One of the things mom and I talked about last week was the show Say Yes to the Dress and how surprised I am that I enjoy it so much. I told her that what I really love is watching the episodes with non-traditional brides, including plus-size brides. Inevitably, these women end up crying because every other store they’d been to only had two dresses in their size. In the back. From 1985. On this show, they’re treated as well as anyone and it really is beautiful to watch. At some point, I made references to “women bigger than me.”
Mom’s answer – “You’re not that big.”
Last week, we had dinner with a friend who stated something similar. She didn’t understand how I could have body images because, in her mind, I’m not that big. To her, I’m normal.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with these statements. They were certainly well intended and I wasn’t offended. And yet – that part of my brain that will never be happy with my body, doesn’t care that I’m not 400 pounds. It cares that I’m not a size 4. It doesn’t matter that there are people bigger than me. It cares that I can be thinner and I’m not. It is all too aware that, for most of society, I am not most definitely not normal when it comes to my size. I have done my best to beat that part part of my brain into submission and shrink it as much as I can, but it’s persistent and never really goes away.
I still don’t like me in pictures. I can feel sexy right up until I see me on film. Then all I see are the flaws. Then I wonder how I ever thought I looked good in the first place.
This is not a fishing expedition. I am not looking for anyone to validate my size or tell me the above people are right. On most levels, I know they’re right. But logic has no place here. Any lingering body issues are immune to logic and compliments. I think the point is – we all have issues. I have issues for the same reasons everyone else does. Maybe the best we can do is remind each other every now and then how beautiful we all are.
You can find it here…. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VJ3ZI6S
In the days ahead of actually publishing it myself, there were a lot of emotions, most of them expected. I knew there would be a certain amount of nervous excitement, of oh-my-god-what-will-people-think and oh-god-what-did-I-miss. Basically, I expected to be a little overwhelmed.
What I didn’t expect was the near breakdown I had as I went through the final stages of the process. Suddenly it was all so final. And, aside from some invaluable help with the cover image, it was all on me. From the words inside to the quick description and mini bio on the back. I had done this thing, set it in motion, and was about to send it out into the world. Regardless of whether I do a second edition or change the cover later, this will be forever out there. Yes it’s exciting and scary but it’s also…the end. It’s been a lot of work and it’s all over. I don’t think it’s overstating to call it a mini death. This has been with me for quite a while and now it’s not just mine…now it’s time to sit back and watch the ripples, so it’s also the beginning.
I am convinced that tomorrow everything will be clear, from how the cover should have really looked, to that small, nagging problem I never quite fixed to my satisfaction that no one else will likely ever notice. I think about every musician I’ve ever seen interviewed who has said, “all I hear are the flaws” when they listen to their own music. I understand that in ways I never thought I would. All I see when I read my work is where it could be better, where I wish I would have done something else, etc. But short of revamping the entire thing, it’s too late for that. And even if I did revamp it, I would have whole new insecurities about the changes.
So there it is. There’s no going back now.
It’s an amazing thing, perspective. Last week, while working on an edit for one of the books, I decided to change things around and write from Seth’s point of view. The entire book is very dark, and I wanted to see what he saw, see our girl’s reactions from his side and know his thoughts. It’s been an interesting experiment and I think I’m going to do at least a few chapters this way in this particular book. It’s a much different mindset though and one that is far more difficult for me to write from.
Last week, my mother and I talked and, among other things, I gained a new perspective on our relationship. I won’t go into details here but it was an incredibly heavy thing to deal with. The truth is that, despite how hard I have worked to not be like her, it turns out that we are alike in some fundamental ways that aren’t bad – they just make it difficult for us to relate to each other at times. And knowing this, seeing it all for the first time, has changed how I think about both our pasts and our future.
This feeling is very similar to regret but not quite – I just wish I’d seen all this sooner, that I’d known how many issues we have in common. I’m not even entirely sure what to do with it. But I hope it bleeds into other areas of my life as well. The day after our talk, all I could think was that, if we could all just see things from other people’s points of view, we would all be so much kinder to each other.