Longreads

Pauline Campos | Longreads | January 2018 | 14 minutes (3,469 words)

In the winter of 2011, in the dressing room at Target, I get caught up in an existential crisis. While trying on bathing suits, I find myself toggling between two drastically different views of myself: one is informed by the harsh words my mother verbalized so many years ago, probably without meaning to hurt me or realizing I was internalizing everything she said; the other by my young daughter’s unconditionally loving view of me.

In the midst of this crisis, I must perform a juggling act: I need to treat myself and my body kindly, not only for my benefit, but for my daughter’s too. I can’t pass on to her the body shame I alone somehow absorbed — the only one of my mother’s five daughters who’s wrestled with eating disorders.

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“Mama, that one’s pretty!” my…

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