I gasped. I gulped. I took a deep breath and pretended I hadn’t heard my little daughter’s question.
“Yeah mamma-why is your bum so big? I mean the rest of you is normal and all, thin and all. But mamma! Your bum! It’s like a car!
See for years i have struggled with my body image. Tried every diet, -the general motors diet, Atkins diet, Pineapple diet, Beverly hills diet, fit for life diet, peanut diet, hay diet. side to side diet-this one ah! The side to side diet was particularly effective for a while actually. Had been recommended to me by a friend-she said every time anyone offers you food or puts it temptingly in front of you, just turn your head from left to right three times(repeat action several times if required, till desired results are achieved) If all that head shaking still doesn’t work try saying the word NO aloud-scream it loudly if you have to -this my friend is the side to side diet.
It worked miraculously till I fell prey to temptation again. Damn! Gluttony is, like they say, one of the seven deadly sins…
Had punishing workouts, binged purged, binged again vomited-actually the vomiting was only once. The time I had two twelve inch pizzas and was so sick i thought my stomach would rip open if I didn’t let the contents out. So I did what i had read Princess Diana did to keep herself so slim-i stuck my finger into my throat repeatedly till my throat felt like lumpy sand paper. Did it again and again -& then faint with the effort crawled into my bed. Called up my sister in law who is a doctor as soon as the dizziness subsided & cried that i tried to puke my pizza out & why was it so difficult? “for Gods sake”-she yelled. “That’s a psychiatric condition darling-please don’t try it again”
Afraid of being labeled a psycho I never did. & the kilos kept piling on. Damn!
I looked at myself in the mirror year after year & saw-fat! fat! fat! This even during the days I made a lot of money as a model smiling into camera and walking into the sunset in high speed. If anyone complimented me on how great I looked I thought they were being kind or they were lying-or they simply wanted to get me into bed “dont beleive what the boys tell you -they only say it because they want sex!” Its what had been drilled into me… or had it? if it hadn’t been drilled into me where was it coming from?
Anyway the point of all this is, after my daughter was born & from the time she learnt to understand things I have made a very conscious effort to not dump my dubious hysterical body image doubts on her. Tried to instill good eating habits to the best of my ability. I assure her again and again that she is perfect-the way God meant her to be and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Try to make her understand that her heart and her mind and her thoughts and her loving nature are the most precious gifts she has, and what she will ultimately share with the world as she grows and tries to find her way. I no longer diet either -& my body weight has miraculously stabilized. I work out only because it makes me feel great.
But still, she and her peer group are obsessed with weight and the way they look. Everyone is either too thin or too fat. I have her friends come home and say they wont eat cake because they will get fat. They watch prepubescent girls gyrating on TV and decide what to wear or not. Try to avoid having a glass of milk if they want to go out and play in that belly button showing frock. They are all under ten years of age for Gods sake! Am I to blame for this? That’s what all the mothers I know of little girls are asking themselves….we discuss it often… and have no answers. Will we ever be able to rise above our bodies?
I forced myself to attention as my daughter repeated the question “mamma-why is your bum so big? Really mamma -it’s like a car”
I led her by the hand & took her to stand in front of the mirror and told her gently but firmly
“I don’t think my bum is too big-certainly not like a car! It’s not the same shape and size like the other mamma’s bums you see. Or the ones you see on TV or in the magazines. But it’s my bum and it’s perfect for me-the way God meant it to be. And I am very happy with it ”
My daughter looked surprised, but then immediately rushed out of the house to tell her friends next door the great news. That her mamma’s bum is not too big and that it’s okay the way it is, and so they should stop saying that. I could hear them chatter excitedly in the corridor outside. Soon they had formed a little group and were engaged in an animated excited discussion. I couldn’t hear all of it but just as I thought it was all settled and was feeling pleased as punch that I had finally learnt to appreciate what I had-big bum and all- I heard my daughters friend say to her
” Kaveri never mind about your mamma. She’s all right. But I think Rhea’s mamma-Tanya auntie’s bum is too big. But we won’t tell her that okay. She’ll feel bad -na? So promise okay?-this time we’ll keep it a secret”