I was texting with my oldest daughter yesterday. We were talking about weight, again. It is a common bonding topic uniting women from every population sector. It seems to me that the closer one is with someone, the more she will reveal her feelings on body image.
Later in the day, I spoke with one of my BFF’s from high school. I am home with the flu this week, so the conversation was short but meaningful, my voice lasted about 40 minutes. I could have talked another three hours. I love her. We have been blessed with the gift of knowing one another very deeply. We can truly talk about anything. The topic of weight came up in that conversation too. More than weight, body image. It got me to thinking.
In my mind, I have always been ok-looking. My weight has fluctuated as I have mentioned in other posts. ( Exposing Myself Weighty Issues) I have changed my hair color often. The year I turned 40 ( 12 years ago!) I changed my hair color so many times, my family was considering an Intervention! My famous line: “It is a lot of work to look this average!” My lively personality gets me through life. Never have I based anything I have tried on my looks.
I am reading about how to write a better blog. I am usually not brief. That is the suggestion, so I will revisit this weight/body image topic often and reign in this post. In my texts with my daughter and my phone discussion with my friend, these are the points that were covered. All of them sadden me.
In my life I have been very thin and significantly overweight. I was treated better by society when I was very thin. I do not know if it was because I projected a more confident stance or not. When my weight was too low my life was at a very difficult point, as a result I was extremely thin. Another challenging period I was very heavy. I have a 90 pound range, as I have mentioned. When I am in the middle, I am physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. I was treated better by society when I was thin and sad, versus heavier and sad. I still don’t know what to think, but I lived here in my own skin so I can say this with certainty.
The other thing that came up was women in movies. Emma Stone and Drew Barrymore were two “medium sized” girls. Truly one of the things I loved about both of them was and their “comfort” in their own skins. The natural, “girl next door” look each possessed was appealing. Middle size in Hollywood is fat. To register average size on camera one must be thin. To appear thin on camera, one must be close to emaciated. I do not believe most of Hollywood is in the 5 percent of the population who is rail thin no matter what. I am not a thin basher. In fact I know a couple of people who are in that group, each struggles to gain weight. An issue with which I am not personally familiar, but sympathize.
When the Oscar nominations were read the other morning by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone, Emma Stone was a bone. I imagine a lot of people thought she looked “great”. I didn’t. The other thing I noticed was that women my age are not only getting thinner by the minute, but also many of them in Hollywood are starting to look like Michael Jackson, midway through his plastic surgery adventure.
Both Drew, before she had her baby and now Emma, jumped on that Skinny Train. They did not trim down for health reasons, each would have registered completely fine on a BMI scale. I am disappointed. Soon we will see photos in some magazine about how Drew lost her baby weight. Sigh. Celebrity society sometimes misses the point and forgets to celebrate the baby.
Back at the ranch with the rest of us: To pretend that we don’t think about how we look would be wrong. I love to decorate my house with mirrors. I always have. Not because I am vain. Two reasons: My mom did and I love the angles, light and reflections. That said, I see myself a lot of the day many ways.
Lately when I walk by one, I am looking at what I see. I am an aging lady, who has experienced a lot of life. My hair has become wild, but will never be gray, ( I have been totally influenced by our society in the hair color realm), wrinkles from many smiles, lines on my forehead from being hugely expressive, and dark circles under my eyes which are genetic, look back at me. I am good with it most days. I have chosen topical vs. surgery or injections to enhance my thinking more than anything else. One definition of a quality problem: To ask yourself bangs or Botox? When half the world is starving, it is almost embarrassing.
There is no hiding in my profession. I sweat my make-up off every time I teach and my body moves how it moves. My clients see what they see each time I teach a fitness class or practice yoga with them. Since it is offered from the heart I am free. Blessed with good health, a tremendous amount of energy and ability to do my profession at a high level daily is not taken for granted. Many of my clients are ten to thirty years my junior. As long as I am able to move, breathe, feel and give, I will.
No conclusion here, just thoughts. I value the exchange I have with my friends, daughters and mom. I am blessed.