Eating Disorders/Healing, feminism, Guest Posts

You Really Should Be Skinnier

August 18, 2015

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By Jen Pastiloff.

There was this guy who came in the Newsroom, where I worked. Damn girl, they been feeding you. He actually said that as he reached for my stomach. He tried to touch me as he hurled that insult at me like I was some animal in a cage. Like I was someone he felt he actually had a right to touch. It was all I could hear for days: Damn girl, they been feeding you. As I put food in my mouth: Damn girl, they been feeding you. As I waited on customers: Damn Girl, they been feeding you.

This morning, a beautiful woman who attended my New Year’s Retreat in Ojai posted on our secret page. Yes, we have secret pages. We are super secret spies.

She posted this:

I had a man tell me last night as a “well intentioned tip” that if I wanted to get serious about making a living selling healthy food, I would need to lose weight.
I was once a size 16. Now, I’m a size 4.
When does the insanity stop???

Then this:

And I know I should get over it and move on. But see, I don’t fucking want to. I want to harness this pain and shame and embarrassment and create a safe haven for people who just want to be WELL. Who just want to be ENOUGH. Thank you again, Jen, for providing this little tiny safe haven in this big bad ugly world. It’s so hard to do all of this alone.

That is all I ever want to do, create a safe haven so someone, maybe one person, does not feel so alone. Watch the video below and post your thoughts on this topic, if you would. I am so passionate about us embracing our beauty no matter what. Those last words are key.

No.

Matter.

What.

This work I am doing with Girl Power is so important. It’s important for all of us, but my God, I want to start in on them young. A couple years ago I was having lunch with a guy friend and he said, “With a few tweaks, your body would be perfect.”

Another guy, “You only have a little layer of sweetness on you.”

A manager, from my “acting” years, “Lose ten pounds. You have nothing right now but how you look and so you need to look as perfect as you can be.”

These things have gotten stuck. I get it. I do an exercise that you know of if you have attended my workshops. The one and the one hundred. If you have a hundred people in a room and they all love you except one, who do you focus on?

Most say “the one.”

This is why I created this quote:

It's a huge honor to have another card up at Emily McDowell Studio. Click to order.

It’s a huge honor to have another card up at Emily McDowell Studio. Click to order.

 

 

The things we say to ourselves. The douchey,  mean-spirited things. The things others think they have a right to say to us. The lies. The myths we buy into. The way we fight ourselves every day. The way we claw through the world thinking that there isn’t enough that we aren’t enough that if we could just get more or skinnier or better than it would be perfect. Then we would be happy. Then all would be well in the world. Then we would be safe. Then we would be untouchable.

Let me clear a few things up:

First off, don’t be an asshole. Don’t comment on my body or my face or if I am smiling. Don’t ask me if I am pregnant unless you see me giving birth or you know for sure. Don’t offer unsolicited advice about how I can be more beautiful or perfect or womanly or successful. Unless I ask you, zip it, Dude. Zip it.

(and yes, that is my ass in the photo above. was from a photo shoot for Tanya-b, a company that embraces diverse beauty.)

Secondly, don’t touch my body. Not my ass, not my boobs, not my stomach. This is me talking for all of us. Unless you are my husband or a massage therapist or I have asked you to.

Remember the guy who grabbed my boobs?

A few years ago, a man I knew walked into the café in NYC where I was having lunch with a friend and before I realized what was happening, his hand was on my breast. “Damn, Look at those things,” he’d said with a fistful of my boob.

We chatted for a few moments about irrelevant things — yoga, weather, eggs — before he walked away and sat down at his own table. My friend was dumbfounded — the most natural response, I suppose. She was shocked that he’d grabbed my breast like that. In public, no less.

I was embarrassed and made excuses for him. That’s just how he is. He doesn’t mean anything by it. He’s just a flirt. He’s harmless.

