I've been plagued with self image issues pretty much all of my life. Much like every woman I have ever met. Since about the age of 12, I don't think there was ever a time when I didn't consider myself fat.
Presently, I actually am fat. Well, that's what all the weight charts tell me anyway. But this is probably the first time in my life where that was, in fact, the case. I remember being a sophomore in high school, weighing 114 pounds. Fat! Then in my early 20's, being somewhere around 125 pounds. Fat! Never, ever, in my life have a looked in the mirror and not seen a fat person staring back at me. I'm not delusional. I'm not blind. It's just that somewhere in my early adolescence I drank the same Kool Aid that every other woman in this country was served. And like the urban myth of the bad PCP trip... I've never been able to recover.
I think this revelation may actually surprise a lot of people that know me. I'm not sheepish. I'm not self-depricating. In other words, I do a damn good job of covering up how crippling it is to never be satisfied with the way you look. There is only one word I can use to sum it up.
Oprah pulled herself out of a life of misery and poverty to become the most powerful woman IN THE WORLD. Her opinions determine the outcome of huge events. She crippled the meat industry by merely implying on one of her shows that it wasn't healthy to eat too much of it. She takes unknown authors from obscurity to fame overnight. She buys people cars. Houses. Takes a whole brood to f-ing Australia. She's bff's with John Travolta. This woman has, literally, everything.
But, like the rest of us, she clearly hates herself.
How many times have we seen Oprah, apologetically declaring that she gained her weight back? When I was pregnant, I was watching that show she did, where Kirstie Alley comes back on, about a year after she pranced around her staged in a bathing suit as the poster girl for Jenny Craig. Kirstie Alley was fat again. Kirstie and Oprah commiserated over how hard it was to be struggling with their weight in the public eye... blah, blah, blah. Thier conversation was frankly boring the hell out of me- because I was just so sick of hearing about Oprah and Kirstie's weight struggles. The feminist in me was pissed as hell. Jesus, ladies. Don't we have anything else to talk about? Why perpetuate the myth of the ideal body? Where is your sense of pride? Pathetic! But just as I was about to change the channel, I saw something in Oprah's eyes. They were completely glassed over and blank. She was on the verge of tears, but beyond that, she looked so defeated. She was really hurting. Maybe the hormones had something to do with it, but I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably for damn near an hour.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. You can attain every earthly thing you have ever dreamed of Maria, but you will still hate your body. Holy shit. That is depressing.
You see, I appreciate my curves, the way an adult woman just appreciates things- because she knows better. But I'll never get back the years that I spent, thin, yet plagued with eating disorders and self-image issues because I drank the damn Kool Aid that popular media served us, and is continuing to serve our daughters. Yes, I'm disgusted by it- but I'm too far gone to really change my own psyche. We are all too far gone- and we don't even realize it because we have been taught, for so long that we will never be good enough. Now we just accept it. H&M uses manequins as models because no woman could ever be perfect enough to model their clothes. Photographers photoshop the most beautiful women in the world because they are just not beautiful enough.
Oprah has everything yet still feels the need to publicly batter herself because she just can't make weight. I don't mean to put this on your shoulders, Oprah, but if you can't be happy with yourself- the most powerful woman in the world- then where is the hope for the rest of us?