I have a modern day dilemma. It goes something like this: why would I want to enter into an industry where everyone has an eating disorder, where in order to succeed one must be beyond thin? Is it possible to be a successful actress and live in one's normal body?
Did anyone catch the globes? Did anyone happen to see Sally Hawkins, winner of the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical? Oh boy. All I can do is slowly exhale when I think about it. She was so thin. Emaciated thin. I will be the first to admit that I, like so may others, consider a thin body to be at the apex of what is beautiful. Not because society deems it so, but because I consider it so (well, but then I have to think about what influence society has on my own beliefs, etc. etc.--a whole pyschological probe that I don't have time to invest in today (and probably don't want to)). The point is, even I, in all my distorted splendor, looked at her and felt squeamish. And then sad. So thin was she that my friend described her as saying, "do not pass go, do not collect $200." I asked someone in the know, about the actresses there,
"please tell me what are they doing--are any of them healthy?"
"Very few" he said. "Look at the actresses that you really respect, who's work speaks for them--those, those are the actresses who are healthy."
"Cate Blanchett?" I asked, "but she's so thin."
"And yet she doesn't suffer form an eating disorder."
Oh. Oh. Oh.
So this morning I had a lovely breakfast with Naomi...
(trying to fill the necessary picture quota)
...and I said..."how can I go into a business where everyone suffers from it, but no one opens their mouth to say anything?"
And in all her wise glory Naomi said the following: "People suffer from it in the business, as well as outside of it. You won't escape it by choosing another career path. You're going to face it everywhere, you might as well face it while doing what you love."
And there it was, God's miracle: infinite wisdom in the form of my many friends.
Dr. Bob once told me that the actresses who handle the issue of weigh the best, are the ones who recognize it's just a part of their job. Just as executives are forced to wear a suit, so are actors expected to go to the gym and look their best. It may not be right, but it's part of the business. This makes sense to me. I can do this. It's like wearing a suit. And I want to wear a suit that I feel comfortable in.
I've made great strides in coming to terms with the body I have. That doesn't mean I don't want to lose weight. I've hid from the scale for...oh, I don't even know how long now. I've asked to not have my weight measured when I go to the doctor (you can do that--did you know? though if it's been a year, they'll make you climb up there anyway). I've stopped wearing jeans all together. And I've avoided cameras at all costs. So the other day, in an effort act courageously, I met my long lost friend, the scale. Yes, I know, you're wondering about my choice of the word, "friend". Well, the scale is just a feedback mechanism. And whether or not I like the number I see, the scale is just letting me know where I stand. Good friends do that, they tell you like it is.
Well, I didn't like the number I saw. Not one bit. But I didn't fall apart. And for that reason, I get to rejoice. And take action. More vegetables, more fruit. Less processed junk. Because in the end it's not about a number on the scale, it's about my cholesterol, and thyroid function, and resting heart rate. I want to be healthier. I pledge to be healthier. Here and now I pledge to embrace the long-forgotten fruits and vegetables (mothers the world round can now rejoice!). And water, I can't forget water. I embrace health. And the power of foods that give me the energy to keep fighting the good fight.
And if the number on the scale goes down at all, well then that would be one of God's many miracles too. But it's not the point. And that is the point.