The "F" word
When I saw The Bearded Iris's post at Girl Body Pride, "Evicting The Mean Girls From My Head," I cheered and did what all good women do-I forwarded it to everyone in my address book. Chalk one up for women everywhere! I felt so united and liberated and offered to burn my bra! (No takers.)
My friend sent me a photo from our women's soccer league. It took me several seconds to realize that the apelike figure wearing my husband's XL gym clothes was ME. When it hit, it hit like a freaking Mack truck.
I felt nauseous and horrified. Tears might have been shed.
When I admitted to my friends how I felt upon seeing the photo, they were baffled. They had questions.
Did I remember that I had posted a picture of myself with a maxi pad on my face?
Did I remember that I posted a vlog of myself gagging on kale?
Did I remember that I posted my most embarrassing moments?
I had no answers. How could I take such joy in sharing those moments but a blurry, apelike picture could put me in a corner, rocking and sucking my thumb?
Even when my friend put on her husband's clothes to demonstrate how it had to be the clothes, I still made her sign an "I Vow To Destroy All Evidence Of This Photo" waiver.
What gives? I obsessed over this photo for days. I nodded and smiled while making small talk on the playground, but my brain kept flashing the ape photo.
I had a big ole piece of humble pie waiting for me.
What made this photo different from the others?
I looked FAT.
I am a flaming feminist who cringes when I hear women judge themselves by the number on the scale. I am the first person to put others in check if they make comments about women's bodies. I have been so conscientious about providing positive images of women to my own children.
Yet, here I was.
Feminist card revoked.
Realizing that the "F" word ("F for "Fat," not feminist) was at the heart of my freak out, I began to question myself. Holy cow, am I a closet chauvinist? Am I a hater of women? What if I start listening to Rush Limbaugh?
You know what shut "the mean girls in my head" the fuck up?
I read a goodnight book to my girls. As I read to them with great dramatics, I saw their faces imitating each grimace and smile that my own face made.
This is how it works: they will hang on my every word, every expression, and every action. They. Will. Imitate. Me. And I simply refuse to role model self-loathing for my girls.
The "F" word stops here.