Saturday, May 14, 2011

Inevitable Sadness? My hesitancy to speak out sometimes.

Setting: On line at a crowded fast-food establishment. Various GIRLS are talking in separate, overlapping, frightening similar conversations.
Girl 1: Should I get one of those? Or two?
Girl 2: I don't know. You can get two, if you want. Whatever.
Girl 1: I mean, I am hungry. We won't eat for a while. And they're small, right?
Girl 2: Yeah, they're small. (nods affirmatively)
Girl 1: (opens mouth; pauses) I think I'll get two.
Girl 2: Okay. (lowers voice, turns toward Girl 1) We'll walk off whatever we eat anyway.
Girl 1: What? (laughs halfheartedly) That's not what I was talking about. I was afraid I'd get sick later.
Girl A: I'm so excited that I can get something. I lost seven pounds in the last two weeks.
Girl B: Cool. What did you do?
Girl A: I don't know. I've been exercising more, and eating sort of healthier, I guess.
Girl C: But how do you know you lost seven pounds?
Girl A: Well, I've been weighing myself.
Girl B: You know you're never supposed to weigh yourself!
Girl A: What? Why?
Girl C: A lot of girls who weigh themselves become obsessed. If you get to into it, you can become anorexic or bulimic or something.
Girl A: Well, I wouldn't do that! (pauses) I just want to lose a little weight.
Girls who seem so confident and strong- girls who ARE so confident and strong- can be broken by a milkshake. It's society's priorities that are screwing them up. They've overcome the hardest academic courses, the most grueling athletic practices, the most exhausting rehearsals. They make jokes and have many friends. They are so talented and kind. Yet, while in line for ten minutes, at least eighty percent of the conversation revolved around food choices, and not in a casual way. Each sentence was careful, critical, cautiously articulated. This never, ever fails to shock me.
It shocks and disappoints me even more that I feel paralyzed from saying anything. All I can visualize is me squeakily exclaiming, "Everyone is beautiful!" and no one even hearing what it took me so much courage to even say. While reading pieces that say that everyone is beautiful, I always feel compelled to just climb on a rooftop and shout it to girls far and wide. But when I'm actually there, in the position to make a difference, I tend to freak out. I don't know how to do it without sounding cliche, without sounding like a creep, without sounding fake. Maybe what I really can't take is the sadness that will come when I shout, "Everyone is beautiful!" and someone inevitably responds, "Bullshit."

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