Mom was fat

The powerful lesson she taught me

Shefali O'Hara

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Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

When I was growing up, my Mom was fat.

She hadn’t always been a large person. In her youth, she’d won trophies in the discus throw, long jump, badminton, and table tennis. In black and white photos I saw her slim and smiling, with shining dark braids, dressed in beautiful salwar kameez. Mom loves pretty clothes.

I never knew the thin Mom. She gained weight when she got pregnant. She gained more with the second child. She never lost it.

I thought Mom was beautiful. So did Dad. He and Mom loved each other very much.

I didn’t realize Mom was fat and that this was an issue until one day we were in a pizza shop, just Mom and me. I was maybe 10 at the time.

We were both enjoying our thin New York slices while we sat at the counter near the window. A man walked in through the front door. He passed close by us and said, in a low voice, “Die, you fat b*tch.”

I stopped eating. I felt the rage rise in me. I wanted to kill him.

Mom?

She totally ignored him. Our eyes met. She looked at me with love. The pleasant expression remained on her face.

She didn’t care.

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Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.