Have you ever had one of those moments when the person you look up to and admire does or says something that you, yourself, have been trying to work on and change within yourself for years? And you think to yourself, “there’s no possible way someone of that stature would be dealing with that?” I had that moment last week.
Back when I was in treatment for my eating disorder over 8 years ago, we were asked to name females in the media that we looked up to. The group threw out a lot of names, but the one that came up again and again was Oprah. We all admired her incredible charity work, her drive to make an impact and her will to never give up. In our eyes she was our hero because regardless of her size and weight she still made a huge positive impact on other human lives and this is what so many of us wanted for ourselves.
Flash-forward to last week, and one of the most powerful and influential women of our time released a commercial that created a lot of buzz. Some women loved it and other women, like myself, felt really uncomfortable and even somewhat angry. And for those that fell into the second category, we were really confused as to why we felt this way; how could I be angry with this woman that so many admire and emulate, including myself? I was a bag of mixed emotions, that is, until I came across an open letter to Oprah from the MSNBC host, Melissa Harris-Perry. Check out her letter below:
The reason I share this with you today is because as the new year ushers in thoughts of weight loss goals, you might be tinkering or fully immersed in the quest for the “my best body ever” year, and I want you to ask yourself the same thing Melissa Harris-Perry is telling Ms. O,
“Name one thing you did last year that you are truly proud of, that would have been more extraordinary if you would have done it with a 25 inch waist?”
So many of us put off our deeply fulfilling goals until we think we look “like the woman we know we can be” and that is just plain sad and to hear this kind of statement come out of the mouth of one of the most accomplished females of our time is heartbreaking. If Oprah can’t even be proud of herself regardless of her appearance is there any hope for the rest of us?
The answer is yes. This past year, I have been fortunate enough to meet some pretty phenomenal women that have accomplished something even Oprah herself has not yet achieved, self-acceptance. And knowing that these women are out there gives me and many others hope that they too can accept their body and be proud of all the good they do in the world regardless of their size and weight. Here is a video of my friend, Dianne Bondy, doing just that
So as we enter into the new year with the possibility of the “new you” being a primary goal, let me remind you just as Melissa Harris-Perry reminded Oprah,
“I don’t care if you ever achieve a goal weight, because you have already achieved such weighty goals”.