Recently, a family member of mine told me I should lose 15 pounds.
We’ll get back to that in a moment.
I am a normal girl. Well, okay, I’m not normal. I’m super weird and dorky and I don’t like dolphins and I’m not a huge fan of cake and I also am fairly indifferent to Beyoncé (don’t kill me).
However, I am a normal girl in that sometimes, I get a little obsessive over my appearance.
Aspects, anyways. For instance, I am a compulsive eyebrow over-plucker (there, I said it). I struggle to go for two or three days at a stretch without plucking my eyebrows. Two weeks ago I basically went on an eyebrow plucking frenzy and I’m still recovering from it.
Other than that, however, I like to pride myself on having a decently high sense of self esteem. I love my body, most days. I’m not a stick figure, but I’m strong and I’m healthy, and my salad-to-candy ratio for someone my age is extremely well balanced (although my sugar-to-tea ratio… let’s not get into it). I don’t feel the particular need to wear makeup on a daily basis. Nice work clothes, scrubby loungewear, no makeup, nice nails, generally good hair. I take care of my skin, I color coordinate, but that’s about it.
At least, before a certain family member of mine told me I should lose 15 pounds.
Now, I should clarify that I’m aware that this person was not intending to be malicious, and had only my best interests at heart. Even still, my immediate first reaction was anger. Extreme anger. Self righteousness. Pride. No, I do not need to lose any weight, thank you.
It’s funny how fast that changed.
In fact, within a matter of hours, I called her back and said I’d be willing to lose 10 pounds.
Self esteem, it turns out, is a fragile thing. I have, at times, felt good-looking. Maybe even pretty. Once or twice on a special occasion, I’ve even felt beautiful.
All of the sudden, I just feel fat. It’s not just that I look in the mirror and I see fat where before I just saw smooth, clean, sexy curves. I feel fat. I feel my flesh pinching under the same jeans that felt fine last week. I feel obligated to pinch my stomach to try to evaluate how much flesh is there. It is an all-encompassing, all-consuming thought – that I Am Not Thin Enough.
My feelings on this are conflicted. Part of me is ready to lose ten pounds so that I can love who I see in the mirror again. Part of me is scared that I won’t.
Mostly, I wish I could go back to ignorance, or bliss, or whatever you want to call it.
What are your thoughts, internet?