Thursday, September 08, 2005

"You Can Never Be Too Rich, Too Blond...

...or too thin."


your feedback has blown me away.

i had no idea.

i honestly thought these posts were going to get a lot of negative feedback, in no small part because i thought you'd find them boring.

i mean, these thoughts, this chronology, is SO ingrained that it's just matter-of-fact for me now. i don't think of it as surprising. i just assumed everyone knew.

um.

so i hope not inappropriately, i am inspired to share more -- in response to some of the points you've made.

***

like, for starters, i wasn't an unhappy kid. i wasn't even unpopular. i was active and social and engaged, i was just hiding a whole lotta shame at the same time. i don't want to give the impression that i spent my youth sulking or hiding from the world. i didn't -- i just hid my body and my related issues, the way people with eating disorders do.

i could be genuinely happy at parties (i even tended to throw them) in middle school, for example, just as long as i ignored that nagging voice of doubt. eventually, i just made a deal with my 11-year-old self that if i was having a good time somewhere, i wasn't allowed to look in a mirror.

***

maybe it resonates with you or maybe it seems odd that my best friend and i have never discussed our respective body issues (until, you know, 18 years later in front of our nearest and dearest invisible internet friends). but the truth is, i NEVER talked about them with anyone. ever. not really. not until i was older. i was just so ashamed of how i looked and how i felt that the only way i could cope was to ignore it as much as possible.

that said, i wanted to respond in particular to one of the anecdotes Em remembered:
...we were both wading in the pool and these two older guys ...came up and started talking to you. They were cute! They were fun! And you TALKED to them, like it was no big deal...they asked if you wanted to join them on the ride again...
it's amazing. i do OF COURSE remember, because of how it made me feel.

i am pretty sure his name was scott and he was 14. i was 11. he looked like a man. he was tall and had broad shoulders. and he was nice and he liked me and i wanted to like that he liked me and i wanted to be okay with it and that's what i projected.

in actuality, i felt gross. dirty, and disgusting.

i didn't exactly know why then, but i do now. this teenager was sexually attracted to me, and something inside me knew it and revolted. i didn't want to be thought of sexually! ew ew ew! i wanted to be thought of as cute, sure. fun, sure. pretty would have been fine. but there was something about our exchange -- maybe the way he looked at me? -- just something that i knew made me uncomfortable and i made me want to hide under a tent for the rest of my life. i wished i could look pretty like Em looked, or go play with my little sisters and do anything that wouldn't involve me having breasts. but what was there to do?

he was cute. and my mom was impressed that i'd attracted him.

***

i have been relatively (har, har) vague about my family's impact on my body issues, for a few reasons. mostly because it's hard to get across the fact that they loved me unconditionally, but also wanted me to be thin.

those things aren't mutually exclusive, and i didn't want to sound like i thought they were.

THAT said...

(uh, hi dad)

...my dad grew up (in stepford) as a popular jock. he dated beautiful girls, and then beautiful women. he was a frat boy and a swingin' single in nyc. and while we have never discussed it EVER, i suspect he's either laughed at (or told) a few fat girl jokes in his day.
i will not relate the WDW fat-ass photo contest story here. suffice it to say there WAS one, and i thought it funny at the time, too. fuck, i still do. but stuff like that doesn't leave one's consciousness, you know?
and given where he came from, how could he not? his father -- one of the most brilliant and thusly terrifying men on the planet -- used to pull me aside and explain to me, very plainly, that i was an amazing person/woman/grand-daughter, but what are we going to do about your weight?

yeah.

but and then.

oh, man.

