When I was in sixth grade, I’d advanced far enough along in my math studies to be in pre-Algebra. I went to magnet school in Fort Worth, Texas, with a bunch of other smart kids who had tested into the advanced program, but when I walked into Mr. Zoromski’s math class, I felt suddenly out of my league. English and drama classes, even life sciences made sense, but math didn’t.
But instead of powering through, I found a smart boy in my class and had him help me. When I say “help,” I mean he practically did my homework every day. Where I’d previously been super keen on learning everything, that sixth grade year, I decided math wasn’t for me. That, in the words of Teen Talk Barbie, “math class is tough.”
And it may have something to do with the way my smart girl-ness was socialized. Keep reading »
When I was a chubby nine-year-old, I worked up the nerve to ask my crush to “go out” with me. Well, I didn’t ask him. I sent of my friends to do it for me. That’s bravery, fifth grade style. They came back from the monkey bars looking cagey. I was hyperventilating. “Well!?” I asked, hopefully.
“Um … he said no –” my friend said gently. “Because you’re too fat!” the other interjected.
Obviously, I was devastated. But these things happen when you’re a kid. Children say the meanest shit. It’s a fact of life. From that moment on though, I began the long process of trying to never feel fat again. Let me tell you, that’s a losing battle. The feeling fat part, not the being fat.
By the time I was 13, I had shed the baby weight. Puberty and healthier eating habits helped with that. At 34, I would say I still carry around the mental weight. I’m 5′ 6″, 125, fit and healthy, but I have days when I look in the mirror and think I’m fat. It’s not like body dysmorphic disorder where I think I look fat. I know I don’t actually look fat, it’s more of an internal feeling. If I had a bad day, or did something that I perceive as negative, my go-to insult is to call myself FAT. You’re fat. And the crazy thing is that the insult has disassociated itself from weight, and even my physical body. It’s become a state of mind synonymous with negative feelings or poor self-esteem. Fat is bad, even though, intellectually, I know this isn’t a statement of fact. On bad days, I’m in a fat state of mind. Keep reading »
You might have already expected as much, but those before/after picture for the supplements that claim to help you drop 30 pounds in 30 days or give you an overnight six-pack or whatever insane thing they say they’ll do are all a bunch of hogwash. Aussie personal trainer and fitness blogger MelVFitness demonstrated how those pictures are nothing but an optical illusion by doing her own photo transformation in 15 minutes.
“Check out my transformation! It took me 15 minutes. Wanna know my secret? Well firstly I ditched the phonewallet (fwallet) cause that shit is lame, swapped my bather bottoms to black (cause they’re a size bigger & black is slimming), Smothered on some fake tan, clipped in my hair extensions, stood up a bit taller, sucked in my guts, popped my hip — threw in a skinny arm, stood a bit wider #boxgap, pulled my shoulders back and added a bit of a cheeky/Im so proud of my results smile. Zoomed in on the before pic- zoomed out on the after & added a filter. Cause filters make everything awesome. What’s my point? Don’t be deceived by what you see in magazines & on Instagram.. You never see the dozens of other pics they took that weren’t as flattering. Photoshop can make a pig look hotter then Beyonce.”
Keep reading »
The morning of November 16th, I am going to wake up, strip off my pajamas, stand in front of the full-length mirror and bask in the glory of my own body. That is because I turn 34 on November 16, marking the first day of the year on earth in which I will be most delighted with the way my naked body looks. That’s according to a study by a UK-based skin and body care firm that says women are happiest with the way they look in the buff at age 34. I have to say, at three months shy of this gloriously self-assured birthday year, I’m feeling pretty damn good about my bod. The study posits that women feel most satisfied with their naked physiques at 34 because by that age many of us have figured out the best diet and exercise to suit our lives and body types. This is certainly true for me — this year, I’ve been far more invested in finding a fitness routine that interests me and have been eating healthier. Simply feeling better has made me look at my body with a new appreciation. Keep reading »
One of my clearest memories is of sitting in a diner with my mom and a family friend when I was a kid. I’d just ordered a chocolate milkshake (a treat since my mother only kept fruit pops in the house) when the friend pointed to a fat woman sitting at the counter nearby. In my memory, the woman’s bottom was so large the stool looked too small for her, and her bright, pink top showed off every roll.
