Monday, May 11, 2009

Self-loathing coated in butter.

How do you solve a problem like Kirstie Alley? She’s on the cover of People magazine this week, decrying the horror that is...well, her. Of course, she’s a horrible, disgusting human being because she’s “fallen off the wagon” and has gained 83 pounds as a result of de-Jenny Craigging herself in 2007. She’s at the shriek-inducing number of 228 pounds, which I haven’t seen myself since I was in high school, and so, like a good self-loathing fattie, she’s publicly deriding herself on a major magazine cover and on Oprah for being 58 years old and not looking like she did or weighing what she did when she was on “Cheers”...OVER 20 YEARS AGO.

There are comments on the article – I’d advise avoiding them, as it’s mostly the usual song and dance of “calories in/calories out”, “there’s no way she’s only 228 lbs, she must be 350 lbs.”, “embrace your size – but lose weight anyway!” and “it’s a lifestyle change!!!!” I swear to Christ, if there’s any cliche’d phrase I’d like to torpedo, it’s “IT’S A LIFESTYLE CHAAAAANGE!!!!” Say it in a really high-pitched voice to amp up the annoying factor. But at the same time, it’s an interesting microcosm of the hamster wheel so many people are stuck on. “I lost weight, it came back, and I lost weight, and it came back, and it lost weight, and it came back” is a common refrain among the commenters, but dammit, they are determined that this one last time, just this one...last...time, it is going to stick and stick hard and they are going to be the perfectest version of themselves that they know is hiding inside of them--! Oh, and the usual “I need to be around to see my grandchildren” gets dropped that I can so easily envision being said in a wobbly yet summoning up strength they had not known they had with tears dancing in their eyes sort of voice. This fat ain’t gonna lick me! No sir! I’m gonna spend my days counting my calories/points/eating my frozen NutriSystem meals/endlessly fretting about what I put in my mouth and one day, I’ll find me a man who loves me and get a real nice job in the big city and everything’ll be a-okay ‘cause I’ll be skinny and pretty and good!

Sorry – flight of fancy that probably should have stayed in my head. Though I do tend to have internal dialogues that wind up sounding like 40s melodramas. I’m not sure I have a point, exactly (and when do I, really), but when I read all of this horseshit I wish I had a scream as loud as an air raid siren so I could grab people’s attention but good and tell them that hating themselves is not going to be the magical key to weight loss and perfect health. Self-loathing is not a fucking character-builder. It doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t make you better. It’s just an ever-deepening, creepy-ass trap; a trap that is a huge moneymaker for corporations that do not have and never will have good intentions. You’re not disgusting. You’re not freakish. You’re not ugly. And you’re never going to be perfect. And holy shit, that is so okay.

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