The Laura Lippman plan requires that you eat whatever you want whenever you want to eat it, and declare yourself beautiful. We’re not going to lie — it’s really hard.
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.
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!
"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.
Laura! You are a balm for the heart . . . not to mention the soul and the uterus!!
“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 ❤️
Brilliant and poignant and exactly what women need to read.
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”
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 :)
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!
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.
A good way to start the day. I will now go eat something satisfying for breakfast.
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.
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.
So much YES. I shall attempt to pin this essay to my heart and carry it with me.
Thank you and thank you.
There is SO MUCH that resonates for me here. Thank you, Laura, for writing it, and thank you, Sari, for publishing it. I can't say I've achieved this level of aplomb, but I'm working on it steadily, at just-turned 51. The piece you said about women overeating to try and nurture themselves in a culture that gives them too much responsibility and too little care pretty much said it all for me. I come from morbidly obese parents and have feared that future for as long as I can remember, while at the same time being a single mom for a decade now functioning at a nurturing deficit ALL THE TIME. Figuring out what I want is a complicated calculation, therefore, involving a level of embodiment I'm not historically good at as well as constant emotional self-reflection so that I can determine what part of me is doing the wanting and whether what she wants is in any healthy relationship to what she needs.
I'd like to think there's some future in which those calculations take less conscious effort, because, honestly, I have shit to do and all of this takes SO MUCH ENERGY which could be best spent elsewhere. But at least I'm not constantly hating on myself every time I put something in my mouth. It's a start.