How you remind me

It says here in “Death Benefits”:

“The death of a parent — any parent — can set us free. It offers us our last, best chance to become our truest, deepest selves…”

Does it?

I woke up this morning thinking about my mom, or more like how I haven’t been thinking about my mom.

I was questioning myself as to why I don’t seem to be missing her as much as I should.

And then I was reminded of the reason why I wasn’t missing her.

First was a documentary on TLC called “The Woman with Giant Legs” about a woman with a condition so rare that doctors have no idea what caused her legs and feet to grow to more than 210 pounds.  Just her legs and feet.

The show brought back a memory of one point during my tween years.  A few years after I quit ballet, I started to have leg cramps in the middle of the night.  At the doctor’s office, after I was prescribed some calcium and potassium tablets, my mom asked the doctor, “Are her calves normal? I mean, they are so big I’m afraid she might have a disease or some kind of disorder.”

The answer was an obvious no, but the question seared into my brains.

My “giant calves” as it were, were once muscular from ballet.  At the awkward age of growth, apparently they were quite disproportionate to my build.  I was already aware of my not-typically-skinny-like-other-girls legs, but never thought I was disfigured or anything.

I acknowledged at that point that I don’t have supermodel long skinny legs. Not even a normal person skinny legs. I had bowling pins for calves.

My mom made sure I was VERY aware of that fact. With every outfit I picked out. With every picture that showed my legs.

My calves, and later on my hips which are also bigger than the typical butt-on-back-order Thai girls, were constant point of criticism with my mom.  I have since learned to live with them and embraced my shapes.  She wanted me to cover them up.

When I saw that TLC show, not only I thought of that day at the doctor’s office, but I wished she was still around so I can tell her, “See? Now THAT’s a disorder.  My calves are normal, thank you very much.”

Later on in the evening, something came up in a telephone conversation.

“I saw your Thrill the World video.  What an outfit you have on there! If your mom was around to see that, she would’ve had a heart attack.”

Definitely, she would have.  And I would still have done it with her alive and well, knowing she wouldn’t have approved.

It’s not her daughter dancing in front of people in a bikini and shorts but her “fat” daughter with a big ass and giant calves dancing in front of people in a bikini and shorts.

Oh yeah. At 5 ft. and 100 lbs., she told me I was fat.  Actually, one of my brothers had told me same thing not many years ago.

Now that I’m 105 lbs., I think someone is going to send me a hint that I should join WeightWatcher anyday now.

/checks her email box.

I just wasn’t built the way my mom would’ve liked.  I wasn’t built tall, fair, leggy and/or skinny.  I also wasn’t equipped with the girlishness she desired.  I wasn’t soft spoken, mild manner, obedient or prim.

I wasn’t a lot of thing she wanted in a daughter after I turned 12.

I found myself and my voice and I became a daughter from hell.  Somebody with big calves and an even bigger opinion.

I’m sure it has hurt her as much as it has pained me, the war between her ideal of me and who I really am.  I have accepted myself to be a failure in my mother’s eyes.  There is nothing I can do for her now.

Occasionally, I couldn’t help hearing her voice.

Every time I look in the mirror.

Every time I get on a scale.

Every time I choose to go on some offbeat adventure.

But I am going to live the rest of my days without regrets.  Without guilt? That, I can’t guarantee.


  1. Amy @ The Q Family   •  

    Huh.. Funny.. I was 5 ft and 105 lbs too.. hehe.. But I think you look fantastic in that outfit!

    Thank you for this post as it will help remind me what NOT to do or say to my daughter.

  2. KU   •  

    Dude, Mothers can be hard sometimes. Yours was extraordinary, in a lot of ways. Despite the negative comments she had on you, I can’t count the countless conversations she had with me while you were away….all were about her love and care for you dude. I guess you have learned well – to accept how she was and compromise with what you have become.

    love, KU

  3. MazingAmy   •  

    I love you my friend. I think we all go through this with our families in some way. Look at me and my mom. She’s an A and I’m…me. ‘Nuff said, right?

  4. Michelle   •  

    I can see why you would leave Thailand – I would think America would much more suit your personality 🙂

    I live in Thailand and am still constantly amazed at how everyone is expected to be alike – girls all look alike, girls all act the same – and if they’re not quiet spoken and graceful there’s something ‘wrong’ with them.

    don’t get me wrong, I love love love Thailand, but am glad I am ‘farang’ and am not expected to fit into the ‘Thai mould’ 🙂

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