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???
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.
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:
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.
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.