Saturday was a pretty rough day for me. Nothing tragic or terrible happened. It was just another day, really. My teenagers stayed home while my husband and I took the baby with us grocery shopping. My four-month-old, Lyric, was on her very best behavior despite the fact that we had five stores to visit.
But for some reason, all I could notice were all of these beautiful, young, skinny women everywhere.
I’m thirty-four, I’ve just given birth to my third baby less than five months ago, and I’ve been on and off medications that have the weight gain side effect for years. Before I became pregnant with third child I had my weight under control and I was slowly starting to see a healthier me emerging.
But that’s not where I’m at now.
Now I’m miserably, pathetically unhappy with myself. And knowing that one of the main keywords in my husband’s search engine histories is ‘petite’ leaves me feeling completely inadequate and oh so very gross.
I’m a stay at home mom and according to society I should have all of this time on my hands. Time to cook and clean and work out. And yet, some how, my four-month-old keeps me absolutely and insanely busy and exhausted.
Every time I get on a good exercise jag something comes up. I get sick, I have severe nerve-related pain issues, I have a period from Hell.
And here I was, in my fat clothes, feeling fat, trying to figure out why it was size 2 day in Beechgrove all the while sipping on my chocolate milkshake.
Did I mention the feeling fat part?
I was convinced that everyone we passed was thinking “She sure let her self go.”
It’s times like these that I’m happy that I don’t work because I don’t know if I’d be able to go out into public on a regular basis without developing some sort of psychosis.
My husband and I are at our last stop, a grocery store. We’re standing in the frozen food aisle when he suddenly realizes that he’s missing something important. He leaves to go see if he left it in the car.
Meanwhile, I’m holding Lyric and tossing some bags of frozen vegetables into the cart. An older women comes up to me and starts asking me questions. She wants to know if she can eat this frozen yogurt if she has a urinary tract infection. I don’t know this woman. I am not nor have I ever worked in the medical field.
And anyone that really knows me knows that I absolutely hate yogurt.
I tell her that I don’t know. She reads off the sodium content to me. Again, I apologize, smiling and tell her that I’m really not sure. She begins to pay attention to Lyric, the frozen yogurt forgotten. Her becoming distracted by my adorable baby doesn’t seem weird to me because this happens quite often when we take the her out. She tells me that she loves children because she could never have any of her own.
And then she asks me if my four-month-old daughter is my granddaughter.
My entire world starts to collapse. I feel like my legs are made of jelly and they’re getting weaker. I want to punch this lady in the teeth. I want to sob. I want to scream. I want to let loose one of those guttural, gut wrenching howls. I want to bang my head against the wall until I see stars.
I hold my tongue, I am all grace and smiles and explain that no, she is my daughter. In my mind I’ve killed this woman a dozen different ways. Fire, scourges, drawn-and-quartered with grocery store disability scooters, tongue removed, choked to death, and so many, many more.
She moves on. I stand there, gripping my baby and as if it weren’t any more possible, what is left of my self esteem takes a nose dive.
Wonderful. Now I’m fat AND I look old.
My husband shows up and tries to tell me that it must be from the lack of sleep that I’ve been experiencing. I post about it on Facebook and friends, family, and old classmates tell me that no, I absolutely do not look like I could be a grandmother. And it’s so very, very sweet of them.
But I still want to cry.