I was the fat one.
Of the 3 children in my family, I was the chubbiest. Of my best girl friends in high school, I was the heaviest. Of all my college roommates, I was the one that could never borrow a dress for a formal. And of all the women in the DMV when I got my first California license, I was the one that lied (the most) about my weight.
On the outside, my ‘outside’ wasn’t a huge detriment. I was smart, popular, and loved. But on the inside, I was always striving for perfection in other aspects of my life so my waist size wouldn’t be the focus. And I succeeded. Even my keg stand abilities were above par (which may have contributed to the problem).
Now, I live and work in an environment overflowing with some of the country’s most (physically) beautiful people. Which makes me wonder… Are issues with body image something that I surround myself with, that follow me, or that are just impossible to avoid?
Nearly ten years ago, I worked on Extreme Makeover (the surgery addition). Day in and out, I was surrounded by people who thought a nose job or tummy tuck could save the world. Later, I worked on the pilot for The Biggest Loser. And the icing on the (Weight Watchers) cake was a several year stint on The Bachelor & The Bachelorette.
One might think this would cause a chubby to pop diet pills like they were French fries. But exactly the reverse occurred.
I have seen more Crystal Light consumed than could fill Lake Superior. I’ve seen drastic (and often dangerous) measures taken to lose weight and look good. If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me she hadn't used the bathroom in days, I could buy Louboutin boots. My response was always the same. Just like the expression "you can't win if you don't play", you can't go if you don't eat.
Meanwhile, I have a closet full of amazing shoes, but am always in flip flops. I have designer clothing still adorned with ridiculous price tags, but am always in sweats. And when I am a “weekend warrior”, it isn’t at the gym- it’s at Chuck E. Cheese. I've learned that (for me) beauty isn't always comfort, but comfort is always beautiful.
I have insanely curly hair that I have fought years to tame- and finally won. My secret to success? Do nothing. I’ve learned that if I simply towel dry my hair (without brushing it) and add a tiny bit of leave-in conditioner, I have curls even Andie Macdowell would kill for. (God, I miss the Brat Pack…)
Bringin’ it home, my lesson is this… Fuggeddaboudit.
I know what you are saying right now. No matter how mean a glare you get from The Soprano's "Big P*$%@", you can't fuggedaboudit. My suggestion is, just try.
When I stop obsessing about my weight, I find myself in a much happier place. Gone are the extremes I had once taken, and in comes a more balanced, healthier, happier attitude. Granted it took a few decades, and there are still times that I stray, but it was well worth the “weight”.
So the question remains. Are issues with body image something that I surround myself with, that follow me, or that are just impossible to avoid? For me, the answer is a combination of all three. The solution is a bit more challenging. Find a way to be comfortable in yourself, and the beauty will come from there.
Funny thing is… the information on my driver’s license is no longer a lie- and I never changed it.