Yep, that’s me in a saree!
I don’t think I have the best relationship with my parents and I mostly blame my inability to talk or confront people with my feelings. I know this now at 25 because I see how it affects my current relationships and how it ended previous relationships, all through out my life. I would always choose to ignore, or so I thought because honestly, I just bottled it up until I couldn’t take it anymore and walk away. Without explanations.
It’s not healthy but I’m working on it, promise.
I grew up with my size and weight always being a constant topic in our circle of family and friends. People were always talking about how ‘big’ I was and it wasn’t just me. My mom is fat and I’ve always heard my dad say things like, “look at your size!” or ” you’re like a sumo wrestler”, etc. My dad prides himself on his appearance and his ability to stay thin and is definitely anti- fat.
I’ve heard them and many of their friends (and mine) talk about other people’s weight, calling plus size women at the beach “piglet” or making jokes about the size of a woman’s ass.
I’ve seen my mom try to justify her figure, “I’m not fat, I only have a tummy” and as puberty hit, I’ve seen her pass on this line to me, along with“You’re not fat, you’re just big” or “You’re tall so you don’t look fat”. Haha, it’s almost funny because she’d also say things like “people must think you eat so much”.
In short, I’ve grown up with fat= bad, ugly, to be made fun of and to make excuses for when picked on for it. I’ve always been subjected to fat hate from my parents, friends, etc knowingly or unknowingly.
And I’m grateful for it because it’s made me the self acceptance blogger I am today.
Now, I know my fear of bare arms is rooted to a nine year old me wearing a sleeveless pajama top and my dad saying I have such big arms, it looks so bad. I know I have my mom’s figure, especially our big tummies, and at twelve, she looked at me and said, “don’t you think you have a big stomach for some one your age? You should really do something about it”. She passed on her secret of wearing corsets to me when I was 13. Do you know, I wore a corset everyday to school, from the 8th grade onwards right until college and work.
There’s a long list of things which, as I grew older, I would think “what is wrong with my parents? You don’t do that to your kid” but now, NOW after one of the most epic moments in my life, I know it ultimately comes from a place of love and protection. They might not handle it in the best way but they were taught a different mentality about weight and thankfully, I am teaching myself to know better thanks to our incredible blog community.
As the date of my cousin’s wedding got closer, my parents put more and more pressure on me to lose weight. My dad even bought me a gym membership lol. It’s always been a topic but I inherited both their stubborn genes and they mostly give up on me listening to them. However, with the wedding announcement, it was an even bigger and more urgent deal for me to become thin and “look my best”. We’re part of a culture that is heavily influenced by What Will People Think.
I really wanted to be bridesmaid, it meant a lot to me but I was terrified of being the only fat bridesmaid and having to wear a strapless dress. I kept building myself up for it but having my parents encourage me not to do it because ‘it would look so odd’ and ‘you’re too fat for the dress’ was kind of the final straw. I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t ready to risk becoming an emotional wreck and have all my insecurities come back just because of comments I expected other people to make on the FAT bridesmaid. I backed out thinking my parents would lay off the pressure and I would be able to look forward to the wedding and enjoy it without being overly stressed out. I backed out probably two weeks before the wedding even though my beautiful cousin was so supportive and encouraging after having explained my feelings to her.
See? Beautiful girls but I would have been so uncomfortable and awkward next to them because I am just not there yet. It’s sad but I let being fat deprive me of doing something so special to me and I missed out on being a part of my cousin’s biggest day.
My self esteem had hit rock bottom. I was consciously skipping meals and obsessing about the wedding, my weight and everything my parents said to me. I’m so sorry to say this, but I even had a relapse. I’m tearing up as I write this here because I am so ashamed to admit this- I started purging my meals. I am sorry, words can’t express the sadness and shame I felt at those moments, I am supposed to be Weesha of Weesha’s World, inspiring other women to love themselves but there I was on my bathroom floor, a hypocrite. I was miserable and back to feeling like my teenage self, crying on a bathroom floor, once again. I hope I don’t get corrected on this next line- I think I hid it well from everyone- the boy, my friends and even you. I don’t like sharing the true extent of my weight issues with the people in my real life because it’s all too easy to be branded as crazy and hear “yuck” in response. Not everyone gets it, maybe you are unlucky enough to.
After another visit where the topic revolved around my mom saying things like “look at what you were and what you’ve become” and “ You’re just too fat” and receiving phone calls from my dad just to talk about my weight because I’ve got so much weight to lose (just in time for the wedding of course), I had had it. I stopped visiting and calling them. When they called, I kept it to monosyllables or sometimes, I didn’t even answer the phone.
