I spent much of Saturday with a group of young singers (freshman and sophomore college students, although some in their 20s), and found myself involved in many “female” type conversations. Principally: body, self-image, weight, appearance, etc. Guess this is a normal part of hanging out with singers, the more narcissistic of the instrumental sub-species, and especially since most of them were women.
Anyway — one of the young women was talking about how she had really worked out like a maniac for a while, and at one point had gotten down to a size 4 (four!!!) and still felt like that wasn’t thin enough, and then that kind of scared her so she chilled out a little.
I thought that was pretty self-aware of her, and congratulated her for that.
Then she said that she really felt like she couldn’t consider herself “thin” until her stomach was completely flat, but no matter how much she exercised or how little she ate, her stomach always “stuck out” a little.
And I said, (in a sage-like voice), well, you’re a woman, your stomach is supposed to stick out.
And I believed it.
And then. . .
A woman, a complete stranger, struck up a long and rambling conversation with me today at Only Daughter’s First Gymnastics Meet Ever (FGME), and I couldn’t help but notice that she was rather can-shaped and still had her sweater tucked into her jeans.
And my thoughts alternated between “why won’t she stop talking to me” and “I wish I could just introduce myself and ask her her name and maybe know one other person in this building besides my daughter and my former husband” and “it’s so great that she’s so comfortable with herself even though she looks like a can” and “how can I be such a b#!% about what shape she is it’s not like we’re in high school anymore couldweallpleasestopjudgingeachotherthankyouverymuch” and “I really wish I was one of those women who felt sexy and strong and powerful just because I’m a woman and sexy and strong and powerful.”
So now, at the end of a long day, a day during which I ate only good and healthful foods, I am arguing with myself mentally over whether I should open that bag of Cape Cod reduced fat jalapeno potato chips®, or not. Well, that’s not actually true, I know that I very much should NOT. But I really want to.
I think I just spend too much of my life like this: