Write Your Hips: Meet Heather Gruber!

Welcome back to a feature of this blog I call “Write Your Hips”. It’s dedicated to individuals who read my memoir, Read My Hips, and were inspired to write about their own experiences related to body image.

Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to the writing of:

Heather Gruber!

I read some blog posts on Kim Brittingham’s site.  They left me inspired to start my own blog.

Kim Brittingham wrote an amazing memoir called Read My Hips. In it, Kim Brittingham chronicles her weight and body image issues. She pours out all the pain that comes with hating your body and yourself, and ultimately comes to a sense of peace with her body and life. I think most women in America can relate to a lack of self-confidence when it comes to your body.

I have struggled for many years to feel like I’m not fat and repulsive. Growing up alongside my very slight-built and wonderful cousin (let’s call her “Elaine”) I always felt like I was too large to be attractive.

One day, I starved myself, and fed Elaine everything in the kitchen. I just couldn’t handle feeling “fat”. I wanted to feel in control of my body. I wanted to be transparently thin.

My cousin is not the only woman I compared myself to. All my friends are gorgeous in the eyes of American society. They are fit, they eat healthy, and men flock to them. When I was in junior high, I watched boys kiss my friend Hannah’s thin hand, while I stayed beside her, invisible.

In high school, my worth equated to how many men were interested in me. I had a few boys that liked me, but it was never enough. Something kept me back as I looked at my thick tummy and thighs.

College brought on a new self-confidence, because I found intellectualism to define me. I no longer needed my physique to show me the way to who I was.

I also didn’t need the attention of men to make me feel good. I was smart, and that was all that mattered.

Intellectualism also led me to critical thinking, and then I was able to reassess what beauty is and why it matters so much.

Let’s face it, women’s bodies have been art objects for thousands of years. Go into an art museum, and count how many boobs you see! Then count how many naked men you see. I’m sure most of you are aware of this disparity.

Now, it’s not only art that objectifies women, but it’s magazines, television, etc. It takes a great deal of mental energy to ignore the emphasis on women’s bodies.

It takes a great deal of mental energy some days just to get dressed, look at yourself in the mirror, thank your body, then get on with your life.

We are not our bodies entirely, but they deserve a lot of attention. Kim Brittingham compares her body parts to things found in nature, her dimples of cellulite like flecks of sand. Now, if we can say, “I love you, body, but I am actually an intellectual, mom, artist, writer, singer, lady of leisure”, whatever, we will be happier for it!

I still have days when I look in the mirror and feel like I should be rail thin. I might cry, or feel sorry for myself. But it passes, as all difficult feelings in life seem to do.

If you’re lucky, you have a favorite outfit or lipstick you can put on to feel confident in the world.

At the end of the day, you have a wonderful body no matter what, but what really matters is your character. What really matters are the things that make you feel passionate and alive. Pardon me for being cliché, but it’s true!

– by Heather Gruber

* * * * * * * *

Heather, you are an inspiration.  Thank you for this beautiful post!

Would you like to share your story of how Read My Hips inspired you, changed you, or just plain sounded familiar? E-mail Kim Brittingham.

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