Simone, it seems, is taking after her maternal grandmother and me.
Someone called her “chicken legs” a few weeks ago, and a woman told me she looked like she might “blow away.”
Before I had children, I had been described as a wisp of smoke, boney, rail thin.
“You must eat like a bird,” women told me. “You need to eat more,” was the typical advice. On their face, they were just words. The cumulative effect, though, weighed on me, and I eventually got the point. Something was wrong – with me.
When I was in grade school in 70s, I learned how to fight, mostly because I was skinny. To them, I was shaped like a “broom stick.” I cried in my mother’s arms, perplexed about why they criticized me for something I couldn’t change. She wiped my tears away and told me how she was laughed at in high school for having the gall to be skinny and try out for cheerleading. Black girls, after all, weren’t supposed to be thin.
Mom told me those little girls were jealous and then made of point of telling me just how much she loved me. I do the same thing for Simone. I wish, though, that I could put an end to name-calling.