Filed under: Personal
My family’s not exactly open, but we’re open about things that other families would find to be rude to talk about. And I wish it was a rude topic to discuss at the dinner table, when we have guests over, but it’s not. But discussing weight in front of extended family members would be the equivalent of talking about how your day was at any other family’s dinner table.
I’m the youngest of three, I’m also the shortest. I also weigh the most. My sisters are 5’6″ and 5’3″ while I am 5’1″ and I weigh more than sister #1 and sister #2 (not combined, mind you) – I’m at 105lbs.
And for a huge portion of my life, my parents have talked about how fat I am, compared to my sisters. It’s because they focus on the number, not the fact that my sisters are underweight, it’s just because I weigh X number of pounds more than them, therefore I must be fat. It really affected me when I was younger, especially when I was a preteen and I had just started middle school and suddenly I was in an environment with new people. My family focused on numbers only. Like with grades for classes that were subjected, anything less than the highest wasn’t tolerated, even if no one did well on a particular assignment, it was all a comparison game. Same with weight. It didn’t matter that I’m smaller, it just mattered that I weighed more than someone who happened to be taller than me (and perpetually underweight).
I believe I was at around 90lbs at that time, in middle school. I dropped down to 70lbs in a very short period of time. I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch and I only ate small bits of dinner because I couldn’t avoid it. I hated myself
Looking back now, I recognize the reasons why I did what I did (or rather, didn’t do). I hindered my own growth in a lot of ways, both by dwelling on the negative and not eating enough at a crucial growing period.
I slowly climbed out of it again. I fell into patterns of eating, not eating, eating, not eating. Middle school was a miserable time for me. High school was different though, but I still fell into patterns.
I didn’t start getting help, really getting help, until university. There’s student services designed to help people – I mostly take advantage of the therapy hours. I learned to speak out, I learned to use my voice.
My family still does it though, frequently.
If I happen to eat a little bit more of something than someone else, someone will point it out. In a ‘haha, you’re so fat, you’re eating all the food, no wonder your sister weighs so little’. I get asked every few months how much I weigh. I decline to answer. My parents seem to think that tough love is an excellent way for me to get into a more ‘acceptable’ weight. Even my sisters do the same thing, even though I’ve expressed how much I feel that it’s unfair and inappropriate for them to tell me that I’m fat solely because I weigh more than my underweight sisters. My second sister, who weighs 20lbs less than I do, says that the word ‘fat’ is relative and therefore she’s right because I am fatter than she is.
It’s not like they really understand, because they’re not the ones going through it – they’re contributing to it. I can tell them until I’m blue in the face that it hurts but they keep on doing it because I’m not thin enough for my family.
Oh, and when we have extended family over? They ask “Oh, how much do your girls weigh?” in the same tone of voice that most other people would say “Oh, how old are your children now?”. And my parents will readily provide them with that information. Like it’s really any of their business.
I wish for a family that realized how much their words hurt, even if they think they’re doing something right.
I wish for a family that listens when I tell them to stop.