Friday, April 5, 2013

It's Fashion Friday!: Don't Make Me Force Feed You Donuts

         Most people struggle at least a small amount with accepting their body image. As with everything in life, it is difficult to be content with what you have. Some have more trouble with this than others. And like with all things there are rational solutions and irrational solutions. For instance, if you need money to pay your bills I might say that becoming a secretary would be a rational solution while becoming a $15 whore would be the irrational solution. In the situation of wanting to maintain or obtain a lithe figure, an exercise routine and a healthy diet would be a rational solution and the irrational solution would probably be eating tissues. Apparently that’s a thing. It would be one thing if you couldn’t afford Metamucil, but as a food substitute?
This is not pretty. This is sad. And gross.
A bear wouldn't even want to eat her. 
            I get it. I want to be thin. I was thin. I grew up thinking THIN was the way to be. I remember how excited I got when my Grandma told me as a little girl that she would brag to her friends that my waist was only “THIS BIG.” And with “THIS BIG” would go the hand gesture of her touching fingertips to fingertips and thumb tips to thumb tips in the shape of a pancake. I was excited because she was excited. Small is desirable. And then other kids at school would make fun of me because I was little. Small was not desirable?
Some how we find our way into high school in the 90’s. I’m wearing clothing that is much too big for me, thinking that I am fat, because my waist is no longer that small pancake size that my grandmother loved, and I have surpassed my grandmother in size – the incredible shrinking (ill) grandmother. Mind you, I still did not weigh enough to give blood. I only discovered years later that I was wearing clothes much too big when I tried the clothes on, having grown, and they were STILL much too big. I think now, along with the thoughts of how horribly ugly I was and general self hatred, they would call that “body dysmorphic disorder.” I would just call it the discomforts of adolescence.
            I went off to college and got taller and even thinner. Luckily, I didn’t think I was fat anymore; I finally thought I looked fine. At 103 pounds and 5’7,” I probably looked like a poster child for Unicef. I ate cheesecake for breakfast, Chef Boyardee for lunch, Chinese food for dinner, EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. I was also going to sleep at 5:30 in the afternoon and only waking up to go to class, do homework and practice my horn for a few hours. This is what major clinical depression looks like, one of its many faces. Hold onto that thought and file it for later.
            It seems that runway models are still starving themselves by eating tissues, doing ridiculous things like having ribs removed, and not eating in general so they can fit into sample sizes of designer clothing for fashion shows. While abhorrent, if that’s your job, it ALMOST (not really, but ALMOST) makes sense that you would do that to keep your job. At the same time, I will say I find it to be laziness on the part of the designers to make their sample sizes for figureless sticks. Anyone can cut a beautiful dress for a hanger. It takes true skill to fit a garment to a woman with a body. What DOESN’T make sense is the people who aren’t runway models starving themselves. There’s no reason to do that. No one else is getting fired for not fitting into their clothes!
            For decades it seems it has been a universal blame game of who in society is at fault for making women (and men – this is NOT just a female issue) feel the need to adhere to these ridiculous sizing standards. I would like to propose that tossing the blame around has not helped to solve the problem. As evidence I say, go to the mall and look at the middle-aged women. You might be surprised at my not pointing to the youngest generation. More and more, I have noticed women my mom’s age who look like they are going to break in half. WHAT IS GOING ON?! Has a fear of aging translated into a fear of eating?
            Bony is not the new black. I feel like I should be walking around with a White Castle hamburger cart. Of course, it’s not just the old ladies, though they do set a bad example. I just wanted to draw your attention to the wide breadth of the issue at hand. I see these people, and all I want to do is eat. I see them and think not, wow, society really screwed them up by showing them pictures of skinny girls, but, I WONDER WHY THEY’RE SO UNHAPPY.
            I’m not trying to tell you that every person you see with collarbone and rib poking out of his skin has clinical depression. I’m not into gross generalizations, while I do think the bones poking out is pretty gross (funny, because it was one of the things I used to prize about my own collegiate body). I do think there is something to be said for addressing the mental health of people who are not a healthy weight. I’m not talking about “body dysmorphic disorder.” I’m talking about real root contentment with quality of life.
            I have my clinical depression very well-controlled at the moment with the help of health care professionals and some pharmacological magic, and I definitely do not weigh 103 pounds anymore. I think if I did, I would probably be repulsed by what I would look like. I spend a reasonable amount of time exercising and eat whatever I want. Some of my clothes fit. Last week I did something that was really quite horrifying – I stepped on a scale. Had anyone been home they might have thought I’d encountered a murder scene in the bathroom. The irrational response to what I encountered would be to stop eating cake. My solution will be to not ever step on a scale again.

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