and then there's my mom.
you notice i don't talk about her much? i don't because it's hard. it's been over three years now since she died, but maybe not surprisingly, i feel okay introducing her in a post about body issues. still, i'll just give the facts. that's easier. and you gotta start somewhere...
  • my mom struggled with weight and body issues her entire life, though after the age of about 14 she was ALWAYS thin. because she worked her ass off to be thin.
  • my mom didn't eat carbs (except on sundays) for about 20 years. i'm not kidding.
  • she also excercised regularly. she jogged 5 miles, 4 days a week for several years. she came to change her workout routine eventually, but even in her 50s she could kick my butt at tae bo.
  • when i was just starting to put on weight, my mom would give me little "tricks" for not eating bad stuff, like telling me i should just think of candy bars as being made up of tiny insects.
  • when i was around 11 or 12, she bought a "gag" toy that she installed on the inside of the refridgerator -- for her and me. it said (and i will NEVER forget it, because i heard it a million times):
"what!? you eating again?
no wonder you're getting fat!
you can stop, just close the door.
don't be a fatty fatty two-by-four,
can't get through the kitchen door.
remember, with thin you win!"
  • my mom would tell me on occassion, "you know, i always said i'd be anorexic if i had more willpower." she meant it to be funny.

and really, i could go on and on. my mom placed tremendous value on her having a hot body -- for her and for me -- even if she only let me know through quiet, indirect means.

so much so that later, when she weighed 86 pounds at almost 5'6" -- because she had cancer even though the doctors hadn't been able to tell us that yet -- and i was helping her shower, she was absolutely mortified.

not because of her frail health.

but because, when she looked down at her emaciated body, she was disgusted. she said, "my god, my body is so ugly."

and she paused and she looked at me, and with as much despondence as i'd ever seen in her, she asked, "do you still love me?"

***

anyway, the quote that leads this entry is one of my mom's favorites. and so has it been mine.

at the same time, i cannot forget that it was my mom who saw the humor in the phrase, "she just walks around with it."

truth be told, i'm pretty sure she'd be proud that i do.

44 comments:

  1. ok, so, this post made me pretty emotional because i can completely and utterly feel for you from the bottom of my heart. and except for specific details, i feel like this post was written by myself.
    weight is an issue that i have always struggled with, and didn't really deal with until i was 22 (and now i'm only 23...). i just assumed that if i was happy and having fun, it didn't matter what i weighed. but... i didn't really want to go swimming or show my body. i did occasionally, but would then hide myself again. and both of my parents are thin and beautiful and "normal". i'm not. i'm the shortest in my family and have the largest pants size. self esteem booster??
    ok, this is turning into an entry for my own, but if its any consolation, there's a lot of us out here who are trying with you to just be normal. i don't want to be skinny. but, i do want to make my mom happier with my weight. i don't know if that makes sense...
    love! luck!

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  2. I'm pretty sure your mom would be proud too. It's hard to imagine what a parent who is no longer here would think. I ask myself, often, "I wonder what my dad would think?" - and he's been gone since I was two.

    But I can only hope that he'd be proud to think that I'm am finally living my own life on my own terms, as he was never able to do.

    I'm willing to bet my next pay cheque your mom would feelt he same way.

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  3. K-
    trying to type through the tears... beautifully written. I'm quite sure your mom would be proud of you!

    it's amazing the effect our family has on our self-esteem. I have a feeling part of the reason I went to school far away from mine was to get away from the small comments made by my parents and brothers. some meant to be constructive criticism, some meant to be plain mean (brothers don't get that what they say can leave deep scars).

    it took me moving far away from those that had judged me so harshly growing up to realize there was far more to a person than their outward appearance. so much so, that I remember my brother commenting that I looked great when I came home from college one year. I didn't look much different than when I'd left, I'd just gained an enourmous amount of self esteem, and apparently it showed.

    thanks so much for sharing this.
    rg

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. this was absolutely beautiful.

    and so are you.

    even though i never met your mom, I miss her too.

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  6. i cried my first tears about someone elses blog as i read that.

    The way you write, what you write about, the way you trust us all is truly wonderful.

    Although i am younger, the things you say about your past reflect exactly what is happening to me now. If i can be anything like you when i get older i would be infinitely happy.

    Thankyou, for sharing, inspiring and trusting me.

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  7. *hugs*

    Reading this made me realize a few things.

    My experience of being a "big girl" was slightly different from yours. I don't think I felt the shame to the degree you did. Don't get me wrong, I had days when I hated my body (still do), but on the whole, I was not unhappy with myself for the way I looked. For me, it was more that I had a weird relationship with food, particularly once I reached high school and really started to pack on pounds. When I was a little kid, my grandma tried to make up for a lot of the trauma I was going through with my mom/dad/step-dad situation by feeding me things like cookies and hot fudge sundaes and treats of that sort. So I learned early that food = consolation.

