Chapter 93475: How to Give Your Daughter Body Issues Without Even Trying!
Hollyn will be 13 in a couple of weeks. In the last year she has shot up to 5’6″ and is taller than me when she wears heels. When we went on vacation in July, Hollyn borrowed three dresses from me. They fit her well, and she looked great in them. The Sunday after we got back, she borrowed another dress of mine to wear to church.
So what’s the problem?
For the last six years, Jason’s ex has had only nasty things to say about my appearance in general, and my weight in particular. According to the girls, she referred to me as “the big fat girl.”
I’m not sure Hollyn has quite put it together yet, but pretty soon the lightbulb will go off. “I’m borrowing clothes from Windy, and they fit. My mom has always said Windy is fat. Therefore, I’m fat.”
It is unlikely that Jason’s ex thought this far ahead when she was feverishly judging me for my weight, but perhaps she should have. This is a perfect example of why divorced people need to watch what they say in front of their children, especially when they’re doing nothing more than being snarky about someone’s appearance. Think of it this way: Let’s say you discuss your ex-wife’s appearance in front of your child, pointing out the ex’s huge nose and weak chin and beady little eyes. Then you go to the grocery store, where you run into an old acquaintance. “Oh, you look just like your mother!” she says to the child. AWKWARD.
I have an aunt, my father’s older sister, who thinks that Hollyn and I look similar enough to be related. Every time I talk to her on the phone, she mentions it. And every time she mentions it, a tiny voice in my head whispers, “I hope Hollyn never hears that, because she’d be crushed.”
As a general rule, I try to keep my snark limited to things which are choices. Leggings are NOT PANTS, for example, but they are a choice. Selfies featuring duck face are NOT PRETTY, but they are also a choice.
The size of your nose? Not a choice. The quantity of your acne? Not a choice.
Of course, we should probably all adhere to the rule, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” but I have way too little self-control for that. I’m working on it.