I have dieted – off and on – since I was in second grade. Yes, you read that right. Second grade! Of course, I never really told anyone I was “dieting” when I was that young; my parents just probably assumed I was being a picky eater whenever they noticed me eating less.
It’s crazy to think that a second grader could ever possibly be concerned about how fat or skinny she is. But I was. There was a girl in my class that I thought was so cute and I wanted to look just like her. She was blonde and blue-eyed – I had brown hair and dark brown eyes – and she probably weighed about ten pounds less than I did. I never knew that for a fact because who weighs themselves at age seven? All I knew was she was thinner … so I had to be thinner!
Where does this come from? This obsessive comparing ourselves to others? This obsession of trying to turn ourselves into the other?
I’ve asked my husband before if he ever tried to make himself look like someone else … his one word answer said it all – “WHY?”
Indeed. WHY? Why would we try to look like someone else? Why would we try to be anything other than what we are?
And yet every year – every grade, every class … even into college – there was always some girl that I always found myself wishing that I looked like! The way I looked was never good enough. Never. Ever. I needed to be blonde or taller or green-eyed or thinner or shorter or red-headed or have bigger breasts. Why couldn’t I have that smile or that nose or those legs or those perfectly manicured hands?
You would think at my age ( I’m in my fifties ) that I would have matured, grown wiser, learned to appreciate myself for who I am. But you’d be wrong. I still struggle with the issue every single day. I still look in the mirror and wonder why I can’t look like super-model – appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in her sixties – Christie Brinkley.
You know why I don’t look like Christie Brinkley?
Because I’m not Christie Brinkley.
Seems simple enough, right? But yet still I compare myself to the likes of Brinkley all the time.
You know who my husband compares himself to?
I bet NOBODY looks good.