Why Do We Do It?

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Rough day today.  I’m going through something that I know a lot of other women are dealing with as well. My self-esteem is at rock bottom. Weight is an enemy that I fight on a daily basis. I confess I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling fat — and worthless as a result.  I realize that this has been a chronic feeling for most of my life going back as early as I can remember. 

I know I’m not the only woman who has had these feelings haunt her. I’ve watched too many of my friends cry about it, crash diet through it, take pills over it, and feel defeated when those things fail. We learn to hate ourselves when we can’t get our weight down to some imaginary size that to us means we’re good enough.  I am furious on behalf of all of us who were conditioned from childhood to equate our value with our smallness as if that were the only thing that mattered…as if it mattered at all. 

I look over photos of myself all the way back to high school when my measurements were 36” 26” 36” and I remember feeling humiliated by my size even then.  I remember a story my mom used to tell about me from when I was 6 years old. I was worried because I thought my knees were fat. (My legs were so thin at that age, I suppose my knees looked big by comparison. Photo to follow.)

Why does our society do this to women? Why do we do this to our girls? Why don’t we instead speak to our girls of contribution and power, of strength and health instead of judging them for their size…instead of teaching them by our example to try to be less?  Why do we praise women for how small they have gotten —  or how much of themselves they lose? 

Right now I hate the thoughts running around inside my head. And I hate the realization that this tape has been playing for decades upon decades.

When will I grow up?   Will I ever?

If I could change anything about myself it would be that. I know this post is short and it’s not the most fun to read, but right now this is what I’m dealing with…and I’ll lay odds I’m not the only one.

(NOTE: I’m adding some photos to the bottom of this article that were taken at times I was sure I was fat — just to show how insidious and how insane this issue is.  The final photo was taken on my wedding day. When I went to a bridal boutique to pick out a wedding dress, the sales lady smirked and told me that I was FAR too big to fit in any of the store’s samples…I left in tears. Of course I eventually found a beautiful dress in another shop, but by then I felt horrible about myself. Looking back at this last photo taken on my wedding day, I wonder how I could have let that idiot make me feel so ugly  and so worthless just because she thought I was “huge.”    Each and every one of these photos reminds me of the old saying, “I wish I were as fat as the first time I thought I was fat.) 

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18 comments

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  1. Carlton Baker II

    I hear you and I see you, Grace. You are right in that you’re not alone. I wish I had an answer to this question, other than Patriarchy uses this to control and weaken women’s power. One of my most fervent hopes is that this particular insidious hold gets broken never to return. I love you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kat

    You have spoken the truth for so many women. I still step on the scale every day and try to tell myself it is my health I am worried about and not the number on the scale. Thank you for this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elizabeth Seguin

    Preach! I’m with you everyday of my last 20 years. My nickname growing up was Twiggy because I couldn’t gain weight. I’m tired of feeling ‘less than’. It’s exhausting thinking about food 24/7 trying to determine what is good for me/what is bad for me.

    Thanks for saying out loud what most of us are thinking. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karenc

    Grace, you were and more importantly, ARE a beautiful person inside and out. I love you and you are not alone in how you feel. Thank you for expressing what so many of us have also felt. You are valued. You are loved. We’re all in this fight together, remember that my dear, precious friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melba Green

    The pressure is real Grace. I so understand the constant pressure. A few months ago a picture showed up on FB of myself an a friend who is very thin. I felt that I looked like a beached whale next to her. So the diet began. So now I am thin, but guess what, the man I am seeing wants me to put on some weight. He says I am way too thin. The media pumps thin is in everyday. We see celebrities looking so svelte and we want to look like they do. They get paid to look that way. I am saying all of this to say, don’t fall for the hype. You are a beautiful woman who has a husband that adores you and loves you just the way you are. Sorry for stealing your line Billy Joel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grace Birdsong

      The irony is they DON’T actually look that way. They are airbrushed within an inch of their lives by the time they get in the pages of those magazines. I am so grateful you have a man who wants you to be yourself. What a blessing! Sending you lots of love.

      Like

  6. lesseesviewsponderingnonsenseandthensome

    You fat never! Besides those who love you as I do, will always Love you no matter what size you are and I have never, ever known you to be anything but BEAUTIFUL from the inside out! Me I struggle with the same issue! It started with my Dr in B Hills, if I was a pound over 105 he said I was to fat! He said one time either you go on a no sugar Diet or the all meat diet! WTH! I was a size 4! then after moving to Ventura I gained a couple of pounds and my Dad told me I was getting fat! Now that I’m in NY I’ve discovered Pizza and and I don’t care! I lost 30lbs when I was out in Vegas came back and put it all backon! That’s why God invented Kaftans omg! ok baggie shirts and (can’t believe I’m going to say this but), tights! I sooo long for winter, so I can layer!!! I know it’s depressing and we shouldn’t worry what others think! It’s just really hard to think Hell, I made it to 50! I deserve the extra scoop of Ice Cream! And Damn it I do now! As for you You are so Beautiful, and so very Lucky, I would Kill for a body like yours! ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • Grace Birdsong

      You are so sweet. The big thing I realized is that WE ALL feel this way. So many of us secretly feel that we are failures if we aren’t thinner/younger/sexier/you name it. We need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to everyone else. Love you.

      Like

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