The other night, I saw myself at a bar sipping cocktails with a group of my most outspoken writer friends. The booze was flowing heavily, and our dialogue was becoming increasingly uncensored.
We were aloud discussing light topics, like what it feels like to be used for sex, the irresistible f* ckboys and f* ckgirls who take over far too much space in our brains, heartache and the slew of unresolved childhood trauma we are afraid are turning us into neurotic adults.
Then, the conversation speedily switched over to the delicate subject of weight.
As outspoken and as savagely honest as these working groups is, weight is rarely a topic we tackle. We all pride ourselves on being smart, unconventional women with far more interesting, pressing things to discuss over something as trivial as weight . But we were wasted, and the guards were down. Sh* t get real.
“I was 20 pounds larger in college, and I was happier than I’ve ever been because I didn’t devote a f* ck, ” Sheena proclaimed, taking a dramatic sip of her blood red wine.
She swilled the liquid thoughtfully around in her glass and peered at me. “I’m more miserable now that I actually care about my sizing. I’m thinner, and I’m more unhappy.”
One by one, the girls began to tell tales of a simpler day. A day when they weren’t consumed by their dress sizings, the numbers on the scale or the number of destructive carbs in their bagels. A day when they all enthusiastically ate what they desired and never guessed twice.
I sunk back into the plush velvet couches at the bar. Because truth be told, there was no simpler day for me. I don’t ever remember a day when I wasn’t totally and completely obsessed with my weight.I dont remember ever eating a piece of cake without having a low-key panic attack.
I have every textbook reason to be totally f* cked up about my weight. In fact, I could be the poster infant fordisordered eating.
My mother was a model who graced the billboards of Sunset Boulevard my whole childhood. Perhaps as a result, my sisters were diet-crazed daughter beasts. I don’t ever remember experiencing a snack where calories weren’t discussed with an acute intensity.
My brother called me fat from the time I was five years old, despite the fact that I’ve never outstripped 130 pounds or been considered “fat” a day in my life.
I also grew up in an exorbitantly wealthy suburbium of Manhattan, where the more popular daughter was praised for her ability to subsist ononly an apple topped with Sweet n Low every day for lunch.
In sixth grade, my best friend taught me how to purge my food, during a sleepover party. I eat an entire box of blueberry Twinkies and was oozed in regret. “Come to the bathroom with me, ” she pressed.
“Watch and learn, ” she said before sticking her thumbs down her throat and throwing up the brownies she had eaten a few minutes prior. She stood there in her cotton nightgown with the fairly pink prow in the middle and coached me through it.
I was a fast learner, and it was a habit I carried with me through adolescence, never realise I was putting my life in danger. I wanted to be an actress, and I knew that to weigh even a few extra pounds entail being typecast as “the funny best friend.”
All this is likely to induce me voice uniquely screwedup, but you know what? I’ve come to find that every single girlfriend of mine has a dysfunctionalrelationship with her body. It doesn’t matter how she grew up or in what part of the world or what industry she’s in — as soon as I become really close to a girl, it eventually comes out that shehas some kind ofdeep-rooted issue with her body.
It builds me wonder: Is it even possible to be a female in this day and age and not be at least a little f* cked up about your weight?
I have a friend who is 5’10” and a string bean. She’s a professional high fashion model who gets paid thousands of dollars to stroll the runway for the likes of Alexander McQueen and Balmain.
She has the body I’ve always dreamed of, yet she feels so unsexy in her own scalp. She longingly gazes at the girls on the covering of Maxim magazine and wishes, wishes she had the lusty, curvy figureof the covering model.
I have another friend who’s been fitness-obsessed ever since an-ex boyfriend once told her she had “cushion for the pushin’. Now she defines her alarm clock for 4 am so she can get to the 5 am spin class.She lives on raw veggies and kale smoothies. She worships Instagram fitness stars. We used to hang out all the time, but now her workout schedule is so intense.
And then theres me .
I dont worship busty Maxim babes or the Instagram stars. I came of age in the heroin-chic era, devouring way publications as agangly, buck-toothed seven-year-old. I wanted to live inside a Calvin Klein ad.
Kate Moss was my reigning style Queen.I loved the wayher vacant eyes and bare beauty matte-ified the shiny covering of Vogue.She was gorgeously simple and stylishly androgynous, all hipbones and sunken cheeks, looking chicly blank in men’s underwear.
Kate Moss embodied persons under the age of the waif . I wasn’t a waif.I was curvy, with a loud voice and bigeyes. ButI did what I could. I spent the better part of high school starving myself or throwing up my Honey Bunches of Oats to imitate the druggie, smokey-eyed models of the9 0s.
I liked the style I looked, but my health was rapidly declining, my friends and family were worried, and I get tired of fighting against my natural body kind. I wanted a life. I wanted to go to dinner without pushing around my food.
So I get help. I went to therapy. I confronted my issues. I still ensure a therapist twice a week and likely will for life.
Now, I’m a healthy-looking 29 -year-old.
But you want to know the sad, f* cked up truth? I can’t wholly let go of the body I once had. Because even though I was sick and tired and freezing and bleary-eyed and sometimes mistaken for a crackhead in those days, I felt fairly . And despite all the work I’ve done in attempts to “love” my body, sometimes I look back at my eating disordered days with longing. Its like missing a past fan you know was bad for you, but dammit, she still has the ability to f* ck up your day with merely a single text.
I’ve written about faking orgasms on the Internet. I’ve written about my sexuality and the antidepressants I take in order to help me get out of bed. I’ve written about sexual trauma and having mental illness. However, I’m the most embarrassed to acknowledge my issues surrounding weight.
I so want to be that strong, empowered, body-positive daughter for you.Wanting tolook like Kate Moss when my body doesn’t run that style is a total contradiction of what I stand for as a strong woman and a feminist. It goes againsteverything I would tell a friend or little sister aboutmental health, self-acceptance, body-positivity, individualism and the celebration ofunconventional beauty.
But sometimes, the pressure to looking a certain style feelings bigger than my intellect, my feminism and my desire to empower other women.
Women’s publications endlessly tell us to “love ourselves, medication us with narrative after narrative about “How I learned to love my thick thighs.” I enthusiastically read them in hopes of impression empowered and strong, but all it does is reaffirm my shame.Why can’t I love my thick thighs? In a day of such female empowerment, why am I still so secretly disempowered?
I shudder at the idea that my future daughter might look in the mirror, filled with the self-hatred that almostkilled meas a adolescent. All I want to do is empower girls to be who the f* ck they are and fiercely love the scalp they’re in.
But I know it’s impossible to feel good about your body every day.
Sometimes I think we reel under the pressure to “love our bodies.” If we admit to struggling, we are BAD feminists, and this is exactly what stops me from writing about weight. And once again, we are stillness by shame.
But I’m tired of hiding. Living under the mask of false body empowerment doesn’t induce me a good feminist.
You know what the most feminist thing a girl can do is? Bereal. Behonest about not only her strengths, but about her weaknesses. Disclosing the sometimes not-so pretty truth might be what precisely what defines us free.
So let’s talk about it. For real.