My mother told me the usual childhood lies: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, there’s no such thing as monsters. I understand those lies. I forgive them.
What I can’t forgive are the other lies she told me. The lies she told me about myself.
The only thing that matters about you is how much space you take up.
And that you look good. If everything looks good, everything is good.
As long as you’re fat, you will never be good enough.
Even if you lose weight, you will never be good enough.
You will never, ever be good enough.
As long as you’re fat, you’ll never get a boyfriend.
Your boyfriend will break up with you if you stop wearing makeup to school everyday.
As long as you’re fat, you’ll never get a job.
You’ll lose your job if you stop wearing makeup to work everyday.
You never stick to anything,
You never finish anything.
Your handwriting is terrible, who can read that?
Your dreams don’t matter.
Your writing doesn’t matter (unless you’re getting paid for it).
You’re not working hard enough.
You would end up on the street if it wasn’t for me. What will you do after I die?
What’s happening in your head is less important than how you look.
Your feelings inconvenience and upset everyone around you.
Your anger is unacceptable and worthy of punishment.
I might love you if you stop showing so many feelings.
I might love you if you lose enough weight.
I might love you if you’re perfect.
I might love you.
What will I do after you die? LIVE, bitch.
Start undoing all the damage you did to me. Dismantle, one therapy session, one depressive episode, one diagnosis at a time, all of the lies you made me believe about myself.
I take up space. I have a brain that is my greatest weapon, and what happens inside of it matters more than anything else. I’ve had boyfriends (and girlfriends) and they loved me. They didn’t make me believe that my life wouldn’t really start until I lost weight.
I’ve had jobs. I’ve been a damned good employee. And now I’m a damned good business owner.
You never really loved me, and never would have, no matter what I did, at least, not the way I needed. It wasn’t in your nature. You didn’t lie to me to be malicious. You thought you were telling me truths about myself, things I needed to know so that I could fix them.
I never needed fixing, not until after you broke me.
I loved you because you were the only mom I had. You were the person I looked to to see what sort of person I should become. You were the only real mirror I had of myself, and every reflection you showed me was distorted and wrong, filtered through your own pain and history.
After you died, I went and got all new mirrors. Things look better now. Things look more true.
Nothing you ever told me about myself is true, because you never, ever actually knew the real me. And that was your loss.