Did I think it was OK on some level? Did I not want to embarrass him? Why was I the one who felt embarrassed when he was the a**hole feeling me up? Was I flattered in some creepy sh*tshow way? Why hadn’t my friend said something right then as he’d had my breast in his hand like it was his? And would I have said something if the situation was reversed and it was her breast and not mine? Oh, the shame. The hot shame on my face and my arm hairs standing on end, I felt incompatible with my own body as I pushed my eggs around in a soup of Cholula sauce.

My breasts felt like they were no longer part of me. It was if he’d walked away with them… or at least the one he’d fondled.

Why had I not said anything to stand up for myself? Perhaps on some level, I felt the disgust I’d always felt towards my breasts had called out to him, in their own subversive language that some people are trained to hear. Maybe he could smell the disgust on me, how much I hated the weight and size of them and the way they popped out of my bra on the sides (commonly referred to as “side boob.”) Maybe he had sensed the hatred I had towards my own body and how I’d fallen into the anorexia trap when I’d gone to a doctor at 17 and asked for a breast reduction. “Breast reduction? You don’t need it. Lose five pounds.”

I wonder how many times we swallow our words. Women. Men. All of us stuffing down what we want (or don’t want) for a variety of often psychologically confusing reasons.

Thirdly, don’t talk shit to yourself because you are the only you you got. (Say you one more time.) You. You are the shit. Don’t talk shit. Your heart hears you. Your body feels the abuse. You can only take so much.

Lastly, there are no happy endings. There is just happy RIGHT NOW.  (I hope I didn’t just depress you but hey, true story.) The joke that “If I get that job then I will be happy.” Or, “If I lose weight I will be happy,” is a terrible lie. It makes you a rat on the wheel WhenIGetThere. The wheel of IAmAlmostThere. The wheel of IWillBeHappyLater. Be happy now. (If you want. I’m so not here to tell you what to do or how to feel.) Find something beautiful. Including yourself. Find something to say thank you for. Find one good thing. Tell me one good thing. But don’t you dare tell me my ass is too big.

ps- If you want to sponsor a girl to go email me asap at jen@jenniferpastiloff with Girl Power in subject.

 

See you at Girl Power: You Are Enough. Please spread the word. Princeton is 13 and up Sep 19 and NYC is 16 and up Sep 20. Tell your daughters and your friends and everyone. This is my mission right now and I will NOT give up. Not now. Not ever. Please share this blog post and this message. You are enough. No matter what. See you in Chicago on saturday!! My first time there and it is sold out! So excited to meet so many of you.

 

(ps because so many have asked.. the pants are Tanya-b and the hat I never remove is Electric & Rose. The Lover top is Spiritual Gangster.)

Here is a video I made yesterday on taking a risk. And having it be harder than you thought. And on being enough.

Was pretty scary to be so honest but hey. I didn’t die.

If you haven’t signed up for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s new newsletter Lenny, do it here. 

 

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on Jan 11, 2016. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation. Click photo to book.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on Jan 11, 2016. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation. Click photo to book.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Anonymousness August 18, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    this is perhaps something i totally needed to hear today.
    this recently happened to me and it upset me for weeks and weeks …. up until today i was still pondering over it …
    hating myself when looking in the mirror ….
    thinking i wasnt good enough?
    that i needed to starve myself to fit other peoples versions of me …
    thank you.

  • Reply Virginia August 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Hey Jennifer — I see your stuff because I have friends from the Antioch MFA program. I graduated in 2002 at the age of 60. I am an old broad and I still struggle with body image every single day. I am 5’10” and when I was 30 I weighed 130 and wore a size 3. I’m still the same height but now I weigh 200 and wear a size 18. When I was 45 (and after 2 kids) I weighed 160 and wore a size 14. I had a person I admired tell me she “just wanted me to be thin and beautiful again.” That goes around and around in my head all these years later. And yes it is now a health issue, and I am working on it. But until I can accept myself as I am right now, I know achieving a healthy body will be farther and farther from my reach. So thanks for your words. And remember that those of us out there still feeling so bad about not having the body of Jane Fonda even in our 70’s and beyond, are still struggling with body image. Can you believe it? Our society never lets us forget for one minute that there are others out there who are in their perfect bodies and if we just wanted to bad enough, we’d be perfect too. Keep up the good work, nothing is more important than reaching young people with this message. So much wasted time thinking about how we look!!

