One week has progressed since Barack Obama earned four more years in the White House. It has taken this long to offer classy acknowledgement to this ‘situation’. So yes, congratulations, Mr. President.
Twelve years and one week have progressed since my mother fetched me from college, freshman year, first semester, transporting me home to exercise my right to vote, on that cold November day in 2000. It was a selection between Al Gore and George W. Bush. My first election. And I was battered in fat.
Stomach cinched with a girdle; legs dressed in khaki-styled, slightly flared pants by Abercrombie & Fitch; hangover fat, that which my girdle could not contain, constricted by a thick chocolate brown belt by American Eagle; waist, covered with the bottom tier of my orange wool v-neck sweater by A&F; I was sweating extreme buckets of sweat at 7am, waiting outside in frigid temperatures, sans coat because it didn’t fit any longer. My weight had exploded, and I hoped that my mother would not notice.
But it was judgement day.
Nearly one month had passed since permitting my parents to visit. Whilst homesick students happily lunched with visiting parents on weekends, I fueled my roommate’s car, driving 25 miles to Ohio to purchase boxes of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch and gallons of fat free cow’s milk; too small, too expensive ‘they’ll-fit-in-a-week’ sweaters from The Limited; and then-legal ephedrine from the GNC.
All of my hard-earned money.
All spent in solitude.
My mother, exiting from her vehicle to greet her estranged daughter, looked at my body in shock. Reading her mind, her silent expression of disbelief, of disappointment, I just wanted to die.
And then she spoke.
“You need to buy bigger clothes. Or lose weight.”
Simple. Clear. Objectivist words.
But I hated her for them, and I continued with my bulimic lifestyle for the next decade. Why couldn’t I just buckle down, losing the weight, moving forward with my health? It was because, allowing a little bit here and there, I did not go cold turkey. My body and mind settled for that piece of cake; and my perfectionist tendencies drove me overboard into pizza, ice cream, and Reese’s peanut butter trees, every single time.
That election day was hell for me. And for my mother. And for the entire family. Not only did the flaming liberal, Al Gore, lose, causing me to identify with a losing party; but I lost a nice day that my mother intended to make special. My first election. My first exercising of that right to vote. I spent it angry because my mother did not understand, or so I thought.
Now I realise that she executed a perfect job. A Dara-Lynn Weiss in her own right, my mother did not coddle my emotional distress at being fat. She rather acted precisely as I’d now expect, demand, in fact. Throughout my bulimic years and even now today, blaming herself for “not knowing what to do,” she can rest assured that she did everything perfectly. Superbly. Perhaps objectivism is inherited. Or perhaps it’s just her superb job at nurture.
Perhaps I am more like her than I thought.
Remembering my mother’s words inspired me to shut the fuck up and to get it done. I did not listen then. But I am listening now. And bigger clothes I shall not buy.
What role does your mother play into your eating?
© Nicole Marie Story and nicoleandgwendolyn.com, 2011, 2012.