By Mary Stathos
And maybe that is okay.
Why do we always love our skinnier selves? Any time I have been at my “lowest weight,” I have been absolutely miserable. I am in probably the most stable period of my entire life and yet somehow I am longing for a time where I was skinnier, but absolutely miserable.
In November of last year, I was skinnier than I am right now, eight months into quarantine, but I was also in a psych hospital for a third of it.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was skinnier than I am right now, but I also had $50 in my bank account and no job and was eating celery for most meals.
I know better than to think that being skinnier is going to make me happier so why is that still my first thought when I think about improving my life? I shouldn’t be Googling “How to lose weight fast,” I should be cleaning my room. I should be thinking about the amazing weekend I spent with my boyfriend and my friends doing the things I love to do. I should be playing with my cats, or making dinner.
There are so many things to worry about in the year of our lord 2020 and I am worried about my red plaid pants being tighter on my waist than they were last winter, when all I ate were bagels. That doesn’t mean I should go back to eating only bagels. That means I should probably start thinking about something else.
Bodies change and grow and shift and evolve and they are still beautiful even when they are different. I do not need to sit here and preach that because every Instagram influencer already does. Enough of showing me a photo of your body where you stand just right so you have a visible thigh gap, next to another where you have stomach rolls. Just normalize being unflattering and ugly sometimes.
Maybe it is an unrealistic ask to want everyone to be uglier online for my own body image perception, but what if it isn’t just my own body image perception? What if it is most people’s body image perception? “Am I allowed to post this picture of myself if I don’t look as skinny as possible?” so quickly devolves into “Am I allowed to exist if I am not as skinny as possible?”
How is anyone supposed to feel better about their own self image when the “image” they are producing is a curated look at their best angles only? I should be proud of my body all the time because it does a lot of things for me. I think more people should be vulnerable on the internet. We are not all perfect and when we can acknowledge that everything in our lives is not perfect then we can stop caring so much about looking our best while still wanting to show off how great we are.
If you see someone who looks perfect on the internet, it is probably a
Mary Stathos is Talk Vomit’s creative editor, as well as a therapist. She takes a lot of photos of her cats and calls her mom every day.