I was having this discussion the other day at my oncology clinic with a couple of the phlebotomists (i.e., the blood suckers). Great girls so I’m able to make smart ass remarks and give them a hard time. Anyway, Monica mentioned that I’d lost weight. Well, you get the flu and not lose weight. I think I dropped five pounds. I told her I had and would ideally like to lose another five. I feel more comfortable at that weight.
That got us talking about body image. It doesn’t matter how old you are … you’ll always view yourself when you were 25, 35, or even 45 and never be satisfied with the weight you’re at right now. I was a tall, skinny thing when I was young and for some reason, I’ll always see my ideal weight as being 135/140 pounds. Right now, I’m 50 years old … there is no way in hell I’m ever going to come in at 135 or even 140 pounds. At 168 pounds I’m not heavy by any stretch of the imagination, but I find I’m never satisfied with whatever weight I’m at. I think we all view ourselves as having the ideal image at some point in our lives and strive to relive it.
We also do this in our writing. Our heroines are always gorgeous (or at least good lookin’), have a slender form, works out regularly in some manner, and can kick some mean booty if necessary. I guess that’s all part of the fantasy that readers want. They don’t want to read about a heroine who is constantly bemoaning the fact that she’s gotta lose ten pounds, or that her butt is too big, or (horrors) has a muffin-top when wearing low riding jeans. I think I once read a book where the heroine was embarrassed by that little bit of breast fat that always seems to push out of the bra under the arm. My one thought was “Huh? Why the hell is she worried about that?” The hero certainly wasn’t concentrating on that little flaw as he was getting up close and personal.
So I guess I’m just as guilty as any reader in wanting the fantasy of a heroine who doesn’t have to worry about hairy armpits or that extra paunch on her stomach. I think most of us read for that bit of perfection that we have never been able to achieve in ourselves.
For myself? I’m going to try to rearrange my thinking to accept the body image I now have. If I happen to lose a few pounds … bonus. But I’m not gonna sweat it anymore. Waste of time. How ‘bout you? Do you agonize on every pound you put on; or celebrate (usually with chocolate … which is counterproductive) for every pound you lose?