    As I got older, and my step-dad became a bigger figure in my life, dinner time became the time I was most frequently yelled at. I don't think we ever went more than a few days without me leaving the dinner table in some kind of tears once I was in high school. I'd be sitting there, trying to eat my dinner, with this huge lump in my throat that made me feel like I was going to gag and possibly throw up as I got yelled at for stupid things you probably can’t imagine yelling at a kid for: the way I held my fork, if I looked him in the eye for too long, if I complained when my baby brother kicked me under the table.

    By that time I was working in an ice cream store, and in anticipation of the hellish dinner event, I'd bring a pint home and eat it before being called to the dinner table: somewhere I knew this wasn't good for me, but it also felt like "at least I get to eat something". Because I was gaining weight, I wasn't allowed to eat past the dinner hour. My parents tried making me diet, tried bribing me ($5 a lb), tried sending me to Jenny Craig, but you had to buy their food, and there was no way they’d fork the money over for that.

    At the same time, after 8 or so, I watched my mom CONSTANTLY diet. Everyone compared me to her. We looked a lot alike. Our baby pictures were so similar, the only way you could easily tell the difference was that hers were black and white and mine were in color. At 5’3, I don’t think she’s ever weighed more than 125 lbs, except when she was pregnant with my brother. (She barely broke 100 when she was pregnant with me). But she is not active in a sporty way, though she rides horses. She has a booty, one that, if she weren’t my mom, I’d probably find wicked hot today. But then, those of you who know me know I like a bit of an exaggerated hip-to-waist ratio, and corresponding luscious booty, on the women who attract me.

    Still.

    My step-dad made snide remarks about the size of her ass, about trading her in for a younger, thinner model when she hit 30 (I was 8 when they married, she was 25 and he was 31). How was that supposed to make me feel? Particularly when at 15, I was a size 11 and my mom was a size 7. And dying to be a size 5. And it was so hard to watch her deal with that, especially because my step-dad, in addition to being a raging ass, was in fact becoming overweight him. He still makes comments like that to her. She still struggles. She told me recently she’s concerned because she gained 10lbs in the last year but hasn’t changed her habits. She’s still less than 125lbs. And while I would like to lose another 10 lbs or so… I just don’t want to be that thin. So what if a few more guys are attracted to me at 130 than they are at 145? If those 15lbs are what’s stopping them, they’re not worth my time

    I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with all of this, but reading the stuff about your parents resonated in an interesting way for me. Being thin and considered generally “hot” by most people would be nice. But I don’t want it enough to spend my whole life struggling for it the way your mom did, or my mom does. Life is too short and there’s too much amazing food out there!

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  8. Thanks for this ... I'm sure you've made a lot of us think!

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  9. One of these days, when the time is right, and you have enough material, you will, of course, put together a book, which will be entitled "She Just Walks Around With It" and allow all those poor folks out there who don't read blogs to get the benefit of your wonderfulness. Right?

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  10. Regarding your "repulsed" comment...BOY, can I relate. When I was 14 or 15 a boy really liked me and he called to ask me out. He was cute and together and a very very good friend. I was completely grossed out. It made me almost physically ill to think about it. I made up a babysitting job and avoided him for the next four years...Now, what is up with that? I think I just didn't come into my sexuality until I was 25 or so! LOL!

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  11. i love these stories! i remember when i had had my first physical at age 11 and i stepped on the scale and the doctor said, and i quote, "whoa, you're a little bit bigger than everyone in your grade aren't you?" yeah, he said "whoa".
    To give my mom credit, she bitched him out but good....no one talks to her baby like that but family goddammit!

    p.s. serrephim, feel you on the hip-to-waist ration.....hoooooot!

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  12. You know your mom is watching over you right now and is so proud of you. I guess today's a time of reflection eh? I did the same thing with a story about my aunt today.

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  13. It's always amazing to me just how many neuroses exist in this world. I've always thought that I inherited a few neuroses from my own mother--can anyone say stress-case control-freak?--but this post makes me thankful for what I DO have: namely, so few body issues (compared to some) that they practically count as zero. Thank you, k, for reminding us that everyone was given different shit to deal with in their lives, and to trivialize stress or addictions or body trials is to set yourself up for disaster.

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  14. My mother has been gone more than twice as long as yours, and I am still trying to get up the courage to write about her, even a little. Even this much about her is more than I have done so far. Maybe this is my cue...

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  15. Wow, Kristy. That was an amazing post! I love your writing because not only do you make me smile and laugh, but you can in the same breath touch the deep and profound, and give me reason to reflect and ponder on different things.

    You make my life richer by the words you write, and I'm sure that many, many more people can say the same thing. Thank You!

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  16. Wow, thanks K. It's nice hearing a woman's perspective on the pressures that men and society put on women. It's probably unnnecessary to ever remind a girl that she's gaining weight, even if you're doing it lovingly, since she's probably very aware of it.

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  17. boring? gosh, k... not at all. eloquent and moving, yes.

    i don't know a single woman who HASN'T struggled with body issues.

    and there are many stepfords all around this country of ours. i grew up in one in san diego, so i feel ya.

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  18. K-
    Your writing is amazing and I love the stories that you share with your IIF's!

    I agree with Terry...everyone has felt displaced in one way or another. My displacement comes from a small, round, mexican family who made me feel that I did't belong because I was more than a foot taller than most of them, not to mention the fact that I'm a size 20. I've been this way since I was 15. Good times.

    Sorry to ramble..just wanted to share...

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  19. Your best writing. Please keep this up.

    Victoria

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  20. and she paused and she looked at me, and with as much despondence as i'd ever seen in her, she asked, "do you still love me?"

    You took my breath away. That you would share what had to be one of the hardest moments of your life with complete strangers so that we could better understand the depth of body image issues women have speaks volumes about how wonderful you are.

    Thank you for the gift.
    Keri

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  21. Amazing writing. Compelling, wrenching and raw.

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  22. you don't *just* walk around with it.

    you walk around with it, and a million times more smarts/heart/soul than those stepford @$%$@#s who are, most likely, too blond and too thin.

    i can't say too rich, because well, i just can't.

    they could share though.

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  23. "You Can Never Be Too Rich, Too Blond... ...or too thin."

    Paris Hilton disproves every aspect of that statement.

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  24. K, you never cease to amaze me. Your writing is so real and original, probably just like you :) You give me a laugh, inspiration, and something to think about almost every day. Be sure to tell us as soon as you sign that book deal.

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  25. Another post that I just HAVE to respond to...your story about your grandfather reminded me of something similar I experienced...

    A good friend's father invited me out for breakfast one morning to 'get to know me better'. He talked about how much his daughter liked me and enjoyed spending time with me and being my friend, about how intelligent and talented I am...and then...'but you really should lose some weight. You have a beautiful face and you would be so attractive if you did.'...yeah...that kind of thing stays with you.

    And to serrephim...thank you for posting your comment too...I think it was common for our parents to use food (cookies, treats, etc) as consolation when they didn't know what else to do to stop the tears/upset. Unfortunately, it created an interesting relationship with food for me as well as I grew up.

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  26. Have you ever read Wally Lamb's book "She's Come Undone"?
    It's a really facinating book about a girl dealing with weight issues throughout her life. I was kind of amazed that a guy could write a book so perfectly from a woman's perspective.

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  27. You'd think in this day and age, when when we're more open to all different races and religions, and can see beauty in all different types of people, that this weight issue still nags at us, especially for women. Sexiness comes in all shapes.

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  28. "We" may be "more open to all different races and religions, and...see beauty in all different types of people," Neil, but women still get plenty of encouragment, pressure, whatever-you-want-to-call-it to meet some prescribed and often unrealistic standard of thin-ness. Guys, too, I think. When I see guys wearing a few (or a bunch of) extra pounds, especially young guys, they often appear to be carrying a load of shame, as well.

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  29. Kiki's Mom was one of my dearest friends.

    From almost the moment I met her, I knew about her once-weekly "sugar days". I couldn't manage to have one day a week when I DIDN'T eat sugar.

