Dear Abby: I’m a 24-year-old plus-sized woman (60 or 70 pounds overweight), but very comfortable in my own skin. When swimming in public, I wear a one-piece bathing suit because it doesn’t attract a lot of attention. When I’m home, I have a bikini top and shorts I prefer to wear. This is because I don’t like being covered up like it was in the 1950s, and I feel good when my curves are properly accentuated.
When I go back to see my family and swim, I wear a bikini top and black shorts. Recently, my mother said, “When the family comes over, you can’t wear that. It makes people uncomfortable.”
I was shocked, and we had a huge argument. Most of my cousins are fine with my attire, as are my aunts. Only Mom has a problem with it. I asked if she’d feel the same about a large man swimming without a T-shirt. She said it’s different for women.
Am I wrong for wanting to be comfortable in my childhood home? Mom should be proud to have a daughter who accepts herself as she is. Who is wrong here?
– Offended Daughter in Chicago
Dear Offended Daughter: You are not wrong for wanting to be comfortable. But please remember that when you visit someone else’s home, that person’s wishes take precedence – even if it used to be your childhood home.
While you say you are comfortable in your own skin, it would be interesting to know what your physician thinks about your obesity. I suspect that your mother would be prouder of you if you were less complacent and more willing to do something about your weight problem.
Talk to spiritual adviser
Dear Abby: I am the mother of three beautiful daughters. I have been married for 11 years now. I married at 19, just after high school. My husband is 18 years older.
The first five years of marriage, when I fully depended on him, he was arrogant, violent and unfaithful. He hurt me so badly that I vowed to work hard and when I was independent, I would move away. Now I have a stable job – but my kids love him, and I know they will be hurt.
My husband is jobless now. He tells me he supported me when I was jobless, so it’s my turn to take care of him. I stay because I feel guilty. Should I finally forgive him, and if so, how?
– Bitter in Nairobi
Dear Bitter: If you truly want to forgive your husband for the physical and emotional abuse you suffered in the early years of your marriage, a place to start would be to talk with your spiritual adviser.
You didn’t mention whether your husband is trying to find another job, if there is a valid reason why he can’t work, or if he’s still unfaithful. If it’s the latter, then in my opinion, you “owe” him the same amount of financial support that he gave you and nothing more. However, because I am not familiar with the marriage laws in Kenya, you should discuss this with a lawyer.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.