl is 18 and going to college. She flushes the pills. She’ll get thin in college. She’ll show mother she can.
The girl is 19 and mother has her on a strict diet. She finds a bag of chips beneath the seat of the truck. A friend of the girl’s put it there. But mother screams and ignores her and says she’s lying. That she wants to be fat and ugly.
The girl is 19 and sobbing. Mother said she never did anything to deserve the love that she gave the girl. Your my mother, the girl thought. But then she thought of Momma and that woman was not her mother.
The girl is 20 and at a family function. She gets a second burger. Mother says angrily, “One day you’ll regret having no control.” Later mother cries and says she’s just afraid of the girl dying. Fat people die, you know. The girl cries. She feels fine. She’s just fat.
The girl is still 20 and Momma dies. The girl feels she lost the one true source of love in her life. She wishes she had the pills. She uses scissors on her thigh instead. She feels ugly in her dress next to her thin mother at the funeral.
The girl is 21 and falls in love. She cries the first time they make love and asks “Why? Why me? You could have anyone.” Her partner is confused. “What do you mean? Why would I want anyone else?”
At 22, the girl is still afraid to eat in front of her mother.
The girl is 23 and finds blogs on tumblr that are fat girls and they love it. She begins to love it.
The girl is 24 and she joins a blog about body image. Hoping to make a difference.
The girl is 24 and she takes a hiatus, not realizing how many bad memories she had locked away.
The girl is almost 25 and she thinks it’s time to live.
The girl sits in front of her webcam and takes pictures and doesn’t have to find one she likes. They are all beautiful. Her stomach, her petite breasts, she loves them. Self love.
“Momma, I found someone else that could love me unconditionally,” the girl says, “Me.”
Hello again everyone. I’m Sam, your absent moderator. I’ve been on an unannounced hiatus for some time now because when I first volunteered I had no idea how triggering this would be for me. I found myself crying daily looking at my tracked tags and the asks/submissions and realized I was doing no one a favor hiding. I had to take a break. Well. I’m back. I’m ready. Let’s do this thing. Let’s do this together.