Tag Archives: body image

Choose Your Own Adventure

Today I am going to boggle your mind with not one, not two, not three but FOUR different posts you should read, none of which are actually on this blog. 

Go figure. 

First, I’ve been over on Your Tango the past couple of weeks talking about:

Why I Don’t Wear Makeup (GASP!)

11 Problems Only Girls With Short Hair Understand

21 Problems Only Skinny Girls Understand (Yes, we have issues.)

And finally, the hilarious Kate Hall interviewed me for her fabulous “Hall of Tweets” blog that profiles huge, big, influential hilarious tweeters, which is why it’s a mystery that she asked to profile me. But regardless of my confusion, she DID interview me and you can hop on over and read about how I talk to myself in 140 characters or less on a daily basis. 

Abbyhasissues-button

Beyond the Bio: Interview with @AbbyHasIssues

So there you go. Choose your own adventure–hopefully all four of them–and I’ll see you back here on Friday. 

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Keeping It Real

This is one of those posts that I started to write a few times and then just got annoyed and stopped, as between Ashley Judd and a pregnant Jessica Simpson being in the news for their weight, the topic of  body shaming is old.

But yet I feel compelled to at least weigh in on the topic—no pun intended, unless it makes me sound witty—and offer a slightly different perspective on the topic.

We don’t need to rehash my own history with OCD and weight and health. Bottom line—the fact is that right now I’m still underweight. I hate that I’m so thin and would pay large sums of money to release myself from my OCD prison and gain a quick 30 lbs. I would have no issue with that.

What I do have an issue with is letting go of those routines that would allow me to gain the weight. It’s not vanity. It’s psychology and anxiety and a million things unrelated to how someone else thinks I should look.

The fact that the common assumption that these behaviors stem from a place of vanity and dissatisfaction with a physical ideal is the very reason I’ve always refrained from classifying my OCD as anything directly related to food and exercise, as it’s so much more complex than that.

I really couldn’t care less what is classified as “beauty” and not fitting some socially (unattainable) ideal has no bearing on how I think of myself. 

Regardless of my weight, I think I’m a pretty cool person.

And although it doesn’t thrill me to share that convoluted background information, it’s important to know in relation to the fact that while “shaming” women for being a little overweight is looked upon as cruel, the flip side of the coin is rarely discussed.

In trying to push acceptance of people who are of “normal” weight and size—in other words, not naturally thin—the reassurance is thrown out that “men don’t like stick thin women” and “thin is unattractive.” And of course, the classic “real women have curves.”

Well, thank you for that.

I’m going to add that real women also have opinions, and I believe that being told to go eat a cheeseburger or that “thin isn’t in” and shaming thin women for their body shape is no different than shaming larger women for their body shape,  yet the former is overlooked and often accepted.

Yes, “real” women do often have curves and I understand that a lot of women—big and small—do have body image issues and seek out reassurance and external validation. Please know I’m not dismissing that at all.

But although I have issues, I do not have curves. This does not make me any less of a “real” woman.

In my humble opinion, real women have confidence.

Real women have a focus on health and not perfection.

Real women have compassion—towards themselves and towards others.

If curves are part of the package, more power to you. But at the end of the day, real women don’t care.

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The last couple posts have been kind of serious, and I promise the next one is lighter and a feeble attempt at humor.  However, I needed to get this off my chest—a chest that is not ample, but that I embrace nonetheless.

Yes, I’m nosy

I had another rather opinionated post that I was working on, but it was interrupted by some hemorrhaging from my head, so you get this instead. It’s probably a good thing that I wait to publish the other one, as I should edit a bit.

At any rate, back to head hemorrhaging.

Along with being kind of large, my nose is prone to bleeding in the winter months when the air is dry. No, I don’t pick my nose and cause it to bleed as so many people remark. But rather the simple act of inhaling and exhaling—rather necessary, I might add — or the occasional nose blowing can cause a nosebleed.

It’s not a big deal at all, other than being an inconvenience, which it totally was last night when I got one while shoveling my driveway with the ferocity of a manic gnat with roid rage. My quest to remove the frozen slush was interrupted by what I thought was the typical “noseous runneous” so common when outside at night in the winter.

