Mother and Daughter: A Collection of Phrases

By: Christina Bencin

Mother and Daughter: A Collection of Phrases

I hate you.

I’m so sorry, Mommy.

I love you.

Stop jumping all over me, baby! You’re like sticky rice.

            But I love you!

            And you’re fun to hug!

I hope you don’t turn out like your cousin Wendy. She can’t keep a steady job. She’ll always be working minimum wage, jumping from one job she thinks she loves to the next. She will never get that life of luxury that she so desperately wants. She always has to go to therapy, too, and takes all of these fancy, expensive drugs to keep her under control because she blows little issues out of proportion and just cannot cope.


I so desperately don’t want to disappoint you. But what will I do if I need therapy, like Wendy needs it? I guess I won’t tell you if I’m ever depressed or suicidal, not that it will ever happen. Beats being talked about behind my back like this or worse, going through a conversation like this with you. But it’s worth it, for the good reputation, right?


My friends that you met at the hot pot place a few days back asked if you were a ballerina. In China, that question is a compliment. It implies that you have a beautiful body.

            Did you tell them that I play ice hockey?

            That makes me really happy to hear. More happy than you’ll ever know.

Here, wear this dress to the dance. I got it at Plato’s Closet for less than $20. And it’s your favorite, purple!

            Oh, ok. Sure. Thanks.

It goes down to my ankles… I’m not a nun! Why can’t I show off my arms and legs too, like the other girls? I love my body, so shouldn’t I be celebrating it? And why are you so cheap?

Telling you about how your father and I met and when we had our first kiss isn’t your business. In Chinese culture, we do not talk about this sort of thing with our parents.

            Oh, ok. Sorry for ever asking.

But what if I want to know so I can gauge my own relationship in the future? What if I just want a mother’s advice?

Why does love make her so uncomfortable? Why is she so cold?

You have to study for the PSAT. This is your junior year and whether you like it or not, colleges are going to be looking at these scores.

            The PSAT is really not as important as you make it out to be.

Why can’t you let me linger in the fun I’ve just had with my friends? Can’t you just let me relive the fun childhood I never had? You had your time, stacking my summers with math competition preparation and violin lessons, and now this is my time to live it out. So what if I don’t get a 1520? Don’t you want me to become a real human girl with a likable personality, a real human girl who can embrace her quirks with grace, a real human girl who can put smiles on people’s faces? You’re always saying I should go get some real experiences, that doing so, the social skills gained will help me become a boss in the long run. You were the one who pleaded I stop being so serious about everything. Life isn’t a competition, you said just a few weeks ago, go enjoy yourself, you said. What do you want from me? What am I supposed to be doing right now? Having fun or preparing for meaningless tests?

You have really thick eyebrows. No boy is going to want you with those disgusting things! Here, let me trim them.

            Ow, stop it! No!

Why must we succumb to societal expectations? I don’t see guys trimming their even bushier eyebrows!

My eyebrows aren’t that thick.

It’s summer, why are you wearing that?

            I’m cold.

Um, maybe because I’m so uncomfortable with the rolls of fat on my legs and the stretch marks on my stomach that only black sweatshirts and baggy black pants are the only thing that are preventing me from slicing off my flesh with a steak knife until I am the skeleton you want me to be?

How are you not calling me out on my BS right now? Of course I’m hot, I’m not crazy! Why aren’t you telling me to wear shorts, encouraging me that I’ll look cute in them? Do you want me to wear long clothing because you, too, are ashamed of my body?

I dress more like a teenager than you do, isn’t that funny?

            Heh. Yeah.

I know you want to fight back but keep… it… locked up inside, girlie. She won’t get it. You will regret it.

I don’t want to hear about you and your boyfriend holding hands, that’s too much information. I don’t want to hear it, haha!

            Fine! Then I’ll never tell you when we first kiss.

I was really excited about this and actually wanted to tell you the truth for the first time in a while. You ruined my moment. Why can’t you just support me, even if it makes you uncomfortable? Isn’t that what it means to be a mother? Don’t all mothers like hearing this type of thing, anyway? So what’s wrong with you?

I hope I’m never like you.

Don’t wear skinny jeans. Your body shape is… like a pear. Wearing such tight pants doesn’t accentuate your best feature— your beautiful waistline.


First of all, that’s called puberty. Second of all, you know I have an eating disorder because of you, right? Haven’t you noticed that I skip at least two meals a day? No? Too busy promoting anorexia, romanticizing it? Of course you are.

Why couldn’t you have stopped my binge eating? I would rather you have taken out all the food in our pantry and saved me that way than have you now bitterly comment on my body later on, when it’s too late.

Do I look fat?

            “Do I look fat?”

            Sure, stop looking at yourself in the mirror. We have to go.

Of course you don’t look fat. Please stop rubbing it in my fat face, the fact that I so badly want your lean, toned legs or so help me God I might break that mirror with my own fist.

Don’t eat too many carbs. You’ll get fat. You already are starting to get fatter.


Don’t eat too quickly. You’ll look like a dog and overeat.

Oh, I ate too much today! I shouldn’t have had that slice of pizza because now my belly is like a pregnant belly. I need to go for a long walk today. There was an article I saw online that I personally thought was useless. It was very funny, though! It was saying how to tell if your belly is too big, but don’t you just look at the bulge—

            Great, Mom, I don’t really care. I have a ton of college prep work to do, ok?

            You body obsessed—

See, I have a healthy plan and stick to it. I’ve been trying to limit my ice cream, but it is very tricky, so I just don’t eat after dinner and I’m doing an eight hour intermittent fasting and walking for two hours everyday. A little self control could do you good, too.

            I can’t do this any longer, goddamnit.

You have no idea what I’ve been through and guess what? I have been restricting food intake. I’ve been doing things like OMAD for the past week and I bet you haven’t even noticed, huh? I bet you want me to starve myself until I have to get sent to the hospital because that is all you talk about, how skinny and beautiful your legs are! You know how long I have been struggling with binge eating, Mom, do you? I have kept that a secret from you for two years because I know you aren’t going to react correctly and I just… I just wish that you would stop complaining about my body now, that you would’ve just helped me then because I know you noticed that I could wolf down a bag of Sun Chips in a night and you didn’t say anything anyway. And I wish you didn’t infiltrate my mind with this… this lack of body acceptance, this newfound judgment toward people who aren’t ten pounds underweight. Why… why don’t you get anything?

Oh crap. Why did I tell her that?

Give me a hug? I haven’t seen you all day, baby.

No. I have too much work to do. Get off of me! Why are you so clingy?

I don’t want you pinching my arm fat.

And stop calling me baby. I’m not a toddler.

I love you.


I hate you.