Thursday, April 17, 2014


Normally I feel pretty good about what’s going on in the morning (after coffee and a shower, of course.) I can heave up this miserable pile of humanity, even on a snowy (fucking April) day and make it presentable to the world. Of course, some days are better than others. Some days, I get in a few more sets with my little dumbbells, a longer stretch…no pressure. Whatever there’s time for. Some days, I am practically eating a yogurt in the shower and asking my 10-year-old to start the car while begging my daughter to pack me a lunch.

“Put anything in there, I don’t care. Just do it now. We are going to be late.”

Those mornings make for some interesting hair. It’s a crap shoot. Farrah Fawcett-Tina Turner love child or Eponine dying in the rain. Either way, we’re leaving the house.


So when I think about my little dumbbells, and my weird, Herculean hikes, and the Frankenstein scars, and the big feet…well, I don’t really think about those much. In fact, I usually only think about the imperfections of the shell I live in when I’m trying to make someone laugh. Usually a friend who is worried about her imperfections.

“God, I got a full visual of my face yesterday…it was just…”

“I used two mirrors. I don’t even know how people look at me.”

“How did my nose get so big?”

“Where did my chin go? My teeth must’ve ate it.”

“Oh stop…you’re gonna make me go off the road.”

“I’m serious. Where did it fucking go? And the back of my hair…How long has that nest been there? Why didn’t anyone tell me about the nest. It’s a miracle my neck can hold it all up. My neck is pathetic. It’s not even a neck. It’s…”

“A golf tee.”


Funny, right? I actually feel better. We are laughing. It’s cool, things are cool. Then we go and eat our weight in really good food, including orange zest EVOO cake and life just feels good.

So why then, do I not feel this confident when the Huffington Post inundates the web (we’re talking deluge via FB, Twitter, smoke signals) with “body image empowerment” stories. We're supposed to feel good, right? That's the point of paying a writer to scrawl out 600 words on how Jennifer Lawrence ruins her white set gowns with Dorito dust. Or how Kate Winslet was a "fat kid" in school. Or how the cellulite on Kim Kardashian's thighs was photoshopped out of a cover shoot.

Oh, phew, I feel so much better now. Thanks, newsfeed, for the coiffed photos of beautiful women in expensive dresses leading the charge in favor of feeling good about myself while I sit here in my 10-year-old yoga pants knowing it's only a matter of time and gravity before my boobs will rest solidly in my lap and that the veins in my hands are starting to look like the highway clog entering L.A.

But thanks for placating me with the photo montage of post-partum moms in black panties and bras holding their smiling infants and toddlers. That takes the sting off a bit. Nice black and white noir shots, good lighting... Close, very close, and very brave.

If you want hyper real, try a dimly lit bathroom at 3 a.m., full color saturation--so you can see the nice purple-silvery stretch marks that will never go away, bags under the eyes so deep Tim Burton should be calling to cast you in his next morbid Claymation film. Now that's body image reality. Oh, and don't forget the clinging baby...but wipe that smile off his face because he's just puked all over himself and you and you're both going in for a bath. No black bra, no soft light, no luxuriant hair.

But it's all good, 'cause he still thinks you're cool. And his big sister (age three) will be leaning over the bath tub, while you are bathing the puke off your broken naked self and the baby, and she will point to different parts and ask hilarious questions.

"Why do you have hair there?"

"What are those? What are those in the middle of those?"

"What's he got there?"

"Why are there drawings all over your skin?"

"What's a tattoo?"

"You're belly is really floppy. It floats! Cool!"

Here are the real body image warriors. Stick with them. They will tell you the truth, build up your armor, and never steer you wrong. And if anyone says anything bad about your shell, they are trained to kill. But don't expect Disney-esque miracles of enlightenment.

"Nice dress, Ma. I like the color."

"Thanks. It's black, though."

"Yup. Like I said..."

I'll take it. I'm sure Dorito dust looks good on black.