There have been conversations buzzing around (both in my head and in my interactions) recently about weight, size, appearance and self-worth. Maybe it’s because I’ve gained 10 lbs. in the last year. Maybe it’s because, though I shrug it off with a smile, I can hear the demons in my past raise their voices so that snippets of “failure” and “ugly” and unwanted” can be heard on the spring wind. Or maybe it’s because I’ve heard so many women speak of how they judge themselves against the appearance and seeming beauty of the women around them or in the media. No matter the source, size and beauty and desirability is now a nearly hourly thought.
I have a history of bad relationships…with men, with adult figures…and with food. Especially with food. Food is how so many of us manifest our emotions. Food nourishes, it loves, it rewards. Food is necessary. Food gives, always. But food can be a demon as well. I’ve been anorexic, bulimic and a binge eater. I’ve been 272 lbs. and I’ve been a size 6. I’ve ordered enough food to feed a family of four (because I didn’t want the person behind the counter to think that I was all alone) and I’ve eaten nothing more than apples for four days. Most recently, I’ve lost weight through exercise and carefully controlled dieting. But even then I went from just eating to obsessively watching and I wonder if there is ever going to be a middle ground. Honestly, for me, I don’t think there will be. I’ll always have to watch what I eat and always think about my relationship with food…even with a green salad…
I want to say that size doesn’t matter. I truly don’t think that the number on the tag does. I wear a size 12 jean with a XXL top and a L jacket. What fits, fits. What makes me feel good and feel pretty is what I go with. But for so many people the number on the tag is a piece of self-validation, it’s a judgement on their worth as a person because the world does judge them on the number on that tag or on the scale. I judge. I see people who are as large as I used to be standing on the sidewalk or walking in the grocery store and I shudder. I think never again as more of a wish than a truth.
Anyway, Ashley Judd recently wrote an essay for The Daily Beast that is so amazingly well spoken and so true that I wanted to share.