A photoshopped Valerie Bertinelli was on the cover of the Good Housekeeping magazine I decided to flip through today. I’m done taking my Kindle outside with the dogs, at least until the mud dries. Story for another time.
Back to Valerie.
There she was, smiling her beautiful smile and assuring me that I can choose to be happy. I do agree with that premise, and I do think she’s one of the prettiest women in Hollywood. I always wanted to look like her when I was a little girl. So I was excited to catch up with her and read all about her Choices of Happiness.
Right off the bat the story dove in with body talk. Here is a person who has had a successful decades-long career in a difficult business, who has met thousands of interesting people along the way. And the conversation jumps right in to chatter about her pedicure and successful weight loss.
I cant help but think that this type of thinking makes the Choice Of Happiness a lot more difficult for those women who can’t maintain a weight “between 127 and 134 pounds.” it seems to say that the most valuable thing about a person is their appearance. (And I do note that her beauty is the first thing I mention here. While that was not designed to make my point I’ll humbly assert that ive grown up in this world I now rail against.)
I started to feel the same pang of envy I get when my friends talk about running as soon as Bertinelli told the journalist that is how she maintains her health. One of the things I miss most is the freedom and the push I used to feel when I ran and danced. I still get exercise but it doesn’t feel the same. Other methods are so dull compared to just flying as fast and hard as your body can go. But sometimes you just…choose to be happy in spite of what you have not got.
Then came the kicker. The part where I yelled “aha! The game is afoot!”* The** interview segued from running into Jenny Craig. You know–the people who pay Bertinelli to stay unfat.
She has all her meals delivered to her, fully prepared.
Now it isn’t news–or it shouldn’t be–that weight is one of the classic demarkations of the de facto American Caste System. The more out of line you are with the BMI, the less money and less education you are assumed to have had. Nothing I write here will change that. (recognizing this is part of how I Choose to Be Happy)
But this is what I point to when people assume that fat is a byproduct of stupidity or laziness. I weighed my highest when I was working 50-60 hours a week in an intellectually challenging management position. Largely because the only food available to my time and budget was high-fat, high carb stuff. I was paid to manage artist and author contracts–not to be thin. And my meals were not paid for and tailored to my healthy living goals.
So yes, I applaud Bertinelli for her successes. I think it’s great. But I think it’s also my obligation to my Pre-teen nieces and the obligation of mothers everywhere to point out to the girls of the next generations that thinness for many people only happens as the end result of having a lot of money and being able to make your weight a full-time job. And if you are choosing to be happy there are a lot of other roads to travel.
* accidental running pun
** My autocorrect demon thinks that t. J. E. is how you are supposed to spell “the”. It also defaults to correcting my (insufferable to a lot of you) British spellings. You can usually tell if a post whas hacked out via iPad if the words are Americany looking.