I had a lovely convo with a co-worker today, during a coffee serving lull in an otherwise busy morning. Said co-worker is a photographer and we began talking about models and body image. I’ll tell you a personal AHA! moment.
Over the summer, I was what it known as ‘a mess.’ My mommy (seen above) was recovering from full brain radiation, which in case you don’t know, really fucking sucks. I was between apartments aka homeless, and I was very scared and very miserable. I was not exactly employed, and I was engaging in self destructive behavior to try and distract myself and stay in the dark. By the end of the summer I knew that I needed to pause and re-focus, because school was starting again and I needed to get it together. So I took a break. I completed the master cleanse, during which time I also dedicated myself to daily yoga, banned myself from Facebook, and banned myself from boys. It worked, and by the end of the 2 week process I had cleared some space in my life and my heart.
Lex, where is the connection? you’re asking. I’m getting there.
Thats my daddy. He is my health guru and fitness coach, so I consulted him when starting the cleanse. Weight loss is just a side effect of the cleanse, and shouldn’t be the main goal, but he wanted to make sure I monitored my weight and didn’t lose too much. He bought me a scale for that purpose. When I stepped on the scale I was astounded at the number. My father wasn’t, and in fact was shocked at my negative, emotional reaction. He is a health professional, and for him this number is just like blood pressure. It’s just one indicator of health that has to be taken in context with other numbers. But I had to explain to him that there is an absolute limit to how much any woman can weight, regardless of height. I had to explain that my self worth is inextricably linked to this number, and to how my body looks, in a way that his will never be. And, even after I’d explained all that and completed the cleanse and lost 15 lbs, I thought to myself, “Wow, maybe I could lose another 5 and look even better!”
Guys, if you, like I did, think (daily, every other day, weekly) that you’d be happier or look better or get dates if you could only lose 5 more lbs, that is bordering a disorder. And honestly, I don’t know any girl that doesn’t think that on a fairly regular basis. And there is a really good reason for that. It’s because we are conditioned from a super early time. And why would this be helpful to society at large? Because tiny, insecure, self-doubting, sad and needy women are way less likely to run. To move. To believe that they are free. In a very real way, fucking with our psyche and making us obsessed with our bodies is an excellent way to restrict our mobility. It literally renders us unable to have full on autonomy, because we are preoccupied and physically incapable. It is brilliant and pervasive and effective, and I really very hate it.
This is a link to Portia de Rossi’s interview with Oprah. It is part 4 of 4, I highly recomend watching all 4 parts which are available on youtube. Part 2 especially echoes the above story.
If you let food and weight control you, you allow the powers that be to steal brain space, time, and love from you. You allow them to restrict you, in thought and movement. I chose that picture of my dad and me because it illustrates the work he (and my mother) have done to bolster my self esteem and facilitate my mobility. From that bike seat to Sparkle Pony I have always been encouraged to explore, told I was beautiful, and promised that I could do anything I really want. So I wanted to tell all of you that. You should roam, you are beautiful, and you can do anything you really want. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes, especially in the concrete jungle. But we are all our own worse critics (remember when Portia says it didn’t occur to her that Ellen would find her attractive at her heaviest weight? SERIOUSLY?!), and by playing into the cycle of denial, indulgence and then guilt, we give up freedom and self-love. I can’t think of two more vital things in this historical/cultural moment than that. Freedom and self-love. Let’s all try and cultivate some of that. Everyday. I got Sparkle Pony, and I’m lucky to have her sassy-ness to help me get around and feel the wind on my face and ring her disco ball bell and ride. Don’t let them put you in a cage.
Or a corner.
PS Thanks to Canada Crab for technical support, you guys have no idea what I had to do to get that Aladdin clip. I had a vision though, and I beasted it out. Cause god damnit, if you want a Disney movie clip in your fucking blog post, don’t rest until you figure out how to make your vision a reality. Whew!