    We used to frequent a local restaurant/bar to play a trivia game. Often, we'd each get a half-order of fried zucchini (in hindsight, it never occurred to me to wonder why we didn't simply get a full order and share it). Have I mentioned that I was the "fat" friend? I'd devour every bit of my zucchini, secretly wishing that I'd gotten a full order (and maybe a burger and some ice cream). She'd eat perhaps half of her half-order, carefully removing the fried coating from each circle of zucchini before putting the plain pieces into her mouth.

    Kiki's mom NEVER said or did anything to suggest that she found my weight and eating habits anything but dandy. Yet, I always felt twinges of guilt when I ate in her presence. Her self-discipline was AMAZING and she jogged religiously. I was likely the inspiration for the term "couch potato".

    I didn't grow up in Stepford territory (although I did raise my children there), but I certainly grew up in a familial culture in which being heavy was viewed as less than desirable. I vividly remember my Dad's three favorite phrases: "very nice", "too fat", "go to bed". My sisters have never had weight problems, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who was "too fat".

    As a mother, I've had to tread a very fine line regarding weight issues. At what point does loving a child beyond belief and wanting only "the best" for him or her cross the line to become something that may negatively affect the child's self-esteem forever?

    My daughter has never had a "weight problem", per se, although she was once so thin that even her doctor was concerned (contrary to your quote, Kiki, you CAN be too thin!). My son, on the other hand, did have some weight problems for which I felt at least partially responsible. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. I should have encouraged better eating habits! On the other hand, "actions speak louder than words", so why would he listen to a hypocrite?

    I've lived with varying degrees of weight-anxiety for more years than I care to remember, but as I've gotten older, I've spent less and less time worrying about how others view me. Oh, make no mistake... I know that thinner would be healthier and I'd still love to be able to walk into a room with my husband and have him be the envy of every guy in the place. I'd jump at the chance to be able to wear all of those sexy clothes I'd buy if I were "petite" (and mortify my children in the process).

    However, my life experiences have caused me to change a lot of my priorities, dramatically in some cases. Because there are some things in life over which we truly have no control, there's something wonderfully empowering about realizing that sometimes we really do have choices when we might think otherwise. I'm the only one who knows precisely the road I tread and I no longer choose to spend my time dwelling on how others may be judging me. The people who love me do so regardless of the size I am and at the end of the day, and as corny as it may sound, those who love me and whom I love are what matter to me.

    Which brings me back to Kiki's Mom. The last time I saw her, in the hospice, she was indescribably frail, yet she had a frappe and was cautiously, but determinedly, spooning the whipped cream that topped it into her mouth. I was suddenly struck with great anger and immeasurable sadness. Why couldn't she have been able to savor that whipped cream when she was healthy and vibrant??? What was the point of all those years of sacrificing and self-control???

    At that moment, I knew she'd given up the fight. The fight with her weight; the fight for her life. It broke my heart.

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  30. hakuna/M2,

    thank you so much for sharing. i'm (almost) speechless.

    it's hard to believe you and i never really discussed weight, either. at least, not like this.

    and as for my mom...oh, those frappes.

    i thought the same thing you did.

    such inspiration to spoon the whipped cream out of life while we can, huh?

    yeah.

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  31. K, as you know, I tend to be an intensely private person, but sometimes (for very good reasons) love causes us to do things we normally wouldn't do. xoxoxo

    P.S. Silly you, didn't you know that good writing doesn't have to be "entertaining"? You've touched the hearts of many people by being honest and real. For my money, THAT's the mark of a good writer.

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  32. As for K's post and hakuna's comments, both of which stole my breath too (is writing talent contagious between frequent associators?), I can only say "ouch" and "i get it". Thank you for voicing these things so eloquently.

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  33. Oh my god, what a heartbreaking, touching post about your mother.

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  34. Wow, Kristy, thank you again.

    I have been thinking all day about your post and these comments.

    I know that women sometimes blame men for the Dictatorship of Thinness, but I'm not so sure. There are the She-Devils who edit the fashion magazines. There are all those catty waifs in the gym who put other women down.

    And then there are our mothers.