Bottled it up and walked away.
Finally, my mom had enough of the silent treatment and called me to let me know she was deeply hurt by my recent behavior. That was my breaking point, I was angry, hurt, at rock bottom and in tears ( I really hate that I cry when I’m angry, it makes it so much harder to not feel weak or get my point across) and I reminded her of every single incident or remark from her that has hurt me with regards to my weight, all their words and the relentless nagging and pressure. Why would I want to visit my parents if it just leaves me fake smiling until I’m driving back to my house in tears?
I told her about Weesha’s World and that while I get messages from strangers across the world on a daily basis, telling me I’m beautiful and that I inspire them, none of that matters when your own parents don’t think you’re good enough, you’re ugly and don’t seem to believe in you.
I let it all out, the things I’ve been through, the issues I face, the things I’ve done to my body and how much I worked and currently work to move past all of it, to try my best to love myself. After initially denying words, to justifying them, and then tears with her bringing up ALL she’s done to raise me (lord, every confrontation with my mother results in a long list of sacrifices and no. of hours in labour) I calmed down and explained that this wasn’t me saying she does not love me. I explained that it is hard enough being fat, I’m reminded of it everyday when I’m in a mall, or look at family pictures, watch TV or even hang out with friends. But I need the two people, who I love the most in the world, to love and support me no matter what, if you’re concerned- don’t attack my looks or tell me what other people are saying about my weight. I explained my blog’s purpose, my purpose and how easily I can be destroyed with her unknowing remarks. I explained how I pride myself on being so much more than just fat or pretty but her words make it almost impossible for me to feel that way.
It was a really long conversation and this post feels too long already, so in short- we were both in tears and my mom apologized to me. All she said was, “I’m sorry LuAnne, I never meant to hurt you and I love you”.
I felt lighter after that conversation because I never ever thought I would have that conversation with my mom. Never. I always thought it would be too hard, too emotional and it would not change a thing.
My mom still talks about my weight, she still wanted to know if I ever heard of something miraculous called Spanx or if my doctor’s visit resulted in him giving me a miracle weight loss drug. But now, she attempts to carefully frame her sentences or hilariously tries to correct herself when she thinks she has said something harsh. But it is a lot less, we can even have a conversation now without ever mentioning my weight (it’s a Christmas miracle!).
I put up my brave face at the wedding even though I was always self conscious, I tried to focus on being who I wanted to be- Weesha. I wore my favourite outfits during the entire trip in India, I forced myself to pose for pictures and act like I wasn’t nervous about being the only fat one, I even stepped out of my comfort zone and wore a saree for one of the events. On the day of the wedding, I wore my amazing Monif C gown, I felt beautiful and I danced, laughed, posed for pictures and sometimes glanced wistfully at the bridesmaids.
Yes, I received a lot of compliments in my saree and gown, I suppose it helped my case that a random family friend told my folks they had a beautiful daughter who looked like Kate Winslet lol ( it was an open bar, y’all. I laughed my ass off when I heard the Kate Winslet line, especially when this same friend later told me I look like Cate Blanchett ). But during this time, my mom was on my side and we were cheering each other on (against my dad’s negative comments sometimes) and I felt proud of myself.
An uncle told me I’ve put on a lot of weight and I should go jogging or take walks, and usually I would let it hurt me and not respond. Instead, I said, “ my weight is none of your business, you’re bald but do I point it out and tell you to grow hair?”. He shut up and my mom giggled about the whole thing.
I haven’t been able to talk to my dad, I’m only just beginning to understand why he constantly picks on other people’s weight or why he makes fun of our weight in front of other people, it’s not bitchiness or spite like I thought it was. I really think it’s insecurity, maybe his slim figure and looks are what make him feel better or maybe he thinks it’s all he has from his youth? I love my dad but I don’t think we’re ready for an epic moment similar to what my mom and I shared. I love that I feel closer to my mom, our relationship is a little more open and understanding on both sides. .
I really hope my super long post makes you feel that maybe you too can have that talk with the people in your life. You’re going to have to use your own words, your own breaking point or your own moment of courage. And if you’you’ve already had this moment, please do tell. You can inspire me and others to have ‘The talk’ more often.
Maybe I shouldn’t care so much about my parents approval or support. Maybe I’ll never reach that point of complete confidence & self acceptance.
At the end of the day, especially since I’m an only child, I think people will be in and out of my life but nobody will love me as much as my parents and they’re an important part of my roller-coaster. I’m only just realizing that I can choose to make them a part of my ups or downs
I know how fragile I can be. And now you know that my confidence isn’t always genuine, but we all know I am never giving up.