In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Sally McGraw of Already Pretty has coordinated Body Image Warrior Week this week. This initiative has brought together a number of body image bloggers to share their stories and wisdom. I’m pleased through this post to make my own contribution to her efforts and thank her for allowing me to participate….
I’d never written anything for the web before but decided I wanted to give it a try. So less than a year ago, I took a seminar on starting a blog. Write about something you’re passionate about it, suggested the instructor. Something you have a lot to say about.
I look around and see the unrealistic expectations about our appearances that society dictates to us and we put on ourselves and I get really angry. So many women I admire sell themselves short, fixating on perceived flaws. We’re taught we need to be perfect. And the definition of perfect shoved down our throats is unattainable to most of us. And why would we want it really? What’s so bad about being ourselves?
So I started Size and Substance. It’s given me a forum to write about all the things that were making me crazy.
As I’ve started writing, I’ve learned a lot. Doctors refusing to treat the obese—or who blame their patients’ ailments on their weight, resulting in faulty and negligent diagnoses. States who want to put a “fat tax” on Medicare recipients. Pharmaceutical companies who want to perform lap-band surgery on fourteen year olds. The body mass index, and how it’s basically useless. Airbrushing. Pro-Anorexia websites (which I had no idea even existed). Among others, I’ve spoken to an author, a plus size model, a comedian and even a body image holistic counselor.
The slogan for my blog is “Smart women speaking out about body image.” My mission is that we educate ourselves, speak out about what isn’t right, and make the right decisions for ourselves. I don’t believe in telling people what to do. Besides, I’m still figuring it out for myself. I feel like I’ve learned so much in less than a year. As I learn, I can’t wait to share it with others. And I’m just getting started.
Sometimes I wonder, who do I think I am, writing a body image blog? I’m no expert. My body and I—well, we’ve never quite been at peace with each other. As a young girl, I had a relative who called me “thunder thighs” and commented constantly (come to think of it, he stills does) on my food portions. Which didn’t make me eat any less, it just feel worse about myself. Which is part of why I find Georgia’s Childhood Obesity Campaign so personally offensive and alarming.
I’ve recovered from an eating disorder. I’ve gained and lost nearly 80-100 pounds three times now. I’m learning it’s more important to be healthy than to worry about numbers on a scale or a dress size. That zit on my face will disappear eventually. Botox is a waste of money that won’t make me worry that turning 40 means I’m getting old any less. I’m learning to deal with my problems rather than try to muffle them with food. Sometimes I worry that my head will always be a mess.
Even so, I’ve made progress and feel better than I ever have. I can feel it every day. And I try to share those moments of inspiration and realization with my readers. When I have setbacks, I own up to those too. It helps to keep me honest and I hope others can commiserate and realize we’re all in this together. I don’t have all the answers but I’m trying. At the very least, I can provide information and present the right questions.
My hope is to see women being nonjudgmental, learning to love themselves and helping others to do the same. And to fight against the things around us preventing us from that. That’s why I’m so excited to read the other eloquent and talented womens’ Body Warrior blogs (you should read them too!) Because we’re all in this together.