By Jen Pastiloff
Hi! Gotta make this quick because I am packing to leave for Italy. I am leading a retreat there starting Saturday. I am not packed and I leave in two hours. I rule.
So, the demons have been back lately. I have been struggling. Who knows why? Free floating anxiety, not-so free floating, the kind that latches on and pulls me down real low to the earth, the kind that sits on my chest and won’t get off like a little bitch. Even when I call it a little bitch, it won’t get off. I have been watching Orange is The New Black and I’m all prisony. And yea, I too have a crush on the new girl on it. Ruby Rose. But I also have a crush on Pennsatucky and Black Cindy and Poussey and Taystee. And the whole show. I want to marry it! I am five years old. I love it so much that I want to marry it.
Anyway, the little bitch that is anxiety won’t get off my chest so my breathing is shallow and I feel ungrounded, like I am floating, except that sounds kind of nice, and anxiety is not nice, so less like floating and more like a walking dead person. A walking panicky dead person. I hide it well. Probably not, actually. Ask any of my friends who get crazy texts from me.
In case you are new to my blog or my work, I had a severe eating disorder. It still haunts me at times. Anorexia and over-exercising. Like 5 hours a day exercising. Meh. (I probably could do that again if I could watch Orange is The New Black the whole time but nah. Gross.)
I posted this video on my instagram and challenged women (and men if they want to play too) to post a picture or video of their body using the hashtag #iLovemybody and #girlpoweryouareenough. My friend Maggie tweeted me this:
@JenPastiloff I think she’s just saying that you are awesome to accept yourself exactly as you are, when she can’t do the same.
Because I had gotten a comment on the video that said this:
“My belly looks exactly the same and I am unhappy because of it.”
The woman, by the way, clarified that she in no way meant it to be hurtful. Maggie was letting me know that I am an “inspiration” because I accept myself as I am.
shit I struggle.
I struggle. But you know what? How can I be teaching young women that they are enough if I believe I am not? I refuse to be a hypocrite. I will never be perfect. Ever. Thank God. But, I will do my best to challenge the beliefs we have imbedded into our psyches, that to be enough- to be considered beautiful, we must be thin and white and whatever other dumbass patriarchal brainwashing notions of “perfection” they have slapped onto us and into our minds. It’s a prison. Yea, okay, Orange is the New black is on my mind, but still, it’s a prison of perfection. I refuse. So, when I feel that anxiety sitting on my chest, that prison bitch with her hairy ass, sitting on my lungs, I do what anyone would do. I grab my belly fat, make it talk, and then, post it on the interwebs.
Why? A couple reasons. One: I want to be brave. I want to lead by example. I want to change my mind and the world’s collective mind about what it means to be beautiful. I want to be able to laugh at myself, every day. Err damn day.
I want to accept myself as I am. I want to hold myself accountable. I want to define what it means to be a woman for myself.
So much of it, for me at least, has to do with control. Lately, I feel out of control (book being sold, so much travel, things up in the air, I am a walking cliche.) But I do. I feel out of control. What then do I focus on? That’s right, kids. The body. My body. And I want to punish it and abuse it and tell it to fuck off.
So today, I won’t.
Instead, I grab my belly fat and make it talk and remind myself that I am indeed enough. No matter what. No matter when. No matter if. No matter.
I challenge you to do this.
Okay, I gotta pack. For real. I will be posting a lot on instagram and snapchat (@jenpastiloff) from Europe. I will be getting drunk in the airport in a few short hours. Unless I miss my flight. Then I will cry. That’s all. Bye.
I love you.
ps- I have only two spots left for my Tuscany fall retreat. I am doing two. I am a badass. Be a badass, not an asshole.
pps- I also have a crush on Natasha Lyonne and Laverne Cox.