    I dont' remember my mother actually telling me I was too fat. But her shame in her own size...she was an unfashionably sized big boned 5'9" woman living in the age of Twiggy...was palpable. HER mother was about 5' and 95 lbs (due to a strict regimen of diet and exercise. My Grandfather was a photographer who photographed nudes among other things, was the WORST kind of body snob, and basically didn't see the value of women beyond their contribution to the aesthetic. He was always extremely bothered by the fact that I was the family member who could give him the best run for his money in those mealtime debates and I was a GIRL. But that's a whole 'nother "comment")

    Anyway, my mother transmitted her shame to me, like, through the air somehow. This happens in families. SO many things get communicated that do not get talked about. I was smaller than my mother, built more like my Grandma, but I had way too much booty and thighs way too juicy to be acceptable in the Dictatorship of Thinness.

    So I knew, at a young age, what my mother knew: if I wanted to get a man I would have overcome the shortcomings of my appearance.

    For both my mother and me, after my parents divorced when I was 13 (my father left to pursue his affair with his much younger, much thinner secretary), this shame lead to a series of relationships with men that were inappropriate. They were inappropriate because we routinely gave up important parts of ourselves, often our self respect, because, after all we couldn't make demands or expect any better because we weren't beautiful.

    There followed in my own life a downward spiral that included a lot of alcohol and drugs. At 23 I was sitting in my room one day and was visited by the absolute knowledge that I was dying. I was fat, I was miserable, I was sick, I was undereducated (having dropped out of high school) and under employed, I had no true friends and I was estranged from my family.

    I had NO idea what to do to pull myself together. But the thing that it seemed like I could start with, the little corner that I could pick up, was my physical health.

    It was the eighties. So I put on these huge green sweatpants I had and slunk into the back of an aerobics class in the studio up the street. I was deeply ashamed, but I found acceptance and support there.

    That was the beginning of a successful journey out of the darkness (Admittedly, I occasionally still visit the darkness, but I never stay for long!). Getting in shape saved my life in many ways.

    I learned so much about myself. I started bodybuilding competitively...and I got on stage in front of hundreds of people in a tiny bikini.

    And you know what? At 9% bodyfat...as close to "perfect" as my body was going to get...the shame didn't go away. I learned that, for me, my body image was just a convenient proxy for how I felt unlovable, unacceptable, etc.

    And what I was feeling wasn't true, it wasn't a fact.

    It was just a construct, a legacy of erroneous belief that was passed down through the women in my family. That if only WE can change and get it right somehow, everything will be ok.

    Nowadays all I can do on this earth is not judge others as harshly as I judged (and still judge in my bad moments) myself.

    I was thinking as I was reading your post that I have been sort of judgmental of my mom recently. She has pretty much given up watching what she eats and exercise (which she always hated). And she's gained a few pounds. And she doesn't seem to care.

    But maybe it's her recent marriage to a 43 year old man (she's 68), maybe it's their stunning newly remodeled kitchen in which they create gourmet meals every night, maybe it's her retired status. Maybe she's just happy. Maybe she is spooning the whipped cream while she still can.

    Maybe I should take this lesson from her, too.

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  35. "i cried my first tears about someone elses blog as i read that."

    me too.

    I'm still crying.

    I wish my mama was still here to tell me to watch what I eat and always put on lipstick.

    I had to stop reading the replies. But thanks for blogging this.

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  36. that was such a moving post---- I can soooooo relate to the boy issues. and you never forget, do you?

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  37. Okay, when I posted that before, about how I don't have body issues, I wasn't quite accurate.

    It would be more accurate to say that I just GOT body issues for the first time at 23. (I'll be 25 in December.) The only thing I was worried about in high school was my breasts. Wait, make that elementary school. Yes, I had breasts in elementary school. In eighth grade, I was a C cup. I got my period at 12. Now I'm a DD. Yes, rather overdeveloped. I blame the milk--I drank a TON of it as a kid and there wasn't the research out about the hormones, yet.

    However. For a long time, I didn't think about my body, good or bad, so I didn't think about my breasts, either. Once, a girl in ballet class squeezed them, and I had no idea what to do. I repeated the incident to my mother and I'll never forget the rage she flew into. "Next time that happens," she said, over and over, "you slap her in the face!" So I got a faint, but distinct feeling that having breasts was a bad thing--they received negative attention. But I really didn't think about them much at all.

