Tag Archives: love

Why I hate the “Real Women Have Curves” Movement

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Author: Kara Adamo.

We have a problem, ladies…and it’s not the men.

There is an idea that has been leaching its way through computer screens, tablets and phone browsers that has gone unchecked for far too long.

Looking back, I suppose I can pin-point the first signs of it easily. It began in my parent’s generation: the 1970’s-1980’s period where “Thin was In” and people began going to insane extremes to get there.

We’re all familiar with it: the stories of women and men wasting away with any number or combination of eating disorders that left them emaciated and filled with a nearly incurable self-hatred that was then passed on to my own generation.

Even now, after all of the published personal stories and all of the attention aneorexia and its bretheren have gotten from the media, people are still starving themselves with this evasive idealist perfection in mind.

Celebrities probably get it the worst. They’re in the public eye and, as with every moment that lapses from the perfection we like to associate them with, that public eye zooms in and judges loftily from its self-imposed moral high-ground. We find our strength in numbers because these people lead lives that the “average Joe” could only ever dream of.

We’re really just jealous and resentful, but they’re the minority, so we can shrug it off and shoot them a “you asked for it” glare.

It makes us feel good about it for five seconds and is, in all honesty, a sign of our collective ethical degradation.

We all do it and they probably do, too.

Forever struggling with pressures from the media to maintain a perfectly composed, perfectly thin, perfectly groomed image, these celebrities starve themselves in the hopes that the negative publicity will cease.

And then, when we see them getting thinner, we copy them.

Men do this a bit, but it’s no secret that women are the worst. We like to point fingers at guys and scream to the high-heavens that it’s their judgmental pickiness that drives us to do it, but for the most part we’re full of it.

We do it.

We’ve always done it. There is a reason the movie “Mean Girls” did so well: it speaks to all of us because it’s based, on some level, in an unfortunate truth about our society.

Girls are, well, mean.

Now, my long-winded griping about anorexia and the “Thin is In” motif that pervasively plagues our culture has done nothing to warm me to the other equally evil notion, this piece’s title phrase: “Real Women Have Curves.”

You see, when I was in high school, I graduated at 149 pounds.

This seems fine, except that I am a tiny little pixie of a thing. At 27 years old, I measure a full 4-feet, 10-1/4 inches tall.

That’s it.

So, when you spread 149 pounds throughout that small of a frame, you can get a rough mental image of what I looked like: I wasn’t huge, but I was certainly “big boned.”

I did a lot of stupid things to lose the weight. I starved myself, resulting in the aggravation of a then-dormant condition called Diabetic Hypoglycemia which now affects me severely every single day.

I hated myself. Looking back on all of the pictures, I realize that, while the weight wasn’t healthy, I didn’t look anywhere near as bad as I thought I did. But you could have never told 17-year-old Kara that.

Then I started skim-boarding and I managed to lose twenty pounds in a four month period. I started eating again and then continued to lose weight until I was 21.

A number of issues that year resulted in my falling below 93 pounds. I couldn’t tell you what the final weight was because I stopped checking. It was too painful to find out. Nothing fit me and I was too ashamed of my financial situation to ask for help. I had bruises on the skin over my rib cage from sleeping on my stomach and my skin had very little color.

Because I wasn’t being honest about things, people thought that I was starving myself again—but this time successfully.

Six years later, I am at a healthy—albeit still unknown—weight. I run on a near-regular basis and I survive on fresh fish and veggies. I’m no longer nauseous after I eat and I finally feel good about my image.

I’m sharing this because I need people to realize that I have actually been on both sides of the track: I have been heavier and ridiculed for it and I’ve been called “anorexic” and a “skinny-mini,” too.

And I’m going to clear something up right here…right now: both suck.

I actually discussed this with a girlfriend of mine yesterday over coffee.

This girl is stunning. She has beautiful dark blonde hair, piercing catlike blue eyes, and long legs I would kill for. She’s that pretty, slender-but-athletic build that healthy-minded models would dream of and the wardrobe to match.

At any moment, this girl looks like she stepped out of a high-fashion magazine.