  • Reply Jane August 18, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    I gained a lot of weight when I quit smoking 3 years ago. Instead of being so proud of myself, I’ve focused on the weight gain. I’ve been working out, etc. I am healthier and stronger than I have ever been, yet the weight thing seeps into all of my thoughts. I need to stop the negative self talk. Your words have helped so very much. Thank you for all you do.

    • Reply Renee Greiner August 24, 2015 at 9:34 am

      I also gained weight when I quit smoking; in fact, I couldn’t quit for so long because I knew I would gain some weight. You are amazing, you did it; I don’t know your relationship with food at all, but I know for me, what has been most important is to be loving towards myself if/when I decide to overeat. I mean as you just said, “I am healthier and strong than I have ever been.” That’s amazing, something to celebrate.

      I’m proud of you, yay. I get it, quitting smoking is so hard that many non-smokers can’t wrap their heads around it.

  • Reply Kami August 18, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Thank you Jen for your words….. About 6 years ago I lost 75lbs and was so happy in my skin… But then slowly the weight started creeping back up (between 20 and 30 lbs) I just didn’t stay strict on my foods and exercise and then of course I began self hating again…. “You aren’t good enough, you are too lazy, you will never have the dancer body you once had” … I have now been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and realize that I will have a hard time with my weight (until I get things dialed in)…. Now I realize also that this body, the only one I have has been pretty fucking amazing and it has NEVER failed me. Not when I was drinking and doing drugs, not when I was dancing 7 days a week for hours on end… Never has it failed me..it has loved me and taken care of me… Now it is time I feel the same about it! I am enough! You are enough! We are enough!

  • Reply Dina August 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I lost 170 pounds ten years ago then I gained a lot back then lost some then found some of that.
    Anyway, I have an internal self-loathing dialogue a lot…I am 42…and trying not to do it anymore. I am the youngest of 5 girls. I am the one who has been there for everyone…always in my family. I work my butt off at a demanding job. I am THE BEST dang puppy mommy to three in da universe and I am a faithful loving wife to a man who showers me with love and affection.
    Two of my sisters are runners, beautiful (on the outside) and skinny! I am fat…really fat…but I am a really good person. It boggles my mind that they are acceptable by society as “great people” when I am often judged as lazy, etc. If they only knew!!!!!
    My Dad passed away unexpectedly in December…the only thing to bring my sommmmme comfort is that I have few regrets. I loved him, he knew it and I showed it, daily. I don’t know how my sisters can even exist with their selfish histories.
    I gave a lot and I mean a lot of $ to one of my “beautiful” sisters. Only ONCE did I say I needed one particular amount paid back…it was for 2 of her car payments, totaling $1300. I had given tens of thousands but was at the point I needed it back out of her soon to be coming $3600 tax refund. When the tax refund came in, my mom said “Don’t forget to pay Dina back the $1300.” My sister said “Fuck that fat cunt, she can always come up with money.” Sad thing is, I heard that and it barely phased me.
    My husband and I are waiting to adopt…we lost our biological child 9 years ago during our pregnancy, then could not get pregnant again, we tried IVF and I got a blood clot, we has three failed adoption attempts through foster care…We brought home a newborn last August and lost him to a horrible aunt of his in December, 2 weeks after my Dad died…in the past few years I was diagnosed with Lupus and 10 years ago our SUV rolled over and I broke my arm and neck…that is barely the tip of my shit iceberg yet I wake up, show up and am a stand up person. BUT I eat…I love food…it is my Achilles heel. I eat a lot of healthy food too…I exercise and I try, every day…I hate that my weakness hangs from my stomach, thighs and arms. And that is defines me to many. While “pretty” people don’t always = good, better, etc. The things family, “friends” and strangers have said to me would make you cry…at least they made me cry, oh…and eat. Soooooo not so smart anyone who doesn’t like looking at my fat. And not to be totally obnoxious but I am actually not horrible looking…and I put effort into looking as good as I can. Oh well.
    I feed the homeless every few weeks…buy, cook, bring, set up on a street corner, serve and connect. I do selfless things to honor my wonderful giving beautiful father…who was also overweight. If I am following in his footsteps, I am proud.
    I won’t hate people who judge me…I will feel bad for them because if their life is defined by looks, they are missing out on a lot.
    Wow, didn’t think all that was gonna come out!!!!!!
    Love you Jen!