“Be careful,” the family friend said, gesturing toward the woman.
In hindsight, I’m horrified at this memory. The woman, who was already brave enough to wear an eye-catching top, had to have heard our friend implying that her body was disgusting. But for my grade-school self, this just inspired feelings of shame and defiance. I wanted to enjoy my treat in peace for once, rather than be reminded yet again how I already had trouble finding clothes that fit. Keep reading »
I am trying to be a little more organized, since I’m going to have a baby in about five minutes, and in honor of this effort, I sat down to weed through the old photos on my computer. Apparently, I used to take a lot of selfies (before they were known as selfies). You know, back in college, when I had more time on my hands. And before college, when I would just sit around in my room in front of the long mirror some evenings, wearing a thrift-store gown or the new shirt I thought was the coolest thing ever, or occasionally nothing at all, and snap about, say, two million photos.
And then I guess I grew up and didn’t have so much time and most of the pictures of me began to be taken by other people. So there are a lot less of them. And also, I discovered: they are a lot less flattering. Keep reading »
My husband’s grandmother looked like a movie star when she was young. You should see the pictures! There’s one of her perched on a rock in her bathing suit, and it looks like she was posed there by a famous photographer. Everyone always comments on it. “Wow!” we say, “You were such a beauty!” And she sort of chuckles and looks away.
The story goes—she got selected as the prettiest girl at the local fair. I always imagine a dour panel of older male judges, shuffling through the cotton-candy eating crowd, hands behind their backs, in gray linen suits, sizing up the young women, looking for the prettiest one. They must have known immediately, when they saw her. Maybe she was laughing with her head thrown back, her hair lustrous in the sun.
“She was so beautiful!” we exclaim, looking over the old photos. Now she’s 95—a pert, tiny, stooped woman with a ready grin who thought Obama was cool long before the rest of us knew his name. She laughs a lot, reads a lot, and grows a wild garden in her backyard. Keep reading »
Ami and I have both experienced our share of tragically lonely lunches. In 5th grade, Ami had to sit alone at lunch because she was the new kid in school and had no friends; in high school, Winona often ate her PB&J in the chemistry room to escape the stress of the mean, crowded hallways. These were dark days indeed, but when we grew up and learned to love our alone time, we reclaimed the solo lunch and reinvented it as a positive and empowering experience. Nowadays, we both actually prefer to eat alone. Yes, really. It gives us a chance to regroup and steel ourselves to face the second half of our workday. To help other women conquer their fears of eating lunch alone, we compiled a list of dos and don’ts that will help turn your solo lunch from soul-crushing to life-enhancing (and, obviously, we illustrated them in GIFs). Keep reading »
I eat my secret cookies in the middle of the night. There is something clandestine, furtive about my stealthy trip to the kitchen, long after the world has gone to sleep. I am mostly asleep myself, I reason. This is hardly even happening. I can’t help it, it’s not my fault, I don’t even know what I am doing. These cookies don’t even count!
There is evidence in the morning — a cookie or two missing. We won’t speak of it. Who can remember what happened during the dead stretch between the dregs of the night and the pale creep of dawn? I can’t!
But wait a second.
What is really wrong with eating a cookie or two? What makes it an act of quiet self-deception? What about it requires sneaking?
I’ll be blunt. I mean, that’s why I’m writing this — to be blunt and confessional for a moment because I think that’s really the only way to address this sort of thing.
In my head, there is this eternal, infernal, absolutely obnoxious connection between food and failure. And you may find this next statement ridiculous, but: I think I’m actually pretty healthy about food. Keep reading »
With all this fine literature along the lines of I’m Beautiful and I Hate It! circling the Internet, I’ve felt it’s my time to chime in with my point-of-view on the subject. But how does one comment on their level of attractiveness without putting out the vibe that they’re a self-obsessed jughead dingbat or, worse, starving for attention? As I walked around my apartment, glancing at my reflection in various shiny household objects, the answer came to me: Honesty.
See, the problem with a lot of the articles making the rounds are their lack of total honesty. Of course, I don’t think they’re lying. I know these attractive people truly believe they’re beautiful, but what’s missing for me is how beautiful they think they are, or aren’t. So for the sake of integrity, I’d like to talk about how attractive I think I really am. Keep reading »