I have a weird relationship with my body, as if it's not weird enough to have a relationship with one's body it's even weirder to have a weird one, see what I mean?
Anyway, I've been dealing with it since I was fourteen, although I had a good run between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three, feeling like I looked my best at eighteen. However, I drank a LOT of coffee, ate one meal a day and smoked a pack a day, plus, I was eighteen.
Since I've had children things on my vehicle have changed greatly. I've got the baby apron showing I've carried babies, I've got some deflation that indicates I nursed babies. I still have my waist and my curviness, but it's all bigger than it used to be. I intellectually understand that genetics really dictates what my bod is going to do and plastic surgery is the only thing to re-inflate things, but I still waffle on how I feel about things.
Some days, I'm good with it all. I think my curves are just the most, I see that my legs still have a good shape, my lips are the size and shape that other women pay big bucks to achieve. I'm able to write the essay that was the very first thing I posted on this blog, about how bigger women are great.
But, then I see a photo of myself. Suddenly, I'm Jabba-the-Hut in a dress. Ridiculous, pathetic, fat, should just give up all this rockabilly, retro, sad attempt at trying to be younger and put on cropped khakis and act my age.
I very specifically thought this when I saw the photographs from Las Vegas of me in my purple dress. I actually had a little private cry the first time I saw them.
Generally, I put on some lipstick and fake feeling good until I feel good, or at least better.
But, I've been really contemplating this lately, the way I'm feeling about it, if I want to do something about it, if I'm just beating myself up, trying to get it all sorted out in my brain.
Every woman I know has body issues. I know there are women out there who are good with it, but I don't know any of them personally. There are a bunch of beautiful celebrity women who openly discuss their feeling of fatness and Oprah, of course, has her cycle of lose it, gain it back, tell the world she's REALLY going to keep it off this time.
I was a teenager in the 80's when all the women were ZZ Top girls and the scantily clad girls in Motley Crue videos. My mom called it the prostitute look, which I now realize was very correct, we did look like little hookers. And to look like a hot little hooker you had to have a specific body type to go with it.
Once I turned 13 and my hormones kicked in hot and heavy, I put on some weight, like I was supposed to. But I was bigger than I thought I was supposed to be and that was when I started to dislike my body.
Around that time, Helen Gurley Brown published her book "Having It All". In it, she has a long chapter on diet and another long one about exercise. I remember very specifically a sentence that said (these aren't the exact words, but it's close) "What about men who like fat women? These men are not looking for lovers or companions, they are looking for a soft, sofa-cushiony girl they can sink into and hide out in. They're looking for mothers!" and her saying that 5 foot 5 and 140 pounds did not allow you to be sexy and self-confident, it allowed you to be pudgy.
Those words STUCK with me. Fat = bad. Not even fat, but anything over stick skinny was kinda gross.
I was dieting for a lot of my teen years, exactly the time I shouldn't have been dieting since my body wasn't done growing. And I dieted for a long time.
When I tried on my size ten wedding dress, the one that was too big in the hips and had to be taken in, I asked the seamstress if I looked fat. That's my question to everything I try on, does this make me look fat? I'm incapable of looking in a mirror and having a positive thought on my own, without any outside validation.
And I'm going to tell y'all a dirty little secret here, I have great envy of women who are anorexic. Not bulimic, which I see as being out of control, but anorexic. Women who can restrict themselves to 200 calories a day and exercise for 3-6 hours, I am in awe of them.
I've cruised the pro-ana websites that explain all kinds of little tricks to keep yourself down to one apple cut into eight pieces a day. Tricks like, look up photographs of fat people to keep yourself motivated, learn to recognize hunger as the reward for your extraordinary willpower, suck on a sugar-free hard candy for five seconds and take it out of your mouth for a while, chew gum chew gum chew gum, smoke and drink water.
I will also tell y'all that I've chewed and spit. I've done that since I've become a mother. It's really gross, but it makes one feel like they've had a feast but not actually digested any calories.
I told you it was weird. In my contemplation of this issue, it's become apparent that I'm not going to be able to sort this out on my own. And when I say I wonder if I want to do something about it, I don't mean go on Jenny Craig and take up running, I mean going back into therapy to get some more clarity.
Again, intellectually, I understand that it boils down to my self-esteem in general and it's not my body that makes me feel that way, I'm using my body to make myself feel bad.
MUST things be so complicated? MUST I live in a marketing driven time where all women are made to feel inferior based on their appearance?
Oh well, back to the couch, probably after Thanksgiving. Well, that's poetic ain't it? New things to realize! New things to cry about! Oh joy! It's scary and I'm trying to talk myself out of it, so I'm guessing it something I should do.
Amanda's beauty tip of the day: To make it look like you've had a manicure, clean under your nails and push back your cuticles (you can use a washcloth wrapped around your finger to do this) and rub a little lotion into your hands. Voila!