    • Reply Jane August 19, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      You are wonderful, Dina! We need more people like you on this planet. ?

  • Reply Dena August 19, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Who made men “God” to judge our bodies as such!!!!I bet the guy who touched you had a small !@#$!

  • Reply Lisa August 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    When I was around 12 or 13, I was lying on my grandparents’ floor in their living room watching TV. My grandpa put his foot on my butt as he walked by and said “you’re getting pretty wide these days”. My mother was livid but in shock and said nothing. I brushed it off but in the car home my mom expressed her anger and disgust at the comment. It stuck with me. Not only what he said but how it hurt my mom. I thought that if I lost weight I wouldn’t deal with people teasing me and my mom wouldn’t have to worry or be sad for me.

    Today I am a dance teacher, musician and performer. Much of the time when I am dancing in the mirror I look at my body and don’t give a flying rat’s a*# about how it looks (and the little ponch belly that I have). I am just so happy to be moving. Sometimes, however, I do go to that place of “I should be much leaner if I’m calling myself a dancer and dance teacher”.

    I teach about self-love because I need it, too. I preach to my students to celebrate who they are (inside and out) because I need the reminder. Thank you for your vulnerability and for creating space for women to speak and be heard and to cry and laugh and celebrate our bodies and ourselves. Much love!

  • Reply Anonymous August 19, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I was horrendously bullied from kindergarten until eighth grade for being overweight. Even when, in between sixth and seventh grade, I lost a lot of weight because the medical condition that was causing the weight gain was identified and treated, I was then bullied for having to have lost the weight in the first place. I was ridiculed for spending my summer “getting skinny” even though I really didn’t do anything to get skinny except do what the doctors told me.

    As an overweight adult, I spend a lot of my waking hours afraid of what might be said about my weight. I’m afraid to eat in public, even if I haven’t eaten all day. I really don’t want to talk about your food or my food or anything related to fucking food. I am afraid to meet new people, I am afraid of women in groups – and I am only afraid of those things because of what I look like. All the cyclical thoughts in my head throughout the days somehow come back to what I look like.

    I’ve lost over 60lbs over the past year and I don’t want to talk about or hear about that either. I don’t tell anyone that I’ve lost that weight. I don’t feel like I look different. I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to talk about it. It is not a big deal to me, and it is everything to me. It is a byproduct of a lifestyle change. It doesn’t need to be a topic of discussion. Well-meaning colleagues and friends who call out things like “OMG, skinny mini, you’re fading away to nothing” are ASSHOLES to me in my head (and, I am still overweight, so they aren’t even realistic). I want to scream at them to shut up. And not ask me how much weight I’ve lost or what I’m doing to lose it. I want to be invisible about anything related to what my body looks like, ok?

    I don’t know what I would do now, as an adult, if someone came up to me and made a horrendously ignorant and insensitive comment about my weight, like the ones talked about in this blog. I want to say I would punch them in the face – but I would likely just cry and apologize.

    I don’t know why humans do these things to one another.

  • Reply Something Good | A Thousand Shades of Gray August 24, 2015 at 6:33 am

    […] 23. You Really Should Be Skinnier. […]

    • Reply Jane August 24, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you, Renee!

  • Reply Krista October 24, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    This is amazing. I’ve been needing to hear these words. It’s funny how words stick so much more when someone else says it, good or bad. Thank you for saying the good and reminding me not to care so much what I look like or what others think. I just did one of your videos on oneOeight, and right now I am feeling as though I am enough and to be free of worry. So, thank you Jen!

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