Even as a little kid, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to write books. From reading and re-reading my little yellow-spined paperback copy of From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler until it literally fell apart; to sobbing hysterically over the pages of The Great Gilly Hopkins for the umpteenth time — I knew I wanted to be a grown-up who told stories from between two satisfyingly solid, tactile covers.
Funny thing, though — I never dreamed my big writing breakthrough would be the result of my struggle with fat.
I wasted decades of my life hating my body. I hated its shape. I hated its texture. When I was ten years old, I was convinced I had “old lady legs”. I thought my calves were too broad and flat and white to look young. I hated the way my upper arms spread out when they rested against my sides. I’d seen cheerleaders at school with fragile, twiggy calves and upper arms and assumed that’s what a girl’s limbs “should” look like. Why them? Because they were the girls I saw in advertising and on TV. They were the girls who got all the love. I concluded I must be a freak.
It was so sad. And twisted.
In the video book trailer for Read My Hips, I tell a story of just how extreme my misperception of my body was. I didn’t realize it until I went on the Today Show, and the producer asked me to dig up some photos of myself when I was younger. Boy, wait ’til you watch the trailer and see that story. It shocks everybody.
But I got over hating my body. In a big way. Finally, my eyes were opened.
In fact, they flew SO wide open that I began to see things I’d never seen before, with crystal clarity.
I saw how our culture actually creates girls – women – like me. Like the woman I used to be: brainwashed, distracted, self-loathing. Depressed, confused, desperate for all the wrong things.
That’s why I wrote Read My Hips. Because I wanted to help other misled gals wake up to what real health and happiness is — not the lies being fed to us by people with money to make on our misery.
I wrote Read My Hips because there were things I wanted other fat girls to know. And by “fat girls”, I mean both actual fat girls, and girls who just “feel” fat — which accounts for almost everyone in America with a vagina.
I wanted to tell you all, you’re not alone. That you have a kindred spirit in this all-American body image mess. That it’s entirely possible to jump off that crazy hamster wheel of self-hatred and failed diets for good and really be happy.
I hope you’ll read my story and understand how I came to be an anti-diet supporter of the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement and an activist and author for body positivity.
Oh, so you may be wondering why I went on the Today Show in the first place. It was before I wrote Read My Hips.
Actually, I went on TV to talk about a phony book. See, I decided to do a social experiment. I created a mock self-help book jacket with the title, Fat is Contagious: How Sitting Next to a Fat Person Can Make YOU Fat, wrapped it around a real book, and pretended to read it while riding the buses of New York City. Then, I wrote an essay about it, which you can read here.
When I’m not being quietly scandalous, I work as a ghostwriter and content developer at Kim Brittingham & Co. I also teach at Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City. I teach “How to Blog”, both online and in-person.
Want to say hi? Feel free. And thanks!