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Monica Parker Headshot

A Letter to Myself as a Child From My Adult Self

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Dear Monica,

All those carrots and celery stalks aren't fooling anyone. Everyone knows you are secretly eating. It's not really a secret, seeing as you are getting fatter.

I know that you are mad. I know that you want to stick it to everyone: your mother, your sister and all those big-mouthed, loud-whispering aunties and so called friends of theirs. They love stirring the pot by saying that the way your growing, you won't ever get a boyfriend or worse -- a husband -- even though you know they are just embarrassed because you are not a skinny, little, short-skirted twirling girl but a chubby-cheeked, fat, blimpy girl who they can't show off. I see you. I know you are hurt.

You don't even know that you are beautiful. You have the best smile and smart, serious eyes and you are really just a little bit chubby. You're not fat. Your mother is conflicted. She wants you to lose weight to protect you from the mean kids. She has no idea how to tell you that's her true motive, so she feeds you delicious but fattening food so that you will know she loves you. But then she also gives you magazine clippings with the newest diets. Of course you are confused. You don't know what she is really saying.

When you are invited to your aunt's house for a buffet and she and her friends give you stink-eye if they feel you have put too much food on your plate If you even think about having some of that chocolate cake with whipped cream that they have put on the table right in front of you. you catch the knowing nods they pass in judgment. They don't do that with their daughters, just you. It's not fair. I don't blame you for pretending to go to the bathroom so that you can make a quick stop-off in the kitchen. You would do anything to get away from all those busybodies. It's no wonder that you ram whatever leftovers are lying around into your mouth, eating too fast and swallowing too hard just to shove down your rage. I don't blame you for feeling like an unwanted, unattractive accessory. I get it. You feel they are ashamed of you because you don't make them look good.

You see your cousins eating whatever they want and no one says a word and they never gain a pound. It's not fair. It's just the luck of biology. But shining a light on your adolescent pudge is the worst thing they could do. You already know what you look like! You don't need to be reminded. You already hate yourself. And what they don't realize is they are sowing the seeds of self-loathing and insecurity deep within your cells. They don't understand that saying nothing and just loving you as you are would make you a far more confidant young woman and perhaps this chubby phase might just pass. But even if it doesn't, who decided that we all have to fit the same mold? We don't. You are unique and should be encouraged to celebrate that, not be penalized for it. They are misguided in thinking they are helping. They are not. We know that.

You don't know this yet but your family really loves you. They never meant to hurt you or confuse you. They really thought they were helping by pointing out that by you being overweight was going to have you lose out on romantic prospects. They were misguided in thinking you might be ruining your future. You are naturally resilient but it took a long time for you to undo those formative beliefs.

Any negative response or judgment levied on an impressionable, insecure and unformed young psyche does not produce a positive result but exactly the opposite. I am sorry this happened to you.

I can happily say that you eventually found your way and we won.

With love and pride,
From your adult self

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