Read Chapter 1 of ‘Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer’ here.
When I got home after cheerleading practice the next day, I found my mom in the lounge working out. The furniture was moved aside to create an open space at the centre of the room. An old work out video played on the television and she effortlessly followed the instructor whilst looking over at me.
“Hey, honey,” she greeted. I smiled politely and proceeded to make my way through the lounge towards my room.
All I wanted to do was fall back onto my bed and stay there for the rest of the day, especially after the crucial practice Katie put us through. Mom, however, stopped me before I even reached the stairs. “Emma I think you should grab a yoga mat and join in,” I tried hard not to roll my eyes at her disapproving tone. “That cheerleading uniform seems a bit too tight.”
Instead of retorting, which I really wanted to do, I did as I was told and placed a yoga mat right next to her. I quickly got into the same position as her and just fell in with the work out.
“I heard from Katie’s mom that you guys got a project today, but you and Katie aren’t partners?”
Mom’s laser-like eyes were focused on me and yet she never even wavered in the workout position she was in. I, on the other hand, could feel my arms and my legs wobbling.
“Yes, we couldn’t choose our own partners.”
“Well, then who’s your partner?”
“Just this new girl,” I lied.
If mom knew Kasey was my partner, she’d probably have thrown a fit and rushed to my school the next day to complain and demand me a new partner. Which I guess wouldn’t have been that bad… but it’d sure have been embarrassing.
Besides that, Katie thought that the project would be a great advantage to get some leverage over Kasey, I obviously couldn’t have agreed more but I was a bit anxious about how I was going to get said leverage.
“Oh, okay,” mom said and got up from the yoga mat to switch off the workout video. I stood up myself, trying hard to catch my breath before she noticed I was panting. She gave me a once over before walking towards the kitchen. “Dinner will be ready in an hour.”
When she finally left, I felt like I could breath again. My phone went off with a notification and I checked it to see a text from none other than Kasey, herself.
I sighed when I saw her name was changed from Kasey to Fatty K. Katie must have done it. I made my way to my room while checking the message.
If you’re free we should start with the project tomorrow. I could go to your house or you come to mine?
I closed my room door, fell onto my bed and replied.
An hour later I was sitting at the dinner table with my mom, trying to force down the salad she had made.
“Where’s dad?” I asked in order to make small talk but it was shut down almost immediately.
The atmosphere was so awkward but I guess I should’ve been used to it by then.
I envied my dad for being able to escape having dinner with us. I was mad at him for leaving me alone with my mom when he knew exactly how unbearing and controlling she could be.
I imagined him sitting at his desk in his office or being at a restaurant, just eating anything that he wanted without having anyone control what he ate because of the amount of calories in it.
“Why aren’t you eating?” Mom’s stern voice knocked me out of my thoughts. I looked up to see her icy gaze on me. I quickly smiled and shoved a few pieces of lettuce into my mouth.
That night, when I went to bed, I prayed that the rest of the school year went by quickly so that I could just get away from all of it…
[To be continued…]