If there’s one thing I’d like to do in 2016, it’s get over this whole thing about being uncomfortable in my own skin. At my age, and I’m not telling, it’s obvious my shape and size aren’t about to change significantly. I have areas that I hate–stomach, thighs. I could go on but depression is setting in. I’m sure you have your own list even if you weigh 98 pounds dripping wet. It’s a female thing mostly. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Good question. The result of this personal hate thing is that we diet, exercise and make resolutions that set us up for failure. It’s really bad during teen years. But we don’t outgrow it. Especially if life throws us curve balls that just reinforce that self-hate. A boyfriend dumps us. A mean girl makes a remark that sets up a tape in our heads every time we go bathing suit shopping. You know what I mean.
I just got back from a trip to a beach resort. We had to spend a lot of time by the pool. In a swimsuit. I didn’t love it. Coverups were my friend. Which was silly. How tan can you get in a coverup? But then again, who is going to see that tan when I swath myself in fabric most of the time anyway? It’s a vicious cycle. I’m attaching here a book review I put on Goodreads. “Dumplin'” is a well-written book that hits this problem like a hammer on a nail. The girls in the novel all have the same issues I’m still working on decades later. It’s a shame. Have a comment? I’d love to hear from you.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The title and cover copy hooked me. An admittedly fat girl from a small town in Texas enters a beauty pageant. Okay, so I’m from Texas and have my own body issues. If you’re a woman and don’t, go back to your home planet. The voice is funny, sad and intriguing. Willowdean doesn’t have a boyfriend and starts the book never even been kissed. She’s on the verge of her sixteenth birthday. When a good-looking boy shows interest, she doesn’t believe it. I loved the small town vibe, the easy reading and the whole Dolly Parton theme. But the real hook is the way we get the emotional truth about girls this age coming to terms with how to love themselves. Do they in the end? Read it and see. It’s not laugh out loud, how could it be? This is serious stuff, girls. But it is heartwarming. Teens should read it and think about the message. There are a great variety of issues touched on here, something for everyone.