Monday, March 17, 2014

The Sins of the Mother

Among my earliest memories:

it was a Sunday afternoon
and I was less than
5 years old

but I was
old enough to know
my weakness
because it was also
my mom’s weakness:

we were both fat.

I was taking
my bath
and my mom came in
to check on
something
and she saw my
slippery, overweight body
luxuriating in the soapy
water.

I remember
her face contracting
and her jaw tightening
as she hissed:

“if you don’t lose
that weight
I’m going to take you to the
doctor’s and he’ll cut
the fat off you
in strips!”

Her words seared me
like a surgeon’s scalpel.

I still have the scar.

My mom rarely
ventured out of her
self-imposed prison
in suburban Southern California
because
she always thought
she was too fat.

Sometimes the sins of the
mother are the sins of the son
and I fight for self-control
as I keep stuffing cookies
candy
anything
into me
far past the point of
satiety or enjoyment.

I have long since
forgiven my mom
because
growing up
as a fat boy
who didn't like sports
and would rather go shopping,
many times
she was my only friend
and because I know
what we detest most in others
is the part of us
that we hate the most,

but it still haunts me
forty years later

as I sit at my desk
with a soda
and a drawer
full of snacks
never far
from reach.

9 comments:

  1. this was a tough read...I think you're right, sometimes we project our own insecurities on others without even realizing and quite harshly at that. I imagine it would still haunt me too.

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  2. Wow, this is sweet and heartbreaking and wonderful. It also reminds me of something that I read recently about the nature of will power and is there really such a thing.

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  3. This resonates with me--maybe more so than I am comfortable with--but there it is

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  4. those words do stick with us...
    and all too often they come from the own insecurities
    esp parents...on both counts...wanting more for their kids
    but causing all the more damage along the way...

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  5. i think it's true...the things we struggle ourselves with frighten us a lot when we see them in others.... i suffered from anorexia when i was a teen.. very difficult and dangerous time in my life... now i exercise a lot to keep my weight cause i just love eating...sigh

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  6. Oh, I do understand how those words would stay with you all of those years. The scars of childhood are deep ones. And yes, so true...that what we detest most in others is often a part of us too!

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  7. This is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever read.

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  8. This is a heartbreaking read, Mosk. One of my friends told me we always wreck our first child, because we make all the mistakes with that one. I sort of want to hug you, and my first child. I'm glad you were able to forgive your mom. I hope you've been able to forgive yourself too.

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  9. Wow, what a powerful line break: "and I was less than"

    “if you don’t lose
    that weight
    I’m going to take you to the
    doctor’s and he’ll cut
    the fat off you
    in strips!” ... Oh my gosh, that is AWFUL! I won't judge your momma, cuz some pretty heinous stuff has come out of my mouth during my not-finest mothering moments. But our not-okay-things-to-say can scar our kids for life, so we definitely have to be careful.

    "Her words seared me
    like a surgeon’s scalpel.

    I still have the scar." ... These three lines are exceptional.

    Another great line break: "My mom rarely" ... Inferring "She was rarely a mom to me."

    "who didn't like sports
    and would rather go shopping,
    many times
    she was my only friend" ... Uh, this section, too, is so good.

    Great closing stanza as well.

    I am also a snackaholic/stress eater. I lose weight easily and never get too, too big (thank goodness). But still, I can tell when I start to snack, it's almost always for the wrong reasons.

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