Reflections of a fat kid

It took me a long time to come into myself. You could say that The BadAssMama went through a relatively long ugly duckling phase. While my enormous eyes, long neck and distinct cheekbones work well on a grown-woman's face, they were a little overwhelming on an awkward 14-year-old. Add in Coke-bottle-Sally-Jesse-Raphael style glasses and a good 40 excess pounds, and you've got the makings of a lifetime of self esteem issues.

But, I was no shrinking violet. I had lots of friends, leadership positions in junior high and high school. I was a smart girl, driven and determined. I had a clear vision of my dreams and unwavering confidence that I could do whatever I put my mind to. But, I fell much more into the geek camp rather than hanging with the cool kids.

My biggest challenge was always with weight. From a young age, I was an emotional eater - burying the bad feelings in food. I remember being teased about my thighs from as early as the 6th grade, when skinny girls from a visiting softball team commented loudly on my stretch marks (I didn't even know what stretch marks were at the time. After 2 kids in 3 years, my stretch marks and I are on a first-name basis...). I was called fatty, chunky, thunder thighs, turtle neck, giraffe, fat ass, fat kid, nerd. I usually played off these barbs by focusing on the fact that all those idiots would look to me for a job one day. Even still, the constant taunting took its toll. Yo-yo and starvation diets, slim fast shakes and water pills followed. Almost anything in the quest to be skinny.

Years after the mean girls and stupid boys of high school, I grew more comfortable in my skin and began to appreciate that I was much more than the number on a scale. In my early 30s, I decided to stop seeing how little I could eat, and try to find just how strong I could be. I got a trainer and learned about portion control. Eventually, I discovered the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program. With TNT, I raised money for cancer research and trained to compete my first marathon in 2004. Over the next 3 years, I completed 4 full and 4 half marathons. I was strong and fit, and for the first time I looked at my body as an accomplishment rather than a failure.

In 2007, I gave birth to my first son and learned how truly resilient and powerful my body could be. 22 months later, a second baby was born and 18 months after that I completed my fifth full marathon - crossing the finish line with both boys in the double stroller. I still have a love-hate relationship with the scale, but I've learned to respect my body for what it can do rather than focus solely on how it looks. I treat food as fuel, while leaving room for fun. And while my weight fluctuates from time to time, I am proud to say that I am in the best shape of my life - both mentally and physically.

So I was somewhat surprised when a nasty comment by a troll on Twitter threw me for a loop this evening. I was checking my mentions on the train home when I came across a response to a video I shot for a new nutrition bar at BlogHer last week. The company put the video on their Facebook site and Twitter. They asked for The BadAssMama's tips for staying healthy as a busy working mom. I take pride in my ability to carve out time to eat well and exercise most days of the week, and I was pleased with how the mini-interview turned out. Then, this a-hole responds to the spot by calling me a "big bitch" who needed to follow Jenny Craig on Twitter, rather than giving health tips.

And in a split second, I was a fat 14-year-old again.

I often joke that God gave me boys because another generation of women did not need to grow up with my self esteem issues. While this may be true, I also believe that it is my job as a mother to teach my boys to be proud of who they are, and to respect that people come in all colors, shapes and sizes. And that everyone deserves to feel good about themselves regardless of their color, shape or size. Name calling is an easy way to make yourself feel "better" the someone else. But all you're really doing is covering up the fact that you don't love yourself.

So, to the asshole who called me a "big bitch" on Twitter, I feel sorry for you. You should be ashamed of yourself.

And you should apologize to your mother.

Amy said...

Well, I recently saw a photo of you & your hubby on here & thought you were absolutely gorgeous. The guy that posted the comment IS an asshole. Wonder what he looks like in a bikini. I'm sorry you were subjected to the ugliness of junior high all over again. That guy needs to grow up & get a life.

Hilary@BabyMooHoo said...

that is horrific and insulting. #1, you're lovely inside & out, so that comment is ludicrous. & #2, that person is obviously so insecure and sad that lashing out at someone who is confident and happy is the only answer. booo to such ass-holery.

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