And yet, this girl has body image issues…just like the rest of us.

She doesn’t have big breasts or a curvy bottom: she’s taller than she wants to be and she sometimes wishes her complexion was clearer.

She’s confident, but she’s a woman: and that means that, no matter what, she will manage to find fault with herself.

Now to be clear on this: men love her.

And they love me—we’ve actually dated the same guy before (at different times, of course)—and we look completely opposite of one another.

This is important: the issue, overall, isn’t men. My weight fluctuates just as much as the next girl and I can always manage to find a date or someone to flirt with. I’ve dated when thin and when heavier and I was called beautiful regardless.

The issue is women.

This friend—we’ll call her Lucy—made an amazing point that I think needs to be addressed on a larger social scale: real women don’t have to have curves.

Lucy is a real woman. I was a real woman when I was scrawny.

Real women have vaginas. That’s what they have.

Some have curves…some have thin waists. Some are short and some are tall.

The issue is not that we are opening the door to social acceptance when it comes to curvier and even heavier women. I’m all for that.

The issue is that we are shutting that door on other women—thinner women—who have feelings and who are just as beautiful. And the reason we’re doing it is the same reason we ridicule celebrities: many of us are jealous and many of us have this misplaced misconception that thinner women have it easier.

To be honest, after having been thin and big and everything in between, I would venture to say that it was harder to be underweight and the reason behind that claim actually has virtually nothing to do with physical size.

It has to do with the emotional support I had from women.

When I was larger, I was told by my friends that I was pretty. I was encouraged to feel good about myself and I was told that my inner beauty was what mattered, anyway.

But when I was thin, that went away. I was scolded for having eating disorders I actually didn’t have and I was called “gaunt” and “thin” with a derogatory tone.

And that, pardon my French, is bullshit.

Lucy said it best at coffee: “All women are real women…women need love from women!”

And she’s 100% right.

We need to lift one another up. And we’re not doing it. We’re failing miserably.

It speaks poorly of our self-image (both internal and external) when the most popular weight-based slogan involves lifting up one group at the expense of another.

We don’t need to imply an exclusion to a group that has historically been complimented in photography and in the media. We just need to include everyone else.

Real women have skin. They have tears and they have humor and they generally have people in their lives that wouldn’t change them for the world…thin or heavy…short or tall.

This idea that we have to cut one another down to lift ourselves up is just as lethal as the notion that you have to starve yourself to be pretty. Some girls won’t ever put on weight. They’ll have to buy breasts if they ever want to fill an A cup and they’ll never have “dat base” everyone keeps singing at (to the peril of my eardrums.)

They’re just as “real” as the girl who fills a larger pant size and who can’t seem to drop the pounds. And we need to love both of them.

It’s a hate campaign disguised as a message of love and acceptance…and that’s what I can’t stand about it. Words mean things and they affect everyone.

So, the next time that you blurt out, “Real Women Have Curves,” think about the sweet girl off to your left that feels awkward about her thin frame and feels like she’s treated like a little kid by people who should be building her up. Think about how you feel whenever someone makes you feel bad about yourself.

And then shut-up.

Turn the phrase around in your head, and change it. Because what you really mean is that curvier girls and heavier girls are pretty too.

So just say that. It includes us all and it builds us up. We need each other, ladies. If we were nicer to one another, maybe we would all stop hurting ourselves to fulfill this unobtainable image of perfection we seem to perpetuate.

And, for the love of god, eat a cupcake. No matter what weight you are, cupcakes rule.

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Back to You

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You know, there are a lot of things that I have learned on this trip—and I’m not talking about Alaska itself. I’m talking about the internal stuff—things about myself, things I need to work on and things I need to let go. I have gone through emotional trials and definitely dug myself in and out of some pretty interesting holes. But do you know what? The most important thing that I think I have come to figure out is that, in my entire life, I have only loved one man selflessly. Naturally, I’m talking about romantic love. This does not include family members or friends.

I have loved other men—been in love, even—but not the way I loved and continue to love him. He is the only one I have never been able to shake…and he is the one I hurt the most.

