Last week, I saw a little girl with her mom when I was out shopping. The little girl was maybe six or seven years old, and very heavy. And I just wanted to say to her, "Do it now, change things now. Your life will be so much better and easier and happier if you do it now. I can tell you how. It can be hard but it gets easier, and you can do it."
Of course I didn't say anything. I would never say anything like that to a stranger of any age. But her mom could say it. Maybe her mom has said it; she's probably said it a lot. But that girl didn't hear it (couldn't hear it? wouldn't hear it?) any more than I did at that age.
All of the sudden, I realized that throughout my whole childhood, my mom wanted me to lose weight because she loves me.
Because she wanted my life to be better and happier and easier, she did everything in her power to make me lose weight. I never got that before. I never understood that she was doing it out of caring and concern. I only ever heard criticism when she would talk to me about my weight or put me on another damn diet - I never heard love. But looking back, it's so easy to see that she wanted me to lose weight before I got any bigger, before it got even harder, before I grew up and had to do it as an adult.
I called my mom and told her this. About the little girl, and how I wanted to help her, and how I never understood that my mom felt that way all along and just wanted the best life for me. When I told my mom, she started to cry. She was so glad that I finally got it, that I knew she had done it because she loved me. It turned into the most honest conversation my mom and I have ever had about my weight, especially my overweight childhood.
Even though my childhood is gone and done, long past, I can barely describe the relief I feel. My parents may not have liked the way I looked, they may have been embarrassed at my size, they may have hated having to struggle to find clothes that fit me, but above all, they loved me.