Regular readers of this blog know that I am just slightly obsessed with all things pop culture, and that I get my daily fix of Hollywood smut via Lainey Gossip.
Earlier this week, Lainey wrote about Melissa McCarthy weighing in on the issue of weight and perspective in an article with MORE Magazine. Lainey’s post is here, but to save you the click through, this is Melissa’s quote:
“I’ve been every size in the world. Parts of my twenties, I was in great shape, but I didn’t appreciate it. If I was a 6 or an 8, I thought, why aren’t I a 2 or a 4? I bought into it — I should be taller, thinner, have better hair. But I think that’s part of being young. Now, especially with kids, you lose any sense of time or energy to worry about all the little stuff.”
Lainey then goes on to give her perspective. I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially she talked about how, when looking back at photos of herself taken 10 years ago, she sees how cute [small, thin, great — insert your adjective] she looked back then. And yet, at the time, was completely dissatisfied, feeling she could be cuter, smaller, better…you get the picture. And further, goes on to say that 10 years from now, she’ll look back at pictures of herself from today and think the same thing. i.e. Why was I so hard on myself? I looked great.
This realization of hers completely resonated with me, on a visceral level.
Actually, it felt like I had just been smacked in the head with a big, old school encyclopedia.
I, too, often look through pictures from 10-15 years ago and am astounded at how good I looked. Objectively, I can see that as a mom of two [both of whom were perversely large at birth I might add], I looked great. Yet at the time, I didn’t see that.
Looking back, I see I that I clearly had way bigger body image issues [then] than I did some 10 years and 40+ pounds later. How ironic.
Melissa McCarthy’s quote rings true for me. It didn’t matter if I had starved myself down to a size 8, it was not good enough. I needed to be a 6. Insanity. Especially looking back at those pictures and seeing how good an 8 looked on me.
And speaking of starving myself, I actually did. Literally.
I stopped eating all bread, rice, pasta and potatoes for a year, about 13 or 14 years ago. My body looked great. But I was the mega bitch from hell. Anything and everything would set me off. I WAS HUNGRY, GODDAMNIT! And that made me one helluva snarky biz-natch.
I remember one incident so clearly. I was working at a small consulting firm at the time. My boss could have been a long lost brother of Larry David‘s. Not because they looked alike, but because they were personality twins. For real.
Anyway, Larry David’s doppleganger decided to bring bagels in one morning, for the whole office to enjoy. They were the really good kind. Authentic. Jewish. Delicious.
And they were fresh and piping hot.
He opened the first of two big paper bags and the smell wafted over to my desk. I lost my mind, and made some catty remark about something or another (not related to the bagels), because I had to release some snark to avoid spontaneously combusting from all that bottled up, hunger-fueled, white-hot rage inside me.
That’s when he put his hand in the bag, grabbed a bagel and whipped it across the room at my head, while simultaneously shouting, “Eat some goddamned bread, bitch!”
I believe that was the day I started eating carbs again.
I’m not sure I ever thanked him for that. But I should have. Being thin and miserable is bullshit. It’s no way to live.
If only I had spent more time sweating and less time depriving myself… Live and learn, as they say.
The most disturbing part of all of that, though, is that even with my body in the best shape it had been in my adult life, I still wasn’t satisfied. I still needed to be smaller. Thinner. Tighter. Better.
I wasn’t happy with myself because I still wasn’t as perfect as the ‘beauty standard’ served up to me in magazines, on TV and in movies, as I previously wrote about here.
And so fast forward to today, and me being all evolved and shit. Or am I?…
I’m trying to maintain my focus on being healthy, not skinny. I’m trying to honour myself by listening to my inner voice; analyzing the stuff that bothers me or raises unanswered questions deep inside. I’m also trying to embrace all the successes and wins I’ve had along the way to keep myself motivated for the rest of this journey.
But, like Lainey, I worry.
I worry that when I hit the magic ‘goal weight’ or size, that it won’t be enough.
Will my best be good enough for me? Or will that hungry, non-carb-eating girl from 13 years ago rear her ugly head and tell me that I would look better if I just lost 5 pounds more?
The jury is out, but I’m hopeful.
I hope, for myself and for all the beautiful women out there who continue to struggle with their best not being good enough, that we all get to a place where our personal best is not only enough, but it’s actually …perfect.