I guess we’ll call him Jack. I don’t know a Jack.

Jack is the most beautiful person I know. He does this weird thing when he smiles. I swear, it’s like he smiles with his entire body. I’ve never seen anything like it. He literally glows. It’s the kind of infectious goofy grin that makes your insides melt. In the years that I have known him, he has managed to give me butterflies even when I have dated other people and thereby forced myself to act like it wasn’t the case.

No matter how happy I was, in the back of my mind Jack was there—listening to Dave Matthews in the car, driving out to the beach, laughing about some ridiculous antic of mine, playing with my hair.

In retrospect, it was such a giant waste of energy. I have been single for nearly two years now and despite the fact that I date frequently, nobody compares to this guy. It’s an unsettling affirmation…particularly because I am the reason we are no longer together.

I have always known all of this. What is new is my sudden acknowledgement that, for me, there is no one else. Not one. I like other men—I would date other men—but in my heart there is always Jack. I nearly married somebody else and I still know this is true.

And, of course, Jack has more than likely moved on. That would almost make me happier. Hell, the only real reason I never went back to him when he still wanted me was that I was terrified I would continue to hurt him. I was fickle and confused and paranoid and guilty all the time. I didn’t want that for him. I figured that if he moved on he might be happier. Let me be very clear about this, hurting Jack was the single worst thing I have ever done in my entire life. Ever.

I left him for somebody else and the entire time that person and I dated, he was there picking me up when I was sad and taking me out to lunch. I felt like shit and I should have. I deserved to.  I couldn’t go back to him—let him take me back when I was so undeserving. The most painful moment of my life was watching tears run down his face; tears that were shed because of me…streaking the most beautiful face I have ever seen in my life. It’s been four years and I still dream about it.

I am a fickle person with hardly any direction. I work in food and wine and I love it, but I know I want to do other things. I have all of these aspirations, but the problem is that I want to do everything. The only thing that has stayed the same is my love for him. In fact, it’s possible that I might love him more now than I did five years ago. The happiest moments of my life were spent driving around with him and going on little Jack and Kara Adventure Days—as we continue to call them  (using his actual name, of course.)

He wrote a letter to me once—one telling me how happy he was that I had given him a second shot—again, I was torn and fickle back then—and it is the letter every girl dreams about getting. I still have it. I found it in my jewelry box. I could never bring myself to throw it away.

I doubt I will do anything about Jack. I know that he has more than likely put our romance behind him and, honestly, I don’t blame him. I practically forced him to do it. I would rather not bother him with any of this…it’s not fair to ask him to come back just because I am finally ready.  Not if his life is less complicated otherwise.

But I do know this…If for some impossible reason he did still love me, there is no way in hell I would ever let him go. There are many fish in the sea…many wonderful men that I might even be able to love. But there is only one Jack. I know—I’ve looked.

So I suppose I will let it drop. The only thing more selfish than the way I acted before would be to bother him with this now. I will continue to tell myself that I am over him and, perhaps, I will manage to fake it until I make it. I know that’s what he did…and it seems to have finally worked.

But, since I doubt he will read this and I have disguised his name anyway, I guess I can be a pansy and say this…throwing it out into the internet for the hell of it…

I love you, Jack.

…ramble, ramble, ramble *pause* ramble, ramble…

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So I’m initiating a self-inflicted isolation.

Nothing too drastic; I’m still going out with friends and I’m still chatting with people on the phone…I’m just…I don’t know…toning it down a bit.

I suppose I mean this mostly in regards to dating. This ever-so-wonderful week marks the last week Rob and I were together. A near three-year live-in relationship was unraveling at the seams by Valentines Day (how apropos) and since then I have been on a wild roller coaster of love interests and not-so-comfortable run-ins that have left me downright winded. I’ve revisited my past relationship–and several other past relationships. I’ve also met a lot of really great people that have turned out to be  good friends and I’m glad and proud to say that they’re in my corner.

I’ve also fucked up. A lot.

Anyway, back to the reason I decided to ramble in the first place.

