Just about a week ago, my family and I went on vacation. I love vacations. We have an RV and a little trailer and some land out in the valley (where it's hot) and we enjoy going there and doing some pseudo-camping and taking in movies and junk food.
A day before we were set to take off, we packed. My mom told me to grab my bathing suit as we were planning on finding a camp ground with a pool or lake to swim in or go to a hotel for a night. I love to swim, but I still grimaced. I haven't been swimming in over 2 years and I've never gotten the chance to wear my bathing suit (which was purchased over two years ago). It's a tankini. I love it. It's adorable. But I had to try it on again. So I wiggled out of my clothes and wiggled into the neon-splattered top and short skirt and hiked it up as far over my tummy as I could. When I let it go, the slick fabric slid up over my tummy. Ugh. It wouldn't stay in place. I felt horrible. Awkward. Ugly. I marched out and showed it to my mother.
Now, my mother has always been aware that I'm fat. Her worrying about it started in (or possibly before) kindergarten when mud was thrown at me because of my larger size. All through elementary school she worked with me, joining me in diet after diet, experimental pill after experimental pill. She wanted to save me the tears and the pain that I went through daily.
I still get harassed. It still hurts. I still talk to my mom about it, but she knows that she can't suggest a weight loss plan because I'll reject it immediately. My mom has told me I'm beautiful. She tells me a lot. She tells me I'm cute and pretty and adorable. But when specifically talking about my body or her body, she's always been a there's-always-room-for-improvement type of person. She's always been a dieter... More than a dieter. She took pill after pill after my brother and I were born. She even resorted to the use of illegal drugs to help get and keep her thin and which got her addicted. My father too, though he wasn't trying to be thin. And it's a habit that nearly tore the family apart.
So, when I shuffled out to show my mother the bathing suit, I knew what was coming.
"This part," I said, motioning to my tummy-roll, "it doesn't look good. I don't look good."
She looked me up and down and smiled the smile she gives me when she's happy with me, when she thinks I'm beautiful, and she said "Lexie. You're perfect. That tummy is fine. You look great. Your shape is beautiful."
I couldn't keep myself from crying. My mother is one person who can make or break me in an instant, and she made me that day. And, I know it sounds so over-used, so childish. But you may think I'm not pretty... But my mommie says I'm perfect.