As a child, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager was plagued by painful self-doubt. Her body image issues, she says, stemmed from growing up with an extremely critical mother, who was vocal about Carole’s weight and appearance.
During Carole’s SuperSoul Sunday conversation, Oprah recalls something that Carole told her once at a party. “We were talking about our mothers,” Oprah says, “and you shared this story of your mother telling you to ‘walk behind me, fatty,’ which, you know, made my eyes water.”
“Walk behind me, fatty, you’re embarrassing me,” Carole says, recalling her mother’s hurtful words.
Carole then shares a particularly mortifying shopping experience that remains indelibly printed on her mind. One day, Carole’s mother took her shopping, and after failing to find anything that fit her at one particular store, her mother decided to try a plus-size clothing store. “We get off the elevator at the children’s floor,” she says. “There’s a lady there. I don’t know what she looked like, but I do remember that silver tray filled with chocolate chip cookies. And she said, ‘Would you like a cookie?’ And as my hand reached out to take the biggest cookie on the plate, my mother pushed that woman away, and she said, ‘They should be ashamed of themselves! I mean, what do they want to do, just keep their fatties?'”
Here, Carole opens up about how, as a little girl, she internalized her mother’s harsh message about her weight, which led to a lifelong struggle with insecurities and an unhealthy relationship with food.