From 2005 to 2009, one item
remained on my Amazon.com wish list. My father finally showed why he didn't want to buy it for me.
Him: So what are you going to do with that?
Me: Cook, bake, mix cement.
Him: Are you sure you need the extra calories?
The whole reason you avoided getting it for me in the past is because you thought it'd make me fat?
I think to explain the cognitive dissonance, I need to take a step back and explain that growing up my mom had a very complex relationship with her body and her weight (growing up a fat child, pregnancies, getting fat on anti-anxiety meds, and having some serious control issues and finally being thin) and my father was pretty much always closer to obese than overweight.
As a baby, I was normal sized. My mother didn't breast feed me. When I started to eat real food, I wasn't overly impressed with any of it. I was thin until I was 8. That's when my grandma died. I don't really know what broke at that point -- whether it was my mom or me. But I started packing on the pounds. I went from a normal-sized girl to not being able to find age-appropriate clothing. Mom wasn't the best cook, and often we ate lots of processed food, or when mom cooked she wasn't terribly good with the idea of balance--favoring a starch & meat diet.
Then my mom died when I was 13. And I know what broke at that point: everything. There wasn't any regularity in my diet, and my activities in sports slowly ebbed off because I didn't have a parent to chauffeur me to practices and games. Dad couldn't put together a meal plan and considered Entenmann's Raspberry Danishes
to be healthy because they had raspberry in the ingredients. My brother and I were unregulated when it came to food and I often ate because I was bored out of my mind (not because I was depressed, or because I was angry, just because I didn't have the life of a normal teenager, playing with friends and socializing). I almost always bought school lunch. I ate more McDonalds than I'd like to admit to.
I know at this time in my life it's pointless to point blame, but it is important to understand the past. And among those important realizations is that I never learned how to be healthy (in this instance, physically, though in almost every way) from my parents. I see parents who exercise with and play with their kids. Unless you call yard work playing, I didn't really have that. I wasn't really taught how to have a balanced diet or a healthy attitude towards food. My teenage years were mostly fueled by sugar. And my weight showed it. I think at my highest, I was 240lbs.
When I got to college I saw how everyone else ate and was shocked. I was even more shocked by the food court at GW -- everything was fast food, ridiculously proportioned, or so pre-processed that it probably had seen more of the world than I had. As a freshman I didn't have much of a choice, but I knew that the sooner I got a kitchen, the sooner I'd be able to turn the ship around.
Okay, so let's get back to the original story: the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
It just so wonderfully demonstrated the disconnect for some people. A person is capable of picking and choosing what he or she eats, and how much of it. My father assumes that just because I have the equipment to feed myself, that I will gorge myself. I wonder if he has sleepless nights worrying about me spending all my money in a grocery store buying all sorts of cheap comforts. I doubt it.
With this beautiful machine (that I bought for myself with holiday money from my bosses), I am actively investing in my health. It's a vow to myself to create beautiful, delicious, healthy food. It's a promise that I will know what I put in my mouth and how much of it. And that I'll clean everything when I'm done.
I will get thinner with this baby on my counter.
I just wish I could explain to my father that a fat person's salvation is through food -- actual, straight from the ground, unadulterated, sensuous, glorious food -- honoring that food, and honoring the body we put the food in.