Charlotte Hilton Andersen from The Great Fitness Experiment is kicking off our week of guest posts. Please bookmark her if you haven't - she's an absolutely phenomenal writer who never fails to make me laugh...or think, as she does below:
My mother has struggled her entire adult life with her weight. There isn't a diet plan, pill or gimmick she hasn't tried. I, in my own way, have inherited this from her. While she bought into crazy schemes that always failed her - the most memorable being a company that sent her little sealed packets of "nutritionally complete liquid food" that caused my father to remark, "They took all the work out eating for you, all right - looks exactly the same going in as it does coming out the other end!" - but I convinced myself I was different. I had mastered food through an iron control that looked like will power on the outside but was actually just fear. At my worst I was an over-exercising anorexic; at my best, well, let's just say I make ordering from a restaurant menu look as painful as beauty queens answering questions about politics. And yet, one day I was confronted with the fact that I am my mother's daughter; that despite our BMIs being on opposite ends of the chart, we are the same kind of crazy.
That day was Easter Sunday. Rather than spending our time discussing the miracle of the risen Lord or the egg hunt for the kids or anything appropriate to the season, we'd spent the better part of a month bickering back and forth about what to serve at our shared family meal. She, in her diet-deprived mentality, insisted that everything be made as sinful as possible, full of fat and sugar and roll-the-stone-back-in-front-of-the-tomb-they're-so-evil carbs. Me, in my black-and-white mentality, mandated that this meal be prepared like any other day's - no simple carbs, no salt, no "bad" fats, no meat and for-heaven-and-the-angels'-sakes, no sugar! Back and forth through voice mail and my sister, we argued our points. The politely garbled snarking continued up to the day of. I won't detail the scene except to say that it involved marshmallows in three separate dishes and me preparing to go Ghandi and boycott the entire meal. Then a fork was even thrown. By me. In the brief moment between the fork leaving my hand and hitting my mom, I figured it out: My mother was trying to love me. She could see the damage I was doing to myself - to the very body that she had grown for 9 months and nurtured for years longer - and she was trying to help me. And I was trying to love her too. I hated seeing the body that had hugged and carried and fed me being treated so badly.
The absurdity of that moment - both of us trying so hard to love each other through the one medium that had practically destroyed us - brought us back to reality. There were two kinds of yams that day: half with butter and sugar and topped with gooey marshmallows and half plain, roasted in their skins. We hadn't come far enough to share the same food. Yet. But we're working on it. they are – no matter what their size.