Kira is at John’s tonight, so I’m home alone. I figured I’d cook myself some dinner, sip some tea, and take it easy by watching The Secret Circle (my new obsession). In this episode, Cassie is being haunted by dead witches. They do a good job making it spooky–it’s much more of a Halloween episode than a Valentines Day episode–which makes it perfect. The problem is, I’m a pansy.

If you’ve never watched a scary movie with me, then there is no way for me to adequately express just how true that sentence really is. I am an absolute, 100% chicken-shit. I am a 24 year old woman who is afraid of standing in front of windows because I fear that at some point somebody will be staring back at me. Sends chills, doesn’t it? I won’t sleep with a ouija board nearby and I am not swell with jumpy things. In fact, I am deathly afraid of frogs because they do just that…they jump. And you never know which direction…and their slimy little suction cup toes…ugh…

Moving on.

The only way I can manage to get through this damned episode is if I pause it every couple of minutes. I guess that, by doing that, I wake myself up from the cinematic trance long enough to breathe before plunging back in.

I also do this when characters in normal shows/movies are about to embarrass themselves.

So my conclusion is this: I wish I had a pause button.

I know it’s not a novel concept. Who doesn’t wish they could “turn back time” (yeah, I went there…and Cher understands, man!!) But seriously…I don’t need to go back…but to “pause” would be great. I can’t count on one hand how many situations this week alone that might have been fixed if I had a fucking pause button. Just a five-second breather so I can recollect and rethink some things.

I mean, I guess I kind of do. If I would calm down more often, I could probably instigate my own little zen-like state, but let’s face it…I’m not going to do that. Not that I shouldn’t…it’s a terrific idea and would probably lead to a higher state of maturity that I so desperately need to reach, but I know me. When I’m upset, that hot-tempered Sicilian blood starts boiling and I see red and every horrible thing that could ever come out of my mouth can and most of the time will come out. As will the tears. (Yeah…pansy and crier.) You know it’s bad when you make yourself cry more than other people make you cry.

Not only that, but I’d make better decisions. If I could hit “pause” before letting my guard down too quickly or taking that last shot of tequila (Patron is my friend…Cuervo is not) then I’d probably be able to avoid a lot more stupid situations. Who knows? Maybe I’d even be able to catch myself before I fall down the stairs again!

Oh, the possibilities!!

Then again, maybe I’d just relish in my anger or make my klutzy stair-face situation worse by flipping into a sommersault and landing on my head. Maybe breaking the flow isn’t always good.

But still–how cool would it be to just freeze everything around you? I’d get into so much trouble with that kind of power. The first thing that comes to mind? I’d totally “pause” my friends’ beer pong games and take the ping pong ball out of the air and put it somewhere else…like in their pocket or something. Or replace the ball with a rubber ducky.

I could also pause life when I’m about to fall on one of Kira and I’s rollerblading routes…right before she notices I’m about to eat shit. I’d just “pause,” right myself, and skate past her before hitting “play.”

More importantly, this would help me when I’m reacting to things emotionally. Then, when I’m about to storm out on a guy who doesn’t even know what the hell he did wrong, I can wait for a second, assess the situation, and possibly stay put. Or I could decide for sure if it’s a good idea to leave.

Or I could stay out of the situation completely, recognizing that in the heat of the moment what seems like a good idea probably isn’t one.

Lately I’ve been making decisions based on nothing more than what feels good momentarily. I’ve spent so long worrying over the moral implications of my actions that I haven’t had a whole lot of fun up until recently. I have this habit of stressing myself out over how everything I do might affect other people and in most cases that’s a good thing…

…if you want to be a lonely, boring nun-like cat lady.

I am not catholic and Rob got the cat when we split, so that just leaves lonely and boring.

So I’ve been out and meeting people and honestly having a good time…except that I send myself on these horrible guilt trips afterwords. I’m not exactly sleeping around, but I’m so used to belonging to one person that I’m not completely sure I know how to be single.

I know how to live on my own and how to have fun on my own…but single life is a strange place. There are so many rules and so many people ready and willing to mess with your head and lie to you! You end up being paranoid. And paranoia leads to craziness. And I’m already crazy enough, thank you.