Red snow is a bit scarier than yellow snow. Don’t eat either of them.

So I found myself inside, lying on my back in the bathroom staring at my ceiling, tending to what I prefer to call an overuse injury. While I was studying the shower curtain liner, it occurred to me that I’ve never talked about my nose on here. Considering it was basically begging for attention at that moment in time, I figured I might as well.

The thing is, I’ve never really had traditional body image issues. I know that sounds weird coming from someone “with issues,” but if you’ve known me for more than five minutes, you know the deal. Much like bloody noses, we won’t clot up the space with that info once again.

But I have always had a part of my body that I was very self-conscious of—not my legs, not my stomach, but my nose.

See, it’s kind of big and had a bump in the middle of it.

ah

Ever since it matured, I’ve despised it and wondered why I couldn’t get matching bumps a bit lower instead. I would cover my nose up in pictures to see what I would look like with a “normal” nose, started researching rhinoplasty when I was nine and too smart for my own good and went out of my way to make sure my profile was minimally photographed.

My mom always told me I was nuts, but there were a few kids that validated this insecurity for me (the nose, not the mental instability.) Middle school was the worst. I admit I didn’t help myself with bad perms and questionable fashion choices, but that awkward phase is made even more awkward when your insecurity is literally staring you in the face—and if you’re a loud sneezer.

High school was better and I kind of grew used to it. I actually got a body to distract from the schnoz and developed a personality that slowly found validation in things I did and not in how I looked from the side.

But it was — and still is — one of my biggest body image issues.

The irony is that the thinner I get, the sharper and more prominent my facial features become. I look better when my face fills out, and not just because of the nose thing, so if nothing else you would think appealing to the attention whore in me would speed up this process.

You would think.

Anyway, as my nose matured, so did I. The nose I have is the same nose that my grandpa had, my mom has and a majority of my aunts, uncles and cousins have. Along with kielbasa, chrusciki, a love of baseball and politically incorrect humor, carrying on this Polish protuberance is sort of like a family seal.

Do I love it? Heck no, but I do love my family (with a few exceptions.) When I started to look at the profile of my nose instead of my nose in profile, my obsession over it slowly went away. Plus, it’s kind of important for that whole breathing thing. Barring a few nosebleeds, it does it’s job well.

But if offered would I get a nose job today?

Nope, and not just because I’m cheap. But grandma didn’t pass along her ample boobs, so those puppies are up for grabs.

Figuratively, of course.

Reflections

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

An image of hope, maybe eyes tinged with fear?

When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror,

I’m often surprised at what tends to appear.

The image reflected looks nothing like me,

At least not the me that I want you to see.

The angles are sharp and the features jut out,

The eyes appear tired and full of self-doubt.

Hair that once shone is now showing the wear,

Of numerous struggles  I’ve forced it to bear.

I feel like an outsider just looking in,

At somebody else who is fragile and thin.

While I know who I am and that inside I’m strong,

This foreign reflection I feel proves me wrong.

The kicker it seems is I couldn’t care less,

how others might look or how others might dress.

Yet I always assume that I’m judged by my size,

by my clothes that don’t fit and the size of my thighs.

Even if inside I know I don’t care,

what somebody thinks of my body or hair,

Part of me wants them to see me as more,

as someone with talents and thoughts to explore.

If I never caught sight of the external me,

of this physical presence I’ve since come to be,

Would I do more with friends and not doubt their intent,

or wonder again what that last comment meant?

If this image stayed hidden and out of my sight,

would I think I should stay home for not looking right?

Of course, there’s that small part of me that is vain,

that wants a real ass and toned legs back again.

Who doesn’t like compliments on how they look,

when others take notice of steps that you took?

But the image reflected and what causes pain,

has nothing to do with ideals to obtain.

It’s not about pleasing the eyes of some guys,

or having somebody approve of my size.

Despite what is thought it has never been that,

I’ve never seen myself as pudgy or fat.

If I could dig out of this hole that I’ve created,

and drop all these habits I’ve long since berated,

I feel like my outside could match what’s within,

a spirit that’s light and not one who’s just thin.

