Friday, May 6, 2011

Today is National No Diet Day! And now for something completely different...

Yes, boys and girls, this blog is about death.  Why?  Because I'm writing a book about it and I'm trying to build my media platform.  But, I also want to write in support of fellow writers that I like and that you should like too.  And that brings me to Kim.

“Every weight loss program, no matter how positively it’s packaged, whispers to you that you’re not right.  You’re not good enough.  You’re unacceptable  and you need to be fixed.”  Kim Brittingham

     I don’t know if it’s because I came of age in the consumer excess of the eighties, or if it’s just a byproduct of being born female, but as a result of one or maybe both of these conditions, I used to believe in the possibility of magical transformation through acquisition of something that existed outside of myself.  For example, in the sixth grade, I felt that owning a pair of leather Nike tennis shoes with a blue swoosh on the side would make me happier.  I begged and I pleaded with my single mother, insisting against her resistance that my happiness was dependent on possessing a pair of $50 shoes.  Everyone else had them, so why can’t I? 
     Well, for one, we were broke.  So I scrimped and I saved and I bought the dang shoes.  I wore them every day until my big toes eventually pushed their way out of the top of the well worn leather.  Despite the fact that they adorned my feet in every waking hour of my adolescent life, I didn’t feel any different.  So now what?  Well, I’ll tell you. The search began for the next perfect thing to make me feel different, better and/or happier.  Since overpriced tennis shoes didn’t do the trick right out of the starting gate, the next most obvious choice for my 1982 suburbia dwelling self were designer jeans.  There were so many to choose from—Sasson, Jordache, Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt.  I tried them all and nothing made me feel any better.  Then it was purses and shoes and sweaters—Oh, MY!  Finally, it became hair care products—I felt that the perfect shampoo/conditioner combo would tame my frizzy hair and solve all the kinks of my crooked life.  Wrong.
     What this long winded intro brings me to is a new book by Kim Brittingham called, “Read My Hips:  How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting and Live Large.”  Before I go further, I must be honest—I know Kim and consider her a friend.  So, the conspiracy theorists out there are probably saying, “Well of course you are going to like her book.”  Obviously, you don’t know me.  I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it if it wasn’t good.  And it is good.  This collection of essays will make you laugh, some will make you cry—Fat Aunt Phyllis—and others just might make you want to throw away your skinny jeans.  (You know the pair.  The perfectly faded Levi’s from 96 that will never, ever go over your hips again because you’ve had two children and you like ice cream and Nutella way too much.)
     The essays in this collection are about Kim’s journey to acceptance.  Of herself.  Just the way she is.  And although I’m a size 10 and have been since high school, this book was still relatable to me.  I’ve known since youth that I didn’t fit the mold in our society.  I was tall, pasty white and frizzy haired.  In other words, I was wrong.  Since women in our society are lead to believe that they have to go through some sort of outside physical transformation to achieve an inner happiness, Kim points out through the essays in her book that it isn’t losing weight that is going to bring about the new you—that my dear, resides already within you.  It’s a choice.  But, it isn’t a self help book.  It’s one woman’s kick ass journey that is filled with charming wit and beautiful prose.
     Through the years, I’ve watched Kim on her journey to publication.  I hope that the irony of this situation of acquisition of that something outside of ourselves isn’t lost on Kim with the publication of this book.  Because, the minute she decided to be a writer, she was—published or not.  And I’m so proud of her. 
You too can buy a copy of Kim’s fantabulous book at any brick and mortar book seller or simply get it here

Read My Hips

2 comments:

  1. Well said, to the both of you. I really do want to check out her book.

    I am torn sometimes on our "war on obesity." On the one hand, Americans do tend to overeat and under-exercise. On the other hand, I never really cared about weight itself. I honestly have no idea how much I weigh. Might be 120, might be 160. (OK, it's almost definitely not 120.) I want to get in better shape, but only because I'd like to feel better.

    And yes, the constant quest for the next thing to improve is particularly pernicious. You hit it on the head. I remember being obsessed in fourth and fifth grade with those plastic clip things for baggy shirts. I thought they would make me cool. Unsurprisingly, they did not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There are whole industries built on the notion that women are wrong just the way they are. They create a fear and then a product that will magically fix the "problem" and make it all better. The feminine hygiene industry comes to mind. Gee, should I really smell spring time fresh instead of how I smell naturally?

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome and appreciated!