I’m really good at getting ideas in my head…and not very good at shaking them. Lately, due to one guy outright lying to me about a couple of key details, I have approached other men with the caution and distrust I should really be showing him (oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m tossing him out of the picture).

Another problem is that, when I get angry over something I have every right to be mad over, I feel terrible about it. I hate being mad at people. I can’t stand the idea of bad-blood being between me and anybody else. I usually know when I’m wrong (which I am about 60% of the time), and I always admit it…up to an annoying fault…and I have a feeling that it’s that quality that makes me a doormat. And when you’re a doormat you become very angry…and that anger comes out a lot when you drink…which leads to projection. Never a good thing.

Here is where that pause button would come in handy: when I’m projecting my feelings about one thing onto people that have nothing to do with it. I let myself feel this way…it’s not their fault…and I’m letting the other person–the guilty party–get away scott free because I don’t want to be the instigator. I just want to get along with people, regardless of what’s been done. So when I actually am to blame, the guilt becomes even worse.

And then I hibernate in my apartment and watch cheesy shows about magick and love and haunted medallions…because this is my personal form of a “pause button”…and damnit, I need a break.

I’d like to point out that, while writing this, The Secret Circle has been on “pause.” The TV has switched to a screen saver…so I guess it’s time to hit play and let things play out the way they will.

Until next time 🙂

Flowers, Life and Writers’ Block

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This is something I wrote when I was 20 years old and at a loss for words (for once). To deal with my sudden disconcerting writer’s block, I came up with this:


I want to write about flowers. I want to write about how they are beautiful, about how they are symbolic, about how, no matter what, they are in some way appropriate for the mood, depending upon their type, depending upon their color, and depending on their season. I love flowers. I wish I was a flower. I am a weed.

I want to write about coffee mugs. I want to write about how, no matter what, you can always tell the comfort level of a household by what type of coffee mugs are in the house. You can see where people have been, if they are grandparents, if they are mothers or if they know people who have been to NYC or Las Vegas. I love how you can tell if they have or want a sense of humor, how old they are, how much they drink coffee, how much coffee they drink at a time, if they like tea, if they like personalized coffee mugs with photographs and names written on them, or if they like the standard school-system coffee mug that comes as a complimentary gift through active participation in PTO, SAC, or faculty.

I want to write about pasta. I want to write about how you can tell a person’s eating preferences and attitudes towards life through the types of pasta you find in their pantries. I love how you can predict raman noodles in a college dorm or apartment, I love how you can catch spaghetti or cavatapi  in any ethnic house hold, how mac and cheese is found in the home of a child or a bachelor, and how women collect far too much of it during the rainy season.

I want to write about pancakes, about how it’s different to wake up when it’s raining versus when it is sunny, about how the dust in the air is only evident around light fixtures, and about how, for some reason, everybody at one point or another, searches in a card shop for generic “thank you” cards with amazing, meaningful sentiments.

I want to write about how, for some reason, it takes people moving away before they come together, and I want to write about what it feels like to realize that I’m a twenty year old who wants to be married and retired and content with somebody who is not only my love, but my companion above all. I want to write about what it is like to watch a father and son wrestle in a pool during summer, about what it is like to see a mother watch her child graduate, about what it is like to see two people who have been married for over twenty years sit down together by a fire and drink wine and laugh about day to day activities that don’t mean much, but make up their lives enough to be incredibly important and wonderful.

I want to write about what it is like to watch fireworks go off in a beach when you’ve just snuck out at around midnight with your friends…about the crackling, about the whistling, about the waves that crash evenly and passionately onto the shoreline as one of you skims by on a skimboard while everyone dances eccentrically around the bursts of color and noise and heat and night. I want to write of the struggles of relationships, of the amazing bond you find as soon as somebody is about to leave for a long time, about the happiness of a return, of the mystery of a kiss, and of the complex void of the heart. I want to write it all. I want to end my writer’s block.

~ Kara “Munchkin” Adamo~