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In my mother’s eyes.

In 1959 my mum took me to the Dr’s as she thought I was, “Wasting away”…..”Like two boards clapped together”. I was a 4 year old active child, playing outside all day and doing what 4 years old’s back then could do.  I am sure I was the same size as all my compatriots but to a weight obsessed mother, something needed to be done.  I can only recall being given daily iron tablets after the doctor visit, not sure whether she started feeding me more.

This was the woman who after the birth of my younger sister would lay on the bathroom floor in hospital exercising to get her figure back.   This was the woman who in my young memory was thin.  In later years we wondered whether it wasn’t okay for me (or my 2 other sisters) to be thinner than her.

At age 11 I was put on a diet as I was now too fat!  I gave up sugar in tea and coffee.  I remember dad had bought some diet aids called Aids which you took before a meal to suppress your hunger.  My memory of these were they were sweet and probably just a bit of sugar to raise your blood sugar a bit in advance of eating.  I also remember dad buying some dry bread type rolls which were like eating cardboard.  I have no idea if I lost weight (I must have) and then recall that my mum told me I couldn’t wear a much desired (by me) trouser suit as I was too fat.  I am pretty sure that by age 13 I had lost any real idea of what I was.   Bearing in mind that I had grown up during the Twiggy years, so what chance was there for me to know what was normal.

Fat, thin, all things in between…..my body was not mine, I had only my mother’s interpretation of what I was.  My body image (that internal image we all carry was of a fat girl).

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I saw this yesterday which is why today I am blogging.  It made me feel so sad that there are millions of little girls growing up being judged by their parents, society and being fed misinformation by the media.

In later years I looked back at photos of me as a young teenager and discovered I was “normal”.  My Levi 501’s looked good on me, my midriff baring tops (1970’s fashion) looked fine and my belly looked normal (not like Twiggys! but normal).  Age 15 I was probably a size 12 and when I got married aged 19 around a size 14.  I never in all this time felt normal.  I always felt that I was fat and this was reinforced by my mother and society.

At age 16 we moved away to a new home where I knew no one, too old for the youth club, too young to drive (we were 7 miles from nearest town) and as far as I was concerned life had become pretty shit.  I started getting headaches and went to the doctors where I was prescribed Lorazapam!!! FFS.  This is the same doctor who was prescribing Librium for my mother!  I guess early 70’s was a little too soon to expect a doctor to take a little bit more notice of what was going on for me.

So, what happened.  Well like all women I spent the next 3 decades trying different diets, watching what I ate, exercising, dieting, exercising,………….getting thin, getting fatter, getting thin, getting fatter and never ever feeling I got it right.  Seeing others who seemed to just be “right”.  Seeing others eating the same things I eat, not having to think about (or so it seemed) what they were eating.  Seeing others not needing to diet.  Wondering what it must be like to just be normal, to not be too thin or too fat and to not be judged by society.

After many decades of success and failure I decided to stop following any sort of diet and to just get on with my life and be me.  I am morbidly obese according to the rigged BMI scales and Obese according to the pre rigged BMI scales.  BMI scales created by an Actuarial working for a insurance company in America.  An Actuarial who knows nothing about dieting and weight but understands statistics about life expectancy.  In 1998 millions of Americans became fat overnight as the BMI table was reset.

Who’s fat?

People (those who judge me by how I look) assume I eat crap.  Assume I eat junk.  Assume I must be eating differently to them.  They will even be thinking as they read this, “I bet you do.  I bet you’re a secret eater.  I bet you eat sweets and crisps when no one is looking.”  Well I don’t.  I am sure they must do cos even I judge me and have an internal dialogue when on some occasions I am not eating healthy food.  I have my own little panel of judges sitting on my shoulder who give me a hard time.

I recall more recently being on holiday with friends who had a toddler of around 15 months old.  I can recall we’d had the meal where we’d been judged by the father (the conversation was around weight and how easily he could lose weight when he put on a few pounds).  The most shocking memory for me was when he turned to his wife and asked how soon before their daughter would be giving up her bottle of milk as she was getting a tummy on her!!  This from someone with obviously no idea about toddler abdomens and no idea about what is normal for a 15 month old, and no idea about the needs of her body.  Just plenty of twisted ideas about body image.

