Guest Post by the beautiful and ferocious Cara Greene Epstein
Okay, so I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s this guy out there who has made it his business, both literally and figuratively, to engage in and promote body shaming. This shaming is primarily aimed at young women, though if you read the volumes of his quotes on this subject, you will see that no one is safe. Apparently, this is the one area in which he does not discriminate.
Body shaming is a very personal issue for me, one that I’ve grappled with pretty much every day, all day long, for almost as long as I can remember. So much of my sense of self-worth is tied up in how I think others will see, perceive, and feel about my body. I ain’t proud of that, but there it is. Truth.
Shame feeds on the shadows. On whispers and doubts and looks and assumptions. On a million tiny little fears with beady eyes and long fingernails that hide in all of the nooks and crannies of a day. Or an hour. Or a moment.
This shame, any shame, depends on two things to live: fear and hiding.
So those are two things that I’m done with.
195 lbs. That’s how much I weigh. I know because I just went to the bathroom and pulled out the scale (from where it was hiding, of course) and stood on it. 195. That’s my number.
I’ve been within 10 lbs. of this number for the last four years and I’ve been ashamed of it, of what it means, the whole time. But here’s the thing — here’s the thing that guy is helping me realize — I don’t think it means what I thought it meant.
See, that guy believes that this number makes me less than. Makes me difficult. Makes me incapable. Makes me a disaster. And I kind of believed those things, too.
And then I thought about all the things I’ve done over the last four years. And you know what? That guy and I were wrong. 195 doesn’t look like a disaster at all.
Here are some of the things that 195 does look like:
195 looks like running a half marathon and winning a medal the size of your head.
195 looks like writing, co-directing, producing and starring in a feature film, and then winning an award for it.
195 looks like having two healthy, awesome babies and helping them become healthy, awesome kids.
195 looks like teaching your art to classrooms full of students and challenging them to use said art to better connect with themselves, each other, and the world around them.
195 looks like celebrating 14 years of marriage to your best friend and the greatest guy on the planet.
195 looks like stepping up and taking on the challenge of a full-time job while you continue to pursue your passions.
195 looks like rocking the red carpet at your own movie premiere.
195 looks like pursuing a second graduate degree.
195 looks like dancing at Wrigley Field to a band you’ve been following since you were 17.
195 looks like volunteering at your kids’ schools and helping out people who are important to you.
195 looks like passing your physicals with flying colors.
195 looks like super fun vacations and celebrations with those you love.
195 looks like stepping out of the shadows and into the light.
195 looks like any other number. Cause when you really take it out and look at it, that’s all it is, just a number.
So let’s all live our lives in the light and celebrate how awesome we truly are.
And please, let’s not elect that guy in November.