I’m confident things will get better some day,

but my actions speak louder than words that I say.

Each day I try but some days I slip back,

turning to exercise, skipping a snack.

We all have our habits and vices to break,

smoking or drinking or risks that we take.

Things that we hope will distract us appeal,

more than things that we know we just don’t want to feel.  

There’s much more to everyone else than the look,

reflected in mirrors or in pictures they took.

I just want my outside to match what’s inside,

a sense of contentment, occasional pride.

A strong ear that hears and does actually care,

shoulders that help hold the burdens you share.

Sarcastic yet willing to give you my heart,

(But often reluctant to show off that part.)

The scars will prove how many battles I’ve owned,

not just with myself but with all that life’s thrown. 

What do you see when you see me today,

A girl who’s too skinny and wasting away?

Or someone who might just be dealing with more,

than she lets on each day or just hopes you ignore?

It’s not about looks or how things may appear,

as we open the page on another new year,

My goal for the year is the same that it’s been,

each hour and day all through 2010.

Deal with the struggles I face every day,

with courage and strength that I will be okay.

Reflect on the things that can bring me a smile,

a talk with a friend or just writing awhile.

The simplest things make me happy—that’s clear,

and I wish that for others this upcoming year. 

But I also reflect on my health and that look,

that I saw in the mirror with each glance that I took.

I want my reflections to match up at last,

not feeling regret for the time that has passed.

So when I catch a glimpse of myself  here next year,

I want to be proud of what person appears.

The image reflected will still look like me,

But this time the me that I want you to see.

This time the me that I know I can be.

It’s a pretzel, people

I’m rather self-aware. In fact, I’m probably hyper self-aware to the point that I tend to overanalyze things I think or do instead of just accepting them as what they are. However, one thing I don’t think I am is hypersensitive, something that seems to be an epidemic sweeping the nation.

I will preface this by saying that I’m not easily offended and generally hold the belief that I am responsible for my own decisions—how I choose to view things, interpret things or do things. I understand it’s not that way for everybody and I keep that in mind, but some things border on ridiculous to me.

The latest example is this.

While I agree that the message is in bad taste, I also think for people with food “issues,” many things can be taken out of context and twisted to feel like a personal attack. People are generally rather insensitive to the issues of others—food, weight or otherwise—only because “people like them” see things very differently than “people like us.”

Any and everything we say can be interpreted into something else if we think about it for a few minutes. The fact remains that some people are hypersensitive to issues that would most likely be “non-issues” if simply left alone.

I find it hard to believe that a young woman will be suddenly flung into the depths of despair and self loathing by a pretzel advertisement.

In comparison, there are obvious, blatant statements and horrendous media coverage that I agree are completely offensive and wrong, such as Kate Moss stating that, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” I can see the obvious backlash for such an ignorant comment.

But a pretzel?

I’ll wrap this up by saying that I’ve often expressed my own frustration about the stereotypes and misconceptions associated with eating disorders, and of course I would love to educate the world about them and the sensitivity needed for those who suffer. However, with things like this, I think it might be a bit of hypersensitivity that makes it a bigger deal than it is.

There will always be people who are ignorant to the struggles of others. I’ll never know what issues someone of African American descent or a homosexual male face, just as they’ll never know the struggles that I face. We would like to redesign the world to be free of inappropriate comments and ads, talk about food, things being “gay” and anything else that might be a “trigger,” but that’s not reality.

So I guess there is a certain level of personal responsibility to realize this is “life” and to use the coping skills, self-talk and support people have to not take everything personally, to realize not everything is a personal attack on whatever weakness one perceives they have.

Yes, the pretzel ad was in bad taste, but I hardly think there was enough malicious intent to spark such an outrage. If it was an ad for clothing with a female model and a similar tagline, I would understand.

It was a pretzel, people.

Feel free to tell me if I’m totally off base with this. Am I being insensitive by not really seeing what all the hoopla is about or is our nation becoming oversensitive to everything?

Were you suddenly flung into the depths of despair and self loathing by a pretzel advertisement? If you don’t have food “issues” of your own, would any of these thoughts even crossed your mind?

I really don’t think it’s a big deal, but I’m curious as to your opinions.