It’s that time of year when we all spend time with our family and enjoy the festive spirit AKA consuming double our body weight in alcohol and food. It’s during this time that all our relationship issues come to the forefront. For me, Christmas means two weeks in a beach house with my grandparents, aunt and uncle, cousins, brother and his partner (who I’m pretty sure is my actual twin only we were separated at birth and my brother was put in her place, sorry Jackson) and my parents. It’s two weeks of fun, loving, scrabble, sunshine, drinks and numerous rounds of Nintendo Switch.
Every year though, without fail, there is one night where I put myself to bed early because one issue has become so overwhelming that I need to shut off and refocus myself. Now you’re probably thinking, Kendall I bet it’s fighting over washing up, family history, or whose the best at finishing the puzzle but unfortunately it’s none of those. The issue is my weight.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my body, I love my curves and my skin, I love my tattoos and freckles and every little scar but my mum and I have always clashed over my weight. She will say she’s a supportive loving mother and in every other way she is but I’m going to be the brave one to put my hand up and say that my mother can make me hate my body in a way that no one else can.
To be honest that fact I’ve never developed an eating disorder is something I’m genuinely proud of considering where I’ve come from. I know that might seem overdramatic but ask anyone who has ever witnessed me in the presence of my mother with food and they will tell you it can be pretty brutal to behold.
Tonight I sat at dinner opposite my mother while she commented “Did you just get seconds of potato?! Do you need that!” loudly enough that the whole family sat in silence except for my saint of a sister in law who offered an “it’s delicious isn’t it” with an encouraging and supportive smile (I swear that girl has my back like no other). “You’ve never been big though” my mother told her happily, always very proud of Bella’s slim athletic figure. It cuts no matter how strong you are and after a week of it, my demeanour crumbled. I finished my dinner in silence before retreating quietly to my bed for the night.
Our mothers are the ones that love us the most but they can also be our biggest critics, so in the spirit of the holidays I’d just like to ask all the mothers, grandmothers or aunts out there to be kind to your daughters, even if you can see where they can improve, keep it to yourself and love them fiercely because chances are they value your opinion and voice even over their own, you can build them or break them.
I don’t blame my mum as I do believe it’s just a part of her behaviour and after numerous attempts to draw her attention to its powerful affect on me I know that it is so ingrained she can’t notice it let alone change it.
What I do know though is that I will always make the conscious effort to ensure my future daughter knows she is perfect however she is because she is one of a kind and worth loving every inch! For now I’ll spend tonight in bed wrapped up reminding myself I’m just as good as Beyoncé and should love myself as much as I love her and tomorrow I’ll bounce back and be a foxy moron on the beach, Christmas food curves and all!