What Do You Say

…to a good friend that’s having a bad-body day? For those unfamiliar, a Bad-Body Day is one of those days where one’s life or perception is so out of control, one feels all they can do to improve it is to turn that frustration and anger on their bodies.

My trigger is stress. When I look at my life sometimes, I wonder what the hell I did wrong to keep me from being where I wanted to be by this time. I should be in law school, with my own apartment, a nice little gig in a law firm to make some extra cash, stuff like that. Instead, I’m living with my mom, working two jobs (and one, since it’s temporary, will be ending in a couple weeks or so), school is but a semi-distant dream right now, my mom–while she’s on the mend–rarely tells me what’s going on with her financially, so I worry about being able to help out more, and my jobs don’t pay enough for me to do much. But I do what I can. And all of that frustration, all of that self-disappointment, all that anger, gets turned towards my body. When I wrote that convo between Dr. Jekyll and myself, I was having a bad day already, then I read some unsavory literature, and all that in my head equalled DIET.  I can’t fix shit else in my life right now, but if I skip a couple of meals, work out about 3 hours a day, I can fix this body! Which is absolutely irrational, I know. But I go there on occasion. I pulled myself back, but what can one say to a friend who hasn’t come far enough in her acceptance journey yet to pull herself back as easily?

My friend lives in one of the most aesthetic driven cities on Earth. She texted me today, telling me how she found herself wanting to be thin like her coworkers.  So I asked why she wanted to be thin, because it’s been my experience that thin=fixing all things bad in life. She responded that many of her coworkers are younger than her (she’s 25), thin (she’s an inbetweenie), and married (yep, she’s single). So then she caught herself and asked if maybe she was equating married with skinny. I told her probably so, but we all have those moments, and allowing yourself to think about it sometimes will help you work through it so you can reject it the next time it comes up.

And the convo progressed from there. I’m doing what I can to make it better, but she and I are so much alike, I know that it’s something she has to work out in her own head, much like I do. But I know the positive words go a long way to help too. At least, I hope what I’m saying helps.

So, I open the floor to y’all. What do y’all do when faced with a Bad-Body Day? Do you write, read a good book, or watch a funny movie? Do you take a walk and appreciate nature? What do you say to try to uplift a friend in the middle of a Bad-Body Day?

17 Responses to “What Do You Say”

  1. 1 integgy
    June 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    As strange as it sounds, I tend to read the fatosphere when I’m having a bad-body day, or read a book to take my mind off of it. The fatosphere helps remind me that it doesn’t matter that I’m fat, I can still be beautiful, and accepted as a person. Books are my typical “get away from everything” method though. For me, books are escapism at it’s finest.

  2. June 8, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    That’s really good, that your friend made that connection that in her head “married” (i.e. “loved forever,” hahaha says the divorcee) equals “thin” (conventionally attractive). I did that a lot as an inbetweenie at her age — “If only I could have lost 25 pounds, someone would have proposed to me by now!”

    Of course, I never bothered to really consider which “someone” that would have been. Or bothered to seek out counterexamples (women my size and up who found happy partnerships) and made them just as valid in my mind as the young, skinny brides. Or (and this one is crucial) considered that there might be something else — in fact, many something elses, both internal and external — preventing me from being happily coupled besides my Bad Bad Body, and that aside from working on my own neuroses there was not much I could have done about any of them, any more than I could have controlled my Bad Bad Body (which in any case was to get MUCH fatter, thanks pharmaceutical industry).

    That’s one reason the Fatosphere is so valuable. We show over and over again that you do not have to be anything close to skinny (or young) to find a mate, if that’s what you want. But more than that we show that body acceptance does not have to depend on who’s standing next to you.

  3. June 8, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I get what I call “fat eyes syndrome.” It often manifests with hormonal fluctuations, but not always. One night, I looked in the mirror at bedtime, and I swore I’d gained 40 lbs. since dinner. Seriously. Of course, I knew that was absolutely impossible, so it became very clear to me that it was my perception that was fatter, not my body. I went to bed and come morning, I had miraculously returned to my normal size. And that’s how I deal with it–by ignoring my FES and going about my life, because I’m not going to waste time arguing with my own irrationality.

  4. June 8, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I tend to remind myself that my body and my thoughts about it don’t live outside of enculturation into fatphobia, and I remind myself that it only takes 30 seconds to listen to a commercial explaining why I suck, but it takes less than that to realize that they’re trying to sell me something I don’t need by telling me to hate myself.

  5. June 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Whne I’m having a bad body day, I like to look at The Adipositivity Project (http://adipositivity.my-expressions.com/index.html), though I suppose your friend couldn’t do that at work.

    I’ve also emailed friends the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou.

  6. 6 Godless Heathen
    June 8, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    When I’m having a bad body day, I dig out my favorite skirts and prettiest blouses, do my hair, my makeup and my nails, and femme myself up. Then I spend a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror all pretty and remind myself that I can, in fact, still fit in with what the mainstream finds attractive. I also remind myself that I’m the same person I was 2 hours earlier, that I’m just as worthy without the makeup and drag as I am with it. Then I usually try to go out on tha town so I can strut my stuff, because hey, I went through all the effort.

    Sometimes I skip all that work and just dye my hair. Nothing makes me happier than being a bottle redhead, I’m easily distracted.

    But if I can’t do that, I stop looking at women five to 10 years younger than I am and wishing I had their lives. I can remember how screwed up life was when I was younger, I wouldn’t mind getting back my old fat size 18 butt, but I’d hate to have to relive that life to do it. I can remind myself that they too are probably hating something about their bodies and wishing they could fix it and magically make their lives easier.

