The One Place I Always Feel Fat
Los Angeles. Yes, the City of Angels is the one place where, no matter how rockstar I’m feeling, the moment I touch down I immediately believe I’m a pale, doughty, frizzy-haired, be-speckled, insecure nerdo who cute boys never like...ever.
This fact still shocks me. I spend all day teaching women how to feel at home in their bodies and yet with one particular location change I become estranged from my own. Thankfully I take my own advice and on this last visit, when I knee-jerked to old patterns of comparison and body bashing, rather than harassing myself for not “being over it yet” I ask, “WHY?”
And so, while comparing my thigh and ass size to the perfectly styled, boho-casual blonde in front of me purchasing her rainbow colored kale & beet juice with a side of spirulina at the Erewhon Natural Foods store in West Hollywood, I ask, “Why, my dearest darrrhling Jamie, are you hating all over your body right now?”
And the answer, “Because I’m not an uber-thin Malibu beach babe or a Beverly Hills Barbie. Because I’m not perfectly buffed and fluffed with a perky nose, nails & toes polished and a rack to stop traffic. Because I’m funny and smart, not HOT.”
Damn gurl, you’re still hung up on that??
After thanking myself for being honest (in my head of course, not out loud) I decided to get curious about these old feelings that I thought were already healed.
Being raised in Los Angeles was not easy for a precocious, big-haired, loud-mouthed girl who hated all things sun, beach & shopping. I never fit in. I wasn’t tan enough, fun enough, bubbly enough, and most certainly not blond enough. The only place I could get close to being “LA acceptable” was with my body and so I quickly glommed onto being fit and thin as a way of fitting in. The thing about being a human, living around other humans, is there’s always going to be someone you think is fitter than you, thinner than you, rockin’ a hotter ass and tighter jeans than you.
The trick, is not to work out harder so you can finally think you’re hotter than other people, but to take yourself out of the race all together. To end the comparison and competing.
Two things hit me after asking myself, “WHY.”
One, I took a breath and said a prayer for the blond standing in front of me. I prayed that she love and accept her body the way I’m learning to love and accept my own. Though she looked pretty damn perfect to me, I know, like every woman, she has her own demons. (Which were probably screaming at her for skipping the gym this morning, and having too much wine and cheese the night before, explaining why she was in front of me buying a green juice.)
We work on our issues, voice our triggers, tenderly tame our body shame, and gain insight to feel at home in our bodies and then when we randomly feel fat after eating too many yogurt-covered raisins, we start all over again, exactly where we are.
I will say it felt very good to get back home to Oakland. My curls have more room to breathe here. And I’ll also say that I look forward to my next trip to LA, knowing that if the war begins to rage in my body I know it’s just another layer looking to be healed with a dose of kick-ass compassion.
P.S. Old wounds, especially about our bodies, take a long time to heal. Often we think we’re over them, then something happens and we slip right back into worrying about our tummy tire and not trusting ourselves around a dessert table. If you’re struggling with old body sh*t you thought you were over, join me for my upcoming 5 week group. We are going to hit it all. It starts June 10. Get all the details here.
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