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I am touched by the responses here. I am in Florida, teaching a workshop on the crime novel, and this happens to be the faculty's one day off, so it was lovely to sleep in and then discover that this 2019 essay was finding new readers. A lot of stuff went down in the 3.5 years since I wrote this (for everyone, right?) and, in hindsight, I'm glad I had already started changing my relationship with my body and my attitudes about health and weight.

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Thank you, Laura, for letting me reprint this essay you first brought to me at Longreads in 2019! And for your smart post script! <3 <3 <3

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🫰🫰🫰🔥❤️❤️

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

I spent my entire 15th summer slathered in baby oil, eating the low-cal snack of frozen grapes (per Christie Brinkley) and turning my brown hair orange with Super Sun In spritz. I wanted to be blonde, tall, and tan , in other words, fuckable, though you’d never say that because then you’d be a slut. i made myself miserable. Girls trying to achieve the unachievable….we are robbed of carefree girlhood. Thank you for this!

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

That is exactly how I spent my 15th summer. Baby oil ( with Iodine) and Sun-In I was tan, had orange hair and was fucking always hungry. Unfortunately, I spent more than my 15th summer like that. I did finally stop the sun-in and eventually the baby-oil but it was not for another 40 years that I stopped being hungry.

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I’m so glad you stopped. Take good care.

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"No one can lift us up until we choose to leap."

Beautiful! A bold and loving examination of how women learn (and unlearn) to see themselves.

❤️☘️

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

Laura! You are a balm for the heart . . . not to mention the soul and the uterus!!

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Back at you!

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

“I have lots of unpopular opinions. I adore chardonnay. I collect visionary art. I am not fond of the novels of Ian McEwan.” Goddess bless you! A hilarious and satisfying read ❤️

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

Brilliant and poignant and exactly what women need to read.

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

Thank you for this insightful, funny and necessary read. “No one can lift us up until we choose to leap” is a life turning phrase worthy of a mental tattoo, but “diddled by an incel” made me laugh out loud. We need your gorgeous self’s help guiding us on this journey!

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

me too! That is one of the funniest lines I have read in a long time.

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

so nice, I read it twice! (honestly: I had to think about it.

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Fantastic article. Funny it should pop up one day after my friend said she was going to do the Whole 30. My first response was “ I don’t give a shit about that, I’m 73, I care about your heart and mind” and with that I left. I later called her to apologize, not because what I said wasn’t what I felt, but because I wanted her to know, whatever her choice, I’ll support her. Me? I’m crazy over weight. My body clearly shows my go to comfort method. But heck. I e never felt better. I love being me. I’m at peace.

Now I just might focus on cutting my portion sizes down. I’ve grown to love what the younger kids says “you do you”

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It's really hard not to blurt out "NO!" or "Why?" when a friend announces a diet now. Usually, I just make a noncommittal hmmmmmm and recommend the podcast Maintenance Phase.

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Same!

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

Or when a friend says they are “doing a cleanse.” That is sinister shorthand for diet!

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Laura, good god: this piece couldn't come at a better time for me and most of my friends. "What would happen to the global economy if all the women on the planet suddenly decided: I don’t care if you think I’m fuckable" is basically everything we talk about right now. We're a bunch of GenXers about to turn 50, working hard to unlearn all the diet-centered crap we absorbed in our youth, and hell yeah we want to wear bikinis this summer, some of us for the first time! For the record, I understand the points made by Aubrey Gordon and Virginia Sole-Smith that you mention at the end, but I also know that a good personal story can be the match that lights a deep individual awareness and leads to a larger insight/cultural revolution, or at least a big cultural shift. Anyway, I'm having a great big curry for lunch today :)

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Me! I’m a gen Xer about to turn 50! This thread is fulllllll of my people!!! 😘

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Yay nice to meet you! I write about my GenX sitch on my own Substack, which you might enjoy: https://aliciadara.substack.com/

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

This guy on Facebook made body shaming comments about Lizzo. I reluctantly commented on his dumb ass comment which I never ever do. My comment was “ body shaming how sad.” He said “ baloney.” I removed myself immediately. Your story reminds me to care about me more and dumb ass less. Thanks, I like what you say.

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

A good way to start the day. I will now go eat something satisfying for breakfast.

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This is one of the most amazing essays I have ever read. I could go on and on, but I'll leave it at that.

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

Cheering! Shouting with joy!

“I have decided I like the way I look, I’m the expert.” Hell yes!

Also the eating part, I have long time latched on to dieting as a way to turn myself into something I’m not: tall and thin. Dear god, let’s hear it for ALL of us! Love that too.

I can’t bear one more day of putting down pleasure to pick up someone else’s idea of who I’m supposed to be. Thank you for saying it so wonderfully and wisely.

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

So much YES. I shall attempt to pin this essay to my heart and carry it with me.

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

Thank you and thank you.

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Jan 19, 2023Liked by Laura Lippman, Sari Botton

A few years ago my new year's resolution was to stop weighing myself. When people (women) asked me why I simply said, 'I am not a ham'. It was very liberating and I'm pretty sure that nothing terrible happened. My clothes still fit me at the end of the year. I've only weighed myself a couple of times since then (in moments of weakness, it's hard to maintain your resolve all the time).

Recently I noticed that I was looking pretty good for my age. Ironically, I look exactly the same as I always have, I just like myself more these days.

ps. I LOVED Greengage summer.

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