On Friday night, I had an outing with my lovely new work friends. We saw Bachelorette. Overall, I really enjoyed the movie*, but it brought up a lot of feelings. Within the first 15 minutes of the movie, so *SPOILERS*, kind of, two of the best friends (who are C.U.Next.Tuesday and all the Tuesdays to follow.) of the bride rip her wedding dress in half by piling into it together to show how huge it is. The only reason every single person in the theater doesn’t run out covered in tears at that moment is that the bride isn’t there when it happens.
When I was in middle school, my neighbors and I were hanging out in my den. One of them went to the bathroom and came hopping back into the room with both of her legs threaded through one leg of my jeans. “Your jeans are huge!”, she gleefully exclaimed. I tried to laugh along and include myself in this humiliating joke, but I was crestfallen. The fact that this person is now beautiful, successful, happily married, and actually very nice proves that karma is dead. Watching the two tiny, bitchy girls in Bachelorette brought that long-buried moment in my life screaming back to the front of my consciousness.
Obviously, a lot has changed since middle school. I now wear more figure-flattering jeans. I don’t have any friends who would make a mean-spirited joke about me or who have pre-pubescent bodies. I am not much thinner than I was in middle school, but definitely taller and in better shape. That doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t occasionally stop when other people talk about weight, breathlessly afraid that someone will call me out as a fat outlier.
Yesterday, the traders and analysts at work (all men) were discussing their weights. It’s super weird to hear men being neurotic about a topic on which women have cornered the neuroses. Apparently, they all weigh themselves frequently and worry quite a lot about the results. I did not pipe up as I obviously didn’t want to give my own stats, and because if I stay very quiet at my desk, they forget I am here and I can truly observe them like Jane Goodall. It’s fascinating to realize that, regardless of age, appearance, or gender, no one is immune from body image issues.
Part of being an adult is growing up and being grateful for what my body can do (breathe, walk and chew gum simultaneously, text, etc.) rather than what it can’t (have zero excess fat). I try to frame my current body views in the positive and work towards feeling good and strong. Not talking a bunch of shit about other people’s physiques (celebrity or acquaintance) is a good way to practice this. Not seeing the first fifth of Bachelorette is another one.