My declaration of bravery: exposed legs at the Hotel Figueroa.
Here’s the truth: I have a hard time with my weight. Trite, no? White girl problem? I’M NOT WHITE, and what the fuck is up with that?! I hate to admit that I have “Cathy” moments: but, like, it’s not funny like that cartoon. My weight goes up and down each year, against my better judgement. When it comes to food, I frequently make excuses or use it to reward myself.
And the bigger truth is, this is me at my best.
Let’s get confessional, shall we? This is a story I’m sure you are familiar with. Me, Aurora, feminist. Well read. I do my best to be open and informed and absolutely know about the power of body positivity. Whatever THAT is, and all it encompasses. And yet, I turned into the gal who was obsessively counting calories (after years of it, I stopped), weighing myself, and binging like crazy after work. And through all that, I absorbed compliments like a fucking champ. I looked the best I ever had, minus years of ballet lessons that ended in my teens.
I found myself looking at other women’s bodies, wondering why they could manage to pull it together. She looks fit. She looks happy. Why can’t I make that happen? Why am I so fucking weak? Where the hell is my self control?
(I was hesitant to post this because I am vegan, and some people will view this choice as a disorder. I can safely say it’s not– veganism has allowed me to try new foods, stop counting calories all together and focus on making healthy decisions in the first place, and really know when my body is done consuming. And I hate defending veganism. UGH. Bottom line, my body and my mind feel better when I cook and eat consciously.)
I’m not going to list eating disorders and how many people suffer from them in the United States. It seems varied and this post is more personal anyhow. I don’t identify as having an eating disorder, but I know plenty of women who do. You do too, weather you know it or not. I have participated in destructive behavior with other women regarding weight.
I don’t ever want my child to compare her body to someone else’s, not know their story, and feel less than based on looks. I don’t ever want my child to “bond” with other people by berating her own looks. I don’t want my child to feel like she has to balance a hit with a compliment given to another person (I find this especially popular on Instagram. Words like, “I hate you, you’re so beautiful”. Can we agree to stop this now?). And I definitely don’t want my child basing other people’s worth upon society’s perceived notions about what is valuable.
I’m still figuring it out. And I’ll probably always be a work in progress.
I’d love to be able to answer consistently that I am improving or, at least, staying on track. But that’s not how I consistently am. My idea of improving at this point is not punishing myself for making a food choice or not making it to the eliptical. My idea of improving is being brave enough to stand at a hotel pool with my legs exposed. It’s a big deal to me that I am able to hit “post” on a fucking selfie on Instagram. For real. Sometimes, my motivation to get to the gym is just so I can feel the rush after I work out, on my way home.
Goal: Liking myself. That’s it.
I do it by not slagging on other women, especially regarding their looks. I don’t call other women bitches or sluts. I call out people who do this by making a joke, but also making it apparent that the problem is with THEM, not with the person they are slagging on. I do this by using models in my photoshoots who have a certain personality or radiate on camera, not on how traditionally “beautiful” they are. And I still hand over copies of “Cunt”, by Inga Muscio, when I know a friend is ready for it but doesn’t know it yet. They might not agree with everything in that book, but it’ll get them thinking, and I’m all about the conversation that happens when they finish the last page.
I know I’m not doing it right all the time, but damn it if I’m doing the best I can in the moment.