Friday, April 10, 2015

Body Image - Perfection is where you are right now!

I started life with poor body image.  The first things I remember about how I looked as a child stem from those typical awful words slung back and forth between siblings.  Lollipop Legs was a good one.  It was an overblown description of my legs being thin below the knee and bigger above.  My particular favorite was that when I was wearing a pink bathing suit cover-up, I was told that I looked like the “pink dancing hippos” from Disney’s Fantasia.  When they tell you that harsh words don’t hurt, don’t believe them.  I was so traumatized by the “pink dancing hippos” gem that I refused to wear pink, clear into my 40s.
 
Sadly, when I look back at photos of us as kids, I was no bigger than my sister.  I didn’t really have a weight problem.  But the perception that I had a problem, that I wasn’t the perfect size, became completely ingrained in my young and malleable psyche.  I suffered from what I call “fat brain” syndrome.  I began drastic dieting very early on, resulting in a damaged metabolism and rebound weight gain that always exceeded what I had lost.  In essence, I dieted my way up the scale, failing time after time to be perfect.

And as if it isn’t bad enough to hate your own image, it doesn’t help when those without weight issues make nasty comments or treat you as though the size of your intellect is inversely proportional to the size of your body.  I can’t tell you the number of times people went out of their way to degrade me in public or to talk to me as though I had the IQ of a watermelon.  This is not limited to walking down the street.  It happens in stores, restaurants, parking lots, schools, playgrounds, and in the workplace. 

I was very heavy when I started my present job many years ago.  Only when I lost half my body weight did I start commanding any respect from my superiors.  Prior to that, I was ignored when I spoke and no one asked me any questions.  They evidently assumed that since I was fat I must be stupid.
 
I even had a doctor once tell me, with a straight face, that she could not perform laparoscopic surgery on my ovaries because I didn’t have a naval (I had lost it in a previous surgery).  I wanted to say, “Oh my God, does that mean I can’t have that laparoscopic knee surgery either?”  Every word that came out of that particular doctor’s mouth was as though she was talking to a complete idiot.  Needless to say, I never went back.
 
When Forest Ratliff and I were performing regularly at the coffee shops and wineries, I often sang a parody song called “New Bod” to the music of “Cool Stuff” (with permission of course).  “CoolStuff” is a catchy tune from the album "Homework" by the legendary Alex Bevan, listing all the things he would buy if he ever got rich or won the lottery.  “New Bod” was a listing of all the plastic surgery fixes I would have if I could afford them.  Both songs are pretty funny tunes.  But, while everyone has things they would buy if they suddenly had money, only those with poor body image would want plastic surgery instead.

But enough meandering around the topic.  I’ve seen a number of articles and videos recently where people are being bullied for their weight.  I feel great sympathy for those in the public eye, such as Kelly Clarkson, who has a great attitude, but must be completely inundated with nasty tweets and comments.  A weather woman was “twullied” when she didn’t lose all the weight after her baby was born.  Is it really that offensive to the viewer if the weather woman isn’t a runway model?

It isn’t always the result of overeating.  Those with weight issues don’t seem to understand that there are many reasons for the rest of us to not look svelte.  It can be genetic predisposition, medication, damaged or sluggish metabolism, injuries that prevent adequate exercise, etc.  But even if it isn’t one of those things, why exactly is it anyone’s business other than the person’s own?

It comes down to this.  Right here and right now you are the perfect person you are meant to be.  If you lose a few pounds, you are still the perfect person you are meant to be.  If you gain a bit, the same applies.  What’s happening on the outside is not a reflection of what is inside of you.  You are the same person, with the same laugh, the same smile, the same level of intelligence, the same talent, whether you weigh 120, 220, or 320.  If someone puts you down, lift your head high and walk away.  Do not lower yourself to their level.  Smile and know that the person who just dissed you has severe self-esteem issues and is attempting to make himself or herself feel better at your expense. 

And now you can have a giggle at my expense!

New Bod!

Some say life is good and sweet
Some think toys make life complete
But they’re not lookin’ in my mirror each day
‘Cause for every week gone by
There’s some things that catch my eye
That make me want to call the doc and say…

Chorus:  Gimme a new bod, one that’s long and lean
Gimme a new bod, Like nothin’ you’ve ever seen
Fix me up from head to toe
My plastic surgeon’s rolling in dough
Gimme a new bod, one I'm not afraid to show.

Take a little nip here and a little tuck there
Lift my boobs and derriere
Make my form more pleasing to the eye
Some liposuction please
So I fill my Calvin Klein’s with ease
And make men turn their heads when I walk by.
Chorus

So take these jiggles from my knees
And laser my legs if you please
And I won’t ever have to shave again
Take the thunder from both thighs
Remove these bags below my eyes
And put a mini implant in my chin.
Chorus

A tummy tuck would sure be sweet
Those 6-pack abs are buried deep
A redone belly button would be quite nice
Lift my neck to make me sing
And upper arms without bat wings
Would certainly be well worth the price.
Chorus

Give me a Lopez butt and Jolie lips
Tina Turner legs and gypsy hips
A bod makeover down to my last toe
I want to fit in a size five
and finally feel alive
Write a book about it all, and be on Oprah’s show
Chorus