8.16.2011

The Skinny {We're Being Invaded}

 Illustration Via Garance Dore


So, I've been wondering how to write about how uncomfortable I am with New York's obsession with being skinny. For weeks I have thought it feels like all the girls here look like the girls Garance Dore photographs for her blog. (To be fair, it's not just the females, the males are just as bad--I'm merely focusing on my own sex for the purposes of this post.) In our second week I distinctly remember sitting down to Greek food with Darling and asking him if he had seen any fat people in New York? 

Before moving, I imagined that I would feel plain. But I have never felt so plain or pudgy as an ongoing personal characteristic and not just a pms thing. It's absolutely superficial, but it's also deeply personal. It's me, my body, the casing for all that I am and that which I present to the world and myself! For the past few years I've been feeling like I had really gotten past my insecurities and body issues (aside from my shopping problems) and felt like I was in a good place with myself but I suppose these things are relative. 

It's New York City! Anyone can be whoever the hell they want to be and own it, and they do! And along comes little mountain town, South'rn, country ME and I've felt like Sarah Plain And Tall for the last month. The more I explore the city, however, the more I actually suspect that the East Coast has been invaded by freakishly thin, beautiful, Swedish-model-aliens. Okay, so that's a bit extreme, its not just the Swedish looking ones, it's inclusive across all cultures and ethnicities. They have the uncanny ability to look carelessly beautiful, subtle to no makeup, wearing the most amazing clothes and shoes that are immaculate and rarely trying-too-hard. Swedish-alien-models are also almost always "vegan" or "vegetarian" which I believe has very little investment in animal welfare and is actually just another reason to not eat. Not to mention that it seems much of the population compulsively works out. It feels like a lot to keep up with, and completely unnatural for me to try and do so. 

So whatever, I guess that's just how it is, my opinion of what surrounds me doesn't change the reality of what's there but I have experienced these feelings of inadequacy and hyperconsciousness of my physical appearance as a huge, strange part of the culture shock of living here. I felt a sliver of relief today when the aforementioned Garance wrote this post making similar observations, like I wasn't the only one out of my element. Of course, she's coming at it from a completely different perspective; working in fashion, moving from Paris... but I think she accurately describes some of what I see and feel. Although, for the record, I'm giving myself a one-up on her as I think that coming from the South is a much bigger cultural jump than the transatlantic City of Light, no?

We'll see. Don't get me wrong, just read a post down and you'll see that I've been having a great time here, but I'd be lying if I told you there was no adjustment. I also suspect that a lot of my feeling out of place here has a lot to do with me not really having a community. Although I know people here, it doesn't really feel like we're friends in that truer sense of the word. I haven't yet found a job, or found anything to call my own. I feel like a tourist and suspect I will for some time. Currently, my world expands little outside of Darling, Cash and our dog trainer. Don't get me wrong, god, I can't imagine if I were doing this without them! I'm grateful that something is comfortable and homey,  but I feel like a little establishment and grounding in the city will make it seem a little less vast.

3 comments:

Ryan & Amanda said...

I love your updates, and I love that I can semi-vicariously live in NYC through you. It all sounds amazing, I am glad you are enjoying it!! And I totally agree about the too skinny-not worth it in my book though :) so just like the lady you linked to-I will keep my muffin top!

Rachel Swan said...

I thought Garance's post was so interesting (and a bit sad, right?). I loved that she pointed out artificial growth hormones and the fact that NO ONE knows where there food is coming from or what is even in it, because no one is preparing their own food. Both super valid points on the US weight issue, but I'm still so confused about what the super skinnies eat? I understand the argument that they walk/bike everywhere, but it just doesn't seem natural or normal for all young women in one specific location to be SO thin. They have to be eating close to nothing.

Around these parts, and I think especially in the young mama crowd, we have two camps: The workout/dieting/totally obsessed with image, getting their bodies back, etc..., and the ladies that just don't care at all. I'm talking wearing pj's and slippies at the mall kind of ladies.

I prepare, eat, and thoroughly enjoy good food, hit up a few yoga classes a week, manage to get myself dressed before leaving my house, and I always treat myself to a good hair cut. But, I'm not crazy obsessed with being thin. I would literally have to starve myself and be totally focused calories in vs. calories out day after day. Not healthy, not balanced, not a happy life.

I'll keep eating delicious bread and cheese, and learn to accept the little extra belly that comes along with it. :)

Nathan said...

I know I haven't seen you in a while, I know that Tyler will probably read this, and who knows, McKenna may come in and read this; however, I feel inclined to say something about this...
I think you are beautiful and I think it would be a damn shame if you even tried to look like some sickly-swedish-model-looking-New-York-City girl. I also know that you're feeling better about yourself since I also read the post above this one; however, I just think you need not worry about how you look. I'm sure that Tyler thinks about how wonderful you look and appreciates you everyday. More importantly, I think you are a very strong and capable lady (I feel uncomfortable calling you a woman) who wouldn't take any shit from anybody. I recommend you just let some of that come out the next time you start to feel--or "see" like you say--like you're the ugly duckling walking the streets of the Big Apple. I think you're pretty bitchin' Emily and I wouldn't worry about a thing.