A letter to my mom before Rosh Hashana
I look forward to the holidays all year.
But now, I am afraid of them.
Because after every holiday, I know what you will say – even if you think I am not listening.
I hear you and your friends and sisters and cousins talking at every meal saying things like:
- Omg I ate so many calories, I am eating no bread the rest of the month
- I was so bad
- I can’t even look at myself, I have gained so much weight since lockdown
- I have no self-control with all that food around
- I am going to have diet like crazy to get ready for the beach in 2 months
- I hate all the holidays, there’s so much unhealthy fattening food everywhere
And that’s why I am becoming afraid.
Maybe it’s bad to eat that chocolate challa I love.
Maybe I should be like my friend whose mother banned bread besides for one piece per person at each meal. Maybe food is scary and enjoying all these delicious foods will harm me.
I see myself copying you without even realizing it; standing in the mirror after each meal and analyzing if there is a new bulge.
I suck my stomach like you do, turning to the side to check that I look okay. I stand on the scale every morning, like you do, checking the number is not going up.
I am realizing that being fatter is a bad thing and that the most important thing I can do to be like you is to be in control, and go to gym every day, and be good
I am confused though. I thought that being good was being kind and helpful and thoughtful, but now I know that being good is not eating dessert and only eating salad even though I desperately wanted the kugel.
It doesn’t make sense to me, but I want to be like you, and if that’s what being good mean you must be right.
I now know that to be loved and accepted by the world, I need to be small and skinny. But I don’t know how to be that – I am growing all the time, and my body is changing.
Some girls in my class are still so small, but every season I go up in size. Is there something wrong with me?
I think that when I grow up, I will be like you – skipping meals (I was too busy for breakfast you always say) and avoiding carbs, and eating diet yoghurt while everyone else has ice-cream.
But mom, I don’t want to be like that.
I want you to show me what it means to be a woman who is not just about what I look like.
I have dreams and fears and thoughts and I don’t want to spend my whole life fearing holidays and worshipping the scale.
I want to change the world and become a scientist and a painter and an advocate for human rights and get a black-belt in Karate.
I want to love Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), and treasure every moment of the sacred family traditions I want to pass onto my own family one day.
So I am asking you and your friends – even when you think I am not listening – to stop talking about how much weight you lost on Keto, and how nuts are fattening, and how you have to diet for December, and how you found this new diet muffin recipe which only has 87 calories.
You are the most important woman in my life, no matter what you look like.
You are worth so much more than your body.
Please show me that I am too.