I’m standing in front of the mirror and I’m ashamed. My hand creeps up and squeezes the fat roll showing through my gym clothes. It’s always there, no matter how hard I try.
You might say I have an average build, but I still think about “fat” every day. So do millions of others. I could survey the women I see in the gym and I’ll bet even the thin ones fear having fat. It’s because we put some much emphasis on looks.
Cass Elliot, the singer in the late 1960’s group the Mamas and The Papas, struggled with fat since she was seven. Trying to find success in an industry that frequently emphasizes looks over talent, she was always the unattractive one. “Being fat sets you apart,” she said. She didn’t mean it in a good way.
She initially said she’d never go on stage because the other woman in the band, Michelle Phillips, was thin and gorgeous. Fortunately, she changed her mind, but even when watching old YouTube videos of the group, I find myself comparing the two women. Strangely, I don’t compare the men.
She might have stated she was fine with her weight, but yet she tried dangerous diets. In 1968, after fasting four days a week for seven months, she lost 110 pounds and ended up in hospital.
Even her death shows how hard it is to be a large woman. Rolling Stone magazine helped the persistent story she choked on a ham sandwich while in bed. How frequently do we eat sandwiches in bed? There she was, a woman who couldn’t control herself.
She really died of heart failure.
Today’s a good day because I can wear my usual blouse and it doesn’t gap over the chest. But I still working on accepting that whatever I weigh, I’m okay.