Skinny. Fat. Chubby. Chunky. Whatever the word you want to use to describe my daughter, please don’t. Why is her weight any of your business? She is four and she doesn’t know what those words mean. Why? Because we don’t use them in my home. You heard right. We don’t use those words in my home. They are empty and meaningless words that carry much more weight (forgive the pun) than they should.
I started my first diet and exercise program at the age of NINE. Yes, nine years old was the age when I decided that it was high time for me to lose the weight I had been carrying as a child. By fourteen, I was probably on my tenth “diet.” Although I have never been more than twenty pounds overweight, I have spent my entire life thinking about my weight, worrying about what I look like in my bathing suit, and trying to maintain my perfect ideal. Skinny is the word we use when we want to compliment someone.
All of my life has been about when, where, and how much to eat. It has been about how long to exercise and what type of exercise I need to do in order to improve my appearance. So much time has been spent lamenting about the styles of clothing that never look “good” on me. It has often been about a number in the waist of my most favorite jeans. Far too often, my emotional state has been attached to a number on a scale.
I don’t want my daughter to live like this. Ever. My rage begins boiling over when someone comments about how my daughter is so skinny, as though it is a complement. I do not wish her to hear this word and take it in the same manner as she would the words hard-working, intellectually curious, or mature. I am flabbergasted when someone asks what size she wears since my clothing sizes will be forever shrouded in mystery. So please, do not call my child skinny or comment on any other part of her appearance. Let me keep her naïve of this wicked measure of beauty for as long as I can.