They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr. Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that. . . .
Then said His Majesty, “Well, well,
I must get on,” and rang the bell.
“Your bear, I think,” he smiled. “Good-day!”
And turned, and went upon his way.
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about—
He’s proud of being short and stout
Extract from “Teddy Bear” by AA Milne
We are a family not blessed by great height. We are also a family who either can eat everything and never gain an ounce or eat nothing and it goes straight to our hips.
This next bit is hard. I am the product of generations of women who had a love hate relationship with food. It was evident with my grandmother who was so controlled with what she ate. She did her physical culture exercises and ate bowls of grated vegetables dressed with lemon juice before anyone used lemon juice as a dressing. She would reject food. My mother has similar issues, food is constantly talked about when we are together as a family as she worries about what we will all eat and when and it becomes overwhelming.
As for me, I have spent years trying to give food to a deep set ball of hate and shame and self loathing to make it go away. It had taken until my mid 40’s to realise that is what I do. I am getting help. I will get food back into its proper place. Each day I don’t drink a bottle of wine and fill myself to bursting I win.
Then there is Jeremy. When J was 8 or 9 and I was worried about his body I was talking to mum about trying to limit a bottomless hunger and the constant stuffing with chocolate on the sly. I can recall the conversation being intense and then my darling dad took the phone off my mum, so angry with both of us. I realised that he had watched women that he loved starve themselves, gorge themselves, food was a weapon. I am sure that there was a desire to break the cycle, but like some things in my family there are silences around issues.
So here is J at 17 and I am worried and yet not worried. J was always the kind of kid to get round and then grow. In the year before his transition Jeremy was at a very low point. Then he started transitioning and emotionally he started healing but the stresses of regular school took a huge toll on him. Adding to that some real dissatisfaction with being female, I suspect that J tried his best to turn his female body with curves into something more androgynous.
I have tried not to pass my demons on. I look at other FTM teens and see similar traits in regards to being a little heavier to mask femininity. J is not harming himself with food and we will both travel down a path to being strong and healthy.