Fatphobia: Family Edition

Last week I had a fucked up day, centered around a funeral.

First, before it was even eight in the morning, my mother told me that my freshly washed hair looked “unkempt”.  Now, that doesn’t seem so bad.  But consider that I, a biracial woman with natural hair, was being told this by a white woman.  See the problem?  Black women have been told for forever that our natural hair is unacceptable.  The first black woman millionaire in this country made her money selling lye straighteners to blacks (men as well as women) who were told they wouldn’t be accepted in society unless they had straight hair.  Black women are told that their natural hair is “unprofessional.”  The army has recently deemed that several natural styles are not to be tolerated.  So when my mother looked at my gorgeous, curly hair and told me it was “unkempt” I was pissed.  I already knew that my brother and I would be the only minorities at the funeral excepting the waitstaff (that’s always fun), so starting off the day with racist micro aggressions set my back up.  But, I wasn’t about to start a fight when we were on our way to a funeral.  Good morning!

After the burial, at the luncheon, my grandmother commented that she’s glad she doesn’t have great grandchildren because none of her grandchildren are “mature enough” for kids.  She then gave me this sweet little smile and rather than tell her where she could get off, I smiled back and tittered.  For the record, I’d be a fan-freaking-tastic mother, 99% of the time.  And the remaining one percent isn’t because I’m immature, it’s because I have a mental disorder.  So, no, I’m not planning on having kids, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to judge my fitness as a potential parent when I didn’t ask for their input.  Being embarrassed like that at a table full of relatives was just delightful, let me tell you. So, so fun.

My day started at 7.30am and I didn’t get home from the funeral until after five.  I was tired but couldn’t sleep, and I was wound up from holding in my feelings all day.  Then my dad calls.  (Brace yourselves, kids.)  He was out of state and lost his atm card, so he needed me to go to a drugstore and get him a money card.  Easy peasy.  Except that he insisted on being on the phone with me while I was at the store, and we had the following conversation.

Dad:  What were those bags of pastry you brought to the house last night?
Me:  When Boyo [my boyfriend] closes at Starbucks he brings me the pastry they were going to throw out.
*epic pause*
Dad:  Just say no!  You can’t east five pounds of pastry!  [He’s laughing, but totally serious.]  You say you gained weight because of your meds and then you eat all that!?  Girl, you need to say no!

Now, I love me some carbs, and I hate grocery shopping.  However, that does not mean that I am able to eat two full bags of pastry.  I am not.  I eat the pieces I especially like, over several days.  I am not, as my father has made clear he thinks on multiple occasions, a monstrous bloated brat who does nothing but eat junk food all day.  And frankly, if I were, it would be none of his damn business.  And if it was his business, might there be a more effective way to convey to me that I need to make different choices?  Ya think?  Just maybe?  Unfortunately that’s not how my dad deals.  He prefers to get loud and fake-jokey and assume the worst.  Keep in mind this is the same man who did literally nothing when he found out I was a cutter when I was twelve.  So yeah, there’s that.  Call me crazy for not caring about his input regarding my life style.  In my family, cutting is much better than being fat.  After all, everyone can see when you’re fat, and it’s totally embarrassing and just the worst thing that could happen ever ever.

Can you tell I’m not pleased?  Am I being too subtle?

In summation, last week I had a crapy day.  Definitely not the worst of days, but generally shitty.  I carried the conversation with my dad with me for way too long; I cried myself to sleep one night.  Which you, faceless internet reader, may find pathetic, but truthfully I’m glad that I let it out rather than letting it fester.  Because I’m no longer sad, I’m just mildly irritated.  (Maybe a little more than mildly.)  I have to see my dad tomorrow for my brother’s birthday, and despite the fact that he’ll watch me eat a small portion of something healthier than what he’s eating, and despite the fact that I won’t eat cake, my dad will find the time to slip into the conversation that I need to lose weight.  Because, for him, being fat really is the worst thing I’m facing.  Never mind that I have Bipolar Disorder and haven’t been doing great lately, forget that I have PTSD and haven’t seen my shrink for months, let’s focus on my fat ass.  I don’t know why he’s like that, but hopefully I’ll keep distancing myself from his shit attitude.

First posted 26 July 2014


5 thoughts on “Fatphobia: Family Edition

  1. my mother told me that my freshly washed hair looked “unkempt”. Now, that doesn’t seem so bad. But consider that I, a biracial woman with natural hair, was being told this by a white woman.

    My mom told me the same thing and I am 100% Black and African! When I would wear my natural hair styles (like twist outs and wash and go’s), she would say my hair was “not done”. Done referred to weaves, braids or straight hair.


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