Recently, a friend & I were talking about a friend who's a new mom & how like most new moms, she no longer has time for make-up, haircuts, or new clothes & has been wearing the same Old Navy cardigan for about two years now. This new mom was feeling bad about herself because a lot of blogger new moms appear to have zero physical or financial changes post-baby. One in particular seems to have magically maintained her petite, size 2 physique & is frequently publishing posts of herself sitting in trendy restaurants, professionally made up, styled by Kate Spade & professionally photographed.
This is a blogger who I've read for a few years & have always enjoyed, but as soon as my friend said this, I realized she was right. I don't have kids, but my sister has four & enough of my close friends have babies & toddlers that I have a pretty good idea of how they feel & how they feel like they look those first few years. There's not enough Spanx in the world for any of them to put a picture of themselves on the internet six months after giving birth & especially not sitting down in front of a plate of food.
With this conversation fresh in my mind, last week I read this on Creature Comforts & shouted "yes!" at my computer. And then immediately forwarded it to my friend. Ez of Creature Comforts has noticed that a lot of bloggers are doing a disservice to readers by not being honest about what their life is really like. "Things I'm Afraid To Tell You" is an effort to poke holes in this perfectly styled ideal that a lot of bloggers put out there & the jealousy & self doubt it creates. Ez lists all the bloggers who are participating. Jenna of Sweet Fine Day is one of them & you can read her post on "Raising Girls Part 4" here. I love Jenna & have been reading her blog for as long as I can remember. It's a very poignant post.
So, in the spirit of transparency & in the spirit of this movement, I bring you my own "Things I'm Afraid To Tell You".
I weigh around 180 lbs, give or take, depending on the day of the week. On Fridays, I'm usually around 178; on Mondays, I'm closer to 188. It's terrifying, it's humiliating & it's what I weigh. If you know me, you are well aware of how neurotic I am about my weight. Hell, if you've just shaken my hand at a party, you know this. It's no secret. What is a secret, or has been until now, is that I actually weigh enough to justify the neurosis. A lot of friends my size weigh 20 lbs less than I do, so when it comes up, I just let people assume I also weigh 160 lbs. But I don't. I don't know why. Maybe I have lead bones. Who knows. For scale, I'm 5'6 & a size 12.
I worry (a lot) about what people think about my weight. Do they wonder if I just don't care? Do they feel sorry for me & think, 'aww, such a pretty face, shame she can't lose 20 lbs'? I worry that whatever else I succeed at, my inability to maintain a single digit size overshadows it. A very smart girl I work with asked me one day why I care so much about my weight. I told her that I always feel like the fattest girl in fat town. When I meet for all of my various running clubs, or a fancy, schmancy yoga class, I always feel like the fattest girl there. So my friend asked, "Yes, but are you the worst one there?" Me, "No". Her, "Then why do you care?" Touche.
You know, there was an old adage when I lived in NYC that you couldn't have it all, you could have an apartment & a job, but not a boyfriend, or a boyfriend & a job, but not an apartment. Maybe that's it. Maybe because I have a great husband & a great job, I can't have a hot bod. I don't know. Maybe I just need to eat less ice cream.
Thank you for allowing me to give voice to this inner demon I struggle with EVERY DAY. I encourage you, if you haven't already, to go back & read the other "Things I'm Afraid To Tell You" posts, particularly the ones by Ez & Jenna. And if you feel so inclined, write your own! I'm a week late to the party, but I still felt it was an important message to share & I hope some of you will do the same.
P.S. This post is four years old! Here's where I am now.
P.P.S. Do you struggle with body shame? So do I. My thoughts.