A good friend overheard my six year old daughter refer to herself as chubby in a conversation with my friend's eight year old daughter. And then the friend said that she thought she was chubby too, and that she’d be the fat girl if she was on a tv show.
These are not chubby girls.
We had just taken them to a dance performance by a group of women called Lava. The women were normal-looking in every way. Sturdy, large, more than one size twelve--one that may have been more than that. There were two regular types, one thinnish, one smallish, and the smaller one had a bit of excema that you could see on her belly when she hung upside down on a trapeze--and it made her smallness seem flawed in a really wonderful way. Not in an oh-good-she’s-not-perfect way, but sort of in an oh-good-she’s-not-perfect kind of way.
The performance was intimate--about a hundred of us in a circle, if that many. The performers smiled at us, and whispered secret numbers in our girls’ ears, and made prolonged eye contact with us longer than felt normal--longer certainly than my husband and I have done in years. If ever.
They poured their bodies through hoops without touching the edges, did amazing things on the trapeze, supported each other in all sorts of ways, not the least of which was a sort of upside-down-pyramid thing where one woman stood on the ground holding everyone else up.
The music was cool, the women were cool.
They wore regular clothes, jeans even. We could connect with them. They were slightly stronger, better trained versions of ourselves. They were who our daughters could be if they believed in themselves, if they took care of themselves.
We were all exhilirated by their strength and presence. We gushed about the whole thing as we walked out. So much of it felt special.
But then we stopped in a Claire’s Accessories in a nearby mall to buy hair things. It seemed like a nice way to round out the day out with these girls. And that’s when our daughters compared notes on being chubby.
Had we undone everything?
Could three minutes of browsing in the Mary Kate and Ashley’s leopard-print hair-bow section really erase ninety minutes of powerful real-life women?
I’ve got my work cut out for me. And I've got to pay better attention.
7 years ago