As I write to you at this moment I have orange hair. This occured as a result of my desire to go back to being blonde and a hair stylist's enthusiam for bleach. It isn't the first time that my hair has resembled the likeness of Strawberry Shortcake, and I am sure that it will not be the last. I am a slow learner after all. But there is something that happens when your appearance doesn't turn out the way you had hoped, when you look into the mirror and Angelina Jolie doesn't stare back at you. What is it?
We all know as women growing up in this society that so much value is placed on the way we look. And we are constantly being badgered with images of slim waists, silky hair, and smooth skin that tell us that we are not worthy as women if we do not adhere to these standards. We are less than.
But after this incident with my hair I was having a conversation with a good friend who called to tell me that her world was in a downward spiral. Why, you ask? Because her thighs were big.
It sounds funny now that I write about it, but it was no laughing matter for her. Like so many of us, she was so caught up in the number on the scale, the inches that crept up on the measuring tape, that she literally felt her life was crumbling in that moment. "You don't understand," she said. "I am fat. And not only am I fat, but I have been fat for a WHOLE YEAR and nothing I do seems to change that." I did understand. I had a baby more than a year ago and have been trying to lose the same 20 pounds since then, to no avail. But, call it my inner Yoda or Oprah, I surprisingly had some wits about me to talk to her about this fate and just like that, we both had an A-Ha! moment. "What about losing 30 pounds is going to change your life?" I asked, partly wanting to know the answer for myself. "I want to be happy," she said. "I want to feel good about myself." "You don't have to lose 30 pounds to have those things, you know. You can actually be happy now, and even feel good." She paused, "Well I do love to workout with my friends, we have a lot of fun and it's like an outlet for me." "Then focus on that," I said. "Stop looking at the number on the scale and beating yourself up everytime it doesn't move and focus on having fun. Because at the end of the day, you will remember how you felt, not how much you weighed. And P.S.- it all goes to shit in the end anyway, so you might as well enjoy it now." (Even my inner Yoda has the mouth of a sailor) This was a revelation for me too. Just the other day I got on the scale and had gained 6 pounds in a week. Naturally, I know that I didn't really gain 6 real pounds in a week; but that one number literally ruined my entire day. And later when I thought about it, I realized that nothing about my life had changed except for my knowledge of a number on a scale. Now as I talked to my friend I said, "You realize that you are going to walk through this world exactly the same at this weight as you will 30 pounds from now. Problems will not disappear. You will still get sad, you will still laugh, in other words, life is going to happen with or without you (and your thighs). But guess what? You are still going to be you, so why not love what you have rather than beat it into submission?" She laughed, it was a laugh of relief because she got it. And there is a certain power in that. The power that comes in realizing that you control the impact that you have in this world and what others think about you- whether it's positive or negative. And when you take your value off the size of your waist or the comparison of who looks more perfect (or who wore is better, thanks US Weekly) and focus on loving yourself and making others feel loved and accepted, then you my friend have just become the most beautiful person in the room.
Orange hair and all.
The New Look: Strawberry Shortcake gone wild.