中国日报网 2014-04-09 16:24






By Jennifer Weiner

筱笑 选 

“Ok,” I said to my daughter as she bent over her afternoon bowl of rice. “What’s going on with you and J.?” J. is the ringleader of a group of third-graders at her camp—a position Lucy herself occupied the previous summer. Now she’s the one on the outs, and every day at snack time, she tells me all about it, while I offer up the unhelpful advice I’ve been doling out all summer long.

“She’s bossy ,” Lucy complained. “She’s turning everyone against me,” Lucy muttered . “She’s mean, she’s bad at math, she’s terrible at kickball . And... she’s fat.” “Excuse me,” I said, struggling for calm. “What did you just say?” “She is fat,” Lucy mumbled into her bowl. “We are going upstairs,” I said, my voice cold. “We are going to discuss this.” And up we went.

I’d spent the nine years since her birth getting ready for this day, the day we’d have to have the conversation about this dreaded, stinging word. I knew exactly what to say to the girl on the receiving end of the taunts and the teasing, but in all of my imaginings, it never once occurred to me that my daughter would be the one who used the F word. Fat.

I am six years old, in first grade, and my father is hoisting—that’s really the only word for it—me up into the backseat of the family’s Chevy Suburban. “She’s solid . She weighs 65 pounds,” he’s telling a friend.

I am eight years old, sturdy bare legs dangling at the end of the examination table while my pediatrician, a woman with a soothing voice, and disconcertingly cool hands, tells my mom to stop packing me two sandwiches for lunch. And my mother, overweight herself, nods and says nothing. The hunger pangs would start around 10 a.m., and by lunchtime I’d be bolting my sandwich my mother dutifully packs and eyeing cupcake, offering to trade my apple for someone’s half peanut butter sandwich. Hungry, always hungry.

How can anyone say no to food? I’m beginning to recognize that there are people born with an “off” switch, people to whom food, even the most delicious, is simply fuel. Then there are people like me, who eat every bite and still want more, who sneak into the kitchen when the house is dark for slices of white bread slathered with margarine, sprinkled with sugar. I have no off switch. Happy, sad, lonely, content—the one constant in my life is hunger.

I’m 15, five-foot-six, 145 pounds, most of its muscle thanks to three-hour varsity crew-team workouts every day after school. My parents have shipped me off on a teen tour to Israel. The group is filled with mean girls from my own high school and from a neighboring town, a wealthy Jewish suburb. There are five girls named Jennifer with my group that summer. “Oh, not the fat Jennifer,” I hear one of my tour mates saying matter-of-factly to another as we hang out by our swimming pool, holding his hands out a good foot away from his hips to indicate my girth, “the other one.” So that is me: the fat one.

I am incandescent with shame, knowing that fat is, by far, the worst thing you can be. Fat is lazy, fat is gross, fat is sloppy... and, worst of all, fat is forever. I am fat—and, hence, undesirable, unlovable, a walking joke—for the rest of my life.

I walk back to the dorm, eyes brimming with unshed tears, swearing that I’ll stop eating bread, sweets, desserts, anything, to lose 10, no, 20, no, 25 pounds before school starts again. My resolve lasts until dinner that night. I gain 20 more pounds before I finish high school.

Then I’m 18, sitting in the dining hall across from the crew coach. I’d been a good rower in high school, good enough for Princeton to recruit me, but now I’ve gained the 15 pounds one of my many bulimic freshmen classmates should have gained but didn’t. “If you want to stay on the team,” the coach tells me gently, “you’re going to have to lose a lot of weight.”

I bow my head in wordless—and now familiar—devastation . No matter that I am strong or that I work hard. I have no off switch. I am bigger than the other girls, and that is all that matters. The coach relegates me to the worst boat and never makes eye contact with me again. The next year, I quit the team and join the school newspaper. I find my place, my calling. On the page, nobody can tell that you’re fat.

I am 33, and after two days of labor followed by an emergency C-section, the doctor places my newborn daughter in my arms. I am shaking with exhaustion. At eight pounds, 11 ounces, she’s one of the biggest babies in the nursery. As I look at her roommates, I’m far too embarrassed to ask my doctor the only thing I want to know: Will she be normal, or will she be like me?

Now, at 42, I’ve made as much peace as a plus-size woman can make with her body. I might be big, but I’m plenty strong. I’ve run 5 kilometers and completed hundred-mile bike rides. In my career, my weight has never held me back. I’ve worked for national newspapers, written best-selling novels, had a book turned into a movie, co-written a TV show that made it on the air. I have a job I love, two smart, funny daughters, a rich, full life with wonderful friends, and a man who loves me... but I know that, when the world sees me, they don’t see any of this. They see fat.

My daughter sat on her bed, and I sat beside her. “How would you feel if someone made fun of you for something that wasn’t your fault?” I began. “She could stop eating so much,” Lucy mumbled, unwittingly mouthing the simple advice a thousand doctors and well-meaning friends and relatives have given overweight women for years.

“It’s not always that easy,” I said. “Everyone’s different in terms of how they treat food.” Lucy looked at me, waiting for me to go on. I opened my mouth, then closed it. Should I tell her that, in insulting a woman’s weight, she’s joined the long, proud tradition of critics who go after any woman with whom they disagree by starting with “you’re ugly” and ending with “no man would want you and there must be something wrong with any man who does”? Do I tell her I didn’t cry when someone posted my picture and commented underneath it, “I’m sorry, but aren’t chick-lit authors supposed to be pretty”?

Does she need to know, now, that life isn’t fair? I feel her eyes on me, waiting for an answer I don’t have. Words are my tools. Stories are my job. It’s possible she’ll remember what I say forever, and I have no idea what to say.

So I tell her the only thing I can come up with that is unequivocally true. I say to my daughter, “I love you, and there is nothing you could ever do to make me not love you. But I’m disappointed in you right now. There are plenty of reasons for not liking someone. What she looks like isn’t one of them.”

Lucy nods, tears on her cheeks. “I won’t say that again,” she tells me, and I pull her close, pressing my nose against her hair. We’re both quiet, and I don’t know if I said the right thing. So as we sit there together, shoulder to shoulder, I pray for her to be smart. I pray for her to be strong. I pray for her to find friends, work she loves, a partner who adores her, and for the world not to beat out of her the things that make her who she is, for her life to be easy, and for her to have the strength to handle it when it’s not. And still, always, I pray that she will never struggle as I’ve struggled, that weight will never be her cross to bear. She may not be able to use the word in our home, but I can use it in my head. I pray that she will never get fat.

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:丹妮)




















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