So, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook, stories on Twitter, and television talk shows all relating to how the media is at fault for women having self-image issues and how the “perfect body” isn’t necessarily the Victoria Secret models (and in my opinion, they’re starved-looking – pretty, but hungry).
Let me give you a little insider information about myself. In my books Forever and Westwind Drive, the two lead characters are very loosely based upon my sister and myself. There are some HUGE differences between them and us, though. We are not, nor will we probably ever be, rich. We are not models. We do not have “beautiful lives.” We’re just like everyone else. We struggle. We laugh. We cry. We are strong, but weak sometimes.
On the other hand, we are a lot like our characters. We love deeply. We help those in need (and let me tell you, my sister rocks this one!). We love our kids and our family more than any book could describe. We have always been very close, even though we are four years apart in age.
When I was young my older sister had a body that made Victoria Secret models green with envy, and a personality to match. I was more like Twiggy – all legs and no hourglass. Top that with blue cats-eye glasses and red, stringy hair up against blonde tresses and brilliant blue eyes. I didn’t stand a chance.
I remember one day when I was probably 10 or 11 a knock came on the door. I opened it and there was this humongous purple stuffed elephant and a hot guy standing behind it. Of course, I’m drooling because maybe I got a present for once.
“Can you give this to your sister for me?”
Really? *sigh* I hated that elephant for YEARS.
My first career was in the music and entertainment industry. I took ten years of classical piano and could sing like a bird. I joined a rock band and toured the country, writing and performing. In those days there weren’t that many women in rock, and those of us who were had to have the looks to back up the voice.
Next, the business world. You gotta have the look to climb that ladder, are ya with me ladies? At least, that’s how it used to be.
Basically, I made my living partially with my looks.
So, a few years ago I went through some chemical changes (read menopause – and yes, I’m too young) and gained more weight in 2 years than I had in the previous decade. I can’t lose it. I look down on myself sometimes. I hate my picture being taken. HATE it. The thought of getting naked in front of a man terrifies me now.
But then I realize, everyone I know that is my age has their own struggles with weight, hair loss, blindness, deafness, infirmities of all sorts. Not one of us is the same person we were in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s. And why would we really want to be? I still see all my friends and family the way they were then AND the way they are now. They haven’t changed, really. They’re still the people I love.
I guess I’m saying this to let my audience know, it’s okay to be YOU. No one is perfect, and you should never starve yourself to have the body the media says is sexy. Please yourself and your significant other (or just yourself if you’re single like me). Be happy with who you are inside, because that will shine through more than anything else.