    I’m a big old Fattyfatty McFatfat and I have a husband, maybe it would be helpful to your friend when she’s feeling like thin=man to see some of the fatosphere posts where the bloggers talk about how they met their man and how they didn’t have to change to get/keep him. (Friend of the guy I was dating at the time. I’m a baaaad girl, I know.) You don’t have to lose a pound, you just have to be outgoing…when it comes to dating, a lot of dudes are more skittish about approaching us than we are of them. Any guy who doesn’t like an outgoing fat chick hitting on him can go screw himself.

  7. 7 Marste
    June 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I try to remember that my Bad Body Day is a temporary anomaly, and that if I can ride it out, I will feel better shortly. For me that is the best way of allowing myself to experience the feeling (and often experiencing it will lead me to the root of what’s REALLY wrong, like your example of thin = married), and at the same time recognizing that the feeling I’m having isn’t really the truth of who I am.

    On more mundane levels, I read the Fatosphere. And if that doesn’t help, I drag out my DVD of “Hairspray,” because Nikki Blonsky? Freakin’ ROCKS. And I watch that movie and think how cute and cool she is, and then somewhere toward the end, I remember that “Hey! Screw everyone else! If she’s cute and cool AND fat, I can be cute and cool AND fat, too!!!” And then I rock out in my living room to the last song in the movie. 😀

  8. June 9, 2008 at 3:32 am

    When I have a feelbad day, not necessarily linked to body thoughts, my recipe may be: do absolutely nothing. Just think: these days come and go, and then there come other kinds of days. I can live with all kinds.

  9. 9 Valerie Joy
    June 9, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Hi there, can’t help but commenting on your post. Normally I would comfort that person by telling her how good she looks just the way she is. I guess at one point in our life, we’d come across this day that’s why we need to deal with it. I’s alright to feel that way and besides it’s only temporary.

  10. June 9, 2008 at 11:55 am

    This is all retarded. Why do women equate happiness and marriage so goddamned much? Lending marriage so much weight is half the freaking reason why there are so many divorces. Try being happy with yourselves first, and you’ll be doing your future husbands a favor by not making them MISERABLE. Jesus. Eat right and exorcise, ladies. That’s it. That’s all there is. Get used to it.

    And what’s with the city your friend lives in? Works with a bunch of people in their young twenties and they are ALL MARRIED? That’s just twisted and wrong. Your friend is far luckier than they are. Marriage blows. All I have to do is look at my own parents and I can see that.

  11. 11 mccn
    June 9, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I’m with integgy et al – I read the fatosphere. And, if I’m away from Teh Internetz when it happens, and I catch a negative thought bubbling up into my head, I think – now wouldn’t Kate Harding/MoPie/Fillyjonk/Creamy Nougat Lair/Rioiri/insert other awesome blogger name here be disappointed if I let myself think that? Fight it off! And, a lot of times – it works!

  12. 12 intellectualfeminist
    June 9, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    I really must weigh in here. What I share with this mutual friend of mine and fashoinablenerd’s is a joy for all the things that make me who I am. I realize that I am lucky in that my academic life (as a student of gender and cultural studies) really enables me to work through a lot of the feelings that she is experiencing. I am able to face these models that society elevates and break them down. And yet, I still find mydself having days like hers. For me, it comes from these moments of doubt for taking the road less traveled. So, to work through it I have a process. First, I let the bad feeling happen. I might write a poem about it. Or a song. Or a dramatic monologue. Somehow I have to get the feeling out. Then, I step away and I can see it for what it really is. For some reason this process enables me to work through it. Through art my feelings always come full circle.

  13. June 9, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Thank all of you so much for your input. Our friend frequents this blog–I’m sure she’ll see the uplifting words.

    Now, I’m sure y’all are wondering why the hell I let Pendel through. His/her comment made me laugh. Hard. And I’m sure I should be outraged, but seriously, y’all. I’ve worked a 12 hour day, and I’m a bit delirious right now. Actually, us womenfolk don’t all equate marriage with happiness. For the record, neither did my friend. Reading the post shows she equated marriage and THIN, which is a totally different thing. Also, I’ve never heard of the “eat right and exorcise” method of losing weight before. Is our fat now considered a demon? Is a priest and holy water involved? Shall I toss out some Hail Marys? I’m just wondering. (Now y’all know why I was so tickled at this comment.) Oh, and FYI: we don’t do the word “retarded” here. Check yourself, cause next time I see it you’ll be banned. Real talk.

    And um, I’m sorry your parents’ marriage isn’t going so hot. I hope they can work it out. But don’t project your disdain for marriage here, considering that’s not what the post is about.

  14. June 9, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Oh, and PS, Pendel (this is in reference to the comment I deleted), I can’t say I can be bothered to give a damn about you not liking comments going to moderation. Since my name is in the url of this blog, I can do whatever the fuck I please. Maybe you can persuade my co-blogger to care.

    With Love,


  15. June 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I say this all the time, but I make sure I’m wearing comfortable clothes that fit. A Bad Body Day is not the day for a pair of form-fitting non-stretch shorts, or a shirt that’s just a leetle too tight. I totally agree with Godless Heathen that it can help to put on something cute, and I would add that it should be something cute that really fits well and maybe has some “give” so you aren’t feeling pinched and uncomfortable and then blaming it on your stomach instead of the pants.

  16. 16 littlem
    July 18, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    “Eat right and exorcise”

    Must … not … make … pea … soup … joke …. mmmmmffffff …

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