For my birthday, my dear friend Lauren got me a copy of the book How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and it is seriously one of the most amazing books I have ever read. In terms of life-affirming books — you know, those books that read like your own autobiography and actually make your weirdness feel, well, normal — this is right up there with Quiet: The Power of Introverts.
Each chapter is titled with spectacular exclamation point jazz hands, such as I START BLEEDING! and I ENCOUNTER SOME SEXISM! She’s snarky and fabulous and SOMETIMES SPEAKS IN ALL CAPS.
We’re basically the same person. Only, y’know, she’s British and I’m American. BUT STILL.
I keep a list of books I wish I had written and this is now on that list.
One of the chapters is titled, naturally, I AM FAT!
“First of all, I think we should agree on what ‘fat’ actually is. Obviously, norms of beauty come and go, and there are extremes of metabolism and build — that big-boned thing is TRUE! I only found out recently! Compared to Kylie Minogue, I genuinely have the bones of a mastodon! I would NEVER have fit into those gold hot pants because I have got TOO MUCH CALCIUM!”
That’s totally my problem, too. It’s all that silly calcium!
“You could spend the rest of your life obsessing about the crenellations on the backs of your thighs, the beer-barrel swell of your belly, or the fact that, when you run, you can feel your buttocks banging against each other like a set of clackers. But to do that would be to operate on the subconscious assumption that, at some point, you will be forced to appear in front of people naked and judged out of ten and — as we have discussed before — THIS ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN UNLESS YOU ENTER AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. What happens in your bra and undies STAYS in your bra and undies. If you can find a frock you look nice in and can run up three flights of stairs, you’re not fat.”
Granted, I can’t run up three flights of stairs (I don’t think. I’ve never actually tried it before. Mainly, because, well, who the hell wants to run up three flights of stairs?) but I think Caitlin’s point still remains — if you can find clothes that make you feel confident and you’re a relatively active person, don’t stress yourself out by making the scale the end all be all and don’t talk yourself down by using ugly words like “fat.”
Now, I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but here in the Land of Cleves we are dealing with sub-zero temps. Which means it’s a perfect day to stay at home reading and drinking coffee slash tea and cuddling up with your dogs slash cats (if you’re one of those lucky people who doesn’t have to be at work UNLIKE MYSELF). So if you are in need of a book to read on this blistery January day, I highly recommend How To Be a Woman.
You can thank me later.
Love from the ashes,