Prefacing this post to say, I’m not sad today. I’m actually in a rather good mood. Just sharing some of the deeper stuff because, as I’ve stated before, knowing someone else has been somewhere makes you feel understood and not alone…and maybe someone else will get that from my sharing.
Oh, Easter. How I have such a love/hate relationship with you.
I honestly love that everyone can enjoy some side of Easter. Whether you celebrate a time of resurrection, a time of pagan fertility rituals, or even just a love of Cadbury and Reese’s Eggs…everyone has a reason to smile on Easter. We watch our children delightedly search out the hidden eggs and their baskets as we eye what candy tax we’ll be charging them later. Or, if you have no children of your own, you even less guiltily go ahead and snag the jelly beans of your tiny niece who surely won’t miss one jelly bean (whoops… one jelly bean turned into 20…she has no jelly beans…mah bad…).
Seriously, I really do love Easter.
It also brings back a memory that I don’t love…and one that still has way more of an effect on me than I like to admit.
Do you remember being a little kid…waking up on Easter…running into the living room and, technically following the rules of not starting the egg hunt, sitting on the couch so that you could discreetly scout out the whereabouts of baskets and at least 6 eggs to give you a head start? Oh…crap…was that just me? Nothing to see here…moving on…
Do you remember the excitement of finding your Easter Basket…filled to the brim with sugar and fun?
I do. My mother and stepfather did EPIC Easter. There were indoor and outdoor egg hunts. There were the biggest, most candy filled, baskets that I’ve ever seen even to this day. Every kid’s dream.
And my brothers got to keep their dream baskets. Those unending baskets of sugary joy that it took a solid month to get through. And every year I’d watch them enjoy them. Watch being the operative word.
You see…with a mother like mine…and her mental issues…certain things were laser focused on me. Besides the fact that any other female was competition for the attention that she felt was all rightfully hers, and thus must be destroyed…My mother came from a family of incredibly overweight women (so I hear, I never met them). My mother was, to the best of my knowledge, anorexic. I don’t remember seeing my mom eat growing up. What I do remember is being put on my first diet at age 5. I remember watching my brothers eat Dairy Queen but not being allowed to partake (this never happened with my stepfather, just my mother). I remember when I was 23 and my mother called me…asked about “my problem”…and was (for the only time in my life) “SO PROUD” of me because I told her I had started only eating crackers and drinking water…and then she gave me tips on how “people will tell you that you need to eat to live…it’s just not true” and, “you may pass out a few times and get really bad stomach and headaches, but that will pass”. (You guys, I wish I could make this shit up.)
But mostly, I remember…THAT DAMN BASKET.
Every Easter Sunday I would run alongside my brothers and find my giant basket of hope and sweetness. And every Monday after Easter I would wake up to find it gone…brought to her work to give coworkers because “you’re fat, you don’t need it”.
I vividly remember, what I mentally dub, The Easter Mutiny…the year I snuck out of my bed and took a bite out of every damn thing in that basket so that I could just taste it…and so no one else would want it. I also vividly remember how long I was grounded once she got to work and realized the depth of my mutinous actions. lol
The real kicker in this situation…while I did have quite the struggle with weight later…I was a SKINNY little kid.
I think our experiences and memories shape us…mostly for the good if we let them…This one…yeah, I think I could have done without this one. I stopped living that Easter at 10 years old. 32 years later…having recently been in the best shape of my life and now working back to that (shut up, my leg was broken…and I run because I LIKE FOOD lol)…being a woman who wears a size 0 (even now they fit…just a bit too snugly) and XS everything (if not child sized)…and looks in the mirror and sees FAT and hates herself…I know…
That damn basket is a symbol of the voice that I can’t seem to get out of my head that says I’m never going to be good enough…never going to be thin enough…never going to be…enough. That basket is a symbol of a lifelong battle with weight where I would go to extremes of eating everything or eating nothing. That basket is a symbol of why when I’m overly stressed and things seem out of control…my first reaction is to not eat…because I can control what does or does not go in my mouth.
To be clear, I don’t have an eating disorder. Instead I learned as much as I could about nutrition so that I could understand food and how to be healthy in my consumption of it while acknowledging and fully believing that no foods are evil and most belong in mah mouf at one point or another. lol But I have very much flirted with various eating disorders in my life…and there are still days where it is a struggle that I fight against that mindset…and there are very few days that I can look in the mirror and see anything even closely resembling what others see.
But…in other ways…as I type this…it did make me a better person. Or…at least…a better mother. I remind my daughter daily that I want her to be healthy, but that she’s beautiful no matter what. I remind her that her worth is not dependent upon her weight while, simultaneously, explaining WHY I wish she’d make healthier decisions. I have raised a daughter who, when I tell her she’s pretty, she tells me, “I know” with a cocky little laugh. She still gets mad when I get onto her about diet and exercise, but she also knows I’m coming from a place of wanting her to FAR outlive me and not a place of caring one bit what size she wears.
So…maybe that damn basket shaped me in ways that were positive, too.
Either way…since she isn’t home this year for the holiday…SOMEONE BRING ME SOME DANG CANDY!