There are times when you just feel compelled to write a blog post. Partly because you have to get the words out and you’re not really sure where else to put them, and also because at times like this simply banging out words on the keyboard feels incredibly therapeutic.
Today someone called my daughter fat.
They did the same yesterday too. It will no doubt be one of those typically unpleasant conversations that nine-year-old girls have. At this age little girls don’t always play nice and arguments between friends seem relatively frequent. They are recounted to me on an almost daily basis.
I suspect in this case unpleasant words were exchanged on both sides. We don’t know the details, we’re not really in a position to judge, but it’s the ‘fat’ word branded around as an insult that leaves me feeling incredibly rattled.
It’s also the effect that such comments have on a fragile girl’s self-esteem. Half as hour has already been spent reassuring IJ that she isn’t fat. We’ve actually been working hard for the last few weeks to build her up a little. If anything she is too little for her age, barely touching the second centile.
But no matter her size or weight I want her to grow up believing in herself and valuing herself. I don’t want to see her hesitating about eating the flake chocolate she enjoys eating after school, I don’t want her wary of wearing short sleeves because she’s conscious of her arms, I don’t want her left feeling crushed by a silly remark said to her in the playground.
I don’t want anyone sowing the seed of doubt in her mind that she is not okay.
So I’m unsettled this evening, panicked and concerned. There’s nothing worse than an already anxious child adding size and weight worries into the mix. And in a world that sends out the message that girls need to be thin to fit in, the teenage years ahead seem suddenly terrifying.
It’s a dark place when the food on your plate and the figure on the scales control your life. I won’t let my child go there.