March 25, 2018
Over 15 years ago, when I lost 25 pounds, I was told I should model by the Human Resources Director at the company I was leaving on disability. My precipitous weight loss was a side effect of a prescription medication, so I was stunned by this comment made by another woman. I was too sick with and on too many medications for chronic migraines to maintain a normal life. I was thinner, yes, and perhaps more “conventional” looking, albeit chronically ill, but would have taken those 25 pounds back for an ounce of normalcy in my life. Her words remain lodged in my brain today. Why are changes in our bodies, regardless of reason or motivation, public domain? What assumptions are made about weight loss and gain? Why do we value and commend certain contours over others? I know how deep my own pain, around my internal and external scars, ran for years. I have learned the power of storytelling, of imagery and of truth telling to heal that pain within myself and with others. As a mother, I see how younger individuals, who are still forming opinions about themselves, pay close attention to words, details and nuances around the body. So, I now mindfully pay attention to how I speak about my own body and others as well.