Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Thursday, September 6, 2012


One of the things that I always knew growing up was that I would someday struggle with my weight.  I knew it every time I looked at a picture of my grandmother.  I knew it every time I looked at a picture of her mother.  I knew it when I looked at certain pictures of my mother.  I knew it when I looked at pictures of myself.  It wasn't so hard in my 20's and early 30's to keep it off.  I prided myself on being able to drop 5 pounds in a week by just sticking to cottage cheese and cucumber slices and that was because I hated cottage cheese.  I exercised obsessively to the point of exhaustion many many times.  I lived on diet cokes. 

And while I exercise daily and I like to think that I prepare healthy and mostly vegetarian meals I have a middle section that I like to think of as a survival technique.  When I was a child I was raised Seventh Day Adventist and we would hear about a "time of trouble" when food would be scarce and people would have to run for the hills.  I will not be the first to die if and when this occurs. 

We visited my folks  last weekend and whether or not my mother intends to do this, she always manages to somehow mention my weight and how fat I am whenever I see her.  When I was a teen I would just make a joke and ignore her.  When I was in my 20's I didn't have to hear it because I was thin.  When I was in my late 30's and having babies I would make a joke and tell her it was baby fat.  Now that I'm in my 40's I just ignore her.  But she still has to bring it up.

Last week I took the girls to the mall.  We were sitting near this Starbucks/Pretzel place so I could enjoy a coffee while they enjoy these hot pretzels.  Next to us was a Spanish speaking family and from the sound of their Spanish they were most likely Mexican.  The mother was holding a baby and bottle feeding it and a young boy about age 5 was walking around wearing a new backpack his parents had just bought him.  His parents admired his backpack and then his father said, "Oye, ven aqui Gordo".  For those of you that don't speak Spanish he called his kid "Fatty".  And then he proceeded to call his son "Fatty" evey time he talked to him.  "Si Gordo, No Gordo, Porque Gordo, No hagas eso Gordo, Dejalo Gordo, Come mas Gorgo"  I started wondering if maybe he had forgone Jose, Juan, Jesus for a more descriptive name, Gordo.  Of course it didn't help that the kid was about as wide as he was tall. 

I've heard people explain that in Latin culture calling a child an adjective is a term of endearment.  It is the equivalent of sweetie or honey or precious or lovely in English.  At our house we don't let the girls use the word fat to describe someone, they use the word round.  For example, "Hey look at that fat chick" sounds so much worse than "hey look at that round chick".  See? 

It is all in the way you say it.  I know my Mom probably heard that kind of stuff when she was a kid and so that is why she says it to me.  I also know she isn't Latin so she definitely isn't passing out terms of endearment.  But imagine how sweet it would be if she was.

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