    Even in high school I was only a D cup, and in college...until I went on birth control. And gained a little weight. And now, as I've said, my cup runneth over.

    I hate pictures in which the angle is such that my breasts are the FIRST thing you see. As I was gaining weight, I hated being known as the girl with the big breasts, like that was all guys saw. And I wasn't happy with myself either, so I reduced myself down to my sex appeal.

    Then I learned that having large breasts could be powerful, if I faced up to it. I begin to reference them in conversation. If people--and by "people", I mean, "friends or acquaintances, my general age"--sometimes I say, "It's because I have a nice rack." Or similar. I make dumb jokes when I play pool about racking. It's fun, and it brings the subject of my breasts out in the open, and I feel more comfortable. Too bad I can't use this technique in business!

    So, little ways, every day, we get better and better. We accept ourselves more. And that's a wonderful thing.

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  38. Whoops, there's a part left out, there. I meant to say, sometimes, if people compliment me--people my own age--I'll say, 'It's because I have a nice rack.'

    I don't just say it, randomly. Just wanted to clear that up. :)

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  39. Oh Kristi - I am so affected - we could have been raised by the same mother. Mine is 5 foot high and 105 pounds and has the physical discipline of an Ironman.

    Except that my refrigerator accessory was a magnet of a huge red cow which said, "Holy Cow! Are you eating again?" Which was soon augumented by, "Before you eat the last of the ice cream, how much is your life worth?"

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  40. hi kristy... cousin lisa here... i am just back to your words here.. gone a while... and i'm stunned, and sad. would you for clarification explain what your mom saw as humor in "she just walks around with it"? was it the irony ????? what does it mean, she'd be proud of that too? growing up, i remember the comment too... actually thought I said it! ... rememeber thinking it anyway, thinking mom just thought she was pretty. heavy duty stuff.

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  41. I identified with so much of what you've written in the past few posts.

    I grew up in Hawaii. (I know boo-hoo) I was always the chubby white girl. One thing that will probably stay lodged firmly in my memory forever is the time that my "friends" asked me how much I weighed. I was 10 and already terribly embarrassed about my size. I lied and gave them a number I thought was acceptable. They didn't believe me and they said that even if they did that was too fat anyway. They tried to get me to weigh myself on the scale in the office so they could see how much I REALLY weighed. I wouldn't let them and I spent the rest of the day hiding out in a corner until my Mom came to take me home.

    Of course things didn't get any better after that. I went through my entire elementary, middle, and high school years being the fat girl. I got called thunder thighs, fatty, ugly...whatever.

    I still here it from people.

    Just the other day I was leaving the grocery store with my son and boyfriend when I overheard a guy say to his friends "I made a promise to myself. I will never be the guy with the kid and the fat ass girlfriend." At first I couldn't believe he was talking about me but when I saw them all looking and laughing at me I knew he was.

    There are a million stories like that one. They all hurt just as much.

    Sometimes I fantasize about getting thin. I think about how cool that would be...what a difference it would make in my life. How it would show all those kids in school, people at work, people I don't even know that I AM BEAUTIFUL.

    But I can't.

    God, I've tried.

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  42. I was overweight until 2 years ago. My dad had a huge impact on my body image, too. I did lose the extra weight, but still haven't managed to lose the feeling that I'm not good enough. It's amazing to read all these comments.

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  43. It's funny how, as women, our mothers play such a huge role in shaping our body image. It must be a tremendous amout of pressure for mothers, to always have to say the right thing, for fear of scarring their daughters.

    On of my most vivid memories from my childhood was when I was about 9 years old. I was not a chubby kid, but I was always really tall for my age, so I weighed more than my friends. Anyhow, I was in the car with my mom, and I asked her if she thought I was fat (I was looking for validation, I think) and she said,

    "Well, you're certainly not wasting away."

    Than comment started a tailspin into depression, anxiety, and bulimia, which followed me for the next 15 years.

    Bravo to you, Kristy. I am proud of you, and I am just an IIF, I am sure that your mom would be too.

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