Why BMI Isn’t The Best Measure for Weight (or Health)

The weight loss industry if it worked would be out of business.  If diets worked, there would be no more diets.  If losing weight worked, we’d only need to do it once.  There is something wrong here and something still unknown about why some people can eat, can eat crap and stay slim and some people eat and eat healthy food and get fat.

I cannot count how many times I have been judged and found guilty by one of those people who have been slim or within “normal” limits their whole lives.  I have been judged by people who put on a few pounds on holiday or for some other reason and then lose it when they return to their normal lifestyle.  Yet all of those people are not nearly as powerful as my mother and the mother in my head and the mother on my panel of judges.  They’ve been there since I was a young girl and I will always be too fat whatever size I am and however much I weight.

I blogged this in June 2013.  I think the photo of the little girl standing on the scales reminded me of this.  Read this if you are a mother of young girls.

Passing on body hatred.

What we need to be passing on is love and acceptance.  Giving our daughters unconditional love and letting them know that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be however they look.

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Objectification, is it ever acceptable?

Okay, I don’t know where I am going with this, but it’s a process that’s been doing the rounds in my head for a couple of weeks now after an unpleasant afternoon in a group I attend.

There was a discussion between 2 women about a recent class they’d been attending at our local swimming pool, run by a young guy who they both talked about in derogatory terms. One of these women is older than me (I am 59) and the guy they were discussing was probably mid 20’s I am guessing. Later on in the afternoon the subject came up again and I was unable to keep my big mouth shut and questioned the assertions being made and wondered how and if this was okay. I angered the 2 women with my question and was met with varying reasons why is was okay, just a bit of fun, tongue in cheek etc and I realised that I was wasting my breath. (I often have different ideas and thoughts to the rest of a group, so no change here).

Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed more and more the photos being shared on social media of naked or half naked men, along with comments we all expect to see. It makes me wonder, is it okay to objectify men? I am not sure I have the correct word, or that I am expressing myself well, but is it okay? We have spent decades complaining about how women have been treated in the media, have been used in advertising, are plastered over men’s magazines and generally seen as sexual objects, yet we don’t appear to want to see the double standard.

When we want to educate and inform our children, we understand that modelling the type of behaviour we expect from them is as important as the words we say. Yet, I see on a daily basis that we don’t seem to be modelling to our menfolk how we would like to be treated ourselves. How can we expect them to understand what is not acceptable to us if we do it to them?

Back to the group 2 weeks ago….imagine if this had been an old man in his 60’s talking about the young swimming coach in the same vain. Would we have all sat and laughed along with the conversation? Really? I can postulate that we might have been concerned he might act on his fantasies and reacted very differently.

I believe I have some rather extreme reactions to what seems like fun and ribald humour, and that is seems OTT and yet I have to ask. When is it acceptable to objectify another human being?

Parallel process

I have been struck dumb by scenes and writings I have been following over the last few days.

I have been saddened to see Parallel processes taking place both in newspapers and in online forums.

http://www.ericdigests.org/1995-1/process.htm

I know these are normal, human reactions to the emotions they are experiencing but it still saddens me when I witness it happening with those who claim to have the moral high ground and some who I count as my friends. I have joined in at times and then realised there is no point, people are not listening to each other. Even those who shout their words, and insist they know best are being ignored. In fact, when someone shouts at me and insists that I should do as they say, or listen to them, I walk away. When people talk about respect, whilst being disrespectful to others I feel anger. When people laugh at violent acts being perpetrated on another, I don’t want to have these people in my life.

We sit on-line (on the side line), virtually telling the people on the front line and politicians what to do and yet, we do nothing but fight with each other. Similar to the football fans, who barrack from the stands, or in front of the TV, yet are not there on the pitch, playing the game.

What gives us the right to think we know better? What leads us to believe that we have the answers that politicians and law makers for centuries haven’t succeeded in realising. If we do have the answers, why aren’t we politicians? Why aren’t we there giving out sentences?

I’ve said more than I intended….so not struck dumb. Am hoping to see some calm today, and probably will if the Parallel process continues.

Kathy the sane thanking dog that the gates are closed and that we are living outside The Asylum (as far as we are aware and able to do).