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I had no way to fight back. You cannot fight your mother. You do not yell at her. You sit and listen to her lecture. You sit and let her attack your ego without arguing. It doesn’t matter that she’s doing it for your own good. All you can think is that she’s being cruel for no reason.
Mom and I had been fighting for the past two days. I had been more than angry when she told me I didn’t dress with enough class, when she refused to buy me magazines and books because of their content, when she called me anorexic, when she took away some of my clothes and told me that I wasn’t Britney Spears, when she picked me up halfway through my boyfriend’s first major soccer game to go home to eat out of Styrofoam boxes. I was furious. I couldn’t hide the anger in my voice. I had stopped saying “I love you” to her.
It was midnight. Mom had come in and kneeled at my bedside, listening to Mirage talk. I had my sheet and comforter pulled over me.
“Mirage, let me talk to Mom,” I said. Mirage nodded and got off my bed. Mama took her place.
“Okay, what is going on?” I asked her, angrily. This took her slightly by surprise. She sat for a moment, considering, I assumed, how to word her next insult.
“I don’t quite know what to say,” she said. I felt my eyebrows rise.
“So, what, am I the problem child now?” I asked, an edge to my voice.
“Well, yeah, sort of,” she said. Pursing my lips, I could feel anger beginning to boil in me. How dare she? I was never hateful. I treated my family with love and respect, and now she wants to tell me I’m a problem child?
“What, the way I dress? It’s too sexy? I’m a slut?” I growled. “I like attention. I like feeling beautiful, you know that.” Under the covers, my muscles were tense, adrenaline running through my veins. My brain was telling me to fight. She bought me those thigh-high boots, those mini skirts, those tight pants; how could she judge me? She had worn revealing clothes when she was young.
“Well, we’ll just have to find a way for you to get attention without putting yourself on a platter.”
“I don’t have anything to put on a platter,” I hissed. I was proud of how small I was, and knew that gave me an advantage in what I could wear.
“You don’t see yourself as others do,” she told me. “You’re anorexic, Molly.”
“No, I am not,” I told her firmly. She tried to refute me, but I denied it again, stronger this time.
“You don’t see your little toothpick legs, all your bones sticking out. You look like a cadaver, Molly.”
This made me laugh and shake my head. I want to be a medical examiner, so this was almost fascinating.
“You promised you wouldn’t lose more weight,” she said sadly. My eyes narrowed.
“I haven’t!” I shouted. That was almost true. I had lost maybe two pounds, which didn’t show. Plus, she was overlooking more serious issues, in my eyes.
I was incredulous. When Mom got married, she was 5'4" and weighed 96 pounds, almost the same as me. And now she was saying I was too small? She was feeding me lies.
“I’ve supported your being thin for so long, but, Molly, you are too thin.” It took a lot of my will power not to flick her off. “I’ve thrown out the scale,” she told me. “Molly, you haven’t seen yourself the way you should for a while now. You’re beautiful when you think you’re not. When you want to hide your face, you look so much better than most of the world. You look beautiful when you first wake up; when you put on a pair of jeans and put your hair in a ponytail. You do also look good when you have on all your make-up and are wearing contacts. But I want you to be comfortable in your own skin.” Tears were in my eyes.
“I haven’t been comfortable in my own skin since third grade.” I told her. “Why should I be now?” A tear trickled down my cheek, and I clenched my hands into fists.
“Because you deserve to be.”
I started crying. The tears wouldn’t stop. No, I don’t; you don’t get it, do you? You don’t look in the mirror and see me.
Something inside of me was fighting back, and I didn’t know what part of me it was.