Monday, April 8, 2013

The Five Year Old and the Dreaded F-Word (and not the one you are thinking)

My baby, Lili, came home on Friday and told me a little girl at school called her the dreaded f-word – “fat”.  My heart broke for my 5 year old daughter.  This is one of my greatest fears come true…that my daughter (or son) will have to go through what I went through as an overweight child/teenager.  The isolation, the loneliness, being “different” from everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong.  I had plenty of friends in school and no one ever really called me fat…unless I was fighting with them and then my response was always “That’s the best you got?”  The fact that I was fat was pretty obvious but no one picked on me or made fun of me.  I didn’t experience any bullying in that regard.  The extra weight I carried served one purpose and that was to isolate me.  It kept the world at a distance and me from being a bigger part of that world.  I didn’t have a single boyfriend in high school.  The only time a boy called my house was to talk to my best friend (who of course was very, very, tiny).  I was never asked out for anything.  No homecoming dances, no movies, etc.   I missed both my junior and senior proms.  While other girls were breaking up and making up with their boyfriends fully entrenched in the drama of young love, I sat home alone.  I felt isolated, lonely and very much like a freak.  A freak that had to pretend it didn’t bother her.  Who had to pretend it didn’t hurt. One who still bears the scars of those lonely years.  Lots of people say that their high school years were the best years of their lives.  Mine were not and I wouldn’t go back for anything. 
I definitely don’t want my children to experience the same loneliness I did.   It’s something I’ve worried about since the day they were born because let’s face it; my kids did not win the genetic lottery when it comes to being obese.  Both my hubby and I have struggled with our weight our whole lives. I don’t want them to have to deal with the obstacles that obesity puts your path.  I want what all parents want:  healthy, happy well-adjusted children. 
This has reinforced the path that I am on and strengthened my resolve.  This journey isn’t just about me.  It’s about my family, my children and the example I’m setting for them.  They don’t have to follow my old path and end up spending their teenage years a lonely freak.  They can follow my new path, the one I’m on now.  I have to keep exercising and making good choices so I can show my children the right way.  Show them it’s not a big deal to stay healthy, that it is fun, enjoyable and doable.  That it is the normal way to live.    
You may be wondering what I said to my daughter after she told me she was called fat.  I hugged her close and told her the truth.  That she is a beautiful, smart, funny, talented girl and that she shouldn’t listen to anyone who says any differently.  That some people are just mean and it’s best to ignore them and concentrate on what you know to be true.  Then I took her to Walmart and we bought a new game for the Wii…Nickelodeon’s Dance 2.  A fun way for her to stay active, move around more and to help her on her own path to a healthy lifestyle. 


Anonymous said...

Aunt Tricia!
This broke my heart!!!! I love how you turned that horrible situation around and bought a great game that gets kids moving. I couldn't have done it better myself!!! (you are the best mom)

Tricia De Leon said...

Thank you Jess! That means a lot to me. I hope I handled it well. I don't want to add any scars to my baby. I want her to grow up knowing that she rocks.

Rebecca Rose said...

Good going Mama! It breaks my heart to hear your memories of high school. I've never understood why people have to be so hateful about weight. And by the way, I was going through some pictures and I have some of you when you were in your teens, and you were NOT some grotesque fat chick. You were (and still are) a beautiful young woman inside AND out! loveyoulots, ant bee

Leslie said...

I cried reading this. Your reaction was perfect. I agree with Aunt Bee. I was there and you were not some grotesque fat chic, but demons are demons. Sadly we believe the lies we tell ourselves. So much that when we hear the truth, it's hard to believe. I love to to the moon and I'm proud of everything you're doing for you and your precious little family.


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