“When you have a second, look at the woman in the muumuu,” said my mom. Her voice dropped when she said the word “muumuu.” Even though she didn’t like them, muumuu’s were big on the fashion scene. I had one in my closet from Kimo’s.
My mom was a beautiful woman who kept herself trim. She was blessed with a high metabolism and didn’t have to work much to keep the weight off, but still. She enjoyed wearing fitted, attractive clothes. She looked slender pretty much all the time. No muumuus.
“That poor lady in the muumuu” she said. “I feel so sorry for her.”
“Why?” we asked, trying to look at the lady and not look at the same time.
My mom’s answer. “Blow Candy.”
Blow candy was known in our family as a common menace to be avoided. That lady was an apparent Blow Candy Victim.
My mom didn’t want us to eat a lot of candy. But she allowed us to eat candy if we wanted to. She just warned us to be careful of the Blow Candy.
The way my mom told it, Blow Candy looked like every other piece of candy. It was identical. And fortunately rare. The problem was, as my mom told the story, occasionally you could get a piece of Blow Candy in a bowl of perfectly good candy. They all looked the same. It just happened.
And if you ate just one piece. You blew up. In an instant. Just like that.
From slim and happy. To gigantic. Sitting in a muumuu. At Frankie's Restaurant. Wow.
No matter how often my mom told the Blow Candy Story, my sister and I sat wide-eyed. It was a terrifying idea. My mom tried to quell our fears. She told us that the danger was real but limited.
“It’s not very common. Most of the candy is perfectly fine. Go ahead, have a piece,” she would say.
“No thanks,” my sister and I told her. “We don’t really like candy.”
“Suit yourself,” said my mom with a small grin.
Of course, at some point, we learned that the Blow Candy Story was just something funny my mom made us think to keep us out of the dentist chair. It carried a dark message about body acceptance, but that’s something else. In general, it was amusing and relatively harmless.
As kids, we hear all sorts of funny stories - some of them based in fact.
Now, the Blow Candy Story makes me laugh. My mom was a creative woman who tried to teach us to stay off candy. A good idea. Our parents want to protect us.
In small and large ways, we’re taught about life as kids. But sometimes, the stories they tell us do more harm than good. We learn that we shouldn’t feel certain things. We shouldn’t touch ourselves in certain ways. We learn to keep our questions to ourselves. Sometimes, we learn to feel ashamed of who we are.
As kids, we can’t filter the stories we’re told. But now we’re adults. We are in charge of our own narrative. Maybe the stories you heard had nothing to do with candy. Maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, it’s never too late to start re-writing.
If you’re ready to claim a different story about yourself, I’d love to hear from you.